YouVersion of He Calls You Beautiful

One last week on  the Song,

and I’ve saved something fun!

We are going to use the YouVersion devotional for He Calls You Beautiful.

Our summer theme is finding Jesus in unexpected places in Scripture and in life,

and we’ve been seeing Jesus as our Bridegroom in the Song of Songs.

YouVersion, a popular online Bible tool,

has published a 5 day devotional

— and you can access it by clicking right here:

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/4360-he-calls-you-beautiful-by-dee-brestin

 

Monday through Friday read Days 1 through 5, and come back here to share thoughts, kisses you received, and prayers for your heart to believe this AMAZING LOVE.

God Hunt! Answer to prayer and help to do His work in the world!

I soooooo thank you so much for your prayers for my time on Janet Parshall. I did indeed sense God’s peace and presence. I prepared hours for the questions about the practice of homosexuality, but that really did not come up until a little at the end, and I was glad, for I felt it would be a distraction. That was a huge God Hunt! Instead, Janet was so positive and really did a beautiful job of drawing out the heart of the Song of Songs. I do believe God heard and answered your prayers and I am thankful. If you didn’t get to listen and want to, here is that link: https://www.moodyradio.org/programs/in-the-market-with-janet-parshall/2017/07-2017/07.25.17-love-and-respect—oh-how-he-loves-you/

Also, this week for discovering Jesus in unexpected places in life, I want to remind you of some of the ways to be alert to Him and keep reporting here:

  • Answer to prayer
  • Unusual timing or circumstances
  • Help to do His work in the world
  • Unexpected grace
  • Something in creation putting you in awe of Him

SUNDAY:

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

MONDAY: DAY ONE OF YouVersion Devotional

2. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?

3. Comment on the fact that passion is also used for Christ’s death on the cross. Thoughts?

 

 

TUESDAY: DAY TWO OF YouVersion Devotional

4. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?

5. When in your life have you had the most passion for the Lord? Why, do you think?

6. How have you been kissed in the last few days?

WEDNESDAY: DAY THREE OF YouVersion Devotional and Chapter 1 of the audio version.

6. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?

7. Share a time when God felt like a deer hiding or a dear leaping out in your life.

A way God hid and then leaped out for me has to do with the audio version of He Calls You Beautiful. I was disappointed that I could have my friend Eunice do the reading, for I love her, I love how she did Idol Lies, and she has such a heart for prison ministry. But I did understand that Christian audio wanted to use one of their own readers. I prayed for wisdom in choosing and was so pleased with Susan Zimmerman and got the most lovely letter from her about the book. For those of you who are interested, here is the first chapter read by Susan.

 

He Calls You Beautiful – Chapter 1

https://deebrestin.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/He-Calls-You-Beautiful-CA-01.mp3

 

THURSDAY: DAY FOUR OF YouVersion Devotional

7. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?

8. Make John Donne’s poem a prayer for yourself — he prays God will “divorce” him from the enemy and“ravish” him so that he might be free.

Friday: DAY FIVE OF YouVersion Devotional

7. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?

8. Make a conscious effort today to say no to your idols, whatever they are, and to run to Jesus. Report back anytime today on any success!

9. What does a desire for God have to do with sacrifice?

 

Saturday: Share your favorite song that relates to the Song of Songs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMENTS (81) Post a New Comment ↓
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SUNDAY:
1.   What stands out to you from the above and why?
 
I am presently at a 5 day new teachers institute for MO teachers. This is my 7th year of helping mentor new teachers and am thankful for the opportunities this has given me.
I missed last week’s hearty discussions and trying to catch up. I value the input about the landmine of same sex attractions and feel somehow equipped in seeking to understand and to be constantly in prayer for future conversations about the topic with others.
 
I love that the youversion audio is available, Dee. It would be a wonderful tool when traveling as well as engaging the hearing part of the brain.
 
God Hunt
Answer to prayer- one of my very best friends drove up to where I am at to spend the night with me at my hotel. We are catching up-we are about 5 hrs. apart.
Unusual timing or circumstances/ Help to do His work in the world
– Julie, my friend has a new course to teach next fall at the university where she is a professor. Math was her major but she told me it has been a while since she has taught math to students majoring in math education. We rode with a colleague of mine to a dinner party for us and we found out that this colleague’s husband is a professor at another university in math education! Talk about timing! Julie got his address to contact him later on for some needed mentoring.
Unexpected grace finding a hard hat I need at the last minute for a skit this week.
Something in creation putting you in awe of Him– At the dinner party, found out our host has an herb garden. Oregano, rosemary, basil, mint…ah, Lord. The smells and beauty of your greens.
 
 

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Wonderful God hunts, Bing!

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SUNDAY: 
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
God’s gracious answer to our prayers for you Dee.  He is so faithful.

I am in the process of reading “He Calls You Beautiful” and being so blessed and encouraged by it. It is a book I will share with many.

I look forward to this weeks study from the YouVersion Devotional.

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    Thank you, dear Bev!

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Dee, so glad that things went well this week & for your faithfulness & courage to speak the Truth!  I’m excitied to be on the lookout this week for more of God’s kisses & to join Him where He is working. I’ve been able to visit a neighbor/friend who is in Rehab after neck surgery. Gave her a copy of Daily Bread & praying that she will open up to the Lord like a flower :)  Also I was able to go for my first swim of the summer(!) in Lake Michigan on my day off, & it was sooo freeing & refreshing. Thank You Lord!

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1.  What stood out in the intro?  I appreciated the reminder to be sharing kisses from the King. Every time I look out at the yard God has allowed me to steward, I am taken anew at His beauty, His filling of the senses, His extravagance in everything. It leads to both contentment and worship. Time to go out a do some in person enjoying!

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    Yes Mary, contentment & worship…I feel the same in my garden (God’s garden )  :)

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

God really came through Dee to draw us into the Song on the Janet Parshall’s show. Dee articulated so well how we can see earthly marriage and Jesus in the Song but that God’s love for us is the heart. The way she articulated it would make most who are an earthly marriage only advocate stop and consider that it is His Song. But oh His gentle way of coming in and opening our hearts through Dee-Can it really be??? His Love Song to us in The Song of Songs?

I am excited about Dee’s SOS devotional on YouVersion!

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Day one of the devotional. What resonated was our longing not only to be loved, but to love in return.  It excludes fantasizing from a distance and demands someone real. Only Jesus can be that One for us always. He loves, but He wants our love also. Not primarily for what He does and gives, but for who He is; that we enjoy being with Him and want to give our gifts and ourselves to Him.

Passion has also come to mean the suffwring of Christ out of His intense love. When I think of passion I think of an inward force – strong, irresistible, moving relentlessly toward the goal. When we turn passion toward an idol, we are giving something that belongs only to Christ to something else. No wonder God calls it adultery.

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    Mary — I love this. How we need to love Him for our sakes! And the passion He had for us to go to the cross.

    I’ve begun memorizing the Song and as Joni Eareckson says, it is such a good way to praise Him!

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2. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why? 
 

I feel like the Song is getting deeper into my heart. I love the idea that the Bible is a wonderful love story, not a book of rules or heroes.
3. Comment on the fact that passion is also used for Christ’s death on the cross. Thoughts?
 

I looked up the word passion and one definition said it is a strong emotion or feeling. It also said a deep longing for someone, and suffering. Christ did suffer and He suffered because of a deep longing to ultimately have us.

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    Laura — love that it is getting deeper into your heart!

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MONDAY: DAY ONE OF YouVersion Devotional 
2. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why? 
These comments stood put to me from the devotional reading.

“You are more cherished than you dared to dream. The Song will help press the truth into your heart, for it is one thing to be told that God rejoices over us as a bridegroom rejoices over His bride, but it is quite another thing to see it.”

To discover in the recent years (and believe it) that my Lord actually cherished me satisfied my heart in a way  nothing else ever had in life.

 
3. Comment on the fact that passion is also used for Christ’s death on the cross. Thoughts?
 

In modern day thinking the word passion is thought of as tied to the sensual. I think of the word steamy. But Jesus was driven with a passion to accomplish something out of a deep love for us.  I think of the old song that says “Oh the depths of the riches of love in Christ Jesus”. It was out of the depths of his love for me, pure and perfect love that Jesus went to the Cross for my sin.

I am humbled and oh so grateful.

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A sweet kiss from the King came on Saturday when I saw my almost 4 year old grand daughter. It had been over a week and she was thrilled. I picked her up and she hugged me really tight then looked at me and said “Grandma, It is totally you!!”

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    Bev…..this is SO sweet.   A comment like that can carry one a long ways.  :)

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    Love this!

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    Bev,

    Nothing quite like the love of a grandchild.    My five little granddaughters and one little grandson have been such sources of refreshment.  So grateful that the Lord has allowed me to live this long and experience these six amazing blessings.

    I remember one author saying, “The older I grow, the more I appreciate children.   Now at my 80th birthday, I salute them again.   Children are the most wholesome part of the race, the sweetest for they are freshest from the hand of God.”    (author Daniel Sweeney ~  I do not know this author, but I love this quote)

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I’ve been having spotty internet access since we switched our plan and how we are receiving internet services.  Also,  my laptop in ‘the shop’ and I don’t have availability to being online as often.

So this lesson….though it looks so good!….will be harder for me to do.

I don’t expect to be here a lot this week.

 

But I wanted to thank Dee and Laura dancer for the replies to my questions/discussion late last week.  I just found them this morning. There is always more to discuss along these lines.   I find that I am thinking, praying, thinking again about a lot of this, for many reasons.  I expect that there will always be Christians who see things differently, who are yet all still committed deeply to Christ, His Word and His truth.   That is something I see in practice every day and appreciate.

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    Wanda, this is something we have in common; getting new perspectives and mulling through them to come up with my own perspective. I appreciate that about you! It’s kind of like engineering design to me because I end up “creating” my own viewpoint from many. I think my mom did that to me!

     

    I know you are very well read, as was my mom. You inspire me! I wish I had more time to read for pleasure. I am going to try to download a couple of books for my long trip. I have Hillbilly Egley on request at the library (I’m number 84! Who would have thought anyone would read a book with that title??!) I also have a couple of others on John Wesley and George Muller. Do you have any ideas for me? I can’t do anything too heavy because I do “heavy” all year long in school. I love mysteries. Thanks in advance!

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      Well, Dee recommended ‘Ordinary Grace’ on her book list.  It’s a murder mystery by a Minnesota author,  Wm. Kent Kruger.  I did really like that one, (though at the beginning, I wondered).   I know lots of friends who read his books and I found a couple of them too gruesome, but this one was appealing.  Also….my favorite John Grisham novels are ‘The Testament’ and ‘The Street Lawyer’.   I think you’d especially like ‘the Testament’.  I’m not as well read on novels as you might think.  Our friend, Jackie, is a voracious reader and she can do it fast.  I’m such a putsy reader.  I’m reading ‘Gilead’ right now (also at Dee’s recommendation) and it took me awhile to get into it, but now I am LOVING it.  It is not a mystery though…..but a really engaging memoir….fictional yet chock full of theological depth.  Just a caution about ‘Hillbilly Elegy’…..it is amazing because of how this one man broke the cycle of poverty.  But it is surely not a ‘pretty’ book.  Very intriguing though and I find that people on all places of the philosophical/political spectrum have embraced the story.  Have you checked out Dee’s book list?

        I loved Ordinary Grace and was sure the author had to be a believer, but when I met him he simply had a close friend who was. Yet obviously his friend has had an impact on him. Marilyn Robinson is amazing — my favorite of hers is Home. It is such good writing and not your ordinary Christian plot — it feels so real.

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2. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why? 

How the Song answers my heart’s deepest longing– to know Him and to be known, to love deeply and be loved, cherished. Also this, “He loves us not as we should be but as we are.” I think how often I do not love myself, or others, as I am–I have an ideal of who I should be, who they should be–and this is not love. In the Song, God demonstrates real love–pursuing, forgiving, grace-filled.

 

3. Comment on the fact that passion is also used for Christ’s death on the cross. Thoughts?

 

This is such a powerful truth. I wish I could truly grasp the depth of such love–to go to the Cross for us as sinners. We can’t comprehend such an intense, selfless love. We just cannot imagine–and yet the Song does paint the picture for us of that kind of love. Oh how it will just floor us in Heaven, to really truly feel it all through our every cell, that deep passionate love, how will I stand?!

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    Yay!! Lizzy your back! :) :)  Missed your heart-missed you.

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2. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?

Thank you for the you version access, Dee.    Loved this:   “He loves us not as we should be, but as we are.”   Often need reminding of this truth, for the battle can be fierce and the accusation of the enemy debilitating.

Yesterday, our service and message encapsulated this so very well.  My pastor reminded us of Tim Keller’s words:

The gospel is this:  We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.    

I’ve invited my two married daughters and my daughter-in-law to do the He Calls You Beautiful bible study with me this fall.  We live in different states, separated by the miles.   We will go at a slow pace (they all have small children) and  my hope is that we will have online discussion every other week at an appointed time.

Thank you for pouring your heart into this study, Dee.

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    Thank you, Nila. I remember you do that with your daughters. Sweet.

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Day 1:  What stood out to me was ” As the Bridegroom loves the bride she flourishes. As she adores Him in return she becomes increasingly beautiful, reflecting Him as the moon reflects the sun”.

The idea that God desires intimacy with me is not new to me, but I confess that I am way too fickle…hot one day & lukewarm the next. I guess it means to me that He is the lover of my soul, He alone knows me completely, delights in me & cherishes me, even when others don’t. Also His love doesn’t fade with time, & He wants to fill all the longings of my soul.

To think that His passion, His longing & deepest love for us drove Him to the cross, is hard to wrap my head around. I just can’t understand why He loves us that much, but I praise Him for it & ask His help to receive it more & more.

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Day one-devotional (from yesterday)

-What became radioactive yesterday was: As the Bridegroom loves the bride,she flourishes.  As she adores Him in response she becomes increasingly beautiful reflecting Him as the moon reflects the sun. This brought me in awe of His initiation loving me just. as. I. am. -helped me to be more vulnerable in opening up to Him as I did on the way to work yesterday morning.

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    Love your expectancy and how truths do become radioactive to you, Rebecca.

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TUESDAY: DAY TWO OF YouVersion Devotional
4. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?
His banner over me is love-He leads me in the journey of life with love. There was a parade of the states at a nationals contest in Louisville and each state had a banner. When MO passed by, we cheered. Our representatives walked proudly and joyfully. Love, or rather Jesus, leads us with love and we can never be more thankful of who we represent.
5. When in your life have you had the most passion for the Lord? Why, do you think?
At times of awareness of my sinfulness and despite of it, sensing the love of God.
6. How have you been kissed in the last few days?
The last three weeks have been hectic and meals have been mostly “American.” LOL Last night, a colleague and I went out to dinner after we googled and found a “Chinese” restaurant and was pleasantly surprised with the fresh, light, and very tasty food. All complete with a food art presentation of a carrot flower and turnip bird. Aahhh…Lord. You know just how to kiss me by blessing me with great company and great food at Bamboo Terrace. Thank you!
 

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    Okay — what do you mean by mostly “American?” :-)  Careful, now, Bing!

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      LOL. Should I now say, a fusion of different cuisine my Filipino palate is not used to? Hahaha.

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Day two devotional
4. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?
How His kisses ignite passion in me. How His kisses can make the places of dead-ness in my heart alive-Him chiseling my stony heart. He moves first and makes my heart leap with joy.
5. When in your life have you had the most passion for the Lord? Why, do you think?
In hard seasons-hard moments which shake my clumsy heart, and I am desperate-but OH I can be desperate in His presence. I can be vulnerable and open to Him in his presence and He always rescues me-even though the pain or circumstance isn’t taken away-He is becoming more and more my joy. Yesterday in a hard moment-I hate my flesh-I asked Him to peel off this layer but please be gentle. I told him I fear him-asking him to peel off my layers for I don’t want to suffer more than I am-but he is always gentle even though the pain does increase when the sin underneath is exposed. Thankfully he doesn’t peel them all off at the same time. :)

 

I think I have more passion for Him now than I did when I was single back in the early 90’s and life wasn’t as hard and complicated as it is now.  My hope is that 10 years from now I have more passion for Him than I do now..Oh how He desires that in me. Thanks to His rescue through Dee’s studies back in 2010 He is more and more drawing me near.  He has so much more work in me to do for I am so not what I should be-yet He loves me as I am. Amazing Love how can it be?

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4. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why? 
 

I winced when I read that sometimes we just check off the list our scripture reading. Ouch, I am guilty. It’s just that sometimes (like now) I am in a busy season and in the trough of the wave. The place where God is silent 😔. Our lives with all the people in my home are very discouraging right now. We are desperately trying to help a person (my daughter’s boyfriend  be more successful in life (he said he wanted the help), and it isn’t really coming together the way we thought it would. He has many health issues and I am beginning to think he is a person with no hope at all. He pretends he cares, for our benefit, but really doesn’t. God is silent. I suppose it is time for major prayer and scripture reading to maybe glean a solution to this problem.

 
5. When in your life have you had the most passion for the Lord? Why, do you think? 
 

This time was about 5 years ago. I was here, on the blog, and learning so much! I think I felt at that time that I had a high learning curve before I get to Heaven! Maybe it was because I was diagnosed with breast cancer and figured out that I hadn’t spent my early years really learning about Christ. All I know is that I dug into the Bible like ever before and was so convicted! I couldn’t get enough; I wanted to study and study and study because I had so many questions.

 
6. How have you been kissed in the last few days?
 

I have, unexpectantly, been watching my 2 grandchildren this past week. When my kids were little I tended to wish away the time because it was hard. Although I am really busy, I am trying to enjoy the time with them; I think this is the kiss…spending this precious time with them and enjoying it. Yesterday one of them and I went to the library (his first time), had ice cream,  and then shopping together. He had a fun time and we enjoyed each other’s company.

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    Being with you is a joy, Rebecca — for I so see Him in you!

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    Laura — enjoying the time with your grandchildren when you “unexpectedly” have them is huge!

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TUESDAY: DAY TWO OF YouVersion Devotional 
4. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why? 
 

…”passionate desire is what we need most if we are to have vibrancy in our relationship with Jesus.”  We need to want Jesus.  I think there are many reasons and distractions as to why we don’t have a passion for wanting Jesus more than anything but once we understand and have tasted that his presence is better than anything we will give Him highest priority in our lives.   

In the section of the book “The Kisses of His Mouth” from  “He Calls You Beautiful”  Dee says “We need to come to our time with God with an attitude of expectancy, raising our face to His.”

God shouldn’t have to ‘steal’ kisses from us but rather we should desire those kisses and raise our face to His.

This comment from the devotional today also stood out to me.     “A kiss from the King can wake us to see glimpses of God’s restoration here and now—and create in us a desire for more.” 

There is nothing better than restoration and the refreshing it brings and longing for more.  His kisses can do that.

 
5. When in your life have you had the most passion for the Lord? Why, do you think? 
 

After times of prayer and being in the Word.  Or hearing a very good message from God’s Word. Like this past Sunday.  The messsge preached was powerful from Genesis 3 on the story of Adam and Eve and the Fall. The message was all about the brokeness in relationships and the truth that God in his magnificent grace still wants an intimate relationship with us.  And because of Jesus and the Cross we can have that.
6. How have you been kissed in the last few days?
As I have been reading “He Calls You Beautiful”

By the love and delight of grandchildren.

By that wonderful sermon on Sunday.

By the news that God has given our family a new life in a great grandchild to be born next year.

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4. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?

“we have routines but not longing”–makes me sad to read this, for I know how true it can be in my own life. There have been dry seasons where reading the Word becomes more “duty than beauty” to my heart.

 

5. When in your life have you had the most passion for the Lord? Why, do you think?

Most recently, I have felt a deeper passion for and nearness of the Lord than ever before. He has taken me down a path so “not me”, not my own nature, and has broken me at core levels, shaping me into someone I didn’t know He could make me. I have felt so incredibly thrown out of my normal “safe” and comfortable, familiar plans that I have been utterly dependent. As those close to me have offered help, all I have asked and longed for is prayer–that I would continually be filled of Him for I cannot do what He has called me to on my own. And yet, by His graciousness He has made it so very clear all of this is of Him, He has flooded me with affirmations–and they continue to flow. There is an intimacy I have never known–being so led down a path that I would not have planned or imagined for “someone like me” or “at my age”! But His voice has been so near, I can’t explain it well. Just so thankful to have heard Him. I have been so blessed by that.

 

6. How have you been kissed in the last few days?

As I spieled above, there have been so so many “kisses” on this recent journey. I had started a list on a big yellow legal pad and couldn’t keep up. Last week we met my new son’s hematologist who is a solid believer and cried as I shared the story of God’s leading us to adopt him. Then we were unexpectedly in the hospital and every nurse was a Christian, several more came by just to meet him and hear our story. The surgeon turned out to be a close friend of our pastors’ and prayed with us before surgery…God continues to show me He is NEAR.

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    Oh Lizzy — how we love hearing these stories!

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    Lizzy, so great to have you back here. Sounds like the Lord is filling you up with His goodness. x0xo

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    Lizzy-my heart just lept-what a kiss. He is NEAR!! :) :) :)

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    Lizzy,

    What life-giving words.   Thank you.

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what resonated today. The weakness we can have of lack of desire for Jesus. there are some that i wonder if their faith has ever been more than intellectual assent.  they can be more prone to get riled up about the rules being broken than about being with the King. But how glorious it is to connect with someone who also has passion for Him! As you compare notes of how He is speaking to you, or kisses as we say here, it lifts each of you up to want more.

 

When have I been most passionate for Him? I can think of specific times, but not what triggered them. Maybe when i was aware of how much I needed Him and pursued Him heavily. then He came to me and sparked my passion for Him.

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What resonated today? “When Christ does not give us what we want, we may feel like He is hiding…” This last Sun the sermon was on raising Lazurus. The pastor mentioned that according to Martha and Mary, Jesus’ timing was off. But Jesus said it was deliberate for two reasons. First was to help the level of belief among His followers, and second was for the glory of God. Perhaps when I feel God is hiding, it would be helpful to remember that His timing is perfect to raise my level of belief and that God will be glorified.

 

Where have I felt God either hiding or leaping out? I spent nearly two years in a spiritual wilderness. There were occasional oasis stops but mostly it was arid. There didn’t seem to be a place for me at church to use my spiritual gifting, my friendships were mostly long distance, and though I continued to read my Bible and pray, He was quiet. I told people that I felt that He was asking if I would stay at it until He again turned the faucet on? That it was important that I stay under the tap, ready to receive when He chose to again give. He wanted to know if I loved Him enough to wait for Him, or would I be fickle? It was at the end of that time I heard Dee speak on Idol Lies at a women’s retreat in NE and then started reading the blog. The desert has bloomed since then, and it is beautiful. Not a rain forest, but a steady renewal away from my sick and dying sin.

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I’m working on my next book — though having a houseful of guests this summer means I may not truly be able to get into it until September, yet I have a few hours each morning and covet prayers for His anointing. My God Hunt is that I see more fruit in my patience with my guests, though not my exhaustion! I know He can help me with that too for I believe that comes more from stress, which is a lack of trust, than actual physical activity.

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    Yes..praying for your next book and for trust. Dee I see His fruit in you-your patience in a few situations when I was with you where anyone else would have politely excused themselves from the conversation but you stayed, listened and loved. So Him. :-)

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    Agreed on the stress thing!

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WEDNESDAY: DAY THREE OF YouVersion Devotional and Chapter 1 of the audio version.

6. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?
 
Oh wow! How this resonates this morning. God is silent, or hiding, as you say, in my life at times. I never thought about it being because I want Him to give me things; a servant. That is tough. I think I’ve always thought that He would want me to be happy and cared for, and that’s why I would “get” the things I wanted. Hmmm, you’re now telling me that I need Him above everything else? I agree with that, but life here on earth is such a struggle at times! I sometimes don’t understand why it has to be so hard, but then again I am not getting my head chopped off like John the Baptist, or stoned to death like Stephen. I shouldn’t complain.
 
7. Share a time when God felt like a deer hiding or a dear leaping out in your life.
 

Well, I actually am in the midst of a fairly difficult situation right now. I won’t get into the messy details, but it has to do with my daughter and her boyfriend and my grandchildren. I don’t think my daughter is thinking very rationally, and I am worried for the safety of the children. God has been hiding for me and it has really made me sad. You are so right in that it seems like He doesn’t care at all! So, yesterday I decided to begin a fast and prayer vigil for the traditional 3 days or until I heard from Him within that timeframe. I listened to a podcast from Nancy DeMoss Wolglemuth, I listened to some praise music and a playlist of Christian music I had created on YouTube, and I read some scripture. It dawned on me at the end of the night (He was like a stag!!) that everything I read or heard, all the songs on Pandora, all the songs in my playlist I created 2 years ago, etc., they were all about Christ!! Specifically, about Him and His love for me. So crazy. So yes, Dee, He leaped out at me to give me a shake up and remind me that I need to “Turn my eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of Earth will look strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”  I got my answer and cried that He loves me enough to quickly provide when I cry out and need Him.

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    Oh Laura–so sorry for the struggles with your daughter, and praying for all–but OH–the beauty of your answer to #7–WOW, just in awe of how He drew you near and how you are clinging to Him in the midst of such trials. Thank you for sharing this testimony–just beautiful

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    Laura — this is hard yet so beautiful. Proud of you.

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WEDNESDAY: DAY THREE

6. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why? 
“What God asks of us when He comes to us—either initially in salvation or day by day in our lives with Him—is to trust Him enough to follow Him, wherever He leads, and to seek Him, even when He seems to be hiding.”

I am reminded from these comments that we begin our walk with Christ by putting our faith in Him for salvation and we continue our walk by daily putting our faith in Him to meet every need even when He seems to be hiding.

7. Share a time when God felt like a deer hiding or a deer leaping out in your life.
Recently when our churh building was nearly finished and we couldn’t hook up to the new water lines because it kept testing with some contaminants. We prayed for a couple of months asking God to make it test at 0% as the State requires but He seemed to be hiding. We even had a special prayer service in the building just for the water situation and nothing changed. But we set the date for our first service and on Thursday before that Sunday  all tests came back 0%. And by Friday noon we had an email from the State with their approval.  That Sunday we were in the building for our first service celebrating what God had done.  It felt like He had suddenly leaped out and made Himself known.  But I feel He was keeping our feet to the fire and asking us …”to trust Him enough to follow Him, wherever He leads, and to seek Him, even when He seems to be hiding”. 

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Yes Bev — I think it is the Living Bible that says “Just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust Him for each day’s problems.”

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7. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why? 
 

Sick with love; what imagery. I have been been watching a Netflix series on the Tudors. Pretty raunchy at times and the lack of value of human life back then is difficult to see. I have to watch in bits. However, Henry the king (8th?) is madly in love with a woman and married to Catherine of Spain. He can’t get a divorce and is just this; sick with love. He will do anything for her. Would I do anything for my king? Apparently not, because as Dee says in today’s devotional, I eat when I know I shouldn’t, I raise my voice at my family, and can be judgemental at times.

 
8. Make John Donne’s poem a prayer for yourself — he prays God will “divorce” him from the enemy and“ravish” him so that he might be free. 
 

My dearest Lord, you know my enemies. Thank You for protection from them. Help me relieve myself from them when they rear their ugly heads. Keep me strong and remind me of the myrrh you left on the door handle. In Your most loving name. Amen.

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    Beautiful prayer Laura.

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6. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?
That God hides yet surprises. I thought of Sadie on the path-desiring to lead and then bam the deer appears and she is startled and runs. SO cute, yet so beautiful how God draws us closer in.

 

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    :-)  Rebecca — I know you experience this over and over with your boys. God hiding and appearing!

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      Oh yes! :)

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7.  What resonates. ‘Unless God comes to me, I will never be free’  Just as I can’t turn on the faucet of His revelation to me, I can’t free myself from my idols on my own effort. ‘Learn what it means to be ravished by God’. This is a time when I am spiritually impoverished. I turn to Him and seek Him, but I can’t make Him ravish me with His love. It is a time when I long for women, here in Sioux Falls, that I could share this journey with, but it seems like God doesn’t want that for me right now. I want to want Him so much that food has no appeal to me. That all I want to do is what pleases Him. That His love and joy come splashing out on everyone I come in contact with. So I continue to ask and to wait.

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    Oh Mary — how you sound like Psalm 42. I pray with you — for your hunger is so what He wants!

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THURSDAY: DAY FOUR 
7. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why? 
“—unless God comes to me, I will never be free, for heart idols cannot be removed but only replaced.”

The reality of the fact that when I first wake up in the morning my mind immediately goes to other things.  Idols in my life that take over my thoughts and detract me from desiring Jesus first.  Even this morning I soon realized I needed to bring God’s Word into my heart and mind  to break ungodly ties and replace the idols in my heart and let Him ravish me.  I recalled a favorite verse Psalm 143:8  “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” 

These 2 questions at the end of the devotional this morning also stood out to me. (Why can we not break our sin habits by ourselves? What does a desire for God have to do with sacrifice?)

First I think in this flesh we are powerless and broken by the Fall of man.  But in our soul and spirit we are given power from the Lord Himself as we desire Him first and He comes to us.  Second our desire has to be for Him and nothing and no one else. We have to sacrifice all other loves for Him and Him alone.  He is our example in that He sacrificed all for us so we could be set free!

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Thank you Dee for sharing your heart & this book with us! I just listened to the 1st chapter of audio book. It is wonderful & soul stirring. I have just tried to catch up on the last few days so this will be a bit of a jumble.

“We need to come to our time with God with an attitude of expectancy, turning our face to Him”. “Have you ever felt a kiss from God?” I remembered a beautiful surprise kiss from God a couple of years ago. I asked Him to show His love for me in a tangible way, in my love language, which is physical touch. Seeing as He made me this way, I thought it wouldn’t be asking too much, but He completely surprised me…like a stag jumping out! I was cooking in the kitchen with screen door open, & I heard a flock of geese passing low overhead. I ran out the door just as they were passing very low & heard the whoosh whoosh of their wings. It felt like they were brushing against my cheek & I gasped with delight. At the same time I heard “butterfly kisses” in my mind! I cried & laughed at the same time, cause my kids & I used to give eachother butterfly kisses with our eyelashes on the cheek, & I had completely forgotten! I felt ravished with love & kissed by my King & filled with delight & joy. What a wonderful intimate God  :)

“Do you want to be set free? Then learn what it means to be ravished by God”.

This morning on my day off, I headed to the beach (Lake Michigan northern suburbs of Chicago). The forecast was for rain but I chanced it. The Lord blessed me with a sunny morning, heart shaped stones on the sand, 74 degree water to swim in, & the rain came after I got home! I was able to read a devotional book at beach & was totally refreshed…Praise Him!

I have been dry lately & He stirred my desire for Him again today. I pray that He keeps me tied to Himself with cords of love. That I will start each day “with a heart of gratitude & expectation to experience His Presence”.   :)I think He gives us the picture of Himself as Bridegroom coming for His bride, cause that is the most intimate picture we have. It shows His covenant Love, desire for us, that He will be our Provider, Lover & Protector.

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7. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?

“Like the maiden in the Song, the refugees are sick with love as they wait for that beautiful day. Their desire for God is the greatest passion of their lives.”

“Sick” with love…this longing for more of Him-how I want that to grow in me. Unless I let go of whatever idol or sin I am holding onto and let Him continue to ravish me-untie me- my desire for Him will grow dim.   Jesus’ longing for God left un-quenched on the cross so that my longing could be quenched. His thirst parched and unfulfilled so that I would never be thirsty again. His Joy emptied so that He could be my joy in full. Jesus untied from God so that He could tie me to God. Jesus broken so He could break me and set me free into the fullest of joy nothing on earth can fill-only HIM. Jesus your name, the sweetest name I know. Jesus.

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    How beautiful and poetic!  Thank you!

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    So beautifully wtitten. All praise to Him!

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What resonates. “Cooperate with God’s process by seeing how deeply loved we are by the One who sees us naked, with every blemish, but loves us to the sky”. Yes, to cooperate with Him in His timing for ravishing, for cleansing, for filling. And use each kiss, each encouragement as an opportunity to believe more deeply and to praise more loudly.

Any success with idols? For the most part I’ve done better in consistent discipline, but the siren call is never far away.

 

what does desire for God have to do with sacrifice? David said that it wasn’t a sacrifice if it didn’t cost him something. If I am not willing for my desire for God to cost me something, it isn’t very real. For me, that means choosing His still small voice of patience over impatience. Or choosing to shift my attention away from food and onto Bible verses. To praise instead of complain. To preach gospel to myself instead of wallowing in depression. I desire to desire Him more, more than lesser things and more in quantity.

 

Kisses. We had a table of ten last night, and as we bowed to ask a blessing, I could feel His gift to me. He knows how much I enjoy having the table full!

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8. Make John Donne’s poem a prayer for yourself — he prays God will “divorce” him from the enemy and“ravish” him so that he might be free. 

Jesus I tremble..I want you to divorce me from the enemy and my sin entangling me..yet that scares me! Help me in my unbelief in this dark season! Yet even in my unbelief you have kissed me this morning with your sacrifice for me-what love!..help me to sacrifice for you. Reveal to me if I do truly desire you or not in this season for I don’t know my heart.. And bend and break me Lord with your desire for me..and soften my heart to bend to you. Worry is the opposite of trusting you and I have been worrying lately about these few situations you know so well. I am so sorry. I love it when you ravish me with your love. I want to taste more of you-sense your presence for it seems so dim lately. I need your love to burn down deep-burn this dross in my heart and bring me closer to you!

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    Amen ~

    (thank you, Rebecca)

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    Beautiful Rebecca

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So God reminded me of this song this morning. How this is becoming the song of my heart.  Thought I would share. :)

Even Unto Death by Audrey Assad
Jesus
The very thought of You
It fills my heart with love
Jesus
You burn like wildfire
And I am overcome
Lover of my soul
Even unto death
With my every breath I will love You
Lover of my soul
Even unto death
With my every breath I will love You
Jesus
You are my only hope
And You, my prize shall be
Jesus
You are my glory now
And in eternity

In my darkest hour
In humiliation
I will wait for You
I am not forsaken
Oh, I lose my life
Oh, my breath be taken
I will wait for You
I am not forsaken
One thing I desire
To see You in Your beauty
You are my delight
Yeah, You are my only
You have sacrificed
Oh, Your love is all consuming
You are my delight
Yeah, You are my glory
Oh, You are my glory
Oh, You are my glory
Yeah
You’re the lover of my soul
Even unto death
With my every breath I will love You
You’re the lover of my soul
Even unto death
With my every breath I will love You
I will love You
Even unto death, I will love You
With my every breath I will love You
Jesus
The very thought of You
Jesus
The very thought of You
 

Songwriters: Audrey Assad / Matt Maher

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Friday: DAY FIVE 
7. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why? 
 

The comment “Will we long to meet Him, knowing He wants to see our faces and hear our voices?”

I realized again how my old insecurities keep me from believing He really desires that. To see my face and hear my voice. I truly long for Him but I have a hard time remembering that He longs for me as well.  My old idol of doubt lingers at the door wanting to steal “the joy and sense of God’s sweet presence that comes with obedience.” Oh how I thank God for this study and all the sweet reminders of my God’s undying love for me.
9. What does a desire for God have to do with sacrifice? 
God would require that  I sacrifice my desires to him because He has to be my ultimate desire.  As a jealous Lover in the perfect sense nothing else can have place before Him. I think of the old old hymn that asks “Is your all on the alter of sacrifice laid? Your heart does the Spirit control?”.

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7. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?

 

Choosing Christ above my idols each day….He is unseen. I have to remind myself to keep focused; it’s so easy to think of what I can see and touch more than Him. I am sorry Lord. I shouldn’t be this way.

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Oh my goodness–I don’t think I’ll get a chance to write out thoughts, but today’s devotional–OH. Just spoke right to my heart–EVERY line!

“In order for us to become one with the Lord, leaving and cleaving must be something we choose daily….All through the day we have choices to leave our idols with their siren calls and choose to cleave to Jesus. Nothing is exempt… Will we leave our old sinful responses that have failed us so many times and instead let Jesus lead the dance?…”

I feel challenged in new ways lately–feeling really old for a toddler and the great patience required! But I will cling to the truth, lay aside wanting my peace, my rest, any sleep!..and trust in Him alone to strengthen, to hold me up…and He is faithful, the truest faithful Husband. How loved we are–beyond imagination, beyond measure…this Love…life-giving breath to my weary bones

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    So true for your life right now Lizzy! Praying for your strength. You have done a great good thing!

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“Will we long to meet Him, knowing He wants to see our faces & hear our voices?”

Yes Bev, I agree that it is hard to actually take in that Jesus longs to see & hear me! Yet, I know He delights in us, in me. I think of when my babies were born. I “knew” them & felt that intimate bond with them before they were born, but I couldn’t wait to see them & hold them & lock eyes with them!! Maybe that’s a bit how the Lord feels about us?

My favorite song relating to Song of Songs is by Martin Smith. Not sure of the title, but it says “Over the mountains, over the sea, here You come running….my Lover to me. All thro the valleys, thro the darkest night; here You come running to hold me till it’s light”.  :)

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    Jenny, Good analogy of wanting to see our babies.

    I love that song as well. It is a resource Dee uses.  I listened to it yesterday. (-:

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    Great analogy with babies, Jenny.

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8. Make a conscious effort today to say no to your idols, whatever they are, and to run to Jesus. Report back anytime today on any success!
Today when my thoughts have begun to wander down paths of vain imaginations I ran to a particular scripture bringing into captivity every thought.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 KJV
 
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) [5] Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

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9. What does a desire for God have to do with sacrifice?

 

We must give up things we “love;” our idols. Comforts (things that make us feel good), control of situations, power over others, and approval of others (Tim Keller). By doing this, we sacrifice, but OH how wonderful He makes our lives!

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A very moving God hunt yesterday for me was standing in a ginormous room at the V & A Museum in London surrounded by the largest paintings I have ever seen (floor to ceiling), most donated by Queen Elizabeth, and soaking in the adventures of Peter and Paul through the hands and eyes of the brilliant artist, Raphael! Oh how sweet it was; Jesus and His apostles so many years before Raphael, and now to me in 2017. He and His story span the age of time.

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    How wonderful you are there!

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7. What resonates with you from this day’s devotional or Scripture passage and why?

He had me at the first paragraph. This morning upon awakening is He my thought-do I have a heart of gratitude and an expectancy to experience God’s presence? Do I long to meet with Him, knowing He wants to see my face and hear my voice?-this became radioactive. 

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    :-)

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