Longing – Psalm 84. RBT Notes, 4th May

1.    The Psalmist longs to encounter God (vv.1-4). How are your desires to know Christ? What can you do with your desires – however weak – before the Lord?

2.     Sometimes we seem to have little strength to love God. How do vv.5-9 encourage us to press on in seeking Him?

3.     What do the prayers and promises of vv.10-12 look like in your life now, and then as fulfilled ultimately in heaven?

 

A Prayer to Pray

Lord, it is my chief complaint that my love is weak and faint. But I love You, and adore, O for grace to love You more. Amen.

 

 

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The Beauty of Intimacy – Song of Songs 7. RBT Notes, 22nd April

  1. In vv.1-9, how does the Lover delight in his Love? How does his careful poetry bring out his passion for her?

 

  1. How does the Loved respond to her husband (vv.9-13)?

 

  1. In the Christian church where sexual intimacy is denied to many due to singleness, illness and disabilities in marriage, or tragic estrangement, how do we read these verses without feeling frustrated and resentful? What specific steps can we take in order to know that Jesus really is enough for this life?

 

 

A Prayer to Pray

Jesus, You are the Great Lover. Your love is better than wine, Your embrace stronger and better than the clasp of lovers. And yet so often I run from Your arms, and run for pleasures which fade, however thrilling they are. Please hold me close, and hold me firm. May I see in the gift of human intimacy real glimpses of Your love for me. Amen.

 

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Love Awakened – Song of Songs 3. RBT Notes, 18th April

1. Look at v.5. With desire often come worry, frustration, dangerous risk – and broken-heartedness. How as Christians can we seek contentment in a world which says that if we’re single, we’re incomplete?

2. King Solomon is often portrayed in the book as the “ideal man”; in vv.6-11, in what ways does he make us think about Jesus, the ideal Man and King?

3. Reflect on the love of Christ as we discover it at the Cross. How is this love “safe” for us; and how does it call us to a dangerous – and all-consuming – commitment?

 

A Prayer to Pray

Lord Jesus, I am created to be loved, and to love. Thankyou that Your love is the fire I have been saved to know. By Your Spirit, show me that love, til I feel my heart melt once more, and be shaped to be a loving disciple. Amen.

 

 

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Lovesong – Song of Songs 1. RBT Notes, 15th April

The Song of Songs is a set of songs, stories, poems, confessions, longings and memories. The book shows us the best of human love and sexual intimacy. It also shows us the unfulfilled desires and the tears which are so much part of our experience as we seek love in a fallen world. The ultimate message of the book is that lasting intimacy is tasted now in the love of Jesus Christ. One day that love will be the full possession of His people – forever!

 

1.   It’s never just a kiss (v.2). In a world which has cheapened and devalued romance and sexuality, how does this verse prepare us for the delights and dangers of romantic love?

2.   Describe the Beloved’s feelings in vv.4-7? Do they make you think about how your own feelings for closeness and security take you to Christ?

3.   Look at the exchange of vv.9-17: what do the Lovers remind you about romantic delight, longing, desire, and permanence?

 

A Prayer to Pray

Lord, never let me cheapen the mystery and delight of human intimacy. Help me to honour and help others in their heart-longings for intimacy. Teach my heart that, in the best of human love, my heart needs the deep, deep love of Jesus. And may I praise His love more than wine. Amen.

 

 

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Desire – Ecclesiastes 7. RBT Notes, 8th April

Rock climber at sunset background. Sport and active life

 

1.   Why does the Teacher extol the virtues of death and mourning in vv.1-4? Think about life’s injustices, the fact of suffering, and the resurrection of Jesus!

2.   How does wisdom shape what we do, and what can’t it do for us (vv.5-14)?

3.   Choose one verse to reflect on and pray into your life from this passage. Which one attitude or action will it change for you today?

 

A Prayer to Pray

God of heaven, You know how slow I am to learn! Forgive when I act as if this life is permanent, and when I’m surprised by sins and disasters. Please teach me that the greatest wisdom means investing in the life to come, and teach me to treasure Your Risen Son, and my Saviour, the Lord Jesus.