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HE LEADS IN THE DANCE

WE DID NOTHING TO EARN HIS LOVE

IN FACT, WE WERE DEAD IN OUR SINS

WHEN HE CAME AND BREATHED LIFE INTO US

breath-of-god

WHEN HE LIFTED US OUR OF THE MIREY PIT

Out-of-the-Pit2

AND SET OUR FEET UPON A ROCK!

he-lifted-meTHEN HE TOOK US IN HIS ARMS

AND INVITED US INTO THE DANCE!

ONE OF MY FAVORITE DANCE SCENES IS

FROM THE SCENT OF A WOMAN.

SHE IS “A LITTLE AFRAID” TO TRY.

BUT, HE PERSUADES HER TO TRUST HIM.

AND, OH! THE DANCE THAT FOLLOWS!

SCENTOFAWOMAN

CLICK HERE:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2zTd_YwTvo

How beautifully the dance pictures God’s design for a husband and a wife, and, in a mysterious way, the relationship of Christ and His Bride. This is also the beauty on every page of The Song of Songs. She is a delicate flower, a “lily of the valleys.” Her fragrance delights him, a fragrance which spreads to others as her love for him grows.

He is a life-giving tree, “an apple tree among the trees of the forest,” providing shade and sustenance. He does not depend on her, but she does depend on Him.

apple-tree-1

I’m excited about this week. Just as He led in the dance of wooing us to Himself, so we must learn how to allow Him to lead us in our time with Him. George Mueller, the man whom God used so mightily to rescue 10,000 orphans, learned how to let God lead in the dance both in his quiet time and then, in his great adventurous life. For many years Mueller began his time with God with hours of prayer, but then realized that if he began instead with the Word, and let the Word lead him in prayer, he would experience “the dance.” Mueller came to believe that the foremost duty of a Christian: “to get his soul happy in the Lord.”

This week we will not only study a passage in the Song, but meditate on it and then pray it. “Meditation,” Tim Keller says, “is not to make the passage clear (that should have already happened) but to take that truth and “make it real to yourself until it catches fire in your soul.” This is important with all Scripture, but oh what you miss if you do not hear the Lover of your Soul speaking to you in the Song, and if you do not learn how to speak to Him. (Joni Eareckson Tada says she likes to use the words of the Shulammite to praise Jesus.)

Here are some words from the Shulammite we studied last week. Now let’s see how to meditate to make it real to your heart.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth. We have learned that a kiss from the King is a connection with God — a verse “quickening you,” or an answer to prayer, or circumstances that you know are from Him. Let’s concentrate this week on finding, hopefully at least twice this week, a verse that quickens you. You must then learn what God is saying, then meditate on it until it catches fire, and then pray it. For example, using the “kisses” verse, first meditate. Ask questions like: What are kisses? Why does she ask him to kiss her? What are kisses of his “mouth?” Then, when it is catching fire, go on to pray it using the ACTS acronym.

ADORATION: Thank you that You are a personal God who kisses us. Who kisses us in salvation, but then keeps kissing us with Your Word, with circumstances You bring into our lives, with peace.

CONFESSION: Forgive me for all the times I treat Bible study as a duty instead of a personal interaction with You. Forgive me for not really listening, but do it instead to feel good about myself, check it off, and go on to something I’m more eager to do. Forgive me, O Lord.

THANKSGIVING: Thank You that You are so forgiving, that your mercies are new every morning. Thank You for never giving up on me.

SUPPLICATION: Please bring to my remembrance my need to be still, to listen, and to connect with You. Please kiss me with the kisses of your mouth. Help me learn how to do this prayer/meditation so I connect with You and allow Your Spirit to transform me.

Sunday Ice-breaker

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

Monday-Thursday Bible Study

If you have been taught the Song just from a marriage perspective, and especially if it was a particularly sexual perspective, this passage may be a challenge for you. I’ve been grateful for teachers like Mike Reeves who said that there are foolish interpretations on both sides — when only Christ is seen or when only marriage is seen. And James Hamilton gave a stern rebuke to those who have used Song of Songs 2:3 to pressure wives into doing something they are uncomfortable doing. He said, THAT IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THE WAY THE SONG TEACHES A HUSBAND TO LOVE HIS WIFE. HE SHOULD NEVER USE HER FOR SELFISH PURPOSES. So if you have been taught this way, ask the Lord to renew your mind and help you to see Christ. Also, as Ellen Davis says, “Both pictures are there and enhance one another.” The Song gives us echoes of Eden, pictures of what heaven will be like when we return fully to our Lord. We must see marriage, but see it primarily as a pointer to what is most important: Christ’s love for His bride and her responsive love to Him.

Echoes of Eden

 

Read Song of Songs 2:1-3

2. How does she see herself in verse 1, and how is this a change from how she saw herself in 1:6? What brought about this change? (Be specific with verse references.)

3. Has the gospel of Christ’s love changed how you see yourself? If so, explain.

4. How does he see her, according to verse 2? Compare this to Philippians 2:15.

5. How does she see him, according to verse 3? How do you see this “apple tree” providing both shade and sustenance? Share a specific way the Lord has done this for you.

This comment from Ellen Davis made my soul catch fire. She explained that the descriptions of the bride and groom have an “Edenic quality” [echoes of Eden!] to them, for you can find them in the close of the prophets Hosea and Isaiah. They prophets rebuked God’s people for “whoring” after idols, after others gods, but also see a day when God’s people will return, realizing their fruitfulness, sustenance, and shade comes only from God. Read this from Hosea:

I will love them generously…

I will be like the dew to Israel,

he shall blossom like a lily

They shall rerurn to sit in his [God’s] shadow…

and blossom like the vine…

6. What parallels do you see?

7. If anything so far has quickened you, meditate and pray the verse. Do it here if it has happened.

Read Song of Songs 2:4-7

While it may sound like they are making love, I agree with James Hamilton that she is imagining it. For one thing, the daughters of Jerusalem are present in this banqueting hall. And for another, this would completely go against the picture of Christ and His bride for the marriage is not consummated until after the wedding in Chapter 4.

His Banner Over Me

8. A “banner” was a sign of special regard and protection — also used militarily in the face of opposition or celebration of victory over enemies.

       A. How is this used in Psalm 20:5? What does this mean?

       B. See also how it is used in Song of Songs 6:10. Comment.

       C. Can you give an example of a time when you were privileged to work with the body of Christ and

           saw God move mightily to overcome the enemy who blinds eyes or brings destruction?

9. Verse 7 is an important verse for it is repeated two more times. It has both an earthly application and a spiritual application. The earthly level is easier to see. She has just been imagining the time when their love will be consummated, and now she gives a warning. What do you think this warning is and why? How might you apply this personally or, if you are a mother or teacher of young people, help them to apply it?

The Hebrew word for “love” in verse 7 is not a person, but rather the feeling or concept of love. On a spiritual level, this is what I have come to believe — but feel free to disagree. (This is going to be in my new book, so I’m always thankful for input.)

ALLOW GOD TIME TO DO HIS WORK

I understand how deep the feelings go for wanting loved ones to trust Christ. As a young believer I would have times when I became physically ill because I was so worried about my parents’ salvation. I felt it was up to me, when it wasn’t at all. I even wrote John Stott when my parents were taking Steve and me to England and said, “I think if my dad could just meet you, he might come to Christ.”

            Dr. Stott wrote me the kindest letter, telling me he would have met with us if he was not in China, but he was confident that God was capable of bringing my dad to Christ. It was the word I needed. I was able to surrender my parents to the Lord and saw Him woo them each to Himself near the end of their lives.

            In our desire to bring those we love to Christ, we may be tempted to paint a romanticized picture of “the abundant life.” Jesus turned around and told those following Him, wanting all the good things He could give, “to count the cost.” For though salvation is a free gift, the Christian life involves suffering, persecution, and denial. When my sister Sally presented the gospel to me, I asked her: “If I gave my life to Jesus, would He ask Steve and me to give up the expensive house we are planning on building?”

            My sister was quiet for a long time. (She was a new Christian herself and was crying out to God for wisdom.) When she finally looked up she said, “In your case, I think so – because you’ve been talking about that house so much, that I think it is a god in your life. You think it will fill up the emptiness in your life. The real God is a jealous God and doesn’t want any other gods before Him. So, in your case, I think the house would have to go. Jesus said, ‘For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’”

            At that point I wasn’t in a hurry to trust Christ. I wanted to find out if He really was who He said He was before I gave Him my whole life. I read, I sought, I prayed – and then, a month later, the Spirit of God had so persistently revealed the truth of Christ to me that I did what I was destined to do before the foundation of the world: I surrendered to the wave.

            Those who come to Christ quickly with a romanticized view may be more likely to be like the seed sown on rocky ground. Because they have no root, when troubles come, they fall away. This isn’t what they expected at all! They didn’t know the real Jesus. He doesn’t always rescue us from the trouble of this world, though He does stand beside us and strengthen us.

            Parents should not press their little children to receive Christ. It is so much better to give them time to get to know what God is like, and then to allow His Spirit to be the One who awakens them, convicts them, and makes them His own. We should be teaching them about Jesus, modeling what it is to know and trust Him, but then allow the Spirit to be the One to cause them to respond.

            This also takes the pressure off us when we share Christ with another. We don’t need to feel like if we don’t seal the deal it won’t happen. As a speaker, I have moved away from altar calls for this reason. I don’t want spurious conversions that are a result of my getting ahead of the Lord. Altar calls didn’t begin until the 1800’s, and though I know many are sincerely converted when they come forward, many are not, but may think they are because “they went forward.” I know that our God is most capable of sealing the deal. My responsibility it to lift up Christ clearly – and then men will be drawn to Him.

10. What thoughts do you have on the above? Agree? Disagree?

Lizzy found this panel discussion from The Gospel Coalition about children and evangelism. Optional, but many of you may be interested: Teaching Children Panel Discussion TGC

One emphasis on the panel was letting God do His work and not pushing children to receive Christ before the time was right. I remember one mother was concerned because her daughter came home from VBS with a balloon and said it was because she asked Jesus into her heart. The mother wondered if it was about getting the balloon or because her daughter was really desiring Christ.

balloon


11. What thoughts do you have on the above?

Next week we will finish chapter 2 — there is so much in it, but it really is a unit, so I must keep it together. But if you want to get started on it, go ahead.

12. Has any passage quickened you? If so meditate and pray through it here. 

 

Friday: FREE TEACHING ON MEDITATION BY TIM KELLER

This is not about the Song, but about meditating and praying Scripture. It is not a sermon, but a teaching session on meditation. One of the purposes of Lent is to draw near, and I believe you might find a gem in this to help you.

Meditation: What It Is

13. If you listened, share notes and comments.

Saturday

Just for fun — remember in chapter 1 how he likens his bride to a mare? Watch this:

Dance Me To The End of Time

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

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121 comments

  1. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? The dance from Scent of a Woman. Because a dance is intimate and exemplifies so well our relationship with Christ. The thing that really stood out, though, was her eyes. When they begin (even before when she is holding his hand waiting to go to the dance floor) her eyes are searching the crowd, “Who is watching? Will I be embarrassed?” When they start dancing, again, her eyes are on the crowd searching to see what others may be thinking of her unique situation, but somewhere in the middle (perhaps after laughing at the dip?) she starts to LOOK AT HIM. And her eyes stay there, smiling, enjoying, enveloped in the experience. This is a kiss from the King this morning as He has been whispering me to not Fear the opinion of man but to let His love be my guidance and assurance in all things. The dance is awkward and possibly emarrasing if my eyes are on others, but when I keep my eyes on Him, oh! Sweetness, joy, tenderness, submission to where He is leading and loveliness that follows, trusting His hand gently pulling and pushing around this dance floor of life. 

    1. Jill I echo Dees comments here. What a beautiful vision you have here. Thank you!!! I too want to keep my eyes on Him and allow that awkwardness to be gone. How much of life is wasted thinking of those things.

      1. Jill and Liz – yes, yes!!! Keeping our eyes on JESUS….and NOT wasting a moment today on what others are thinking of me!!  Again and again…”He must increase, but I must decrease”…(John 3:30)….what JOY in trusting Him in the dance, with eyes only for Him!!  

  2. *She allows herself to be drawn in and he persists in drawing her in…it results in beauty.

  3. What stood out to me?
    The teaching on meditation and quote from Tim Keller, “Meditation is not to make the passage clear, but to take that truth and make it real to yourself until it catches fire in your soul.” I am delighted to pray the scripture. I see so much more when I commit the words in prayer . Also love the example of Joni who is definitely my heroine! She uses words of the Shulamite to praise Jesus. So beautiful…
     

    1. Oh Shirley, I am right there with you in your thoughts on Joni!  Through suffering that not a one of us can begin to imagine…..she shows us what it means to follow Christ alone!  (1 Corinthians 11:1)  I have learned so MUCH from her…..and thank you for a reminder to pray for her more faithfully…….

  4. what a fun, fun lesson!  When I read the intro, I thought I’ve been settling for a peck on the cheek when I could have been having so much more.  
     
    5.  Christ as the apple tree.  Not the most impressive tree in the forest, like Isaiah says, He had no beauty to make us desire Him, but the apple tree is good, sturdy, dependable and full of provision.  And with time you get it.  He is the best tree of all.
     
    7.  Thank you, Lord, that you eagerly desire to see me just as I desire to see spring blossoms, rejoicing in them and considering them precious.
     
    8.  Banner?  Some kind of flag raised in victory, triumph, or to gather the troops?  Does it mean that when we have victories in the Lord, He raises a flag and cheers us on?.  When it talked about terrible as a bannered army, I saw it as meaning believers as not just a pretty face, but one growing in her ability to handle adversity and aggression.  Makes me think of the hymn that mentions “Like the church victorious”.
     
    10. No altar calls until the 1800’s?  How is an altar call different from Acts 2?  My children both came to the Lord before the age of five, and while they had to keep learning what that meant as they grew older, don’t we all need to keep re assessing what it means to know Him?  Don’t forbid the little children to come to Him…
     
    Thank you for the Tim Keller link!  I wrote a page and a half of notes!  I started the lesson thinking I knew nothing about meditation and found that I’ve often been there and just didn’t know to call it by that name.  How important to start with scripture!!  The last link had the repeated line, dance me to the end of love.  There is something that awakens all your senses about really drawing near to God.  It makes all of life better, and is in fact real life.  It is a heady experience, and without the goal of Christ could seduce one into just seeking the experience.  God bless you, Dee, for this lesson.

    1. Mary B–love your enthusiasm ” I’ve been settling for a peck on the cheek when I could have been having so much more”…and about our awakened senses as we draw near to Him–so true. 

      1. Oh Dee….Mary B. has thrown a challenging question on altar calls into the ring! Our pastor was just speaking on this in his message yesterday….pleading with us not to point to a date in time when we were saved and then just “coast” on that.  Scripture is replete with  our need, yes, to examine ourselves.  I’m with the Puritan thinking of “we shall see” as to the genuineness of someone’s profession of faith.  No question – TRUE FAITH PERSEVERES!!  Jesus Himself tells us that “many” will come to Him saying “Lord, Lord….” and He will say “I never knew you”.  Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine.  Test yourselves…..”  The well known verse, 2 Corininthians 5:17 speaks it clearly:  “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person, the old life is gone, a new life has begun!” (NLT)  The NT epistles are filled to overflowing with just what this “new life” looks like in contrast to the “old life”!  (Galatians 5:16-26 is but one passage of MANY).  John MacArthur has a WONDERFUL message on this entitled simply “Examine Yourselves”.  It is a gold mine on this subject.  🙂  
         
        Even so, I’m only uncomfortable with altar calls if they are presented as “fire insurance”, so to speak!  I am so afraid that we as the body of Christ have fallen down terribly on the last words of Jesus to us, the Great Commission…..Jesus tells us to go and “make disciples”….”teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you”…..(Matthew 28:18-20).   How is it even possible that we have overlooked what is His Word to us?  🙁  
         
        And though we are called to examine ourselves, I don’t see that as an anxiety ridden, compulsive behavior for the true believer…..but I do see it as a “check” in our spirit that we can actually be grateful for!  I think in our hearts we really DO know if we are hating our sin more and more, loving our Savior more and more……and thus, loving our neighbors more and more!!  Hungering for our sweet Jesus and longing for those we love to experience His forgiveness and grace and love!!  Longing to see them walking out their days of this sojourn on earth following Him…..on the narrow road that is HARD, but oh so HOPEFUL!!!   

    2. Mary B – thank you so much for all of your entry here – SO stimulating to me!  (See my reply to Dee below…..).  I do understand your concerns about dismissing the idea of altar calls – Peter’s message in Acts 2 was surely “fire and brimstone”!  He was not looking to win any popularity contests or to be “relevant” to the age!!  Rosaria Butterfield has commented that “we cannot bypass repentance on the road to grace” and I concur wholeheartedly.  In many of the altar calls as we know them, the emphasis seems to be on “accepting Jesus” without a time for a sober reflection on our true sinful condition before a holy God.  In Acts 2, Peter did not take that shortcut to God’s grace!  Also…..I love that immediately after we read of 3,000 souls being saved, we read that “all the believers devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and to fellowship,and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper) and to prayer.”  Acts 2: 42.  In many, many cases (not all, thanks be to God!) our churches have lost this urgency to disciple new believers…….so critical!  

      1. Yes.  Jackie.  You said this so well.  Your last sentence: so true.  

    3. Oh,  Dee and Mary B.   I did ‘chime in’ regarding altar calls below,  but I scrolled from the bottom up, so I did not see your post, Mary, until later.  I’ve heard before the 1800s date and suspect it means the ‘altar call’ as we know it?  vs. a sermon that calls on people to make a decision in their heart, such as in Acts 2 ???    I guess I’m thinking that there is a vast difference than preaching with the Spirit’s leading and inviting people to make a response in some way and the very ‘high pressure’ altar calls that are used in some settings.  So, on some levels, it may also be a matter of semantics.    I do agree that many children come to the Lord at a very young age.  In a family where a parent nurtures and teaches them the things of God, this is very common.   My personal concern is when, in an outreach situation, children are pressured or incentivized by something external, to make that decision.  And in the face of peer pressure.    You did raise very good questions,  Mary.  

  5. What stood out to me?
     
    The Invitation to Dance. My earliest memories of a dance-wow, haven’t thought of this in years, I was about 4, and we had a family friend who would lift me in his arms and dance with me to old ’70s country songs…such  strength in his hold, safety, joy and laughter. Then I fast forward to 6th grade dances, the boys too insecure to ask anyone to dance, and only the girls  confident enough (not me) to ask, would end up on the dance floor. But here, He asks me to dance. But it’s more than a question–it’s a declaration of who I am to Him, who I was created to be–insecurity dissolves because I was made for this. He created me to dance with Him, it was His plan all along. And what strikes me too is that it is not just with Him, He is Triune God, He is a Dance–and asks me to join in. 
     
    Fitting quotes from my 2 favorite authors: 
    “He is the One who quickens, who brings life to the dead, who makes dry bones dance, and who rescues His children when they feel like death is creeping into their very souls. “ –Dee in God of All Comfort  (p. 68)
     
    “God did not create us to get the cosmic, infinite joy of mutual love and glorification, but to share it. We were made to join in the dance. If we will center our lives on Him, serving Him not out of self interest, but just for the sake of who He is, for the sake of his beauty and glory, we will enter the dance and share in the joy and love He lives in. We were designed, then, not just for belief in God in some general way, nor for a vague kind of inspiration or spirituality. We were made to center our lives upon Him, to make the purpose and passion of our lives knowing, serving, delighting, and resembling Him.” Tim Keller, Reason for God

    1. We were designed, then, not just for belief in God in some general way, nor for a vague kind of inspiration or spirituality. We were made to center our lives upon Him, to make the purpose and passion of our lives knowing, serving, delighting, and resembling Him.” Tim Keller, Reason for God

      Love, love this quote, Lizzy! Oh, yes, may we center our lives, our passion, our all on Him.

  6. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? This part about Mueller  “…then realized that if he began instead with the Word, and let the Word lead him in prayer, he would experience “the dance.” Mueller came to believe that the foremost duty of a Christian: “to get his soul happy in the Lord.”
    My prayers often seem cold or forced when I do them first thing in the morning (I’m not one to like any interaction when I first wake up anyway). I do like to read when I first wake up so I’m going to change my routine a little and see if that helps. I also like the ACTS and look forward to giving that a try.
     

    1. Dawn–such a good point on Mueller–letting the Word lead us to prayer…and I’m with you on being a”quieter” one in the mornings 😉

      1. Ditto to you both, Dawn and Lizzy!!!  🙂  

  7. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Oh, this week’s lesson looks so good. I am feeling so torn. I wish I had time to dive in deeper with you all, but this is just not what I can do right now. Still, God is using other methods to help me learn the lessons Dee is teaching here. I love following along mostly silently and seeing what treasures so many of you are uncovering. God bless you all with his kisses this week.

  8. I have been having an interesting conversation with my daughter, Ruth Ann regarding Philippine English. She is working on a philology class assignment and have chosen this topic for her research paper. In the course of our conversation today via FB private messaging, I was prompted to read the Song of Songs in my dialect and our national language, namely Ilonggo and Tagalog. As speaking my dialect with a loved one is very endearing and often connotes a closeness like no other, reading the Song of Songs in my dialect have done the same in opening my eyes as how the book is talking about an intimate relationship with Christ. Even though the metaphor of earthly marriage is still there, the awkwardness I have often felt with this book is slowly fading. I would just call it the grace of God. Thank you, Lord for answering my prayer to understand the deep and hidden things of your riches.
    What stood out to you and why? 
    The invitation to dance. Wow! when I was in the elementary, I was a member of a dance group of 8 members. Our coach has partnered us with what he calls chemistry between the pairs so the dances will come across as authentic and graceful. I remember my specific partner then and how he had a way in leading me to make our moves as so. Our coach would often say, “Trust your partner and move together with ease, please!” That was one of the best times in my life growing up. And to think that the greatest man-lover of all has invited me to dance with Him! Only trust Him, only trust Him now, He will save you, He will save you now. As one of the old hymns goes. My salvation experience on an April 29 revival many years ago was my first kiss and invitation from the King. He has led me across “the dance floor” of life. Though my “moves” have been many likened to insecurities, fears, trepidation, He has never let go. Lord, let me dance in step with you. Help me to see your Word as your sweet instruction.

    1. Bing, God really does speak every language…love how reading the Songs in your own dialect drew you closer!

    2. Bing – it is absolutely PRECIOUS to me how our Lord used a conversation with your beloved daughter to open your eyes to a “new” way of reading the Scriptures……such a powerful post from beginning to end …..WHAT a kiss from the King!  Amen.  

    3. This is so sweet,  Bing.

    4. I loved both parts of your post, Bing.  the native language: what a powerful way to describe intimacy.  
      (oh, it just made me remember that the last prayer I heard my father pray was in his native Norwegian….somehow, as he drew near to death, he chose his first language to use in prayer)
      …..and the second part of your post:  trusting your dance partner as a child and how we as God’s children trust Him.  All so good!  
       

  9. What stood out to me was “Her fragrance delights Him. A fragrance that spreads as her love for Him grows” Oh Lord let my love for You grow so my fragrance can spread into the lives of others and they can see that fragrance comes only thru You. No where else. 

  10. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
    Dee! You picked my absolute favorite scene from any movie! Love the tango, and love al pacinos most wonderful acting. I have “dancing the tango all night long in Argentina,” or some exotic place like that, on  my bucket list! She follows along as he masterfully leads her. Our Lord leads us, also masterfully, and we must learn to let Him lead.
     
    One of the best times of my life was dancing with a partner in The Nutcracker as the snow queen and then as sugar plum fairy a few years later. I remember how I trusted him emphatically; one time I landed and inch from the ground upside down! I was never afraid when I danced with him. I had complete faith. Wouldn’t it be great to have that feeling with God? That He would always be there to catch us no matter what? I am not far from that now that I have been through so much in my life. I will believe He will always be with me.

    1. Laura:  I also loved your description of your trust in your dance partner.  
       
      (I feel remiss that I grew up in an ultra conservative church culture where dancing of any kind was prohibited.  We even had to bring notes from home and be excused from square dancing in gym class.  🙁     Though I really wanted to learn to dance, I didn’t rebel.   I understood this as the ‘cost’ of discipleship.  But I know now, that it was part of a lot of entrapment in legalism.    I am thankful I’ve recovered from that and have different ways of viewing social issues now, than when I was growing up.) 

      1. ?

  11. 2. How does she see herself in verse 1, and how is this a change from how she saw herself in 1:6? What brought about this change? (Be specific with verse references.)
     
    She refers to herself as a flower; a rose of Sharon; a lily of the valley. It is much different than in the first chapter. She calls herself dark and seems to be embarrassed because of her looks. He spent time trying to convince her she was beautiful in the last part of chapter one so maybe it stuck? 
     
     
    “If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats beside the shepherds’ tents.”
    ‭‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬
     
    “Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels.”
    ‭‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬
     
    “Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves.”
    ‭‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭1:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬
     
     
    3. Has the gospel of Christ’s love changed how you see yourself? If so, explain. 
     
    Yes and no….I do believe Christ loves me even when I am the worst of the worst; it took a long time to realize this. Grace. However, I typically self deprecate because I don’t really like myself, both physically and internally. I don’t want to be this way, but it is hard to find too many things that I could do better with. I don’t need people to tell me good things about myself. I need to be able to think these things about myself.

  12. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
    I also like the movie clip. I have to admit, I watched it twice; the first time, it made me uncomfortable. I’ve not seen the movie, and at that point in the movie, I don’t know how well she knew him…the tango is a more intimate dance. I would feel uncomfortable doing the tango with a man who was mostly a stranger to me. The second time I watched, I was thinking how she had to trust him to lead her, as he was blind. He could have made some mistake, even stumbled, causing her to stumble, too. Yet, she trusted him. Sort of like trusting a God you cannot see or touch physically. Perhaps that’s what it means to “walk by faith, not by sight”.
    I believe that because I have a more difficult marriage where there has been a lack of tenderness, gentleness…the times I have been treated harshly cause me to back-up from intimacy, though it is what I long for. There is even a fear of it, as in I wouldn’t know how to react to it.

    1. Oh Susan your last paragraph really struck me. I sometimes wonder out of all the pain I have experienced what am I giving out.  For me I am sure it was equally lacking. Oh I wish it were not so. It grieves me. Yet I know I also took on if only I could love better maybe things would change. That too was a very difficult road. In my own strength impossible. I am reminded you need 2 people to dance. We danced but ours was a “Dance of Anger” Which is a book by the way. 

    2. Susan,
      I agree with Liz. Your last paragraph surely struck a chord with me too.  May we identifyl his tender mercies again today.

  13. Read Song of Songs 2:1-3
     
    2. How does she see herself in verse 1, and how is this a change from how she saw herself in 1:6? What brought about this change? (Be specific with verse references.)
     
    In 1:6, she says she is dark, burned by the sun, and she doesn’t want to be stared at. In 2:1, she likens herself to a rose of Sharon and a lily of the valleys. I did a little research on these flowers, and found that some translators believe that rose of Sharon is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word and it may be crocus. Crocuses are those flowers that appear very early in the spring, sometimes when there is still some snow on the ground. She now sees herself as a flower…flowers are lovely, delicate, and fragrant, and admired for their beauty. What brought about this change in her self-perspective…
     
    1:8 – “If you do not know, most beautiful of women…”   1:10 – “Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings, your neck with strings of jewels.”   1:15 – “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.”
     
    3. Has the gospel of Christ’s love changed how you see yourself? If so, explain.
     
    Yes and no because it’s a constant back and forth struggle to see myself as He sees me! Yesterday, in a conversation with a family member, it was said to me, “You didn’t used to be this way…”, referring to my faith, and the implication being that I am somehow different, but not in a good way, as in I am somehow rather unappealing now because God is important to me. If I make any reference to the Lord in conversation, I suppose that is tiresome to this person. It’s hard to know “what to do with God” when I am around unbelieving family members…do I “keep Him in the closet with the door shut” and never mention anything about Him? I believe I act “normal” and I enjoy having fun with my family and friends and I’m certainly not perfect, but whatever this person’s perception is of me, it apparently isn’t a positive one.
     
    4. How does he see her, according to verse 2? Compare this to Philippians 2:15.
     
    He is comparing her to the other maidens, and he says that she is way more attractive to him than all the rest…she is likened to a lily among the thorns. The verse in Philippians is Paul exhorting believers to (v.14 “do everything without complaining or arguing”)  so that they will also be like lilies among the thorns, though he uses different comparisons…blameless and pure, without fault versus crooked and depraved, and believers who shine like stars in the universe (the background color of the universe would be black). With the addition of the Philippians passage, perhaps in The Songs, he is not just praising her physical beauty but also her character is distinct from the other maidens. Today, I would say that a lot of women gossip, complain, are “catty” and jealous…a woman who doesn’t gossip, is agreeable and willing to help and genuinely likes other women instead of being jealous of them would really stand out to a man.

  14. The video of the dance. He asks: “Would you like to Tango darling,” …Her hesitant, scared response, “Right now?”  :))) How I can relate! He reassures her when she fears making a mistake and he says, “No mistakes in the Tango..if you make a mistake and get all tangled up you just tangle on.” I don’t want to go too deep here-but really this reminds me of Hebrews 12:1-2. She is keeping her eyes on him the whole time, letting Him lead her through her ‘mistakes’ and ‘fumbles’ and she grows throughout the dance enjoying him and becoming more confident in him-looking more and more like him in the dance.

    I also love that Joni Tada praises Him with the Shulamite’s praises! 

  15. Read Song of Songs 2:1-3
    2. How does she see herself in verse 1, and how is this a change from how she saw herself in 1:6? What brought about this change? (Be specific with verse references.)
    v.1 As a lily in the valley and a rose of Sharon. In Chapter 1:6 ,she saw herself as dark as a result of working in the vineyard.
    A lily (smooth and exquisite) and a rose (Mary Poppins-rosy cheeks and all!) would be more vibrant in color compared to being dark skinned. So now she finds attractiveness in herself. Chapter 1 vs. 15 expressed the admiration of her lover (how beautiful you are, my darling) and perhaps she came to the realization that even though she is dark, her lover finds her attractive and that as a result she saw herself as such. How important it is for me to know how God sees me, and that is as His masterpiece, therefore I am beautiful to Him and need not be consumed with what the world think I should and could be.
    3. Has the gospel of Christ’s love changed how you see yourself? If so, explain.
    Yes. I am learning to live out the truth that God loves me for who I am, in spite of my sins and there is nothing I can do that would make Him love me less. I am learning not to be defined by my past, my accomplishments, my heritage, but whose I am.
    I John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on that we are called children of God!
    Isaiah 43:1b Fear not for I have redeemed you, (Bing);  I have called you by your name (Bing); you are mine.
     
    Song of Songs My beloved is mine and I am His.
     

  16. 1.  What stood out to you from the above, and why?
     
    Right from the top of this week’s blog I experienced a kiss from the King!  For last week I was praying through Psalm 40 time after time…..both for myself and for others…..to open up this week’s blog and see Psalm 40 just made me laugh with delight!!  Something about the illustration of the ladder in the pit resonated so deeply with me…..this picture seems to be a part now of my heart’s hard drive!  WHAT a gift!!!  
     
    Also loved revisiting George Mueller’s practice of praying the Word, and going to the Word before praying!  I had learned that years ago from a trusted mentor, but did not know about the George Mueller connection until seeing it some time ago on this blog.  🙂  At the time that my friend gently nudged me in that direction it changed my life so much!  The joy factor just seemed to multiply exponentially…..I guess that would be what Mueller refers to as getting his soul happy in the Lord!!  

  17. 2.  How does she see herself in verse 1, and how is this a change in how she saw herself in 1:6?  What brought about this change?  (Be specific with verse references).  
     
    In verse 1 she sees herself a “rose of Sharon and a lily of the valleys.”  Her perspective is changing…..for in 1:6 she her darkness had overshadowed her beauty in her own eyes.  She implored others not to stare at her in 1:6…..but 2:1 is a response to the King’s words….which have clearly begun to penetrate her heart!  She is starting to “believe”…  😉  his words to her in chapter 1, verses 8-11, vs. 15, etc.  When the King speaks of making ornaments of gold to accentuate her beauty…..(1:11) I think she begins to see that she belongs here with him …..in this garden setting……very MUCH reminding us of Eden in all of it’s glorious and lush innocence.  (1:16&17).   When she sees herself as the King sees her….she is unafraid of being “seen”……for she begins to know that her true beauty is in what the King sees, not what she sees!!  When she can describe herself as a rose or a lily, clearly her insecurities and self focus are fading…….

    1. Jackie I am so behind but read this now and thought it is so beautiful in how you interpreted this and shared what you did It really blessed me

  18. 3.  Has the gospel of Christ’s love changed how you see yourself?  If so, explain.  
     
    Here’s what continually amazes me – I committed my life, heart, soul, mind, body….to following Christ just over 27 years ago.  For 27+ years, He has never ceased to change me….through His grace, His love.  How is it possible that there is layer upon layer of my old self that He is molding and shaping and chiseling away?  He has been SO gentle and tender with me…..so faithful….and so unyielding in showing me my sin, my “darkness”.  That the Lord of the Universe….the Creator of all….would bend to tend to my soul in this intimate way is shattering.  In a marvelous way!  In Romans 15, Paul echoes Isaiah in saying “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”.  I think my “spiritual feet” are growing more beautiful even as my aging physical feet are starting to show the wear and tear of a life lived “on my feet”!!  Year by year I long to share Christ and the gospel more transparently…..and my confidence is growing!  For my confidence is in my Beloved!!  As I marinate more and more in His love for me…..I so want this to overflow into the lives of the beloved unbelievers in my daily life.  
     
     

    1. Jackie, I love your sentence so much, “As I marinate more and more in his love for me, I so want this to overflow into the lives of the beloved unbelievers in my daily life.”
      This is so beautifully phrased and it is my desire as well. It is a fine line to be a fragrance and to let go of the concern about offending those who don’t want to know the Savior’s love.
       They are like the brambles or thistles in verse 2, “Like a lily among thorns…”

  19. 4.  How does he see her, according to verse 2?  Compare this to Philippians 2:15.
     
    She is unique, a stand out, the apple of his eye!!  I love that we are comparing this to Philippians 2:15, for that is a verse that I pray and share often with my nephew in prison.  🙂  I know that most of the translations say that you will shine like “lights”, but in this case I’ve always loved the NIV’s “shine among them like stars in the sky”.  That is how I picture my dear, dear nephew…..though he is in a VERY dark place, his walk with Jesus SHINES!!  
     
    I so love how Susan brought this home into our world as women…..who are tempted to gossip, complain, criticize……and how a woman in love with Jesus WILL BE DIFFERENT!!  I think others instinctively see such “weird” behavior as “otherworldly”…..and though sometimes there is a pushback for being so different….yet HE will shine….and we too will shine like stars in the sky!  😉  (Makes me think of what I was just reading in Exodus, when Moses saw the Lord….and his face SHONE….he had to put a veil over his face for it was a fearful thing for the people of Israel!  Weird, to say the least!!).  

  20. 4. How does he see her, according to verse 2? Compare this to Philippians 2:15.
     
    Song of Solomon 2:2: “As a lily among brambles, so is my love among the young women.”
    Phil. 2:15 “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,”
    Lily among brambles: in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation … you shine as lights in the world. Jesus is “the light that shines in the darkness” (John 1:5), the “true light, which gives light to everyone … yet the world did not [does not] know him. (John 1:9) 
     
    We were brambles ourselves, crooked and twisted, until He rescued us and began changing us. Now He sees us as lights because His light shines in us, though our weak imperfect nature is, at best, a flickering light. Jesus, our Lover, sees who we are IN HIM – a shining light. This is so amazing; that this is what we are, and that He uses us to reach out to the brambles and invite them to the Light. We live in the midst of the darkness; but we are light and beauty (lilies) in the darkness. 

    1. From my end, the glitch is not fixed.  Ooops! I could only put this on a reply, not a comment.    

  21. Okay,  now it looks like after I made the remark on a reply, now I am given space to write a comment. 
     
    1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
    There were so many things that were good.   I have seen the Tango scene with Al Pacino several times before, and it is always good.     The lily of the valley brought back a nostalgic feeling for me, as when I was growing up, we had a large strip of lilies of the valley running between our house and our next-door neighbor.  They always smelled so fragrant!    Just loved them!   
     
    But most of all, I was very appreciative of your illustration, Dee, of the ACTS formula for prayers.  I have been aware of this for some time, but you demonstrated it so perfectly!    I confess, it still takes some mental effort for me not to go straight to S (supplication with my needs)!      

  22. Read Song of Songs 2:1-3
    2. How does she see herself in verse 1, and how is this a change from how she saw herself in 1:6? What brought about this change? (Be specific with verse references.)
     
    In 1:6 she is concerned because her skin was dark.  It was a “dead giveaway” that she had to work in the vineyard, doing manual labor.   She felt second-rate compared with the girls of the city who had fair, delicate skin.   However, her beloved loved her dark skin.    In 2:1 she is saying that she is a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.  If these flowers were commonly found in Israel, she may have been saying that she is common, to which her lover proclaims her to be like a lily among thorns.   He thinks she is special!   Knowing that you are loved by another person transforms you.  It is like an upward spiral — the more you know you are loved, the more you glow and the more attractive you are to the other person, and the more they tell you that you are loved, and the more you glow….etc.  

    3. Has the gospel of Christ’s love changed how you see yourself? If so, explain.
     
    For certain!   Knowing that God loves me, that Christ died to redeem me, makes me feel that I am of greater worth.   Knowing that He is always with me and will not leave me makes me more confident to take on tasks that I just wouldn’t want to try otherwise.   If I thought that I was still responsible for every sin I Have ever committed,  I would be depressed.  However, as the verse from Psalm 40:2 says,  “He lifted me out of the slimy pit!”

    4. How does he see her, according to verse 2? Compare this to Philippians 2:15.

    SOS 2:2 “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women.”   In Philippians 2:15, “so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”     Both present “someone wonderful” who is made to appear even more wonderful when contrasted to what they are surrounded by.  

    5. How does she see him, according to verse 3? How do you see this “apple tree” providing both shade and sustenance? Share a specific way the Lord has done this for you.
     
    She sees him to be like an “apple tree among the trees of the forest.”    The trees of the forest give shade and may be used for wood, but an apple tree also provides fruit!  She can be protected from the beating sun, and the breeze produced by the waving branches is soothing and cooling, but also she is fed by the fruit while sitting beneath the apple tree.   
     
    Recently I have mentioned that we have had a rough situation where our new neighbor put up a fence, and that brought to light the fact that our air-conditioner and outdoor faucet have been on our neighbor’s property (for 12 years without knowing it!) .  With the fence coming right up to the corner of our house, it posed a difficulty for us to service our air conditioner, water our flowers, clean our office window and clean our gutters on that side of the house.    It seems that we may have an agreement and a plan now to solve these problems.   However, it was stressful  getting to that point.   During that time, I felt protected by the Lord from the burning sun (the strong assertions of our neighbor), and I felt His soothing touch (to keep me from figuratively “losing my cool”), and I was fed (the right words to say at the right time).   

    1. Deanna – I meant to reply to this earlier.  I was so very moved by your very last sentence in particular (though really by your whole entry!!).  The extremely thoughtful and gracious way that you were able to examine a very stressful situation and see the Lord’s hand and His beauty throughout is a wonderful example to us all.  🙂  

    2. DITTO  to Jackie and Shirley’s comments,  Deanna.    You have been so exemplary in this stressful situation.  

  23. Deanna, I love this outcome to the dilemma of the neighbor’s fence. It is beautiful that when we commit our concerns to the Lord, he gives us grace to wait on him to work out issues to which it had seemed impossible .

  24. That Tango! 🙂 God is using the video of the dance, and now Dee’s comment on children-evangelizing..So I think I made a mistake with my oldest two this past month as BOTH of them seem to be going off the deep end-but God is whispering..”Let go of them, give them to me, and Tango on.. with me.” And I have said, “Right now?” …My mistakes in how I handled them at first-oh,,but He doesn’t want me to blame myself for it isn’t me-there is nothing I can do except show them Jesus. He is the woo-er, not me!! He’s got this. I just need to Tango on. God led me to repentance and He gave me the chance to repent before my boys too-and that is a beautiful part of the dance in letting go and ‘letting him lead’. He has kissed me with His peace and His control. 

    1. Tears, Rebecca. You are such a beautiful witness of repenting and following Christ in the dance.

      He’s got this. I just need to Tango on. God led me to repentance and He gave me the chance to repent before my boys too-and that is a beautiful part of the dance in letting go and ‘letting him lead’. He has kissed me with His peace and His control. 

    2. Rebecca:    You picked up on the ‘Right now?’  part of the clip.   I did not see the depth of that connection to our dance with the Lord when I watched.   I’m such a reluctant and resistant one. It rarely occurs to me that Jesus means for me to trust Him every time, in every situation….right now. 

  25. Read Song of Songs 2:1-3
    2. How does she see herself in verse 1, and how is this a change from ho she saw herself in 1:6? What brought about this change? (Be specific with verse references.) “I am a rose…a lily…” Verse 1:6 quotes her saying do not look at me for I am dark. But now she is declaring herself a flower, something to look at and behold. So while she resisted people’s gaze now she is inviting people’s gaze. Though I wonder if this has more to do with fragrance than vision…. What brought this change was his declaration of love for her. Verses 1:8-2:2 have statements from him as to her loveliness and how he sees her as beautiful. Verse 2:3 she says she has had great delight in his presence…Also verses 1:12-14 she says she has experienced his fragrance…His presence will change how we see ourselves. If we spend time with someone lovely who thinks we are lovely it will have a positive change.
     
    3. Has the gospel of Christ’s love changed how you see yourself? If so, explain. Yes. The more I understand His love and grace the more it changes how I see myself. I am dark, this is the truth, but I could never quite get to the ‘I am a flower’ part of forgiveness in the gospel because I kept trying to earn it… If you scrub a dirty frock with dirty hands, will it get clean? No. It wasn’t until I realized both parts of the gospel (1. That I am more sinful than I ever dare realize AND 2. I am more loved than I ever dared hope or imagine) that I could accept forgiveness. When you are loved just because you are loved and not because of what you have done or will do or could do or should have done… You see yourself differently, defined not by failure but by HIS love. (Yes ‘re a good, good, father it’s who you are, I’m loved by you, it’s who I am…) You cannot be free nor change hearts by adding to the burden of self-condemnation, it is the realization of grace that strips your hands of their burden to truly free you with forgiveness, price paid, burden gone, this changes hearts.
     
    4. How does he see her, according to verse 2? Compare this to Phillippians 2:15. They both hold that because we are His we stand out as beautiful among the not-so-beautiful.
     
    5. How does she see him, according to verse 3? How do you see this “apple tree” providing both shade and sustenance? Share a specific way the Lord has done this for you. There is contrast here, too, there are other trees (in a forest) but it is the apple tree that brings her delight. It strikes me that the sustenance does not have to be sweet, or even enjoyable, but it is. It is the extra he gives us. 
     
    Well…our house flooded this last Sunday and while it has been a huge challenge we have seen his hand in so many of the details. A neighbor discovered the burst pipe early on in the process (we were out of town), we had done a lot of prep work during the hurricane scare to protect irreplaceable items that proved effective in saving pictures, etc., my boys and I did a whole day of chores before we left making everything tidy and that saved a lot of items And hassle. And most of all he has given us a calm heart. It really is “just stuff” and we can only do one day at a time And look for what He has for us in the thick of it. We are still cleaning up and won’t have our house back till at least Friday but I think that I am to persevere here in this study, He is calling me deeper, to trust more and see through His eyes, to be changed by His presence…..

    1. I was working on how to comment on how stunningly direct and compelling your answer was to #3 about how really understanding that we are dark, darker than we can comprehend, BUT we are loved has changed your life …

      (1. That I am more sinful than I ever dare realize AND 2. I am more loved than I ever dared hope or imagine) that I could accept forgiveness 

      Then I read about your flood and how God has given you blessings in the midst of that! Oh my! Isn’t God good even in the midst of the “bad” of life! Prayers for you. You must be exhausted!

    2. Oh Jill.  As I read this here this morning, I am so blessed by your “just stuff” vision of  something very hard.  Especially for a homeschooling family, this has got to be tough to navigate!  I’m also struck with how wonderful it is for your sons to see this through your eyes…..and to see all of the ways that Jesus is “in this”.  Yes, through this hardship He is surely calling you deeper isn’t He?  I was reading in Psalm 27 this morning….”The LORD is my light and my salvation = so why should I be afraid?  The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?” (NLT).  …..”The one thing I ask of the Lord – the thing I seek most – is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.” (NLT).  It’s kind of an upside down kind of thinking in our world!  But HE is our treasure, our true home.  I will pray today that you will experience His Presence as you clean!!  🙂  

    3. I just got to your comments here also, Jill.
       
      So agree with Diane. Your number 3 answer is indeed compelling.   ‘dirty hands washing a dirty frock’.….what a good word picture.  
       
      And the flood.  Oh.  I am so glad to hear you did such good prep and saved the irreplaceables.   I am blessed to see your calm spirit, quiet confidence.   ‘In quiet confidence shall be your strength”     “Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, she whose heart is set on Thee’.   Is. 26:3    
       
      Also know, it’s a hard road and SO much back breaking work to clean after flooding.  Will be praying today, Jill.  

  26. 4. How does he see her, according to verse 2? Compare this to Philippians 2:15.
    She stands out to him against the backdrop of other women. The verse in Philippians tells us to shine, or stand out from others, to show Christ’s love.
     
    5. How does she see him, according to verse 3? 
    She sees him in the same light; he stands out compared to others.
    How do you see this “apple tree” providing both shade and sustenance? 
     
    Apple trees aren’t especially pretty; in fact they stand low to the ground, are scraggly, and could be used in horror movies for their shape! However, they bear delicious fruit and are pretty wide when it comes to providing shade

  27. 6. What parallels do you see?
     
    Both describe lillies; the bride and israelis are beautiful. Both have God’s shadow as protection. Both are loved; the bride and Israel. 
     
    8. A “banner” was a sign of special regard and protection — also used militarily in the face of opposition or celebration of victory over enemies.
           A. How is this used in Psalm 20:5 (What does this mean?)
     
    Maybe these are requests?
     
    I went to a commentary and it said the banners were planted in God’s name in places that David defeated.
     
           B. See also how it is used in Song of Songs 6:10. Comment. 
     
    I suppose flags that tell who the armies were?
     
           C. Can you give an example of a time when you were privileged to work with the body of Christ and
               saw God move mightily to overcome the enemy who blinds eyes or brings destruction?
     
    Hmmmm, I have not been involved in a church split, however I have gone to two churches where a split occurred right before we arrived. In both cases, there was a core group of worshipers who believed in the church and its value, that stayed. I was, and have been blessed by both of those groups and am happy to say that both have been responsible for moving me further in my trust and faith in God; In His plan for me. I think God let the bad fruit go in both cases, so the good fruit could flourish. I will say that I have recently been through several key families leaving the church I now attend and it hurts. These families just left, they never bothered to say why, and boy does that just leave you hanging! If I had known then maybe I could have done something to help. In the meantime, God has blessed us with many new families who seem to appreciate the teaching and fellowship that goes on there.
     

  28. 4. How does he see her, according to verse 2? Compare this to Philippians 2:15.
    He sees her as a lily among the thorns (brambles) She is a stand out among the other maidens
    Philippians 2:15
    Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
    14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
     
    This passage in Philippians challenges me to be “different” rather than conformed to what society considers popular or in vogue. . Do my actions set me apart so that I point others to the true source of light? 

  29. 5. How does she see him, according to verse 3? How do you see this “apple tree” providing both shade and sustenance? Share a specific way the Lord has done this for you.
    Like an apple tree. Not sure why of all trees, the apple tree was mentioned here. Can I make it a Filipino type of tree? Smile. In my country where heat and humidity collides, I can totally relate to the shade a tree offers-coolness, rest and the reviving of the whole body. Sustenance in terms of the fruit of the tree-fresh, filling, and energy giving.
    A KISS FROM THE KING
     
    God uses His Word to give me shade and sustenance. Just yesterday, I was reading Romans 15:15-16 HCVB Lately, my husband and I have been too busy ministering to others, have had some small disagreements (some heat)  about how to handle our students and family and church ministry. When I am tired I tend to think negatively and get into a pouty mood.  These verses really cut through my meandering negative thoughts. And I often have seen these verses as applying to harmony among believers BUT just realized it is also applicable to one of the most important earthly relationships I have-my marriage! His Word indeed sustains the weary and gives strength when I am weak. And the end result? Glory to God!
    And God has used this blog as well to give me shade (from the onslaught of the enemy through your prayers) and sustenance (through your words of encouragement). “Friendship is a sheltering tree.” I posted something on FB.

    1. While shopping for the cruise I found a charm bracelet at Macy’s…One of the pieces on it has a tree-a strong apple tree with hearts for the apples, and another piece has love written on it..It SO reminds me of SOS so I bought it. :))

      1. 🙂  Rebecca.   How nice!  A treasure to remind you of His love.  

  30. 6. What parallels do you see?
     
    I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys (SOS 2:1) –  he shall blossom like a lily(Hosea 14:5))
    I delight to sit in his shade (SOS 2:3b)   – They shall return to sit in his [God’s] shadow…  (Hosea 14:7)

    8. A “banner” was a sign of special regard and protection — also used militarily in the face of opposition or celebration of victory over enemies.

           A. How is this used in Psalm 20:5? What does this mean?
     
    “May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.”   This use of banners would seem to be in celebration of a military victory.     My NIV Life Application Study Bible says that the prayer for victory in Psalm 20 may have been prompted by the events in 2 Samuel 10.  This was a battle where Israel’s troops had the Ammonites coming from one side and the Arameans coming from the other.   The Ammonites had hired the Arameans to help them fight David, but David is victorious.  

           B. See also how it is used in Song of Songs 6:10. Comment.
     
    I don’t see any reference to banners in 6:10.     I see a reference in 6:4 — “as majestic as troops with banners.”   Might mean that the beloved must have had awe-inspiring beauty, like a mighty army readying for battle.    Going back to my reference to the Cecil B. DeMille biblical movies (was that just last week?)   When I would see Israel’s army all set to go into battle with their chariots, horses, armor, and colorful banners, it was a breath-taking site!
     
     
      

  31.  
    11. What thoughts do you have on the above?    (regarding altar calls; pressing children to decide.)  
    I have not been able to be here at all this week, as I have had out of town visitors for the past 4 days.  So, I didn’t have a chance to even scroll through the lesson until now.  It wouldn’t be fair for me to jump in and comment on things I haven’t studied, but I do SO agree with you on this one, Dee.   Although, I grew up with altar calls and honestly, can say that many times, lives were completely transformed, over the past several years, I’ve had the same concerns about altar calls and especially about pressing children to ‘make a decision’.      In our former church, this was a big push during VBS.   And the post VBS report always recorded the ‘numbers’; often with applause.   White roses were placed on a stand in the front of the church whenever someone reported a decision for Christ had been made.  For me, this created confusion about the role of the Holy Spirit and the persuasiveness of a teacher/leader.   One book that helped me as a Children’s Minister was ‘Post Modern Children’s Ministry’ by Ivy Beckwith.  I bought copies for all of our CM team members.  I realized though, that I was in the minority both on staff and with our volunteer leadership team (and not sure any of them read the book)  so I just let it slide.  It was one thing, though that made me re-think how long I could continue in leadership there.  The balloon picture.  Oh………  🙁   
     

      1. The parts I remember best were about engaging children in the whole church community, intergenerational ministry and worship,  using less ‘bells and whistles’ which focus more on the ‘fun’ rather than the content.  (the biggest downfall I see in widespread use in children’s and youth programs)  Using less prescribed programs and more narratives and faith stories.  Less programming, more relationships.  Emphasis on the interactions that happen between generations in the overall church; in the lobby, the hallways etc. instead of separating age groups all the time.  Meaningful service projects.  
        She also touches on using some ancient spiritual practices such as Lectio Divina;  letting the scriptures speak for themselves by reading the text itself more than re-writing as a story.    And she does a good job of describing the different eras:  Modern and Post Modern and distinctives of the millennial child.   She has a section on evangelism and emphasizing the soul care of the child in an ongoing way as being more important than the one time experience of praying the prayer.   I’m not sure I agreed with all of her focal points, but  I found it very refreshing and resonated with a lot of it.  

        1. Wanda – wow!  I really am impressed with the parts you remembered from the book – off the top of your head!!  🙂  It impressed upon me the VALUE of the way that you read…..slowly, thoughfully, mindfully.  I speed read and glean, I fear.  🙁  The way you presented the content in this book intrigued me.  I love that you even remembered that you were “not sure” you agreed with all of her focal points….but what you did share was – and IS – needful I believe.
          As time has gone by I’ve pondered my own daughter’s life, for example.  She was homeschooled from middle school on through high school – and was ANYTHING but sheltered or sequestered away at home!  We were SO blessed with the abundance of resources available to us in this venture and, as a result, she rubbed shoulders with mature adults as well as those younger than her on a regular basis.  I would often get amazed comments about the ease with which she could communicate and enjoy seemingly EVERYONE!!  She doesn’t have token friendships with older people, but rather genuine relationships that mean spending quality time together!  Those patterns that were allowed to flourish in middle school and high school have remained strong to this day.  🙂  
           
          In contrast…..in those same years we were involved in a “mega-church” whose youth groups were huge and fun, fun, fun!!  I know people in leadership meant well and desired to see true heart change in the young people…..my daughter was totally involved and in leadership roles there for many years.  The content was edgy, creative and of course, above all – relevant to the current culture!!!  Grievously, it was like looking at a picture of John 6:66 in time though…..”At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.”  Huge crowds had been following Jesus…..but their hearts were never with Him.  🙁  And when they began to glimpse a glimmer of how narrow the road Christ was calling them to really was…..they went away.  They were done.  So too with so MANY of our young people.  The cost of following Jesus is high….and the bells and whistles (love your phrase there!) simply do not prepare them for that road.  Quality time with loving, older mentors?  That is a whole different ball game – and surely will INCLUDE fun times and laughter……all along the way as a natural course of walking the narrow road!  I think our church cultures back away from this enfolding of the children into so many aspects of the congregation because it is harder and requires “more” of us!  Though I see that changing, blessedly!  
           
          Sorry to go on and on here….but you really primed the pump of my ponderings, Wanda!  I’m figuring that by posting on a Saturday I am hopefully not TOO distracting to the sisters here anyway as it’s not usually our most active day on the blog!  

    1. Wanda-coming from my experience with my boys who are teens now-I agree with yours and Dee’s assessments completely!

      1. Jackie,  Dee and Rebecca,
        Thanks for your interest and encouragement here.  I hope I have represented Ivy Beckwith’s book well.   Ivy was a childrens minister at Colonial Church in Edina, MN and I heard her speak at a conference once.  Though, at the time, I hadn’t read the book.  After reading it, I would have liked to have talked to her.   I quickly looked her up online just now and see that she is in Cleveland now.  She has a blog and there are articles regarding her Faith Formation Ministires for Children.  I’ll have to look into this more myself.
        Jackie!   I have a confession.  I did begin writing ‘off the cuff’ and honestly do have several things that stuck in my mind from the book.  But before long, I ran down to my book shelf and found it and skimmed it again to get a more comprehensive look at her writing.  🙂    It’s so like you, to compliment and encourage though!
         
        I love the things you wrote about your daughter’s relationships with adults.  Our kids had some of each of the scenarios you described; but as far as within the church parameters, far more of the second scenario.  The adult relationships, though they were mostly people from church, came when we sought them out; created times (camping together, planning New year’s gatherings together etc). They didn’t happen as part of the church programming.   One summer though, we specifically did a family Sunday school hour and tried really hard to communicate to parents that their children should not come without them.  It was hard for some parents to give up their time with adults and spend that hour with their kids.  It was a good summer, but there was some push back.  🙁  

  32. 9. What do you think this warning is and why? How might you apply this personally or, if you are a mother or teacher of young people, help them to apply it?
     
     I think the warning is to help singles and  young people realize that if they wait to the experience is so much better. It’s what God wanted it to be.  As mentioned in another post, I have tried to do that with my kids but I think I waited too late.  I also think that I should have talked to them about this from the standpoint of the bible.  I think Nancy Legig (Demoss) Woglemuth has a children’s book about this called the Princess and the Pea?  I think it’s harder on the boys though…  Women and then are wired differently for sure, and I don’t recall a book for little boys on this subject ( waiting until they’re married to have sex). 

    1. Laura, I have that book…it’s called “The Princess and The Kiss”!

      1. I searched on Amazon for “Princess and the Kiss” and think I found the book, but it is by Jennie Bishop. Do you recommend it, Susan, or anyone else? And has anyone read a book by the same author for boys called “The Squire and the Scroll”? I have 5 grandsons and the oldest is 9, and therefore soon approaching the age where purity is an issue. They grow up way too fast these days. I would like recommendations of books on this issue.

        1. You are correct Diane, Jennie Bishop wrote it and Nancy has a cd of moms discussing it on her website along with a workbook, necklace, and certificate. 
           
          https://www.reviveourhearts.com/store/product/the-princess-and-the-kiss-with-cd/
           
          I also saw Jennie bishop wrote the scroll and the squire for boys! I will get that for my new grandson; maybe I have a second chance now….God is so good!

      2. whoops!! you are correct. I was in a hurry and just typed the children’s story! Thanks Susan!

  33. testing

  34. 7. If anything so far has quickened you, meditate and pray the verse. Do it here if it has happened.
     
    I have been meditating on the word picture of him being compared to an apple tree among the trees of the forest. So as this maiden looks out and considers all the eligible “bachelors” of her day; as numerous as trees in the forest, her lover stands out as a different kind of tree. I think of how surprised I would be to be out hiking, as I like to do, in the various parks and to come across an apple tree. There are tons of oaks, maples, hickory trees…but not apple trees. There is one park, though, where along the trail you do come across a few apple trees, as this part of the park used to be someone’s farm. An apple tree doesn’t get there unless someone planted it. And this thought brought to mind Psalm 1, “Blessed is the man…” and the man described in this psalm definitely fits the description of Jesus, and goes on to say that “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season…” And then reading the words from Hosea above, and applying them to the SOS verse, I can see how generous is his love for her that she sits in his shade, or shadow, and blossoms there – becoming like a flower. Her delighting to sit in his shadow also means she loves to be with him.
    I am learning, slowly learning, and I am such a SLOW learner, to run to Him when I am afraid, lonely, anxious, worried, unsettled and discouraged. The truth is, I do not have an “earthly shade” to run to for comfort. I used to, many years ago, sometimes run to my parents with my troubles. But they are old (my dad just turned 89 yesterday!) and their health is not the best and I cannot and do not want to burden them with my problems; in fact, more and more I find that I am bearing their problems.  But that’s also the beauty of this picture. If I will but run to Him and into His shade for protection, comfort, security, and sustenance, then I will have the strength to be like an apple tree that provides these things to my parents and others.
     
    Lord Jesus, I praise You for being like an apple tree among the forest. You are certainly unique, special, and different. You are a tree of life. Forgive me when I run to idols, seeking what only You can provide. Thank you that Your branches extend far and wide, offering me shade, rest, comfort, and that You are so willing for me to come and sit with You. Please help me to be quicker to run to You and to recognize when I am turning instead to an idol.

    1. Susan,
       
      This post is sooooo good.  I am struck by the imagery of running for cover and protection under the apple tree….and your point that it is planted; not springing up readily as the trees of the forest do.
       
       It is intentional and it’s roots grow deep.  So, it is LIFE.  And a rest for the weary.  

    2. Susan – how exquisite the picture you painted here.  I’m so thankful that you took the time to meditate and then to share with us here.  You brought the scary word “meditate” to our doorsteps winsomely….and it felt like an invitation to “come out and play”!  🙂  

    3. Susan–I can’t tell you how much this blessed me just now–all of it, but this brought the tears “delighting to sit in his shadow” and this too “If I will but run to Him and into His shade for protection, comfort, security, and sustenance, then I will have the strength to be like an apple tree”

  35. 6. What parallels do you see? God is a tree (they will sit in his shade and it is all plant imagery so he must be a tree…), they will blossom like a vine, they have fragrance, they blossom because of his love, he will be like the dew – the life – to Israel.
     
    7. If anything so far has quickened you, meditate and pray the verse. Do it here if it has happened. “With great delight I sat in his shadow and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” (last half of verse 2:3)  Father, you are a tree that gives life and sustenance and protection but the fact, God, that you do it sweetly humbles me to my core and lifts me up at the same time. You love me. Not only do you give what is needed because you care for me but you give it sweetly because You delight in my delighting in You and Your good gifts. God, forgive me for not seeing the sweetness sometimes, for just looking for my needs and not *tasting* the fruit. God, may my heart be grateful always and not miss your presence that is sweet! Thank you, thank you…Amen.

  36. They shall return to sit in his [God’s] shadow…
    and blossom like the vine…

    6. What parallels do you see?     I feel like more of a ‘taker’ than a ‘giver’ this week as I’m gleaning so much from reading everyone’s comments and from Dee’s words in the lesson and haven’t dived in very deep myself.  BUT reading over and thinking about the shade of the apple tree, I have many things swirling in my mind and heart.  
    “Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men.  I delight to sit in his shade and his fruit to me is sweet.”  
     
    My first literal response:  I do SO love to experience this in an actual way.  On a warm late September-early October day, when I’ve been working in the yard, to grab an apple from our tree and take a bite (I love it when they are warmed by the sun) is indeed sweet and refreshing.  
     
    If I could state one takeaway from my short time here this week, it would be this statement from Dee: 
     

    He is a life-giving tree, “an apple tree among the trees of the forest,” providing shade and sustenance. He does not depend on her, but she does depend on Him.
     

    This is what I’ve been thinking on this week.  He does not depend on me, but I DO depend on Him.    I am nothing without Him.  He is the giver and sustainer of my life and of my well being.  And there is nothing I can do to earn this love or to reciprocate it.  But I can sit in his shade and adore Him.  I can sit in His shade and find confidence there because He is protecting me and shielding me.  And He is always there.  Always ready to receive me.  
     
    As I write, I am looking out my window at our apple trees.  They are not well cared for; and they are unpruned.  But they have grown tall and provide wonderful shade.  And they also produce apples.  Not orchard quality, perfect apples because we have not worked to make that happen.  Yet, God blesses us with a lot of enjoyment from these trees.  And there is always FAR more than enough fruit to enjoy and to share.  The apple tree in my yard is becoming symbolic to me now.  It is just a shadow of the real tree.  The tree that gives LIFE through becoming the tree of death.   When Jesus died on the cross, the picture became complete.   He became my ultimate protection because He took away the sin that kept from eternal life.  And when He rose again, that eternal life became a gift extended to me.  
     
    I’m also thinking all day of these words:
    Beneath the cross of Jesus, I fain would take my stand,  The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;  A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way, from the burning of the noontide heat and the burden of the day.
     
    Upon the cross of Jesus, mine eye at times can see the very dying form of One who suffered there for me.  And from my smitten heart with tears these wonders I confess,— the wonder of His glorious love and my own worthlessness.
     
    I take, O cross thy shadow for my abiding place; I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of Thy face; Content to let the world go by, to know no gain or loss; my sinful self- my only shame.  My glory- all the cross.

    1. Wanda, you may not have been able to dive deeply but I love your pondering on the apple trees in your yard and how they are a shadow of the REAL TREE, the tree of death that gives life.  Last spring, my grandson wanted me to plant his apple seeds (from his apple) so I put 4 small seeds in a 4 inch pot. I expected nothing, but one of the seeds eventually sprouted and we have kept it alive over the winter, watching the tender leaves hoping to transplant it outside this summer. Then, totally unexpectedly, this week I noticed that another seed has sprouted after about 9-10 months lying dormant. Fascinating and puzzling to me, a total amateur when it comes to plants! It is a mystery to me, how God brings life out of what looks dead. Anyway, your appreciation of the apple tree in your yard has encouraged me to try to get them to grow outdoors. Any suggestions how to do it without killing them. Will they ever grow big enough for the birds and us to enjoy their shade and fruit? This is a total rabbit trail off our topic. Sorry!
      Also, I love the hymn that you have connected to the apple tree imagery this week! The words of Beneath the Cross of Jesus are so appropriate. 

    2. Wanda, your post breathed life into me this morning. I am so glad you are here!

    3. Wanda, thank you for what you shared here. Beautiful-especially the hymn Beneath the cross of Jesus. I need to stand beneath the “tree” of the cross of Jesus because so often I would rather go to another “tree” for immediate relief only to find the “heat” is much worse and unrelenting. 
      “Give me Jesus, give me JesusYou can have all this worldBut give me Jesus”. — Fernando Ortega

  37. 8. A “banner” was a sign of special regard and protection — also used militarily in the face of opposition or celebration of victory over enemies.
           A. How is this used in Psalm 20:5? What does this mean?
    This is used as a celebration of victory over enemies in Psalm 20. I think it means when we find our satisfaction and strength in Him alone running to Him, trusting Him in times of attack from the evil one instead of our idols, we will rise and stand firm in Him and not shrink-we will be satisfied even in the darkest pain. The contrast is those who trust in their own strength to overcome the enemy (trusting in chariots and horses)-they will fall.
    Another thought I had is that I think this is a huge deception in the church from satan..to take our eyes off of Him and onto ourselves in ‘doing’ and ‘obeying’ Him..if the enemy attacks then just say no and do the right thing. 🙁 I have even seen satan get a foothold in relationships in the church..we can easily think it is our duty to confront others without really praying first or seeking His wisdom. It has happened in our community group and oh, a couple is leaving who we adore! I am grieved about it.
           

    1. oh rebecca–I’m so blessed by your heart “we will rise and stand firm in Him and not shrink-we will be satisfied even in the darkest pain”

  38. 8 B. See also how it is used in Song of Songs 6:10. Comment.
    When I see this verse I see His beauty flowing out of her-the Shulamite. Just as His beauty, His light should flow out of us as we grow in Him being our satsifaction above all else. Our light will shine like noonday. In the midst of the enemies attacks, oppression, grief, and in darkness-His light will shine through us-even in painful times. His banner over us is Love…I see this as His banner being over us, and in us, radiating out of us.
          
     
     

  39.  Thank you so much for the “just for fun” this week Dee! The horses were beautiful, I thought of Jackie. They do have a bit of dance in them, don’t they? They are graceful, strong, and even a bit elegant. Of course the tango was lovely, and the ballerina just absolutely stole my heart!  I loved the red fabric. I want to be her…..

    1. What Laura said!   loved the video.  all of it.  

  40. 8. A “banner” was a sign of special regard and protection – also used militarily in the face of opposition or celebration of victory over enemies. 
    a. How is this used in Psalm 20:5? What does this mean? Banners in this Psalm are a declaration of victory, but more than that it is a proclamation that they are God’s. This mean that they are proclaiming to enemies whom they belong to and to whom they pledge allegiance to. I am seeing being God’s beloved in a new light through this. …”in the face of opposition…”
     
    B. See also how it is used in Song of Songs 6:10. Comment. Against, an army with banners is proclaiming to whom they belong. The bride is so beautiful that it is as majestic as an army with banners, she glows a proclamation of belonging  the King.
     
    C. I took a medical mission trip to Brazil and we were pursued by the “Federalies”  They had changed their mind about allowing Americans to minister to their people in the Amazon. I won’t share all the details but we arrived home safely and without incident. The biggest over comings I have seen have been on a spiritual level, people overcoming fear, depression, hate…

    1. Jill–I like your thoughts here on 8a–“I am seeing being God’s beloved in a new light through this. …”in the face of opposition…”

  41. Keller on meditation:
     
    a few notes
    – start with the Word
     
    – the descent of the mind to the heart
    – Joy
    – the experience of pure relaxation from all the cards of this earth
    – all senses are experienced when reading the text of the bible
    – is done day and night
    – found in the gospel; Luke describes. Jesus meditates when on the cross; “my God, my God, why hast though forsaken me?” 

  42. My notes from the panel–sorry, not the greatest/neatest, but hopefully may be useful to some…
    We live in a and era of the veggie tale-ization of biblical text when it comes to teaching children about the Bible. Side note–my adult Sunday School at Church is on Esther currently and one of the first things my Pastor said on our first lesson was, ‘if you’ve seen the Vegie Tale version of Esther, you’re going to be really messed up about the truth of this story!’
    That’s what many children are exposed to and it may be indicative of a deeper issue with the way we teach the Bible to children. What are some of the obstacles to teaching the gospel to children?
     
    Russell Moore I think I think it’s a real problem the veggie tale-ization you mention it because it’s that’s just one in a in a series of ways–that we have tried to make the gospel palatable to kids…- it’s hard to crucify tomato, and using these kinds of animated props to teach to teach Scripture to children you have to by definition almost change what you’re talking about, so you have to have a less-bloody gospel and by default becomes a teaching a moral principles…the problem is you tend up with children who are identifying the cross as being important but it’s important because it gets you to what they’re hearing about most of the time which is ‘Jesus had friends, you have friends’…it trivializes the Gospel message, by taking the hard message of sin and redemption away. 
    Children are not left undisturbed by these things,  it means that they don’t have an answer to the things that they’re they’re scared about.
    Moore give the example of a pastor whose Church was using a curriculum and the Easter story stops with the Last Supper, Jesus has dinner with his friends. It intentionally did not with the crucifixion and the resurrection because it is going to be disturbing to children. But you cannot talk about the resurrection without talking about the Crucifixion and so we don’t want to disturb children,  but there is an alternate ending for churches that want to teach their children about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the PG-13 Version! Where have we come when there is alternate ending to the Easter story?
     
    David Helms-we underestimate the spiritual capacity of children for the content and the contours of the Gospel. We don’t value the ability on the Father in Heaven to communicate to the youngest in our midst, who He is and why He has them here, and what role he plays for them.
     
    RM-know the Word and know your own child, what is going on within them. 
    We can exasperate our children by turning family devotion time into this somber dead feeling,  mind-numbing,big family Bible in reading you for forty-five minutes… Parents first have to be gripped with the story of the Bible and see its glory and mystery and then determine how much at a time should I give to my particular children, so that they will hear what it is that I’m communicating from God’s Word. It is not just a formal set time, rather we should be bringing up those conversations constantly–say let’s see what God’s Word has to say about this, teaching that as you go. 
     
    David-first, the father needs to lead his family, to initiate. **The home should be a climate of grace or we’re gonna raise good kids but not Gospel kids. Third there needs to be a climate of order and consistency for children to flourish, so being in a disordered home is entirely destructive to the order that the gospel brings.
     
    Russ– one of things that tried to do at the dinner table is to to think a a biblical narrative to talk about after we have we have gone through whatever is on their minds,  that’s separate from our sit down family devotion time. 
    Our family devotion–we sit down and read together …example, Chronicles of Narnia, discuss what’s going on in your life and then we’ll say we’ll see what God would have to say to us tonight and then read read the Scripture
    **It’s a very informal kinda time is simply because I’m trying not to make our family devotion time so different from the rest about our lives that that our children see it as we’re living our lives apart from God’s Word and now we come together(loved that point) and suddenly now here is God’s Word. 
    He tells about a woman who is an atheist, but loved CS Lewis Narnia Chronicles as a child, and said that Lewis was able to get to her because he spoke to children with tone that wasn’t condescending. 
    David–when you treat the Bible like an Aesop fables of moral tales you unhinge the Bible from human history. You reduce it from objective historical truth and you reduce the Christian message to a subjective experiential moment that will meet particular needs. That is what is at stake—we end up with a Christian faith with no necessity at all to be connected to human history.
     
    *Woman from audience (this is so what God wanted me to hear–I could have been her, verbatim)-she tells how she has her children in a private Christian school with a Christian-ish feel but many are unsaved. She talks about the lacking Chapel service, etc…I so related! I loved what Russell Moore said in response. He said ‘the main thing I would that I would caution anybody in that situation is that there is often a temptation to turn into a people with a critical spirit.’ He said discernment is good to build into a child but be careful not to teach that it is spiritual to attack. Sometimes you’re going to have to say, ‘you know that’s not that’s not how I would do it, that’s not what we believe’ but build up and give a positive presentation of what Christian vision and reality is, much more so than your critique.  
     
    David Helm-**the greatest dangers to our children are not outside, they’re not external, the greatest danger to the gospel lies within my own heart. That depth of understanding frees me to loose my children into the world upon the grace of God who will strengthen and ground them. 
     
    ** Remember Spurgeon was converted by a lay person…so even if it seems like it’s not the ideal scenario there’s always some gospel take away from any experience that that we have- have the critique when necessary, but focus on the positive. 
     
    What is the balance between the plea of accepting the gospel versus not wanting to manipulate your child into making decision? 
    Look for the marks of re-generation in the child, if you’re starting to see signs of grace in the child’s heart and  if they’re able to explain the gospel. 
    David– take the long view, let the ball come to the bat– don’t arrive in that discussion with your child before it arrives but when it arrives, be prepared. 
     
    RM – talk about the gospel, reiterate the gospel consistently all the time, and pray over each child every day. Pray specifically, asking God to work in their lives.
     

    1. Lizzy,   I so appreciate your notes on the panel discussion!    I thought I would get around to listening to it, but haven’t done it yet!   Did listen to Keller on meditation.   I found your notes regarding Veggie Tales to be extremely interesting.    I have always thought that Veggie Tales would tend to confuse children.    I don’t know why anyone would think that the Bible stories are not interesting enough the way they are and that turning them into something they are not would be helpful.  I remember as a child that reading my Hurlbutt’s Story of the Bible left me enthralled!    Thank you so much for posting your notes!

      1. oh Deanna–my notes SO pale in comparison to any of yours that you so bless us with, but thank you for your graciousness! I had never heard of “Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible”, sounds like a good one! The Veggie Tales discussion was interesting–as Moore said, “it’s hard to crucify a tomatoe”! When my kids were young, we tried a few–but they were hard to watch unless you like a whole lot of silliness (to an extreme) and a lot of songs, and all we walked away with was a moral lesson. I know the heart was in the right place, but I do think children are capable, especially with the Spirit’s guidance, of understanding far deeper truths than we naturally assume. My 9 year old daily convicts me with his sincere faith and wisdom far beyond his age! I love what you said “I don’t know why anyone would think that the Bible stories are not interesting enough the way they are and that turning them into something they are not would be helpful.” Amen!

        1. LIZZY   and DEANNA:     I am grateful for both of you and your diligence to post these notes!   I’m just about to listen to James Hamilton from the past two weeksthat I missed and I have Deanna’s printed notes in hand.  🙂 
          I am very interested in the panel discussion and also have not listened yet, so I’m thankful to have your notes, Lizzy….in whatever form they are!  I really think I’m going to like and be challenged by this discussion.  
           
          THANKS to everyone who posts here.  What a wonderful bunch of mentors and fellow iron sharpeners!  

  43. This is not about the Song, but about meditating and praying Scripture. It is not a sermon, but a teaching session on meditation. One of the purposes of Lent is to draw near, and I believe you might find a gem in this to help you.
    I am so guilty so often with rushing through my time with the Lord especially during school days. This was definitely a gem in reminding me of the power of the Word and the discipline of meeting with God before I start my day. I can learn from the disciplines of the people Keller mentioned. I know the times when I REALLY have spent a considerable amount of time in seeking God in His Word, the results were humble weeping over my sinfulness and a greater awareness of who God is and a peace that accompanies my day.
    13. If you listened, share notes and comments.
    A kiss from the king from Psalm 1
    He is like a tree     planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,     and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
    I often wondered how the psalmist can say that the “leaf” does not wither because they do! And I realize that just because the leaves have fallen off the tree during the fall and winter season does not mean that the leaves are not there. They are just being nourished “behind the scene”, behind what the eyes can see. Yet inwardly they are tapping into the source of nourishment below and in due season will be green again and the tree yielding of fruit.
    I also loved what Keller said that “prospers” mean nothing one does will be in vain. From God’s point of view, Romans 8:28 applies to all the circumstances of life no matter how I see it.
    The words sit, stand and walk allude to the patterns of life. Hence every part of my life should be infused with the application of the truth I am learning from meditating in God’s Word. And it takes time and effort (going to the mountain) to do this. Lord, help me love you and your word. I desire to go “higher up and deeper in”.
     
     

  44. I just want to try to make a couple of comments on how Keller’s sermon that were helpful to me.  We should study the Word first (in other words, think about what it says), then after that meditate on it (make it real to your senses – feel it) and then let the meditation lead you to prayer. I am taking a hermeneutics course (Interpretation of Scripture) that I am finding extremely helpful in trying to understand with my mind what the Word says. There are so many who have a hard time understanding what the Word really is saying – the Truth. After we understand the objective truths of Scripture, then we move on to our senses – “That is beautiful!” or “Ouch, that is hard!” and so on. That is meditation. First, the mind, then the senses.

    1. Diane–this was really helpful for me. I would love to hear more of what you learn in your hermeneutics course! I wonder if Ligonier has a course in its free studies. I’ve realized about myself that I have such a strong love of truth, that I also have a very strong aversion to Scripture being taken out of context or mis-applied/mis-used…on top of that I’m a natural skeptic, so I think I would love learning more about understanding what the Word is really saying…you have me very intrigued! 

      1. I am totally puzzling how my comments got in “quotes”. I didn’t mean them to be.
         
        Anyway, Lizzy, I am taking the course online and by phone from a friend who is teaching it to some ladies at her church in Ontario. I have known my friend for a long time and I kept asking her questions until she and I agreed to do it this way. I am learning so much! And I am only 4 weeks in. Of course, some of her assumptions is that all Scripture is inspired and the living Word, and that God means all believers to be able to understand the Scriptures for themselves without needing a theology degree. She encourages reading and rereading and observing (looking for repeated words, verb tenses, conjunctions, contrasts and comparisons, pronouns, etc. and looking for who, what, when, where, why and how) before going to other resources – study notes, commentaries, etc. I find it amazing what you can see if you stop and slowly observe the obvious. The texts she is using are called “Grasping God’s Word” (can’t remember the author) and “The New Joy of Discovery in Bible Study” by Oletta Wald, but she does a lot of her own stuff as well. She has used some of Kay Arthur’s Precepts study methods, but doesn’t stick strictly to that either.
         
        I hope you can find a good hermeneutics course online. I think you would enjoy it.

  45. 9. Verse 7 is an important verse for it is repeated two more times. It has both an earthly application and a spiritual application. The earthly level is easier to see. She has just been imagining the time when their love will be consummated, and now she gives a warning. What do you think this warning is and why? How might you apply this personally or, if you are a mother or teacher of young people, help them to apply it? The earthly level is that it is hard to remain pure till marriage once you have stirred up passion. This, again, is a double edged sword. We surely need to heed the warning but not make it legalistic to dump the pot of passion to never be used. Song of Songs is helpful in this regard! So much of what is taught us about romance is: you deserve it grab it while you can, everyone else has it. But Song of Songs demonstrates beauty in the boundary. 

  46. 10. What thoughts do you have on the above? Agree? Disagree? The more God draws me in and the more He shows me about Himself the more I see the need for a journey. I loved what John Stott replied to you, Dee. The he was quite confident in God being able to bring your dad to Christ. I feel a weight of responsibility for loved ones as well. In specific regard to children I so want my kids to love God and have a soft heart toward Him. There is an unspoken pressure for your kids to “be good kids” and “say the prayer” in christian circles. We have very little grace for “bad kids” and moms who “don do what I would do if my kid did that…” But I want my kids to TRULY desire relationship  I want them to skip my mistakes and struggle….hmmmmm
     
    We recently had four teenagers give their testimonies at church and what struck me about each is that, yes, they said the prayer at an early age BUT they each sought it out on their own. They knew who to go to, they knew the questions to ask, their heart was repentant, not afraid… My kids have both said the prayer but I know its a journey for them and I honestly dont know if they really truly get it. They did not seek to say the prayer they were asked if they wanted to say the prayer… But, by God’s grace, I’ll keep watering the seed with prayer and love (and apologies) and His Word and have to trust Him with their path as much as I still am somewhat anxious about that I pray I will trust HIM not them or me….