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My best birthday gift -- four new grand-daughtersToday is my birthday and I’m with my four new grand-daughters. From left to right, Katherine Harrington; Sadie Hale; Octavia Brestin, and Miabelle Lano.

I could try to tie this picture into our Bible study, but I won’t! (Except to say that mid-September I’m planning to do The Friendships of Women on this blog!)

Here’s the real post:


We have contemplated how leaving and cleaving in earthly marriage points to our relationship with Christ, but this week, we will also consider how the act of a husband and wife becoming one portends an even deeper mystery that will occur one day in heaven: that of Christ becoming one with His Bride, the church, as Paul explains:

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, the two will become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:31-32

I am no longer a young bride – I am a youngish widow, for my husband lost his battle with cancer at the age of fifty-nine. In losing Steve, the love of my life, I am also glimpsing more clearly this mystery of becoming one with Christ. For though sexual intimacy is a great gift, we also don’t have to have it – for we will have it forever with the Lord in heaven, in a mysterious way our minds cannot yet comprehend. It will be different, it will be better, it will be more glorious and more unifying that we can imagine. It will be the end of loneliness forever and ever.

Christianity holds the loftiest view of sex of any philosophy in the world. The Biblical view is unique, for it holds not only that sexual intimacy within marriage is sacred, but absolutely good and lovely. It was God’s great idea for a couple, through sexual intimacy to: find delight in one another, become one with one another, renew their covenant regularly in the sanctified marriage bed, learn how to unselfishly serve one another, and be blessed, if it was His will, with children. Seen as God sees it, the sexual act is about intimacy, about renewing covenant, and about faithfulness. These are the central principles that transfer, absolutely making it a pointer to His relationship with us.

I would never, ever dare to use this parallel at all – except that God does it. So we must look at it. Sexual intimacy is an important and integral part of the love stories between husband and wife – of the whole metaphor – and when it is clearly there, attempting to take it out would be like trying to extricate one of the braids in a triple-braid. The whole braid would fall apart. So it stays in – and it will appear and reappear frequently in this triple-braid, but it is certainly not the only braid or even the most important braid.

But before we begin our study, how are we to interpret metaphors and parables accurately? We are to look for the central truths. One distorted paradigm is to assume that you can press all the details of a metaphor and make a literal transfer. For example, when Scripture says that each believer must be wearing a white linen wedding gown when Christ returns, it does not mean that each of us, men and women, will be getting an actual wedding gown, but that Christ has the power to make our sins as white as snow, and to continue to transform us into “beautiful brides” who are confident and unashamed at His coming. When Scripture uses the sexual metaphor – and I feel a foolish even saying this, but know I must, it certainly doesn’t mean we are engaging in a sexual act with God, like some ancient and modern cults say, but that as we increase in our love, trust, and intimacy with the Almighty, as we willingly put ourselves in His arms, that our lives will have a fruitfulness that can only come when we fully yield to the Spirit of God.


1.       Contemplations on the introduction

A.      Why does Christianity hold the loftiest view of sex of any world religion?

B.      What are some parallels between earthly intimacy and intimacy with Jesus?

C.      What is important to remember when looking at a scriptural parable?

2.       The Marriage Parable in Ephesians 5:22-33

A.      How are wives to submit to their husbands according to verse 22?

B.      How are husbands to treat their wives according to verse 25?

C.      How is this rephrased for each in verse 33?

D.      How did Christ fulfill his role perfectly as a husband?

E.       How are you and how could you better submit to and respect your heavenly husband?

3.       The Marriage Parable in Genesis 1 and 2 (CHALLENGE QUESTION)

A.      Challenge question: According to Genesis 1:27, male and female together image God. The first marriage was also one man and one woman for life. When you realize marriage is also a parable for Christ and His Bride, why is it important that it be both male and female? (Hints: Why it “otherness” important in this parable? Why is leadership important in this parable? )

B.      Just as a husband and wife are designed to fit together physically, what are some ways God designed them to fit together emotionally and spiritually?

4.       The Marriage Parable in Proverbs 30:18-20 (CHALLENGE QUESTION)

A.      What are the three amazing things Agur sees? How do the two become one in each case?

B.      What is the fourth mystery, the beauty Agur “does not understand?” How is this a culmination of the two becoming one?

C.      What is the contrast in verse 20?

D.      Why must sex be kept within the covenant of marriage in order to reflect the parable of Christ and His Bride?

5.       The Marriage Parable in Hosea

Find a few verses in chapter 2 that show that sin is not so much breaking the rules, but unfaithfulness, breaking the heart of God.

6.       What will you remember and apply from this week?

Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.


  1. How absolutely precious is that! I don’t think I have ever even heard of such a thing. Four granddaughters all in one summer. Then all of them there for your birthday. Dee, I know you miss Steve terribly and I don’t want to come across flippant or irreverent but I do wonder if he might have had some input into the orchestration of this event. Even if he did not I know he is rejoicing over his family right now.

  2. Dee
    What a delightful birthday you have had. Like Anne I have been thinking of what your Steve must be seeing from heaven’s point of view. Looking forward to diving in the deep waters this week. Blessings!

  3. Dee, I am just marveling over this precious picture of your new grandbabies! How awsome to have them all there to celebrate your birthday! I know Steve is rejoicing in heaven! Love & Blessings to all your family!

  4. I’m still comtemplating on the introduction! I must say I was alittle shocked! This should be a very interesting week of study. I’m anxious to get started!

  5. O.K. girls, I found a great song for our study.. I am thinking of working this one up because it is my heart song right now as to what God has shown me in this study!! The David Crowder band does this originally, but I found this version with a female vocal..


    1. I loved this video!

  6. Here are the Lyrics:

    He is jealous for me
    Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree
    Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
    When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
    and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.
    Oh, how He loves us so
    Oh, how He loves us
    How He loves us so.

    Yeah, He loves us
    Woah, how He loves us
    Woah, how He loves us
    Woah, how He loves.

    So we are His portion and He is our prize,
    Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
    If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking
    So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
    I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way

    That he loves us,
    Woah, how He loves us
    Woah, how He loves us
    Woah, how He loves

    He loves us,
    Woah, how He loves us
    Woah, how He loves us
    Woah, how He loves

    [Whispered]: Well, I thought about You the day Stephen died and You met me between my breaking
    I know that I still love You, God, despite the agony
    …they want to tell me You’re cruel
    But if Stephen could sing, he’d say it’s not true, cause…[voice breaks]…

    Cause He loves us,
    Woah, how He loves us
    Woah, how He loves us
    Woah, how He loves

    Yeah, He loves us
    Woah, how He loves us
    Woah, how He loves us
    Woah, how He loves

    1. Rebecca
      Thanks for sharing this. About once a quarter our youth band leads in worship and they always sing this song. It moves me to tears everytime I hear it. I really enjoyed Kim Walker’s version. Pure Worship!!!

  7. Dee,
    What a delightful picture of your four granddaughters! That was the best birthday present to be with all of them at the same time!
    It’s neat to think of how they will all grow up with each other – close cousins! Glad they are all doing well and are healthy.

  8. I,too, Dee want to take this opportunity to say, you have been blessed x 4 and I know your husband is laughing in Heaven over your unique birthday gift, and children are a gift. The last time my husband was playing with our four year old grandson I looked in the room at them sitting on the floor building blocks. My husband looked at me and said,”He is such a joy.” I am sorry he didn’t get to watch him grow up here but I am sure he is watching from the Kingdom.

    From reading about different religions as an adolescent I was surprised to find that Christianity did hold the loftiest view of sex and of females. As you said, Christianity considered marital sex to be holy and set apart. Other religions considered women to be less than human, just as object made to serve men. Most of the other religions still hold this view. Christianity teaches that sex is made to benefit both the male and female. The two become one. This was the first thing my mother ever told me about sex. She said God created it and God did not create bad things. She told me it was wrong outside of marriage because than we were taking something sacred and using it in the wrong way. Christianity gave instruction about marriage to both the male and the female.
    In earthly intimacy we try to please the other person, we open our hearts, minds an bodies to one another. We come together in a spiritual as well as physical union–we are one. With Jesus we open our hearts and minds and spirit. We want to please Him, He loves us and wants to be with us. When you are intimate with one another we give one another a love gift. When we open ourselves to Jesus’ desire for intimacy we are also giving a love gift and Jesus gives the perfect love gift back. He will never force us to be intimate, he waits for us patiently.
    When looking at a spiritual parable we look for the point.We look for the central truth, what the parable is really saying.

    1. Judy, what a wise mother you had. My mother told me sex was dirty and I’ve carried that in my head for years. This week’s study will be very good for me.

      1. I did have a wise and unusual mother and I am deeply grateful for her. She was a blessing—and funny too.

  9. 1. A. Why does Christianity hold the loftiest view of sex of any world religion?

    *Sexual intimacy is good and lovely
    *It is renewing our covenant regularly
    *Unselfishly serving one another
    *It is about faithfulness and intimacy

    *With other religions, and in secularism it seems they violate all these areas. In certain world religions Men abuse women and make them nothing but sex objects rather than lovely brides to love, woo and unselfishly serve. Men and women in the secular realm-which is a religion anyway- violate this as well. Sin has twisted it so horribly in our world in different ways. It is funny how secularists see Christianity and sex as probably being boring when really Jesus wants us to experience it to it’s fullest and it can be if we embrace it as Jesus made it.

    *It is sad that a lot of us, including me, weren’t taught this growing up, how beautiful sex is and what it means in a marriage covenant and how it relates to our relationship with Jesus. I still struggle with seeing it the right way because of all the crud I was around growing up. That is why if my boys ever get a hold of a porn magazine when they get older my heart will break totally. I don’t want their view of sex skewed.

  10. B. What are some parallels between earthly intimacy and intimacy with Jesus?

    * Intimacy in a marriage relationship is central before we can express and unify it in the marriage bed. We must have a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ in order to be one with him.

    * We unselfishly give to one another our time, treasures and talents just as we give back to Jesus Christ our time, treasure and talents.

    * Our husband is the initiator and we are the responders just as Jesus is the initiator and we are the responder.

    * When we communicate with one another in a conflict-resolution kind of way we unselfishly seek to understand, and sometimes we need to lay ourselves down with empathy putting ourselves in our spouses shoes, just as Jesus empathizes with us and is patient and long-suffering.

    * We show our spouse how we adore them by kissing them and caressing them, just as Jesus shows us he adores us with his kisses-not literally but in many different ways he shows us his adoration for us.

    * Our spouse knows some of our desires and needs and will surprise us sometimes with those gifts that really speak of love to our hearts, just as Jesus does as he provides for us materially and also in regard to friendships and other needs. With Jesus though the surprises never end and they are usually perfectly what we need. 🙂

    *In regard to desires and needs God can make a husband keenly aware of his wife’s spiritual needs when she is unaware, and he responds by praying for her. The Holy spirit intercedes for us even when we don’t know how to pray. (I might be stretching it here, but the thought just occurred to me that that is how God intends for a godly marriage to be.)

    C. What is important to remember when looking at a scriptural parable?

    * To find the central truth, not to look at it literally.

  11. Happy belated birthday, Dee! What a great picture of the girls. 🙂

    Sorry I wasn’t online much last week. I had a bronchial infection and spent most of the week in bed, but am feeling better now. I’d appreciate prayer for the muscle and bone I strained in my hip and knee just by straightening my legs in an awkward way on Saturday. The steroids I’ve taken for my asthma have weaknened my bones quite a bit so those odd little cracks and pops are never good. It’s much less painful three days later, though, thanks to God’s healing!

    Here are my answers for the first question:

    A.Why does Christianity hold the loftiest view of sex of any world religion?

    Christianity’s view of sex is the loftiest of any world religion because it is created by God not only to procreate but to join man and woman together as one in deep intimacy and love. It far supercedes physical relations. This depth of closeness is symbolic of how close God is to His people and how close we are to Him — the two become one.

    B. What are some parallels between earthly intimacy and intimacy with Jesus?

    Both emphasize closeness, unity, unselfish love, serving one another and being faithful to one another, finding delight in each other.

    C. What is important to remember when looking at a scriptural parable?

    Look for central truths and do not take it literally. Parables teach spiritual truth, not necessarily a literal translation.

      1. Thanks for the prayers.

        Your explanation of literal makes total sense! I didn’t know it meant from the literature. 🙂

    1. Tracy, praying for your health!

  12. Tracy, I missed you also. I’m sorry you have been sick and am glad you are feeling better. I also pray for your complete healing.

    I’m not sure I understand ‘according to the literature’. Does it mean that the events in the parable did not actually happen but are a story told to convey meaning?

    I thought #1 was well answered and can’t think of anything to add.

    2a. Wives submit to their husbands as they would to the Lord. Powerful! That gives him as much authority as the Lord, right?

    2b. Husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church (which he died for). Christ loved the church and cleansed her for Himself (for His own pleasure). Husbands should care for their wives as they do for their own bodies, which they do for their own pleasure (as do we all by eating, drinking, exercising and enjoying good health).

    2c. How is this rephrased for each in verse 33? Husbands should love their wives as themselves and wives should respect their husbands.

    2d. How did Christ fulfill his role perfectly as a husband? Verse 26 speaks of making her holy by cleansing her by the washing of water by the word. John 1 says that Christ was the word. Life was in Him (Jn 1:4) and He gave that life to cleanse His bride. Maybe that doesn’t make sense but I just see the fact that He was the word and that we are cleansed by the water of the word. He loved his bride so much that He gave His own body for her cleansing. He waits as He sanctifies her. How He must long to be married to her. I often think with longing about heaven but do I long for Him the way He longs for me? Is my desire selfish while His is pure?

  13. 1. I answered above by being alittle shocked by the introduction, because I was raised to believe sex was dirty.
    A. Christianity holds the loftiest (or highest) view of sex of any world religion because of God’s creation of it. When God created man and woman, he created a close, affectionate, sacred, loving, personal relationship between them, called intimacy. It’s God’s plan for husband and wife to be intimate with one another and to bear children. Other religions in the world are like Rebecca said, men abuse women and use them for nothing but sex objects, not saying that isn’t happening right here in our little world, because sexual sin is rampant. But if we follow God’s plan, its intended to be faithful and beautiful and enjoyed between husband and wife.
    B. A parable between earthly intimacy and intimacy with Jesus would be that both are close, loving, affectionate, unselfish, personnal and faithful to one another. Both cleave to each other and become one, but with Jesus it’s not in a sexual way like husband and wife, but like a sacred, loving, spiritual way.
    C. When looking at a scriptural parable, it is important to remember that a parable is like an example or short story that illustrates the truth.

    2. The marriage parable in Ephesians 5:22-33.
    A. Wives are to submit to their husbands (verse 22) as unto the Lord. Titus 2;3-4 says to love your husbands and to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind and submissive to them.
    B. Husbands are to love their wives (according to verse 25) as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
    C. In verse 33, it is rephrased by saying “however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
    D. Christ fulfilled his role perfectly as a husband (verse 25) “by giving himself up for her”. Her, meaning us, the bride of Christ.
    E. I could better submit to and respect my heavenly husband by submitting and respecting my earthly husband in the same way. I never thought of it this way before. This is helping me so much to understand how God intended marriage to be.

  14. 2A. To submit means to yeild to the will of another. Wives are to submit to their husbands as the Church is to submit to Christ. This doesn’t mean lay down and be a doormat. If both verses are practiced by the husband and wife than submission is no problem. My husband loved me and would never have asked anything of me that he would not ask of himself. I had deep respect for him as a person who loved God and I admired his deep faith. He was calm and gentle. He put my needs above his own. It really isn’t hard to respect someone like that or to submit. Not that we never had a fuss. Once I apologized to him for being such a controlling person(which I am) and he responded,”You only have as much control as I give you and I only have as much control as you give me.” In practicing couples counseling I find that most conflict is rooted in the control issue. We all have to learn to submit to the will of another if it is not against what God would have us to do.
    2.B Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. He loved the Church(us) so much that He left Heaven to live in a sin stained world where he was rejected by His own people and than He died a suffering, horrible death for us.He forgives us and cleansed us and we will be without stain or blemish. Husband’s who love their wives in this way will be compassionate, caring and not demanding. They will love us as much or more than they love themselves. There is always some selfishness in human love but in Christ’s love there is no selfishness.I also find in counseling couple’s they frequently fail to show respect for one another which is a very important quality in a marriage.


  15. 2. A. How are wives to submit to their husbands according to verse 22?

    * as to the Lord.
    * submit in everything as the church submits to Christ.

    B. How are husbands to treat their wives according to verse 25?

    * Love them and give up their lives for them just as Christ did for the church. Husbands are to nurture their wives spiritually.

    C. How is this rephrased for each in verse 33?

    * The husband loves his wife as he loves himself and the wife is to respect her husband.

    D. How did Christ fulfill his role perfectly as a husband?

    * He gave up his life for us completely by dying for us to take care of our sin debt, and then as he sanctifies us cleansing us of our sins making us pure, bringing us before God as pure without blemish or stain.

    E. How are you and how could you better submit to and respect your heavenly husband?

    *As Judy shared about being a control freak that is something I too struggle with. Even though Jesus has given me victory over having it define me, it is still lurking in the shadows and rears it’s ugly head from time to time..well, a bit more than time to time. Sometimes I don’t even realize it until the next day and I realize that red flag the Holy Spirit put in my spirit was in regard to how I handled a situation. I would have to say that this is an area where I can easily show I am not respecting Jesus. Control comes in many different forms and it can be deceptive.

    If I continue to abide in him he will wash me and help me in this area as the ‘control freak’ pops to the surface. When I allow it to take over even momentarily and then continue throughout the day with it then I am not handing it to Jesus for that day and I am not submitting and respecting him. I am sure glad he is gentle and long suffering with me. Oh how he loves me. 🙂

  16. Dee, thank you for clarifying that for me because I truly did not understand. I have confused literally with ‘literally true’.

    I am so burdened right now and would like to ask all of you to pray for my dear friend Gloria. She has had rheumatoid arthritis for 40 years and I know that her pain has been great. Now she has metastatic mouth cancer from the drug they give for this. I saw her in the recovery room at my work today. She is in the later stages. I know the Lord will take her home soon but I need help to pray for her. She loves the Lord so and has never been bitter or angry since I have known her. What a precious sister she is.
    Thanks for praying.

    1. Lord
      My sister Anne has asked for help praying for her dear friend Gloria. It is times such as this I don’t know what to pray except ‘thy will be done’. Give Anne strength as she travels this journey with Gloria. Gloria will soon be going home to be with you. May she finish her final days well-glorifying your name to the end. Amen.

    2. Dear Anne, I’m crying as I just read what you wrote about your dear friend, Gloria. Please know I am praying very much for her.

    3. I will certainly be praying for your friend.

      1. Anne, I will pray for your friend today. I am so sorry to hear she is going through this and will pray for strength for you as well.

    4. Thank you all so very much for praying for Gloria.

  17. I’ve been looking forward all day to this time of study. Like Joyce I was raised with an unhealthy attitude about sex and I never had true intimacy with my ex. So this study has been a little awkward for me. But, in spite of my history, I’m going to jump in the deep waters and start swimming around.

    1.A Christianity holds the loftiest view of sex because it holds that sex is holy, good, and lovely.

    B. Parallels between earthly intimacy and intimacy with Jesus.

    Rebecca, you gave a beautiful answer to this, so I only want to add trust, adoration, and seek to have uninterrupted time with each other.

    C. When looking at a scriptural parable it is important to look for the central truth.

    2. Marriage Parable in Ephesians 5:22-33

    A. Wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ. The way I understand it, Paul is saying ‘wives follow the order of God. Place yourself in the proper and divinely-fitted position under your husband’.

    B. I like the way this verse is rendered in the Message: “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving, not getting”.

    C. Man must love his wife as much as he loves himself and the wife must respect her husband.

    D. I am going to go down a different path to answer this question. Christ fulfilled his role perfectly as a husband by becoming our provider of provender, our protection, and our peace.
    Christ gives us provender-our daily physical food-yet, at the same time, he is our spiritual provender. He stated, “I am the Bread of LIfe”(Jn 6:35) …Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”. (Mt 4:4)
    Christ provides protection for us as we go about our daily lives through the ministry of unseen angels. In John 14:6 Jesus said “I am…the Truth…” I’ve been thinking about how his truth protects our minds from the lies of the enemy. We are also protected from the wrath that is to come.
    Finally, Christ is our peace. It is because of his death on the cross that I was reconciled with God the Father. Before my salvation, I was at conflict with him but now I have the peace that passess all understanding.

    E. I can better submit and respect my heavenly husband by arranging to have uninterrupted time with him. I also need to stop talking so much and do more listening.

    1. Me too.

      1. 3. O.K. I am going to jump in and try this one..

        A. Challenge question: According to Genesis 1:27, male and female together image God. The first marriage was also one man and one woman for life. When you realize marriage is also a parable for Christ and His Bride, why is it important that it be both male and female? (Hints: Why it “otherness” important in this parable? Why is leadership important in this parable? )

        * While God is “He”, both Man and Woman and everything about them, even the leadership role he gave both of them to rule over the creatures of the Earth images God. God said let us make man in ‘our’ image, according to ‘our’ likeness: God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Man and woman image who God is together. They give a full picture of Him. It is like a symphony that was written for specific instruments and without all the musicians coming together it doesn’t reflect the fullness of the creator’s intent. This is true for Christ and His bride as well. Together we reflect the fullness of God’s intent. Man leads and cares for his wife spiritually as does Jesus. This is a leadership role God has given a man for his wife and it mirror’s Jesus’ leadership role in our life to lead and nurture us spiritually.

        B. Just as a husband and wife are designed to fit together physically, what are some ways God designed them to fit together emotionally and spiritually?

        * As we all have heard, women are the neck that moves the head of the man. God put man in a position of leadership responsibility over his wife. He is her leader spiritually as well. This role is like Christ’s leadership role over us-not unlovingly or oppressively but sacrificially. Men have a huge responsibility for their wives before God. Women are huge influencers of their husbands so we have that leadership role and are responsible for whether or not we use discretion with our words so we must be wise.

        * Emotionally, BOY do we need men!! At least I do. While my husband cries at the drop of a hat sometimes, even more than I do, overall he is more logical in his thinking and things are pretty cut and dry. I really need that stability- when I am weak my husband is strong. With me there is a lot of color. It can be good, but it can also be bad. My husband can pull the truth out of a situation quickly when it needs to be seen clearly whereas with me I consider all angles and can fog it up sometimes, and then sometimes it can be good to see all angles and this is where my influence can be really good for my husband or really bad.

        * I think God designs us in many different ways to fit together whether it be different personality types, or the obvious male female thinking differences.

        1. Rebecca
          I told Jesus this morning that I was going to defer this question to someone who had more wisdom in this area than I. He is using you to help me grow in an area that sorely needs weeding and tending. I’ve asked his Spirit to help me answer this one and I appreciate your prayers also. I prayed for you this morning. Have a great day!!!

      1. Dee, you are right.. Tammy is living the application here in her answer. Tammy, this is pretty cool because I was asking God for application and He just used you to show me where to start. 🙂 I have asked God to quicken me with His understanding and He helped me to start putting it together in my mind but I am still asking for application..I am just scratching the surface in this study and he has used you to help me here. God is sooo good! 🙂

  18. Hey all, I am not sure how this relates totally yet but this is what God is showing me: A HUGE part of how Jesus ministers to us spiritually as His bride, is by giving us one another-we are one in Him..

    I was talking with my mom about this and then a good friend yesterday and it led to some really good conversations, and we all agreed that our experience in a few church bodies we had been in had been where there wasn’t a contagious fire for Jesus that we could be uplifted by and learn and grow from. I went through a depression for a long time yearning for fellowship with other women who were on fire. That is an integral part of our union with Jesus. We need each other. God speaks to us through each other as we share what he is showing us and as we are honest about where He has us at. Just like with Tammy and I this morning. Tammy is so on fire. (There is a better way to say that but ‘on fire’ seems to be coming to mind).

    God is showing me how all of us fit together in the body of Christ and how crucial of a part fellowship is.

    Thank you Lord for bringing Dee’s study to me and these wonderful,contagious women. You amaze me God with how you orchestrated this in my life and how you have provided for deeper fellowship and have put me in a community of women who will help stoke the fire you have lit inside of me. Help me to be that for them as well not only here on this blog but in the church home you have given us. Bless Tammy this morning Lord as you continue to work in her heart and show her the things you want her to see and Lord help me to clear the fog from the business of my day to see clearly what you are showing me. For those who may be struggling whose fire is dim I ask you would use other women in their lives who know you to stoke that fire in them, and Lord I fear mine might go dim again. Help me Lord to be aware of things that take my eyes off of you and that might cause me to fail to redeem the time you have given me. Break my pride Lord and humble me. Help me do that today Lord.

    1. Sorry this is SO WORDY.. I tried to edit it and the thing said I ran out of time..

    2. I think ‘on fire’ is the best way to put it. On Pentecost the Holy Spirit appeared as a flame of fire on their heads. What you say here makes me think of the way worship spreads through a congregation. Even if eyes are closed, the oneness with Christ is so much more powerful than when the worship is pale or cool. I agree that as we share how God is working in each of our lives He is worshiped and we lift each other up. Speaking of God’s order of our lives, I found out that my church will have a fall women’s Bible study on…praying the Psalms! I can’t go because of my work schedule so how wonderful that I have done Dee’s study. On to Friendships of Women. What you have mentioned about wanting to have friends that will sharpen you and light a fire for the things of God is what I want also in friendships. Right now I have only one face to face friend who really does that and what a treasure she is!

  19. 2.E. I could show my Heavenly Father more submission and respect if I listened to Him more. I could be less impatient and wait for His answer rather than being a ‘Sarah’ and trying to make my own answers.
    3.A. A man and a woman are united in marriage to show one complete individual. Otherness is important because we bring together the missing parts of one another. Men and women are different, though I am aware that is not a popular view, their differences are important. They fit together like two puzzle pieces, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Taking one puzzle piece, copying it and than trying to fit it together doesn’t work. God created male and female and brought them together to mirror the marriage between Christ and the Church. They are different yet compliment one another. It would seem that to try to change the two parts is trying to go against what God showed to us. Leadership is important because without a leader nothing gets accomplished. Actually without a leader you have a constant struggle for control. A man and a woman coming together in love and creating a safe and secure environment in which to raise their children is the perfect picture of a family. When a woman and a man unite they bring forth fruit. A same sex relationship is fruitless.

    1. Love your answer to 3. A , Judy. You just said everything I was thinking but didn’t know the right words to say it.

  20. Hope I am not taking over here.. yikes, don’t mean too but I just re-watched this video as a friend posted it on her facebook. I have loved this video but I am watching it with new eyes since we have done this study.. How God used Sara Groves time in Rwanda with the people there to give her a deeper understanding of how he loves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSdP6PqsbJY

    1. Rebecca, that was beautiful. You sing just as pretty yourself, tho! (I saved your song) Can you repost it for those that missed it?

      1. Joyce, Thanks! Sure I can repost it. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=corqRijNzxo

        Here is another one I recorded with a girl group I was in called “One Voice”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjOgZ2pr9NE I sincerely hope this encourages you sis! 🙂

  21. I must admit this is a little difficult for me. I definitely can’t do it after work because I just can’t focus enough. Here is what I have come up with for #4. I will have to come back to #3.

    a. What are the three amazing things Agur sees? How do the two become one in each case? A bird in flight, a snake on a rock and a ship at sea. Each is uniquely equipped to travel a certain way. A bird flies in the air and without the freedom of the open space and air currents it could not travel. A snake can get traction on a rock without legs and move quickly. A ship can move over water with ease but only on water. Can we say that the 2 things are symbiotic. Together they make a thing of beauty and freedom not present separately.

    b. What is the fourth mystery, the beauty Agur “does not understand?” How is this a culmination of the two becoming one? Agur mentions the fact that the woman is young which makes me think that he may be referring not only to courting and sex but also to childbirth. That would be a great mystery when nothing was known about sperm and ovaries. It is still magical, but even more so then.

    c. What is the contrast in verse 20? This is the perversion of marriage and it is stripped to nothing but sex. The beauty is gone and the woman either does not see or denies that anything is missing.

    d. Why must sex be kept within the covenant of marriage in order to reflect the parable of Christ and His Bride? Without the commitment there can’t be the freedom and beauty. No matter how great the attraction it is really only what is described in verse 20. Not only that but there is no family for the child that may be born.

    1. Your answer to 3A is beautiful.

  22. I must admit, I am having difficulty with 3. I may skip to 4. This is something I’ve never studied and I’m stuggeling. I’m praying for God to give me insight and wisdom and to quicken me for this weeks lesson.

    1. Dee, How great that you remembered this and passed it on. God really gave her great insight into this passage.

    2. Wow, I am trying to take all this in, Dee. This is deep and so good! Thank you for Michelle’s and your answers to help me understand.

  23. Joyce, I just got your Facebook friend request and instead of hitting confirm, i hit ignore!! Yikes! So, I re-requested and you should be getting my friend request! 🙂

    1. Hey Rebecca and Joyce
      I’m on Facebook and would like to be your friends. Send me a request and I promise not to hit ignore. :0)

      1. Just sent a request.. Hope Joyce gets mine soon! 🙂

      2. Hey, I ,too, am on face book, how do I go about finding you to put in a friendship request? Tried your name but couldn’t find you.,

        1. Judy, for some reason I had to google Tammy’s name to find her Facebook account. I couldn’t find it on my search engine on F.B.

          Judy, I will look for yours. Hopefully there aren’t a lot of “Judy Taylors”. What state do you live in? That might help me narrow it down. 🙂

        2. Judy, there are a lot of Judy Taylors. Let me know how I can know it is you and I will send you a request! 🙂

        3. I live in alabama and there is a picture of my five year old grandson on my page, he is somewhat covered with paint and kneeling down. You are right there are a LOT of Judy Taylor’s.

        4. Judy, I must add that Dee has a F.B. page for her ministry and you can be a fan of it. I might be able to find you on there as you might already be a fan. 🙂

        5. Yikes..’a fan’ I know Dee probably doesn’t like how that sounds, I know I wouldn’t, but you get what I am saying.. 🙂

        6. Judy & Tammy (and anyone else on here), I would love to get to know you better through facebook because I think of you as my spiritual sisters for all eternity! Dee has this bible study on there,also. Go to Joyce L. Bond Keim Peterson and there will be a great big, bright and shining face of Kendra on there! There is a orange line of light behind her head in this picture. I will accept you as my friend. I put Kyla’s picture in my profile pictures for a short time. I have to take her picture off soon as she could be found out by some bad people (clients) she works with in her job if they find her on facebook. Kyla want’s to protect her family. I only posted them for Rebecca (and you now) to see, then I will have to take her pictures off.

    2. I got your acceptance

  24. 4. A and B were answered wonderfully!

    C. What is the contrast in verse 20?

    * This is a HUGE contrast..It wreaks of selfishness.. “She eats and wipes her mouth”-there is nothing there other than her meeting her sexual need. She detaches herself spiritually from the person she is with. It is cold and just a sex act yet it effects her and her partner in a destructive way both spiritually and emotionally in contrast to the way God intended it to be in a marriage covenant which is mentioned above.

  25. 4A. The tree amazing things Agur sees are:

    An eagle in the air
    Let me share what I read just yesterday in my devotional Streams in the Desert. “You can never expect to keep an eagle in the forest. You might be able to gather a group of the most beautiful birds around him, provide a perch for him on the tallest pine, or enlist other birds to bring him the choicest delicacies, but he will reject them all. He will spread his proud wings and, with his eye on an Alpine cliff, soar away to his own ancestral halls of rock, where storms and waterfalls make their natural music.” J.R. Macduff

    Take an eagle out of the sky and stick him in a cage at the zoo and you will see a majestic bird droop and wither in spirit.

    A snake on a rock
    If I understand correctly, snakes use the rock not only as a pathway but also as a source of energy. As we know snakes are cold-blooded and need a certain number of hours sunning itself on the rock in order to have the energy to move about its business of survival.

    A ship in the sea
    I live only 50 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and one of the most majestic scenes to watch is a huge container ship coming in from the ocean and making its way to the port.
    I had a client, she’s now deceased, whose husband died on Christmas Day many years ago while building his dream boat. He was not long retired from his job and was looking forward to spending time on the water in his small ship. The boat sat in the backyard and was a sad sight to see. When Helen had to move across country to live near her daughter, the boat was sold and began making its journey from backyard to water. After 20+ years it finally had the opportunity to fulfill its purpose.

    In each of these scenes the two become one when the eagle, the snake, and the ship do what each were created to do-soar, glide, and sail.

    1. Dee, haha!! Yep I can imagine when you came on here what you thought! 🙂

      1. I’m not that big into facebook like some either but it’s a nice way to connect and keep in touch.

    2. Sorry, Dee, we will get back to Bible Study and behave. This is such a great study. I have really had to think on this one and than I research and than I get carried away with the research and don’t have time to answer the question.

  26. This is off subject but I think you will love this video as I do! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5dSIL358NM&NR=1

    1. Anne, right now there must be a lot of internet traffic so my videos are pausing a lot. This one kept stopping. I will have to look at it early in the a.m. tomorrow.

    2. I think you will be glad if you come back to it. It is wonderful to see fire for the Lord from formerly communist countries. It just shows what happens when the church is persecuted.

    3. That was really neat, Anne!

      1. Anne, that was really cool, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  27. 4. A. The marriage parable in Proverbs30:18-20. What are the three amazing things Agur sees? Agur sees the amazing eagle in the sky and the serpent on a rock and the ship on the sea. How do the two become one in each case? The eagle becomes one with the sky and the snake becomes one with the rocks and the ship becomes one with the sea.

    B. What is the fourth mystery, Agur does not understand. He sees the way of the man with the maiden and does not understand this way of becoming one because it is purely just sex as a adulteress. It certainly is not what God had in mind when he created husband and wife becoming one, physically, emotionally or spirtually.

    C. What is the contrast in verse 20? The contrast of a loving, faithful wife and a adultress that seems like a animal after it’s kill…she eats, wipes her mouth and feels no wrong doing. She has no quilt about the sin she committed. The contrast is living in God’s way or Satin’s way.

    D. Why must sex be kept within the covenant of marriage in order to reflect the parable of Christ and his bride? Because we honor God when we keep sex within the marriage. It is a commitment we make when we marry our earthly husband and to our heavenly husband. It is like the parable of Christ and us as his bride because we want to be pure and white as snow when he comes for us. Only through Christ can we be this way because of his glorious mercies and forgiveness. We are born of sin and are like the adultress wiping her mouth and feeling no quilt. Only through Jesus can we be forgiven and cleansed.

  28. Ok, I think I am ready to finish. What a great study! Lord, thank You for teaching Dee these things and teaching us through her. Thank You for the marvelous and unsearchable depths of Your love. Show us how to respond to You please Lord. Amen

    5. Find a few verses in Hosea chapter 2 that show that sin is not so much breaking the rules, but unfaithfulness, breaking the heart of God. In verses 1-13 God promises punishment for ‘Gomer’s’ promiscuity. He sounds like a hurt lover. He has given her all of these blessings and she has used them for her lovers. Then in verses 14 and 15 He turns and speaks of a plan to win her love again. Not punishment but withholding of blessing so that she will remember His love and respond to Him in love again. He does not want to punish her. He wants her to love Him. God has all power and authority but He will not use it for the purpose of forcing us to submit to Him. He wants us to love Him and therefore submit.

    In reading Hosea 2 I think it says much more than I ever realized about what our marriage to Him will be like. I hope I can get my thoughts out intelligibly. God speaks of ‘her’ until verse 18 when he switches to them, saying that he will make a covenant with the wild animals for them (her?). Then He goes on to speak of responses between Himself and creation and then the response of creation to the land. I’m not completely sure how but this seems to me to describe the way of lovers spoken of in Proverbs 30:19. Then He says He will sow her in the land. I had never really had a ‘life verse’ until I studied Hosea 2 and I was impressed that Hosea 2:23 was it for me. I saw much in it about redemption but did not completely understand why it was ‘mine’. The picture seems a little clearer now. He will sow me in the land…I have already forgotten where the verse is that talks about our present bodies being only seeds of what they will be.

  29. 6. What will you remember and apply from this week? This week has been difficult and I’m sure I have not grasped all of the teaching, but what I have gotten has thrilled my soul. I realize that I look forward to heaven to escape from life’s difficulties. But in this study I am getting a glimpse of glory unspeakable. As scripture says “eye has not seen”-we cannot imagine. Because of the scriptures we have studied and because of the witness of the Spirit within, I know the things we have learned are true. What glories await. We will not only have rest. We will be more than just in the presence of the Lord. We will be united with Him in a way that far exceeds the perfect earthly marriage. Not only that but I think we will be one with each other as the church and His bride. It is hard to imagine and much to ponder. There are people in heaven now that I never knew and I have often thought of spending time with them and hearing about their experiences here on earth. What if we in some way share consciousness, experiences and knowledge? I think that sharing in the thoughts and feelings of others is true romance.

    What I understand better is His love. I will try to remember this and respond to Him based on a deeper understanding of that love.

  30. 4D. Has already been answered so well. I don’t have much to add! 🙂

    5. The Marriage Parable in Hosea

    Find a few verses in chapter 2 that show that sin is not so much breaking the rules, but unfaithfulness, breaking the heart of God.

    * Wow, this definitely reveals God’s heart breaking and it definitely reveals how unfaithfulness breaks His heart. He really shows His heart is jealous for her in verses 2, and 13, 14.

    *Also, I see a shift from heartbreak to restoration..v.1-13 is heartbreak over her affair with idols and then from 14-23 is restoration. This chapter is a beautiful picture of how God loves us. Wow, look at verse 14!!!!! This is how God loves even when our hearts go astray and we have idols we worship..He doesn’t throw us out or ‘divorce us’ or separate himself from us:

    14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the desert
    and speak tenderly to her.

    *This is so beautiful. I can picture this-so lovely..

    * Wow, did you see what is in verse 16?

    Dee, tell me if I am wrong here in what I see, but this just popped out to me in regard to the contrast between ‘husband’ and ‘master’. Perhaps God saw this was the way her heart was toward Him in their relationship where she saw him as master rather than her husband. Calling one ‘Master’ is more of a devotion out of duty-kind of cold and robotic love rather than a passionate love which is what God desires mirroring the passionate love between a husband and wife:

    “In that day,” declares the LORD,
    “you will call me ‘my husband’;
    you will no longer call me ‘my master’.”

    -There is a huge difference between a husband and a master. A husband is deeply intimate spiritually, emotionally and we are one in a beautiful unison as the ship is with the sea, and the eagle with the sky and the snake with the rock. It is a much deeper relationship-refer to above for what that looks like.

  31. 6. What will you remember and apply from this week?

    * I have gotten A LOT out of this study this week and last week. This is one of those studies that you can do over and over and get something new out of it.

    * God has spoken to me in a way that was unexpected. He is my heavenly husband-passionate for me, jealous for me and He wants me to love him as intimately-well, more intimately than I love my earthly husband because He loves me that intensely. He even will pursue me when I have a season of an idolatrous affair with the world. When I sin it breaks his heart, and rather than ‘divorcing’ me he causes me to reap the consequences of my sin in a way that deals with that sin and in the process he Allures me in the desert and speaks tenderly to me. I can’t help but think this could also mean he takes us into a desert time as we are suffering from the consequences of sin and speaks tenderly to us in that time and draws us back near to His heart.. This is too lofty, too wonderful for me to understand, but I sure am humbled and inside on my knees thanking Him that He loves me this way.

    It is a shame that this isn’t taught more in our churches.

    1. As I read your response Rebecca I am reminded of the song you shared. He is jealous for me. His love like a hurricane…

      It is a shame that Bible study seems to be a man’s world and they dig for different treasure.

      Dee, this would make a wonderful Women’s Conference.

      1. Anne, I agree. This would make an awesome women’s conference. I do think she needs to get this study out.

        1. I agree too! This would be an awesome conference.

  32. Anne, That is funny because that song has been coming to mind this whole week, and then after I read this chapter. I posted it on f.b. and I have been trying to get some women I know over there to come here on this study because it is life changing.

    He wants to give us a taste of what that one-ness will be like with him in the future here on Earth. It is just a taste though.. I can’t imagine what the whole will be like, as you so eloquently stated.

    This past month or two on this blog has turned me from a lonely season of being passionless in my walk with Jesus to having a stronger passion for Him because He has it for me and I want to respond-I am coming out of the cleft of the rock. I don’t want to go back to that desert time.

    It reminds me of those early years when I first came to know him. That is why I mentioned of my sadness as to why our churches aren’t getting into this truth about God more.

  33. I have to share with all of you. God is so on time.

    I guess it was almost a year ago when Joey asked me to take him to see a movie when it came out. I liked the look of it so I said sure. Well it never came to the theaters here. I requested it on Netflix and finally they got it. I think it has been on my que for over 6 months. It came today and we just finished watching it. To Save a Life was a home run with my 9th grade boy (and with me). It is definitely not for younger children because it deals with teen suicide, pregnancy and lots of other teen issues at school and at church. There was nothing whitewashed about it. The underlying theme was mercy and how it can make a difference in people’s lives and even save lives. Joey is stoked. He wants me to buy the movie and I am on Amazon right now…

    1. I have been wanting to see that but we have to watch it without the boys around which is kind of hard right now. Sounds really great!

  34. Hey all, we are going to a pastor’s luncheon after church today to get to know them and see where the senior pastor’s heart is for His church. This church is a huge church as it has 4,000 members and that is just the members! What is cool is that that hasn’t mattered so far because we are getting to know people anyway.

    I would love to see Dee do a conference there. Especially this study. God could touch the hearts of a lot of women.

    Have a great morning ladies worshiping the Lord with your brothers and sisters!

  35. Joyce and Rebecca did a wonderful job with 4 c/d. I don’t have anything to add there.

    5. Hosea 2:2,5,6,10,13 are the verses which tell us sin is unfaithfulness to God.

    …let her put away her harlotries…and her adulteries…v.2

    …”I will go after my lovers…v.5

    …she will chase her lovers…v.6

    Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers.v.10

    …she…went after her lovers.v.13

    Have a beautiful day of worship everyone!!

  36. 5. The verses I found in Hosea 2 that show sin breaking the heart of God are:

    v.1 “she has obtained pity”
    v.3 “make her as in the day she was born”
    v.10 “no one shall rescue her out of my hand”
    v.13 “and forgot me, says the Lord”
    v.14 “I will allure her”
    v.14 “and speak tenderly to her”
    v.15 “I will give her vineyards…and a door of hope”
    v.19 “and I will betroth you to me forever and in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and mercy and faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord”
    v.23 “I will have pity”

    Like Israel, God wanted to restore Hosea to the place of honor and blessing.

    I can hardly believe how much God loved Hosea (and us)…so much even after so much sin in her (our) lives that he has so much pity and tenderness towards us and is willing to restore us as the day we were born without sin. With repentance God promises blessings! It’s hard for me to even fathom the love God has for us after reading this chapter in the bible. I don’t remember reading and understanding it this way before.

    I have gotten so much out of this week’s lesson because I’ve learned so much about what God intends for the marriage bed. It helps free up the inhabitions I have held for all these years, put into my head as a kid/teenager from my mom about” sex is dirty and men are bad”. Also it is so awesome to see how the Lord will forgive us if we only ask. I feel so blessed to be a child of God!

  37. 6. What will you remember and apply from this week?

    First, I will remember that it was during this study my Eternal Husband assured me of His love for me. He KNOWS me and STILL LOVES me.
    Second, I will remember that Jesus had to confront me about an area of unfaithfulness in my life. I acknowledged and confessed my sin and had the richest time of worship this morning at church. As a result of camping out in this study I have a clearer understanding of what intimacy with Jesus really entails. My application will be to respond when He initiates. So many mornings He has woken me up before dawn to meet with me and I told him no, not right now. I broke his heart and didn’t consider how I was hurting him.
    Finally, this week will be remembered as the time Anne, Joyce, Judy, Rebecca, and myself connected on Facebook. I have been praying for a long time to be part of a like-minded faith community. God has brought us all together to lift one another up in encouragement and prayer. As Anne stated in one of her posts “on to Friendships of Women”.

    1. Tammy, I love how you called our little group on f.b. “4iron”-as iron sharpens iron. 🙂

  38. Tammy, I also am so happy to be part of a faith community like ours! I pray the Lord will add to our numbers.

    This Sunday’s sermon was on the 7th commandment and there is one part I particularly want to share because it caught me off guard and amazed me. When it comes out in PDF I will share it.

    Question for the 4Irons and any other interested. Would anyone be interested in trying to go to one of Dee’s conferences? There is one coming to Michigan on October 1-3. It is a little far for me and I know even farther for you, Tammy. Michigan in the fall sounds very tempting to me but driving is really the only reasonable way to go because a car will be required to get there (and bring home apples) and airfare alone is nearly $400. I’m not at all sure I could go but I am praying about it and thought I would put it out to you all. If not this one perhaps another.

    1. Anne, I would love to go, but it is too far for me. With my hubby’s work schedule I couldn’t go out of town overnight. 🙁 I know Dee is doing one in the spring next year in Kansas City, Mo. which is very close and I am planning on going to that one. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if we all showed up at one of them! It would be a great time of fellowship with one another, and it would be cool if we could sit with each other as well. I would also love to meet Liz and her mom.

      1. That would be close for me in NE but far for others. Would be great tho!

  39. Hey gals, guess what our pastor taught on this morning?!? God’s deep love for us.. I kid you not!! The worship leader did the songs around that and then asked for people to give testimony of praise for how God worked in their life this week.. This is a new church, lots of people, and I am shy about stuff like this, but God had me raise my hand and i told them briefly of Genesis and Hosea 2 and how God was showing me how deep his love is for me these past two weeks. 🙂

  40. All of you had wonderful answers. I ended up with grandchildren from Friday night through this afternoon. Not at all a bad thing but somewhat destracting. I forget how much energy you put into children. Been awhile since I was raising them.
    In looking for answers to these questions, especially in reading Hosea, I am reminded again how much love God has for us and how much forgiveness He extends. We are all so prone to wonder off into the world. God’s love is amazing and I am especially needing it right now. My husband and I spent a lot of time together praising God for His love and blessings. I have missed my husband but I am thankful to God that He is sending more people into my life to help me in areas where I miss Tim so badly. Sometimes I forget that it is God that makes my life complete not another person. Thank all of you for being there. Know that you are filling a much needed role in my life and I believe God brought us all together for a reason.

  41. Well, the reference I promised from Sunday’s sermon is not on the PDF file or at least I can’t find it so I will try to remember.

    In a Jewish engagement ceremony the groom says to the bride that he will go to prepare a place for her and when it is ready he will come for her. The place is a room attached to the groom’s family home. I thought this very reminiscent of Jesus’ words in John 14:2-3
    In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
    And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
    He also said that the room is ready when his father says it is…