Reflections and Poetry

Rising above Disillusionment

“And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17)

Preparing the Bride means followers of Jesus all, as the bride of Christ, are to grow in maturity and to be ready for his return. This includes rising above disappointments and even betrayals that we may experience from others.

People often disappoint us. Even best friends, close family members, colleagues with whom we’ve shared secret concerns — anyone can betray us and life is full of shocks, let downs and discouragements. That is not a surprise but how we respond makes us mature or makes us bitter.

Going beyond forgiveness

When someone lets us down, how can we respond in a way that places us above the disappointment? Do we forgive or do we obsess about the betrayal? We can be offended, resentful, bitter, depressed or angry. Or we can rise above.

Forgiveness is important but along with that, profoundly stronger than the offence, is to recognise we understand more, know more, are superior to any offence caused us. And when we sit above it, we realise we have reached a level of maturity and strength no set-back can damage. We have more wisdom than the offender, and nothing can damage that inner confidence, resilience and strength that we have acquired through our walk with GOD.

This is profound. For us. And for the offender. Whether the hurt was caused deliberately or whether it was an oversight doesn’t matter to us. We move on. We are free and beyond the circumstance. We are strong, resilient and liberated from the offence and from the circumstances that resulted.

“I rejoice in all circumstances” Paul of Tarsus writes. Beaten, battered, falsely accused, imprisoned — none of this really mattered to Paul. I suspect he knew, not only that GOD was sovereign: all-knowing and all-seeing and all-powerful, but also that freedom comes from our attitude to our circumstances. Rising above sentiments that entrap us in negativity, moving on from disappointment, are not just warm fuzzy sentiments of love and forgiveness toward others who may have wronged us; empowerment is fostered within us which moves us forward, above and beyond what has happened to us, and into the realm of maturity and refinement that cannot be shattered.

“He who overcomes….” Jesus says repeatedly in Revelations. We can choose to be Overcomers. Such choices will be key to our development, our effectiveness and ultimately, to our success in whatever business or employment or experience we face.

Will you allow GOD to elevate you through your painful experiences? Pain brings gain when we overcome as a result. If we want human intimacy or crave justice, we can be held back. But when we yearn for GOD’s supremacy in our lives and desire His victory, we overcome. As we meditate on the Word of GOD, we are built up. Scriptures such as “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” and “Whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely…. Think on these things” (Philippians 4) will carry us through dark times. Dark times will come but how we deal with them can make us strong Overcomers.

Hallelujah, Yeshua Jesus has made a way for us in all things. He is our Saviour, our Messiah, not only in our way to heaven, but in our walk on earth as well.

Examining Biblical Scripture Watchman on Alert BLOG

The Bride of Christ

Who is the Bride of Christ and where does that phrase come from?

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

Matthew 25 begins,

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.”

“Afterward the other virgins came along also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

The bridegroom is Jesus, the virgins are brides; but what about men who follow Jesus? Although we are in an age of increased liberalities in society and some are taking those liberalities and applying them to the Gospel, am I advocating marriage between men? Nope. Nor am I proposing women take a  man’s role as groom so that men become brides. Well then, this bridegroom/bride analogy leads us, I think, to a reasonable question: How are men to relate the the bride analogy? Is it important?

The term “Bride of Christ” is a phrase that does not actually appear in the Bible. It suggests that the Church (ie the followers of Jesus) is the bride, since Jesus is the bridegroom, and this supports the Matthew 25 scripture above. The beauty, grace, and surrender of the bride offers a clear relational context to the bridegroom who is the faithful love, friend, protector of his bride. But is it masculine? Doesn’t seem so to me. So I wonder, do men have a problem relating to it?

Some phrases we adopt are not necessarily Biblical; an easy way to avoid assumptions and misdirections is to look up phrases we are keen on to see where they appear — if they appear — in scripture. In the case of the marriage analogy, I raise the question of masculinity because as we walk in the Spirit, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). In other words, gender doesn’t matter to GOD!

Finally, as an afterthought and in the desire to remove human assumption, it is possible that the virgins are a collection of people, both men and women, when Jesus refers to the virgins: innocents. For Jesus does not call these people brides — we have done that. He merely refers to the bridegroom who is coming and the virgins who are waiting. We have filled in the rest. Note however, Revelation 22:17 does seem to refer to the Church as a bride, and so this afterthought is most likely just a diversion.

The Bride is to prepare… for what?

To introduce this concept of “Preparing the Bride” and how I’ve come to the conclusion the emphasis in this Blog needs to shift in that direction, you might like to start here:

and then come back to this post.

This blog is for men and for women who seek to grow, to learn, to discover more about ourselves, our faith and our Jesus. Time does seem to be growing short and so I believe it is time I gear what I write to preparing myself and preparing others for Jesus’ inevitable return.

What do we need to prepare?

  1. total surrender to the Holy Spirit and the Word of GOD
  2. the oil of the Holy Spirit
  3. readiness for where GOD wants our attention and focus
  4. fellowship to help each other as we all prepare
  5. alertness to the truth and a willingness to lay down our assumptions about the Gospel and the Word of GOD.

The Remnant

As we live in the End Times, not knowing when Jesus’ return will be yet living as though it is tomorrow, we are the remnant, the ones who are sold out for Jesus. To walk in the Spirit, without compromise, without fear, without fleshly desires, is our goal. We pray, we praise, we trust GOD.

Come Lord Jesus, come.