This is going to be so fun to do with you!
Tuesday He Calls You Beautiful will be released.
AFTER FOUR YEARS OF PRAYER, SEEKING GOD, STUDYING, WRITING, TESTING, EDITING
I tested the waters here twice, and so you are a huge part of this and I do not take you for granted. Some of you are quoted in it. Many of you prayed. And I hope for prayers from all of you this week, for though I may be wrong, I am anticipating spiritual warfare. The lie of the enemy from the garden on is that he tells us God doesn’t love us, doesn’t want our best in hopes that we will back up from the Lover of our Soul.
And we believe it, for we look at our failures and agree, “Of course He couldn’t love me.” But the truth is that He loved us so much He went all the way to the cross for us. If there a book that shatters the lie that God doesn’t love us completely, it is the Song of all Songs. Over and over and over again, He sings to us of His love through the Song. For as this video shows, though there is an earthly love story in the Song, it points to the best love story of all, that of Christ’s love for HIs Bride, for true believers everywhere! He looks at you, sees you to the core, and still says: “You are beautiful, my love, there is no flaw in you.” (Song of Songs 4:7) For July, we will be returning to the Song — for some of you review, for some of you new, for all of you, refreshing. (This “trailer,” put together with the wonderful help of Deb Maffett and her talented song Rydder, was a huge God hunt for me.) Watch this, at the top of my page of the He Calls You Beautiful videos:
I also anticipate the enemy’s attack because he has been targeting marriage, which is foundational to the health of our society, and the Song so clearly shows why God’s plan for marriage is one man and one woman for life. I suspect I will be attacked too, and I ask for prayer that I will trust the Lord and not be undone by the criticism of man.
I would also love your help in getting the Word out for this release this Tuesday. (I’m sending an e-mail Tuesday giving specific ways you can help — with pictures for social media — if you choose.) I believe the Song of Songs has become a “a lost book,” and that’s the way the enemy would like to keep it, but we, whom the bridegroom calls “as awesome as army with banners” (Song of Songs 3:10) can overcome our terrible enemy and help believers know just how loved they are.
My wonderful publisher has sent 300 free copies to prisons with Discipleship Unlimited to be used over and over. I would so covet your prayers that the women would understand and apply the truth of the Song of Songs, for just as with us, The Song is key to bringing them out of the wilderness and into the promised land.
This summer we are finding Jesus in surprising places, and one of the best places to see Him and His gospel is in the Song.
Our own Lizzy and her family are in China this week getting their new son. I hope we will all also pray for that! May they see God on the move over and over, particularly in getting their son home and getting him the medical help and love he needs.
1. What stands out to your from the above, and why?
Monday-Friday Bible Study
Monday: Kiss Me!
2. We’ve been doing a “God Hunt” during the summer, in which we are alert to ways God moves in our lives. Another way to express this is through His “kisses.” The Song is not an allegory where every word picture represents something specific, but rather, these word pictures are allusions, meant to ring many bells. A “kiss,” for example, is not just a living Word from Scripture that penetrates your heart (though it is that) but also the wonder that comes from starry night, or the amazement at an answered prayer, or the delight in the connection you feel with a stranger who is a brother or sister in Christ…
A. Read Song of Songs 1:1-2 and describe what the bride is longing for and why.
B. Challenge question: The earthly love story is meant to illuminate what Jesus really longs for from His bride. When a woman desires a kiss from a man, what does it show about how she feels about him? How is this illuminating spiritually?
C. Tell us how the King has kissed you recently!
Tuesday: RELEASED TODAY!
How thankful I’d be for your prayers today as He Calls You Beautiful is released. I’m also going a contest on my author Facebook page where winners get a free book! It’s easy to participate: https://www.facebook.com/deebrestin/
All you have to do is make a comment about the book and you are in the list — winners are picked randomly, and the chances are pretty good! A zillion times better than the lottery! :-)
There are so many wonderful poetic pictures in the Song — and that’s where we are going now and will continue next week. Jesus is there — and so is HIs gospel — just as He said to the two on the road to Emmaus. He is in all their Scriptures.
Take your Bible and open it to The Song of Songs. Settle down in your
favorite chair, preferably near a window so you can pause to look outside at
the beauty of His creation. Bring along all of your senses, because you are
going to meet and experience Him in a way you never have before. Take in the
fragrance, for His very Name is like perfume poured out. Are you bruised by
life? Feel your skin, and read that His Name is also like a soothing balm. Sit in
His shade and allow Him to feed you with sweet fruit. Hear Him knocking at the
door of your heart, saying, “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect
one.” Think of His great love and sacrifice for you even when you loved Him not,
and feel with your hands the myrrh that He has left on the doorknob. See Him in
all His splendor as He comes up from the desert like a column of smoke,
powerful and strong with arms like rods of gold, yet gentle and tender as you
slip your hand in His. Then, imagine walking with Him, hand in hand, through
the vineyards and gardens as He shows you your future with Him in a time
when the winter will be over and everything will be in bloom.
Susan from Ohio
3. Read Song of Songs 1:2-3
A. The Shulammite wants to experience him in all of her senses — find three of them in these verses.
B. His love is better than wine – compare with Psalm 4:7 and share a way this has been true for you.
C. His love is like “oil poured out.” Oil is often associated with healing. When my friend Twila’s baby died, she told God she couldn’t bear it, and she suddenly had the sense of warm oil being poured over her head, flowing down over her body, comforting, soothing, healing. How has God comforted you when you were in high tide grief? (He does it in many ways.)
Wednesday-Thursday: The Gospel According to the Song of Songs
Prepare your heart with this:
Rankin Wilbourne, who wrote Union with Christ, has endorsed the truths in He Calls You Beautiful, saying:
“Bernard of Clairvaux, one of the most beloved and influential writers of the Middle Ages, believed he could interpret the entire Bible through one book, the Song of Songs. Imagine seeing not the Gospels or Galatians or Romans but the Song of Songs as the best lens for understanding all of God’s heart in all of God’s Word. This seems strange to those of us who might approach this book of the Bible with detached curiosity and lingering questions. Yet drawing on trusted resources and relentlessly pointing her readers back to communion with Christ, Dee Brestin similarly navigates between the false choices of romantic love poem or simple allegory to help readers embrace the modern-day relevance of this ancient song.
4. Read Song of Songs 1:6 (More sinful than we knew)
A. How does this peasant woman react when King Solomon comes riding in and gazes at her? Why, do
B. She says, “My own vineyard I have not kept.” Throughout the Song she compares herself to a vineyard. Look at the metaphor God uses for His people in Isaiah 5:1-2. To what are they compared, and how did they respond to His care? What kind of fruit did that lead to?
C. How does coming into the presence of a holy God awaken us to our sin? Did that happen for you?
5. Read Song of Songs 1:15 and 4:7 (More loved than we dared believe)
A. In contrast, how does he see her? Compare this to Isaiah 1:18.
The gospel at once shows us how bad we are (for we are so bad He had to go to the cross) yet also how loved we are (for we are so loved that He did.)
B. In a sentence, share how or when the Spirit made this truth clear to you, that you were accepted, you were adopted, you were a new creation in Christ?
Friday: Enjoying Christ Constantly
During the first lesson of He Calls You Beautiful, the group will watch this 13 minute video from Mike Reeves. Watch it, for the first time or as a review, and share what stands out to you.
6. What comments or notes to you have on the above?
7. What is your take-a-way and why?