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THE YEARNING HEART OF GODFrom Religion to Relationship
By Adam Spacagna
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Adam Spacagna
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE BIRTH OF DESIRE
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sweet Lord of my heart.
I call to Thee to walk with me.
I can see You this morning Beloved, walking
By Your stream, In Your garden,
Your presence has awakened the lilies,
Your lovely voice directs the songs of nature's choir,
Your gentle touch dries the dew of the morning,
You honor creation with Your entrance.
I bow with the daisies,
I surrender with the quieting of nature,
I tremble with the quaking trees.
Here I flow with my eternal love
Down Thy eternal stream,
Here I walk in the eternal garden
With the eternal King.
"The birth of desire began in God's secret place of intimacy called the Garden of Eden. I like to call it the "garden of desire" because that is what Eden was all about, and as you get to know God more, you will discover that desire is a flame of passion ignited within His heart every time one more soul falls in love with Him".
"The First Date"
"They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." Genesis 3: 8 (NASB)
"My beloved has gone to His garden, to the beds of spices, to feed His flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine." Song of Solomon 6: 2&3 (NASB)
Almost everyone has a fairly good recollection of their very first date with a person who captured their heart. Most of us can recall the preparation we went through before the date, what to wear, what you are going to talk about, and most importantly where to go. Ambiance is always an integral factor in romance. Dinner and a movie is a good "getting to know you better before opening up" type of ambiance, while the walk and picnic basket in the park is most always a definite "I'm interested in you" atmosphere. There is a greater level of affection and unveiling in the quiet and scenic moments of life than in the distractions of a loud restaurant or movie. Why did God choose the Garden of Eden to have His first encounter with man? Was this a "getting to know you more" first date? Or was this a scene of intimate love and divine romance. What did God reveal in Genesis about His heart's desire for humanity?
As I began my study in Genesis, I could not help but wonder what was going on in God's mind and heart as He was planning His first date with humanity. What was the first impression He wanted us to have of Him? What did He want to reveal to us first? What was the first thing He was going to say to His newly created companion? As I was reading the first three words of the Bible; "In the beginning", I suddenly heard God whisper to me, asking me if I could see it. "See what?" I asked. "My preparations, My hearts desire", the Lord whispered. Then it hit me. The scripture came to life and I could see that God was a God of romantic and intimate love. Everything I had ever learned about God and the Bible prior to this moment suddenly began to weave together a message from God's heart that I had not heard before. The preparation and planning, the decision to go to this beautiful and quiet garden to have His first date with humanity, all demonstrated God's deep desire to reveal Himself to us and in essence, cause us to fall in love with Him. I was amazed that I started to discover God's heart in an old Sunday school Bible story that I learned many years ago, when my journey into God's yearning heart had begun. I kept reading, looking for what was going to be God's first message to us, and I was not disappointed.
"The Plan to Win Man's Heart Begins"
And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every grain, herb for food, and it was so. Then God saw everything he had made, and indeed, it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day."
Genesis 1:29-31 (NASB)
The first move the Lord made was to show His creation that He would provide for us all things. He wanted us to know that He is a generous and caring God, a God that can be trusted, and a companion to us that will never lack in love. I believe the Garden of Eden was a place like no other place on this earth, a scene of indescribable beauty and perfection. To put it in a more modern perception, Eden was like the best vacation paradise on earth. This was an enchanted place where man was constantly offered indescribable pleasure. It had many privileges, like the opportunity to sample all the elegant foods of the earth with the most gorgeous spouse ever by your side. Complete with eternal spa treatments that produce perfect health and wholeness of life. Fruits and plants that would be ranked with the worlds best delicacies ever. Eden had full accommodations to its inhabitants, with the entertainment of first time discoveries that you get credit for discovering. With the protection of God's presence available anytime, you had the option of snoozing with the inhabitants of the forest, or falling asleep in the warm fur of a lion. Every morning you were wakened by the soft breeze and gentle voice of your creator walking in the garden, and calling you for morning fellowship. The Lord had the choice to do anything for His creation and pick any location in the billions of miles of His universe, and He chose this quiet, peaceful, romantic place called Eden to win the affection of humanities first heart. The Garden of Eden was the first place of romance and the first place of intimacy. The first thing God wanted man to experience was total paradise and close affection with Him.
"You will call, and I will answer You; You will long for the one You created".
Job 14:15 (NASB)
The book of Job in the Old Testament of the Bible is the oldest dated transcript of the Christian Bible. It dates back before Genesis and all other 65 books. What I find wonderful about this fact is that God reveals from the very earliest known written scripts we have about Him, that He longs for the people He created. From the very beginning of creation to this day, God has an intense and fresh desire constantly rebirthing itself within His heart. This desire began the moment God saw His first man, and continues every time a new soul enters life.
I believe desire took its strongest form and may have been birthed in the Garden of Eden, and ever since then, has increased with every new soul. The NASB translation defines desire as; attracted, covet, coveted, delight, pleasing, precious, precious things, and took great delight. God created an intense feeling of desire within us so that there would be a pursuit of His nearness. God's nearness is an invaluable gift to humanity that maximizes all of desires definitions. Genesis chapter two declares that we are made in God's image and likeness. Therefore, we share in this overwhelming yearning to want to be intimately connected to a desirable other, a love that is without blemish or failure, and one who can bedazzle our hearts and minds. This is what God had in mind when He made humanity. He wanted us to long for His beauty and the pleasure of His nearness as much as He longs for us this way. God wanted more than reverential love, more than fear driven love, or the desire to obey out of fear for what He would do. He wants a love that matches the truest and deepest desires of His heart, and that is to want to be loved and desired just because He is Who He is, because we see His beauty and are fascinated.
In Genesis, we see how God's creative voice unveiled His power on earth and whatever He spoke to, formulated a creation after its own kind. The Lord spoke to the air, and the air brought forth life that inhabits its waves as birds and flying creatures began forming. He spoke to the land and the land obeyed, bringing forth vegetation of its kind. The Lord spoke to the stratosphere and it experienced the creative power of God's voice and produced the constellations, and the sun and moon. The Lord spoke to the sea and it produced life of its own kind. Then God did something very revealing of the intensity of desire burning within Him. He spoke to Himself, and from Himself He brought forth man, as recorded in Genesis 1: 26; "Let Us make man in Our Image". He created Man for the deepest form of fellowship out of everything brought forth by the power of His creative voice.
Although desire takes its strongest form with God, desire began with competition. It was by no happenstance that Adam and Eve had an alternative to desire something else besides God. Obviously, it had to present a strong allure in order to draw their attention away from their fascination with God. No one ever can say that the temptation the first man and woman faced was undesirable and easy to resist. No sin is. For the other pleasure that is fighting for man's affection, must be something very beautiful and very desirable in order to pull them away from such a magnificent Creator, even for just a moment.
We read in Genesis that God walked with Adam in the cool of the day. Can you imagine this, the Creator of the universe taking an intimate stroll with you through a beautiful garden? This other desire must have presented a truly strong allure to cause the man and his wife to take of it knowing that God had already instructed them not to touch it. The Lord gave man a free will power to choose what direction his desire would go. God did this so that He would be able to achieve the maximum pleasure of our responsive love for Him. Robotic love fails in comparison with the intensity of free will love. Free will love is always the ultimate goal within God's heart for every created person, for this is the consummation of relationship between God and man.
This yearning within God has clearly been revealed in the Bible as His motivation for Grace. Grace is defined as unmerited favor. It is the love for humanity burning within God's heart that fuels His river of Grace. In the middle of Eden, Genesis talks about a mysterious tree of life that was restricted from Adam and his wife. This tree held such power and significance to it that after man had sinned, God placed angels and flaming swards guarding the way to it. This tree held the power to give man everlasting life as described in chapter three verse twenty-two. Not that God did not want man to live forever, He certainly does. We were originally created to live forever and the Bible says that God desires all men to come to salvation. Just after man's fall, the world and our existence began a process of decay. If you just keep reading your Bible and then look at today's news, you will see the results of this decay. Although man's desire was given to sin, God's desire never changed even after the fall. The removal of Adam and Eve from the Garden was actually an act of God's mercy instead of punishment due to the deadly blockade. Man's redemption had not yet occurred and eternal life was not yet an option, however God wanted nothing more than to bring man back to that unbridled intimate love He once had before we sinned.
Chapter TwoPLEASURE AND JEALOUSY
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mirror Your passion within me.
I can see You this morning my love
as I gaze through the window.
I delight to see Your fellowship with
the chirpy morning singers. I jealously
desire their sacred moments with
You. I relate to these little worshipers,
as they do their enchanted dance around You.
I know their longing to find shelter in You.
If we could only rest our weary heads upon Your
chest, never to return to our carnal reality.
Only if we could hear You whisper
Your lovely songs in our hearts and hear your
divine romantic talk, we may never choose
to leave you Lord, but always remain in
Your gracious morning love walk.
"Releasing a Heavenly Fragrance"
While Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignant remarking to one another, why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii's, and the money given to the poor, and they were scolding her. But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body before hand for burial. Truly I say to you, whenever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.
The Gospel of Mark 14: 3-9 (NASB)
There is a beautiful fragrance released from those who are in love with God. As the lovesick woman who broke her alabaster jar, pouring out her deepest, most passionate worship upon her Lord, we too can release a pleasing aroma of intimate worship when we give Jesus our real "in love" passionate affection. It is the fragrance of true love and devotion coming from the heart of a soul who has fallen madly in love with Jesus! Such a heavenly aroma is so uncommon to the ordinary church attendee that it often escapes their limited awareness, seeping through the aisles of the church mysteriously unnoticed. Just like the religious leaders who sat at the table in Simon's home eating and drinking their preplanned meal with Jesus, they were completely unaware of the deep yearning inside the Lords heart who was invited to dine with them. This yearning was for more than dinner and fellowship, more then preplanned service and the carefully selected order in which this time was set aside. This hunger dwelling so deep inside the Lord's heart was a hunger for a more intimate, more passionate type of fellowship, but the religious were unaware, too caught up in their traditional chat as the smell of their orthodox aroma filled this typical gathering place for them. However, as divine fate, or shall I say "divine romance" would have it, the Lord's yearning would be fulfilled. Suddenly, the men in the room are alarmed as a woman rushes in the door. Though uninvited and unwanted, she makes her way to the feet of Jesus with such a passion in her eyes that nothing could break her focus. Then in an act of unbridled, romantic passion, she lavishes upon her Lord a worship that satiates His heart like a rush of spring water upon a sun-scorched head. As streams of tears flow from her eyes, she breaks open the veil releasing a fragrance so heavenly that the entire room is filled with wonderment. The look on Jesus' face, the tears in His holy eyes reveal a moment of eternal satisfaction, almost like a dry rose revitalized by a noon rain. Such a lovely moment of beauty and romance shared between two hearts connecting with each other. This was no preplanned worship event but rather the overflow of passion from a person who recognizes the loveliness and beauty of God. I remember an old man named Ralph who I had the privilege of ministering to for the last two years of his life before I closed the final chapter message for his loved ones at his funeral. Most people who attended church with old man Ralph did not even notice something he did every Sunday morning. I am sure they saw him do this many times but I do not think they really knew the true essence of what old man Ralph was doing. I did not fully become aware of this act's true meaning until I began spending more one on one time with him and then God opened my eyes to see the beauty of such an aromatic heart. Every Sunday morning, old man Ralph would wake early with the singing birds and go out to his garden in his back yard where he would quietly and romantically talk to Jesus. Before heading of to church, old man Ralph would pick a handful of the most blossomed lilies in his garden. When he showed up at church always a few minutes early, this old hunched back man who could barely walk a straight line, would mysteriously make his way through the aisles of the church undisturbed by greetings, almost unnoticed by the rest, though leaving a heavenly fragrance of freshly plucked lilies as he passed you. You could not be talking or focusing on the typical Sunday morning sanctuary chatter in order to truly see what was happening. You had to be in worship. Your focus had to be that of the passionate woman who disrupted the "ordinary" in order to lavish an "extraordinary" love upon a worthy focus. As old man Ralph reached the altar area, he would carefully, but romantically place the bouquet of lilies upon the altar, then kneel in worship at the feet of his true love. Isn't that what we do to the ones we are truly in love with? Don't we bring them flowers? It took me a long time to become aware of the heavenly fragrance old man Ralph released from his heart every day, but when I did, everything in my life changed. Are you releasing a heavenly fragrance of an intimate relationship with God from your heart? I believe old man Ralph is, still to this day up in heaven at the eternal altar of God. At times, I dream of this, and see him tending a beautiful garden in paradise, which produces eternal lilies more breathtaking, then we can imagine, and Ralph bringing them to His eternal Lover's feet and fulfilling the yearning inside the lovely heart of Jesus.
Excerpted from THE YEARNING HEART OF GOD by Adam Spacagna Copyright © 2011 by Adam Spacagna. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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