The Bride of Christ: What does this have to do with you? (Part 3 of 3)

Under the ChuppahA number of years ago, I was asked to speak at a Retreat and the theme was “Preparing the Bride”.  Below is part of the message I shared. It came back to my heart recently and I feel that it’s a current word for us.  This is the final part of the message. 

To recap, I have been discussing the Lord’s pursuit, provision and passion for His bride as seen in the Jewish wedding ceremony.  Now why is that important for us to know? How does this understanding play a role in preparing ourselves as the Bride of Christ?

Let me unpack that this way: If we are not completely convinced about the pursuit, the provision and the passion of God for us, we will never have the faith to stand up in our authority in the heavenly places.  Our identity needs to be settled now if we are to walk out the destiny that God has purchased for us. But what I’ve seen and experienced is that we’ve had it all backwards.  We’ve had the mindset that we are pursuing God, trying to convince Him that we’re worthy of His love – even though we don’t usually feel like we are. Then when we blow it, as we are bound to do, we run and hide from the Lord. But we need to realize that He’s been pursuing us all this time.  His passion for you came before you.  Before you drew a breath, He decided to provide for you and pursue you until your heart was won over.

If we are not completely convinced regarding the amazing depths or love and provision that Jesus has given to us, we will question Him every time hardship comes, every time we can’t see the end from the beginning and every time we screw up.  We will vacillate between faith and fear depending on every wind that blows in our lives.  Like the bride of old, we can’t see our Groom; so we must be solidly convinced that He loves us with an unshakable love that He has provided for us even when we have done nothing deserving of such goodness.

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The Bride of Christ: What does this have to do with you? (Part 2 of 3)

Under the ChuppahA number of years ago, I was asked to speak at a Retreat and the theme was “Preparing the Bride”.  Below is part of the message I shared. It came back to my heart recently and I feel that it’s a current word for us.

Now I want to tell you the some of the steps in the Jewish wedding ceremony and tie it all together with this story from Genesis and your story.

To begin with, traditional Jewish marriage literature refers to the ceremony not as a “wedding” or “marriage” but as “Kiddushin”, which translated means, “sanctification” or “dedication”.

In the words of Rabbi Mordechai Becher, who wrote the article I read, “Sanctification” indicates that what is happening is not just a social arrangement and contractual agreement, but a spiritual bonding and the fulfillment of a ‘mitzvah’, a Divine precept. ‘Dedication’ indicates that the couple now have an exclusive relationship that involves total dedication of the bride and groom to each other.”

The Jewish Wedding Ceremony by Rabbi Mordechai Becher

There are eight steps in the wedding ceremony, but I’ll only be covering 3 of them in my message. In Jewish tradition, the wedding ceremony actually starts at the Matchmaking called the ‘shidduch’. How many of you have seen the movie or the play “Fiddler on the Roof”? Does the song, “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…” ring a bell? Well, unlike the horrors of matchmaking portrayed in Fiddler, the matchmaking was usually done by the parents or close friends of the family, people who knew the couple and felt that they would be good together.

Would you like to have your marriage arranged for you?  If you’re already married, how much input did you let your parents have in your decision on who to marry?

Do you remember how in our story from Genesis 24, Abraham sent his most trusted servant to be a matchmaker for Isaac? Well, our Heavenly Father has also sent His most trusted Helper to be a matchmaker for his Son.  The helper’s name is the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit’s job is to reveal to the bride how wonderful the Son is, what a great provider He will be, how all the wealth of the Father’s possession is His, how tender and kind He is, how strong He is, and how safe you will be in His home.  The Father wants only the best for His Son.

Have you responded with willingness to follow like Rebekah did?  Have you been willing to follow and trust in a man you have never seen but only heard about? If so, you will not be disappointed!

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The Bride of Christ: What does this have to do with you? (Part 1 of 3)

Under the ChuppahA number of years ago, I was asked to speak at a Retreat and the theme was “Preparing the Bride”.  Below is part of the message I shared. It came back to my heart recently and I feel that it’s a current word for us. 

When I was asked to speak for the retreat, I began by thinking about the words “Bride” and “Prepare”. I went online and tried to research how brides in other cultures prepare themselves for their wedding rituals to get some ideas.  But all that I came up were advertisements for “How to have your wedding in the Riviera” and “How to afford a lavish wedding that your guests will remember forever” – as if anyone is going to remember your wedding as long as you will! I mean, I’ve been to some amazing weddings, and I certainly don’t remember every detail that I know the bride planned for months!

But the fact that I was haphazardly searching the web worked right into God’s plan as I stumbled upon the information that completely changed my view of myself as the Bride of Christ. I began to wonder what the Jewish wedding ceremony was like and as I Googled it, I discovered YouTube videos and articles by Orthodox rabbis outlining the ancient Orthodox Jewish wedding ceremony.  I have to tell you, I just sat there and cried as scripture after scripture flooded my head and I began to see my God and my Bridegroom in a whole new way.  I was in awe when I realized that this beautiful ceremony that is over three thousand years old is a type and a shadow of the Lord’s passionate love for His Bride that began before the world was formed.

Do you know that Jesus is crazy about you? Do you really believe that He is so taken with you that He has made dramatic promises to care for you and provide for you, and do everything He can to nurture your love? And do you realize that your firm grasp on your identity as the Bride of Christ will either make or break your destiny? I am believing that when my message is complete, you are going to have a whole new perspective on Jesus as your perfect Bridegroom – whether you’re a man or a woman!

When you understand the pursuit, the provision and the passion of God for you as seen through the Jewish wedding ceremony, you are going to rise up in your identity as his Bride with authority and confidence as never before.

But before I tell you about the Orthodox Jewish wedding ceremony, I have a story to share with you. You can find it in the book of Genesis chapter 24. The story is long, so I’m going to paraphrase it.  But I suggest that you look it up and read through it yourselves tonight before you go to bed – and read it with new eyes. It is the story of how Abraham found a wife for his son, Isaac.

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