Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Love Story

Leslie Basham: Many who are trying so hard to know and please God need just one word of advice: relax. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The heart of the Christian life is not what you do for God. It's not what you know about God. It's not how busy you are or how perfect you are. None of us could be if we tried. Some are trying real hard. The heart of the Christian life is a love relationship.

Leslie Basham: It's Monday, July 21; and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It's true, isn't it? We try and try. We want to know God, so we work harder, study more and try nearly everything we read and hear. We believe that someday we'll discover that one truth that has eluded us, and suddenly we'll be godly.

But could it be that in all our efforts we're really moving away from peace rather than nearer to it? What if knowing God was really simple? Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Over the next several days I want to tell you a love story. Everybody loves a love story. Isn't it true? I think of the story of Cinderella. Most of us grew up hearing and loving the story of Cinderella--about a rejected stepsister who ends up marrying a handsome prince.

Maybe the most famous love story of all time, certainly in recent decades--The Sound of Music. We grew up loving to watch The Sound of Music. How many of you have seen The Sound of Music? How many of you have seen it six times or more? Almost every hand in the room. Look at this! There is something amazing about that story. I think part of it is just that we love a good love story.

Then I think of another story that started out to be what seemed like a great love story back in 1981, when it seemed that half the world--myself included--got up in the middle of the night here in the United States to watch the royal wedding. Princess Di and Prince Charles. The whole world was intrigued by this wedding, because it seemed to be such a magnificent love story--a royal love story.

But you know, each of those love stories has a problem. The problem with the story of Cinderella is that it didn't happen. It's a fairytale. It's not true. Then you think of The Sound of Music. Now that story is true, but the problem with The Sound of Music is it happened to somebody else. I mean, it happened to Maria, but not to me.

Then you think of Princess Di and Prince Charles. What started out as the wedding of the century ended in tragedy. And I think of some of you who started out in your marriage with stars in your eyes and got to the altar and made those promises of undying love and devotion, for better or for worse, only to have that dream shattered at some point. Deep pain. Disappointment. Loss.

You know, it's not just Charles and Diana who have weddings and what seem to be idyllic love relationships that turn sour. It's people everywhere. You realize that people are desperate for love. They're desperate for intimacy. They want to know, "Does anybody love me? Does anybody care? Do I matter to anyone?" Those are really the questions that all our hearts ask in one way or another.

I want to tell you a love story that is different than any other love story you've ever heard--any love story that you've ever experienced. It's the story of a love between God and His people. It's a love story that is found in this Book, the Bible.

In fact, you know the more I read this Book--and I've read it many times over many years, 40 years now I've been reading this Book--the more I read it, the more I discover that from the very first page to the very last, this Book, the Bible, is really one great big love story. That's what it is--the love of a God for His people.

"For God so loved the world that He gave." From Genesis to Revelation, it's the love of God and how that love unfolds toward His people. Unlike Cinderella, this story is not a fairytale. It's true. It's absolutely true. Unlike The Sound of Music, this story is not for somebody else. This story is for you. This story is for me. It has our names written in it. We can claim it as our own.

Unlike the royal couple and their wedding, this story will not end in tragedy or disappointment. At times in your relationship with the Lord, you may feel it's not very much like a love story.

But the truth is, the hope is, the certainty, the fact is that the ending of your love story and your relationship with God--if you are a child of God--the end of that story will be even more glorious than its beginning--more wonderful than anything we've ever experienced to date.

In fact, the Scripture says, "Eyes have never seen, ears have never entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love Him." So no matter where you are in your walk with the Lord right now--no matter where you have been and what you have done. Or maybe as we're talking about this love story stuff, you're thinking, I don't even know that I have a love relationship at all with God.

No matter where you are or where you've been, you can be in an intimate, growing, vital, deepening love relationship with the Lord Jesus that will continue and deepen. Ultimately, the end of the story will be even greater than anything you've ever hoped could be possible.

I want to suggest that the heart of the Christian life is not what you do for God. It's not what you know about God. It's not how busy you are or how perfect you are. None of us could be if we tried, and some are trying real hard. The heart of the Christian life is a love relationship. It's a love story.

I want to take time this week to tell you that story, maybe in a little different way than you've heard it before. No matter how many times you've heard this story, even more than The Sound of Music, this story never gets old. It's always fresh and it can always be new. We need to tell it and hear it again and again and again.

So today, at the beginning of this series, I want to read this love story to you. Now I'm not going to read the whole thing. That would take longer than we have, but I want to read some selected portions of the Scripture, both in the Old and the New Testaments, and just string them together so that you can get an overview of this love story.

I want to start in an unusual place, in the Old Testament in the Book of the Song of Solomon. The Song of Solomon happens to be one of my very favorite books in all of God's Word, because it is (in a micro sense) a picture of the love of God for His people.

Later in this series, I'm going to tell you a little bit more about this story. But for today, I just want to read portions from that story. I won't even give you the verses, because I'm going to skip around in the book. I want you to just listen with your heart. Then I'll read from the New Testament.

But we begin in the Song of Solomon, and we're hearing an exchange between a bride and her beloved, her groom who is a king. She begins by speaking. She says, "The voice of my beloved: Behold, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved spoke and said to me, 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come. Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.'"

Then he says to her, "O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff, let me see your face. Let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely."

Then he says, "Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines [our love relationship] have tender grapes." We need to be careful with every little aspect of our love relationship, he is saying.

Then she responds to him and she says, "My beloved is mine and I am his. He feeds among the lilies. He brought me to the banqueting house"--the picture of abundance and pleasure and joy. "His banner over me is love. His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me." That's the picture of the intimacy of the relationship.

Then she says, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine." Then he speaks to her and he says, "You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you." He is saying, "In my eyes, you are perfect."

He says to her, "You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse. You have ravished my heart with one of your eyes." Then again she responds--and you see the initiative and response here in this relationship. It's a two-way relationship.

She says, "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine. I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me."

As we move into the New Testament, we're given more light on the nature of this love relationship. We read in Ephesians 5, right at the end of a lengthy passage on marriage--the relationship between a husband and a wife.

The apostle Paul goes on to say, Ephesians 5: "This is a profound mystery"--marriage is--"because I am talking about Christ and the church. Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word; and to present her to himself as a radiant church [his bride], without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."

Christ has a bride. We are privileged, if we are children of God, to be part of that bride. We're going to talk through this series about what it means to be the Bride of Christ, what it means to have a love relationship with Him and how we can cultivate that love relationship.

Leslie Basham: I'm certainly looking forward to hearing more of this love story, aren't you? Nancy will be sharing it with us all this week. The series is called "Here Comes the Bridegroom." For more information on getting a copy on CD or cassette, you can visit our Web site, ReviveOurHearts.com.

You can also donate on-line. Here is Nancy to tell us a little more about our current need.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As is the case with many ministries, during the summer months Revive Our Hearts experiences a dip in its income. Yet the expenses to keep this ministry on the air on some 500 radio outlets across the United States--the expenses continue to be the same. So I just want to let you know that we are a listener-supported ministry and that we particularly need your gifts during these summer months.

If the Lord has blessed you materially and after you've given to the ministry of your local church, we would be so grateful if you would send a gift to this ministry. It will enable us to stay on the air during these summer months and to keep sharing with women and families all across this country the life-transforming truth of God's Word.

When you write, let us know how this ministry has touched your heart. Also make sure and let us know the station on which you listen to Revive Our Hearts so that we can know that this ministry is having an impact in your community.

Leslie Basham: You can send your donation to Revive Our Hearts. Or give us a call at 1-800-569-5959.

Do you feel the need for some quiet moments of reflection? A little down time to regain perspective? We'll address that need on tomorrow's program. Please join us on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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