At the beginning of this year, I felt I was to take a break from writing these monthly IWG Journals that I’ve been doing since my ordination 17 years ago. However, June is my birthday month, and I felt led to write one this month.
June of course, denotes the half way point of the year, so it’s time to take stock of what has already unfolded and be excited for what the rest of the year holds!
One of the most fascinating things about this first summer month is the emergence of the lightning bugs or fireflies. I always feel like a little kid with a giggle in my heart when I see these delightful little insects appearing all over our back yard with their glowing bodies. Our God is so creative! These little creatures go about in the dark blinking their little lights showing off their special gifting. It has reminded me again of the special gifting each of us has, if we would walk in it. God has been very creative with each one of us and it is wise to walk under His divine direction to bring Him all the glory for the unique person He’s created us to be.
So what is your fire within? What motivates you? What fulfills you? There’s an old children’s song that I’m sure many of you are familiar with. It’s first few words are: “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!” There’s a lot of truth in those words.
Those little fireflies that light up the night sky are a wondrous fun gift from God the Father our Creator. Get your ‘giggle on’ and let the joy of the Lord be your strength as you navigate through life. (Ps. 81:1) Dark times come to all of us in one way or the other, because that’s part of life in the here and now. But it’s not always about the battles themselves or acquiring the desires of a better job, better house, exotic vacation or whatever. The Word of God teaches us that being submissive and childlike with the Lord allows His gifts within us to shine to those around us. Jesus brings assurance of peace of mind in the midst of our storms saying in John 8:12: “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
There’s a song that comes to mind that was made popular years ago by Debbie Boone. Here are a few words from it. Some of you may remember it…
So many nights I'd sit by my window
Waiting for someone to sing me his song
So many dreams I kept deep inside me
Alone in the dark but now you've come along
And you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days and fill my nights with song
Rollin' at sea, adrift on the water
Could it be finally I'm turnin' for home?
Finally a chance to say "Hey, I love you"
Never again to be all alone
And you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days and fill my nights with song
‘Cause you, you light up my life….
Living in the Light of God’s Presence and power, having that wonderful, spiritual intimate relationship with Him is a great way to live life to the fullest! So if you’re going through a battle, and we all do at one time or another in one way or another, let the light of God’s Word comfort and strengthen you. There are so many verses that speak about the light of God. One that I’ve held near and near is in the Old Testament book of Micah, Chapter 7, verses 7-8: “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.” The Lord indeed fills up my days and nights with light and with songs of deliverance.
Another aspect for the month of June is the designated flower of the ‘rose.’ It also reminds me of my mother, Dellrose. I don’t know where my grandparents got that name, but my mom was always called ‘Rosie.’ She passed away a few years ago and I miss her so very much. She was a ‘rose’ of a person. Not perfect by any means, but she and my dad gave me and my siblings an almost idyllic childhood. So the ‘rose’ has always held a place in my heart. Besides, it’s a beautiful flower and there’s nothing like receiving a bouquet of roses for any occasion!
The rose also reminds me of the current reality show, the Bachelor or Bachelorette (which I don’t follow, but have seen), and how they give out the ‘final rose’ when they make their final pick. It designates a special choice of course. But the rose also reminds me of the Sweet Rose of Sharon, the Lord Jesus, who brings the sweet aroma of heaven into our lives. In the Old Testament book of Song of Songs, it speaks so beautifully and poetically of our Divine Savior, Jesus, saying in chapter 2, verse 1: “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys.” It’s an awesome statement in Verse 4 assuring each one of us that as we’ve accepted this Rose, there is great reward saying: “He has brought me to His banquet hall, and His banner over me is love.” That’s a banquet better than any Bachelor or Bachelorette final rose because this one’s everlasting, never wilting away because it’s holy, divine, glorious, heavenly true love.
Are we looking for love and life’s fulfillment in all the wrong places? It can only be found in one place. It’s looking to the Sweet Rose of Sharon, the Lord Jesus, to bring the sweet aroma of heaven into our lives and far beyond. It’s the best bouquet of flowers found on earth!
Having been in the battle of my life for over three years fighting cancer, it can sure give you a different perspective on things. I’m excited to just be alive! I don’t think so much about shopping and doing some of the ‘lost time’ things I used to do. They’re Ok to a point, but not fulfilling. It is the Lord Who has provided my every need according to His vast provisions in glory, and I don’t need ‘things ’as much as I need my family, friends, and above all else — Him! (Gen. 22:14; 1 Tim. 6:6-21)
Without a doubt, my life has been illumined by my personal relationship with the Lord. But it has also been strengthened by the encouragement and prayer support of my beloved husband, wonderful family, and friends. They have helped me more than words can say and have truly been like knights in shining armor for my welfare. They are the true fragrance of Christ, the Rose of Sharon, as stated in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved, and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.”
Most certainly each one of us ought to make the best of every day with every breath we have. What kind of memories are we making? Did you know — we were born for a time such as this? Abba Father has known from all eternity that He would create us for an appointed time He wanted us to be here on earth. So we must ask ourselves, “What are we doing with our time? What is my divine assignment? Am I fulfilling it?” This is a special time for you, for me, for our country, for the earth right now! We must realize that the ‘final rose’ will come some day, some how, some way as Ecclesiastes declares in 12:13-14: “The conclusion when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” There’s a lot of food for thought in those words. So let’s consider this: “Are we hiding anything? Are there areas needing repentance?” Or have we been washed by the Blood of the Lamb and declared pure and clean by His shed blood? It’s all up to us whether or not we accept or deny the Final Rose, the sweet, blessed, holy, powerful, most fragrant eternal ROSE OF SHARON. It’s an amazing thing to know there is an exquisite, eternal banquet awaiting us as stated in Song of Songs, as the Lord waves His banner of love over us celebrating our eternal Home Coming! I can almost see Jesus waving that holy banner over us with it flapping in the wind of His Divine Breath and His joy over us that we’ve accepted His dinner invitation to feast with Him forevermore. Wow! God’s revealed Word in the scriptures declares in Revelation 19:9, “Blessed as those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” What glory!
In my personal battle, I have to tell you that it is quite comforting to know that the Rose of Sharon is abiding with me. He is my testimony! At times, I can even sense His sweet, holy fragrance and can tell you it’s beyond compare. It’s absolutely indescribable and more comforting than human words can express! No wonder the Wise Men of the Gospels brought fragrant gifts of frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus. How utterly awesome is the Presence of God which we can know now, in this moment of time, and forevermore.
No one knows what a day may bring, so it’s imperative that we choose THIS DAY whom we will serve.
Isn’t it ironic that one of the most beautiful flowers, the rose, also has prickly thorns that can hurt? Fighting cancer is a real thorn in the flesh. Many of you may know this first hand while going through it yourself, or someone in your family or sphere of influence. But we are all going through something it seems, whether it’s a health crisis, relationship, finances, a job or whatever it might be, as some have said, “You’re either going into a crisis or coming out of one.” Well, that’s not very comforting. But I will say — either way, you and I can’t go it alone. We’re not big enough, strong enough, smart enough. We need something WAY bigger than out little selves.
But I do know this beyond a shadow of a doubt — that whatever trial or heartbreak or tears you’re going through, with the King of kings, and Lord of lords walking beside you, you have more strength than you could possibly ever know! Jesus bore all the pain and transgressions of humanity at Calvary’s wicked Cross with his torn flesh in His hands and feet and with a ‘crown of thorns’ on his head. It certainly was a crown, because when you and I accept the sacrifice of His blood, we receive the crown of everlasting life.
The most comforting thing we can do in our lifetime is to know the Lord Jesus up close and personal. Listen to the words in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” No matter what our battle in life might be, there is no need for fear, anxiety and distress. We are never, ever alone because God is with us.
Oh, to know the power of His pure, holy, divine Breath in the scriptures. It’s a glorious thing to embrace as Ephesians 1:5-8, declares, “… He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise and glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us…” It just doesn’t get any better than that! That’s the final rose; such beauty, such magnificence, such glory forever and ever!
If we accept THIS Rose of Sharon, the Lord’s promise of Isaiah 61:3 brings comfort and assurance “… to provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” So let’s raise our anthem high and sing with joy as our Jewish friends would say: “Mazel Tov! Mazel Tov! To life! To life!” Live it now to the best of your ability under the divine direction of our Jehovah God.