Victorious: A word to the Church for the days we are in

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On Sunday, August 20th, the Lord impressed this word on my heart and I shared it with our congregation.

I, the Lord your God, am a consuming fire. I am the God who makes days, times and seasons. And your times are in my hands.  The times of all creation are in My hands.  Make ready your hearts.  Make ready your homes. Fill your lamps with oil, says the Lord. Fill your lamps with oil for yourself, for your families, for your neighbors, for those I am calling. There is abundant supply. Access the abundant supply. Not just enough for you, says the Lord, but enough to give away, enough to draw the nations. My heart, My heart is crying out for the lost and you are the answer. You are the healing. Your hands are my hands, says the Lord.  Our feet are My feet. Where you go, I go. I send you, says the Lord, not in your own strength, but in My strength. You are not as you appear. You are Jesus on this earth and nothing, nothing can stand against My church.  You go now. You go now in the strength of My Spirit and nothing can withstand you, says the Lord.  There is no power in hell that can stand against you for all has been defeated and you are in Christ.  You are Mine. And I have made you for this day, I have made you for this time. You are where you are because I have placed you here. And there are those you will touch, there are those you will speak to that you have been destined to minister to. You are My children and you have been marked with the seal of My Holy Spirit – My Holy Spirit. My Holy, Holy Spirit lives in you. You are My vessel. You are pure. You are refined. You are sanctified.  You are marked with the blood of the Lamb and nothing will stop this mighty moving force that is My church, says the Lord.

Now you:

  • Do you believe that these are the last days as referred to by Paul in 2 Timothy?
  • Do you know that you are the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth today?
  • Do you know that God has placed you in the family, the job, the church and the neighborhood where you are so that you will be His representative on this earth? If we are His body, what would Jesus do for your family, your friends and your colleagues if He were here in the flesh? What problems would He solve, what healing would He bring and what truth would He convey?

Even though I was the one who delivered it, this word is challenging me in considerable ways.  When the Lord says, ‘Get ready’, we better take note and get ready. When he tells us that we are able to accomplish our assignment and that nothing will be able to stop us, we need to quit making excuses.  I am challenged and taking this to prayer.  I am asking the Lord to help me make changes and evaluate my life properly.  This life is not a dress rehearsal.  We have one shot on this ball of water and dirt and I personally don’t want to abuse the privilege of carrying the presence of Jesus in my mortal body.  I want to represent the Father and Jesus well and be His hands and feet on this earth.  I believe you do, too. Let’s pray.

Father, we can do nothing without you, that we know. But we forget is that WITH You, we can do mighty things.  You are waiting for us to get up and do those mighty things and live out the truth that it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us.  Let us grow in devotion, in passion and in boldness to bring your goodness into this lost and dark world.  You have prepared good works for us to walk in.  Help us to see what to do and be obedient to do it. Help us to be relentless in cleaning the junk out of our hearts and minds so that your Presence can flow through a pure vessel.  You are good and patient and we thank you for your mercies that are new every morning! Amen.

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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