by Laurie Aker

We are bound to Jesus, and He is bound to us in covenant. The Lord gives us a picture of this beautiful covenant  relationship in the covenant friendship between David and King Saul’s son Jonathan.

Jonathan binds himself to David in covenant: “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. . . . Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt” (1 Samuel 18:1, 3-4). …Think of Jonathan’s initiative with David as a picture of Christ’s relationship with you…

Let’s look more closely at the meaning and symbolism of two of the words used in the 1 Samuel passage we just read: knit and robe.

Knit: We are told that “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.” The word knit in Hebrew carries with it the meaning of “to bind or to tie something together.” When used with human beings, it is the idea of binding people together, or of two people being bound inseparably in love. The word defines a relationship characterized by deep, undying devotion.

Figuratively, we see this idea in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, when God instructs Israel to bind His law to their hearts: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

The idea of being “knit together” or “welded together” is used by the apostle Paul in Colossians 2:1-2: “I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.” Christians are to be knit together into one united body that is one in the Spirit. The love of Jesus is the glue that binds us together, just as the body is held together by joints and ligaments. One of the strengths of the church is the unity produced by Christ’s love. If we are truly knit together by the love of Christ, why wouldn’t we have a deep, undying devotion to our fellow believers?

The Robe: We are told that “Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David.” The term robe refers to a long, sleeveless shawl of blue or purple fabric. There was a hole in the middle which was pulled over the head. It was worn by men of honor and royalty. The robe grew to become a symbol. For example, when a man’s heart was torn by grief, he would demonstrate his inner emotion by outwardly tearing his robe. When Jonathan made a covenant with David, he gave him his robe, outwardly expressing his inner emotions. Jonathan was entering into an undying covenant with David and offering to David all that he had to give. The exchange of robes symbolized an exchange of identity and a sharing of identities with the other person.

Jesus is our Jonathan. He has given us His armor, His resources; He is our covenant partner. He has given us His life, not just symbolically, but literally. He has given us His robes of righteousness—himself and His identity. He is for us. He is on our side. He will fight our enemies.


This blog post is an excerpt from the Thistlebend Discipleship Study Falling in Love Again with Your Lord available here.

by Angie Thomas

I am so humbled and grateful to be on this journey with you this summer as we take theses amazing truths from Ephesians and ask the Lord to seed them deep in our hearts.There is great, really incredible news that our hearts need to hear.  Luke 8 starts out saying this about Jesus, “Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means” (Luke 8:1-3).

I love that immediately preceding the parable of the sower, Luke tells us about all these women who were following Jesus, who desperately wanted to hear what He was teaching.  They were hungry for the good news of the kingdom that Jesus was proclaiming.  They wanted to hear. Luke says they had been healed of their infirmities.  I can relate well to these women.  My heart is full of the infirmities of fear, worry, and possibly most troubling…apathy.  I need to be healed by Jesus.  I was really struck with the words in the introduction to our Seeds of Spring study: “Don’t be afraid to ask Him for His help to hear His voice and grant you the grace you need to follow in the steps that He asks you to take. Be excited!”

The words convicted my heart.  I had to confess to the Lord that I was afraid to see the weeds of sin in my heart and that I was honestly not very excited about the whole thing. Following Him in obedience takes work and sometimes I would honestly rather just ignore my sin, regardless of how miserable it makes me, instead of being proactive and dealing with it.  I mean, I can think of a lot of things I would rather spend my time and energy on than dealing with my sin.  I am just keepin’ it real girls.  Ignorance is bliss after all, right? But the reality is that there is a fuller and deeper life here on earth for me to experience if I allow Jesus to deal with this junk in my heart.  It’s kind of like watching television in HD versus regular definition.  Do I want to continue to walk through life with this muddled, fuzzy picture of what He is doing in and around me because of my sin, or deal with it and root it out by His grace so I can see and experience with vibrancy and clarity His work and His kingdom being established here on earth?

As I laid this all out on the table before Him in brutal honesty, these are the crazy fears I had to confess to Him:

-I am afraid of admitting to Him that I don’t have it all figured out, and perhaps acknowledging that I never will while my feet are rooted to this earth.
-I am afraid of losing control, of things not happening the way I want or think is best.
-I am afraid of being dependent on Him.  What will He ask me to do or give up?  Where will He ask me to go?

In short, I realized I want to keep my independence.  Surrendering fully to Him feels like throwing myself over a cliff.  But that thought could not be further from the truth.  Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.   Satan, the thief, is the one who wants to ruin my life, not Jesus.  Jesus wants to give me ABUNDANT life.

Paul knows this well as He prays in Ephesians 1:18-19 that God would make your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” (The Message).

Endless energy and boundless strength!  Yes, please.  Sign me up for that, Jesus.  Thank you for loving us enough to lay down your life and suffering for us so we can truly experience abundant lives of beauty and purpose here on earth, not to mention for eternity.  Thank you for the promises in your Word which are the perfect antidote to my fear and apathy.  May we let go of our fears so that we can experience more fully your abundant love and peace and bring great glory to your Name!

Thistlebend Quiet eMoment

by Laurie Aker

Focus Scripture: Luke 9:37-43 ESV

37 On the next day,
when they had come down from the mountain,
a great crowd met him.
38 And behold, a man from the crowd cried out,
“Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.
39 And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out.
It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth,
and shatters him, and will hardly leave him.
40 And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.”
41 Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation,
how long am I to be with you and bear with you?
Bring your son here.”
42 While he was coming,
the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him.
But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy,
and gave him back to his father.
43 And all were astonished at the majesty of God.


Read Mark’s version of this event.

Mark 9:21-29
21 And Jesus asked his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
And he said, “From childhood.
22 And it has often cast him into fire
and into water, to destroy him.
But if you can do anything,
have compassion on us and help us.”
23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’!
All things are possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said,
“I believe; help my unbelief!”
25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together,
he rebuked the unclean spirit,
saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit,
I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly,
it came out, and the boy was like a corpse,
so that most of them said, “He is dead.”
27 But Jesus took him by the hand
and lifted him up, and he arose.
28 And when he had entered the house,
his disciples asked him privately,
“Why could we not cast it out?”
29 And he said to them,
“This kind cannot be driven out
by anything but prayer.”

Mark’s gospel records the father’s faith struggle.
“…if you can do anything…” (Mark 9:22).

The father’s words were recorded for us all to read.
What if we were to hear our thoughts,
our doubts, and our fears so clearly?
What if someone were to record the dialog
that goes on in our minds?
We probably would be shocked.

Jesus repeated his words,
“‘If you can!'” (Mark 9:23).


How many times have we unknowingly thought,
“If you can…”

We know that you are God.
We know that you can do all things.
And yet our flesh is so weak.
Our minds are darkened with sin.
Sin lurks in the corners of our hearts and undermines our faith.

We don’t want to be unaware of those seemingly insignificant thoughts.
We don’t want to just brush them aside.
We need to take every thought captive.

What appears to be an inconsequential drone,
a trifling wisp, is the insidious,
treacherous, and crafty way of sin and darkness.

One rotten apple can destroy the whole bunch.
One wrong thought left unaddressed infects our thinking.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh
but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised
against the knowledge of God, and take every thought
captive to obey Christ…

Be vigilant.
Be on the watch.
Be persistent.

Be a watchman for your soul.
With the help of the Holy Spirit,
guard your heart, your mind, and your soul.
Speak the truth in love to yourself.

Philippians 4:8-9
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
9 What you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me–
practice these things,
and the God of peace will be with you.


Choose one truth from today and apply it to your heart.
Take it with you throughout the day.


Lord, help us have only truth in our inward parts.
Thank you that you love us even in the midst of our faith struggle!
Thank you that you are faithful even when we are weak.

In His hands for His glory,