by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
Keynote Speaker, CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries
A Bride Prepared
In the last few months, several people I know have had weddings: A staff, a former co-worker, and two nephews. As I read this verse about the wife making herself ready, I thought about all the months of planning the brides did to create their very special, magical moments for their wedding day. The bride chooses a dress, venue, flowers, cake, and caters. She chooses her maid of honor and bridesmaids. She chooses the music for the wedding service and the reception.
On the day of her wedding she sits for hours to get her hair done, carefully puts on her make up or hires someone to do it for this special day. She puts on her dress and veil. Slips on her shoes. She takes the arm of her father or maybe an older brother or someone who has been a father-figure in her life and starts down the aisle towards her waiting groom to join her life with his.
No bride expecting a full traditional style wedding shows up without any preparations.
The Groom and the Bride
Throughout the Bible, Jesus is often referred to as the groom with His church being his bride. From the moment that Jesus ascended into heaven until the moment he returns for His bride, He has been making preparations to receive His bride. In John 14:2, as Jesus was assuring His disciples and telling them that He would be leaving them to return to His father he said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” He’s getting ready for His bride.
However, most brides and grooms choose a date and time for their wedding. But we, the Church and Bride of Christ, do not know when Jesus will come again. In fact, Jesus does not even know himself. He sits on the edge of his throne waiting for His Father to say, “Now is the time. Go get your Bride.” When that moments comes, what is commonly called the Rapture, the Bride of Christ – all Christians both dead and alive – will be gone from earth in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52). In that extremely brief period of time, we will be changed from earthly bodies to glorified bodies. Since we do not know the date or time of our Groom’s arrival, we should be constantly ready for Him.
The Groom never promised an easy life for His Bride
Persecution and tribulation
While planning for a wedding can be exciting, it is also busy and stressful. As the bride of Christ prepares for her groom, it’s important to remember that Jesus never promised an easy life. In fact, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Jesus said in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation.”
We can also expect times of chastisement (Hebrews 12:5-11). As Christians, God is our Heavenly Father and because of his great love for us, he will bring chastisement when we stray away from Him – not out of anger, but to bring us back to Him and restore us to fellowship with Him.
Wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes
Jesus told us in Matthew 24:6-7, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” And in Luke 21:11, Jesus said, “And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.”
Grief beyond comprehension
And sometimes, things happen in this world that we simply cannot understand. I remember the morning my sweet sister-in-law called us to say that our niece’s two-month old son died in his sleep. Our tiny nephew was born 5 weeks premature and he was a fighter. He spent 12 days in the hospital before coming home. But he was doing great. All was well. And then He slipped away – into the arms of Jesus. They buried his tiny body in a tiny casket and still grieve his loss today.
There is no way to understand such a loss. We live in a broken world. When God created the world, it was perfect. But with the sin of Adam and Eve, God’s perfect world became broken and sinful. As a result, death arrived on the scene. But the loss of one so tiny and young is beyond our comprehension.
The minister that spoke at Baby Ben’s funeral shared two scriptures: the first was Deuteronomy 29:29 where Moses said that the secret things belong to the Lord. We can’t understand why some things happen, but we must trust these things to God. The other scripture the minister shared was about the death of David and Bathsheba’s infant son. David said in 2 Samuel 12:23, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” Baby Ben’s family continues to greatly miss him, weep for him, and mourn his loss. We will not see him in this life again, but we know that at the appointed time we will go to him and be with him in eternity. Losing Baby Ben is not a “Goodbye”…it’s “I’ll see you later.”
Our Hope is in the Groom
We all know that life here on earth is not easy. But we have hope and peace when we place our faith in Jesus, believing in His free gift of eternal life. Every single one of us will experience death, unless we experience the rapture. But for the Bride of Christ, death is just the door that takes us to the Groom, the Lamb of God, our Redeemer and Savior.
We can know, without any doubt, that we will see Baby Ben later because of Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection that paid the price for our sins so that Jesus could offer us the free gift of eternal life. If we accept that gift by faith, then we become the bride of Christ and He is getting ready to bring His bride home.
Jesus told us in John 14:1-7, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.”
Our groom is getting ready and He is preparing a place for us!
Preparing for the marriage of the Lamb
What are we, the bride of Christ, doing to prepare for the marriage of the Lamb? Are we prepared to take our place beside Him? Have we yielded and surrendered to God so that we are ready when it is time? Are we walking by faith, obediently living for Him? Are we telling others about Him so that we bring them with us to the marriage feast? And are we daily reading His Word and developing a relationship with Him? We don’t often hear of arranged marriages anymore. Could you imagine marrying someone that you met once at the altar of a church but never saw again? We get to know the groom as we study God’s Word, attend church, worship with other believers, and through prayer. How well do you know the groom?
What are you doing to prepare for the marriage of the Lamb? The groom is coming!
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Tee of the Week: Giants
From the song, “Confidence” by Sanctus Reel. As we start a new year, what giants are you facing? What big thing is God asking you to do? Do you need faith like Daniel in the lion’s den? Hope like Moses in the wilderness? A heart like David? Do you need God to be your defense? If you have giants, you can face them with confidence because God is God of the impossibles.
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce
What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:
- Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
- Conversation Starters.
- Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
- Romance Builders.
- Relationship Builders.
- Personal reflections.
- Date ideas.
- Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.
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