Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

By Pat Knight

I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys.

─Song of Solomon 2:1

Cultivated extensively for the past five thousand years in the Middle East, rose petals have been used for confetti in ancient celebrations, for medicinal purposes, and as a source of perfume. During the 17th century, royalty used both the rose and rosewater as legal tender, for barter, and for payments. Designated as a tangible expression of love in our current age, what conveys affection or adoration more obviously than a bouquet of roses? Though long ago a cherished flower of nobility, roses of all varieties are now easily grown by novice gardeners.

Roses are designed and proliferated throughout the world by our Lord, the Master Creator. There are no color clashes in God’s world: red, orange, purple, fuchsia, and yellow exist in an array of hues, blooming side-by-side in natural harmony, illustrating the cooperative manner in which our Creator intends for people of all nationalities and ethnicities to function. The Lord Jesus claimed, I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys” (Song of Solomon 2:1), in whom the preeminence of God is revealed.

For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Jesus came to earth from the presence of God in heaven, the perfect Son, striking in beauty, lovely to gaze upon, to exalt, and to emulate. He lavishes pleasure through our senses, intensifies our praise, and magnifies our worship of the Godhead. Jesus is splendid and majestic! When He identifies with the rose of Sharon, He is portrayed as a beautiful, stately rose thriving in the fertile valley of Sharon in Palestine, where the elegant flower grows in profusion.

Jesus, the personified Rose of Sharon radiates unconditional love, fragrance, and delight. He occupies our minds as we seek Him, fills our hearts as we absorb His love, and permeates our speech as we exhale ministering words of devotion to him. “Taste and feel that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).Both the Father and the Son engage our senses, that we may fully experience their glowing splendor. We are reflectors of sovereign light, bearing the image and beauty of God as we derive our very life from Him. Similar to the way a delicate bud opens from the center to reveal glamorous layers of rose petals, our hearts display the nuclei of our spiritual lives, where Jesus’ love multiplies.

Physical beauty is rarely emphasized by our Lord. Though man’s priorities are often determined by personal beauty, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). God is far more interested in the integrity of man’s inner characteristics. “It {your beauty} should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:4).

Let us behold Christ’s beauty, purity, and holiness as He occupies our thoughts and affirms our priorities. In a world infiltrated with thorns of hurt and danger, the Rose of Sharon is poised to deluge believers with comfort and compassion.

Witnessing the unfolding of God’s glory in the Son must have been an ecstatic experience for those who glimpsed His presence on earth. It is no small wonder that masses were attracted to the blessed one of God. He was breath-taking, set apart from all humanity. We still marvel with delight at His glory and righteousness.

The believer responds to Christ on a spiritual level. Hearts are transformed by the Savior’s love and saving grace. Like the predictable maturing of a rose from bud to blossom, the believer’s faith unfolds with beauty, gentleness, and joy, one petal of obedience at a time. Blossoming in love is accomplished by Christ’s residence in the believer’s heart. Roses need abundant sunlight to bloom, just as Christians crave the abiding presence of Jesus’ splendor and majesty to flourish. As we diligently remain united with Christ through faith, we reflect His beauty in our lives. “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

A rosebud is encased in a snug package, gently swaddled by a few select outer leaves. As the flower matures, the leaves relax, permitting each subsequent layer to expand to full capacity. Our hearts jubilantly respond like a newly exposed rose blossom, revealing a delightful uniqueness, radiantly shining with the light of Jesus, stunning the world with the intense fragrance of Jesus’ divine love.

Just as the flower bud’s true potential is revealed when its exterior sheath peels away to unveil a shining rose within, Christ living in our hearts promises a unique positional status as a child of the King and heirs with the Son of God for all eternity!

In each of His marvelous designs, our Creator is visible. Ponder the unique shapes and intricate details God invests in every rose. God isn’t reluctant to spend extravagant creativity on each flower, utilizing variegated colors and velvety softness to enhance a blossom. Then He lavishes specific plants with His proprietary fragrance, poured with impunity from His heavenly lab to gardens on earth.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly beloved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). As a renowned rose, Jesus is the object of extreme beauty and humility. Stooping to earth as the Son of man, Jesus espoused characteristics of meekness and gentleness. Living in any area beneath the glory of heaven required that Christ adopt a humble personality to define His earthly ministry.

Christians exude the beauty of Jesus in unrivaled form and fragrance. A joyful attitude and a forgiving spirit, combined with acts of kindness, places followers of Christ in unparalleled positions to bountifully disseminate the soothing, aromatic scent of the Rose of Sharon.

Comfort in Affliction

Hello friends! I originally thought I would be back blogging full-time by now but health issues continue to plague me. I ask for your patience and your prayers as I share two or three short posts—like this one—each week until I feel able to devote more time to my blog. The Lord continues to be my All in All as I cling more tightly to Him.

Remember your word to your servant,
    in which you have made me HOPE.
This is my comfort in my affliction,
    that your promise gives me life.

—Psalm 119:49-50, ESV

Prayer When I’m Overwhelmed

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Many of us are struggling with so much these days. Health problems. Financial troubles. Maybe the need of a job or a place to live. Perhaps our children are not living as they ought to be. Or it may be that we have no idea where our next meal will come from.

I hope you will be blessed by this devotional that I wrote for the anthology titled Anytime Prayers for Everyday People. This particular devotional was included in the section titled Prayers of Supplication.  

When I’m overwhelmed by cares . . .

I will relieve your shoulder of its burden;
I will free your hands from their heavy tasks. 
—Psalm 81:6 NLT

 

When the cares of my heart are many,
thy consolations cheer my soul. 

—Psalm 94:19 RSV

 

Cast your cares on the LORD 
and he will sustain you. 
—Psalm 55:22

 

The LORD lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their loads. 
—Psalm 146:8 NLT

 

Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is 
always thinking about you and watching everything
that concerns you. 

—1 Peter 5:7 TLB

 

. . . I will pray.

Precious Lord,

From my window, I see children playing in the yard next door, soaking up the warm air and bright sunshine. I still remember those carefree childhood days, filled with simple pleasures—but that seems so far away now. Instead I feel as though I’m buried under a flood of cares: bills to pay, personality conflicts at work, family disagreements.

My life seems to be buried under an avalanche of responsibilities to be met and problems to be solved. My cares cover me like a cloak, blocking the sunshine from my dreary heart.

Help me lift my head, Lord. Fill me up with Your Spirit. Help me to throw off my cloak of sadness and let in the sunshine of Your love.

As an act of faith, I close my eyes and reach out to You—the Giver and Sustainer of life. I release my cares to You, one by one, piling them high at Your feet. The disappointment at work, the unexpected car repair, my aching joints, and on and on and on . . . until every burden is transferred from my shoulders to Yours.

Thank You for being my Burden-Bearer.

Amen.

Tell God all that is in your heart,
as one unloads one’s heart, 
its pleasures and pains, to a dear friend. 
Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you. 
—Francois Fenelon

 [From Anytime Prayers for Everyday People. Copyright © 2006 Bordon-Winters LLC]

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Prayer When Dealing With Anxiety

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Since today is election day, I think we can all relate to this devotional I wrote quite awhile ago for the anthology titled Anytime Prayers for Everyday PeopleThis particular devotional was included in the section titled Prayers of Supplication. 

 

When I’m dealing with anxiety . . .

When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul. 
—Psalm 94:19

 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 
—1 Peter 5:7

 

Anxiety weighs down the human heart,
but a good word cheers it up. 
—Proverbs 12:25 NRSV

 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God;
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 
—Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

 

May God bless you richly and grant you
increasing freedom from all anxiety and fear. 
—1 Peter 1:2 TLB

 

. . . I will pray.

Loving Father,

Edgy, anxious, jumpy—I just can’t seem to get it together this morning. Every little detail seems to be a big deal doing its dance across my mind. I really need Your help, Your peace, Your undisturbed calm.

I’m not sure how I got to this place. Too many newscasts with their dire predictions, too many experts telling me to watch out for this, never eat that, stay away from something else. There doesn’t seem to be one safe spot on the whole planet. Even at church, there are concerns about building funds and nursery workers and doctrinal controversies.

Lord, I don’t want to look at my life through anxious eyes. The world is what it is, but I know that You can give me peace in the midst of it. Right now, I offer all my anxious thoughts to You. I lay them at Your feet. And I ask You to sort through them and nudge me when I need to confront one of them. Until then, I’ll relax and rest in Your love and constant watchful care.

Amen.

 

Man’s world has become a nervous one,
encompassed by anxiety.
God’s world is other than this;
always balanced, calm, and in order. 
—Faith Baldwin

 

[From Anytime Prayers for Everyday People. Copyright © 2006 Bordon-Winters LLC]

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My Consolation

Wonderful Wednesday

It has been quite a long time since I’ve posted anything new in my Wonderful” series on the Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord, so I think it is time to share another one.

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The Consolation of Israel

There was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel. —Luke 2:25

For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you. —1 Thessalonians 1:5

…..

Simeon was just and devout and waited for the “Consolation of Israel.”  “Consolation” means “paraclete” (One coming alongside) as we think and speak of the Holy Spirit who comes to abide in and lead us out in our daily life. Simeon was waiting for the deliverance of the Jews by the coming of the Messiah. They did not as a nation receive Him, but some did and were consoled, and Israel shall yet have the promised consolation, as Paul was comforted by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:5). 

Lord, may we also rely upon the abiding comfort of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit all the day. Amen.

[Taken from Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord, by Charles E. Hurlburt and T. C. Horton. Copyright © 2002 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.]

My thoughts

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” Your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul. —Psalm 94:18-19 

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…..

Years ago people with whom I worked gave me the nickname Smiley. Someone even found a smiley face poster and placed it in my workspace. I guess I’ve always been an optimist no matter how bad things are. But some have not believed this to be a good
thing, rather that I should be more of a realist.

I say there is plenty of reality surrounding me every day that I don’t like at all. There have been times I’ve been so anxious about  my situation, I’ve lost sight of the most important thing of all: my relationship with God. Whenever I concentrate too much on the reality of things, I focus more on myself and my circumstances and I lose sight of the Lord.

In Psalm 94:18-19, we are assured that our Lord is ever waiting to console our anxiety and to support us in our times of greatest need. I’ve personally found that every time I turn from my pain and frustration to the face of the One who loves me and cares for me so much, my viewpoint completely changes. Instead of the harsh reality of my illnesses, I feel surrounded by a love too great to measure.

It is as if God’s arms are holding me close in a calm, soothing embrace.

I’d much rather be known as Smiley than Grouchy any day. Who knows? My outward smile may reach inside someone else’s hurt and help them see that they are not alone in their pain, that there is One who is ready to console them right there and then.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, some days are more difficult to get through than others. Just when I’m feeling a little better, I’ll have a day that brings me to my knees. But maybe that’s exactly what you want from me, and if so, then by Your grace I will smile as I look to You for my consolation. Amen.

…..

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