The bride is not ready

A couple of weeks ago, God really impressed on my heart that His bride (the church) is simply not ready.  At the same time, I was going through Jesus parables, and I felt God illuminate some important things we all need to be aware of.

The first parable is that of the great feast in Matt 22, specifically in verses 12-14 where it really struck me that some will not be ready for the coming of Christ and will not be let in to heaven. To paraphrase, the King had sent his servants out to invite people to the wedding – but none would come, for all sorts of reasons.  Then he told his servants to bring in anyone they could find – rich and poor, good and bad.  So the place was filled with guests of all types.  But it seems that if you are invited to a kings wedding, no matter who you are (good or bad, rich or poor) you need to dress appropriately.

Reading from The Message version in verse 12: “He said to him, ‘Friend, how dare you come in here looking like that!’ The man was speechless.  Then the king told his servants, ‘Get him out of here—fast. Tie him up and ship him to hell. And make sure he doesn’t get back in.’  “That’s what I mean when I say, ‘Many get invited only a few make it.’”

Wow – hard words.

So it would seem that there was a responsibility of the wedding guests to enquire as to what attire would be required, and to obtain a suitable garment.

In Luke 12:35-48 NLT the theme of “being dressed” continues: “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be READY to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. The servants who are READY and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are READY.”

We learn a bit more about what it means to not “be ready” by skipping down to verse 47: “That servant who knew his master’s will but DID NOT GET READY or do what his master asked will receive a severe beating.”

Ouch.  Again, hard words.  Clearly Jesus is warning us to be ready and follow His spirit and teachings.

So what exactly does it mean to “get ready”?  Lets finish up by looking at the parable of the 10 virgins in Matt 25.  5 took extra oil to ensure their lamps burnt, and the others didn’t take anything extra.  The bridegroom came but the silly 5 didn’t have enough oil to be able to go out and meet Him. When they were out buying the oil the feast started and they got locked out.  In short, they weren’t ready. They had failed to prepare themselves and establish what would be required.

Could it be that:
1) The Virgins represent us believers
2) The oil represents the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps those 5 loved Jesus, but all the busyness of the world and other concerns of life stopped them from listening to the voice of the spirit and radically pursuing Jesus.  Maybe the things of this world began to creep back in their lives and they had their paths darkened with sin and other things that took them off track?  Or perhaps they never thought it possible to be free of that besetting sin that ensnared them, never thought it possible to be sanctified.

There is a lie in the church today is that says “this is as good as it gets”.  That we can not be changed, transformed into His likeness (sanctified!).  I believe that these are lies Satan may be using to try and get believers locked out of the wedding supper, by fooling them into thinking that sanctification is not possible.

We can see through these parables that in an instant when Christ returns everyone will know what was required, but there will be no time to buy oil – to appropriate Jesus work.  We need to know Jesus intimately and follow His spirit, and He will guide us and sanctify us.

Eph 5:27 says that Jesus will “present the church to himself as glorious – not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless.”

Are you ready?

From a contribution online:  “We may settle it in our minds, that there will be an entire change of opinion one day as to the necessity of decided Christianity. At present, we must all be aware, the vast majority of professing Christians care nothing at all about it. They have no sense of sin. They have no love towards Christ. They know nothing of being born again. Repentance, and faith, and grace, and holiness, are mere words and names to them. They are subjects which they either dislike, or about which they feel no concern. But all this state of things shall one day come to an end. Knowledge, conviction, the value of the soul, the need of a Savior, shall all burst on men’s minds one day like a flash of lightning. But alas! it will be too late. It will be too late to be buying oil, when the Lord returns. The mistakes that are not found out until that day are irretrievable.”

Jesus is getting married – to you!

Last night in Sabbath quiet time with Jesus, He shared with me how excited He is to be getting married! We are His bride and He is excited about that!! There is also some bad stuff to deal with too (judgement of the earth), but overwhelmingly He is looking forward to being married to us – an unblemished and wrinkle free bride!   I felt this new sense of joy I’d never felt before and yes, this was a source of strength for me!    Wow, God is so faithful!

You messin’ with me?

Have you ever noticed that the enemy accesses our emotions and autonomic responses to make his ways feel right, and God’s ways feel impossible to walk in – let alone better!?  He does this because we are born into sin and because we are under the consequences of sin.

We need to agree that Gods ways are right (and better!).  We need to agree with God and not the enemy. When we sin we agree with the enemy over God.

The battle occurs in us.  We are the battlefield.  Our thoughts, our actions and our responses.  This is the battlefield – between good and evil.

Our bodies lie to us with sinful yearnings – telling us that satans ways are nice and good, and that God’s ways are impossible to walk in.

The battle is the Lord’s

Do we sometimes try to do the work of God, just because we have the “tools” to go into battle?  Jesus died on the cross and gave us power and authority over the kingdom of darkness, so now we can pull down strongholds, cast out demons and trample on snakes.  But we read in 2 Chronicals that “the battle is the Lord’s”.

2 Chronicals 20:15 “…’This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.'”

Recently, God took me to Joshua and stepped me through how they transitioned from the desert to the Promised Land.  Here are some of the pointers:

– Joshua had faith that God was well able (not all of the spies had this same faith)
– They had 31 Kings to defeat in order to obtain the promised land
– Technically, they already had the “tools” (weapons of war) to take the promised land whenever they wanted
– But God didn’t say: “over to you – go for it!”.  Instead, God did all the ground work before delivering the enemy into their hands
– God had specific instructions for how they were to take the enemy, including timing and tactics
– Although they had the promise of God and all the tools to take the promised land, they still needed to enquire of the Lord before taking down any enemy territory
– In Joshua 9:1-15 we read that when they DID NOT enquire of the Lord, they got

So again, we need to use the weapons that Jesus has won for us in His victory at the cross, but I wonder if we are not taking enough note about WHEN, HOW and WHERE to use these weapons.  Do we enquire of the Lord as to the timing of taking down our own “31 Kings”, before we enter our promised land?

Yes, we are under the new covenant, and it is different to Old Testament times, but I think this is more about relationship than anything else.  Doing it God’s way and being close to Him to know what He wants done, when.

So maybe, this means we WAIT on the Lord to show us things, or reveal things before we try to take them down using the tools we have?  Maybe we don’t go for ministry
whenever we feel like it, but instead ENQUIRE of the Lord FIRST and then see
where He leads.

Food for thought….

Are you walking around in a maze?

I recently had a dream, and in this dream I was walking around in a maze.  It was frustrating, because no matter where I turned, there was just another passageway and no way out!  But suddenly, there was a way out – and it was right in front of me!  But, because I was to used to the “pattern” of maze, I couldn’t see the way out – even though it was right there in front of me!  It seems that I was so familiar with this “pattern” that I couldn’t see the truth, and could only see the pattern that I was used to.  And I went round the maze again.

You see, God sits outside of time and outside of our situation.  He has a birds eye view of the maze (from above) and can direct us to the exit.  But from our perspective, it’s confusing, and frustrating and impossible to escape!

We need to start to live our lives from God’s perspective, and because we are already seated with Him in heavenly places (Eph 2:6) we can!

So would you rather try and find your way out of the maze yourself?  Or would you rather receive instruction from the One who sits above the maze, and can see the beginning from the end?

Are the “patterns” of our lives that stop us from seeing the way out, when really the exit is right there in front of us?

This is why we need to be lead by the Spirit.  Rom 8:14 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”