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ARISE MY LOVE, MY BEAUTIFUL ONE

 

Arise My love, My beautiful one,

 

My dove, in the clefts of the rock,


in the crevices 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 2:13-14 (Holman)

 

Ann Brigman 1912 photograph

 

Our own Rebecca found this lovely photograph from 1912 of a woman tentatively coming out of the cleft of a rock in Hawaii. It so vividly portrays the fear we have in leaving our idols and going higher with the Lord. But Rebecca is a living illustration of how God will indeed meet us when we arise and follow Him. I’m excited to show you two videos this week by going to this website:

https://vimeo.com/timmahony/albums

Under Dee Brestin ministries first watch Rebecca’s video. (Even if you saw it before — watch it again, because it is better!)

These video testimonies will be a part of the Idol Lies curriculum. This weekend we filmed the rest. I have felt like the Shulammite maiden in the cleft of the rock — afraid of all the things that were out of my control — and there was so much! But God has met me — has met us. I cannot even begin to tell you how well it went — beyond my hopes. (I have only seen some of the footage — didn’t want to see myself — but the scenery Ben caught and one little clip of a nine-year-old boy walking on a thin fence (to illustrate the narrow way of the gospel — and how you can fall off to the side of rebellion or self-righteousness) and the way he captured it, his feet in slow motion…And two women from Moody from Thailand and Trinidad came and gave such good comments….My friend Cynthia was here and was AMAZING –and her husband cooked five fabulous meals that blessed us all. This morning I realized this video could be adapted, with my son’s help, for the prisons. God has met me — and all He asked of me was to release control and move out toward Him.

We’ve been learning from Jonah that “those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” Rebecca ties this into the Song of Songs, where at first the Shulammite refuses to come out of the cleft, for it seems safer to cling to her idols.

Even if you saw Rebecca’s old video — please watch the new one before you begin. Click here:

https://vimeo.com/timmahony/albums

This is from Rebecca:

“Let’s pray for a heart ready for any world to come-let’s pray for a new level,
let’s move up, grasp the grace of god so we are fearless enough and humble
enough to handle the world whatever it is-salvation is from the Lord.”

Tim Keller

God has shown me that a little grasp of Grace is not enough before a Tsunami.

My Tsunami came when I married. My stepdaughter suffered with anorexia; later, a son diagnosed with Autism-I feared, I crumbled. My little grasp of Grace wasn’t enough, and I began to run from God and into the cleft in the arms of my idol.

But He came and pulled me out plunging me into the wild waves of His Grace –Layer by layer the depths of the Cross. What love is this to plunge this white clothed sinner deeper still? Who am I?? I am finding strength as I slowly grasp deeper my need and His cost-yet I have so much deeper to go. He loves me despite me and I am confident He will take me higher for He calls me beautiful. Salvation is from the Lord!

Sunday/Monday

1. What stood out to you from the above and why? (Choose Rebecca’s words, her video, the photograph — or all of the above!)

 

2. Share a recent time when you either:

A. Clung to your idol in the cleft of the rock and suffered

 

B. Came out of the cleft, fearful yet trusting, and experienced grace

 

 

Bible Study:Monday-Wednesday

3. Read Song of Songs 2:8-12

A. This is both a portrait of an earthly bridegroom and of Jesus.

Find evidence that she admires him, loves him, and is pleased by him.

 

B. Challenge: Write your own prayer of praise to Jesus, based on the above verses.

 

4. Read Song of Songs 2:10-14

How does he attempt to persuade her to come out of the clefts to go higher with him?

 

5. It seems, by the sense of his absence in Song of Songs 3, that he failed to persuade her to go higher with him.

We can love the Lord, and still cling to our idols, forfeiting the grace that could be ours. How did you cling to

an idol last week? Result?

 


5. Read Song of Songs 5:6-7

A. How does she have a change of heart, as evidenced by verse 5?

 

B. This is when we find out where he was asking her to go with him. What do you think is meant by “the

mountain of myrrh?

 

C. How does he respond to her coming out of the cleft?

 

Jesus went ahead to The Mountain of Myrrh — and now calls us to follow. New Song has a song in which they imagine God the Father singing these verses to Jesus. To watch, click here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMHyGh0RgCA

 

 

Thursday-Friday (Rachael’s Story) Go to the same link and under Dee Brestin ministries, listen to Rachael’s story. https://vimeo.com/timmahony/albums

Rachael was in my face to face study with Rebecca in Kansas City. There were seven women — and five had dramatic changes in their lives. Rachael is a godly young woman, yet her life was changed. She has such depth, that I am going to break this video into three pieces and use it all in Idol Lies.

6. In the first part of the video Rachael discovers, through Powlison’s questions, that Jesus is often not her refuge. Where was she going for refuge? How did she begin to see this and then change? Do you identify?

 

7. Rachael has severe chronic health problems. How did she begin to see these differently? What do you think?

 

8. Rachael underwent a change in the way she related to her children. What did the Lord show her, and how is her relationship different now?

 

Saturday:

9. What’s your take-a-way and why?

 

 


 

 

 

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232 comments

  1. Dee, So glad it went better than you could have hoped! God met you, He is faithful! Thank you Lord for how you came to Dee, how you moved and quickened everyone there. Quicken J.R. as he edits, and go before preparing the hearts of those who will do this study. Open their eyes, quicken them with your Holy Spirit and attack the lies with your truth. Soften their hearts to hear you, and cause them to desire you more than comfort, control, affirmation. Open their eyes to the Cross like never before. Draw unbelievers to this study and help them see the Cross, and what real intimacy with you looks like. Satan has blinded so many through the media, and through our idolatry, but you have overcome!

      1. He blows me away-how He uses us for His glory- It is such a salve to my ragamuffin heart to know He wants us. 🙂 I certainly can see it, a version for the prisons, wow!.

    1. Amen to Rebecca’s prayer, it gave me goosebumps!

  2. rebecca–this is all so rich, so beautiful! Dee, so thankful for the great report–still praying continually!

    1.What stood out to you from the above and why? (Choose Rebecca’s words, her video, the photograph — or all of the above!)
    All of this from Rebecca moves me “My little grasp of Grace wasn’t enough, and I began to run from God and into the cleft in the arms of my idol. But He came and pulled me out plunging me into the wild waves of His Grace…”

    Rebecca’s words paint such a vivid image–capturing the honest, real fear I experience—and yet reminds me it is His way to pull me out of the cleft—and plunge me into what feels like wild waves, but He is there in them—“waves of Grace”.

    Excited for this week!

  3. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? (Choose Rebecca’s words, her video, the photograph — or all of the above!)

    Um… the phrase “stood out” makes this difficult because it is all SO good!
    Video was good before, but I agree that this is even better 🙂 The setting is beautiful and Rebecca clarified some things even more — that I thought were clear in the first place. Still love the beginning and the end! I’ll try to listen to this again someplace on a faster Internet or see if my cell phone works better (heard we are getting 4G here!); I know the impact will be even stronger if I listen straight through.

    Rebecca also chose a good quote from Keller, AND the pic made me think about how we think we’re safe in “a cleft of the rock” even though if we stayed there we’d be starved and dehydrated. Great job, Rebecca!

    The phrase “the cleft of the rock” reminded me of the hymn by Fanny Crosby. We are safe coming out of the cleft of the rock because our souls are protected in the cleft of another Rock. Her hymn is based on Exodus 33:22-23 “When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” Because of Jesus, we are protected from God’s holiness. God calls out of our perceived safety of one cleft with our idols to a cleft in which Jesus “[hides our lives] with the depths of His love.”

    Here’s part of the hymn (strikes me that Crosby saw “rivers of pleasure” because she was blind)

    Refrain:
    He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
    That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
    He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
    And covers me there with His hand,
    And covers me there with His hand.

    A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
    A wonderful Savior to me;
    He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
    Where rivers of pleasure I see.

    Refrain

    A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
    He taketh my burden away;
    He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved,
    He giveth me strength as my day.

    Refrain

    With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,
    And filled with His fullness divine,
    I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God
    For such a Redeemer as mine!

  4. 2. Share a recent time when you either:
    B. Came out of the cleft, fearful yet trusting, and experienced grace

    This is very current and the cleft is very literal; I’m just barely “in the doorway” of a cleft. For the past several years, my need to have some work flexibility combined with advances in technology (online EVERYTHING) and my desire to “fly under the radar” have combined so that I tend to hide behind a computer, often password protected sites (e.g., teaching, shopping, interaction in closed facebook groups). God has blessed me through fellowship and learning/teaching from a distance. But I also have become dependent on some anonymity (related to control and approval).

    I believe God is calling me to start a (very small) business on the side (to provide funding for “retirement” and ministry). I can’t go into details here yet (not only because I like to hide, but also because of permissions I need from current employment — I don’t have too much control working for a bureaucracy, but I do have some autonomy, and the rules are predictable!).

    Most likely, a business will involve a website (with info “about me” and a pic; yuck!). I’ve seen God’s grace daily; I started to get discouraged with (minimal) paperwork and lacked motivation to add to an already full schedule. Last week, when I was afraid, I thought about my idols and reminded myself of His LOVE for me. I’m starting to want to do things with other people again. Because this business development thing is going slowly, I am able to see that God has been and is preparing me each step of the way. I used to fear “the future” because the present was hard, but now I see that God doesn’t just drop me into the future. He is with me, preparing me each step of the way. When I look back on His faithfulness, I see that He is calling me to something (and Someone) more than my Internet-enhanced cave 🙂

    Wow, as I write this, I’m seeing that “business” is all about being with, knowing, and loving Him, rather than “serving” Him. The last sentence wasn’t very profound or articulate, but it was a HUGE missing link for me.

    1. Wow, Renee! I just had to respond to this. This is huge for you. I can see God really moving in your life! This is wonderful! I see you taking steps of faith with God leading. It gives me courage to step out of my cleft as well.

    2. Great post, Renee. “… I see that God doesn’t just drop me into the future. He is with me, preparing me each step of the way.” such great insight.

  5. I don’t have time to listen to videos right now. But this has touched my heart already. I am the Shulammite woman timid of stepping out into the joy that the Lord has for her. But as I really “get” more and more of that joy by focusing on His face, my fear is eroding. Already I see myself changing, beginning to embrace the wonder God has for me. So looking forward to this week.

  6. 2. Share a recent time when you either:

    A. Clung to your idol in the cleft of the rock and suffered

    Indulging in food, occasional smoking, and detachment from reality is what is keeping in the cleft. I feel so distant from God that it seems I’m standing on a lonely shore watching the sun slowly fade.
    I don’t understand what it means to totally surrender.
    I’m up in the Evanston area because I Iike to be near the lake. I feel so alone at times that I feel like I’m encased in some kind of glass menagerie I can’t seem to get free from.
    Sometimes I’m on the mountain and sometimes I feel I’m walking in a valley where there is no end.
    Ever since I broke off a friendship last year that was clearly unhealthy and based on relational idolatry, I have been alone without a close friend. I haven’t been looking, but instead have become more introverted.
    When I feel I am getting closer to the Lord, it’s like I sabbatoge it by being clearly disobedient or rebellious . I have an idea of how I should be as a woman of God, but I can’t seem to achieve it.
    When I get home I will watch Rebecca’s video, my iPhone won’t download it.

    1. Laura your words about feeling alone and wandering made me think of Jesus is a Rock in a Weary Land and in searching for that I found this hynm:

      Frances Bevan
      ________________________________________
      The Cloven Rock
      ________________________________________

      Isaiah 32:2
      In the great and terrible wilderness
      I wandered in thirst and dread;
      The burning sands were beneath my feet,
      And the firece glow overhead.
      The fiery serpents and scorpions dire
      Dwelt in that lonely land,
      And around and afar, as a glimmering sea,
      The shadowless, trackless sand.
      Then came a day in my journey drear
      When I sank on the weary road,
      And there fell a shadow across the waste—
      The shade of the wings of God.
      The shadow solemn, and dark, and still,
      Lay cool on the purple sand;
      The shadow deep of a mighty Rock
      In a weary, thirsty land.
      Of old from Heaven the thunder fell,
      And that mighty Rock was riven,
      And a river of water flowed down to me—
      A stream of the rain of Heaven.
      And the Hand that reft with the thunder dread
      The Rock of the Ages hoar,
      Down to my lips the waters led,
      And I thirsted nevermore.
      For out of the great eternal deep
      Those glorious waters flowed;
      They flowed from the fathomless depths of joy,
      They flowed from the Heart of God.
      From the depths of the tenderness all unknown,
      That passeth knowledge, they flow;
      I know it as ages of bliss roll on,
      Yet I never shall say, “I know.”
      And there, before the Rock that was riven,
      At the feet of the Lord who died,
      I drink of the depths of the love of Heaven,
      The mighty, exhaustless tide.
      “Drink, drink abundantly, O beloved!
      I was smitten, accursed for thee.”
      O lips as lilies, O mouth most sweet,
      That tell Thy heart to me!

      I pray that God will richly reward this time of seeking for you, that your weary wandering only will increase you desire for Him.

      1. Thank Chris S for your sharing this hymn!
        I just came back from a long walk around the Fox River, and came back read this study because I have a long work week ahead.
        I so appreciate you thoughtfulness.
        And your prayer Dee as well!
        God Bless!

  7. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? (Choose Rebecca’s words, her video, the photograph — or all of the above!)

    I love the new video. I liked it before but it’s even better now with further explanation of the idol concept by Rebecca and with beautiful scenery in the garden. Great job, Rebecca! Whose garden is it? (Just curious, I love flowers!)

    I have to say that I am drawn to that photograph: the timidity of the woman. Something about it feels like me. Her nakedness, vulnerability feels like a virgin bride on her wedding night tentatively opening herself to her new husband. Applying this to our relationship with God, he is our beloved. He wants us to open ourselves to Him, to plunge ourselves into the deep, deep waters of His love. But to do that we have to leave the seeming safety of the cleft and jump into the water.

    1. Diane, I love your insight into the photograph-I felt the same way when I saw it.

  8. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? (Choose Rebecca’s words, her video, the photograph — or all of the above!)

    Love the cool picture and the videos! Rebecca, you did a wonderful job 🙂

  9. 2. Share a recent time when you either:

    A. Clung to your idol in the cleft of the rock and suffered

    I feel like I sound like a broken record, but I am miles away from my home and getting messages from my son about Sarah accepting calls from an old friend who is not good for her at all. When Sarah spent time with her, something terrible would happen. The girl is a high school dropout who couldn’t pass the GED. I don’t know anyone who has been interviewed by the secret service in my life; this girl has and she is only 18!

    So, I try to “trust and obey,” stepping out on the precipice and trying very hard to have faith that God has a plan for my child. In the back of my mind I fear that she will end up like others; who are troubled and jailed, or worse dead because of her poor choices. I pray please Lord don’t let it happen to her; please help her overcome and find just one kind loving friend. But I know that someone has to be “that” person in our world. He answered a prayer by taking the other girl away (so far) but now here she is looking for trouble with an even worse influence. I don’t understand and I am so, so sad.

    I suppose I also have the control idol, like Angela and Rebecca. I can’t control who Sarah chooses to hang out with. She may end up in prison or dead or diseased. I guess my job is to continue to pray, let her make those mistakes and know that God has the last say. See, I can say the words and go through the motions, but I’m not sure it is permeating my heart.

    Please continue to pray for my daughter. I am sorry I keep asking but I don’t know what else to do. You are a reason for me to not give up. I will stand in the gap for Sarah Lord. Thank you for the women on this blog who are prayer warriors. Thank you for them giving me the strength to not give up. Thank you Jesus for your blessing on Sarah. I do not understand why we are suffering but I will do the best job I can in not questioning you, but accept that you are in charge. I will do my best to make sure to not control the situation. This is hard.

    1. Praying for Sarah and for you. Amen to Dee’s prayer.

    2. Laura, I wonder if it might not be good to pray for a godly husband for Sarah. It’s just a thought that came to me as I read this.

      1. This is a good thought…..

    3. Laura Dancer, you certainly aren’t belaboring us with this information. 🙂 We so appreciate you and being able to pray for Sarah. I know God’s heart is tender toward Sarah and you.

      Lord I agree with Dee-we cry out to you for Laura and Sarah-please intervene with your mercy and encourage Laura in the waiting-thank you for Laura’s heart seeking so deeply to trust you now, and for providing Sarah with a mother who loves you.

    4. I will definitely continue to pray for you, Sarah and your entire family. You are not a broken record at all! One thing that I’ve tried to keep in mind when my son was making bad friendship choices is that there is a reason behind the kind of friends that we choose. Maybe Sarah keeps choosing the “bad” people because they make her feel accepted for who she is and they’re fun (although it is the wrong kind of fun). She keeps going to the old friends because they’re familiar and she doesn’t have to start all over again with a new person. This may be something for you and her to discuss.

  10. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? (Choose Rebecca’s words, her video, the photograph — or all of the above!)

    The picture of the woman coming out of the cleft touched me. She is naked and vulnerable, yet she is coming out, still hesitant to let go of the rock, but she is coming out. It reminds me of how scared I was when God called me out of the cleft-how vulnerable I felt in giving him my pain.

    2. Share a recent time when you either:

    A. Clung to your idol in the cleft of the rock and suffered

    I think with worry-with things I haven’t been able to control these past two weeks-it has been several things. When I cling to my control or approval idol my near sin is worry and then anxiety comes.

    B. Came out of the cleft, fearful yet trusting, and experienced grace

    I saw the red flag of worry immediately and knew my control idol was operating, so I started examining my thought life and saw I was putting myself in the future when I had no business being there-what if this, what if that. Some of it was a mixture of approval in regard to decisions about church. I was fearful and tried to take it on myself, but I knew I had to make a decision to turn, so I trusted God and told him how scared I was but that I can entrust this to Him, the lover of my soul and the one whose sovereignty rules overall. His peace did come. He calmed my anxious heart-His unexplainable peace was a salve to my anxious heart. This is ongoing-daily. I see where I can get concerned over the littlest things.

    1. OH Rebecca I was doing this this weekend too!!!! he only gives us grace for today, not our imagined tomorrows!!! but how I start to worry and fret and almost think I can control it somehow by worrying about it!!!

      1. Cyndi, I know!! You are sooo right. When I do this I end up a twisted ball inside. It is really completely idiotic how I think I can control things but inevitably they end up stealing His joy and peace, making me miserable and self centered-in essence what I was trying to control, controls me! Most important though is that when I do this it breaks His heart. Like He says in Jeremiah, it truly is exchanging my Glorious God for worthless idols. I hate it that my sin nature is bent to doing this-BUT He turned everything upside down on the cross! He can use our ‘bent nature’ to turn us into beautiful butterflies. I just don’t like the pain part. 😉

  11. “God has shown me that a little grasp of Grace is not enough before a Tsunami.”

    I love this picture! you have to have a DEATH GRIP on God if your going to not be washed away by the Tsunami’s in your life.
    I was thinking of how a drowning person will often drown their rescuer because they will grasp hold so tight….Our God of grace is the only rescuer that is not drownable!
    My death grip will never drown my God!
    BUT let me tell you, holding onto my idol is like holding onto toilet paper in the water as you are going under….not only does in not keep me up, but it disintegrates at my touch. Idols seem to be our friends, they feel really good and look so innocent and really don’t cause us a whole lot of trouble until the tempest comes….then they leave us floundering on our own, flailing around looking for something to hang into.

    this is a rabbit trail tangent about lily so feel free not to read it!
    I took 4 hours last friday to walk around a metropark and spend some quality time with my sweet savior. I believe HE knew the battle that was ahaid with Lily, HE gave me the strength the fight the battle instead of run from it, it was so very hard not to let her have her own way, It would have been so easy to ignore the eye roll, the ugly/pride filled tone. I had to take a sleepover with her only friend away from her, it broke my heart. her anger was palpatable and there was NO sign of repentance anywhere. I gave her 4 chances to say she was sorry and she would not. finally she screamed at me that no one in this family loved her…..and that is when I went to war with the enemy! Im not sure what all came out of my mouth other then “that is a lie from the pit of hell and you need to spot listening to saten as he puts that lie in your head” and then I listed the 100 proofs that say we DO love her and told her to go pray until she was able to hear Gods voice instead of the enemys, then I asked you to pray! 30 min. later a different girl came up the stairs. there will be lots more battles, I know, but nameing the enemy has made him much less powerful.
    I have been talking with Sarah, me sweet 22 yr. old friend who moved in with us last week she was raped last year and has kept it a secret and covered it up with a lot of lies. secrets and lies are satens playground, he loves the dark, but God works best in the light. I struggle with anxiety, with feeling overwhelmed. But when I am able to tap into God he has been faithful to fill me with peace and energy that is beyond ME and MY strength. its just that way to often I am not tapping into HIS strength and then it gets very ugly, you just can not do this life without super natural help! well if you can let me know because im a mess in a ball it the corner when i try!!!!!

    1. Cyndi, this tangent wasn’t a tangent. It was good. You went to Him on that four hour walk-so important to do-so glad you got to spend that time with him. I can relate to having many sinful humans including me in my home-it can be rough, there are issues just about every day, every hour-some battle comes up we encounter, but what I love about you is that you spent that time with Him. loved your toilet paper analogy. 🙂

    2. Love you speaking the truth to Lily & doing battle with the enemy, the swift turning of her heart and your toilet paper/ drowning word picture

      1. well, if she does not believe that we love her yet….we will keep proving it to her:-) not a thing she could do to make us not love her!

    3. Loved the word picture of holding on to our idols being like holding on to toilet paper in the water when you are going under. Keeping that in mind should make it easier for me to let go and grab on to something that will save me, like a rock.

  12. This week my friend Pat is joining me in Bible study. My answers will be those of both Pat and myself. Thank you in advance for welcoming Pat to our study!

    3. Read Song of Songs 2:8-12

    A. This is both a portrait of an earthly bridegroom and of Jesus.

    Find evidence that she admires him, loves him, and is pleased by him.

    The phrase “The voice of my beloved” indicates her love for him. She compares him to things in nature….animals who are beautiful to look at; she describes him as very energetic, leaping and bounding to get to her; he speaks to her in a very loving and caring manner. The seasons are changing. In the world it is a time of re-birth, spring has come and it’s a time of re-generation.

  13. B. Challenge: Write your own prayer of praise to Jesus, based on the above verses.

    Dear Lord, Thank you for helping Pat and me arrive safely in Utah and thank you for your blessings in our trip through Idaho and Wyoming. We anticipate enjoying Your natural beauty of earth this week. Help us to use it as a reminder of You throughout the week. Please help us to use our intelligence to apply the knowledge we have learned to the land around us. Hold us in your hand through this week. Hold us up if we fail in body or mind as this is a strenuous week both physically and mentally. Take away our stress and worry by holding it yourself. Speak to us when needed, when we may become weak. Recharge our bodies and spirit so we may remain safe and free from physical illness or spiritual dryness. In Your Holy we pray, Amen.

    1. Welcome Pat, so glad that you and Laura have this time to enjoy creation & seek God together as sisters in Christ.

    2. Welcome Pat! I’m so thankful that Laura has a close spiritual sister.

  14. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? (Choose Rebecca’s words, her video, the photograph — or all of the above!)

    First of all Praise God for granting favor to you & your team Dee, may He use efforts as a mighty weapon against the enemy! I felt such joy reading your good report.

    The video is even better than the first : ) Rebecca articulates her experience so well. I love seeing her boys, it brought back memories of how full our house once was and remembrance of how hard a house full of boys can be, but I do miss it now that they are grown. The part that struck a chord deeply with me was when she spoke about when began to contemplate how deep Gods love for her was, as this has been what I have been trying to preach to myself lately. How Deep the Fathers Love for Us, immediately came to mind.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voawjjqg8zw

    The photo is wonderful. I thought though that if I were as lithe and thin as she, I wouldn’t be so ashamed to come out from my hiding place, a photo that I could imagine as me would need to be quite a bit chubbier!

    That imagery of hiding in the rocks has been powerful for me ever since the Woman of Moderation study on Midday. Comfort is my biggest idol struggle and I see how it has so often kept me locked in fear, kept me from following the call to trust and follow and go higher.

    I love that Renee referenced He Hideth My Soul. My mom used to sing Rock of Ages to us and to our babies as she rocked them it was one of her favorites.

    Rock of Ages, cleft for me
    Let me hide myself in thee
    Let the water and the blood
    From thy wounded side which flowed
    Be of sin the double cure
    Save from wrath and make me pure

    Not the labor of my hands
    Can fulfill thy law’s demands
    Could my zeal no respite know
    Could my tears forever flow
    These for sin could not atone
    Thou must save, and thou alone

    Nothing in my hand I bring
    Simply to thy cross I cling
    Naked, come to thee for dress
    Helpless, look to thee for grace
    Foul, I to the fountain fly
    Wash me, Savior, or I die
    Wash me, Savior, or I die

    While I draw this fleeting breath
    When mine eyes shall close in death
    When I rise to worlds unknown
    And behold thee on thy throne
    Rock of Ages, cleft for me
    Let me hide myself
    Let me hide myself
    Let me hide myself in thee

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_U7piw_wwA

    I thought about what it means to hid myself in Christ, letting His identity be mine, rather than seeking comfort apart from Him.

    1. So good, Chris. Love both How Deep the Father’s Love for Us and Rock of Ages. Hymns seem to anchor my soul in Him.

  15. Rebecca, when I came home last night I watched your video…3 times! Plus put it on my FaceBook wall.
    I appreciate your openness and honesty. What stood out for me was the fact that, even though your circumstances have not changed, you have a Joy and peace inside you!
    It’s very much like the blessing of Asher; to be able to have happiness and joy regardless of the circumstances! My grandson’s name is Asher and he is forever a reminder of this…even in my valleys.

    I can connect with the idol of comfort, food. It’s been a false friend.
    Lately there has been a song that keeps popping up on my Pandora, and I think it’s been speaking to my own circumstances. It’s called “Never Alone” by the Barlow Girls. Listen to the acoustic version when you get a chance.
    Appreciate everyones honesty!

    The approval idol is another false friend, I find my in that ” internet enhanced cave” , I feel the Holy Spirit guiding into a certain direction this morning. Social network is out of the picture for awhile!

    1. Laura Marie, I Loved the song you shared by Barlow Girl and I think your grandson’s name is awesome. 🙂

  16. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? (Choose Rebecca’s words, her video, the photograph — or all of the above!)
    First let me say I love the videos! The artistic view of the outdoors especially in Rebecca’s video was so beautiful and peaceful. And Rebecca, nice make-up job it was subtle, but perfect (sorry if I feed any vanity I just couldn’t help but notice). The testimonies were relaxed, clear and engaging. I didn’t feel like I was watching an infomercial for some “get better quick” program that this is a process that we are going through that won’t end until we are perfected. I felt a real connection with these ladies.

    I was at first struggling with the thought of the cleft and from Angela’s video the analogy of the door of pain. I thought “If God is my rescuer, wouldn’t He come and get me?” As I thought about it more I began to think that there is a difference between being tangled, unable to break free and hiding. When we are tangled and can’t get free He rescues. If we are hiding He calls us to trust Him and come out.
    At this point in my life I am tangled in depression, but I am also hiding in that I am holding on to the hurt unwilling to forgive and let it go. I know that God is in the process of rescuing me and these trials are a part of it. I also know that I am hindering the process by hiding in the cleft of shutting everyone out and thinking of me and my pain first.

    1. Dawn, Thanks for your input on the video-I was relieved when you said you weren’t looking at a ‘get better quick’ program. I am not fond of those videos-and there are many. I loved what you said about God rescuing you right now with trials being part of it-I am so there with you. Also what you said about hindering the process by hiding in the cleft-so so true-I can relate. Love your honest heart- I will pray for you.

      Lord, Help Dawn to trust you with the fear of letting go, help her to come out of the cleft and help her to be willing to give you her pain. In Jesus name..

    2. Dawn, My heart goes out to you. I am continuing to pray for you as you experience this episode of depression. Praying for your increased awareness of HOPE in HIM and that He will enable you to think and see His grace daily. Depression is scary stuff.

    3. Dawn–this is really good “there is a difference between being tangled, unable to break free and hiding. When we are tangled and can’t get free He rescues. If we are hiding He calls us to trust Him and come out.”

  17. 2. Share a recent time when you either:

    Came out of the cleft, fearful yet trusting, and experienced grace

    While January is not terribly recent, I think coming back to this study was a way of coming out of my hiding & I have certainly experienced grace here.

    I was terribly low when I came back. Brian had been hospitalized twice for suicide attempts, I was relying on wine to transport me to a place every evening where I could sleep, I was hoping a truck would come left of center and take me out of my misery.

    I am in a much better place now, my ability to pray is coming back to life, I have had some encouraging little confirmations that God has not forgotten me. It is undeniable that Gods power is manifest here among us on this blog, I feel privileged to be a part of it.

    1. I’m so thankful for you, Chris

    2. Love you, Chris

      1. Thanks Joyce & Renee, you made me smile.

    3. You encourage me to hope that things can get better, Chris.

      1. I am glad to know this Dawn, thank you, I will pray for you.

    4. Chris–we all missed you so much in that time you were away–selfishly, I missed you because I learn SO so much from you–so I thank Him for you, for bringing you back, for letting us come alongside as best we can and journey with you–oh you are so loved here, Chris

  18. i can’t type much–i awoke to “hard drive failure” on my computer–it happens to be my birthday and i’m really wondering if there’s a birthday virus! anyway, i just set up my ipad and am loving reading all the depth here. i loved chris’ rock of ages–LOVE that and it’s perfect for this picture. and rebecca’s response on worry–oh, i want to get to that when i answer, but it really spoke to my heart deeply.
    love you all, hope to be fixed soon ;0

    1. Elizabeth, Happy Happy birthday!!! 🙂 So appreciate you my sweet sister! Sorry to hear your computer is having issues though!!

    2. Happy Birthday Elizabeth! Asking God to send you a special blessing today. You are loved!

    3. A most Happy Birthday to you Elizabeth, you are such a Barnabas to me!
      May this year overflow with blessings for you dear one!

    4. Happy birthday Elizabeth! Can you type on your ipad? I think it is easier, though slower. You have to watch that auto correct though!

      1. oh thank you ALL my sweet friends–just got laptop running again! missing a few things–still trying to get it back together and i’m not techy, and far to brave for not so techy…but at least all my photos and you all are here! hope to join back in soon–thanks so much for the blessings

        1. Elizabeth-so cool that your birthday is only a week after mine-We are June girls. 😉 Hope you had a great day despite the tech stuff. So glad you were able to fix your laptop!

    5. Happy birthday, elizabeth. Sorry I didn’t see this earlier. Hope you had a good day and got all your computer glitches figured out.

    6. Happy Birthday, Elizabeth! Glad you got your computer running again 🙂

    7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELIZABETH!!!! Love you!

    8. Happy super-belated birthday, Elizabeth and Rebecca!!

  19. 1. There is so much that stands out to me but if I pick just one thing it would be from Rebecca’s testimony when she said that intimacy with the Lord was salve to her pain. She said that her circumstances have not changed, she has. She has joy and peace in the midst of her circumstances. That is so counter cultural in this world. People won’t believe it but when they really see it, it will stop traffic.

    2. Share a recent time when you either:
    A. Clung to your idol in the cleft of the rock and suffered
    I have lost entire nights of sleep over mistakes or careless words. I worried so about what could happen and what people thought.

    B. Came out of the cleft, fearful yet trusting, and experienced grace.
    As I identified in myself an idol of approval, I began to look at my reaction when I happened to do something that caused others to be annoyed or look down on me. It was severe and painful and I loathed myself. Then next time it happened I decided to lean in to the Lord and speak truth to my soul about Jesus’ love for me. I thought about how there is nothing I can do to make Him love me less. It was like a dam broke in me and I was released from care over how I appeared or what others thought. The One who matters loves me! He will rescue me, and He did. Now it isn’t like I don’t care what people think, because I do, it just doesn’t rule me.

    1. Anne, I can SO relate to your #2. I can’t count how many times I laid in bed fretting at night hardly getting any sleep. I also liked how you clarified that it isn’t like you don’t care what people think now, it just doesn’t rule you. So good.

      1. Rebecca, that came to my mind because I find it another sort of response to the pain of idol failure. I sort of divorce myself from the whole situation and convince myself that I don’t care what people think. It is worse than fretting because it is antisocial.

    2. Anne, your #2 is helpful to me as I wrench my clinging fingers off of my approval idol. In being rejected by others, it is so hard not to loathe myself continually, like a recording that will not turn off in my head. I am working hard to focus on Jesus’ love for me. Thank you, Lord, that you love me and never reject me.

      This song is my theme right now, especially the chorus.

      O soul, are you weary and troubled?
      No light in the darkness you see?
      There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
      And life more abundant and free!

      Refrain

      Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
      Look full in His wonderful face,
      And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
      In the light of His glory and grace.

      Through death into life everlasting
      He passed, and we follow Him there;
      Over us sin no more hath dominion—
      For more than conquerors we are!

      Refrain

      His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
      Believe Him, and all will be well:
      Then go to a world that is dying,
      His perfect salvation to tell!

      Refrain

      1. I love this song Diane, there is such powerful truth in it!
        May you rest in the truth that GOD loves YOU with an EVERLASTING LOVE!

      2. Beautiful truth to our souls Diane!

      3. Grew up with this — primarily the chorus — and it has helped me to reassure my soul. Just re-read the verses, and the last one is calling now:
        His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
        Believe Him, and all will be well:
        Then go to a world that is dying,
        His perfect salvation to tell!

        Thanks, Diane!

  20. We had a funeral for a dear servant of the Lord today. She was a missionary in the Philippines for 33 years and then came home to look after her father (who lived to 100 years old) and then continued ministering in First Nations people (native Indians) here in Canada and to the growing Filipino community here, plus travelled at least yearly to Singapore, the Philippines, etc. to minister there. She was a humble, joyful, steady servant of the Lord. She died at 86. An amazing testimony of a woman wholly committed to God. The funeral was a truly multi-cultural, multi-racial worship time with a clear message of salvation given (even Keller would have been pleased, I think.) Praise the Lord!

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Diane…. SO encouraging. I LONG for multi-racial, multi-cultural worship (and look forward to more of it in Heaven!). Praising God with you for this woman’s faithfulness.

    2. Wow, what a life of sacrific….So thankful she is with God now:)

  21. Praying for you Joyce. Missing you

    1. me too!

  22. Thank you so much for missing me, but honestly I have no excuse but that I am so tired all I want to do is sleep…even late at night!!
    But I’m fine, it just feels like when your on a diet and your at a stand still and can’t loss another ounce and like after the first day of working out…you hurt all over!!! I feel like that, only like I can’t get over the pain and all my muscles hurting all over, after 2 weeks. I know my body is just healing and it will take a long time, so I have to just be patient.

    But I am also a mother and have been worrying over my kids the last couple days. I give it over to the Lord and take it back to worry some more:)

    This is my oldest daughter, Kyla. (Kendra in the middle) She is married to a wonderful pure, Scotish man, but they live in the states now, about 1000 miles from us. No children yet, she is going to be 34 in July. I need prayer for her…just for tuesday!! Let me explain.
    Kyla works for the Feds..they sent her a long way from her husband, (no week-end visit’s) to 6 weeks of training in self defence and shooting. She has done some training in this over the years, but not near the type of training this is. She has passed both, self defence and shooting with flying colors, both written and the real action. She can put a huge man down in a second if they tried anything and her skills in artillery are amazing. But the hardest part and the one she has dreaded the most is tomarrow..the pepper spray test. They say it is like having the hottest pepper in your eye’s, that you can imagine. They will spray the girls and guys (pray for all) in the face and they have to be able to keep their composure and find a safe place or defend themself, whichever they have to do and call 911 before they will be given a water hose.

    I am so worried for her..not that she won’t pass the test, just that she will have to endure this pain. This is what these officer’s go through to defend us, so they can be in control and do what they need to do. I use to take them for granted, but now I know what they have to go through in order to serve all of us.

    Then my son, holding up his sister’s that love him so much, Trevor (single and 31, live here), was on a Harley trip with his best friend from friday to today, in the mountains of CO. Fun for them, but I’ve been a nervous wreck. He’s done it several times, but it doesn’t get easier for me! I’ve been praying all week-end for both kids. Just before Trevor got home tonight, on the local news was a report of two motorcycle’s in a accident with a mother and five kids in the car, on our interstate. They said one guy on one of the motorcycles was killed and one was alive and not sure about the mom and kids as I panicked and didn’t hear the rest of it. Maurice was outside and he came in with Trevor…just home….not 3 minutes after I heard that. I was never so happy to see my son, but I feel so sorry for the families of the one’s killed. This was only about 3 hours ago. I feel thankful for Trevor’s life and almost like why am I the lucky one? I don’t deserve it and if it did happen to me, I would feel like the song…”deep unto deep and…it is well with my soul”. I pray I would never blame the Lord…I don’t think I would, but none of us really know what we would do in a situation like that. I have sister’s here that have had that kind of pain and I look up to you all, for digging yourself up again from hell on earth and growing closer to the Lord than ever. I’ve been though alot of pain here on earth, but nothing like that and you can tell the ones that have, because they have Jesus beside them every moment, in their heart.
    I am afraid of life and what it may bring. I can’t live in fear, so I’m reaching to touch Jesus’s hem in my mind, to cling to him moment to moment, and give all my fears to him. Thank you, Rebecca for putting this in from Keller…

    “Let’s pray for a heart ready for any world to come-let’s pray for a new level,
    let’s move up, grasp the grace of God so we are fearless enough and humble
    enough to handle the world whatever it is-salvation is from the Lord.”…..PRAISE GOD!!

    I absolutly love the remake of the video of you, Rebecca. I think it is even better than before..not because of the wind that was in your hair, but because it seemed like you spoke more fom your heart than ever. I was touched before, but this time, you blow it away!! Can I get your autograph?! It was excellent!!

    Praying for you all and love you all. And thank you for your prayer’s for Kyla. I will let you know how it went as soon as I know, thanks!

    1. Joyce, Thanks for the update! We will be praying for Kyla and Trevor. I think I would be nervous about Motorcycles too! You take it easy, I can’t imagine having the pain you have right now. We love you.

    2. So great to see you on here, Joyce. Praying for Kyla and Trevor. This sounds really hard what Kyla is going through in training. And, yes, motorcycles scare me too. Those on them are so vulnerable if they are in an accident.

    3. Joyce, rest is such a good thing right now! I’m so glad you have been able. It is an answer to our prayers. I’m so glad Kyla made it through her training. Please thank her for all that she does and suffers for us!

  23. Also, Please pray for Kim. It is going to be 103 degrees here tomarrow and her and her family and helpers have to be filling the fireworks stand up with all the fireworks in this heat, all week. I think it is suppose to get alittle cooler, like in the 90’s later in the week:( Pray for them all, please! They also have to move into their new home this week:-( Pray her headaches don’t come back either. Then of course the week of the 4th, they will be working in that hotbox…it’s like semi-trailor, with a doorway on both ends, with just one large fan. I got Kendra’s blackcat t-shirt today, Kim…I’ll pay you when we get fireworks from you, next weeks. Prayer’s for you all, this week and next!

    1. Lord Jesus, today has been such a gift from heaven of blessed relief from the heat. Thank You so much. I pray for just such relief for Kim as she works this week. Fill her up oh Lord so that when she is squeezed in her trials, Your Holy Spirit will come forth. In this Lord may Your name be glorified and may she be blessed and encouraged.

      1. Thank you for thinking of me and praying, sisters.

  24. 3. Read Song of Songs 2:8-12

    A. This is both a portrait of an earthly bridegroom and of Jesus.

    Find evidence that she admires him, loves him, and is pleased by him.

    The way she exclaims, “Listen! My beloved! Look!”. To me this shows she is flowing over with love and anticipation as his presence is drawing near.

    She compares him to a young stag and a gazelle-she admires him as she sees him coming for her. As he draws nearer he calls her beautiful and asks her to arise and come with him. He is her shy lover-strong in a gentle kind of way, coming to take her into him.

    B. Challenge: Write your own prayer of praise to Jesus, based on the above verses.

    Jesus, Lord of all, Holy one, lovely one-You are here! You rescued me on the cross but that was just the beginning-You are intimately acquainted with me-my inward, my outward! You wait for me when I retreat in fear, you woo me out of the cleft and even though I often cling to the rocks, you pursue me in your perfect gentle way drawing me out-what love is this? Draw me oh lover of my soul to your beauty-strengthen me to come out.

    You see me- every layer, every lie, every fear, every wicked part, yet you call me beautiful-even my longing for you is from you-I want to sense your presence today-I want to know you so close to what is yet to come-the day when I will be perfectly intimate with you-face to face when I arrive my hand in yours at the pinnacle of that mountain. Help me come out of any clefts I may be hiding in today, and be a salve for my soul-for I want to go with you even higher.

    1. Such a beautiful prayer, Rebecca. Amen. “Help me come out of any clefts I may be hiding in today, and be a salve for my soul-for I want to go with you even higher.”

  25. 3. Read Song of Songs 2:8-12

    A. This is both a portrait of an earthly bridegroom and of Jesus.
    Find evidence that she admires him, loves him, and is pleased by him.

    She is thrilled to hear His voice, she is delighted to catch a glimpse of Him, to see Him gazing at her. She is enamored at His grace and strength His ability to swiftly make a way to come to her. She comforts herself that she does belong to Him & He to her.

    I am reminded by this of the seeming electricity there was between my husband and me when we met and began dating, I felt drawn to that energy, but more than a bit afraid of it too.

  26. I woke up today thinking about the difference between hiding in the cleft of the rock, alone and afraid to follow Christ, as opposed to Him being the Rock that was cleft for us, where we need to take refuge.

    When I am hiding, on my own, I am afraid to leave behind the things I think I must have to be comfortable, accepted, in control. I feel ashamed of my sin, afraid to be fully known. The enemy whispers that I am unacceptable, how can I imagine that the God of the universe wants anything to do with me

    When I step out in faith, daring to believe He really loves me ( does take “guts”), the very moment I repent, He is there waiting to cover me in His righteousness, giving me a name, with abundant lavish love for me.

    Truly when I cling to my idols I forfeit this amazing gift of grace.

  27. B. Challenge: Write your own prayer of praise to Jesus, based on the above verses.

    Thank you dear Saviour, Lover of my Soul, for pursuing me so long and so tirelessly while I have resisted you and tried to satisfy myself with other lovers, thank you that You promise to cover me, to make me not just acceptable but lovely, desired, valuable.

    I don’t want to feel separated by the shame of my sin any longer, make me quick to feel when I have stepped out of the light of Your love for me, give me the power through Your Spirit to overcome my flesh. Make me aware of Your presence, grateful for Your abundant gifts to me, fill me with the hope of your return.

  28. 4. Read Song of Songs 2:10-14
    How does he attempt to persuade her to come out of the clefts to go higher with him?

    He speaks to her, He tells her that the time has come for her to follow Him, of the beautiful things that they will see and smell and taste together in the land. He assures her that she is desirable to Him.

    This is from Matthew Henrys commentary, it gave me chills;

    “He called her his love and his fair one. Whatever she is to others, to him she is acceptable, and in his eyes she is amiable. Those that take Christ for their beloved, he will own as his; never was any love lost that was bestowed upon Christ. Christ, by expressing his love to believers, invites and encourages them to follow him.”

  29. 4. Read Song of Songs 2:10-14

    How does he attempt to persuade her to come out of the clefts to go higher with him?

    He is trying to entice her by explaining the smells, sights, and sounds that she will see if she goes higher into the mountain.

    5. It seems, by the sense of his absence in Song of Songs 3, that he failed to persuade her to go higher with him.

    We can love the Lord, and still cling to our idols, forfeiting the grace that could be ours. How did you cling to an idol last week? Result?

    Laura – My idol is going to be control….I try to control my children and need to realize that He is in control, not me. In dealing with my daughter last week I was frustrated and sad when my control didn’t pan out the way I thought it should.

    Pat – My idol is getting my work done and everything else was thrown to the side. I should have kept it in prayer and trusted that the Lord would meet me and guide me. I was feeling (and still am) stressed, panicked, and fearful.

    1. Laura-dancer, Good observation about smells, sights, and sounds — how so many senses are involved.

  30. I am praying for Kyla & Kim Joyce.

    It is so very nice to see your comments agin Dee!

    I would like to ask all of you for prayer for my son Josh, he is having a marriage crisis. He called me sobbing on Sunday, I could not understand what he was trying to say he was so upset. I can’t recall seeing him cry at all since he was very small.

    Please pray that he and his wife will submit themselves to God and allow Him to heal their hurts and repair their marriage. It is hard to see them struggle, but I know God will bring something beautiful from it if they will trust Him. Please pray for the enemy to be defeated in this.

    They are the parents of our 5 year old grand daughter Bryar.
    Thank you dear sisters!

    1. oh, so sad, I cried when I read this. Praying for Josh, his marriage, and wisdom for you as he reaches out to you.

    2. What a beautiful name for a grandaughter! I’m praying for Josh and their marriage!

  31. Chris, I’m praying for Josh also. I haven’t heard anything from Kyla yet.

    1. Kyla is in eastern standard time, an hour earlier than me (same as this time).
      It was a lady , 58 yrs old killed on a harley and her 60 yr. old husband from Lincoln, NE, was on the other harley and he lived. They had helmets on. The 34 yr old lady had 5 kids in the car, with seat belts on. They had just passed a rest area and she was in the right lane, going east and decided to turn into a emergency turn around, in the medium (sp) and turned in front of the riders in the left lane coming up from behind her. She must not of seen them. The first harley was the husband and she just nicked him in his tire and he went down but was okay, but his wife was 30 feet behind him and she ran right into the passenger side (on the driver’s side, of the car) and was thrown over the car and killed. The mom spent the night in jail and the kids stayed at a aunt’s overnight, after they were all checked out okay from the hospital. She will be charged. Please pray for the husband and the mom and 5 kids. This is why I worry so much about Trevor…it’s usually not the motorcycle rider’s fault, when something happens.

      I’ll let you all know about Kyla as soon as I know…thank you so much for praying. Praying for Kim and all and for Josh.

    2. Thank you Joyce & Renee, I am glad of the good report from Kyla, you must be so proud of her Joyce.

      Josh is open to talking about God right now. He used to tell his friends about Christ when he was young, but became an angry agnostic as a teen.

      Please continue to lift them up, they are truly at a crossroads in their lives. I am encouraging him to take up the mantle of being the spiritual leader in their home, and to ask God for wisdom. He is so discouraged, but he is calling me for advice and we are communicating. I can see that my words carry weight with him. How I long to see my Joshua and his house serving the Lord.

      1. Oh Chris, he will one day! We’ll keep praying for that:)

      2. I’m praying for your Joshua, too, Chris. We have our three year old grandson Josh staying with us for a few days right now. My, he is busy.

        1. Such a fun — and tiring — age 🙂

      3. Chris–continuing prayers for Josh–so thankful he turns to you for wisdom
        and I love your reference to Joshua 24:15–we have a cross with that outside our door…it will remind me to continue prayers for him

  32. Kyla just text me….”Two hours till burn time, love you mom”
    So It will be right around 1:30 this time.

  33. 2. Share a recent time when you either:
    A. Clung to your idol in the cleft of the rock and suffered
    B. Came out of the cleft, fearful yet trusting, and experienced grace

    I feel like I’m dancing between both responses lately. I’ve been too involved with fear lately, battling the ‘what if/what next’. I was thinking how fear is the very opposite of love. Love is patient, fear makes me very impatient. Love does not envy—in my fear I find myself envying even women around me in church who “seem” to have fewer struggles. Love is not selfish, but fear causes me to be consumed with myself. Love always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. In my fear I have doubted God’s plans, assumed the worst…and rather than persevere, I sink. I am so thankful for the reminder this week that as Rebecca said, He pulls us off the cleft. He will not allow me to stay there. And His truth always lures me back out—showing me my Door of Hope once again.

  34. 3. Read Song of Songs 2:8-12
    A. This is both a portrait of an earthly bridegroom and of Jesus. Find evidence that she admires him, loves him, and is pleased by him.

    She’s excited just by the sound of his voice. She looks towards him as he comes to her—she isn’t preoccupied with something else. Everything appears new and beautiful to her, because her heart is full of love. She remembers His words to her. She calls Him her beloved.

    B. Challenge: Write your own prayer of praise to Jesus, based on the above verses.
    Oh Lord, the sound of Your voice fills me with hope. You come to me running, You are eager to save me. You call me to You, You think I am beautiful. You give me promises of Hope—showing me the way, reminding me to look and see what You have done, Your faithfulness around me.

    1. Happy Belated Birthday, Elizabeth!

      I hope you enjoyed your day and I’m sorry to have missed it! You are a beautiful woman of God – inside and out – and I’m so glad to fellowship with you here!

    2. Elizabeth, this is so beautiful!!! ….. “Oh Lord, the sound of Your voice fills me with hope. You come to me running, You are eager to save me. You call me to You, You think I am beautiful. You give me promises of Hope—showing me the way, reminding me to look and see what You have done, Your faithfulness around me.”

  35. please pray now for Kyla…thank you so much!

    1. oh joyce, praying!!

    2. Praying Joyce! just have a few minutes to check on here. Will get back later today

  36. Oh ladies how wonderful the conference was this weekend and hearing such great teaching live! So blessed and filled. You would never believe I got Bronchitis and a sinus infection while away, the vacation flat out wore my body out. But the teaching was so worth remaining! God is so good to sustain.

    1. What stood out to you from the above and why? (Choose Rebecca’s words, her video, the photograph — or all of the above!) Oh I just love Rebecca and respect her so much. Her testimony is relate-able to most anyone, the video is great, etc. all pointing to Christ! The picture almost struck tears…I think I can see myself in that woman. There is an area in my life that I do not completely understand but is a true gifting from God. Because I don’t understand it and it makes me feel uncomfortable I try to numb it out of my life. This is being disobedient to the gifting yet because I do not truly understand it I run from it and am not fulfilling the call to use it for His glory. It is flat out fear and God has been gently nudging me to move out and into it fully. I don’t know if I can……….Yet I want all of Him and all for His glory…A continual struggle

    2. Share a recent time when you either:

    A. 1. Clung to your idol in the cleft of the rock and suffered(Think I answered that in the paragraph above)

    B. Came out of the cleft, fearful yet trusting, and experienced grace-Now I did do this which is so hard and breaks my heart but Dakota’s mom is homeless until thurs. She begged us for money. We have seen the repeated pattern so we know we cannot enable this behavior. We referred her to resources that have been offered for her to call in these areas. And a friend of mine even secured a place in the homeless shelter for them. Do you know she flat out refused to go!? And already knew about this place. She just wants to get hand outs from us and we drew a clear boundary we would not be doing this. As hard as this feels and is I know it is the right kind of justice for her. God is showing us grace in this decision and I am thankful. There is not much you can do for people who flat out refuse to admit their own depravity. A perfect example of “those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”

    1. Angela, I appreciate what you share in #1. I can relate to the fear you describe. He calls us out of our comfort zones and it seems into the things i dont sense gifting in. I think that He is showing me just how much He can do through me.

    2. Angela, First of all, I’m so sorry you got so sick:( I pray you are feeling much better by now.
      How was keller’s ssermon? Lucky you!

      I am so sorry that you guy’s have to have all this coming from dakota’s mom. I admire how strong you are being as to not enable her. Praying

  37. Thank you for praying, because she got through it okay and not as bad as she expected she said. She sent me a picture of her soaked from water with a towel over her shoulder and a smile on her face! She said she would talk to me tonight…had to go back to class. I don’t know yet how she did with the test part of it yet.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH BECAUSE I KNOW IT WAS FROM GOD THAT IT WAS EASIER FOR HER THAN SHE THOUGHT! LOVE YOU ALL!

    1. oh joyce, SO thankful–it just sounded beyond awful and my empathy gene was going haywire! so thankful for that smile on her face–what a BRAVE one she is, of course that makes sense being your daughter 😉

    2. yeah so thankful!!! I would not have what it takes to go through that!! Her dedication is inspiring.

    3. Glad she was smiling when she finished the “test.” She sounds amazing! So thankful it went well.

  38. I recently saw a movie that I loved. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The only spiritual parallel that I can make is the beauty of grace. One line I remember well is an Indian proverb. Things always work out in the end and if they don’t work out it is because it is not yet the end. I saw it twice and would go again if invited. Sorry for digressing.

    1. I so want to see that movie Anne, thank you for reminding me to go before it is too late and it is gone from theatres!

    2. I had never heard of it, so I looked it up. It looks good, I love Maggie Smith! I found it playing at a nearby theater. I hope that it is still playing this weekend. Thanks Anne.

  39. Thinking of you Susan & Julie…

  40. I am very proud of my daughter. She is a excellent artist also. Her and Sally (Dee’s daughter) went to the same high school and was infuenced by the same wonderful art teacher. Sally is truly a professional tho.

    Kyla said she was on of the luckier ones
    (had the most prayers!), because some people have very sensitive eye’s and skin and just could not open their eye’s to defend themselves from the enemy. Kyla was able to open her eye’s (the hardest thing to do) and defend herself from a man attacking her and put him down on the ground and was able to call for 911. She then got the hose to water herself down! She said the guy’s in the group were the worst, not putting them down, but they probly had sensitive eye’s and couldn’t open them. She said it was very hard to watch her friends have to go through that, too. I am very proud of her, as she is a tough girl, with a very sensitive heart! She said she showered over and over tonight and still had burning lips and soft spots on her under arms that still hurt alittle. It get’s everywhere on you.
    Kyla went into criminal justice to be able to help kids that were hurting and needed help, because her daddy left her when she was 8 years old and she blamed herself and took it the hardest, as she wanted to be daddy’s little girl so bad, but all he cared about was he’s only son. He never even played with her, just Trevor. And even now, he just wants to see Trevor and not his 3 daughters (he had another daughter that he left when she was about 8 also from his second marriage…the gal he left me for.) He never wants to see Kendra. I’m glad Kendra dosen’t even know him. But Kyla came away from that divorce devistated and wanted to help kids, in trouble, because she got into some trouble as a teen and tried to commit suiside, so she became a probation officer. She has helped her half sister also, to cope with dad leaving her also. Sorry I get carried away!
    I don’t want to take the focus of of you, Lord, because you are my everything and my life and without Jesus, I could do nothing. Praise God for my sister’s here, Lord and Thank you God for sparing Kyla today. Thirteen more days and she is home with her husband! Thank you so much for praying, sisters!

    1. Joyce,
      It sounds like you have a wonderful daughter and I can see why you are so proud of her. It’s God’s leading that she turned to Him and then to helping others to overcome the pain in her life.

    2. I love knowing more about Kyla, Joyce. It helps me feel like I know you better. Thanks for sharing. Glad she did well on her test.

      1. Thank you, here is a prettier picture of Kyla

        1. Great picture.

      2. Joyce, Is the picture of Kyla? Nice.

  41. We can love the Lord, and still cling to our idols, forfeiting the grace that could be ours. How did you cling to an idol last week?

    Our son Joe & his fiancé moved out last week, and while I loved having them here, I was also really relishing the thought of having it be just Bill and me for a little while. This would be the very first time in our lives as I had a baby already when we married and we lived with my parents until we had two children.

    I love my alone time, especially in the morning, I often cry when I grieve and while I do this study and I am so much better able to do it when I am alone.
    Brian had been sharing an apartment with a friend, that fell apart and he moved in with his sisters which is 35-40 minutes from his job, we are 15 minutes away. Bill was encouraging him to stay here a couple nights a week, I have been encouraging Bill to spend more time with Brian, but when I heard the invitation my comfort idol was at work in me, whispering all that Brian coming back here would cost me (ugly of me I know), I saw my sin pretty quickly, thank you Holy Spirit. Brian is more important than any comfort I would sacrifice because of his presence here.

    So I guess while my idol was at work, I was able to recognize it and not cling too tightly to it in this little thing.

    1. Chris–this convicts me–“Brian is more important than any comfort I would sacrifice…”–so many people in my life I need to apply that to! (as in, fill their name in for Brian’s). Your obedience is encouraging

    2. Chris, you opened your heart here and about had me in tears. Please don’t blame yourself…we all need our space. I can so clearly see MY idol through what you said here, too.
      I seek the comfort idol when I want alone time, sometimes during the day. I feel selfish and then ashamed that I said something to my husband sarcasticly about him getting to go everywhere and us staying home all the time. But I forgot to mention that he is also doing everything for us…shopping, cooking, errans, everything…but I still feel jealous I can’t do it…so silly I know! He knows how much I appreciate him, but he also knows I have to have alittle outburst once in awhile! Kendra and I are so blessed to have him.

      I need a sign that say’s “COMFORT AND CONTROLL IDOLS AT WORK HERE”!!!:

  42. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    ALL OF THE ABOVE! I love the words from Song of Solomon, I can just imagine the Lord speaking them to me, calling me “my love, my beautiful one, my dove…” The Lord saying to me, “let me see your face, let me hear your voice…” Those words truly are a balm to my soul b/c I am not accustomed to hearing tender words spoken to me like these.

    The photo is beautiful, almost ethereal. She looks so delicate, so tentative, yet she is emerging from the cleft. I think God smiles on even our smallest, tentative steps of faith.

    The new video is great! Rebecca is so articulate and clearly explains her journey through idolatry. I noticed when she described turning to pie and milk and TV at the end of a stressful day, she says that at first, it did bring temporary satisfaction. I think that’s important to note b/c it doesn’t do any good to deny that our idols do seem to satisfy and give pleasure, at first. But then, Rebecca goes on to say how it was leading her down to destruction. She shows the steps she made to turn away from comfort and food and turn toward the Lord. She wondered if God would let her sit in her pain? He did not, but met her, came to her slowly.

    2. Share a recent time when you either:

    A. Clung to your idol in the cleft of the rock and suffered

    Yesterday I clung to my idol of approval/affirmation and security. Monday night when my son came home from work, he placed his car keys on the kitchen counter (he usually takes them to his room). After dinner as I was cleaning up, I removed first, my husband’s keys and wallet and put them in the den, and I remembered picking up my son’s keys but it was like what I did with them was completely erased from my mind. So, Tuesday morning, my son is ready to leave for work, and we can’t find the keys. We have a spare, so he took that. Both he and my husband were mildly irritated with me! All day yesterday, as I did my housework, I searched for those keys, everywhere. Through the trash, every room of the house, behind, under….
    I felt miserable all day, at times close to like an anxiety attack. My security was based on being “on top of everything” – having everything in order, organized, running a perfect household, and because I had failed (and do fail), so did my security. I dreaded when my son would come home from work, and my husband, that night, and I would have to say I have lost those keys – car keys, house keys… I feared their disapproval. I wondered if I was “losing it” mentally – why couldn’t I remember where those keys were?
    My son came home – with the keys! He said, “Did you find them and drive them to work and put them in my cubby?” I said, no, that I couldn’t find them all day. He did not leave them there Monday night, or else he wouldn’t have been able to drive home. He drove to work Tuesday morning using the single spare key. He placed that in his cubby. When he went to leave work, he picked up the missing keys and said he stopped in his tracks, wondering how they got there. We still don’t know.

    B. Came out of the cleft, fearful yet trusting, and experienced grace

    At my worst times yesterday, feeling like a total failure – stupid, inefficient, maybe losing my marbles – I hesitantly started talking to myself “soul talk”. That “Lord, you love me even if I lost the keys and can’t remember and keep everything around here straight; You still accept me and it’s not based on my performance…”
    I tried to remember what we’ve learned here about our sense of approval and security needing to come from Him.
    I told my son that I don’t know how those keys got there into his work cubby, but that it was an answer to prayer. Perhaps they were in the pocket of his guard shorts (he lifeguards at a pool), dropped out when he got there yesterday and someone found them and put them in, although he insists they weren’t in his pockets. Whatever, I believe God helped. My husband incredulously asked me how could I believe that it was God…no way!
    He thinks it’s completely ridiculous. He even asked me if I had found the keys, driven to my son’s work, and put them in his cubby, and then made up this story to convince my son that it was God. Now, I found that to be an “incredulous story”!

    1. Wow Susan, what a story about the keys being found! Such a gift from God to you, and to your son. You didn’t have to face disappointment from your son and husband that night and your son has his keys. 🙂 Loved to hear your ‘soul talk’ too-so good.

    2. Susan–sometimes I think you’ve read my thoughts and posted them! “My security was based on being “on top of everything” – having everything in order, organized, running a perfect household, and because I had failed (and do fail), so did my security.” OH how this speaks to me–I so relate. But I love how you spoke the truth to your soul–and even used it to show your son how God works, mysteriously!

  43. Catching up on all the comments – I am praying for all of you ladies that each one of us here will hear God whisper those words from Song of Solomon to us, that we are altogether lovely to Him!

  44. 4. Read Song of Songs 2:10-14

    How does he attempt to persuade her to come out of the clefts to go higher with him?

    He approaches her softly, shows her he truly desires her-to see her beautiful face and hear her lovely voice. He doesn’t condemn her, but tells her to catch the foxes that are ruining their intimacy. Funny, she loves him yet won’t come out, and she forfeits the grace that could be hers-oh I can so relate!

    5. It seems, by the sense of his absence in Song of Songs 3, that he failed to persuade her to go higher with him.

    We can love the Lord, and still cling to our idols, forfeiting the grace that could be ours. How did you cling to

    an idol last week? Result?

    This was my control idol thinking I can change some of the bends in my youngest son-he is now 8 years old. He is a leader type, gifted in intellect, and is head strong. I am learning that God just wants me to give my all as a parent but that God is in control.

    Last week I tried to control him after reasoning with him through the Gospel-helping him apply it to his issue with anger toward his older brothers but he was so headstrong and wouldn’t listen, so I just said in frustration-just stop doing this! It will ruin your life and will eat you up like cancer! (as pictures of him grown up being in prison flashed through my mind.):-) He looked at me and said, it will really eat me alive?

    The result was that it didn’t help him rather it just encouraged him to keep doing the sin he was struggling with, and I turned from trusting that God was in control and took control myself. I am still concerned about this area of struggle in his life. He is resentful toward his older brothers but he eggs them on until they get mad at him. This summer he and my oldest who is also strong willed are butting heads every day, but this is God’s chiseling tool in all our lives.

  45. 5. Read Song of Songs 5:6-7

    A. How does she have a change of heart, as evidenced by verse 5?

    She opens herself to him, arises and opens the door cherishing His myrrh all over her hands and fingers. In verse 2 she says she slept and is awake-I wonder if that could mean in the cleft she was asleep, but we see in verse 5 now that she is awakened by His love and is responding by pursuing Him.

    B. This is when we find out where he was asking her to go with him. What do you think is meant by “the

    mountain of myrrh?

    I am thinking it is His Beauty. Her affection for Him above all else is part of this beauty-she is His wife (Like we are-the church) and they are one delighting in one another. To me this is what is meant by going with him to the mountain of Myrrh.. BUT I could totally be off. 😉

    C. How does he respond to her coming out of the cleft?

  46. 5. Read Song of Songs 5:6-7

    A. How does she have a change of heart, as evidenced by verse 5?

    She finally decides it is time to accept her lover.

    B. This is when we find out where he was asking her to go with him. What do you think is meant by “the mountain of myrrh?

    This is where I lose the entire meaning of what is trying to be said. I’m not good with poetry…..she was sweaty?! Just kidding…..maybe she was full of love?

    C. How does he respond to her coming out of the cleft?

    He is gone?!!!

  47. C. How does he respond to her coming out of the cleft?

    I think his response is in chapter 6: 4-9? Correct me if I am wrong if this isn’t the right passage. Love His response here though. He responds with a deep affection and desire for her. VERSE 5 really struck me. He said, “Turn your eyes from me, they overwhelm me.” Wow.. What I see in this passage is a picture of beauty of the affection going back and forth-a beautiful intimacy. I also wonder if in chapter five and six the Gospel is there also.

  48. 3. Read Song of Songs 2:8-12

    A. This is both a portrait of an earthly bridegroom and of Jesus.

    Find evidence that she admires him, loves him, and is pleased by him. In the beauty of the words she uses to describe Him. How excited she is.

    B. Challenge: Write your own prayer of praise to Jesus, based on the above verses.
    Oh Lord, how beautiful you are to me. I love that you come bounding for me, how you woe me and invite me. Your majesty and beauty are beyond words can adequately describe. I thank you for calling me and drawing me. Help me to step out and go with you trusting and without fear. I praise Your name!

    4. Read Song of Songs 2:10-14

    How does he attempt to persuade her to come out of the clefts to go higher with him? sweetly calls out to her. Tells her the conditions are ripe for going now. He desires her.

    5. It seems, by the sense of his absence in Song of Songs 3, that he failed to persuade her to go higher with him.

    We can love the Lord, and still cling to our idols, forfeiting the grace that could be ours. How did you cling to

    an idol last week? Result? Not sharing Christ at Disney world, fruitlessness. Sadness on my part.

    5. Read Song of Songs 5:6-7

    A. How does she have a change of heart, as evidenced by verse 5? She arose to go.

    B. This is when we find out where he was asking her to go with him. What do you think is meant by “the

    mountain of myrrh? Doesn’t myrrh refer to death?

    1. Angela how are you feeling now? Are things better for Dakota’s mom? Praying for you!

      1. ok thanks Joyce! Oh his mom is a mess! Thanks for prayers!

  49. this last week I acted instead of prayed about a situation and now it is biting me in the butt. When am I ever going to learn that I should just keep my mouth shut! now I need to try to back peddle and say im sorry for words I should not have spoken….the mama bear in me just let out her claws on a youth pastor, poor thing, I dont think he knows what hit him.
    Dear God
    you are so much stronger and wiser then me, and yet I still insist on trying to control things. I want to hide right now, hide from my mistakes. please come and draw me out. Im doing the best I can, so many situations are out of my control. please hold me, keep my feet firm on the rock as the waves crash around us. Lord my toilet paper idol has failed me once again and I NEED YOU to cling to. help me to relax in your arms today Jesus! I want to flail and kick against all the drama, all the pain. help me to stop fighting against the storm and start resting in YOUR gracefull, powerfull, kind arms.

    1. Cyndi, your an awesome mom, don’t be so hard on yourself. Your standing up for what you believed was right. As mom’s we can be protective as momma bears! My claws come out too, if anyone even looks at Kendra wrong! It’s a good thing I can’t pounce on them!! CONTROLL IDOL at work in me too!!

  50. Not sure about where He was??