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HE CALLS YOU BEAUTIFUL RELEASED THIS TUESDAY!

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

AND FINALLY:

IT’S HAPPENING!

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:

https://deebrestin.com/hecallsyoubeautiful/

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.

You are as beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners… (Song of Songs 6:10)

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.

Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved? (Song of Songs 8:5)

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.

Sunday:

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

Monday-Friday Bible Study

Monday: Kiss Me!

 

 

Prepare your heart with this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YcNzHOBmk8

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! ūüôā¬†¬†

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.

I quoted our own dear Susan in the book, who wrote this:

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.‚ÄĚ 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:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwoCbcSXlSM

 

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.

Do not gaze at me, because I am dark…. S. of S. 1:6

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

you think?

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?

“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.” (Luke 5:8)

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.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRH_E2u5cGY

6. What comments or notes to you have on the above?

Saturday:

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

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112 comments

  1. 1. What stands out to your from the above, and why? ¬†Ha! ¬†That I probably need to get that book! ¬†I literally just finished the Song of Songs in my daily¬†Scripture reading about a week ago and as I read through it, I again just thought “I don’t get it.” ¬†But I think I mostly have viewed it as a writing about Solomon and one of his (many) wives and the “complements” don’t sound so great to me, i.e., “your teeth are like sheep…” ??? But I guess what also stands out (since you mention here the vineyard and who¬†that is… us) is that even while she was still NOT tending well to her own vineyard, the Bridegroom still sought her out¬†and wanted her for His bride. ¬†He knew that only¬†through His loving care could she ever hope to “keep her vineyard.” I feel like I am just not that great at seeing the meaning behind the meaning in this book (or even the surface meaning, for that matter!)…but I see that you do see it!

    Praying so much for Lizzy and family and little Philip right now. May he come to know the Lover of his soul.

  2. What stood out to me was this comment:

    He looks at you, sees you to the core, and still says: ‚ÄúYou are beautiful, my love, there is no flaw in you.‚ÄĚ (Song of Songs 4:7)¬†

    When I attended a one day retreat on “Idol Lies” in Kearney ¬†a few years back it started me down the path of recognizing how I had believed the lie that I wasn’t as loved. I knew that God was love and loved everyone. But even though I had been a believer for years I doubted He loved me as much as others who were more desirable. One day God challenged me directly that I doubted his love for me and it undermined the reality of what Jesus did for me on the Cross. I confessed my sin of doubting God and his Word and He has been leading me every since to this place of being associated with this blog and the teaching from the Song. ¬†I can’t wait to have the book come in on my Kindle and get started reading it.

    1. Oh Bev, ¬†love your ‘stood out’-yes! And what a testimony! This made my day.

    2. So glad His love broke through to you, Bev.

    3. Bev, your post stood out to me as you wrote, “But even though I had been a believer for years I doubted He loved me as much as others who were more desirable.” I have had the same struggle, and it resurfaces occasionally, perhaps because in our society, some people do seem to be favored more than others, but I’ve had to speak truth to my soul that in God’s family it is different; He doesn’t have favorites. I am glad that He broke through to you through Idol Lies and Dee’s teaching.

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

    The release on ¬†Tuesday, ¬†praying for God to hold back the enemy so that this can get in as many hands as possible. Praying for God to ¬†not allow the enemy to ¬†move through the church in doubting His heart in song of songs. That He would make ¬†leader’s hearts tender and full of desire to hear His highest Song. ¬†The enemy is active and real but God is bigger and more powerful and so we pray.

    I am also thrilled to hear the publisher sent 300 books to Discipleship Unlimited!! :)))))

     

    1. Praying in agreement with this, Rebecca.

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

     

    So here we are Dee…my “favorite” book! Jk. I am going to make a concerted effort to be positive and I may even buy the book ūüėá. Love your perseverance in this for sure. Since you aren’t giving up I won’t either.

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

     

    I love that the publisher sent 300 free copies to the prison ministry!

    And Dee, I look forward to the email telling us how we can spread the news of the release of this book.

     

    The picture of the woman coming up out of the wilderness and into the lush, green promised land captured my attention here this morning. ¬† My homeland is a part of northern Wyoming that some have likened to the landscape of Israel. ¬† I know the feel of the parched land and the welcome relief of the cool green mountain. ¬†It is striking how close they are to each other. ¬†Within minutes I can drive through the dry arid countryside and come up into the cool mountain air and see and hear the ice cold trickling springs of water flowing down the rocky mountainside. ¬†(Historians tell us that when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, it was only about 250 miles to the promised land of Canaan, about a month’s journey….. and yet they did not take the shortest route, but the 40 year route out of the wilderness.) ¬† ¬†So grateful for your book, Dee, and how it will lead many from the parched, wilderness desert to the beautiful living water.

  6. 2. A. Read Song of Songs 1:1-2 and describe what the bride is longing for and why.
    His kisses for His Love is  the highest Song of all.

    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?
    She feels passionate about Him and for Him. This illumines me spiritually in that Her passion is his presence. There is nothing else she wants more than him other than to respond passionately loving Him. She loves everything He is, everything He gives, and trusts Him in her abandonment to Him

    C. Tell us how the King has kissed you recently! Sorry-I have four ways! ūüôā
    1. The sun rising this morning-it’s heat through the window bringing comfort and wonder of the start of a new day.
    2. How deeper He leads me communing with Him on the spot more and more lately.  How he keeps my wandering soul from wandering too far.
    3. The first night in the summer bible study I went to-the women were not afraid to be honest like in most women’s studies I have attended in the past. Usually we tend to want to appear as if we have it altogether., or we wrap our stories up in nice neat bows-how God fixed it-and He does sometimes, but there is this hesitation to be real and vulnerable and a hesitation to share in how He is giving us hearts more abandoned to Him. SO, He answered my prayer for I sensed His Spirit among us drawing out and making hearts tender. There were a lot of women there who were willing to be vulnerable.

    4. Next Kiss: My new friend I told you about at my church. I feel¬† such a kindred spirit with her. We met for lunch and she mentioned first that she felt a kindred spirit with me and I responded back in agreement. ūüôā Another kiss is that she is going to read Idol Lies and He Calls You Beautiful and is thinking about doing one for the Fall. It is a kiss because ¬†she said yes and is checking it out. :))) I am just dying to¬†see lives change and go deeper with Him and so I look forward to seeing what He will do! :))

  7. A. Read Song of Songs 1:1-2 and describe what the bride is longing for and why.
    She longs to be kissed by him as an expression of his love for her because knowing she is loved by him and experiencing his kisses are more satisfying than the sensation of drinking a good wine. 

    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?

    She desires the expression of his love for her. The kiss is a very intimate expression of love and it is a seal of deep affection.  So to feel you have been kissed by the Lord brings a very personal dynamic to the relationship we have with Him through the Spirit. 

    C. Tell us how the King has kissed you recently!

    Ok but this is very personal. 
    Saturday evening my husband and I walked out on to the deck in our backyard after a pleasant evening with a Christian friend. It was almost dark and the fireflies were twinkling all over the yard. In the southeastern sky the moon was just getting up in the sky coming out above some extremely white thunderheads which were luminescent from the sun going down and the moon was extremely silvery. Then just off to the south a huge thunderhead had formed and was also extremely white and billowing high with flashes and streaks of lightening with in it. The neighborhood was extremely quiet and still and the temperature pleasant. We both stood there mesmerized and in awe of God’s creation. Frankly we had neither one ever experienced a view like that. My husband is not a huge romantic but we were drawn close to one another in the pleasure of what we were seeing displayed by God. He put his arms around me and we just enjoyed the moment of something awesome. I was kissed twice. By my husband and by my precious Lord.¬†
    The song by Sixpence had special meaning as I listened to the words. (-:
    Oh, Kiss me beneath the milky twilight
    Lead me out of the moonlit floor
    Lift your open hand
    Strike up the band, and make the fireflies dance
    Silvermoon’s sparkling,
     
    So kiss me
     

    1. Bev, how beautiful and perfect!  So happy for you!!

  8. What stood out in the intro. The excitement over the book release is palpable! Lord, I pray that You will continue to hold Dee close to You. I pray that You would cover her with kisses. Even if the devil tries something, help Dee see beyond that to You, who are the ultimate Voice she needs to hear. Encourage her heart in You, Lord, and use the book for Your glory and kingdom increase.

  9. 2 A. Read Song of Songs 1:1-2 and describe what the bride is longing for and why. 

    To be kissed again and again by her love because His love is better than the best thing she could think to compare it to (wine.)

    B. When a woman desires a kiss from a man, what does it show about how she feels about him? How is this illuminating spiritually? ¬†to the first question: ¬†I’m not entirely sure, actually! ¬†First, I guess it shows she must be VERY comfortable around him, she must¬†think very much of who he is, enough to trust him (that he’s not just using her for his own appetites) so¬†apparently he has proven himself trustworthy to her, and she must feel a tremendous, intimate¬†connection with him and therefore desires the expression of that from him in that way. ¬†

    How is it illuminating, spiritually? ¬†Well, I guess all the the above has to take place in our relationship with the Lord. ¬†We have to come to a point of trusting Who He is, His nature, that He is trustworthy with our hearts, that we can make ourselves vulnerable to Him with the full confidence that He will never hurt us but is always at work for good in our lives, no matter what things may look like on the surface. ¬†Then we desire and can receive His “kisses.”

    C. Tell us how the King has kissed you recently! ¬†The last few months have been so hard. ¬†Once we (my oncologist and I) came to realize that¬†the “easy” treatments (estrogen suppressors) I had been on were no longer working, he presented me with a few options: ¬†an oral chemo, that would not¬†likely cause hair loss and, a¬†taxane-type chemo, of which there are a few¬†options, one a bit more strong/harsh than another. ¬†Using a taxane¬†would be the typical next step, not the oral, that is usually used after the taxane fails. ¬†I prayed and prayed about it. ¬†I truly felt like the Lord was directing me toward the drug Taxol (IV chemo, I’d had it 13.5 years ago, when diagnosed with breast cancer the first time, and I tolerated it well.) ¬†Well, I had to have a port put in to get the chemo through and after just two treatments (in less than two weeks) I became septic, was hospitalized 5 days and had to have the port removed (it likely cause the sepsis.) ¬†I had another type of IV put in for IV antibiotics at home and when I¬†returned for a third Taxol treatment, I had a severe allergic reaction, so they stopped it. ¬†Finally, I saw my¬†oncologist again and he suggested I just try the oral for a while. ¬†With all of that happening I felt like maybe I misunderstood the Lord’s will in the first place, maybe I should have done the oral all along. ¬†I lost my hair (90% of it, anyway) for nothing(?), went through all those other issues, etc…HOWEVER…in preparation for the IV chemo (and how I might be feeling) I had a TV mounted on a wall in my bedroom. ¬†Sometimes I can go to sleep with a video in, when otherwise, just laying in bed I can’t. ¬†I had a “geek squad” guy come out to install it and¬†hook it up to the DVD player. ¬†The guy’s name was Nick. ¬†Just making conversation I mentioned that I’d be going through chemo for the second time in my life and that was why I wanted this in my bedroom. ¬†Nick (who looked to be 26 at the most) then responded in this sweet, compassionate voice, “Oh, my 2 year old daughter is¬†going through chemo the the second time in her life also. ¬†The first time she was 4 months. ¬†She has a tumor on her¬†spine.” ¬†Needless-to-say my eyes brimmed with tears as he spoke and I wondered how anyone navigates this without Christ. ¬†I told Nick that I’d be praying for him, his wife, and daughter. ¬†I told him that the only way I can handle my situation with any hope at all is¬†because I have the Lord and am secure in my future with Him. ¬†He thanked for being willing to pray for them. ¬†That was one of THREE people (one being the home nurse who came to set me up with the IV antibiotics) who I was able to talk to about the Lord and probably would not have, had I not been heading this direction (with the IV chemo, that didn’t end up working out.) ¬†So, I may have gotten it all wrong. ¬†Maybe the Taxol was not how the Lord was directing me. (I have a knack for getting things wrong!) But He has “kissed” me by redeeming it anyway, even if I was mistaken. ¬†Nothing is wasted in His economy, when we are seeking Him. ¬†I have Nick’s business card and I’m still¬†praying for him and his salvation, and that is his wife and daughters. ¬†Praying me “seed” was just one of thousands the Lord will plant in his life. ¬†(super wordy, sorry!)

     

    1. Thank you for this testimony, Mary.¬† For me also, I often second guess my decisions when things don’t work out according to my expectations.¬† But how precious to rest in Him and His leading of us step by step.¬† Nothing is a mistake.¬† It is often a twisted and dark path, but then we lean on Him more heavily than if we had followed a sunnier path.¬† I really detest testimonies which I hear often, to the tune of, “I know I’m doing the right thing because it is all working out so perfectly.”¬† Just like Laura Story’s song, “What if our blessings come through raindrops?”¬† He is near, we are leaning on His bosom, ….and all is well in His embrace.¬† Praying for you, sweet sister.

       

      1. You are so right on this, Miriam, ”¬† I really detest testimonies which I hear often, to the tune of, ‚ÄúI know I‚Äôm doing the right thing because it is all working out so perfectly.‚ÄĚ ¬†Just because all is going easily doesn’t mean it’s God’s will and just¬†because the road is rough doesn’t mean it isn’t! ¬†In fact, as Lizzy and I have often discussed, we are not called¬†to a a life of ease as Believers, quite the opposite. ¬†But we have an eternity of everything being perfect to look forward to one day!

        1. Amen, to Miriam and you, mary e. You are SO right that “just because all is going easily doesn‚Äôt mean it‚Äôs God‚Äôs will and just because the road is rough doesn‚Äôt mean it isn‚Äôt!” I could go on and go about that because so many Christians think this and doubt God when things are tough! I know so many Christians who are going through dark journeys just now and some are the most wonderful, godly Christians I know.¬†We have to lean hard, even when we don’t know why God is doing this HARD thing!

      2. I have to respectfully disagree with you on the “everything that falls into place must be Jesus” idea. I think it is more complicated than that. In my life, I can look back and see that when I wasn’t such a strong believer I would think that the “right” path was the one that came the easiest ¬†and when I “interfered” I usually chose the wrong/hardest way. When my faith strengthened I began to pray about decisions and then waited to “hear” from God. Sometimes I have the same occurrences; I feel He is leading me¬†to a certain path. We are in sync. I act and then things fall into place like before. But, this time He gets the glory. ¬†The converse isn’t immediately true. I haven’t¬†¬†always “blamed” Him when I have troubles. My husband says we have free will here on earth and we make bad choices sometimes. I agree with him. My bad choices can get me in a pickle. I do sometimes wonder why He won’t help me out, but then I figure He is at work and I am most likely supposed to learn a lesson from the situation.

        1. Not sure why this showed up in a quote form?

    2. Oh Mary! You made me cry¬†with¬†the TV and the planting seeds story. Isn’t it awful when we go through such struggles in life? Sometimes we think we are the only ones, right? I am feeling like I misread God’s plans for me/my family in 2 different situations right now. I’m sorry you are having such a hard time. I pray for your recovery and peace often. I find comfort in these verses:

       

      ‚ÄúConsider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.‚ÄĚ

      ‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

      http://bible.com/111/jas.1.2-4.niv

       

      It eludes me how to find joy in the pain of life sometimes, but it says I need to, so well then, here we are.

       

      Hugs to you (( )) ūüėė!

    3.  Mary,
      What a sweet story-Amazing how He opened up that  door for you to tell Nick about Him. You are so glorifying Him in your deepest of deep valley.

    4. “Nothing is wasted in His economy, when we are seeking Him. ”

      That is a powerfully true statement Mary. Ephesians 1:11 speaks to the fact of “according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will”. ¬†Another version says “all things”. ¬†Truly with God nothing is wasted in a believers life.

    5. Mary, that certainly could not have been a coincidence that Nick, who came to install your TV, has a daughter going through chemo. I am glad you got to share with him the hope that you have in Jesus.

    6. Mary, thank you for this testimony. ” Nothing is wasted in His economy.”

    7. Mary, thank you for sharing this story & being so vulnerable. Sorry its been so rough ūüôĀ¬†¬† Wonderful that in the midst of your pain you have been able to talk about the Lord being your strength. When we are weak, then we are strong (in the Lord’s Strength!)

    8. Mary E.  

      I’m not really ‘here’ this week, but I got up a little earlier today so I could scroll through. ¬† I’m sad to read how difficult things have been and that ‘plan A’ didn’t work out as you had hoped. ¬† As Diane said, ¬†I too, know many folks going through such rough waters right now. ¬†Sometimes, I get overwhelmed and I don’t keep up in prayer or in encouragement as I wish I could. ¬†My heart is there, but I get so distracted by so much. ¬†I am always grateful when you share because it brings your struggles back into focus for me. ¬†Personally, I don’t think that you missed what God was telling you. ¬† I feel that the only thing we can do in difficult decisions is pray and then act on what our heart and mind tell us. ¬†And that is what you did. ¬†The disappointment that it didn’t go as planned is hard…even excruciatingly so as you had that hospitalization and sepsis….SO hard…. but you then moved to the next plan and God showed you His hand of mercy and His leading as you ministered to others who came your way. ¬†Amazing. ¬†There you are secluded in your own bedroom and he brings people TO you. ¬† That is an exceptional example of Him leading you and holding your hand. ¬†Love to you, Mary and you in my prayers.

      1. Thanks so much, Wanda. ¬†I know exactly what you mean about always having people on your heart but getting distracted. ¬†We are finite human beings and even Jesus has very limited, intimate friends….12 disciples, and of those, only 3 who were in the most inner circle. ¬†I appreciate any prayers any time the Lord brings it to mind.

  10. What stood out to me was the video on the book release. Beautiful Dee, & I have always loved Song of Solomon! I’m so looking fwd to getting the book. Even the sound of your voice is tender & gentle ūüôā I believe the Lord kissed me this weekend as I just delighted for hours in sitting in my garden drinking in the perfect weather, the breezes, the flowers & the beauty! May the Lord protect you Dee, & encourage & embolden you¬† in the days to come. He gave u the words for this book & He has a purpose that none can thwart! I pray that He will touch many many hearts with the truths in this book! ūüôā

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

    I am so glad for the release of your book. I will pray that God will protect and strengthen you, Dee, from Satan’s attacks, especially from the attacks from those who call themselves Christians but are blind to the messianic truths in Song of Songs. ¬†I LOVED the trailer.

  12. Dee, praying for you as your book gets released on Tuesday! I am excited and will be praying for a response far beyond what we ever imagined. Yes, the enemy will be at work so we must pray. I love the trailer. Lord, we pray for the release of Dee’s book on Tuesday. Use it for your glory and may many eyes be opened to your wondrous love.

    A friend and I are doing the study and we start this week. The first chapter made me cry it felt like my heart would burst. I am not worthy of His love but here I am-included! (one of my best favorite hymns is He included me). This friend attends the Catholic church, is a widow and is very in love with the Lord. We both can hardly wait.

    Waiting for ideas from you on how to share the book study.

    Lord, I lift up, Lizzy and John and their 2 children and Philip. Let them feel Your presence amidst the challenges of a different culture setting, Give them your peace, ongoing direction and good health. Bring them safely home and direct their steps to the medical help that Philip needs. Kiss them daily.

    1. Praying for Lizzy, too!

  13. 2. A. Read Song of Songs 1:1-2 and describe what the bride is longing for and why. 

    She wants his kisses because they are so good (better than wine).

    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? 

    She wants to connect with her man. She wants to feel the spark of their union. Well, I suppose we (she) would want to connect with God, to feel the love between her and Him.

    C. Tell us how the King has kissed you recently!

    I have enjoyed the creation God has given us lately. My husband hangs bird feeders outside our front window and this year remembered to fill the hummingbird feeders. We are visited daily by cardinals, blue jays, and hummingbirds and it is a blessing to see them over and over again. Another blessing from nature was seeing a gajillion fireflies outside my sister in laws out last weekend! There were so many that I couldn’t stop watching for them.

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

     

    I am excited about the release of He Calls You Beautiful and am praying that the Lord will surround its release with His protection and place His banner of love over it, that He will protect Dee from worry over possible criticism from man, and if there is some, as some may misunderstand the message of the book, that Dee will trust in Him and believe first and foremost that this was His message that He wanted people to hear….the enemy doesn’t like it when anything reveals the beauty and the excellency of the One whose Name is like perfume poured out, but he is no match for the Shepherd-King! And I pray for the women in prisons that as they read each page, the eyes of their hearts may be opened to see His love for them and that they will come up out of the desert, leaning on their Lover.

  15. 2. A. Read Song of Songs 1:1-2 and describe what the bride is longing for and why.

     

    The bride is longing for him to kiss her with his mouth because to her, his love is better than wine. At this moment, in her mind, there is nothing that would be more delightful to her than his kiss; no earthly pleasure can compare with him.

     

    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?

     

    This is an interesting question….there is the excitement of the “first kiss” when a woman may daydream about the man for whom her affections are growing deeper and she imagines the first time their lips will meet….it’s all about the romance, the excitement, the passion. In a married couple who have been together for many years, there can still be passion, but it’s also a more “mature kiss”….it’s the sense that you know each other so well and that his lips are only meant for you, and yours for him. And there can be excitement in that realization, too. It’s exclusivity. I believe that what it may mean spiritually it that we are meant to “claim Jesus as ours”….”My beloved is mine….” and to believe that He has also claimed us, “and I am His”.

  16. C. Tell us how the King has kissed you recently!

     

    My daughter and I went to Houston TX about a week ago to visit my son who has moved there. We visited the Lyndon Johnson Space Center, and as I learned more about our space program and saw things there, including films and pictures of space, and heard a talk given by an astronaut who had been on the Endeavor shuttle mission, I felt very moved inside because I thought of the vastness of space and all those stars, planets and galaxies, and how on earth did a human ever get the idea that somehow we could go there? What moved me is that God is supreme in His knowledge and intelligence and yet He has given the gift of curiosity, yearning to know and discover and intelligence to man and has allowed him to venture out into space! The mind of man is truly amazing in what he can intelligently design and accomplish, and it is a gift from God.

    We also visited the Museum of Natural Science in Houston and saw an exhibit of rocks and gems that were discovered under the ground. And I could not believe how beautiful they were….aquamarines, rubies, amethyst, gold, and so many more precious stones, and their formations could be so delicate and beautiful and the colors exquisite, and I knew that God had made them and put them in the earth. Who would believe that we could dig up and find hidden beauty like that?

    On the plane coming home, my daughter spied a rainbow in the clouds, too!

  17. A.  Read Song of Songs 1:1-2 and describe what the bride is longing for and why.
    To be kissed. Better than wine? The only time I had wine spiked drink was not very pretty-it made me sick and had rashes all over my body. So not a very good allusion for me? LOL I did look up the benefits of moderate consumption of wine and it includes longevity, reduce risks for certain diseases and so forth. Now I have been kissed before LOL so I am glad it is better than wine LOL (again) for I do not want to settle for second best!
    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?
    When a woman desires a kiss from a man, it means she wants his love. That she feels drawn to him and only that kiss will satisfy her longing. Do I desire Jesus and His kisses? Do I love him enough to desire him daily.
    C.  Tell us how the King has kissed you recently!
     
    An opportunity to visit 2 male friends at same hospital came up yesterday. Although it was an hour drive, both Richard and I agreed to go after church. One was receiving chemo for his newly diagnosed lymphoma and the other for open heart surgery (3 way bypass). Their wives were both there and I was blessed to see the love they have for their husbands through their quiet service. Both couples are older than Richard and I. In more ways than one, it solidified my commitment to Richard as my husband when some health challenges come up for us in the future. As we prayed with both couples, I felt the kiss of God as He gave me peace about our ministry as pastor and wife.

  18. Praying for the book release today! ¬†That the enemy’s schemes with regard to this book, would be completely undone and God’s truth would reign supreme!

  19. My heart is SO with Lizzy, and family today! They were to meet their little boy today. I pray all goes wonderfully well. God’s will be done!

  20. Dee, I am praying for this book release tomorrow!! Must be thrilling for you to have been expecting for so long and now able to “give birth” to this publication!! PTL!!! ¬†How vital your ministry is, and how marvelous it will be in eternity to see how your God inspired writing¬†has been used in the lives of countless women!! Bless you for your obedience to Him. Can’t wait to go through this study now. Praying about direction for a new study for our ladies at church this fall, so….. : }

  21. 2A.  The bride is longing for the kiss of her lover. She wants His closeness, and the assurance that He wants her to be with Him as much as she wants Him to be with her.

    B. ¬†Christ wants us to want Him. Not just part of the time, or for the gifts He gives, but because we can’t stand to be away from Him, we enjoy Him that much. When I talk to young people about marriage, I say marry someone you never get tired of. ¬†That’s what it is like with Jesus. I am never tired of Him.

    C. A recent kiss. Fri night we were hosting some people passing through the area. ¬†We’ve had them before, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. My attitude was not good. I was sinning against the verse that says not to grumble about hospitality. God helped me release some of my expectations, and the evening ended up shorter than originally planned. It all went well, because of Him.

  22. I haven’t started this week’s study.¬† I just got back from vacation today and thought I’d catch up on last week’s comments.

    As I am reading people’s comments on Hillbilly Elegy, I thought I’d grab my phone and see if it happened to be available to download (preferably in audio form) from Hoopla.

    I had an instantaneous God moment as I opened the app. It has a continuous flow of recommended reading which I mostly ignore because I always have a book in mind when I go there. The very first thing to scroll by was Hillbilly Elegy.  I was actually looking at my computer to double check the name of the book and almost missed it. I clicked on it and it was an audiobook!

    If I had been doing this study on my phone I would have thought that it was some kind of word recognition thing that’s always going on behind the scenes, but that was not the case at all.

    I’ve been feeling a little uncomfortable lately from the fact that I haven’t been aware of anything on my God hunts these past few weeks. This was a bit of a relief ūüôā

    1. Dawn, I love this example and don’t worry if you don’t see things on the “God hunts” all the time. ¬†There are numerous reasons that can happen. ¬†Sometimes we just get caught up in the business of life and aren’t as tuned it. ¬†I can definitely relate!

  23. That’s awesome Dawn! I love it when God surprises us like that!

    2A. Why does the bride want to be kissed by her Lover? I imagine that she feels safe with him, wants to feel close, accepted, loved & desired by him. Nothing like face to face contact! She could get lost in those kisses & be carried away, filled with joy & contentment.

    I’m sure that Jesus wants us to feel completely safe & loved by Him; He desires intimacy & wants to thrill our souls; He wants to hold us close & never let us go; & He wants us to let Him love us, & to love Him in return. In other words, He wants to be in a vital loving relationship with His bride whom He adores! Oh Lord, help me/us to receive this & to bask in Your love.

    Dee, praying for the book release tomorrow & that the Lord will accomplish all He set out to do!¬† ūüôā

  24. 3A.  Experiencing with the senses. Kiss would be touch, better than wine would be taste, fragrance would be smell, and name like perfume would be sound. Interesting that the one missing is the one we most miss with Him; sight, since we cannot physically see Him now.

    B.  Better than wine Рcompare with Ps 4:7. Wine can taste good for the moment, but then it is gone. Joy, however, lasts. Especially when He has filled our hearts with it. This is so true for me, as I have no words to adequately describe what that spiritual joy feels like.

    C. ¬†His love is like oil poured out. How has God comforted you? Madeline de Engle said that the good thing about getting older is that you never lose the other ages you’ve been. They are still there, inside you. Unfortunately, that is how we generally carry around our wounds as well. On the inside, alive and as fresh as the day they happened. But God has persistently brought me back to revisit hurt after hurt to discover that He was there, He wants me to see His hand in it, He wants me to have compassion and forgive. Over the years I’ve been able to see His healing in my life, and to grow in compassion toward others. Hurting people hurt people, but healing people can offer healing.

  25. I’m testing; I posted answers to study questions this morning and they are gone! My computer has been acting funny though so I’m trying this from my phone.

    1. Yay!! Praying today about book release! I don’t know what happened; my computer kept reloading the page. Thanks for finding them!

  26. 3. Read Song of Songs 1:2-3
    A. The Shulammite wants to experience him in all of her senses ‚ÄĒ find three of them in these verses.

    Touch (kiss), Smell (fragrance), and Hearing (the name)

    B. His love is¬†better¬†than wine ‚Äď compare with Psalm 4:7 and share a way this has been true for you.

    Well, wine has been good (jk). I looked up the word “better” and found that it means “of superior quality.” I’m thinking shoes here for some reason? I have always liked wearing flip flops (being from Florida I guess?). Recently I have decided I may have grown up because I really think I need better “run around” shoes, maybe an arch. There is something to be said about a good pair of shoes. I upgraded to a leather flip, and have also bought a pair of sketchers with an arch and thicker sole. Love both! I’m hoping to help myself down the road by these changes.

    So, how does this apply here? Well, wine is a feel good in the moment type of delight (or joy as the verse says in Psalms), whereas He is a continual joy; neverending. His kisses will stay with me versus the wine which will flow through and maybe even end up harming my body over time. He only makes me better over time. As I become more like Him I am more joyful.

    I can think of many specific incidents where I have felt His love (and shared many here in the past), The one thing I am pondering this week so far is how He is sprinkled through the entire Bible; every book, reminding us He is here, and always was here. As I read the “Jesus Storybook Bible” to my grandson yesterday I was overwhelmed by this fact. We had come to the end and he wanted to start again. So we began at the beginning. Sally Lloyd Jones writes a heartfelt explanation of the “Story” as she calls it. it brought tears. The subtitle of the book says it all…..”Every story whispers His name.”

    C. His love is like ‚Äúoil poured out.‚ÄĚ Oil is often associated with healing. When my friend Twila‚Äôs baby died, she told God she couldn‚Äôt 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.)

    This question brought to mind a time when my middle son was causing me great pain. he was 16 or 17 years old and had left in the middle of the night and I didn’t know where he was for a couple of days. As I lay on my bed in tears, wondering where I could look, I begged God to help me find him. The phone rang right after that and the call was from a woman I didn’t know. She asked me if I was the mother of this teen and told me he had been outside her house in a town 20 miles away for the past days. I know God answered my prayer right then and there. he loves me.

    1. Love the story about your son and God finding him for you. ¬†I bought the storybook Bible w/out realizing it. ¬†She has made an adult version (but it’s really exactly the same) called The Story of God’s Love for You¬† and it is so sweet and does such ¬†great job of using each section of the Bible to point to Christ. ¬†(my guess is that the only difference in the two books is the title and that the adult one does not have pictures!)

  27. 3. Read Song of Songs 1:2-3 
    A. The Shulammite wants to experience him in all of her senses ‚ÄĒ find three of them in these verses.

    There is touch from the kisses.  Taste from wine and smell from the pleasing fragrance of the oils.

    B. His love is¬†better¬†than wine ‚Äď compare with Psalm 4:7 and share a way this has been true for you.

    Nothing can compete with the presence of the Lord. Even the good and most enjoyable things cannot compare to being loved by Him.  In my personal relationship with God my Father and Jesus my Savior through the Holy Spirit I have found comfort and encouragement to my soul like non other can give.  It primarily comes from time alone with Him in the Word and prayer.  Music is also a source of His speaking to my soul and provokes me to worship Him. 

    C. His love is like ‚Äúoil poured out.‚ÄĚ Oil is often associated with healing. When my friend Twila‚Äôs baby died, she told God she couldn‚Äôt 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.)

    He usually comes to me through his Word. I often find Him in the Scriptures. ¬†As a young girl I memorized Isaiah 26:3 in the KJV. ¬†“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trust in¬†Thee.” ¬†Over the years meditating on this Scripture has brought peace to my trouble heart¬†and soul.

  28. Congratulations, Dee! ¬†Today is the day! ¬† ¬†I’ve shared the book release a couple times on facebook ¬†and I’m going to talk to my pastor/Bible study leader about using it this fall or winter. ¬†I don’t know what’s in the works as I’ve talked to her about children’s curriculum but not about her thoughts for women’s groups yet. ¬†I sent her your video awhile back. ¬†I really think the Lord will use this work in mighty ways…..many of which you may never see here on earth.

  29. 4C. ¬†Coming into the presence of a holy God awakens us to sin. I was so aware of this as a young teen that it kept me from the Lord for at least two years. I knew in my head that Jesus died for my sin, but I didn’t understand how accepting that for myself would bring me into God’s presence without condemnation. I just knew how sinful and unworthy I was. ¬†And still am. ¬†It is just that He covers me with Himself and gives me everything He is.

  30. A.¬† His love is like ‚Äúoil poured out.‚ÄĚ Oil is often associated with healing. When my friend Twila‚Äôs baby died, she told God she couldn‚Äôt 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.)
     
     
    When my father died 2 months before I got married. I went through the motion trying to keep things together for my Mom, brother and sister. And I had a wedding to get ready for! During my wedding, my joy was tempered with the thought of missing my Dad to walk me down the aisle. Then in a matter of few weeks, we were called to the embassy to have my visa approved. By late September, we were in the US. One evening as Richard and I were in bed and about to go to sleep, the realization of my loss caused me to be in paroxysms of sobs and ugly tears. Richard turned to me and asked me what the matter was. And I replied, ‚Äú I don‚Äôt have a father anymore!‚ÄĚ He pulled me tight into his arms and whispered words of endearment until my sobs quieted into sniffles. Then he prayed for me. God visited me in the most precious way through the love of my husband.

    1. Bing, the way in which you describe your loss, and how your husband Richard comforted you, is truly beautiful.

  31. B. She says, ‚ÄúMy own vineyard I have not kept.‚ÄĚ 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?
    His people were compared to a vineyard that He has taken care of. They did not produce choice sweet grapes but rather wild grapes meaning their living lives that were not meant to be. Purposeless.
    C. How does coming into the presence of a holy God awaken us to our sin? Did that happen for you?
     
    The conviction of the Holy Spirit-the more I come to the presence of God the more I see my righteousness for what they really are- filthy rags. Lately, it has been a realization of how deceiving my heart is. Believing I am seeking God’s direction but really just seeking His approval stamp of what I want to do. A sense of conviction at firs threatened to overwhelm me but God, in His mercy, comforted me with His love. I confessed my propensity to presume on His goodness and started afresh, trusting Him to lead and direct my steps and being content with where I am right now with regards to 2 significant endeavors in my life. 

  32. 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 you think? 

    She is uncomfortable with his gazing at her. Looking directly at her. I go back to Dee’s comment “He looks at you, sees you to the core…”¬†She doesn’t feel presentable. ¬†Coming from working in the vineyard she is sunburnt and probably sweaty and dirty from where she has been. ¬†It would seem to illustrate how it feels to come from a place of being in sinful ways and places and the Holy One sees me to the core.

    B. She says, ‚ÄúMy own vineyard I have not kept.‚ÄĚ 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?¬†
    They are compared to a vineyard that God has planted and He has cared for and provided the best for it.  Because of Him it has all it needs to be fruitful but they did not accept his provision and therefore produced worthless fruit.  It is the same with us in that God has given us all we need to be fruitful if we embrace what He has provided through Jesus.

    C. How does coming into the presence of a holy God awaken us to our sin? Did that happen for you?
    When we see God as he really is in his holiness and perfection it sheds his light on what we really are like in our human sinful condition. ¬†In my younger years I struggled with self righteous attitudes because I hadn’t committed any “big” sins. But God showed me from his Word that my self-righteous ways were nothing but “filthy” rags. No different than the worst of sins. God’s standard is perfection and Jesus, only Jesus achieved that. As I grew in my knowledge of the Bible and sat under good boble preaching and teaching I began to appreciate the depth of what Christ had done for me in the Cross.

  33. 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 you think? 

    I think she is embarrassed that she is “dark.” I suppose that meant you were a “worker” back in those days. It, perhaps, wasn’t a respected way to be if you were a female back¬†then?

    B. She says, ‚ÄúMy own vineyard I have not kept.‚ÄĚ 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?

    God compares His people to a vineyard. He tends it well but He describes the vineyard as uncontrollable. The grapes are wild.

  34. 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 King sees her as perfectly beautiful without blemish. ¬†That is hard to relate to because try as I may with hair, clothes and makeup to dress up this old body of flesh it is not without¬†¬†blemish. ¬†At age 68 the flaws are many. But gratefully now they are not what really define me. Even at age 20 I saw all my blemishes not realizing then they were very few. ¬† At about age 40 I began to despair of vanity¬†as a very hard task master. ¬†But the truth of Isaiah 1:18 regarding my sins that the stain of scarlet and crimson have been made perfectly white as applied to my soul gives me great hope. Because of Jesus’s sacrifice¬†he sees me perfectly without blemish and I know the day is coming that even this old physical body will be redeemed perfectly. ¬†I now live in hope.

    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? 

    A few years ago I stood in the shower crying when I faced the lie of doubting God’s unconditional love for me and it was then that I recognized and believed I was perfectly accepted. ¬†

  35. 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.

     

    Physical touch-his kisses, taste-his love is more delightful than wine, and smell-she breathes in the fragrance of his perfumes.

     

    B. His love is better than wine – compare with Psalm 4:7 and share a way this has been true for you.

     

    David writes in this psalm that God has filled his heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. Since he lived in the days before grocery stores, I imagine that the bounty of the harvest and the best wine would’ve been something greatly anticipated and enjoyed. I know that there is no earthly pleasure that can satisfy me and bring lasting contentment and joy the way the Lord can. I really need to experience joy again as I’ve been feeling emotionally flat, and I long to experience the joy found in Him again.

     

    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)

     

    The last time I was really in high tide grief was when my 21 year old nephew died. God comforted me by having me hear Dee on the radio and visiting her website, signing up for her emails, and then she decided to lead an online study through The God of All Comfort. That’s when I joined the blog for the first time. It was a process for me, taking one step forward and two steps back, but eventually God brought me to a place of healing.¬† One instance was when Dee had us read Psalm 30 and I just was not connecting to the “rejoicing comes in the morning” or “You turned my wailing into dancing”. I was stuck in the weeping/mourning part. I did not feel like worshipping God but I made a choice to try it, using this psalm, and God met me in a powerful way. I was stuck on the dancing part in verse 11 because I couldn’t imagine myself dancing alone. He impressed upon me an image that I was not dancing alone – that He was dancing with me as a bridegroom dances with his bride.

    1. oh, yes, Susan!  We are dancing with our bridegroom!

    2. Susan your sharing is a blessing to read.

  36. C. How does coming into the presence of a holy God awaken us to our sin? Did that happen for you?

     

    Well, I think it’s why some people don’t put both feet in when it’s time to commit to being a Christian. By the way, I am speaking of myself here too, not just others. It means they will have to see themselves fully, as who they are in the moment, and that would make them uncomfortable. It’s like they live two lives, their Christian life and their earthly life. When they officially commit to being a follower of Christ, they have to clean up their act so to speak. They can be clean on Sunday and pretend to be a good Christian the rest of the week. Funny, but God knows all this! So, putting both feet in is really for the believer, not for Christ. It amounts to admitting you are a sinner and doing your best to please God within that framework.

     

    I do think it has happened to me, I just wasn’t very cognizant that it was happening at the time. There are a few things I have done in my life that make me cringe when I think of them; very low points. I have asked for forgiveness from God but not necessarily the other parties involved. In at least one of these situations, it is not possible to apologize or ask forgiveness, so I have to take it on faith that God knows and He will help the other party know as well. Is this an important point? To truly be absolved from a past sin should you ask the other person for forgiveness? In a couple¬†of cases I would need to do some extremely hefty research to find the offended party. Is it enough to ask God and refrain from doing that particular sin again?

     

     
    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.

    He says her eyes are like doves (love) and her neck is like the tower of David; strong and reflecting bravery (using shields as the metaphor to represent protection). In Isaiah, He tells her if she is with Him even though she has sin, she will be cleansed pure.
     

    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?

     

    I’m not sure there is one time when this happened to me. I think I have it happen over and over again because (in the past) I didn’t fully comprehend this about God. Maybe I still don’t? How can He still love me when I do ——-? I think I am more aware of His love for me when I listen to some of the fantastic lyrics in contemporary Christian music. For example, “You are good, You are good, when there’s nothing good in me…” and “…You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same…”

    Then there’s Casting Crowns with this lyric…totally made me cry as I listened this morning.

     

    “Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
    Would look on me with love
    And watch me rise again?
    Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
    Would call out through the rain
    And calm the storm in me?

    Not because of who I am
    But because of what you’ve done
    Not because of what I’ve done
    But because of who you are
    I am a flower quickly fading
    Here today and gone tomorrow
    A wave tossed in the ocean
    A vapor in the wind
    Still you hear me when I’m calling
    Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
    And you’ve told me who I am
    I am yours”

     

    1. Laura, that wonderful inexplicable mystery!  More sinful than we know, more loved than we can imagine.

      1. ūüĎć

  37. 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 you think?

     

    He is the king, and the differences between them would be immediately apparent. She has no social status, no majesty….she is just ordinary. So his gaze makes her uncomfortable. She describes herself as “dark”. This could mean her appearance – darkened from working outside in the sun, while a “lady” would have been fair, keeping her skin protected from the sun. She feels unworthy perhaps of his special attention.

     

    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?

     

    God’s people, the Israelites, are compared to a vineyard on a fertile hillside. This vineyard was well-prepared – the soil was prepared and stones were removed and the best vines were planted. A watchtower was built. (I don’t know anything about ancient vineyards – was the watchtower to guard against animals or people coming in to steal the grapes?) A winepress was ready and waiting for the grapes. It doesn’t say here how the people/vineyard responded to His care, but it is assumed that something went terribly wrong because when He looked for a crop of good grapes, He found only bad fruit. That doesn’t seem to add-up in this scenario. In the same way, God gives us/me everything we need to thrive and flourish under His care, but when we/I ignore Him, or run to our idols thinking they will take care of our needs, we become sour grapes, a spoiled crop. Sin, rebellion, pride, idolatry, ruin the possibility of bearing good fruit.

  38. 3. Read Song of Songs 1:2-3 
    A. The Shulammite wants to experience him in all of her senses ‚ÄĒ find three of them in these verses. ¬†Well, the senses of smell and taste for sure…and maybe touch?
    B. His love is¬†better¬†than wine ‚Äď compare with Psalm 4:7 and share a way this has been true for you.¬†Well, saying He put gladness in his heart, more than when new grain and wine abound, seems like saying more than being in a season of great prosperity and feasting. ¬†I¬†know that for me, even in this stage 4 cancer experience, there are times when I just have such joy in my heart that I have said to myself, “Why are you so happy? ¬†You have no good (earthly) reason to be so happy!” ¬†And I know that it’s the Lord because His love is better than anything or life situation this world could ever offer.
    C. His love is like ‚Äúoil poured out.‚ÄĚ Oil is often associated with healing. When my friend Twila‚Äôs baby died, she told God she couldn‚Äôt 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.) ¬†Yes, so many times, in numerous ways! ¬†I know I’ve shared so many on this blog in months past, I hate to repeat things but one of the more recent was when I was laying in bed one night and trying to talk to God and my mind kept wondering. ¬†I got frustrated with myself and my pathetic lack of ability to hold my attention on the God of the Universe, who is worthy of all of my attention, I began to cry and in my frustration I began to say, “Father, I’m going to be so ashamed when I finally to get to heaven because…” and literally I could not complete my sentence (my thought) because He interrupted with, “Oh no you won’t be,¬†because you will be clothed all in white!” ¬†(a bride made ready for her Groom!) ¬†So then my heart was¬†quite.

    1. Mary e, how could I have missed your answer to C?!?! How He came to you- wow..

    2. I’m not sure that you will see this, mary e, because I am a week slow in responding because of being away, but I do not remember you sharing the story of God interrupting your cry in the night. So beautiful! We will not be ashamed. We will be “clothed all in white”. What a kiss from the King! Thank you for sharing it!

  39. Mary e,

    Thank you for sharing that. Being fairly new to the blog I hadn’t heard it before.

    “…you will be all clothed in white ”

    That made me think of these verses Dee included in the questions this week which say “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.‚ÄĚ

    ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    And

    ‚ÄúYou are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.‚ÄĚ

    ‭‭The Song of Solomon‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭ESV‬

    The thought of no flaw is a wonderful truth.

    …”all clothed in white” ¬†(-:‚Ĩ

    1. That is a great passage, Bev! ūüôā

  40. Mary E…”all clothed in white”,,,yes what a beuatiful touch you received from the Lord; His reassurance & comfort & Peace!

    Susan…I LOVE the quote Dee posted that u wrote…”Take your Bible & open it to The Song of Songs. Settle down in your favorite chair…..” So beautiful & it blessed me so much. Shared it with my friend & she was touched too. Thank you!

    3A. the 3 senses are Touch, Taste & Smell.

    B. Yes the Lord is truly our joy giver & “the Joy of the Lord is our strength”. I have to say I am so thankful the He blesses me with His joy. I have felt it this week especially in my garden in the quiet of the morning…after the rain with the abundance of flowers & color & beauty. It takes my breath away¬† ūüôā¬† Susan, I pray the He surprises you with fresh JOY!

    C. Wonderful story about Twila & how God so personally comforted her! I have been spared High tide grief up to this point, but when I’ve been struggling & overwhelmed the Lord has ministered to me thro His word like a balm to my soul, & thro the love of¬† close friends & family.

    4.A. the peasant woman feels unworthy, “un-beautiful” & blemished.¬†¬†¬†¬† B. I’m guessing that the Israelites neglected God & followed idols or substitutes & it led to “sour grapes”. Lord, please help me to stay close to You & not to neglect You.¬† C. I think I don’t see my sin as much as I should, but I feel His grace & try to walk in it each day. It needs to be an ongoing awareness with confession & repentance, yet rejoicing in His grace & forgiveness & being free in Him. A challenge.

    5. Praise God that He sees us as beautiful & He desires us…hard to take in ,but help us to bask in that truth Lord!

  41. 3. Read Song of Songs 1:2-3
    A. The Shulammite wants to experience him in all of her senses ‚ÄĒ find three of them in these verses.
    She wants to smell, taste, and feel Him.
    B. His love is¬†better¬†than wine ‚Äď compare with Psalm 4:7 and share a way this has been true for you.
    This sounds corny but it is recent. Since my back surgery last year I have been unable to work out like I used to. Having arthritis and being on meds that make me tired doesn’t help much. ¬†Last night a friend came over who recently had lipo suction in several areas-areas I really need. ūüôā She looks amazing. I started envying but I sensed my heart wasn’t right for this wouldn’t matter if He was truly bigger to me in that moment. He reminded me¬†He loves my heart and that¬†He will help me be healthier-and encouraged me to keep my heart focused on His desires, not this world’s desires.¬†ūüôā ¬†He is SO much better for He calls me beautiful and his approval and passionate love is everlasting-paid in full by Him.. ūüôā ūüôā
    C. His love is like ‚Äúoil poured out.‚ÄĚ Oil is often associated with healing. When my friend Twila‚Äôs baby died, she told God she couldn‚Äôt 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.)
    I haven’t experienced a death close to me yet but when my son rejected God it was like a death to me-I so grieved for we were so close spiritually. He comforted me and also opened my eyes to¬†my control idol for even though I knew He is in control of hearts I believed I was in control of my boys hearts. This is my son’s journey, not mine, and God is in control of that-not me.
    I will rabbit trail a bit-sorry, but the¬†sweet but hard part is that after He begins de-rooting an idol there are wounds inside from how deep the roots were-wounds only he can sooth and heal and he is doing that with me over this past¬†year. As He continues to pull the roots He is healing me and my relationship with my oldest. He is also showing me ways to love my boys¬†and listen to them. When my control idol had me I would preach to them mostly and give advice, and overly worry and protect but He is changing that in me. Giving them boundaries, consequences and advice is crucial but if that is all it is in their teen years it isn’t truly sacrificially loving them. So this whole thing with my oldest turning is¬†still something I grieve over but God is grieving over it even¬†more. ¬†Nevertheless God is turning it¬†into beauty in surprising, encouraging ways.

    1. I’m not a parent, Rebecca, but I think even as just a human being, with nieces and nephews, friends, etc… if we have any compassion at all it grieves us to no end to see someone going down a path that will ultimately lead to sorrow and we long to spare them of that. ¬†I can only imagine that this compulsion would be amplified a million times when you are a mother. ¬†But then I think about how each of us, for some reason, have to make some of our own mistakes and seek out the Lord for ourselves, on some level. ¬†I can’t imagine the distress of your heart at this situation but, I think you hit the nail on the head, it distresses Him even more and I believe He will pursue your dear son just as relentlessly as He has each of us. Turning that into a prayer right now!

      1. Yes…He just encouraged me with you both this morning. Thank you Lord!

  42. 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 you think?
    She sees His Holiness and it exposes her darkness and it wrecks her. Reminds me of Isaiah’s response to seeing God in Isaiah 6-Woe to me for I am ¬†a man of unclean lips.
    B. She says, ‚ÄúMy own vineyard I have not kept.‚ÄĚ 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?
    They are compared to a Vineyard that God built. They didn’t¬†take care of their vineyard and it produced wild grapes.
    C. How does coming into the presence of a holy God awaken us to our sin? Did that happen for you?
    This question is a kiss this morning..wow..His presence still awakens me to my sin as He did via Idol Lies years ago and I could share a moment that happened last night, but I have to share what He is showing me right now.  :)))

    Before I knew Him I was a sin controlled-worn out girl who can¬†identify with the worst of sinners, (and I still can by the way). I lived¬†most of my¬†late teen early adult life singing in and hanging out in bars, doing whatever my flesh delights in and I don’t need to go into detail, but it would show His POWER.
    Anyway, ¬†after I heard the Gospel I don’t think¬†I fully understood the resurrection but I pondered for a while. When I got on an¬†airplane to fly back home He ambushed me with His Holy presence…I felt unclean before Him and was humbled. I set aside the tract my brother gave me and told God¬†that I wanted Him and I believed Jesus died for my sins and I knew I couldn’t stand before Him in my sins and to forgive me of my sins and take control of my life. In that instant He gave me His Holy Spirit making¬†me His for when I opened my eyes on that airplane I could see light and dark-I felt His love envelope me freeing me¬†from the weight of my sin and felt full of Joy. He gave me this indescribable love for Him and for others-for I so desired that everyone on that plane could know Him for there is no greater joy on this earth than being with Him and I wanted to shout it out. ¬†Then¬†He opened my eyes to understanding Scripture. Everyone He brought in my circles would hear about Him, and He brought some of them to Himself¬†even though as a young believer I said things I wish I could take back! ūüėČ

  43. Rebecca, what a powerful testimony of God’s love and grace! Thank you for being vulnerable with your personal sharing. ¬†Sometimes time doesn’t allow me to share with a person that the Lord is prompting me towards, and I am only able to give a tract. I often wonder how the Lord may have used that in their lives. That part of your story encouraged me! I do believe that Heaven will reveal the end result of situations that we always wondered about!! Also how very sweet that you were eager to share your new faith with others….such evidence of ¬†being a “new creation”. ¬†My dear Christian friend has 2 sons (mid 20s) who have seemingly walked away from their faith and she grieves as well. I will remember to pray for your son as I pray for hers.

  44. Thoroughly enjoyed the clip by Mike Reeves! My favorite part was when he said, “Christ took all that was OURS – sin, debt, judgment, and then gave us all that was HIS – righteousness, glory, love, and salvation!!! ¬†He took our crown of thorns and instead gave us a crown of glory!!” ¬†Amazing…simply amazing…..

    1. Ha! ¬†That’s too cute! ūüėÄ ¬†I hate mice in the house too! ¬†wouldn’t even want one as a pet!

  45. Love Mike Reeves! Especially, “…we receive His crown of glory and He receives our crown of thorns…” Tears.

  46. 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.
    Jesus, our bridegroom is the king, shepherd, high priest and Lord.
    Song of Songs is the gospel- Jesus, the King claiming His bride, you and me, the church (Ephesians 5)
    The great Marriage Swap- my filthy rags and shame for His joy, life, blessing and honor
    We have a happy boldness even in front of the Devil. We can boldly tell him to his face that Jesus has done the great exchange and he does not have anything on us.
    What is the real benefit of union with Christ? Having Christ and knowing and enjoying a relationship with Him. Not just that we are freed from hell but also that we have Christ Himself.
    The Gospel is enjoying a loving relationship with Christ

  47. God Hunt
     
    I was on the hunt for a receipt so I can be reimbursed for it. Not a big amount but I already had to pay for something else because the receipts were not in the detail that our accountant wants. I checked trash, my purse, billfold etc and asked my husband if I inadvertently gave it to him. Negative. So I thought I just need to write a check then. Two days later, I was at an office and waiting for service. I knew it was going to take a little bit of time for the lady to get back with me so I started working on something. Then I got into my purse and found a zipper open and some loose change coming out. Then I saw a receipt. Yeah, you guessed it right! It was the one I thought I have lost. A little thing perhaps but these little things nowadays bring tears to my eyes( thank you ,Dee for leading us to do God hunts). Like Peter after the great catch of fish (although mine was little in comparison) can only tremble in His presence. ‚ÄúGo away from me, Lord for I am a sinful (wo)man.‚ÄĚ Nothing like little things to make me aware of how I limit God.

  48. Today is the appropriate day to tell a HUGE GOD HUNT INVOLVING DEE BRESTIN! ; }

    Dee’s amazing granddaughter, Emily, and my daughter, Holly are spending the day together looking at wedding venues. Holly is planning to be married some time next year, and Emily will be a bridesmaid. But let me back up a bit…….

    God called my husband to a pastorate in Nebraska, and at the time I was privileged to attend MOPS. Dee came and shared several times and I was certainly challenged by her words. “What an incredible woman,” I thought. How amazing it would be to be able to visit with her and let her wisdom just “rub off on me”. ¬†The opportunity never came about, but I read everything she had written and soaked in her teachings.

    Then we moved 5 hours away to a large city. ¬†Holly began playing soccer for a local Christian school, as our school didn’t offer it. She came home buzzing about a new special friend she had made. Her name was Emily Brestin. “Hmmmm…” I thought, “Dee had a son she spoke of that lived somewhere in this city. ¬†No, couldn’t be.”

    My GOD HUNT came when I attended the next soccer game, and there sat Dee!! God was so sweet to allow our paths to cross again, as she had¬†just moved to this area and this WAS her family. We visited some at games, had lunch a few times, and I was inspired every time we have been together. When you see a lady who has trusted God, REALLY trusted God, it can’t help but challenge you to continue on to do the same. Her life took many unexpected paths but she chose to trust. ¬†She used her pain to minister to others. Her book, God of All Comfort, was exactly what was needed to bring healing to a church that we ministered to in that city, that satan was trying to destroy. ¬†Small world? Nope – God directed it all.

    My two youngest daughters became very close to Emily and her family, which just continues to bless my heart. God gave these young ladies, in the next generation, sweet friendships to encourage and challenge one another in THEIR walk!! Again He gave more than I could have imagined

    1. Doni, that is such a wonderful story! I love the way God weaves people into our lives when we least expect it!¬† ūüôā What a blessing for u!