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ARISE MY LOVE (The Song of Songs) Lesson 8.

In the forty-eight years since I was first ambushed by Jesus…and in literally in the thousands of hours of prayer, meditation, silence and solitude over those years, I am now utterly convinced that on Judgment Day the Lord Jesus is going to ask each of us one question, and only one question: “Did you believe that I loved you? That I desired you? That I waited for you day after day? That I longed to hear the sound of your voice?” [See Song of Songs 2:14]

BRENNAN MANNING

This week’s passage in The Song of Songs should help to persuade you of the Lord’s love for you. He calls to each of us, asking us to come away with Him.

mybelovedspeaks

This week may we respond to Him, and come away, contemplating His words of love to us

in Song of Songs 2.

I see myself in the bride in The Song of Songs — moving in and out of the wilderness, trusting and then retreating. What is so encouraging to me is the bridegroom’s faithfulness to her. So often it amazes me that God loves me, for He knows the darkness in my heart, my wilderness wanderings, my infidelities. Yet in Him, I am beautiful. So He asks me to arise and come away with Him, for, incredibly, my voice is sweet to him, and my face is lovely.

I know last week was challenging. Jonathan Edwards is not an easy read, and yet some of you got through it and had rich comments! C. S. Lewis said The Song of Songs is for the more mature — and some of you may find this overwhelming, but I  hope you’ll give it one more week. Come away with Him each day this week, read these verses aloud, and respond as a cherished one would respond to the wooing and words of this Lover who is beyond beautiful and whose word is trustworthy. The Song of Songs is key to our trust in God’s love. If after this week you feel it is still too hard or not the right time for you, then I encourage you to find another study during this time.

We will also hear a fascinating panel of three men from The Gospel Coalition talking about preaching Christ from the Old Testament — and they address their struggle with the Song of Songs at length. Each of these men believe that Christ is the heart of the Bible, and the gospel is the heart of Christ — and yet, there is still this struggle because The Song of Songs is so sexual. (My favorite on this panel is Alistair Begg who said he was simply afraid to preach on The Song of Songs for he wasn’t sure he understood it. I’d so rather have that in a pastor than an arrogance that rushes headlong and misinterprets a passage.) Because there is so much controversy on The Song of Songs, we must be discerning. I have been so excited to see you each asking the Lord, “What is true here?” I was so encouraged by responses from both those who have been with us for years and newcomers that show me you are really thinking, contemplating, and discerning truth. Here are two perceptive comments from two newcomers who each gave persuasive reasons for seeing The Song of Songs as starting with Christ and his bride before applying it to earthly love:

Jill: Can we really apply any concept to marriage (or any loving relationship) without first understanding who we are and what love is?

Staci: I had been taught most of my Christian life that this book was strictly for dating leading into marriage. It wasnt until this bible study did I see the meaning of God’s love for us. It’s like my own veil has been lifted, I was the dark one seeking for true love. So for that, I feel so many are missing out by only viewing Song of Songs as relating to marriage. I honestly can not look at the book any other way now other than God and his love for me. I talk about it every chance I get with other women.

I have loved how you are comparing Scripture with Scripture, how you are reading with discernment, and not just assuming that even respected theologians are right all the time. None of us are! But what I am seeing is a confidence in God’s love for you rising, like the morning sun.

morningsun

Sunday/Monday

1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?

2. Read The Song of Songs 2 aloud, listening particularly to the voice of the Bridegroom. If a verse quickens you, stop. Then share it here and why it impressed you. You may also want to listen to this to warm your heart. Imagine the Lord singing to you:

Monday/Wednesday: Bible Study

3. In The Song of Songs 2:4-5 what pictures of protection, love, and intimacy are painted concerning the Bridegroom’s love for his bride?

The Song of Songs 2:8-9 reminds me of a scene from Ever After, for indeed, the gospel is a Cinderella story. Drew Barrymore, who plays the Cinderella in Ever After, appears at the ball. She has been transformed but does not yet believe she is beautiful. She is unsure of how the prince will respond to her, and tells herself: “Breathe, just breathe.”

drewjpg

Yet when he sees her, his world stops. The dance floor parts, as if in obedience to his gaze, and then he runs, like a gazelle, leaping and bounding. Nothing can keep him fromn her.drew24. Read The Song of Songs 2:9-14 (Aloud!)

      A. What evidence of love do you see in the Bridegroom in verses 8-10?

branch
The flowers appear on the earth
turtledove
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land
figtree
The fig tree ripens its figs
vine
and the vines are in blossom

Richard Wurmbrand, with Voice of the Martyrs, has a commentary on The Song of Songs (The Sweetest Song) in which he tells how those being tortured and martyred found strength in The Song of Songs to face their suffering. He tells story after story of saints clinging to verses from this book — and then faced horrible deaths with joy, knowing they were going to their wedding feast with their Savior. Concerning the above passage, Wurmbrand writes of the comfort of knowing sin is forgiven and the time of flowers and spring has come. He talks of the comfort of knowing Jesus stands and listens, hearing not only your earnest pleadings, but your anxious thoughts, the ever attentive Lover of your soul.

In John Eldredge’s Epic he quotes Song of Songs 2:11-13 in the context of the time when Jesus will return to earth and make all things new. It doesn’t seem a stretch to me at all to see symbolism in the turtledoves, who were the sacrifice (instead of a lamb) of the poor. As we become turtledoves, presenting our bodies, our lives, in surrender to him, then the fig tree blossoms, and the vine is filled with glorious fruit. One day this will be made complete. We are only glimpsing His power and love in us now, but there is coming a time when the winters of depression, rebellious children, terminal illness, death, and broken hearts will be over and we will be glorious and sinless. Can you even imagine? Trusting these promises helps us surrender now, like a turtledove on the altar.

B. Contemplate verses 11-13. What do you see?

C. What does your Bridegroom tell you in verse 14? How does this speak to you?

5. Dialogue with the Lord in prayer. He wants to hear your voice. Read what He says to you — and then respond. If you think our reading over your shoulder will alter your response, then do it privately.

       A. He says: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.” You respond:

       B. He says: “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the crannies of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” You respond — with however His Spirit leads you.

6. What danger is there to our relationship with the Lord, and to the fruit that will come from that intimacy? (Song of Songs 2:15)

foxes-vine117. What little foxes are endangering your love relationship with the Lord?

Thursday/Friday

Listening to a Panel on Christ-Centered Preaching. Elizabeth gave me this link to three men I respect from The Gospel Coalition talking about preaching Christ from the Old Testament. They talk about The Song of Songs starting at around 20 minutes. But the whole discussion is fascinating, if you have time. They obviously feel Christ must be in it, yet struggle. I have wondered if men struggle more than women, as their sexual passion can be so physical, whereas women tend (and I know this is a generality) to see more of the intimate relational side. Yet obviously there are men from the past, and from the present, who believe it is first and foremost about Christ and the church. (Link)

8. If you had time to listen, what are your thoughts?

Saturday

9. What is your take-a-way and why?

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190 comments

  1. Y’all are going to start thinking I am out there looking for things to use my favorite linky thing on, but really–I had to share this. It’s from Ed Welch on CCEF, called “Hope Needs a Story“. I especially thought of Chris, Diane, Laura…and then the list grew to all of you. It’s not very long.

    1. Elizabeth, I’m so glad you are so “linky” now, because I love what you have been posting!!  Keep it up linky girl!!

  2. 6. What danger is there to our relationship with the Lord, and to the fruit that will come from that intimacy? (Song of Songs 2:15)
    The problems of our lives (the little foxes) can distract us and can derail our relationship with the Lord.  Perhaps also the abundance of activities that we crowd into our lives — not necessarily evil activities but unnecessary ones — that prevent us from focusing on our one Love.  Some of our idols can be seen wearing foxtails also!

    7. What little foxes are endangering your love relationship with the Lord? 
    Recently it has been feeling that I was not appreciated enough.  My husband and I have 20 great-nieces and great- nephews, and 6 great-great nieces and nephews. Yes, that is a blessing, but occasionally it gives us cause to ponder as well. This is especially true when I buy gifts for the great-great nieces, and I call their parents to make arrangements to deliver them, and have to leave a voice mail.  Then I wait for a response — it doesn’t happen.  So I call again — well, there was a good excuse, they were all ill with a bad bug!  So I said, give us a call when it is all clear.  I wait a month — no call.   I finally dropped the gifts off on their doorstep at a time when they were all taking naps and didn’t hear my knock on the door. Another three-and-a-half weeks went by before I even got a “thank you” call from the parents.  While I was waiting for that call, I tried to talk to myself, saying “You aren’t supposed to give a gift for the purpose of hearing ‘Thank you.'”  I am ashamed to say that still I fumed!  It is this kind of selfish, control-freak stupidity that gets in the way of my relationship with my Lord.  “The little foxes!”
     

    1. Deanna, how have you been feeling since the accident? I’m so glad they didn’t have to do surgery again.

      1. Joyce,   How nice of you to ask about me!   I am actually doing fine, I think!   I see my primary care physician next Wednesday.  However,  I have been living a pretty normal life for about the last six weeks, and I have been driving.   For while I was sticking a little pillow between me and the seat belt, but I have now pitched the pillow.  You are a sweetheart to remember and ask. 

        1. I’m so glad your so much better!

  3. B. Contemplate verses 11-13. What do you see?

    Hope.

    1. Laura-d, I meant to reply to this yesterday–but I was thankful to see you post “Hope”. I do pray, as Dee said this morning, that You can believe at your deepest core the love He has for you, the pain would begin to lessen–praying for you

  4. Renee, thank you for your prayers for me, but you must of been away when I shared the good news of my son moving back home!  After 5 weeks he hated the new job and got his old job back and even his rental house and said he learned alot and didn’t realize how well off he was here and he’s so glad to be home!  I credit it to praising God through all the sadness and sorrow I was feeling…but I was still thanking and trusting  God because he knew best.   It was almost like he was testing me.   I always must thank him and trust him through whatever he puts me through, because it truly helped me get through it too. 

  5. If I can figure out how to be linky like you  elizabeth, today’s devotion from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, was on this very subject!  It scaned crooked, as it is a fat little book, but here it is.

    devotion

    1. Joyce–I’m so sorry–I just saw this and have been trying to find where you read it online from? I haven’t found an online version (and I don’t have the book to type it in)–I’ll keep looking 🙂

  6. I’m sorry that didn’t work…I have to listen again to Anne.  Maybe some could post Oct 3rd devotion for me  in Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling…it is  a brown and orange  book and has Jesus hand in the center picture.  Thanks

    1. From Jesus Calling, October 3:
      “When Many things seem to be going wrong, trust Me.  When your life feels increasingly out of control, thank Me.  These are supernatural responses, and they can lift you above your circumstances.  If you do what comes naturally in the face of difficulties, you may fall prey to negativism.  Even a few complaints can set you on a path that is a downward spiral, by darkening your perspective and mind-set.  With this attitude controlling you, complaints flow more and more readily from your mouth.  Each one moves you steadily down the slippery spiral.  The lower you go, the faster you slide; but it is still possible to apply brakes.  Cry out to Me in My Name!  Affirm your trust in Me, regardless of how you feel.  Thank Me for everything, though this seems unnatural–even irrational.  Gradually you will begin to ascend, recovering your lost ground.
      When you are back on ground level, you can face your circumstances from a humble perspective.  If you choose supernatural responses this time–trusting and thanking Me–you will experience My unfathomable Peace.  (Psalm 13:5, Ephesians 5:20)

      1. Thanks for posting this Nanci J. and thanks Joyce for recommending it. So good! Instead of a downward spiral of negativism, we need to choose trust and thanksgiving. 

        If you choose supernatural responses this time–trusting and thanking Me–you will experience My unfathomable Peace. 

  7. 5. Dialogue with the Lord in prayer. He wants to hear your voice. Read what He says to you — and then respond. If you think our reading over your shoulder will alter your response, then do it privately.
           A. He says: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.” You respond:
           B. He says: “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the crannies of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” You respond — with however His Spirit leads you.
    God speaks to me a lot at the oddest times….like Tuesday, I was getting my hair colored and reading a prophetic book I have on my kindle. I tend to read books slowly…meaning I dont read it all at one time. I ponder a lot what I read, so I had just started reading where I left off in this particular book from weeks ago. So there I was sitting in the chair, with color and foil in my hair, in a Dutch community where they might think me weird for almost sobbing sitting in the beauty chair, as I read the book something in the book struck my heart hugely! This is what I read True repentance, therefore, puts you in touch with the damage of your brokeness or your sin has done to God and others. True repentance takes root when the harm to the heart of God and others becomes more important than your own remorse or pain. Repentance must be focused on God’s heart, your child’s heart, your spouses heart or your friends’ hearts... R. Loren Sandford.  I have struggled so much with my oldest, who just turned 18, her name is Hannah. I had a bad week with my emotions and felt horrible the way her and I had argued. Didnt make it right in my response or actions towards her, and I remember just driving and praying to God to forgive me and then I read this that day…I almost started sobbing right there in that chair with color in my hair…God moves in the most profound ways and when we least expect it. That same evening I was sitting at home on my computer, when Hannah sent me a message on Facebook a quote that said ” Dear Mom, I may not like you always. We may have arguments and fights sometimes. But there’s one thing that you should know, I love you always and forever.” Yup…that was a huge GOD moment for me…what’s even more ironic, that saying “love you always and forever”, is in a book I use to read her when she was little called Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. She didnt even realize this until I told her. That to me is my God moments, HIs moments that He shows me He loves me, He hears my heart’s cry and that HE hasnt forgotten about me…make me cry just typing this. This is God calling me out of the clefts of my brokenness and darkness when I just want to run and hide.

    1. Oh Staci, I loved your entire post here. This is sooo good, “True repentance takes root when the harm to the heart of God and others becomes more important than your own remorse or pain. Repentance must be focused on God’s heart, your child’s heart, your spouses heart or your friend’s hearts.”
      Yes…even when I sin, how often (in my sinfulness) make it all about me-my remorse, my regret, my guilt…the operative word being “my”.
       
      And then Hannah sending you that quote. I have the very same book by Munsch; I never could get through it without crying. Love your “God moments” and thanks for sharing with us.

      1. Thanks Susan…Im the same way…I could read the book Love You Forever and still cry. hugs and blessings to you. I pray you have a wonderful weekend!

    2. True repentance, therefore, puts you in touch with the damage of your brokeness or your sin has done to God and others. True repentance takes root when the harm to the heart of God and others becomes more important than your own remorse or pain. Repentance must be focused on God’s heart, your child’s heart, your spouses heart or your friends’ hearts..

      Love this quote, Staci. May I ask where it came from? So convicting, yet I have found it true! How I need to believe it now! 

      1. Thanks Diane, it truly was a huge Aha moment when I read this quote…like a light bulb went off in my head… kind of like the covenant/consumer message from Keller…This quote is from a book Im reading. It’s a prophetic book but not your doom and gloom book, definitely fell into my lap….by God. It’s called Visions of The Coming Days by R. Loren Sandford. I have read many books about the end times…but this book is full of God’s love, and hope…not your doom and gloom. So much truth is spoken about things I was taught, and wrongly taught. Havent finished it, still reading it. Slowly…lol. 

        1. Thanks for the information on the quote, Staci. I attended a lecture on Revelation by Edith Humphrey (professor from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, I think) last week. It too focused on visions and God’s love and hope. I truly found it refreshing. 

        2. Staci, Ditto on loving that quote.  Timing is perfect, too, because this week I’ve been so aware of my brokenness and how I grieve Him.

    3. Staci, I love that quote from Stanford too….I have to save that!

    4. Lovely, Staci…thanks for sharing. 

  8.  I didnt realize the title of this song adn I listen to Martin Smith all the time, love this song and I will be seeing him in concert along with Matt Redman on the 19th of October…cant wait! I hope this blesses you. It’s called Song of Solomon. 🙂
    http://youtu.be/S2urjlelpuM

      1. You are a huge blessing Dee, everyone in this bible study is as well. Truly God sent for such a time as this; in the video there are photos that really speak to me…one of a windmill of HOlland, Im sure of it…just another moment God is showing me He is wooing me…Im right where I need to be in this study!….confirmation in those photos..love it! Just when I thought I was stuck in the wildnerness again…God shows up. 🙂 God Bless, praying you have a blessed day and God uses you to touch others hearts! hugs.

        ps. if you like this song by Martin Smith, my other most favorite song of his is called “Waiting Here For You….”

    1. Love this song and the photography with it, Staci.

      1. Thanks Diane, hope it blessed you and you and your daughter are well. hugs friend.

    2. Staci,  that video was a real find!   Thanks for sharing it with us all!

      1. 🙂

    3. Staci!   Those are the most awesome songs!  Thank you so much!

    4. Never heard of this singer or song, but a very good “mantra” for me this morning. Thanks for posting it.

  9. I also did not notice this video is all photography, that I love…that is another God moment…for that is what I started doing…God told me to quit college and pursue what he placed in my heart…photography..Im having a lot of God, crying moments today…thank you Jesus!

  10. 4. Read The Song of Songs 2:9-14 (Aloud!)
          A. What evidence of love do you see in the Bridegroom in verses 8-10?

    He came after her pursuing her. Verse 9 really popped out for some reason and I don’t know why..:) He is standing behind ‘their’ wall gazing through the window, peering through the lattice-then speaks! He says arise, come with me… initially I see God here as always present, always pursuing us even in our weakness..I see him here as a shy lover-He invites us to come out of the cleft, while His Holy pursuit is fierce-He is also gentle and long suffering..The verse that says not to arouse love before it’s time came to me too..That our growth is in His timing too-and HE shapes our hearts. 
     
     

  11. 4 B. Contemplate verses 11-13. What do you see?
    I see someone who Loves God hearing His quickening, humbling themselves-He is above every thing in their life- arising and going with Him. I see growth.
    C. What does your Bridegroom tell you in verse 14? How does this speak to you?

    He Loves me more than I ever dared imagine. He delights in hearing my voice-He delights when I talk with Him and daily, moment by moment commune with Him-He sees me as lovely. 
     
    5. Dialogue with the Lord in prayer. He wants to hear your voice. Read what He says to you — and then respond. If you think our reading over your shoulder will alter your response, then do it privately.
           
    A. He says: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.” You respond:
    Yes! Help me to walk for I am overwhelmed by your Love.
            B. He says: “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the crannies of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” You respond — with however His Spirit leads you.
     
    Oh God I am overwhelmed by your Love-your glory, your beauty..strengthen me to gaze on you..I am in awe that you Love me-that you delight to see my face, to hear my voice, for without You-without your love I couldn’t come out. You are Holy-fierce, and wildly relentless yet you are gentle and humble in heart and you my God have wrapped me in your beauty and I am in awe of you-that you want me to come to you..for I am weak and broken, but you call me lovely-and I will take your hand and come out. 

  12. 6. What danger is there to our relationship with the Lord, and to the fruit that will come from that intimacy? (Song of Songs 2:15)
     
    This is the part I don’t like-the foxes and for me they come when God is at work in my vineyard pulling weeds and pruning me. Satan’s hiss that He doesn’t really love me. The twisting that He doesn’t care. That twisting of who He is-that lie of condemnation-twisting the Gospel into works salvation! Worse yet-the temptation to be overwhelmed and controlled by my circumstances-or by achievement  or by successful parenting-rather than to be overwhelmed and in awe of His beauty. When my affections are controlled by and onto anything more than Him-this is the danger to the fruit that comes from intimacy with Him.

  13. 7. What little foxes are endangering your love relationship with the Lord?
     
    Shall I dare say that it is EVERY DAY-the foxes are prowling every single day..and sometimes I don’t realize when I have believed a lie! But He comes and quickens me and reveals it-Oh His pursuit-amazes me! I just noticed He says, “catch” the little foxes-so they are there-He wants us to catch them so they don’t endanger our intimacy.
     
    I have a little fox-but I wouldn’t say it is little for it scares me! Yet He showed it to me the other night..I am not sure how to describe it other than plain old pride. I am unable to mention the context of it but trust me-it is dangerous-and I want Him to take it from me. I want to say and rest in: you are God and I am not!

  14. 3. In The Song of Songs 2:4-5 what pictures of protection, love and intimacy are painted concerning the Bridegroom’s love for His bride?
     
    “He has taken me to the banquet hall” – a picture of a lavish banquet that has been prepared for her and he takes her, leads her there
    “and his banner over me is love” – this just makes me think of him taking her into the hall, proudly showing everyone there that she belongs to him, declaring publicly to all his love and protection over her. The banner is like a loud proclamation- “I love her…she is mine!”
     
    She feels “faint with love”, and he will refresh and strengthen her with raisins and apples – he provides for all her needs. Jesus nourishes us with “real food and real drink”.
     
    4. Read The Song of Songs 2:9-14 (Aloud!)
     
    A. What evidence of love do you see in the Bridegroom in verses 8-10?
     
    The Bridegroom is described as leaping and bounding over mountains and hills like a gazelle or a young stag. This reminds me of when Jacob saw Rachel the first time, he moved the heavy stone from the mouth of the well-probably like it was a little pebble. It is a picture of a man in love, and the strength and vitality that love gives him. He is coming to her.
    He peers at her through the lattice – he desires her.
    He calls to her, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.” – He calls her beautiful and he is so anxious for her to come to him. It is interesting that he doesn’t go in and get her…he waits patiently for her to come to him.

  15. 6. What danger is there to our relationship with the Lord, and to the fruit that will come from that intimacy? (Song of Songs 2:15)
    The foxes—they ruin the vineyards. Though seemingly small, they cause great damage, ruin.

    7. What little foxes are endangering your love relationship with the Lord?
    I didn’t post my answers to 5, because as I started typing it just became more personal…it was an emotional exercise, and good for me to answer.

    It struck me that the foxes are small, yet very destructive—and I am to catch them. I woke up thinking about this and it reminded me of 2 Cor. 10:5—take every thought captive. So often, especially in one difficult relationship, I have a thought—not a good one—a critical one that I can disguise (make “small”) so it sounds OK enough to say out loud, but inwardly I know what I really feel. I rationalize, I don’t acknowledge my sin—I don’t catch the fox. And that fox gets friends. And my critical thoughts grow, and my demeanor becomes cold and withdrawn. I can justify it all along the way—but now, today even, I feel like there is an entire “pack” of foxes, running around—eating at any hope.

    Then it effects the vineyard. I turn to Him repeatedly with this relationship—but guilt has set in, and I often don’t stay long enough—past the outpouring of my heart, to fully acknowledge my sin. I just feel bad, and then I feel un-loveable, and it makes verses like 14 so hard to believe—and so there, those “little foxes” have destroyed the intimacy of me and my Lord–and that is just what the enemy had planned.

    My son was put in an old kids video on Job yesterday (a good one—but one they haven’t listened to in years) and as I listened from the kitchen I was reminded how the enemy desperately wanted all the hardships to destroy Job’s relationship with God. But Job caught the foxes.

    I must see this struggle in light of what God is doing. He is always in the art of making me holy. And my part, my responsibility in faith, is to catch the foxes. Not allow fear and doubt to give way to criticism and withdrawal from others, from Him. I must stay, in the vineyard, with Him, take every “fox” captive—and trust Him to make me holy. And that is how He can truly, does actually, desperately love me even now. He sees what I was created to be. He sees me restored to Beauty. And honestly, that gives me much hope. He really will make all things new—including me. But there is a responsibility on my part to catch the foxes. Sorry this is getting long–but oh, this was good for me to ponder. I feel renewed hope!

    1. Oh how I love your last pharagraph, Elizabeth!!  Catch those nasty little foxes and don’t let them ruin your love with God!

  16. 8. If you had time to listen [to the panel], what are your thoughts?
    I really enjoyed listening to the whole panel on Christ centered preaching from Gospel Coalition. The part on SoS is at minute 23 for those without the time to listen to the whole thing. The entire discussion was helpful in learning to read the Old Testament and see how it points to Christ. I found the part on Song of Solomon interesting as well. Even a well-known preacher is intimidated to preach on it. Wow! Still, the others were convinced that SoS paints a portrait of Christ and the church as well as a model of earthly love. 

    1. Snow! Oh my! Praying you get home safely, Dee. And how long is your commute from the airport to arrive home? Is it snowing in Wisconsin as well?

    2. yes–praying dear Dee! Lord, please allow Dee to get home safely and give her good rest. Thank you for Your blessing on her speaking–I pray the words she spoke would continue to stir in the listeners’ ears and draw them to You. Amen.

    3. Oh Dee…we’ve had the AC on today…Indian summer weather and humid – and to think of snow…brrrr!
      Praying for safe travel!

    4. Oh Dee, I pray your home safely by now. Bless you for doing what you do.

  17. Praying, Dee!    I can’t believe you are having to brave snow already!

  18. Listening to a Panel on Christ-Centered Preaching….
    8. If you had time to listen, what are your thoughts?
     
    I did listen to the whole panel discussion, and I simply “ate it up!”  I laughed heartily at times, sometimes sat on the edge of my chair, and at other times clapped my hand over my mouth!     Dee, I also favored Allistair Beggs, as he seems very personable and down-to-earth. I loved it when he said he had not yet preached on Song of Songs or Revelation. He was “saving it for later.”   He seemed unwilling to touch the subject even with a ten-foot pole!  The other two panelists pretty much concluded, as we have been heading in our study of SOS, that it is both about sex/marriage and also Christ and the church.    Mark Dever from the Baptist church in Washington, D.C. was enjoyable as well– he seemed so on-fire for the gospel.  It was almost as if he couldn’t talk other than to preach. 🙂   In fact, the President of Wheaton commented after one of Dever’s long enthusiastic answers, “Mark, I think that will preach!”  One point that I picked up that I hadn’t really thought about:  Jesus and all of the apostles who preached throughout the New Testament referred to the Old Testament scriptures, because that was all they had then!   I’m so glad Elizabeth found this video, and thanks, Dee, for sharing it with us. 

  19. A. He says: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.” You respond:

    “Yes Lord, I will come with you. I will not be afraid. I love you and want to be with you. I know you love me and want me near you too.”

           B. He says: “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the crannies of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” You respond — with however His Spirit leads you.

    “My voice is shaky and my face is downcast because I am shy with you. I can’t imagine that you really want me,
    but I know in my heart you do. I have always known you are there with me waiting for me to hold your hand and follow your lead. I take awhile to warm up to things. Please hold me tightly, don’t let go of my hand.”

    1. Oh Laura, I love your heartfelt, honest prayer in “B”…telling the Lord that you are shy with Him…that you take awhile to warm up to things, but asking Him to hold you tightly. I think this is so what He desires…just honestly telling Him how you feel.

    1. Yup, her response made me want to watch — and I had the same reaction.  I haven’t laughed a lot this week, which for me is VERY unusual.  I hadn’t even realized it until I REALLY laughed at a couple parts here. 

      Dee, praying for you — seeing snow pics from Wyoming and western SD on FB last night and today, and part of I-90 is (or was) closed.  YUCK! 

    2. Pics of Dee on the FB page for Steer Inc Missions Conference 🙂

  20. 6. What danger is there to our relationship with the Lord, and to the fruit that will come from that intimacy? (Song of Songs 2:15)

    Catch for us the foxes,
    the little foxes
    that ruin the vineyards,
    our vineyards that are in bloom. (Song of Solomon 2:15 NIV)

    So my “little” foxes seem HUGE to me…..every problem is a LARGE one that needs some attention. Satan tries to interfere. He wants us to give up. I know you are near though, I just KNOW it. He won’t come between us no matter what happens in my life! Job NEVER knew, and didn’t question. I must remember that.

    Dear Lord, thank you for good friends who lift us up when we are sad. Lord, thank you for those who sit shiva with us when we are broken. Whatever brings my daughter to you Lord, whatever it takes, I trust you. There are too many signs that you are here with us. The fig, crossroads church (the only one in NY state and it’s across from her school), Greeley St., and others. You know what is best Lord. I will not question. She is broken Lord, she needs You. Would you please remind her Lord? Please remind her that she really does love you in her heart. Help her to accept our help. Help her to submit to You Lord. Please help. Amen.

  21. 8. If you had time to listen, what are your thoughts?
     
    I listened last week-but re-listened to the portion about SOS. Last week it stood out that Alistair Beggs said he had a hard time with worship songs with Jesus is my girlfriend-type songs.  I SO appreciate Alistair’s honesty in saying he doesn’t know so he hasn’t preached on it-but I see the girlfriend statement as the only reason why. Yet, I do know Beggs has to know that Dever has never alluded to cheapening intimacy with Christ this way in his teaching in SOS. That is a flighty kind of cheap interpretation of SOS-that I would hope no one would come away with, and by no means does Dever or Ryken allude to that.  I guess it bothers me a bit that when God beautifully opens up the Song of Songs to show us His desire for an intimate relationship with us-as He shows us all over scripture with some pretty intimate passages that we seem to accept-like God being a jealous God when he likens Israel’s idolatry to being a whore spreading her legs out for anyone-is it such a far reach to see that SOS is an earthly illustration depicting a much greater reality?
     
    I guess the blanket response of: “I dont’ like the whole ‘jesus is my girlfriend’ thing’ as a reason to not consider the greater reality inside SOS-is kind of a cop out-I am not saying Alistair is copping out-but I have heard others say this. I say this with no disrespect toward Alistair at all. I like him, he is wonderful-and honest! I just think it is sad-if he could just do his own research and really seek God in this..if he were to see there is truly a greater reality-oh my..could God move through him to ignite a deeper love and passion for Jesus in his church.
     
     

  22. My takeaway: Grace, and Truth. 🙂 God is showing me some things..That even though I want to burst with wonder and excitement at how He has opened my eyes in SOS-I too decided it was about marriage for many years prior to Him opening my eyes and really He started to open my eyes in other places in scripture before SOS. So I need to be gracious to others for it is GOD who does the eye openings! He is GOD I am not! I STILL have SO MUCH I am not seeing yet that He wants to show me about himself-and others may be looking at me going-“oh she is so young yet, she doesn’t ‘get it’..” and they would be right! SO, how can I be critical of others. (Ouch!) 🙂

    I think we are SO afraid we will cheapen Him in SOS. Well, here is an excerpt from Rich Mullins book..I know I quote him some, and I don’t agree with everything Rich says, but I know after God opened his eyes in SOS-it totally changed him. Here is what he said-and I think it is true how we tend to see God as opposed to how He really is: 
     
    “Could it be that God ‘feels’? Could God be capable of passion? Could God be excited or must He be austere? Are we comfortable with the image of God as Father and nervous about God as Lover (some of us even prefer God as Parent – less a personality, more an ideal). Are we happy to have God be the Creator, but scared to think of Him as being creative? Do we like God being an engineer, but balk at His being an artist? Does His being a logician  comfort us, but His being a poet threaten us? Do we enjoy the glow of God’s light but shade ourselves from the heat of His flames? Does the idea that Jesus tolerated the sinful woman’s anointing of His feet and John resting his head on Jesus’ breast make us squirm, so the thought that Jesus enjoyed this makes us sick? How is it that we can accept Moses saw a bush that burned and was not consumed, yet we doubt that God can love in a rage and never cool?”
    Rich MullinsExcerpt from An Arrow Pointing To Heaven
     

  23. Dee, I couldn’t find where you told us where the convention was–so I googled and found the Steer, Inc ministry–so are you stuck in North Dakota? OH, PRAYING for you to get home–please jump on and let us know when you do get home safely!

  24. I met Dee yesterday at a ladies luncheon and enjoyed her message that God allowed her to minister to my heart.  It was such a blessing.  I’m new to the site here and just wanted to see how this worked to leave a comment –

    Stacy

  25. My take-away:  Though I know I will NEVER be able to completely grasp the extent of His love for me, I am grasping it more and more.  I also can tell that my heart is responding to His love, and my heart response is impacting my thinking — which will impact decisions about the future (and some current behaviors, too).   I’ve also become more conscious that because I love Him (because He loved me first), I don’t want to do anything to grieve Him.  i.e., quicker confession and a much better deterrent to sin than rules will ever be.
    The week has been difficult with deaths, illness, and work pains; my sin and brokenness are so evident.  God’s grace and His love are so unfathomably wonderful.  I learned last night that a loved one may be going to be with Jesus in the next few days.  When I am at the end of myself (a good place for me) and think that I can’t stand any more pain or chaos, I KNOW that His love/His Grace are SO much greater than pain I will experience.   Summary of my take-away 🙂   “Jesus loves me; this I know”

  26. I hope you got home safely, Dee, without too much trauma from the snow storm delays.
    As I was rereading Song of Songs 2 this morning, and thinking about Jesus as a young stag leaping on the mountains, I was reminded of a passage from one of my favorite books, Hinds Feet in High Places, where Much Afraid is being led up the mountains and reaches a part where the cliffs seem straight up and impassable. She despairs and weepingly gives up. Then her companions point to a hind (gazelle) who ascends the mountain finding with confidence the footholds that are there, unseen from the bottom of the cliff. Encouraged by watching the leaping gazelle, she recommits herself to scale the rockface with her companions, Sorrow and Suffering. 
    Many of us have been to those places in our lives when the cliffs seem impassable and we despair. Yet God is there. He is our gazelle to show us how to ascend the cliffs. We must take his hand and by faith climb the cliffs with Him.
    I am not able to fully participate in this study but I am pondering the Scriptures and Dee’s study suggestions, and I am reading all the responses here on this blog. God is continuing to speak to my heart through them, and I so appreciate everyone’s contribution. God is continuing to call me out of my hiding place and leap with Him on the high places of the mountains of His glory. I am my beloveds and He is mine.

    1. Diane, your post is beautiful. I know you have been touched personally by what you describe in the book, Hinds Feet in High Places. “Many of us have been to those places in our lives when the cliffs seem impassable and we despair. Yet God is there. He is our gazelle to show us how to ascend the cliffs. We must take his hand and by faith climb the cliffs with Him.” I am glad you are finding encouragement.

  27. B. Contemplate verses 11-14. What do you see?
     
    I don’t know why, but when I read these verses, it makes me think of when a believer is ready to die, and the Lord is ready to take them home. They are going to a place where there is no winter nor rains, where there are flowers and singing, and the doves, to me, symbolize peace. When he says to arise, and come with me, I think of the soul leaving behind the body.
    But even if I don’t look at it from that view, these verses seem like the Bridegroom wanting to tell his love to “take heart”…he wants her to open her eyes and look…to prove to her that with Him, there is no danger.
     
    C. What does your Bridegroom tell you in verse 14? How does this speak to you?
     
    He tells me to show Him my face, to let Him hear my voice, because to Him, the sound of my voice is sweet, and my face is lovely. Deep down is my tendency to turn from Him and to back-up from Him and to want to hide, to be ashamed before Him, to feel inadequate. He is so persistent, so tender, to want to draw me out of hiding.

  28. My take away. (I know this is late, but I am trying to be faithful in my commitment here.)
    I am so enjoying the lessons and what God is opening my eyes to. And I am waiting for the fall. Perhaps that is the wrong term but i am on a mountaintop with this new heart that God is giving me. I have been through such a long valley and have been painfully broken down every. step. of. the. way. And I embraced it, knowing that God would use it to His glory (and to perfect my faith, and refine my heart). But I know that we can’t live on the mountaintop, right? Eventually, things will start to go wrong, my idols will rear their heads and I will struggle. So, while I am elated in what God has revealed I am also steeling myself and praying for strength for when the struggles do come. Also, I am remembering my takeaways from the last two weeks…building and growing…seeing change. That is good.

  29. 6. What danger is there to our relationship with the Lord, and to the fruit that will come from that intimacy? (Song of Songs 2:15)  We will have His fruit in our lives, the fruit He wants to give us to have when we spend time with Him. We grow in spending time with God. There is danger because the bible warns us the enemy is quick to try to destroy us, the enemy does not want us to know our value in God’s eyes and God’s love.
     
    7. What little foxes are endangering your love relationship with the Lord? the ‘little foxes’ that are endangering my relationship with the Lord is ‘busyness’ learning to juggle so much at times and not neglect my intimate time with God. Sometimes over commitment and I can be my own worst enemy in my thinking process as well. A reason I know its important to get in the word daily, and sometimes I fail miserably at this. I need God’s word to remind me of what He says about me and to not listen to the whispers of the little foxes. I worry about things that are days ahead instead of focusing on the day at hand…one of my worst habits and it makes me stress…not sure why I do this? I was just reminded as well, Stress steals our peace and joy. Something I can not afford to keep let happening.Does anyone else have this problem, stressing about things that are days away? It does me no good and I dont even know what Im stressing about? I guess I just look forward to NOT being so busy…on a positive note…my kids bus is coming earlier and on time for once. So no more driving every day, waiting 30 minutes and wasting a whole hour each morning and afternoon anymore. Today I showed up, bus was there, dropped the kids off and left…a total of 30 min. Thank you Jesus! I know to most that seems little, but 2 hours everyday taxing kids and thats just drop off and pick up…Im happy to have some time back. 🙂

  30. 8. If you had time to listen, what are your thoughts? I know Im behind, but Monday seems ot be my catch up, “me for day”. I did listen and at first, I wasnt really into the message, but found a lot of good points. I guess I never knew there was so much ‘questioning’ of the bible,but found the message very interesting. It made my understanding and spiritual eyes more aware that people can perceive how the bible and differently in all right ways too. No right or wrong in that.  I love the whole conversation of how the ‘whole’ bible points towards Christ, Christ centered. I remember growing up thinking the Old Testament was souly before Jesus and the New Testament was souly when Jesus arrives on the scene. I especially found it interesting that the one pastor had never preached on Revelations or Song of Songs, ‘he was saving it for when he was “old-ER” ‘. Funny, but sad to me also. Now that I have taken this bible study, I see nothing but Christ in this book and the love he has for His whole Bride (even men). So I can see where that is a bit awkward for men to read and visualize. It reminds me of what Dee stated in one of the earlier weeks….Christ first….everything should be Christ first….this book points to that and the whole bible for just that purpose…Christ first and Christ centered, letting His love envelop us.