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The Winter Is Past

The voice of my beloved!
Behold, he comes
Leaping upon the mountains,
Skipping upon the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Behold, he stands behind our wall;
He is looking through the windows,
Gazing through the lattice.

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,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!
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."
Song of Songs 2:8-14

The winter is past, and springtime has come! I believe this is the message for the Church of Christ today! The Bridegroom is now speaking. His voice is being heard. Behold, He comes, leaping joyfully upon the mountains, and skipping upon the hills. He is eager and delighted to meet His Bride again. He is like a gazelle or a young stag, full of zeal and energy, longing to meet His lover again.

Behold, He is now standing behind our wall. He is looking through the windows, and gazing through the lattice. He is waiting for His Bride outside her house, saying softly and tenderly, "Rise up, My love. Please come out, My dearly beloved. The winter is past, and springtime has come."

The Church has been hiding herself behind the walls in her house for a long time. She is hiding away from the bitter wintry weather. Outside the household of faith is a world which can be very cold and hardened towards us and our belief. We have been hiding and hibernating for a long, long while. In the winters of our life, Jesus protects and preserves us. He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of troubles. He is our hiding place.

But when springtime is here, it is time to come out of our comfort zones. The sun is shining brightly. There is warmth in the air! The snows and storms are over. The trees are budding, the flowers are blooming, and the green leaves are sprouting! The birds are singing again! The hills are alive with the sounds of their music - chirping, cooing and crowing away as they welcome the spring season. The voices of the doves are heard in the land.

The fig trees are bringing forth their green figs, and the vines are bearing their tender grapes. These fig trees and vines travail and prevail throughout the freezing winter, and they bear fruits upon the arrival of spring! They give a good fragrant smell, a sweet aroma unto their God and Creator. This is a picture of us bearing abundant and quality fruits despite all the difficult and adverse circumstances in our lives.

Our Bridegroom Jesus Christ loves us dearly. He is calling us to come away with Him. Like a gazelle and a young stag, He is calling us to join Him in leaping upon the mountains, and skipping upon the hills. He is leading us to the clefts of the rock, and into the secret places of the cliff. These are very rough and dangerous places. But as long as He is with us, we are safe and secure from all alarms.

We are living dangerously but never in danger! Our life in Christ requires us to take leaps of faith and steps of courage to keep in pace with our Bridegroom. We can leap and skip without any fears, dancing with Him upon the lofty heights and heavenly places! He is with us wherever we go. There is this quiet understanding that He always watches over us. He shall preserve and protect our going out and coming in. Over mountains, oceans, seas, hills and valleys!

As we are His, we should hear His voice. Life in this world of ours can be very cold and cruel. We are living in times of many wars, famines, disasters, diseases and plagues. Even without these terrors, we face a crazy world that has gone astray!

Last Sunday in our church, we sang this old chorus:

God's got an army marching through the land,
Deliverance is their song with healing in their hands.
Everlasting joy and gladness in their hearts,
In this army, I've got a part.

In Song of Songs 6:10 is this glorious and awesome description of the Bride of Christ:

Who is she who looks forth as the morning,
Fair as the moon,
Clear as the sun,
Awesome as an army with banners?

The Bride of Christ is:

  • An army of healing, not hurting others

  • An army of deliverance, not destruction

  • An army of peace, not war

  • An army of joy, not sadness

  • An army of gladness, not murmuring

  • An army of royal priesthood, not ruthless militants

  • An army of love, not hate

We are all part of this army of God, lifting high His banners of love. We are marching according to the orders of our LORD, the Commander-in-chief. He has issued the command. The winter is past, and springtime has come! It is time to get out of our comfort zones. It is time to sing again. It is time to rejoice again. It is time to bud and bloom again. It is time to bear fruit again. It is time to give out sweet aroma and fragrance again! It is time to come away with our Bridegroom! It is time to leap upon the mountains, and skip upon the hills! It is time to touch heaven, and change earth!

The world is now looking at the Church. She is feeling very unpleasant when all eyes are upon her. She does not want others to look at her especially when she is not in her best state and condition. She does not enjoy the unwanted and undesired publicity. Hereby, the LORD Himself is still our hiding place. It is not her house that will keep her safe! The walls of the Church cannot hide the Christians away from the world. There are still enemies, principalities and powers, spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places that seek to destroy the Bride! It is the LORD Himself Who will hide His Bride away. The LORD Himself will keep her safe and secure in His arms of love.

But we must show ourselves to Christ. We must not hide away from Him. In His eyes, we are lovely. He longs to hear our sweet voices as we sing His praises. He desires to see our faces. He loves us with an everlasting love! A love that is unconditional and eternal!

As He sends us into the world, He is going along with us. The nations are hurting. They are needing our help, both physical and spiritual, both tangible and intangible. Jesus Christ had already sent us to the nations: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations. His Great Commission is still valid today.

He is always there with us and for us. We are in the world but we are not of the world. He will still hide us, and cover us as we share His good news, and make disciples of all the nations. He is our covering, our protection and our shield! He is there in the middle of our struggles, successes, weaknesses, strengths, shortcomings and victories! He will enable and empower us to do the work that He has entrusted us to do.

It is time to:

  • Let go

  • Let God

  • Let's go

Letting go of our past failures, sins, successes and shortcomings. Letting God be God in rebuilding and restoring us, the Bride of Christ. After which, we can go with Him wherever He leads us, leaping upon the mountains and skipping upon the hills.

Here is the warning for the Lukewarm and Comfortable Church who refuses to listen to His voice and come away with Him:

And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
"These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Revelation 3:14-22)

After the resurrection of Christ, more than 500 saw the Risen Lord (1 Corinthians 15:6). All of them were asked to wait patiently for the Promise of the Father (Acts 1:4). But only about 120 received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room (Acts 1:15). More than 380 people (or 76%) opted out! They gave up waiting on the Lord. They heard His voice, but did not act upon it. The distance between knowing and doing His will is a leap of faith. This journey of faith begins with three simple steps. The first step is to rise up. The second step is to open the door. The third step is to come away with Him!

During this time of spring, my exhortation is:

And let us not grow weary while doing good,
for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9

'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts.
Zechariah 4:6

The dawn has arrived, and the shadows of the night are fleeing. The winter is past, and springtime has come! No mountains of problems and troubles can withstand and stop the arrival of faith, hope and love!

Special Note
This message was birthed as I was in the midst of sending some Chinese New Year greetings to my friends. Someone sent me this message: "I have many many winters last 2 years. I hope that this spring will give me a new hope, inspiration and strength to advance in my personal life and the works of the kingdom."

As I was dining with some of my prayer partners in a hawker centre earlier this evening, two men poured out their hearts and souls, weeping as they shared their life stories on how the LORD met them on their winters.

Written On:
1 February 2005