The Warrior Bride

The Warrior Bride

Today a friend asked me if I’d ever heard any teachings about the “warrior bride.”  I said “no, I haven’t”, but agreed to share my thoughts. Here they are:

Everyone who is truly the Bride of Christ/Messiah must be a warrior. We each have our unique battles to fight, based on our God given assignments. Fighting those battles takes great courage, strategy, perseverance and faith.

Rev. 21:8 states that no cowards enter the Kingdom of heaven. The letters to the churches in Rev. 2 & 3 state that only those who overcome and are victorious obtain the promises of God. These are the warriors.

I believe that only the warriors who are victorious will be the “Bride of Christ.” Victory in God’s eyes is probably very different than victory to our human eyes. God judges by the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7) All our battles truly belong to the Lord and victory comes from Him! 2 Chronicles 20:15; Proverbs 21:31   The warrior bride knows and walks in these truths.

In the parable of the wedding banquet in Matthew 22, the Lord tells us the Kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. We read in Matthew 22:10 that this wedding banquet was full of guests. Who are the guests? The guests are not the bride; nor are the servants.

I believe the bride is one who has a deep and intimate relationship with the Lord. She is a warrior; and her weapons are her diligent study, meditation upon, speaking out and application of the Word of God (the sword of the spirit). (Eph. 6:17)

The warrior bride walks in love, grace and humility, yet knows, and is not afraid to exercise her God given authority on earth as Messiah’s Ambassador (2 Cor. 5:18-20).

She herself is continually being purified (sanctified) as she walks through life.  She’s not afraid to face the demonic realm that has influenced her life; and the lives of those around her.  Not only does she help others walk in the reconciliation and promises of the Kingdom of God, the warrior bride humbly renounces evil influences and life patterns; and finds greater levels of victory as her own life progresses.  As she longingly awaits her groom, she lives a life of total surrender and worship.  Her mind is being renewed and she is being transformed into the image of her groom, as she seeks first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. (Rom. 12:1-2; Matthew 6:33) In her honesty and transparency, the warrior bride is being made into a suitable match for her King. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

There’s another category of people Scripture talks about.  These people drive my passion with regard to Mission Discipleship. These are the people who profess Jesus/Yeshua as Lord, yet they’re not doing the things in their lives that will allow them to qualify as the Bride of Christ/Messiah. They are lawless, unsubmitted and self-willed. According to Matthew 7:21-23 many who call on the name of the Lord will be thrown away from His Presence.

God make us all people who come up higher by laying down lower. Keep us hungry for You, desiring to learn more about You and the things of the Spirit; and lead us in finding the victory of the true warrior bride.

 

In Heavenly Realms

In Heavenly Realms

“Our Father in heaven. Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will  be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

That’s how we’re to pray, right? God is King over a Kingdom. When Messiah was here on earth He preached and demonstrated the blessings of the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 4:23)

God wants everyone to experience His Kingdom, which at this point in time exists mainly in heavenly realms, and is our responsibility to call down, and demonstrate on earth. God’s love for people makes Him want them to know Him and the blessings of His Kingdom. And, because it is God’s will, deep inside each of us is a hunger to know God, who is Love (1 John 4:7-8); whether we recognize it or not.

God wants us (Messiah’s disciples)  to represent and introduce people to His love and His Kingdom because He knows that’s how people’s longings are fully satiated. Sadly, most people seek to fill their hunger and thirst in ways that will not truly satisfy them. Even those who are “religious” do not receive the fullness of what God has for them, without a personal relationship with Him through the Messiah.

Yeshua/Jesus’ disciples have the power and authority to walk and live in God’s Kingdom, and see its manifestation on earth; but how many of us actually do that? (2 Cor. 5:17-20)

God help us!

This week the Lord showed me that I got a “software upgrade” in the spirit realm.  Wow!  Exciting stuff. I certainly need that being in the middle east and navigating my faith here amid persecution, and the intense spiritual climate of the area.

Yesterday I was traveling by bus to Be’er Sheva to go grocery shopping at the health food store.  More about health in another blog post, as I believe what I’m eating is tied to my “upgrade.”

Friday is an important day for Muslims.  They say it’s more significant and more beneficial than any other day of the week.  It’s the day they gather together to pray in congregation. Before prayer they listen to lectures designed to empower them with knowledge about Allah and the religion of Islam. From the traditions of their Prophet Muhammad they learn that “the best day in the sight of Allah is Friday.”

I believe the Muslim nations were born out of the relationship between Abraham and Hagar (Genesis 16) and their child Ishmael, who was born before Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah.  It’s interesting that Muhammad chose the day before the God ordained Shabbat (Saturday) as the weekly Muslim ‘holy day.’ It seems like he was trying to supersede God’s relationship with Isaac and the nation of Israel, by having the Muslim Sabbath come first. Sadly, I do see the struggle between the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac as fueled primarily by jealousy, and that’s something to pray into.

Anyway, because Friday is their weekly ‘holy day’, Thursday is a big shopping day for Muslim women; and that’s what inspired this blog post.

I got on the bus and along the journey many Muslims got on board.  Three Muslim women occupied the seats on my row and I noticed them taking out prayer beads.  That was new to me. Come to find out that no one knows exactly when or how prayer beads entered their religion. Scholars believe they were adopted from Buddhism. Muslims use strings of 33 or 99 beads with one “leader” bead, which represent the 99 names of Allah found in the Koran and the one essential name.

The woman next to me had hers out for 20 minutes or so and then put them away.  All the while I was reading this Psalm in the Passion Translation (my favorite morning devotion right now) and meditating on various verses.

Psalm 138
THE DIVINE PRESENCE
by King David

“I thank you, Lord, and with all the passion of my heart, I worship you in the presence of angels!
Heaven’s mighty ones will hear my voice as I sing my loving praise to you!
I bow down before your divine presence and bring you my deepest worship,
as I experience your tender love, and your living truth.
For the promises of your Word and the fame of your name have been magnified above all else!
At the very moment I called out to you, You answered me!
You strengthened me deep within my soul, and breathed fresh courage into me.
One day all the kings of the earth will rise to give you thanks when they hear the living words that I have heard you speak.
They too will sing of your wonderful ways for your ineffable glory is so great!
For though you are lofty and exalted, You stoop to embrace the lowly.
Yet you keep your distance from those filled with pride.
Through your mighty power I can walk through any devastation, and you will keep me alive, reviving me.
Your power set me free from the hatred of my enemies.
You keep every promise you’ve ever made to me!
Since your love for me is so constant and endless,
I ask you, Lord, to finish every good thing that you’ve begun in me!”

.

As I read the Psalm I found myself literally in heaven worshiping God in the presence of the angels. It was a glorious experience. You know we have that privilege right? Psalm 16:11; Hebrews 4:16; James 4:8; Ephesians 2:4-7

Yeshua/Jesus is the door that gives us access to heavenly realms.  John 10:9; John 14:4-6; Ephesians 2:17-18

Traveling by bus through the Negev desert I found myself worshiping God in spirit and in truth. I was experiencing the Presence and Glory of God in a profound way. There was such joy and peace in my soul. I know there was also a smile on my face. I looked at the woman beside me and snapped the picture on this post. Did she look content and full of joy with the Lord’s Presence after praying with her prayer beads? No! To me she looked dissatisfied and bored, or was I just reading into her countenance and body language?

Oh how I longed to be able to talk with her.

“God help me learn Hebrew to the extent that I can openly talk to these precious people about you.”

Precious?  Yes, precious!  All people are precious in God’s sight.  Like their Jewish brothers, these people have a zeal for God without knowledge of the truth about Him. (Romans 10:1-3) They’ve grown up in their traditions, and that may be all they know, or have been exposed to.

If you really think about anyone who is “religious,” whatever their religion may be; they are hungry for spiritual things. That makes them closer in kin to true disciples of Messiah than someone who is ruled and driven exclusively by their mortal flesh, and has no belief in spiritual things.

These kinds of thoughts are new to me as I navigate this place.  In the west we’re so quick to see people of other faiths (especially Muslims) as the ‘enemy’; and quite frankly I don’t think this is how God wants us to view them.

As I sat enthralled with the Presence and Glory of God on the bus I did pray.  I prayed that the women next to me would receive a touch from God and they’d be drawn into an intimate relationship with Him through the knowledge of the truth about Yeshua/Jesus.

Isn’t that what God desires; that they too would come to worship Him in spirit and in truth?

Certainly that is how we would see the manifestation of God’s Kingdom  “on earth as it is in heaven….”

Oh, Lord may it be so!

Join me in that prayer….

Fear of Failure

Fear of Failure

Have you ever had God give you a vision of something that’s too big for you to accomplish?  Well, He’s certainly given me one.  He’s shown me how He wants the MD website to help disciple people all over the world and help bring unity to the Body of Messiah world-wide.  He’s shown me a retreat center (MD-HQ a.k.a. Rehovot) that He wants to establish to help people experience deliverance and be able to walk in more peace and fruitfulness in their lives.  I’ve bathed every bit of the ministry in prayer and put the Lord first in everything. Yet still I’ve seen no fruit from my labors, or at least fruit as I would count it.

Yes, God has done amazing things to sustain the ministry these past four years.  He gave me inspiration, tools and the ability to create what I thought was a great discipleship program that very few people used. He gave me the wisdom to create a website containing teachings that He’s given me personally that have brought me through extreme darkness and into the light in my own life.  To my knowledge I’m not sure if those same teachings have blessed anyone else. I am blessed when I receive positive comments on this blog and that reassures me that people are touched and blessed by what I write.  Keep commenting! 😉

I’m being honest here not to gain your sympathy, but to show you some real struggles we face when we follow things the Lord tells us to do.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration.  “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

This morning in prayer, the Lord was encouraging me regarding moving forward in faith for the things that I believe He’s shown  me about this ministry. He revealed that deep down inside of me at this junction was a fear of failure; and that was one reason my soul was feeling downcast relative to the current state of the ministry. God is so faithful to help us navigate through our own human frailty. Here are some other things He revealed to me that I pray help you as well.

Fear of failure is a lie. There’s no such thing as failure when we’re in Messiah and submitted to Him wholeheartedly.

Success isn’t as related to achieved results as it is to how we go through the process of what we’re doing.

All true results are fixed by God.

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.”(Romans 8:28-30)

We’re not to measure success in our life’s ministry by comparing it to another’s because each of our callings are unique.

Our real failure would come by not becoming conformed to the image of God’s Son through and in the daily struggles and trials of life, as we pursue our life calling and ministry.

“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.  For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

And so I press on in faith, reaching out for the manifestation of the things the Lord has shown me about this ministry. I’m trusting Him to lead and guide me daily. I’ll choose not to fear anything but God – in a healthy way – that motivates the dedication and repentance necessary for my life to be conformed to the image of His Son.

I’m going to continue to believe and speak, trusting God for the outcome. (2 Corinthians 4:13) (Hebrews 11:1)

This is His ministry.  I’m His child and my life is part of His story! These three things remain: faith, hope and love. 

.

Here are some worldly quotes about fear of failure to encourage you:

  •  “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
  • “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic.” – Anonymous
  • “Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” – H. Stanley Judd
  • “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho
  • “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
  • “Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” – Denis Waitley
  •  “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” – Thomas Edision
  •  “Remember that failure is an event, not a person” – Zig Ziglar
  • “I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” – George Burns
  • “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  • “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” – Elbert Hubbard
  • “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative” – Woody Allen
  • “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
  • “One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.” – Henry Ford
  • “Most people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” – Napoleon Hill
  • “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard
  • “Failure is success if we learn from it.” – Malcolm Forbes 
Breaking Away From “Religion”

Breaking Away From “Religion”

In this new season, the Lord has instructed me “Come out of religion and refocus on Me.”

What is religion?

Earlier this year the Lord showed me that when we do anything regularly we’re in danger of doing it without any heart connection; and coming under a “religious spirit,” which is dead and lifeless. He challenged me that my weekly congregational attendance had become just that – a burden; dead and lifeless. Once I repented and put my focus back on loving God and loving People (everyone – Believer and Pre-Believer) I experienced such joy and life each time I joined my brothers and sisters in fellowship and worship.

So what does coming out of religion mean to me in this new season? I believe it refers to “…a particular system of faith and worship.” Each of us has built preconceptions about the systems of our faith and worship that have been influenced by our experiences. I think God wants to erase those experiential foundations, or at least the ones that aren’t pleasing in His sight.

The beautiful thing about new seasons, whether they come from a big move, a new year, or just a conviction in your heart, is that newness gives us the opportunity to make changes in our lives that can draw us nearer to God and His perfect plans.

Now don’t get me wrong. By “coming out of religion” I’m not talking about pulling away from the Body of Messiah in isolation. I believe it’s very important to gather as often as possible with God’s people for worship, fellowship, prayer and Bible study. By doing so we remain protected in the strength of the “flock.” And while no “flock” of humans is perfect, it also gives us opportunities to exercise real love, humility, grace and forgiveness; thereby making us more like Yeshua/Jesus in the process. But I think what the Lord is trying to show me is that there are “man made” traditions in our “religion” that actually separate us from God and People.

So what does coming out of “religion” look like? I’ve been letting God lead and teach me in that regard and here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Coming back to the simplicity of developing a hunger for God’s Presence, Love and Voice.
  • Worship (devotion and obedience) to the Word of God as first priority; not to what we’re doing for God.
  • Cultivating true bridal love and passion for God in our souls by spending time with Him.
  • Lining up and participating with all of God’s Scriptural times and seasons.
  • Acting in obedience to God’s Voice and Word even when we’re hurt or disagree; and in so doing, laying down our own opinions, thoughts, likes and dislikes, thereby cultivating true humility.
  • Seeing/judging others through eyes of love and compassion vs. criticism and accusation.
  • Desiring to grow in God’s spiritual gifts to build up the Body and bring unbelievers to Messiah, and ultimately to God.
  • Seeking unity.
  • Continuing to grow in our understanding of heavenly things; and knowledge of God.
  • Truly being believers based on the Mark 16:17-18 definition.
  • Demonstrating our position as Ambassadors of God’s Kingdom on earth, everywhere we go.

 

This morning I was reading Psalm 135 in the Passion Translation.  Take a look at verses 15-18.  These jumped out of the page to me concerning this topic.

“The unbelieving nations worship what they make. They worship their wealth and their work. They idolize what they own and what they do. Their possessions will never satisfy. Their lifeless and futile works cannot bring life to them! Their things can’t talk to them or answer their prayers. Blind men can only create blind things. Those deaf to God can only make a deaf image. Dead men can only create dead idols. And everyone who trusts these powerless, dead things will be just like what they worship – powerless and dead!” 

God help us in the Body of Messiah to not worship what we make and idolize our work and what we do, even when we say we’re doing it for You! Open our eyes and our ears to You, God.  Restore our passion for your Presence, Love and Voice. Help us walk in the simplicity of pure devotion to You; and give us life and power, as we put all our trust in You!

Other Scriptures for consideration:

Psalm 133

Revelation 2:1-7

2 Corinthians 11:3

Mark 16:15-18

Psalm 16:11

1 Corinthians 12 – 14

2 Corinthians 5:18-20