The affirmation of our heavenly Father is powerful because he is the Author of Life. All that we are derives from our Maker. His words, spoken to us, continue the formative process of who we are as his creatures.
We each are a small part of God’s story, written into it at a particular point in time. Psalm 139 is David’s reflection on the context of his own life, that he was known before birth, created by God, “knit together in his mother’s womb.” He understood that his days were formed by God, and his story was already in His “book.” He was aware that the Lord searched his thoughts, and that wherever he might be, the Lord was there with him. Acts 17:28 echoes this fact: “For in him we live and move and have our being.”
How We Live Matters ☩ God’s Story is a Love Story
Song of Songs 2:14 is one of the theme passages for this Second Saturday. It expresses the desire of a lover who truly wants to know his beloved.
My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face, let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.
We want to recognize God’s heart through this passage. It is He who created us to love deeply, to entrust ourselves to another in marriage, as well as in a different sense, to family and friends. It is the Lord who will present the bride of the Lamb at the end of time (Revelation 19:6-8; 21:1-2, 9-10).
We want to respond to God’s design in the imagery of Song of Songs. He calls us out of hiding and invites us to make ourselves known to Him because of His love. The invitation to entrust ourselves to the love of another involves communication from the depth of our heart.
Psalm 51:8 Our inmost heart is meant to be a place of truth: “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”
John 10 Jesus describes his ministry in relational terms. We are meant to KNOW AND RESPOND TO HIS VOICE.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians includes this remarkable prayer that directs us to pursue this all-encompassing love of God for us. From Ephesians 3:14-21:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
In prayer, and whenever we are with Him, open to His presence, we are in His soil of love.
RELATIONSHIP IS THE SOIL OF OUR FORMATION AND GROWTH
Words and acts of affirmation are part of the soil in which we are rooted, feeding on it as we grow up. How we are loved is embedded in the dialogue we experience as we develop.
What is the role of affirmation? What does it mean to affirm someone? (Dictionary definition)
~ a statement or sign that something is true
~ to support someone by giving approval, recognition, or encouragement
Ex: A young child relies on its mother for comfort, affirmation, and encouragement.
Ex: She described the unhappy memory of her father who had neither disciplined nor affirmed her
~ affirming words communicate
・who we are
・encourage what is TRUE about us
・attention to our formation: in relationship, we are formed \ identity
OUR HEAVENLY FATHER’S AFFIRMATION
The original purpose of Second Saturday remains the same: to provide time to be in God’s presence and to develop the “practice” of listening prayer. That is, to form a habit of dialogue where we wait on the Lord in the context of personal prayer and time in the Word. As our dialogue develops, our relationship with the Father deepens. As we disclose the thoughts of our hearts to Him and listen for His response, we are nurtured by what He speaks to us. We begin to grow in the direction of words spoken from the heart of the One who created us!
❧ The role of the soil, our relationship with our heavenly Father, impacts how we thrive.
At the core of each story shared at today’s Second Saturday (April 10, 2021) is dialogue between the Lord and the story teller. Over time, the Lord will help us to know and trust His voice.
DISCERNING THE VOICE OF GOD
~ Over time, we learn to distinguish His voice from the voices of others who have had authority in our lives.
~ We are able to entrust our hearts to the Lord as we would to anyone we feel safe with. We receive His words because in our heart, we know He will not reject or condemn us.
PURPOSE: CLEANSE AND BUILD US … show us His heart!
- His words, including true words that heal and shape and offer truth and comfort
- Speaking to the one He has made / affirming things we aren’t aware of
- Feeding on truth, plus obedience, and faith; on purpose, listening for His voice and truths
BARRIERS IN US: The depth to which we may know one another involves interaction at a deep level. He knows the deep messages we have taken in, and what does not belong in our soil? For example:
- Hiding vulnerability based on past relationships that were proven to be safe, or unsafe.
- Grace vs law … salvation vs condemnation | What is the role of His love in our theology?
- FEAR of letting ourselves be known by the Lord forgetting that He alone knows us completely!
AMENDING THE SOIL OF OUR SOUL: Alongside the blessing of the verses we’ve used for today are cautions. As we ask Him to speak the affirmation we need, we also need to be shown what we’ve taken in that has demeaned us, prevented the formation of who God has made us to be, and kept us from loving others, including our Lord.
Song of Songs 2:15 – the need for catching “the foxes” that eat the blooms in the garden. Soil amendment includes pulling weeds – blocking what harms our heart and our ability to love the Lord
Revelation 3:19 – The Lord seeks intimate fellowship with us, but He also shows us where we have chosen or depended on something other than His best for us.
John 10:3-5 – the voice of a stranger kills, steals, and destroys. The Lord will expose where in dialogue with others, or our own self-talk, or in formative relation-ships such as parenting, we have taken negative seeds into our hearts. Our soil may be poor – without the nutrients to support all that is meant to take root and grow in us, watered with love!
The SOIL that feeds and amends our soil, and waters our roots, is communication with God our Maker – the Author of Life, by Whom we are fully known. Speaking to and listening to the Lord with a trusting heart will change us.
OUR IDENTITY He is a good Father/Mother who knows all our potential—all the unique qualities we have been given. Parts of our being unfold or sprout as our relationship to the Lord develops over time. We learn that we can have an unguarded exchange with the Lord, that He cares to hear from us—how we feel, what we think, fear, hope, worry about, aspire to be, and other yearnings of our hearts. We open our hearts to his words in John 10:10b: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
ALIGNMENT WITH THE PURPOSES OF OUR FATHER
What have we to offer the Lord? We may know His word and serve Him earnestly.
~ Could we invest more of ourselves in our relationship with Him?
~ Do we know His heart—the desires of His loving heart behind the teachings and commands He has given us? His words to the disciples, recorded in John 15 help us understand what He is after.
JOHN 15:7-16 ~ WE CAN GROW:
- IN LOVE THAT BEARS MUCH FRUIT
- AS SERVANTS – FRIENDS WHO KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING
John 15:7-16 | If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
EXAMPLE OF THOSE WHOSE LOVE WAS EXPRESSED THROUGH MINISTERING TO HIM AND UNDERSTANSING THE PASSION OF HIS HEART
~ What Jesus saw in the prostitute that he didn’t see from the Pharisees. She came to him in the home of a Pharisee who had not honored Jesus through the custom of washing the feet of one’s guests. She humbly washed his feet with her tears. (Luke 7:36-50)
~ Mary Magdalene, delivered of 7 evil spirits expressed her love as his follower, present at the cross and at the tomb. He spoke her name, “Mary” there in the garden and sent her to tell the disciples of his rising from the grave.
~ Mary of Bethany put aside other demands to sit at at his feet, to learn, to hear his words. She came among men at a banquet to anoint his feet with expensive oil. He affirmed her greatly, saying that her act would be known as part of his story.
~ Mary His Mother dedicated her life to bear him and give herself as his mother, even giving him up on the cross.
May we open our hearts in a deeper way to the affirming words from the Author of Life, and find this truth for ourselves:
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen