"O my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners!"---Song of Solomon 6:4(NKJV)
“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others."---Sam Levenson
As we prepare to enter into 2013, as I prayed about the "On Fire" women, the word that the Spirit (John 4:24) gave me was simply "BEAUTIFUL". Oh, but it comes with a bit of a twist.
In a lot of the marriage counseling sessions that I partake in, there are two things that tend to be pretty consistent: One, the wives want their husbands to fill voids that God did not create a husband to do ("make me feel pretty", "make me feel special", "make me feel loved"). A husband doesn't come to *make* love; he comes to protect and help nurture the love that a woman should already feel for herself. (Mark 12:30-31) Remember, I John 4:8&16 tells us that "God is love" and a man is not God. If you don't love yourself, that is something that *God* and you need to work out *way before* your husband arrives. Otherwise, you are going to attempt to make a god out of "him" and not only is that a form of idolatry (Exodus 20:3), but it's also extremely unrealistic (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) and unfair. The second thing that tends to be a constant is that women do not *listen for* a man to *see her for who she really is* BEFORE she gets married.
That's what I like so much about Song of Solomon 6:4. The Shulamite woman's beloved was a lot like Adam (Genesis 2:23) and Boaz (Ruth 3:10-11) in the sense that he recognized her as being *his beautiful one*. As beautiful as Tizrah (which we'll get into in just a sec), as lovely as the birthplace of Christ and as awesome as an army full of banners. The Shulamite woman did not have to manipulate, nag, beg, convince or compromise who she *naturally was as a woman* in order for her beloved to see her in that manner. *Just by being herself*, he did it *all on his own*.
OK, but being that "beautiful" is the "theme word" for 2013, let's spend some time at Tizrah for a moment. When I read that, in my mind I thought, "And just how beautiful *is that?*"
If you're not familiar with Tizrah, according to the Torah, the first time that the name is mentioned is in Numbers 26:33. Tizrah is a woman who happened to be one of the daughters of Zelophehad. Her name literally means "she is my delight". So, that said, let's stop there for a moment.
Biblically, there is something very *relevant* about the word "delight". As most of us know, Psalm 37:4(NKJV) states "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." The New Century Version of that same verse puts it this way: "Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you what you want." Hmph. It's "amazingly sad" how often we put the "cart" before the "horse" isn't it? The Word tells us *clearly* that in order to get what we want, there has to not just be a serving of the Lord but an *enjoyment* in doing it and if a lot of us are really honest about where we are in our walk, we'd have to admit (James 5:16) that just this alone shows that we are our biggest hindrance when it comes to getting what our hearts so long for. Yet, there's something deeper and bigger to that word "delight" and so I decided to dig a bit further.
Delight: a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture; something that gives great pleasure; to give great pleasure, satisfaction, or enjoyment to; please highly
So, challenge #1 for 2013: Whatever it is that you purpose to do that will serve God, make sure it's something that you actually *delight* in. Sometimes, we are so "churched" and "religiously indoctrinated" that we think that we have to do ministry in a way that is traditional, but remember that the Word tells us that when we sow sparingly, we reap sparingly and when we sow abundantly, we reap abundantly; that it's not simply a "giver" that God loves but a *cheerful giver* (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). If you are not a big "God server" or if you are finding yourself to be a bit drained or even miserable when it comes to the kind of serving that you're currently doing, then that's your cue to seek some divine wisdom (James 1:5) on where you need to be so that you can serve God in a way that will bring you a high degree of pleasure, satisfaction and enjoyment. Take it from me, ministry can be some *really hard work*; however, when you're where you're supposed to be, it can also bring forth a lot of joy. In basically every facet that I serve in, I have joy. My areas are a good fit. God takes my personality, schedule, views, background...*everything* into account (I Timothy 4:14-16-AMP).
Let's keep going...
OK, so the Shulamite woman's beloved said that she was as beautiful as Tizrah, which basically means that she was as beautiful as she was a delight...*to him*.
Challenge #2 for 2013: There is nothing *more beautiful* than a happy woman. If you are someone who is waiting on a guy to make you happy, then you are not just someone who is going to be disappointed a lot, but you're also going to be someone who is going to get on a man's *last* nerve sooner than later. There is a working peer of mine who says one of my favorite things about the physical beauty of a woman (for the sake of the blog, I'll clean it up a bit-LOL): "The most beautiful woman in the world is somewhere getting on a man's last nerve." Indeed! Physical beauty is fleeting (Proverbs 31:10). Therefore, find what makes you have pleasure and satisfaction within yourself. Make it a priority to get pampered. Create a budget that includes manis/pedis and manicures. Set goals as it relates to caring for your human trinity (mind, body and spirit). Find ways to *delight in yourself*. When you can look in the mirror and make your own self blush from your progress in how you are able to *recognize your own beauty*, you will radiate in a way that will make a man, your man, *the one* also say that you are as beautiful as you are delightful (in his own way).
Let's keep going...
So Tizrah was one of the five daughters of a man who had no sons. Those five women are pretty well known and honored, especially in Jewish culture, because they "bucked the system" in the sense that since their dad had no sons to pass down his inheritance, it went to them (Numbers 36). When I prayed about what the Spirit wanted me to see in that part of the story, this is what he gave me:
Challenge #3 for 2013: Don't wait on a man for you to get certain things in this life. You know how some of us can be: "I'll get a house when I get a husband" or "I'll travel the world when I get a husband" or "I'll start my dream job when I get a husband". I *love* that Zelophehad’s daughters were not discredited, even as single women; that they had an inheritance in store for them regardless of their status. The Most High (Genesis 14:19) is still the God of inheritances even today. Just as King David once prayed, "O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot" (Psalm 16:5-NKJV), we can be at peace with the same kind of resolve. An inheritance is defined as being "portion; birthright; heritage". Your name speaks (in part) to your birthright. I Peter 2:9 tells us that believers are of a royal priesthood; that speaks to your heritage. And as far as your portion, well, this is the "lane" that we all should be in: "'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!'" (Lamentations 3:24-NKJV) Being that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord (James 1:17), what a blessing it is that we can know that his portions for us are *good and perfect* as well (Psalm 84:11).
And we're still going...
If you read all of Numbers 36, you will better understand what transpired regarding the daughters and their inheritance. Basically, it was imperative for them to *choose wisely* when it came to their husbands because if they chose out of their own tribe, the inherited land would leave their family's lineage:
"Then Moses gave the Israelites this command from the Lord: 'These men from the tribe of Joseph are right. This is the Lord’s command to Zelophehad’s daughters: You may marry anyone you wish, as long as the person is from your own tribe. In this way the Israelites’ land will not pass from tribe to tribe, and each Israelite will keep the land in the tribe that belonged to his ancestors. A woman who inherits her father’s land may marry, but she must marry someone from her own tribe. In this way every Israelite will keep the land that belonged to his ancestors. The land must not pass from tribe to tribe, and each Israelite tribe will keep the land it received from its ancestors.'
Zelophehad’s daughters obeyed the Lord’s command to Moses."---Numbers 36:5-10(NCV)
Those women were told by God via the messenger Moses that they could marry whoever they wanted *so long as the man was from their own tribe*; that in order to keep their birthright, heritage and portion, they had to marry someone again, *from their own tribe*. Hmph. Sounds a lot like this, doesn't it:
"O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be My people.'
Therefore 'Come out from among them and be separate', says the Lord. 'Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you and you shall be My sons and daughters', says the Lord Almighty."---2 Corinthians 6:11-18(NKJV)
First up: stay with believers (Mark 9:23), with light (Matthew 5:14), with those who are in a relationship with Christ (I John 4:1-3)...with those who walk in agreement with the fact that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:20). *These are the people who Adonai considers to be his sons and daughters. You are to marry a man within that kind of tribe*.
Yet, there is one more qualifier on this:
Tribe: any aggregate of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community of customs and traditions, adherence to the same leaders, etc.
Challenge #4 for 2013: There is the family of God and then there is being a woman who is really *suitable* for her husband (Genesis 2:18-AMP). Some women are so consumed with getting a husband that they don't even make it a priority to know if they are actually *compatible* to him. Some of that is about him being a Christian (actually, a *disciple*-John 8:31-32), sure. However, do you see how another part of the definition of a tribe is "a community of customs and traditions"? What tribe do you come from? What kind of customs and traditions, even outside of your faith, do you partake in and adhere to? In other words, what makes you tick and what kind of abundant life (John 10:10) do you *individually* (Psalm 33:15) subscribe to? That's really important to know *before* you link your life to another. Your lifestyles need to be...congruent. Spend some time knowing *what tribe you come from* so that when the time comes, you can pick from not *a tribe* but *your tribe*.
And finally, Challenge #5 for 2013: The theme word for 2013 is beautiful, right?
Beautiful: having beauty; having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind; excellent of its kind; wonderful; very pleasing or satisfying
Yeah. Well. I'm pretty sure that it goes without saying that if *you* don't think that you're beautiful, it's kind of ridiculous (and hypocritical) to expect someone else to. Yet, the bigger point here is that look at how much "beautiful" and "delight" have in common. They both speak to pleasure and satisfaction and here's the thing: One of my absolutely favorite verses in the Bible is right here:
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end."---Ecclesiastes 3:11(NKJV)
You know what this shows me? BEAUTIFUL IS A PROCESS and it comes into *full fruition* in its time. And here's the other point: When it comes to how we see ourselves, our lives, the world and yes, God's customized "love story" we don't have to "make it happen". GOD MAKES IT HAPPEN. All we have to do is acknowledge him as being our Creator and then follow his instructions *as he gives them* (Proverbs 3:5-6) all the while having the *total and complete faith* (Hebrews 11) that *he will make things be of great pleasure and satisfaction* for us. This is why Psalm 16:11(NKJV) states "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore" and Psalm 145:16(NKJV) tells us "You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing."
And doesn't *that* take a load off? Far too often we are trying to do what's not our job and ignoring what actually is: Manifestation is God's job. Obedience is ours. When we obey the Creator of what's beautiful, he manifests beautiful things in our lives; things that will delight our senses, things that are excellent, things that are wonderful...things that are *very pleasing and satisfying*. So many women try to "make up" a beautiful relationship rather than allow time to cause it to become beautiful.
Good word, Divine Spirit. I hear you.
OK Ladies. That's the last message for 2012.
Here's to *really receiving* this "spiritual forecast".
Come rain or shine (Matthew 5:45), in God's time, know that he's out to make you and everything around you...