This will be a short post because I encourage you to search this out of scripture. Feel free to post your findings or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you ever think of this? We are taught many things from our Bible teachers and one of those teachings is the Bride of Christ. We have been told the church is the bride of Christ and that is pictured in Ephesians 5. And yes, I see the correlation –
Ephesians 5:21-32 KJV “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
Clearly we see a relationship between Christ and the church. But did you ever ask or wonder – if the church is the bride of Christ, why doesn’t Paul, the apostle to the church, ever mention the church is the bride of Christ? Paul tells us of a great mystery of Christ and the church but Paul does not call the church the bride of Christ.
We know from scripture God the Father calls Israel his wife and he also gives her a divorce.
Isaiah 50:1 KJV “Thus saith the Lord , Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.”
Jeremiah 3:8 KJV “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.”
So when we think of Jesus and the bride of Christ, we have been taught the church is the bride, right? We have been taught the Father married Israel and the Son, Jesus, marries the church.
When we study words like bridegroom and bride and look at wedding we find the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 22:1-14 and Matthew 25:1-13 but do you notice how both of those texts start? Jesus likens them to the kingdom of heaven. And we know the kingdom of heaven is the literal reign of Jesus on earth unlike the kingdom of God which is inside all believers.
And it is very interesting that Paul never mentions the church as the bride of Christ. So when we investigate the bride we see new Jerusalem is prepared as a bride in Revelation 21:1,2. And if you carefully read the whole chapter, Revelation 21, you see in verse 9 an angel tells John, come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
Revelation 21:9 KJV “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
Then read what the angel shows him in verses 10-27.
If the Father married Israel the nation, could it be the Son marries Jerusalem, the city of God? Is the bride New Jerusalem populated with Revelation 21:27 KJV “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Interesting study. So what is Paul talking about in Ephesians 5:32 KJV
” This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
Until next time.
When you think of Job, what do you think of? For years I thought of all the troubles Job had. But recently, the Lord has shown me to consider the bigger picture. For example, what do you know about Job’s three friends? And what kind of advice did Job’s three friends give him?
When we go through trials and tribulations of life, we often discuss them with family or friends looking for answers. And yes, we do pray and talk them over with the Lord first. But we also know there is much wisdom in much counsel as scripture teaches us.
The first attack on Job contained four attacks: 2 related to thieves stealing from Job, 1 was from fire and 1 from wind. If we were to relate the attacks to our time in the 21st century we might see the following :
1 – Thieves stole his oxen and asses. Scripture tells us who the thieves were, Sabeans, who were descendents of Ham, Noah’s son. These Sabeans stole from Job and killed his servants.
Oxen and asses worked for Job, so we can look at this first attack as an attack on your work, your job, your career.
2 – Then fire from God is fallen from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, consumed them. Because sheep were used in an offering to the Lord as well as food, does this attack represent our worship?
3 – Then the Chaldeans made out three bands and fell on the camels and stole them and killed the servants. Camels were a means of transportation so Job lost his means of transportation.
4 – This one was a great wind from the wilderness and smote the house his children were in and killed all his children. This we might say was like a tornado destroying a house and everyone in the house.
So we see two of the four attacks were related to thieves, one from fire and one from wind. We also know it was Satan bringing these attacks from Job chapter one.
We read where Job’s three friends come to him and counsel him. So let’s look at this counsel. The three friends were Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Now scripture tells us who these three are specifically and if we trace who they are, we can find out more about them. For instance, Eliphaz was a Temanite. Why would God tell us that?
Job 4:1 KJV “Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,”
Temanites were from Teman, the grandson of Esau. They settled with the Edomites, those from Edom. Paul tells us in Romans 9, God hated Esau.
Romans 9:13 KJV “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
All I am saying is God tells us where these three friends are from and we can learn more about the three friends by learning where they are from. Why mention this? Because of the counsel they gave Job. We can compare to the counsel we receive.
You see, Eliphaz’s counsel was focused on experience. He argued to Job based on experience. People do that today. They tell of their experience and think God works the same way all the time. But like Eliphaz, people don’t see if it is Satan attacking because they are basing the attacks on their own experiences.
The second friend was Bildad, the Shuhite. Bildad argued from tradition. He was using traditions and called Job a hypocrite. Job 8:13 KJV “So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish:”
That would be like saying today – our traditions show us God does not attack his people like this so you must be a hypocrite by saying one thing to us but doing something different. Today, that would be like people telling you that you speak one thing but I see God punishing you and our tradition tells us God wouldn’t punish you if you were doing what you say.
And the third friend Zophar was a Naamathite and he argues to Job from legalism. Job 11:11-15 KJV “For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it ?
 For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s colt.
 If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;
 If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.
 For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:”
Zophar was telling Job, you must have sin in your life and that is why these things have happened to you.
Later we read a fourth man comes to speak whose name is Elihu who also gave Job counsel. But what happens after all the tests, after all the attacks?
Job 38:1-2 KJV “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?”
The Lord tells Job the counsel of his friends was not true regarding the attacks on Job. Sometimes, well meaning family and friends will tell you that you are sick, or poor, or can’t find a job because:
Tradition teaches God does punish believers. Or, experience tells them God does this when certain things in your life do not please God. Or, from legalism, you must have done something wrong or have sin in your life.
Friends, God punished sin at the cross. All punishment went on to Jesus. If you are in Christ you are righteous in God’s eyes and if you are being attacked, there is a very good chance it is Satan trying to get you to quit on God. Satan trying to steal from you or Satan trying to destroy your testimony.
God is not our problem, he is our answer. Until next time.
Is Malachi revisited? Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. Malachi was a prophet of God and Malachi’s name means messenger of God.
Malachi was directing the people to give serious attention to their spiritual problems concerning the corruption of priests, the neglect of God’s temple and personal sins at home. He ends his book with a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah and his forerunner. Today, we know this forerunner was John the Baptist. We also know Jesus is the Messiah from Isaiah 53 and many other Old Testament verses plus New Testament verses.
The theme of the book of Malachi is the people were put into captivity because of their sin and now they were doing the same things. Divorce was common, people were selfish, the temple was being neglected and there was general spiritual decline. Malachi blames the religious leaders because they, of all people, should know what God requires. Sounds like 450-425 BC is similar to 2017.
If we outlined Malachi we would see:
~ God’s love for Israel and Israel’s shame in chapters 1:1 – 2:9
~ Israel’s sins denounced in 2:10-17
~ Future judgement is coming in 3:1-6
~ The neglected tithe in 3:7-18
~ The coming of Jesus Christ 4:1-6
People think God is all love. And yes, God is love but God also gets angry. Remember, God created man in his image after his likeness as Genesis 1 teaches us. But look what God says about Edom.
Malachi 1:1-5 KJV “The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
 I have loved you, saith the Lord . Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord : yet I loved Jacob,
 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever.
 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel.”
Who is Edom? Bill Salus and Prophecy in the News have mapped the names with current maps. Below is their map.
The Lord also tells priests in Malachi 2:1-2 KJV “And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.
 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.”
God told the people through Malachi,
Malachi 3:1 KJV “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”
And look in Mark 1 – Mark 1:1-2 KJV
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
Mark 1:4 KJV “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”
Mark 1:8-10 KJV “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:”
Mark 1:15 KJV “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
Friends, what we think about God, about getting to heaven, even about doctrines is not what is important. It is what saith the Lord. Even believers get caught up in divisions, but the truth is in God’s word and it does not matter if we think this or that or if a church teaches this or that. The only thing that matters and will count is what does the Lord God say about it in his word.
Believers today try to persuade people to repent and believe the gospel because believers know God is going to bring his judgment on this world. Even Paul mentions this in 2 Corinthians 5:11 KJV “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”
As we watch society turn against God by society accepting things God’s word clearly condemns, believers need to stand up and tell the people truth. We can not sit still and let things happen. How can you occupy/stand by not saying anything?
What is right or wrong is not based on what we think. Right and wrong is based on what God says is right and what God says is wrong if we like it or not. We have to change our thinking to line up with God’s word. It should not be what you or I think about something, it should be, what does God say about the matter. What does God say about the issue. Until next time.
The other day I walked in to a small store where I regularly shop. Over the past couple of years I have tried to be a friend to a couple of the regular workers in the store. I would bring in shopping carts from the parking lot because people would leave the carts out in lot instead of putting the cart back where they found it, in the store. The workers always thanked me for helping them.
As I was standing in line to check out, one of the cashiers who I have tried to be a friend to, looked preoccupied. So I called her by name and asked how she was today. Then asked if she was having a good day. She said it is kind of hard to have a good day when your husband is in Hospice. So I expressed my sadness and asked her how long has he been in Hospice. She said a week. I asked what happened to him. She said he had a massive stroke last week. I asked how old is he. 57 she said. In an instant, their lives changed.
As she was explaining to me how Hospice does not think he will be in this world much longer, I was asking God to give me words of comfort for her. So I said, Is he saved and going to heaven? Her countenance changed. She looked at me and said, I believe in heaven. Then I said, yes, but is he saved. She said, I will cover for him. I said, you know, it doesn’t work that way. She clearly did not want to hear any more about it so I said I will see you later.
I got into my car and prayed for both of them. I asked God to put believers in their path they will listen to and be saved. Surely, I will try again to get through to her but her husband God is going to have to send someone. Often, Hospice workers are believers and maybe they can get through to her husband.
But the situation made me think and concerned me. Here is a man who is getting ready to step into eternity where he can no longer change his destination. God gave him 57 years to read God’s book. God gave him 57 years to find out how to get to heaven and this man and his wife have not read anything from God.
All those years, 57 of them, and why would someone not even read one book, God’s book the Bible. All the books they have read all their life and they would not even take the time to read God’s book, just one book from God.
Romans 10:3 KJV “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
Imagine the surprise on their faces when they die, if unsaved. When they realize they are not going to heaven and they had their chance to read one book that would tell them about God and heaven and how to go to heaven, but they never took any time in 57 years to check it out?
When Jesus sent out 70 disciples in Luke 10, they came back to Jesus saying “devils are subject to us through your name”. Jesus told them not to rejoice in that, but rejoice your names are written down in heaven.
Luke 10:17-20 KJV “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
Friends, God keeps records. Just as God has chronicled creation and generations for thousands of years, the time we are in now is being chronicled and names are being written in heaven.
We know scripture tells us of the Book of Life and the “other” books. Like Paul explained in Romans 10:3, people who are ignorant of God’s way and try to establish their own way, their names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Romans 10:3 KJV “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
Revelation 20:12-15 KJV “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
So even though this cashier thinks she can cover for her husband, her thinking is wrong based on the word of God.
Revelation 21:27 KJV “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Friends, what we think about God, about getting to heaven, even about doctrines is not what is important. It is what saith the Lord. Even believers get caught up in church doctrines and we see divisions, but the truth is in God’s word and it does not matter if we think this or that or if a church teaches this or that. The only thing that matters and will count is what does the Lord God say about it in his word. Then we, as believers, have to try and show people what they think needs to line up with scripture and if it does not, then you have to change what you think to what God says. Until next time.
Did you ever notice the whole armour of God does not have a covering for your back? Clearly God wants us to push forward and not cut and run away.
As believers, we live in this world but are not a part of this world. Our heart and mind is stayed on the Lord and his business while we live and walk in the spirit. Our spirit man is suppose to grow and eventually overcome our flesh and fleshly nature. But we are still impacted by people, saved or lost, while we are in this mortal body.
The Lord has put it on my heart to share an experience I have had. This experience is the reason for the title of this post, In Front Of You. I don’t know if any of you have truly loved one of your parents where you were at their beckoned call. Yes, it is a two way street and although I was at my mom’s beckoned call, my mom was always there for me.
I don’t know if it is because mom’s have a mother’s love, an unconditional love for their children or not. I have seen or heard of some mothers abandoning their children too. But when you, as a child of your parents in the flesh, make a decision to be a part of a parent’s life, you both make sacrifices for each other. And when God uses you to get through to a parent about salvation and explaining salvation to your parent, and they get saved, your bond is strengthened even more.
I use to tell my mom she is my earthly parent and I am her spiritual parent. We would laugh over that. What is even more amazing is when I first got saved, no one in my family wanted anything to do with me. Now, they are all saved.
The end of this month is four years my mom has gone home to be with Jesus. As I look back to the first few months after mom went home I marvel how God comforted and strengthened me. I had such a bond with my mom and she with me.
After the Hospice nurses left and the funeral people came to pick up her body for burial and the family left, I sat and cried. I talked to the Lord thanking him he gave me time to prepare myself and didn’t just take her home. For the following three months I just cried and talked to God. I wasn’t angry, I was hurting in my heart. My mom’s and my life were wrapped up together for years and years. Now it was like part of me was gone. Part of my daily life was missing.
As a musician, I would play the organ or keyboard and mom would sing and dance around the house. Now when I played all I could see was mom singing and dancing and joking around with me, but she wasn’t there. I couldn’t play for over a year.
God started healing my heart and reminding me we would be together again with Jesus but I still missed her and still do. Yes, I did thank God for all the wonderful, funny and exciting times God gave us. I remember telling God I felt like a ship without a rudder and didn’t know what he wanted me to do now.
Four years later this month, I now see. After mom went home, the Lord opened my understanding to many things in his word. I have been studying God’s word for years, every day, and several hours every day so when God started opening my understanding he was taking time to teach me things I did not consider before. It is almost like the Lord took me forward to a higher place.
When we loose someone dear to us, whether through abandonment, divorce, or death, that is a crucial time for us. People either quit on God or draw closer to God. I chose to draw closer. And when the Lord showed me, my mom is not a person of our past together, she is a person of my future, I could rejoice. Another words, she is in front of me.
When I think on her getting sick and dying it saddens me but then I change my thinking to the future. Mom is waiting for me to come home. And God has me here to do a job for him. I must finish my work here until my Heavenly Father says it’s time to come home.
We all experience heartaches and pain in this life. But friend, if you are saved, God has you here to do something specific for him. And God will reward you for not quitting and following through. When we run a race we know there is a prize or reward. So let us run with patience our race. And as Paul says,
Philippians 3:13-21 KJV “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do , forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
I truly pray this post helps someone. I try not to get too personal on these posts but God put it on my heart to share this and explain deep, deep hurts and heartaches God will use to open our eyes to spiritual matters. Remember, the flesh profits nothing, it is all about your spirit man. Until next time.
Last time we mentioned how some believers say we can not know what God has prepared for us who love him. These believers use 1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
But the very next verse tells us God has revealed it to us, believers.
1 Corinthians 2:10 KJV “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
And as believers, 1 Corinthians 2:12 KJV “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
Friend, if you are truly born again, a believer who is in Christ, you have received the spirit of God as verse 12 says. And if you have the spirit of God, you should know the things that are freely given to us of God. The Holy Spirit searches the deep things of God. And these things God has given us are taught to us by the Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians 2:13 KJV “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
If you do not know the things God has freely given to you, you have to ask yourself, why don’t I know?
1 Corinthians 2:16 KJV “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
Look at the beginning of 1 Corinthians 2:9, it says ” But as it is written”. A familiar phrase in scripture, ” It is written” but Paul is saying, as it is written – so this verse in 1 Corinthians 2:9 is written somewhere before the time Paul is speaking it now. Isaiah 64:4 KJV “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.”
So Paul is repeating a verse from Isaiah. 1 Corinthians 2:9 is not some secret thing God has planned for those that love him. Actually, look at Psalm 25:14 KJV “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.”
And that is what Paul is telling believers, God has revealed it unto us by his Spirit. Then Paul says, 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 KJV ” But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
We have the mind of Christ. Paul lays out several times throughout all his letters to the churches how believers need to get a hold of their mind. They need to renew their mind, we need to bring our thoughts into subjection. Even Philippians 3 focuses on the spiritual mind. But in Philippians 2:5 KJV “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
The key is your mind, the way you think. Mindfulness. If you are going to look at things the way the world teaches or your own reasoning, you will not understand how God works and what God has prepared for you.
When a situation comes up in life, usually we try to reason things out and we use the world’s ways. After all, we have been taught from birth the things the world requires and how to live in this world. So to shift our thoughts and our mind to God’s word, God’s ways, living in the spirit, often it does not make sense to us because we do not have experience in watching God work in us and for us. And our experiences with God increase our faith.
That is why I mentioned Proverbs 3 last time. Proverbs 3:5-10 give you three promises from God you can take to the bank, so to say. These three promises do not make sense to our “natural” mind but to the person mindful of spiritual living, it makes perfect sense so we do “as it is written” and we speak “as it is written” and we see God do miraculous things for us and through us.
Proverbs 3:5-10 KJV “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord , and depart from evil.
 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”
Until next time.