1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 – Give Thanks In All Circumstances

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Thankfulness for the Heavenly Father’s limitless love and mercy aids in the growth in grace and develop “the fruits” of God’s character — “(22) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Some one has suggested that these fruits of the spirit of God might be defined as the following:

  1. Joy — is Love exultant;
  2. Peace — is Love in repose;
  3. Longsuffering — is Love enduring;
  4. Gentleness — is Love in society;
  5. Goodness — is Love in action;
  6. Faithfulness — is Love on the battlefield of life.
  7. Meekness — is Love in resignation.
  8. Temperance — is Love in training.

[See “Studies in the Scriptures” Volume 6, page 186.]

Praising God for Your Current Situation

“Since as Christians we have learned that it is our privilege to be always rejoicing — to rejoice evermore and in everything give thanks — we need not, like the world, wait for special manifestations of Divine favor to call forth our praise, our homage of heart and our grateful obedience to the Lord. Rather, learning that Divine providence is in all of our affairs, ready to shape them for our good, we may rejoice ‘whatever lot we see, since ’tis God’s hand that leadeth us.’ Someone has well said: ‘If we are not ready to praise God where we are, and with our conditions and circumstances as they are, we should not be likely to praise Him if we were differently circumstanced and our conditions just that which now seems to us most desirable. Daniel could sleep better in the den of lions than Darius in the royal palace; he who could not find rest in a lion’s den, when that was the place for him, could not gain rest by a mere removal to a palace’ ” (“From Philippi To Athens,” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, Aug. 1921).

It is our own self which must be changed, not our circumstances or our possessions, in order to for us to have a heart that overflows with joy and praise.

How do you change self? 

(1) ASK God for help —

James 1:5 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Before reading any further, please take a moment now, to pray to the Heavenly Father through Christ, asking for God’s Divine help in your matter … concerning your current situation — asking for God’s help to be pleasing to Him, thankful for your current circumstances as ALL THINGS are WORKING OUT FOR YOUR GOOD according to Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

(2) APPLY EFFORT

Attaining a crown of glory is dependent upon our progress in Christ. Effort is required, as indicated in the following Scriptures:

  • “(13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14).
  • “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
  • “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” (Colossians 1:11).

What Should We Be Thankful For?

For a start, we have an eternal gratefulness for being blessed with the richest favors of divine grace in that knowledge of Divine Truth which reveals to us the high privilege of becoming sons and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled and that does not fade away, and which is reserved in heaven for the called and chosen and faithful according to God’s purpose.

God’s favour toward us revealed to us the hope of everlasting life, as justified, human sons of God and, we understand we have access to full restitution to the divine favor and likeness, as was at first possessed by our father Adam.

And how great was our joy when first, by faith, we claimed this precious promise for ourselves and realized that legally, through merit of the precious blood of Christ shed for our redemption, we had passed from death unto life, and that in God’s appointed time the everlasting treasure with all its attendant glory and blessing would actually be ours! But! Beyond even this, are the “exceeding great and precious promises” to those of this justified class who have been called, according to God’s purpose, to become the bride and joint-heir of his dear Son!

What a grand aspiration to attain to, that is still available to all who seek to know and please our Divine Father in every single aspect of their existence — who are seeking to fill up their void of loneliness and pain and despair with that peace of God which surpasses all understanding found from finding the best vocation in the world — offering their lives as living sacrifice unto God, and walking as Christ did, being trained to become empathetic priests of God to uplift mankind during the Millennium! To be the “spot lights” which magnify and illuminate God’s love, justice, wisdom and power is truly even now, the most joyful moments of this carnality!

What a perfect goal to aim for!

Then, in addition to all these blessings of hope and promise, we had the blessed realization during all the year, and with some of us for many years past, that though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, as the Psalmist aptly represents the present life, our blessed Shepherd’s rod and staff have been our comfort and our safeguard.

How often has the friendly crook of the Shepherd’s staff protected us from wandering off into by paths and kept us in the narrow way; how his chastening rod has from time to time aroused us from dreamy lethargy and urged us on our way. And at such times we have recalled the comforting words:

“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:5-8)

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5). Spiritually, we have feasted on the bounties of divine favor; while in things temporal, under whatsoever circumstances we have been placed, having the assurance that all things work together for good to them that love God, we have realized that Godliness with contentment is great gain, having promise of the life that now is (so long as God wills us to remain here), and also of that which is to come.

Let us give Jehovah not only the praise of our lips, but also the incense of truly consecrated lives, throughout the year upon which we are just entering.

Dearly beloved!

With the start of this New Year, let us consecrate ourselves anew to the Lord in the sense of re-affirming and emphasizing that covenant. Tell our dear Lord that it is still our purpose to keep our ALL upon the Altar of Sacrifice during 2018 and until it is wholly consumed in His service. Then, let us proceed with studious care from day to day to pay these, our vows of Full Consecration, unto the Most High.

As we look back and with sorrow view the imperfections of even our best efforts, and then forward and see the lion-like difficulties that seem to obstruct our onward course, we will need greatly to reinforce our waning Courage with the special promises of Divine Grace to help in every time of need. We have the blessed assurance that the Lord will give strength unto his people(Psalm 29:11). “And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).

As soldiers under our great Captain, we have enlisted in no uncertain struggle, except our own faint-heartedness or unfaithfulness should make it so. We are fully supplied with the whole armor of God, and will be amply protected against all the fiery darts of the adversary if we accept it and carefully buckle it on; we are forewarned of all the snares and dangers that beset our onward way, so that we may avoid and overcome them; we are fully informed as to the policy and course of the Captain under whose banner we have enlisted, and of the part we are to take under his leading.

We have our Beloved Jesus’ constant presence with us, even to the end of our course. His inspiring voice may always be heard above the clash and din of battle—

  • Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to GIVE YOU the kingdom!” (Luke 12:32)
  • Be of good cheer; I have overcome!” (John 16:33)
  • Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid!” (John 14:1)
  • Greater is he that is IN you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

If we are weak and incline to faint-heartedness we have only to remember the blessed promise, “The Lord will give strength unto his people;” and by our faithfulness in the service we shall glorify God and he will deliver us gloriously from all our foes, both seen and unseen.

How To Pay Our Vows?

When we consecrated ourselves fully to the Lord, we made a promise to God that we would hold nothing back for self.

Our consecration to God, includes:

ALL our possessions, our time, our physical energies and our mental attainments; the sacrifice of ALL our former earthly ambitions, hopes and aims, so that we should no longer pursue them to any extent. This, and nothing less, is what our vow of Full Consecration signifies.

It also signifies, further, that these possessions or personal qualifications, which the Lord terms talents, are not only to be released from the service of the worldly ambitions, etc., but that they are to be so released, not for aimless inactivity, but for the purpose of being utilized in an opposite direction—in the service of God, of his plan and of his children.

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the Lord illustrated very clearly how we are expected to pay our vows of consecration to the Most High. He says, “It is like a man who, intending to travel, called his own servants and delivered unto them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to each according to his respective capacity; and straightway took his journey.”

Here are some Bible verses that teach us something important about thankfulness.

Psalm 100 (ESV)

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever. A Psalm for giving thanks.

(1) Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
(2) Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
(3) Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
(4) Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
(5) For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)  — “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Ephesians 5:18-20 (ASV) —”Be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.”

Psalm 136:26 (KJV) — “O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Psalm 106:1 (KJV) — “Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Psalm 107:1 (KJV) — “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV) — “(6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

John 6:11 (KJV) — “And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.”

Colossians 4:2 (KJV) — “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;”

Psalm 28:7 (KJV) — “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”

Psalm 116:17 (KJV) — “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.

Colossians 3:17 (KJV) — “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

2 Corinthians 9:15 (KJV) — “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”

1 Corinthians 15:57 (KJV) — “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Psalm 95:2 (KJV) — “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”

Psalm 92:1 (KJV) — “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:”

Revelation 11:17 (KJV) — “Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”

Colossians 3:15 (KJV) — “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

1 Chronicles 29:13 (KJV) — “Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.”

2 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV) — “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.”

Psalm 105:1-2 (KJV)“(1) O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. (2) Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.”

Psalm 30:4 (KJV) — “Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”

Psalm 69:30 (KJV) — “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.”

Acknowledgment/References:

The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s PresenceReprint 3695
http://www.htdbv8.com/1906/r3695.htm

The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s PresenceReprint 3135-3138
http://www.htdbv8.com/1903/r3135.htm

“From Philippi To Athens,” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, Aug. 1921
http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1921_8.htm#_Toc517709610

The Harvest Truth Data Base: http://www.htdb.one/

Suggested Further Reading

“1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18 – Prayer – The ‘Oxygen’ for the New Creature in Christ.” BIBLE Students DAILY post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/11/04/1-thessalonians-516-18-prayer-the-oxygen-for-the-new-creature-in-christ/

“The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength.” BIBLE Students DAILY post. https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/20/nehemiah-810-the-joy-of-the-lord-is-your-strength/

“Thanksgiving in our Hearts” — Adapted, David Steindl-Rast, “Before Turning out the Lights.” The Beauties of the Truth Periodical, Nov. 2003. http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/2003nov.pdf

“Thanksgiving For Spiritual Blessings” by Br. Jerry Moore in The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2009/09nd_3.htm

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2018/01/03/1-thessalonians-518-thankfulness/

 

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SONG OF SOLOMON 2:1, 2, 16; 4:5 – The Rose of Sharon & the Lily of the Valleys

roses and liies in the bible-bsd

What is the “rose of Sharon” and who is “the lily of the valleys” as mentioned in the Song of Solomon? We begin with some background.

The Song of Solomon

The “Song of Solomon” (also titled the “Song of Songs” or “Canticles”) was written by King Solomon, who represents Jesus as King after his ascent to the Divine realm. Here Christ Jesus, our prospective bridegroom (Matthew 25:6), speaks in the form of a melodic song, to his “Bride,” “the elect” (2 Timothy 2:10, Romans 8:33) who answers him as his “Love.”

The “rose of Sharon”likely is not a rose as we know the flower. It may have been a crocus, tulip, hibiscus, lily, white daisy or some other flower that grows in a field. (We include a brief discussion about this with flower images later in the post.) Jesus may have spoken of this when he referred to the “lilies of the field” (Luke 12:27,28), meaning some humbler but delicate flower.

Song of Solomon 2:1 (RSV) — “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.”

In the above verse, the prospective Bride of Christ is speaking. Notice that in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the text says not “the rose,” but “a rose,” and it is likewise in the NIV. This indicates humility. In other words, “I am a common, lowly flower of the low lands.”

“It is the bride, then, who is here declaring that she is as one of these common or ordinary flowers of which there were so many. She says, in effect, ‘I am no different and no better than my companions, my sisters, in this great floral throng’ ” (F. A. Shuttleworth, Scot., “The Song of Songs A short series of devotional meditations – No. 1”).

The rose and the lily are to be thought of in the collective sense: the “valleys” (plural) would have more than one lily, for example. Many flowers, a class of flowers, is referred to. The virgin class, these common little flowers, realize that God has called them as individuals into His family, and perhaps in time they see why He has picked them because they are poor in spirit, meek, though rich in faith. When they realize that they have this faith, they have a measure of confidence and hope that He really has called them. The HOLY ONE who inhabiteth eternity dwells with the lowly and contrite in heart (Br. Frank Shallieu, Notes on the Song of Solomon, in the Bible Students Library CD).

Song of Solomon 2:2 — “As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.”

As mentioned earlier, in verse 1 the virgin class has said “I am the lily of the valleys.” Now, in verse 2, Christ Jesus is, as if, responding, Yes, you are as the lily, but you are amidst thorns.

“He proceeds once again to tell her of what and how he thinks of her… ‘As the lily among thorns’ she is seen in harmlessness, simplicity, and irreproachableness in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation (Philippians 2:15) … She isin moral contrast with all her surroundings; He adds no more; His words, though few, give her heart to know that He is content with her; she is what He can delight in; no more is needed.

“The Lord would have her follow in His footsteps; as she beholds Him in His beauty, in His fragrance, and His humility, she hears Him say: ‘As I am, so are ye in the world. He that saith He abideth in Me ought himself also to walk even as I walked.’ [See 1 John 2:6.] To be like unto him, she must go down into the fertile Valleys, and there must she abide. She must draw strength and nourishment from the hidden springs and the rich soil of His Word, and His life must flow into her until she blossoms out in His likeness” (Br. Anton Frey, Notes on the Song of Solomon, in the Bible Students Library CD).

The beautiful lily has no thorns growing upon her. In her words, there is nothing which is sharp, to wound her Lord or those around her. There are no unkind actions growing upon this plant that is being prepared for the Garden of Heaven. There are no unworthy, uplifted attributes found upon the one whom God will choose as the bride of His Son. She [her character] must be:

  • harmless, yet steadfast,
  • humble, yet standing in pure dignity,
  • upright and beautiful,
  • maintaining the Faith once for all delivered unto the saints,
  • spotless and fragrant.

“Each lily in the company stands for His glory and His delight alone. He has invited many to be the bride; but though many have received the invitation, only a few will He choose” (Br. Anton Frey, Notes on the Song of Solomon).

The Thorns– Who or what do these represent?

“The ‘thorns’ would be not only worldly people but professed Christians. The ‘daughters’ are the same ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ in Song of Solomon 1:5 and 2:7. Even among nominal Christians who have similar hopes,the virgin class appear as fanatics and oddballs. ‘So is my love among the daughters.’ The word ‘love’ is ‘friend’ in the Hebrew, but of course it has a much deeper meaning than our English word. We sing, ‘What a friend we have in Jesus,’ but he is singing, ‘What a friend I have in my consecrated followers’ ” (Br. Frank Shallieu, Notes on the Song of Solomon).

Song of Solomon 2:16 — “My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.

The Bride calls Christ her “beloved.” She is saying that Christ feeds among the lilies.

“The ‘lily’ is the common little flower of the lowlands, so Jesus ‘feeds’ (has communion and fellowship) among this humble, meek class. In olden times, receiving hospitality gave one a feeling of security and protection. If you could get into the tent of an enemy and converse with him and plead for mercy, he would never kill you. The safest place would be in the house of the enemy. George Washington, with all of his problems, had a rule that during dinner no strife or unpleasantness could mar the peace or be discussed. A principle of ancient times was not to bring problems to the table of fellowship” (Br. Frank Shallieu, Notes on the Songs of Solomon).

“Having once again turned her face toward her dearly beloved Bridegroom‑to‑be, she feels herself reassured, and very happy, yet still too possessive; for she says, as it were, to herself, ‘My Beloved is mine.’ But she is destined to grow both in grace and in the knowledge of her Lord (2 Peter 3:18), until she is able to say I am my beloved’s; and my beloved is mine’ (Song of Solomon 6:3). In the meantime she will have to strive earnestly to make herself really worthy of becoming one day, the Lamb’s wife! True, she has been ‘called’; yea, she has even been ‘chosen’ so to speak; but to be with Him as His Beloved, throughout all the ages of eternity, will depend uponher being‘faithful’(Revelation 17:14). This is a faithfulness in her love of,and for, Him; to have doves’ eyes, to see none other, ever, but ever and always Jesus only!” (Br. Anton Frey, Notes on the Song of Solomon).

“She now beholds Him ‘feeding among the lilies.’ In her soliloquy she mentions this, noting that He is almost invariably found ‘feeding among the lilies.’ Regardless of what the flower here referred to may have been, it was undoubtedly intended to represent the ‘pure in heart’ who shall one day see God (Matthew 5:8) — those, who like the wild flowers of the field neither toil nor spin[with distressful anxiety] but who, in accepting whatever divine providence may permitto come unto them, are arrayed even now, in garments whose glory and beauty transcend that of Solomon’s (Matthew 6:28‑29). The espoused virgin seems now to sense the fact that like unto Jehovah of old, who was fed by way of the willing sacrifices of His people upon His altar (See Leviticus 21:17‑21, Psalm 50:14, Hebrews 13:15), so too, her beloved was ‘feeding’ upon the loving consecrations and dedications of the pure in heart. The ‘sweet fragrance’ of these ‘lilies’ is to her beloved, as was the ‘sweet savor’ of the burnt‑offerings and peace‑offerings to Jehovah of old! He gathers the lilies in chapter 6. He delights to gather the saints (who are called lilies) together, and then He comes down to feed among them. He comes into the companies of His saints, when they are thus gathered, to get something for Himself” (Br. Anton Frey, Notes on the Song of Solomon, page 31).

Song of Solomon 4:5 — “Thy two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, which feed among the lilies.”

The suggestion that the roes “feed among the lilies” is a most beautiful one. The roes are enriched in life and health by what they feed upon; and this shows in their beauty and grace, as well as in the fleetness of foot.

roe.jpg

The roe or gazelle is the smallest animal of the antelope kind; it is only about two feet in height, and not more than half the size of the fallow‑deer. Its eyes are remarkably soft and expressive. It is noted for its swiftness in 1 Chronicles 12:8, speaking of men who were “as swift as the roes upon the mountains.” In 2 Samuel 2:18, “Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe.” In the Song of Solomon 2:9, “The voice of my beloved! behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills: my beloved is like a roe or a young hart.”

two roes.jpg

Whatever goodness and cheer can flow out of the fully consecrated child of God into the lives of others, is but the outgrowth, the result, of what one in Christ feeds upon “among the lilies,” among the consecrated saints of God, in their gatherings, when and wherever these fellowship in the Lord. And, of course, this is what shows, for not only are her “breasts” beautiful and graceful, but they are full of wholesome “nourishment” for others. We cannot help but here think of an expression used by the Apostle Paul when writing to the beloved at Thessalonica:

“I was like a mother that lovingly nurses her children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7, Way’s Translation).

“The ‘two breasts’ speak of affections that are balanced. They set forth symbolically the tenderness and sensitiveness of spiritual affections. Grace governing the heart, would secure this; the one who loves God would love his brother also; and there would be no partialities as to the truth, no attaching ourselves to one aspect of the truth in such a way as to lose interest in the whole circle of truth” (Br. Anton Frey, Notes on the Song of Solomon, page 41).

The fleetness of foot, and the sensitivity to anything unwholesome or harmful, reflects the disposition in the character of the espoused virgin. In order to love, and to do good unto others, regardless as to who or what they may be (Galatians 6:10), she must not allow herself to remain for any length of time in an atmosphere that might cause the flow of her loving kindness toward any to be stopped, or even retarded. To this end, all professing to be saints of God should guard themselves against “bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking” so as to remain “kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (Ephesians 4:31,32). The prayer that should ever remain on the lips of the espoused virgin should be:

“I want a principle within
Of jealous godly fear;
A sensitivity of sin,
A pain to feel it near.
“Quick as the apple of an eye,
O God, my conscience make:
Awake my soul, when sin is nigh,
And keep my soul awake.”

Roes are timid creatures, sensitive to any disturbance and ready to flee from it on swift foot. The Lord wishes us to cultivate and exhibit affections that are delicately sensitive, that are quickly alarmed by the approach of anything that is of the world or the flesh or the devil. This holy sensitiveness can only be preserved as it is nourished upon appropriate food. The garbage of the world is fatal to it. The fawns “feed among the lilies.” This is where He feeds His flock (Song of Solomon 2:16, 6:3). If the spouse is herself a “lily among the thorns,” her affections must feed in conditions that correspond with her true character. How refined the purity of such a feeding‑place! A place where one is surrounded by a beauty and glory that has been directly conferred by God. Where all is in contrast to the thorns around, and is marked by harmlessness, simplicity, and irreproachableness. (See Philippians 2:12‑15.) In such conditions spiritual affections can be suitably nourished. They are conditions which do not pertain to the world nor to nature; they belong to a sphere where all is the product of grace [God’s loving kindness; unmerited/undeserved favor] (Br. Anton Frey, Notes on the Song of Solomon, page 41).

“Still blushing profusely under the barrage of the sweet things He has been saying to her, she fain would change the subject. She, therefore, interrupts Him, to tell Him that it will not be too long to wait ere she shall be His forever — to have and to hold! “Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense” (Br. Anton Frey, Notes on the Song of Solomon, page 41).

“It is still night, and the time of His rejection, but we are not children of the night. As children of the day we ardently long for it to come, but there can be no day until He appears who alone can usher it in. Then we shall have done with the night and shadows. Until then, the bride will seek those things which are above, and set her affections on things above, not on things on earth. She wants to be above this world (Br. Anton Frey, Notes on the Song of Solomon, page 41).

Meaning of “Rose of Sharon”

From an Old Testament place name, “Sharon” in Hebrew means “plain,” referring to the fertile plain near the coast of Israel.

Here are two maps of the Plain of Sharon in Israel. The area is fertile and is near the Golan Heights, which belongs to Israel since 1967. (Some think it contains high oil reserves —more oil here, than in all of Saudi Arabia. If so, perhaps this will be a factor inducing Gog’s attack on Israel in the future.)

Flowers growing in such a low‑lying terrain aptly reflect the “beauty” and the “fragrance” of Him, who, though once in the form of God, emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, made in the likeness of man. “Being found in fashion as a man, [he] humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the [humiliating] death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6‑8).

“Our Lord Jesus, ‘the beginning of the creation of God,’ was willing in harmony with the Father’s plan to humble himself, to take a lower nature and to do a work which would imply not only a great deal of humiliation, but also a great deal of pain and suffering. The Apostle points out how the ‘Only Begotten’ proved his willingness and humility by complying with this arrangement; and that after he became a man he continued of the same humble spirit, willing to carry out the divine plan to the very letter, by dying as man’s ransom‑price; and not only so — when it pleased the Father to require that the death should be a most ignominious one in every respect, perhaps beyond the requirements of the ransom merely, he did not draw back, but said: ‘Thy will not mine be done,’ and stooped even to the ignominious ‘death of the cross’ ” (R2228:2).

What kind of flower was the “rose of Sharon” and the “lily of the valleys”?

The “rose of Sharon” is a name that has been applied to several different species of flowering plants that are valued in different parts of the world. The identity of the plant referred to in the Bible is unclear and is disputed among biblical scholars. Wikipedia says that it does not refer to actual roses, although one of the species it refers to in modern usage is a member of Rosaceae.

The Hebrew phrase was translated by the KJV editors as “rose of Sharon.” However, the Septuagint and the Vulgate render it simply as “the flower of the field.”The Hebrew word occurs three times in the scriptures (here in the Song of Solomon, Isaiah 65:10,Isaiah 35:1). The last one reads “the desert shall rejoice and bloom as the rose.” Here, the word rendered “rose” in the KJV is rendered “lily” (Septuagint, Vulgate and Wycliffe), “jonquil” (Jerusalem Bible), and “crocus” (RSV). Varying scholars have suggested that the biblical “rose of Sharon” may be one of the following plants:

(1) A crocus — “a kind of crocus growing as a lily among the brambles” (“Sharon,” Harper’s Bible Dictionary) or a crocus that grows in the coastal plain of Sharon (New Oxford Annotated Bible). Gesenius has no doubt that the plant denoted is the Colchicum autumnale (Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible).

Colchicum Autumnale.jpg

(2) A tulip — “a bright red tulip‑like flower… today prolific in the hills of Sharon” (“Rose”, Harper’s Bible Dictionary).

tulip.jpg

(3) Tulipa agenensis — the Sharon tulip, a species of tulip suggested by a few botanists.

Tulipa Agenensis - Sharon Tulip.jpg

(4) A lily, Lilium candidum, more commonly known as the Madonna lily, a species of lily suggested by some botanists, thought likely to refer to the “lily of the valleys” mentioned in the second part of Song of Solomon 2:1.

Lilium Candidum.jpg

(5) (Polyanthus) Narcissus — “Rose,” Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature.

Polyanthus Narcissus

Etymologists have tentatively linked the biblical חבצלת to the words בצל beṣel, meaning “bulb,” and חמץ ḥāmaṣ, which is understood as meaning either “pungent” or “splendid” (The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon).

From Smith’s Dictionary: “It appears to us more probable that the narcissus is intended than the crocus. The narcissus and the lily (Lilium candidum) would be in blossom together in the early spring, while the Colchicum is an autumn plant.”

(6) Marshmallows — “W.M. Thomson, in The Land and the Book suggests that what is really referred to by the rose of Sharon is the marsh‑mallow” (Br. Anton Frey, Notes on the Song of Solomon).

Rose of Sharon - Hibiscus

“The Lilies of the Field” (Luke 12:27, 28)

(7) Anthemis palestina — Better known as the common daisy, dots the fields of Palestine after the rains. Dr. Ha‑Reubeni (Professor of Biblical Botany, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem) points out (Nature Magazine, December 1934) that it is “beautiful at all hours of the day, even when old and drying. When it has dried up, it is gathered with the dried grass and cast into the furnace.” He adds “the daisy has a crown, which gives special aptitude to the comparison with Solomon, the crowned King.”

Anthemis Palestina.jpg

(8) AnemoneAccording to F. A. Shuttleworth (in “The Song of Songs A short series of devotional meditations – No. 1,” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, April 1958) in the Eastern world, the lily of the valleys is that flower known in the West as the anemone with its rich petals of red and purple. Here is an image of these (below).

anemone flower.jpg

What do all these flowers have in common?

All these flowers have things in common: simplicity, in natural beauty that reflects God’s perfect love (1 John 4:18); sweet fragrance (2 Corinthians 2:14, 15), that reflects the sweetness of cheerful, willing, patiently enduring sacrifice to bring glory to God by accepting and doing the Heavenly Father’s will; joy, which is infectious, as it brings joy to all who look at their beauty of colour. Their head is either bowed low, reminding us of humble reverence in seeking to know and do the Heavenly Father’s will through Christian servitude in the School of Christ, or held high, reflecting saints who hold high our “head,” Christ Jesus. May God be praised, honored, and glorified in all that is done to please Him through Christ (Matthew 5:16).

References

Br. Charles Taze Russell, Reprints (R) of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. These Reprints can be read online at The Harvest Truth Data Base (Version 9) website here: www.htdb.one

Br. Anton Frey, “Notes on the Song of Solomon.” These study notes are from the “BIBLE STUDY LIBRARY” CD which can be purchased from The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Bookstore at the following link: https://herald-magazine.com/bookstore-2/

Br. Frank Shallieu, “Notes on the Song of Solomon.” These study notes are also from the “BIBLE STUDY LIBRARY” CD. (Same link as above.)

F. A. Shuttleworth, Scot., “The Song of Songs A short series of devotional meditations – No. 1,” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, April 1958. Here is the direct link: http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1958_4.htm#_Toc36391359

Suggested Further Reading

“The Song of Solomon” by Br. David Rice. The Beauties of the Truth Periodical http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTMAY02.PDF

“I Am My Beloved’s, and My Beloved Is Mine.” The Dawn Magazine, Sept. 1989, in the Christian Life and Doctrine section.
http://www.dawnbible.com/1989/8909cl-4.htm

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No GOD No Peace, Know GOD Know Peace

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Let us go on a journey where we shall find PERFECT PEACE. Are you ready?

Our destiny is the mountain top of serene peace and joy, with hope driving our heart towards faith in receiving what one seeks to find.

Let us stick together, with the good things seeping in and immediately clearing our mind of any negative thoughts before our first step upward and onward till we reach our destination.

As we begin our climb, we “breathe in” some thoughts about heavenly peace, quizzing our mind with questions that arise:

WHERE can perfect peace be found? WHO is actually perfect? HOW can we understand God-Jehovah’s perfection?

Here are some answers:

“As for GOD, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him” (Psalm 18:30).

“The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A GOD of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

“The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7).

The LORD is righteous in all His ways And kind in all His deeds” (Psalm 145:17).

“As for GOD, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him” (2 Samuel 22:31).

Your word is very pure: therefore your servant loves it” (Psalm 119:140).

Every word of GOD is pure: he is a shield to them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5).

The above responses from the Bible writers, whose words were all divinely inspired by God, are all about God-Jehovah.

Now what about Jesus? Is God’s only begotten and firstborn son Jesus—the Messiah—also perfect, and was Jesus perfect when the Heavenly Father, Jehovah, sent him to redeem mankind from the sentence of Adamic death by paying the exact ransom (corresponding price) to be fulfilled in due time?

Here are some quotes from the Bible where we may find answers to these questions:

“Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

“You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin(1 John 3:5).

“When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves’(Matthew 27:24).

Why did Pilate say this?

Here is why:

“Pilate came out again and said to them, ‘Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in him’” (John 19:4).

Jesus said: “And He who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him (John 8:29).

About Jesus, it is written: “His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet he was with a rich man in his death, because he had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in his mouth.(Isaiah 53:9).

In 1 Peter 1:18-19, Jesus is described as “unblemished” and “spotless”: “We knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”

The Apostle Paul explains, He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

What do the words to be sin on our behalf” mean?

The Apostle Peter explains what it means: that Jesus “himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

How then can we as humans have peace if we are not perfect? Are we perfect in some way or another?

Jesus taught usBe ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

How then, can we “be… perfect,” if we were already born in sin?

From the second a human is born, we have the curse of Adamitis on us, which is the death sentence. A baby who is even a few seconds old, can die. If we were perfect, death could not touch any human and everyone could live forever as their perfect life would allow no disease nor any harm to take their life. Thus, if we are already born imperfect, how can we find perfect peace?

Let us explain.

We might not of course be able to achieve perfect peace all the time in the current imperfect bodies we have, yet we are to “be perfect” in intentions, as all fully consecrated Spirit begotten individuals are reckoned in God’s eyes as perfect, through faith in the precious blood of Christ’s righteousness and through showing God-Jehovah through one’s thoughts, words and actions just how much there is a desire to DO what is good, righteous, perfect, pure and blameless in God’s sight, to please the Heavenly Father.

It is one’s faith in believing that God can do the impossible—that He could even move an entire mountain, and trusting in God’s perfect love, justice, power and wisdom implicitly.

This isn’t just blind faith.

This isn’t just following tradition.

This isn’t an unwilling, forced upon believing for self-gain or professing faith in God to just to please someone.

In Romans 10:17, the Apostle Paul explains that faith in God and faith in all that is Godly and righteous and pure and perfect, comes from “hearing the word of God,” and once we hear it, then we are instructed to actually examine and study it (1 Thessalonians 5:21). By studying the inspired words of God in the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15) handed down through God’s holy Prophets of old and the Apostles of the first Church (after Pentecost), and by praying to the Heavenly Father with thanksgiving and earnestness of the heart (Hebrews 5:7, Matthew 6:4-6, James 5:16), striving to please God by doing His will (Romans 12:2), then maturity in the faith can be attained and maintained.

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

What do the Scriptures say about the faith of some?

In Romans 4:3,5 we read,

“(3) Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. (5) And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.”

Now back to our question: Can we as mortals be classified as perfect and hence even qualify to receive perfect peace?

Here are some answers from the Bible:

“Therefore, beloved, since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that defiles body and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1).

How are we doing on our climb? Let us continue taking refreshing sips of pure “water” from the purifying Word of God (Matthew 5:6) for by thinking on “whatever is true… honorable… just… pure… lovely… commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8) we can take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

As we ascend, step by step, going from strength to strength (Psalm 84:7), we look ahead to what is before us (Proverbs 4:25,26, Hebrews 12:2) and patiently (Romans 12:12) with joy, press forward, towards our destination. We are reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:13-21:-

(13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

(14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

(15) Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

(16) Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

(17) Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

(18) For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

(19) Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

(20) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

(21) Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Let us get to the point of our original question. Where can we find perfect peace in a world surrounded by pain, sickness, tragedy and death?

The short answer is: We can find perfect peace when we stick to the path set out by God—walking in accordance to God’s rule.

What is God’s rule?

It is the commandment that Jesus taught—as a summary of all 10 commandments under the Old Law given to the nation of Israel via Moses in the Old Testament—recorded in the Gospel of John 13:34. Here Jesus said:

“(34) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love [Strongs #25, agapao] one another; as I have loved [Strongs #25, agapao] you, that ye also love [Strongs #25, agapao] one another. (35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love  [Strongs #26, agape] one to another.”

There are three different types of “love” in the world around us and in the Greek language, they are described as: agape, phileo and eros.

The word “love” here in John 13:34, 35, is translated from the Greek word “agape, which is an unconditional goodwill towards all men; love, benevolence, and feeling sincere kindness and good will towards our enemies and those who do harm to us, whether we classify this harm as from ignorance or not.

Agape love, thinks of others as better than one’s own self (Philippians 2:3).

In 1 John 3:15 we are explained that “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”

What a pleasure it is to be in the midst of such who speak kindly to and about others. These are described in Psalm 92 who “flourish like the palm tree” …. whostill bring forth fruit in old age.

In Titus 3:2 we are reminded, “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”

Here we are taught to rather hate the sin and AGAPE our brother and sister in Christ,  since we do not have a perfect mind in the same sense that our Beloved, Christ Jesus had when he was in the flesh during his human existence.

Through meditation upon the word of God, unceasing prayer and praise to the Heavenly Father, as well as through the experiences of life, we have a privilege to learn, by God’s grace and mercy, to speak the pure language of God. The Apostle Paul exhorts us in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” “Not only should our speech be liberal [i.e. free from prejudice, tolerant], temperate [marked by self-control], courteous [i.e. polite, respectful towards and considerate of others], but it should also be seasoned with salt. Salt is a figure for truth. Truth, like salt, has the power of preserving from decay that which is good and pure.We should, therefore, be well established in the truth of God’s Word, that we may be able to answer every one, giving a good Scriptural reason for both our faith and our practice” (Br. Charles T. Russell, R756).

There is a saying: “Positive begets positive.” Let positivity rule our mind by feasting on the beauties of divine Truth in the Bible— keeping our hope in Christ.

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Positivity is a quality possessed in kings. How can a king rule without a vision? (Proverbs 29:18). A king has a vision and such a vision must be possessed by those developing in the School of Christ to be faithful unto death—a vision that sees the positive (Titus 1:15). We have many gloriously positive things to look forward to, which the Bible outlines: no more oppression; no more money issues in the future to cause jealousy or the need to have power; no more killing; no more struggles for food or a shelter or to feel safe or perfectly understood and loved; no more pain or sickness and no more death!

The Heavenly Father has promised a glorious future to ALL mankind as we are told in Revelation 21:4, (4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.”

There are passages of holy Scripture that talk about the necessity of words of warning. Here are some good examples:

“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them [Strongs #3560, noutheteō—to caution or warn gently] that are unruly [“idle” (ESV), “lazy” (NLT), “undisciplined” (NET), “idle” and “disruptive” (NIV), “disorderly” (Rotherham’s)] comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

“So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3).

We are taught in Scripture to recognize who is a True Christian by their “fruits” of character (Matthew 7:16).

The more one sees their own failures and mistakes of actions, the more one can have compassion, we hope, towards others, realizing that often the more we (agape) love, the more we share in the sufferings of Christ… and this makes the heart long more for that which the Bible promises: the day of perfection in all things when God shall be ALL in ALL and all pain, sorrow and misunderstanding shall be no more.

The Apostle Paul speaks of this time in 1 Corinthians 15:28, “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”

How do we agape others and ourselves ?

HERE is where the hardest (upon the flesh) but most glorious (for the New mind in Christ) challenges lie. It is the HARDEST part of our climb up this mountain (1 Timothy 6:12)

It requires our dependency on God’s help through Christ, “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Philippians 4:13, Romans 8:28).

A righteous love towards all men is developed from learning to love the Heavenly Father supremely as manifested in the surrendering of one’s life rights and the acquiescence and obedience to God’s will. Obedience is learnt by fixing our eyes on Christ Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)—God’s only begotten, firstborn, perfect son, who died as a ransom for ALL humanity to pay the corresponding perfect price for Adam’s sin and all of Adam’s progeny (1 Corinthians 15:22). If we compare our trials as mortals to our Lord Jesus’ trials—who was sinless yet suffered the harshest mental and physical ignomy and pain—then one’s own experiences seem trivial.

Love (agape) towards our neighbour is all about loving our brethren in Christ as if they were our own body (Romans 12:5). These are the ones who are now in training to be part of the body of Christ—the footstep followers of Christ, and members of the 144,000 and Elect Bride of CHRIST (Revelation 7:4).

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).

May we seek to have a character like our Lord Jesus; to have a CHRIST JESUS’ ATTITUDE.

In 1 John 2:6 we read, “The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked.”

The Apostle Paul describes numerous Christ-like qualities of character in Philippians 2:1-11:-

“(1) Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,

(2) make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same (agape) love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

(3) Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

(4) do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

(5) Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

(6) who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

(7) but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

(8) Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

(9) For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

(10) so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth 

(11) and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

The above words are also beautifully summarized in Galatians 5:22-23“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

We are finally approaching our destination, so let us cheer each other onward and upward as to our goal we proceed with great joy and full faith, that we shall see with our eyes what we have longed to see! (1 John 3:2,3, 1 Corinthians 13:12, 13)

In Galatians 6:16 we are told, And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy.”

Again we ask, what “rule” is the Apostle Paul talking about, which he teaches us, may give us perfect peaceand not only peace but also mercy form God?

It is the rule of a new mind… a “new creature” in Christ mentioned in the preceding verse“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

You see forms and ceremonies (just following blindly a religious ritual or offering sacrifices year after year, or week after week) are not the rule, but the new life in Christ, the new creature filled with the holy spirit of God and led of the spirit.

The rule is to “walk in the spirit,” says the Apostle, “and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh; for the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other” (Galatians 5:16,17).

Those who walk by this rule are promised peace (Philippians 4:7) and mercy. Our best efforts to walk after the leading of the holy Spirit will be imperfect in the flesh but God who judges our heart’s, desires, and efforts is merciful and will not allow us to experience one second more than what we’re able to bear (Romans 8:28).

Now if any man be in Christ, a new creature, he has put away the old man—the carnal nature, which is enmity against God and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be—with all his evil deeds, which the apostle thus enumerates in Galatians 5:19-21,

“Now the works of the flesh [the carnal nature] are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like, of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

The Apostle gives fair warning that those who do such things, no matter how loud may be their professions, have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God; and therefore they have no right to the fellowship of the saints upon whom, and the cause of Christ in general, they bring only DIS-grace.

They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and desires.

If we are living according to the rule of the new nature, following the leading of the spirit of God, then we must have these fruits in some measure, even from the very start of our Christian experience; and if we are following on to know the Lord and to walk in the spirit, these fruits are surely growing and becoming more and more manifest to all with whom we are associated.

If those who are in Christ would observe this principle, and deal with each other as new creatures, much discord would be avoided; for the motives and endeavors of the “new creature” would be considered, and not the frailties or mistakes of the “earthen vessel.” (Reprints of the Original Watchtower 1840)

Reaching the Summit!

Friends, here we are at last! Here is the spectacular panoramic view from the summit top! Like an eagle (Isaiah 40:31) majestically soaring the lofy heights of grandeur that surround, so too, the fully consecrated of the Lord “soar” above the storms of life… their resting place is in the shelter of the Most High—God’s “throne of grace” which is approached with confidence to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14).

God’s perfect peace comes from sweet communion with the Heavenly Father and His Son, Christ Jesus.

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The peace of God that surpasses all understanding is a truly blessed gift from God which stems from an appreciation of God’s character and striving to copy these same qualities of character and dispositions of mind and heart, in order to gain God’s approval.

It is true to say that all men have lost much of the original likeness of God, but this does not alter the fact that they still crave the happiness and peace which can never be found except under the natural, original relations to his Creator.

Dear friends,

No matter how deep we may sink in sin …
No matter how far we may stray from the path of rectitude…
No matter how low and vile we may have become…

We still need to remember that we are all members of that noble though fallen human race and that God-Jehovah created us in His own likeness, and God knows and feels our degradation. He knows that He made us for higher and nobler ends than those toward which He is ever tending.

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In this painful realization of the absence of true happiness and peace of mind and heart, we humans tend to seek happiness and peace in ways in harmony with the more or less depraved tendencies of the fallen nature—in the poor substitutes which pride, ambition, strife, rivalry, wealth, fame, power, etc., have to offer; but we find that the happiness in these is only delusive, and at most VERY SHORT-LIVED!

The bubble of success may burst in an instant, and the peace and happiness built upon it be utterly wrecked.

“There is no peace, therefore, to any man except in the reestablished relationship between himself and his God. And since this relationship of sons can ONLY be reestablished through Christ, there is no peace to any man out of Christ. ”

Pastor Charles Taze Russell.

“There is no peace, saith the Lord, to the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22).

“Let us follow the things that make for peace.”

(Romans 14:19)

Isaiah 26.3

 

Acknowledgment

Br Charles T. Russell, Reprint 1840

Suggested Further Reading

What is LOVE?https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/20/what-is-love/

THE BIBLE – The World’s Best Novel. Here is Why.https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/26/the-bible-the-worlds-best-novel-here-is-why/

His Loving Kindness https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2018/06/19/his-loving-kindness-hymns-of-dawn-no-19/

HAGGAI 2:7—The Desire of All Nations Shall Comehttps://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/29/haggai-27-the-desire-of-all-nations-shall-come/

 

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The Praise Belongs To Him

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I know if I am chosen to joint-heirship with my Lord,
To reign with Him in glory, to receive that great reward;

If after all my weaknesses a crown for me He’ll claim,
I know that choice will surely bring great glory to GOD’s name.

If I had been more worthy, and my stumblings had been few,
When men gave GOD the glory, they’d have praised my virtue, too;

If I’d ne’er lost a battle, or had never missed the mark,
As they talked about HIS goodness, mine, also, they’d remark.

But my being SO deficient, in thought and word and deed,
Means HE’LL get all the glory—HE deserves it all, indeed.

When they see this weak mortal raised to such immortal heights,
What praise will rise to HIM who in such nothingness delights!

I know that when my Savior did return to heaven above,
And was crowned with wondrous glory, it did prove His Father’s love;

But thinking of Christ’s merit, and His sinless life of grace,
‘Twas no wonder that Jehovah chose Him for such a place.

With me it is so different; I have not one thing to plead,
That I should be more honored than another bruised reed;

And truly there’s no reason to give me a mite of praise;
To HIM belongs all glory for the joys which crown my days.

If you knew all my failings, and my blemishes so vile,
And saw the loving patience my Father shows the while,

T’would amaze you beyond measure to think HE could or would
Make me an able servant who should do HIS people good.

But if to HIM such praise is due because of what I am—
Because of such a weakling HE has made a stronger man,

Then what will be HIS glory when HE’s raised me higher still,
And crowned me with His choicest on the top of Zion’s Hill?

That all these years of striving find me so imperfect still,
Does not speak much to my credit nor give a happy thrill;

Where I appear as worthy ’tis because HIS grace is there,
And in the praise and glory I deserve no part, no share.

I HATE my faults and failings, and I FIGHT them day by day,
But from self with all its weaknesses I cannot get away;

Despite this fact, HE uses me—beyond is still more grace—
And hosts will tell HIS glory—HIS who found poor me a place.

BENJAMIN H. BARTON.

 

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In the secret of His presence

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“How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues” (Psalm 31:19-20).

The search for happiness is a quest by every human. Would you not agree?

Some people seem to find happiness in just the everyday kind of stuff… you know… the daily routine kind of activities and that which is temporarypertaining only to the now… to this human life.

Then there are those, who surrender to the God, the Creator. These have their minds focused on things above and not on the cares of this world. They have a peace about them that surpasses ALL understanding (Philippians 4:7).

You know, it’s this sense of a deeper connection with God that has been an inner yearning in us since time began. I know it has been for me.

I often think about friends or people I come across, who carry a presence within themselves… who handle obstacles with poise and grace. Those people I call the tangible ones… the “There’s-Something-About-Them” kind of people. The one’s you could label as surrounded by divinity. These seem to all have one thing in common: they pursue a renewing of the mind within an intimate relationship with God in secret.

In Romans 12:2 we are told, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

When I think about these secret hiding places of those from the Bible, I think of our passionately devoted to God, King David, who’s love for the LORD and regret for wrong made his heart so humbly revert to our Heavenly Father, and perhaps it was the greatest driving force behind him producing all those 150 Psalms. It was our Psalmist David’s secret placethat hidden private place of meditation and communication with God, that made him King.

How bout Gideon? He had that incredible courage and was able to retain Jesus’ ability to keep loving amongst adversity, right?

I recently enjoyed reading one Christian’s definition of her secret place; that it is that place where she directs her heart, and when she arrives there, she has the most wonderful exchange of love and adoration. God hands to her strength hope, delight and encouragement, and she gives back to Him her thankful thoughts, her honest questions, her silent dreams and her forever devotion.

It is that secret place with God, that holds the most intimate of conversations.
Have you ever heard people say to you “oh gee, you’ve really changed since when I once knew you”… “You’re so different now”… “You’re so Godly” or even “what’s happened to you? Is everything O.k ?

I assure you, I so often feel like I fight with most probably more demons within than most of all the Christians I know put together! I fight minutely at times. But, you know, if you want something in life, you don’t just sit on your backside expecting miracles to happen…

Even if you got no other option (due to perhaps ill health, chronic pain, immobility, poverty, other circumstances where one must lay low and hibernate)… there is always a most blessed thing called PRAYER!

Prayer is a work that is invaluable for the New Creature mind. Praying for another may even be one of the greatest gifts one can give another.

Pray produces more satisfying joy and blessed outcomes than anything else in a follower of Christ’s life because it connects us with our Creator and our Beloved Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, our Bridegroom and what more valuable in our lives, than spending time communicating with our Creator and His Son, who are both PERFECT in ever sense of the word and UNDERSTAND us, which, no human on earth can.

Following Jesus doesn’t just happen over night…

CHRIST-likeness is a bi-product of a relationship with God. It’s the best relationship you can and will ever have!

Your hunger for God will determine the extent to which you lay down your life, heart and mind and daily surrender not just MORE of self, but ALL of self for ALL OF THEEthe LORD GOD.

It’s in that quiet place where you will meet revelation for those you love as much as comfort in your grief.

One’s relationship with God is the ultimate intimate, best, most safest, happiest relationship I think anyone could ever have. It’s a connection so tight that none of one’s thoughts would wish to be not of GOD if that were humanly possible. Here there is a withdrawal of self-ego, self-indulgence, the laying out of mess, the exuberant gratitude, the processing of hurts, where a child of God can come into the presence of Godkneel before him and talk… talk for as long as needed, and knowing that GOD hears us.

In 1 John chapter 5 we read,

“10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.

11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

15 And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.”

You know, when we do something that shows God how much we adore our own Creator, the day becomes kaleidoscopic in colour.

It’s only when we make time for our Heavenly Father, that we discover what treasures unfold from within that secret place with Him.

God draws closer to those who show they NEED HIM THE MOST.  In James 4:8 it says,

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”

Silence is a gateway to the soul and the soul a gateway to God.

Go to your secret place before you go to anyone else.

My tiny pea brain could never summarize the greatness or mystery of God, so that secret place is the proper place to ask Him questions (Psalm 147:5).

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).

WE ARE living in a terrible time, and yet a wonderful time. It is a terrible time because we see before our very eyes a world collapsing and disintegrating. It is a wonderful time because we are on the very threshold of the mediatorial kingdom of God when all nations shall be blessed. It is a time tersely described in Haggai:

“For thus saith the Lord of Hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come” (Haggai 2:6,7).

It is indeed ironic that at the time of the greatest increase of knowledge, when giant strides have been made in the arts of medicine, science of all kinds, rapid travel, instant communication, psychology, human relations and statesmanship skills which one would think would knit the nations closer together it is ironic that this time of man’s greatest attainment, which normally should result in his greatest security, should precisely be the time of greatest insecurity and fear! Nothing seems to be working right for the leaders of the world. Old formulae no longer seem to apply. Painstaking plans, based upon the experience of centuries, no longer work as intended but often have the opposite effect.

All the nations will soon realize that things are as they are because the Lord’s hand is in it, that his voice is being heard (See Jeremiah 25:30-32).

When fear and terror are felt, the first human impulse is to flee, to get away, to find a secure place and hide from the danger. As the time of trouble, which has already started, starts to escalate, the fulfillment of more and more prophecies of the Bible will occur. In Isaiah 2:19-21, symbolic language is used to describe how men will try to find shelter and security in various human cooperative schemes. Mountains are governments; hills are lesser worldly organizations of various kinds (R592, R267, R716, R511). Hosea says, “They shall say to the mountains, Cover us, and to the hills, Fall on us [or over us](Hosea 10:8). Jesus repeated this prophecy when he referred to these last days: “Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, fall on us; and to the hills, cover us” (Luke 23:30; Revelation 6:15).

Will there be an escape for mankind when the times of trouble reach a climax? Will they find refuge from the Lord’s wrath? Jeremiah answers:

“Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24).

No, they will not escape. But we know it is all for a benevolent purpose. All selfish human schemes must be discredited and eliminated to make way for the full establishment of God’s glorious kingdom on earth.

The scriptures indicate that the final and most severe phase of the time of trouble will not come until the body of Christ is complete. This is brought out in Revelation:

“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God, and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed; and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand” (Revelation 7:1-4).

So does this mean that we will escape the entire time of trouble?

Well, we are in it now since 1914 (see Daniel chapter 12) and it is worsening every day. But unlike the world, we are not afraid, we are not terror-stricken because we have a refuge the world does not know about, a safe and secure hiding place which the Lord has provided for us. He invites us to enter into it, particularly at the present time when the old world is being removed to make way for the new, when governments are being shaken and overthrown, when mankind is getting restless and rebellious. Having entered in, we have no fear of what is going on about us.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof”(Psalm 46:1-3).

Doesn’t that describe the present time precisely?

Psalm 32 describes our God:

“Thou art my hiding place. Thou shalt preserve me from trouble. Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).

Does this mean that we will be miraculously preserved from every physical aspect of the time of trouble? If there are food shortages, will we have an abundance? If war decrees the restraining of human liberties, will we remain free? If the atmosphere is polluted with atomic and other poisons, will we breathe pure air?

Of course not! These things, affecting only the fleshly body, are comparatively inconsequential. It is in the things that really matter that we will be preserved. Even in famine there will continue to be an abundance of spiritual food. It will not be rationed. We will continue to “stand fast … in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free”-free from human creeds and concepts (Galatians 5:1).

Even in a disordered and disintegrating world, even in lawlessness and anarchy, nothing will be permitted to happen to the “called out” of this world (1 Peter 2:9) that is not for their highest spiritual welfare. Although we walk about and intermingle with our neighbours, sharing their hardships, in reality we will be segregated, in a secret place where no real harm can befall us, where everything we really need is supplied. (Psalm 91)

Where is this wonderful “secret place”?

It is not a locality, but a condition. It is a relationship, a standing before the Lord, a condition of consecration and acceptance, a condition of justification and spirit-begettal, it is a living with the Lord. Jesus described this condition:

“If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).

It doesn’t make any difference where we live, or where we go; we can still be in that “secret place.” David sang of it in Psalm 139:7-10:

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in the grave, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

No matter where we are physically or geographically, we can still be safe and secure “in the secret place of the Most High.” What a great and unusual privilege this is!

“O how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man. Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues” (Psalms 31:19,20).

“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his
tabernacle shall he hide me. He shall set me up upon a rock” (Psalms 27:4,5).

This seems contradictory. It seems to say that we are hidden from view in a secret place and yet set up, in full view, upon a rock. But it is all beautifully harmonious to those who understand the symbols.

We are members of God’s household, of those who are justified and spirit-begotten. This precious relationship is firmly based upon the rock, Christ Jesus. This stone and its power to protect and preserve is referred to as: “Elect, precious; and he that believeth on him should not be confounded” (1 Peter 2:6).

It is through Jesus the world’s ransom and saviour and the Church’s advocate that a relationship with God is established and maintained. This is how we come into and remain in the secret of God’s Tabernacle. There is no other sure refuge or defense at this time.

“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock, and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation, and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God” (Psalm 62:5-8).

“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the Lord is my rock; in him will I trust. He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation; my high tower, and my refuge; my saviour. Thou savest me from violence” (2 Samuel 22:2,3).

Compared with the frantic scurrying of the world to find peace and safety, how wonderfully blessed we are. We are safe and secure in the secret place of the Most High.

Value your secret place as if it’s your ONLY POSSESSION worth fighting for and dying for. That relationship with God and Jesus cannot be taught, it must be hungered for.

It’s all about giving our TIME time to God.

God wants to spend time with us. He longs to hear what is on our hearts; sharing our hearts with HIM is the foundation of intimacy. As we do that, our Heavenly Father shares HIS WILL and HIS DESIRES for us, with us.

Listen out for God’s every word…

“Blessed [is] the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors, For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD (Proverbs 8:34-35).

Living in God’s presence is where the mind is basically consumed with thinking about God and about His Son Jesus and wanting to do anything and everything to be like His Son Jesus, in order to make God well pleased.

Pleasing God by striving to obeying God in all things, in our way of showing appreciation for HIS PERFECT LOVE which really, is the foundation for existence!

In Psalms 61 and Psalm 57 the Psalmist David mentions about our refuge being under “the shadow of God’s wings” in God’s Tabernacle.

These beautiful illustrations of assurance, encourage us to enter and dwell in the secret place of the Most High, separating ourselves from and rising above the turmoil that is on every side. The Lord invites us to do this:

“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee. Hide thyself, as it were, for a little moment until the indignation be overpast” (Isaiah 26:20).

This wonderful condition is a real and tangible thing. We are totally and entirely surrounded by the power of God in this “secret place of the Most High. “Behind and before hast thou hedged me in, and thou placest upon me, thy hand” (Psalm 139:5, Leeser).

Sometimes we tend to forget that we are in this secret place and become frightened at the uncertain conditions of the world about us. We become panicky like Peter, seeking to walk on the water, who, when he saw the boisterous, wind-tossed sea, began to sink, crying, “Lord save me!” (Matthew 14:30)

When this happens to us there IS a door we can use to again enter our secret place.

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet [or private room], and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who seeth in secret, and thy Father, who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:6).

This is like the frightened child who runs to its mother to be enfolded safely in her arms: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

OK so now it’s time to go talk to God… really talk without any rehersal script… no performed worship thing, just taking ourselves onto our knees (if possible), and  somewhere where we can be in quiet stillness with our mind, escaping to the throne room of our Heavenly Father in the Divine Realm place, and there, “be still” (Psalm 46:10).

be-still-and-know-that-i-am-god-beach-20-verses-of-rest-and-peace-640x405

“He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him” (Daniel 2:22) .

Here is a beautiful hymn I recently discovered. The lyrics are by Ellen Lakshmi Goreh (1853-1937). Goreh, Ellen Lakshmi was the daughter of the Rev. Nehemiah Goreh, a Christian convert who was born. at Benares, Sept. 11, 1853. Her mother died the same year, and the child was adopted first by a Mr. Smailes. Through the Mutiny in 1857 Mr. Smailes lost his property, and the child was then taken into the family of the Rev. W. T. Storrs and brought to England, where she was educated, and resided until 1880, when she returned to India to take up mission work with her own countrywomen where she published “From India’s Coral Strand: Hymns of Christian Faith [1883].” The best known of these hymns is In the Secret of His Presence :

In the secret of His presence
How my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons
Which I learn at Jesus’ side!

Earthly cares can never vex me,
’Neath the shadow of His wing
There is cool and pleasant shelter,
And a fresh and crystal spring;

And my Savior rests beside me,
As we hold communion sweet;
If I tried, I could not utter
What He says when thus we meet.

Only this I know: I tell Him
All my doubts and griefs and fears;
Oh, how patiently He listens!
And my drooping soul He cheers;

Do you think He ne’er reproves me?
What a false friend He would be,
If He never, never told me
Of the sins which He must see.

Would you like to know that sweetness
Of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow;
This shall then be your reward;

And whene’er you leave the silence
Of that happy meeting-place,
By the Spirit bear the image
Of the Master in your face.

(Repeat the last line of each stanza)

photo312

 HIS SECRET PLACE–sung by Chelsea Moon and the Franz Brothers.

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/05/in-the-secret-of-his-presence/

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