Category Archives: Possessing Promised Land Plan

POSSESSING THE PROMISED LAND PLAN

GOD Who Are You? AND Who AM I?

Knowing and Experiencing God by His Hebrew Names

PART 4 – eBook 4

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as He did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries His son, all the way you went until you reached this place [the promised land plan]. ”    Deuteronomy 1:29-31

Part 4 is comprised of the fourth three modules of the book and is Part 4 of the FREE eCourse Bonus on this Web site. They are:

Module 10 – Chapter 18: God is Jehovah-Sabaoth [The Lord of hosts]

Chapter 19: Because God is Jehovah-Sabaoth, We are One Mature Military Bride

Module 11 – Chapter 20: God is Jehovah [The LORD: Yahweh/Yeshua]

Chapter 21: Because God is Jehovah, We Are Jesus’ Feet

Module 12 – Chapter 22: God is Jehovah-Shammah [The Lord is There]

Chapter 23: Because God is Jehovah-Shammah, We Know Who We Are

M11A Biblical Fire Symbolizes the Presence of Jehovah

Hanks' Jehovah FireBounding up the stairs and exploding into our bedroom, our third son and youngest child, seventeen-year-old Hank, blurted, “Mom, it’s time you and I had a bonding time together. Dad is gone and it’s just you and me. You have to come out to the lake road and see the big fire!”

Already dressed for bed, I absolutely had no interest in going to see a fire, but Hank’s insistence made me take notice. He literally took my robe from the closet and put it on me. I thought, this will be an opportunity to look at the lake. So, I sneaked out of the house at 9:00 p.m.—in my robe.

Hank drove all the way to the lake. Saw no fire. Looked at the lake. Didn’t say much. On the way home, I said, “You know Hank, if there were a fire, don’t you think we would have seen it by now?”

“Yes Mom” he said, “But, as I was driving home, between the lake and the turn off on Horton Street, I looked out my rear view mirror, and there was this huge fire, and smoke billowing from the top.” He kept repeating how there was smoke “billowing” from the top.

Jehovah Fire

When we got home, I walked Hank over to where my journal was lying open to what I had written that morning:

03/03/03, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud…” (Exodus 19:9, NIV). Our ladies group has been praying Psalm 91:1, “We dwell in the secret place of the Most High and shall remain stable and fixed under the ‘shadow’ of the Almighty (Amplified Bible says, “Whose power no foe can withstand”). In other words, the shadow of the Almighty is from the cloud that is God himself.

Together, Hank and I read further in my Bible, Exodus, chapter 19, verses 16-19:

On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him).

At a loss for words, I reminded Hank of Moses when he saw the burning bush and said, “If it ever happens again, stop, turn aside like Moses did and ask God what he is saying to you.” Without a word, Hank shook his head in agreement, and our bonding time was over.

At the time, I knew the date was 03-03-03, but the significance of it all had not yet settled into my thinking until I studied in more depth: ‘The Name’ Jehovah.

Fire is significant because of its association with the LORD

biblical fire

LORD in all caps in the English Bible means Jehovah. There are 417 occurrences where the LORD and fire are associated together in Scripture. God used fire to represent His presence in a visible way and to signify His glory and awesomeness. He was visible to the children of Israel in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night as He led them in the wilderness; it never left.

“In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt, on the very day, they came to the Desert of Sinai” (Exod. 19:1). On the third day, Moses was to have the people standing at the foot of the mountain while He, Jehovah, descended upon it in fire.

This was a most solemn occasion because the people had made a commitment to do all the LORD [Jehovah] would command them to do, and Jehovah was about to give them the Ten Commandments. It was out of the fire the LORD spoke to Moses. The LORD declares that His Word will be like fire (see Jer. 23:29).

Biblical fire, as its association with the LORD, is very significant in all of Scripture in about seven different ways which we will look at.

We have studied the names of God with Jehovah as part of His name, so it is time we look at this most awe-inspiring name itself, which is far beyond any we have yet explored or could ever study. We will examine why it is so holy a name and what the fire of His Name and presence in His Word can do in our lives.

WHAT IS BIBLICAL FIRE AND HOW IS IT USED IN SCRIPTURE?

Fire symbolizes God’s presence

 

Fire with test overlay: 7 Ways to know the Lord through biblical FIRE

When God made His covenant with Abram, He accepted his burnt offering by passing as a blazing torch between the pieces of offering—a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon (see Gen. 15:8 and 17). This covenant took place when the Sovereign LORD promised Abram a son as his heir in order to take possession of the land. God answered David with fire from heaven (see 1 Chron. 21:26); fire from heaven consumed the burnt offering of Solomon and glory filled the temple (see 2 Chron. 7:1). “The LORD your God is a consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24 and Heb.12:29).

Fire symbolizes our sacrificial prayers before the throne of God

biblical fire

“The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma” (Gen. 8: 21) from the burnt offerings Noah offered after the flood waters receded and he and his family were on dry ground. The Israelites burned incense to the LORD. It was made from a special recipe, was holy and never to be used for personal purposes. Anyone who did was to be cut off from his people. It was reserved for the LORD alone. The book of Revelation reveals smoke of the incense with prayers from the saints coming before God (see Rev. 8:4).

Fire symbolizes the refining and purification of God’s people

biblical fire

We have seen how Jehovah-Jireh is our teacher through many trials and testings, and that without being forced to stretch and grow, we will not. “He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates and pays attention to it].When he has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold [pure and luminous]” (Job 23:10 Amplified). Job tells the result of his trials, “My foot has held fast to His steps, His ways have I kept and not turned aside. I have not gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed and treasure up the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:11-12 Amplified). Job ate the fire of Jehovah’s Words. (See also Rev. 3:20 and 10:10).

Fire can be judgment from the LORD

biblical fire

Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by the LORD when he rained upon them with fire and brimstone from heaven. Fire consumed Ar of Moab (see Num. 21:28); fire devoured 250 men at the rebellion of Korah and his followers (see Num. 26:10). “Nadab and Abihu died when they made an offering before the LORD with unauthorized fire” (Num. 26:61). To people who choose their own way as best, “his fury will be shown to his foes, See the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with his sword the LORD will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the LORD (Isa. 66:15-16).

Fire literally is hell

biblical fire

Fire burns to the realms of death below (see Deut. 32:22). The words hell and fire are found together eight times in the King James Bible. We are told it would be better that our offensive hand, foot, eye or tongue be cut off rather than our whole body be cast into hell fire. Satan’s final doom will be torment forever, day and night, in the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet will also be thrown (see Rev. 20:10). And, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

Fire is the symbol of the Holy Spirit

biblical fire

John the Baptist, who prepared the hearts of the people to repent of their sins to be ready to receive Jesus when He arrived, said, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matt. 3:11). On the day of Pentecost, after Jesus ascended into heaven, and His disciples were praying all together in one place, “Suddenly, a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:2-4).

Fire and blood are signs of end times

biblical fire

Fire and blood are some of the literal judgments during the Great Tribulation (see Rev. 8:7-8). But among the Church on earth before the Rapture, they are signs. After the Holy Spirit descended over two-thousand years ago upon the disciples of Jesus, Peter addressed the crowd who witnessed the enabling fire on the disciples. His preaching, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, brought 3,000 people to the LORD. In Acts 2:17-21, He began by quoting the prophecy from Joel 2:28-32:

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people, Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.

“Mom, it’s time you and I had a bonding time together. Dad is gone and it’s just you and me. You have to come out to the lake road and see the big fire!” This bonding time with my son, put me on a search to learn the meaning of biblical fire. I discovered seven things we all need to know for wisdom in living

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M10J What I Learned From Two Military Weddings One Year

The year 1997 was a special year. Our two oldest children married. Both marriages were military weddings.

military weddings

Kurt graduated from the United States Military Academy and Francy’s fiancé Scott was in the same graduating class, although they did not know each other at the time. Francy was a student at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, not far from Fort Riley where Scott was stationed after graduation. Kurt told his friend Mark at Fort Riley about his sister, but Mark’s roommate and friend, Scott, pursued her— and won.

February, 1997, Kurt married his high school sweetheart, Davi, after she graduated from college in Iowa. Their church’s tall front steps provided a beautiful setting for the two rows of officers, dressed in their military blues, to form on each side of the bride and groom as they descended. No one was prepared to see the last soldier slap the bride on her backside with his saber as she passed by—officially welcoming her into the Army.

Francy and Scott's military wedding
Francy and Scott’s military wedding

June, 1997, Scott and Francy decided they wanted a large wedding with a banquet afterwards. They put in all the work and most of the expense. It was quite a formal military affair with exquisite decorations. Invitations were sent out with an RSVP for the banquet. I tried to keep my list mostly to family because of the expense involved for the couple, and they had numerous military friend graduates coming just as Kurt had done.

I was unprepared for the lessons the Lord was about to teach me as I was in charge of the reception area name-plate table:

  • Some people showed up at the door after the wedding. No name plate was made for them. I asked them if they had responded. “No, we thought we could come anyway.”

   “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord . . . I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you’” (Matt. 7:22-23).

  • Others responded affirmative, but they did not show up. Francy gave away food she and Scott had paid for, and if I’d known that would happen, I would have invited more of my friends. I did not invite some people who meant a great deal to me, and I still regret it, because there was plenty of room and food for all.
  • The banquet came AFTER the wedding.
  • The bride knew who she was. She knew her bridegroom; she was prepared for the wedding.
  • She was married before that banquet celebration ever commenced.

Is it any wonder that Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding? Maybe He was trying to show us who we are–His bride– rather than tell. These lessons were marvelous for me as I related them to the parable of the ten virgins who waited on the Lord to open the banquet door to the wedding feast. Only half were ready; the other half did not show up.

What I Learned from Two Military Weddings in One Year: the meaning behind them

The following download is a bible exercise of 12 characteristics of a mature relationship: in the natural, and  in comparison to our relationship with Jesus Christ.

This whole Bible study eCourse on this Web site takes an in-depth look at each of these attributes. I invite you to sign up for this free eCourse now, if you already have not done so. God bless you.

MAKING IT PERSONAL – ATTRIBUTES OF THE MATURE MILITARY BRIDE

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There are twelve attributes of the mature bride of Christ, when we are in realtionship with Him. Here is my military weddings story. Rate yourself.

 

M10I Jehovah Sabaoth: Lord of hosts Leads the Way

The mature bride  is at the performing stage of teamwork with Jehovah Sabaoth

The children of Israel had come through the first three stages, forming (in Eyypt), storming (in the desert wilderness), norming (at the crossing of the Jordan), and are now at the threshold of taking possession of the land where it is imperative that they perform. Fear kept their ancestors out, but now, with Joshua’s leadership, they believed it would happen. But how? Would it be in their own strength or that of Jehovah Sabaoth [Lord of hosts].

After crossing the Jordan, their conquest started with the shedding of blood—by the circumcision of all males of the new generation. They also celebrated Passover, where the blood of the Lamb was swiped over their doorposts before leaving bondage in Egypt, all pointing to the blood of Jesus shed for them. On that special day when they stopped to worship and renew their covenant with God—putting first things first—the manna stopped as they ate of the produce of the land (see Joshua 5:11).

Their conquest continued as they neared Jericho surrounded with high stone walls. Joshua saw a man with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua did not know who he was because he said,

“Are you for us or for our enemies?”

“Neither,” he replied, but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”

The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.—Joshua 5:14-15

The commander of the army of the Lord, responded to the obedience of the people and received divine adoration from Joshua, telling him he was on holy ground, and now it was like He was saying, “I will take it from here. I will bring down those walls.”

The Ark of the Covenant the priests carried across the Jordan, led the way. In fact, it was the Lord of hosts who brought them over Jordan and who will do the same for us.

Jehovah Sabaoth Lord hosts service

How do we know it is Jehovah Sabaoth who leads the way?

After David became king, he wanted the Ark of the Covenant moved to Jerusalem where it belonged. The ark was a chest overlaid with gold with two gold cherubim on the top “atonement” cover where blood of sacrificial animals was sprinkled. The blood symbolized God’s forgiveness of sin—pointing to Jesus the Lamb of God. It was carried through the wilderness by the priests and later captured by the Philistines. David gathered thirty thousand men to bring the ark back. Samuel, now a grown man and a prophet of God, records that the ark was “called by the Name, the very name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim” (2 Sam. 6:2 NASB).

The ark represented the presence of the Lord; everywhere it went the people prospered. Hebrews tells us that the temple, the Holy of Holies, all sacred items dedicated for worship, including the Ark of the Covenant, are copies of heavenly things.

For Christ did not enter a man made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own . . . Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.—Hebrews 9:24-28 (emphasis mine)

Jesus entered the Most Holy Place and sprinkled his very own blood on the ark as our High Priest and sat down at the right hand of the Father. He stepped in first, just as the Israelite priests did who carried that ark across Jordan. He is stepping in now and going before us just as He did for the children of Israel. It is His responsibility and His battle to bring us into the land, ours to follow and obey, to believe and expect the walls to come down.

Let Jehovah Sabaoth lead the way

joy with Jehovah Sabaoth

If it is Jehovah Sabaoth’s responsibility to get us in the land and help us possess it, why did not the first generation get across? We remind ourselves it was because their hearts melted with discouragement from their brothers about the giants in the land. The devil’s purpose, as accuser of the brethren, is to steal our joy, thus, our energy needed to put faith into action. It is the joy of the Lord that is our strength (see Neh. 8:10 NASB). Without joy all resolve to fight is gone.

We may be the head goose, shielding the way for others, strength drained, feeling like we cannot flap those wings one more minute. But, we know we cannot let up in this sacred service of the Lord. It is so important and the weight of the whole world may seem to be on our shoulders, yet, the only way we will enter the land is to fall back and allow another to take the lead—Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of hosts.

When we do, it is like His hand moves into our glove and he works where we do not have to work; we see His hand at work all around us, signs and wonders we never saw before. He anoints our obedience; He uses our availability, not any ability we thought we may have had in the first place. And we discover our availability means we needed to be toughened by hardship in the wilderness in order to endure the battles we face in following Him, yet there is no obstacle we cannot overcome because He is our guide. We find the only easy day was yesterday as we enter unmapped territory. When we position ourselves so we can see the Lord of hosts, and get our eyes fixed on Him alone—nothing between—He imparts His intelligence and we have His mind through His Word more than we ever dreamed possible.

The Lord of hosts told Joshua to keep His Word, to do according to all the law and commandments and to not allow the Word to depart from his lips (see Joshua 1:7-8). One soldier, even Joshua, cannot fight a whole battle on his own; he must be able to trust his comrades, and he must be trustworthy. Our fight is not with flesh and blood as in the Old Testament, but with powers and evil forces of this present darkness. The only way we can fight them is to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10 NASB), and by putting on His armor and wielding the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (see Eph. 6:16-17).

Jehovah Sabaoth [Lord of hosts] undergirds us by the wind of His Spirit

Jehovah Sabaoth leads the way

The mature military bride knows it will take the whole army to complete the mission of the Lord of hosts. Therefore, her battle is to trust Him to bring down the walls between individuals who make up all denominations in Christ’s body—the Church.

It is His orchestra, and He has given each of us in His service a trumpet—our mouth of praise speaking forth His Word—along with other instruments He has gifted us with. He knows who will fill each seat, what part they will play—and when. He has worked the impossible in transforming us from a lone eagle separated for private lessons to a member of the large team of geese. Unity will come when each has his or her eyes on the Conductor—and Him alone. He will bring that unity through our availability and beautiful music will result. What a grand concert it will be!

 Thy words were found and I ate them, And thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts.  Jeremiah 15:16 NASB

M10H The Military Bride Renders Service

The military Bride renders service by waiting

Sabaoth means to wait as a service to the Lord

Another meaning of ‘host’, or the Hebrew word tsâbâ’, is derived from the verbal root meaning to wait upon the Lord. This verb appears fourteen times in the Hebrew O.T. The general sense of the meaning of the word is that of rendering service.[1]

Sandstorms bogged down advancing troops outside Baghdad at the start of the Iraqi war. Storms were the worst in 100 years with drenching rain that followed the next day. The troops could not move and had to wait. It was reported they were in a quagmire with dire predictions.

After the storm, the Marine group mired the worst looked out at the plain they were just about to cross. What did they see? Hundreds, if not thousands, of anti-tank and anti-personnel mines had been uncovered by the wind and washed off by the rain. If they had proceeded as planned, many lives would have undoubtedly been lost. As it was, they simply drove around them and let the demolition teams destroy them.

This identical thing happened in October 1973, during the Yom Kippur War. After the Israelites safely got through the mine field, they knew it had to have been the hand of God who brought the mighty wind. It uncovered the mines and quit blowing.

******

Waiting was an action that brought victory. Waiting on the Lord is no idle pastime. It takes every ounce of fortitude and strength that only the Lord can give to keep on trusting Him. Kurt and Davi M. waited and trusted ten years for their child. Denise and Joe waited and trusted for children at least six years during which God gave them three dreams.

In the first dream, Denise saw Joe and herself in a grassy field with two children between them. One was a little girl of about six years of age with long blonde hair and a little boy beside her of about two years of age. In the second, she was holding a baby in her arms that she knew was her own; a woman was in the bed beside her who had given birth to a baby—who was to be their adopted daughter with the long blonde hair. The third dream was of Denise in a hospital bed holding her own baby. At this writing, Denise had a fourth dream that she was pregnant. Five or six weeks later, she found out she was—and it is a boy.

These people know “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, They will soar on wings like eagles” (Isa. 40:31). One of Barbara Watts’ rock of hope in fighting multiple sclerosis was, “Wait and hope for and expect the Lord” (Ps. 27:14 Amplified). She always speaks these encouraging words to others.

Jehovah Sabaoth Lord hosts service

The mature Bride makes her husband’s mission her mission

Scripture tells wives to “be subject—be submissive and adapt yourselves—to your own husbands as a service to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22 Amplified). Submission is merely showing respect, adaptability and placing another’s interests before self—as a service to the Lord, who rewards openly (see Heb. 11:6).

“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” (Amos 3:3). Francy learned this early in her marriage to Scott who had recently graduated from The United States Military Academy. His assignments created numerous moves in the states and a few moves within Germany—not always in comfortable housing.

Francy was continually forced out of her comfort zone. Depression set in with each move because of leaving friends and family and the inability to pursue her own career in the field of her Biology degree—as a research assistant. She had to start all over again—each move taking about a year to get settled. In the meantime, she took it out on Scott, blaming him, until she understood: this is what he signed up for; soldiering is all he ever wanted to do.

Francy made a decision that if her husband was to be able to do what he was called and trained to do, she had to learn to support him fully. His mission had to become her own. She believed in what he was doing and she knew the only way he would ever be happy was for her to become adaptable. Not being a natural extrovert, she learned to go out right away, make new friends and get involved in the community. She settled in faster and experienced a whole new state and/or country, which became an exciting adventure—especially when running marathons in each state became a new goal.

Francy and Scott’s marriage is not one sided. They have learned to communicate about everything—knowing what to expect from each other. Scott puts family first and considers Fran’s thoughts, including when it comes to where the next move might be. Their marriage has come through the four stages of teamwork to an interdependent relationship—one where each party feels free to “act,” or perform, in the best interests of the team, and if the other responds wrongly, communication solves the problem [co-dependency “reacts,” never acts or responds positively].

Getting to the performing stage was not easy, but worth it, especially when the more difficult time hit—Scott’s mission to Iraq when child number three was on the way. Yet, as tough as this time was, God rewarded them openly, seeming to say, I am in your future. They prayed about this child, and Francy found she was pregnant the week Scott left.

When looking at our relationship with the Lord, do we identify ourselves with His mission?

Have we made the decision to make His mission our mission—putting aside selfish ambition? We have been commissioned by the Lord of hosts to fulfill His mission:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.—Matthew 28:18-20

The only way the Lord of hosts can fulfill His mission of releasing the captives (see Luke 4:18-19), making disciples, and teaching them is through us. Therefore, we have to get out of our comfort zone, place His interests above our own and go in His name—knowing He is in us, one with us.

The mature bride is performing sacred service

Jehovah Sabaoth means rendering sacred service as priests

Another meaning of ‘host,’ derived from the verb tsâbâ’, means to do sacred service as the ministry of the priests (Num. 4:23: 8:24; 1 Sam. 2:22).[2] It was the priests who took the first step into the Jordan River after they and all the people stood still to hear the words of the Lord. It was the priests who carried the ark of the covenant across the Jordan as the waters flowing downstream at flood stage stood up in a heap (see Joshua 4:13). It was the priests who stood firm in the middle of Jordan while all the people crossed over. It was the priests who blew the trumpets as they carried the ark around the soon-to-be crumbled walls of Jericho. On one special day, all of Israel finally crossed over into their Promised Land. On this day, all of Israel was prepared, armed, and ready to do battle in the land.

In one day, cadets of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, begin their four-year transformation from civilian kids to military officers. This first day is called “R” (Report) day. In July of plebe year, first year cadets begin their basic training. Their hair is shaved off and they are trained in military protocol by older cadets serving as cadre members. At the end of “R” day, parents are given a detailed drawing of all companies of soldiers so their son’s or daughter’s position can be determined as they come marching by.

Parents sit in the reviewing stand with the commandant. Everyone watches the four portals of Washington Hall that grace the perimeter of the marching “plain,” as four ranks of new cadets appear at once and merge into one long column. All cadets are divided into companies (ranks) of approximately thirty young men and women. When they arrive at the reviewing stand, all cadets’ heads turn in unison to face their commandant; then, in unison all heads turn forward again, and they continue to march around the plain.

Sacred means dedicated or set apart for service or worship of a deity, or devoted exclusively to one service or use—as cadets in training for military service. When they came in view of their commandant, they gave reverence to their leader by turning their heads in unison to face him, much like the geese turned in unison and flew directly into the “Son,” and united with the group high in the sky, or the reviewing stand “cloud of witnesses.”

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.—Hebrews 12:1-2 (emphasis mine)

On September 11, 2001, New York’s fire department’s chaplain priest was one of the first to step in for the rescue effort when the twin towers fell in New York City. He, along with 343 firefighters and policemen, lost their lives when they ran in while others ran out. The priest was the first of 292 whole bodies to be recovered—out of over 2,700 total who died. His was the first funeral service conducted at the sight where two airplanes hijacked by terrorists struck the towers.

Those who worked the recovery process asked, “God, where are you?” until they found an amphitheater-like opening with a huge metal cross inside. They called the place “God’s House” and talked about the cross from that day forward. They also felt God replied to them, “I’m right in the middle of it.” The cross, discovered on September 13, was their source of hope.

On September 11, 2001, God’s people transformed into soldiers fully dedicated to sacred service because they turned their heads, fixing their eyes on Jesus, to repent, worship and pray to the Lord of hosts saying, “We are your people, who are called by your name. We humble ourselves and come to pray and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways. We know You promise to hear from heaven, to forgive our sin and to heal our land” (from 2 Chron. 7:14). May it continue!

As any military officer or cadet in training, we are “brethren, consecrated and set apart for God, who share in the heavenly calling, thoughtfully and attentively consider[ing] Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest Whom we confessed as ours [when we embraced the Christian faith]” (Heb. 3:1 Amplified).


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[1] Zodiates, Key Word Study Bible, p. 1767.

[2] Ibid.

M10G What Does the Performing Stage of the Lord of hosts Look Like?

Here is an example of how the performing stage can be reached

A group of Christians in Arkansas City, Kansas, decided they wanted to start an individual affiliate with Habitat for Humanity to help families in their town to be home owners. Many people who joined the group thought they could start immediately to build a house, but it was not that easy. It took a lot of paperwork and research to get the application process completed and two efforts in presenting it to Habitat for approval. These forming and storming stages— not easily defined from each other—took two years.

For six months the group went no where. Finally Wayne Short, a retired plant operations manager with General Electric, took the lead from the official president and said “We will have an agenda at every meeting, and each committee will report their progress monthly.”

The norming stage took shape as each committee did their research and helped write their part of the application for their 401 3 C status for tax purposes.

The performing stage began before one house was built. The fundraising committee found start-up capital. The home selection committee took applications from qualifying families. The hard part was finding an electrician and plumber able and willing to donate time, but they did find them.

performing stage houses built

The result? Six houses were built in eight years—one house per year. With a $300.00 deposit, a family owned their house with a no-interest payment—less than their previous rent payment. Twenty-five children’s lives were impacted. After a family’s house was built, that family helped build the next and on and on. As revenue increases, the team will be able to build more than one house per year. All volunteers were impacted as they gave. Like the leader of the flock of geese, after the eight years Wayne passed leadership to the retired city manager and fell back, but he kept on building.

Faith was built and restored for all involved, especially the recipients. Rosene, the second homeowner partner, sent a letter to the group. She spent thirty-five years trusting and believing in the Lord, but her life spiraled downward as her marriage fell apart and divorce seemed the only option. Feeling like a failure and angry at God, one day on her porch, she poured her heart out—honestly facing her life with Him. “I want a sign! I want You to prove to me that You exist, that You really do hear me when I pray. If you can part the sea, You can give me a simple sign.”

Rosene expected a bolt of lighting, a rainbow or an angel and left it at that. About a month later, she received a phone call asking if she would be interested in being a candidate for the Habitat for Humanity organization. After her house was built, she wrote:

I worked side by side with the most wonderful people I have ever met in my life. . . God sent me not one, but a dozen or more angels—those everyday, hard working, unselfish, God-fearing people who were sent (I believe) to prove to me that there is still good in people and not everyone is asking “What’s in it for me?” I have a beautiful home to prove this, but far more important, my faith is restored and my soul is free once more.

WHAT DOES THE PERFORMING STAGE LOOK LIKE?

First three of seven dimensions of the military bride:

Jehovah Sabaoth always victorious

The military Bride is the great host of the “Lord of hosts.” The Amplified Bible gives an interesting interpretation of Psalm 68:11, “The Lord gives the word [of power]; the women who bear and publish (the news) are a great host.” The New American Standard Bible version also says women in this verse. The New International Version says company, which leaves no one out. The point is, women are taking on the role of John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus the first time, saying, “ Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matt. 3:2). God birthed His Son through a willing servant, Mary. He appeared to the seeking women first after His resurrection. Then and today, they are proclaiming He is alive and coming again—the men coming along beside them.

Chuck Pierce encourages women when he writes, “The Hebrew word for ‘host’ is tsaba or Sabaoth, which connotes a military group that is always victorious. Such a host should strike fear in the camp of the enemy. Imagine being marched upon by countless determined ‘shebears’ proclaiming victory with every step!”[1] These she-bears know who they are. They know the B-E-A-R facts of faith and have become determined warriors.

Jehovah Sabaoth Lord hosts performing

Hannah was one such warrior. She could bear no children “and she made a vow and said, ‘O Lord of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of Thy maidservant and remember me, and not forget Thy maidservant, but wilt give Thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head’” (1 Sam. 1:11 NASB).

Hannah called upon the Lord of hosts to fight for her. God heard her agony and gave her a son, Samuel, who changed history. Likewise, Michelle H. sees herself as a very ordinary woman, but her story as very extraordinary. Like Hannah in the Bible, The Lord of hosts fought for Michelle and her husband and brought them victory. They reached the performing stage.

The Lord of hosts brings Michelle H. to the performing stage

Michelle and her husband prayed about how to have a family. When an adoption opportunity came along, they jumped on it. The only thing is that they did not pray specifically about whether this particular child should be theirs. At the last minute, the mother changed her mind and gave the baby to someone else.

Devastated, and after more prayer and seeking God, they decided that in vitro fertilization was the right decision for them, but on their anniversary of December 28, Michelle received a phone call while she was at school. On December 24, a baby boy was born and they could adopt him. They would be able to pick him up right away—the Monday following Christmas when school was to resume, but God intervened with His plan—Joshua Caleb.

Five years later, Michelle and her husband decided to pursue their previous decision. The procedure worked the first time. Twins were born! Two beautiful daughters—Donna Coleen and Catherine Michelle.

Michelle’s story of how Jehovah-Sabaoth, the Lord of hosts—who fights for her and is always performing for her—does not stop there. She is still on the front lines of battle. After three years, she applied for a high school teaching job. The decision to go back to teaching was difficult, but her husband told her, “If God wants you there, he’ll open the door; if not, you won’t get it.”

Michelle applied for a computer technology job (her master’s degree), but was encouraged to apply for the newly open math position. As it turned out, daycare had two openings for her girls, and she was hired to teach Algebra 1 to at-risk children who don’t want to be in school. She did not know what to expect. Her first class was children with downs syndrome who were not ready for Algebra.

She and other teachers in her public high school met to pray and intercede for their students. The Lord told Michelle, “You need to serve all these kids just like the ones you served at church in the youth group. If you don’t care for them, who will? They need to know that somebody cares about them.”

Michelle started writing notes, “Thank you for your hard work.” She mailed them to their house. The students came up to her and said, “I got your note!” One student followed her all afternoon wanting her to read that note to him. He had never gotten a “good” note from anyone before.

Michelle put her faith on the front lines with her family and at work. Proclaiming victory with every step, she said, “I had to step out first.”

The military Bride is the mature bride performing on 100% commitment, not necessarily ability

The Navy Seals provide a training program called BUDS, “Basic Underwater Demolition School.” During “hell week,” the trainees get about four hours sleep in five days, which allows the trainers to determine the degree of the students’ commitment. Trainers don’t look for just the best in everything done during this time, but to see if each individual is putting out everything 100%. Complainers are not tolerated.

BUDS’ unofficial motto is: “The only easy day was yesterday!”

Rolf Garborg, founder of Successful Living, Inc. Christian book distribution network in 1966 said, “God is not fired up about our ability or inability, but about our availability.” He is looking for individuals willing to put in everything from their heart twenty-four hours per day.

The military Bride is the mature bride who is performing on intelligence from headquarters

 

Capt. Matt in performing stage of service
Capt. Matt with little girl that was taken for an Iraqi newspaper

Captain Matt’s job with the 101 Airborne Division was Army intelligence in Iraq. On July 22, 2003, in a regular phone call he said, “We don’t know how reliable our intelligence is, but we think we have Saddam and his sons cornered in Mosul. Please pray.”

Matt’s mother immediately asked for prayers of all the Christians with whom she worked. One hour later, it was announced on the radio that a fire fight rendered victory over the evil sons of Saddam in Mosul.

Likewise, our regular contact with the Lord of hosts will let us in on the intelligence of headquarters  (in heaven) ahead of time, and in the present—when we are 100% committed and make ourselves available to Him.

Linda B. was especially hurried to get on the road to see her grandchildren after work one day. When she got in her car, she found her mind confused and could not remember where she was going! She circled around the parking lot trying to remember what she was doing. She found herself at the local Wal-Mart, bought something she did not need, and ran into a young person on the way out. Conversation led to the reality of the individual’s desire to commit suicide. Linda spoke hope to her and, with the help of others she got involved from her church and community, pointed her to Jesus Christ. Linda’s prior commitment to the Lord put her in contact with the One who directed her steps to meet the need of that young person, and Linda was glad she was a part of a team that day.

Jehovah Sabaoth Lord of hosts performing

On another day, after a season of trusting God with her daughter and son-in-law to have a child, Linda watched her daughter walk by. When she saw her, she heard the Spirit’s voice, “Keri’s pregnant.”

“Keri’s pregnant?” Linda repeated out loud. “Thank you, Lord!”

Unknown to Linda, her son-in-law was standing behind her when she said those words. He told Keri; she went to the doctor and found the words to be true. When they called Grandma and Grandpa to make the announcement, Linda said, “I know.”

The mature military bride in battle has intelligence from headquarters: “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you” (Isa. 42:9).


[1] Pierce, “Women,” p. 16.

M10F Lord of hosts is Assembling His Military Bride

The military Bride is a great host performing in partnership with Jesus Christ here on earth, as well as when we get to heaven

God’s character name of Jehovah-Sabaoth [The Lord of hosts] demonstrates that His love has a soft side and a hard side—He woos and romances His Military Bride as opposed to being Supreme Commander of the universe.

In the book, Two Sides of Love, John Trent and Gary Smalley express the importance of understanding and creating a healthy balance between love’s hard and soft sides in our relationships. This chapter examines the more hard side of our companionship with the Lord of hosts—the military, yet loving, side of this amazing partnership and what it takes to arrive at the “performing stage” of maturity.

The Lord of hosts is assembling His military Bride

The Hebrew word tsâbâ’ (Sabaoth) for ‘host’ is derived from a verbal root which means to amass (an army or servants), to assemble, to muster (soldiers, 11 Kings 25:19; Jer. 52:25), to collect, to fight, to perform, to go forth to war, to wage war (Num. 31:7: Isa. 29:7, 8; 31:4. Zech. 14:12) to do military service.[1] The Supreme Commander has one military bride of many individuals divided by denominational walls. Until now, she has only been practicing her role in small denominational groups, but she will soon be giving the performance of her lifetime.

We will look at the big picture of how unity can be attained in order to get to this performing stage, what the military bride looks like at performing stage and how the walls between groups can come down—where they had not already done so.

What Does this Military Bride Look Like?

Lord of Hosts - what does the military bride look like? Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing Stages

 

The Bride is One Team Performing in Unity

One day, the Lord of hosts showed me what the military bride looked like when the walls come down. It happened on a clear, beautiful fall day in October, 1994. I had just finished taking a teamwork class taught by my husband Jim. He used the analogy of geese in flight to teach teamwork dynamics. I also learned that eagles are solitary, self-sufficient and strong, but that scientists discovered that geese have a 71% greater flying range than eagles. Why is this?

  • To fly from north to south and back again, geese need each other. Each goose depends upon the upward gust of air from the bird ahead to give his wings a push. The wings of the goose behind grab the air that causes another upward lift for the next bird behind.
  • The head goose will fall behind and take his place at the rear, while the next in line will apply his strength to take the lead.
  • Their “V” formation facilitates communication and allows the birds to maintain visual contact with each other while energy efficiency is doubled.
  • The honking of the geese encourages the lead goose that they are right behind him.
  • When one goose falls ill and out of line, two others stop their forward progress to stay with him until he is well again. PLUS, geese mate for life!

military bride geese

I was driving home to Arkansas City, Kansas, in my van filled with books from a day of servicing racks in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Halfway between Pawhuska and Ponca City, in the beautiful, rolling flint hills, suddenly, just outside my left driver’s window, I saw one lone V of about five geese flying a couple feet from me. I immediately pulled to the side of the road so I could watch. I hoped to see the head goose fall to the rear while another took his lead. My heart was pounding hard—another reason I knew it was the Holy Spirit getting my attention.

By the time I had stopped, the one group had crossed over to the right and met up with a large flock of geese in mid-air. None were in formation and going nowhere because they were flying in all directions. The outward perimeter of the hundred or so geese resembled the shape of a large coffee can in the sky. As they were joining together they bumped into each other, each squawking in loud protest. I repeated out loud what was happening so I could hear my own voice and hopefully remember what I saw.

Finally, it was as though each goose figured out which direction the other was going and one by one it started flying in the same direction. As long as the geese were struggling to fly in different directions and bumping into each other, the complete cylindrical group was at a standstill. Slowly, very slowly, one long continuous skein of geese began to form as one goose after another spiraled straight into the atmosphere—following a goose who took off as leader.

Just when I thought the geese would leave my range of vision, they leveled out, group after group falling into ranks—in one huge “V” with several, perfectly arranged, smaller v’s within—of about seven in each. It was the most amazing and beautiful sight I had ever seen!

I thought, they should be able to go a long way like this. But, so very soon they fell out of rank. From the opposite direction, a new flock of geese flew into view. I could not hear them, but I could see them squawking and honking at each other, just as though they knew each other.

Suddenly, both groups turned in unison and flew directly into the sun. At that moment, cars stopped to see what I was looking at, but unfortunately, the other drivers had missed it, and there was no way I could tell them what had just happened.

Blinded by the sun and filled with an incredible joy, I jumped into my van and took off. My thoughts went immediately to the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25. When the bridegroom arrived at midnight it was too late for the five foolish ones to buy oil for their lamps. Like the ones driving by, they had missed the opportunity of their lifetimes to go to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. It was then I knew what Jesus meant when He said, “Behold, I come quickly” (Rev. 3:11; appears six times in KJV Revelation).

Later, I discovered the verse that says, “But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief” (1 Thess. 5:4). Jesus tells us that two men will be in the field; one taken and the other left; two women will be grinding; one taken the other left. (see Matt. 24:40-41).

I knew I had just witnessed the Rapture where we will meet our loved ones, who have already died, in the air and then we will all turn to see Jesus face to face in the air:

We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him [the second group of geese]. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive, and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.—1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 (emphasis mine)

military bride at rapture

The Military Bride  Must Move Forward in the Four Stages of Teamwork

While witnessing this phenomenon, I was thinking about the four stages of teamwork that I had just learned in that class and how they relate to the Church and denominations. The purpose of the geese was to find a way all individual birds could rise high enough in the air to gain altitude needed to fly to their next landing place. For that to happen, they had to find unity by learning how to work together as one whole. The walls between them had to come down.

The stages of team dynamics can help us understand how this can happen if we have unity as our goal. Members have to learn how to work out personal differences, find strengths on which to build, balance commitments to the goal against demands of everyday jobs, and learn how to improve processes. In contrast, a team that fails to build relationships among its members will waste time on struggles for control and endless discussions that lead nowhere.

As a team matures, it will go through fairly predictable stages. As the Church sees herself as the Bride of Christ, and that Christ can only do His work through a mature bride, she will be willing to persevere through these four stages to her military hard side–through forming, storming, norming and performing.

Stage 1: Forming stage of the military Bride

This is the stage of transitioning from individual to group status, and of testing the leader’s guidance both formally and informally.

Forming includes feelings of excitement, anticipation, optimism, and pride in being chosen for the team; initial, tentative attachment to the team, suspicion, fear, and anxiety about the job ahead. The analogy of an orchestra helps to picture these stages. In this forming stage, there is great excitement in being chosen for the “performance.”

So much is going on to distract members’ attention in the beginning, the group accomplishes little. Most discussions or practices lead nowhere. It is difficult to identify relevant problems. This is normal, The most successful team spends more time in this stage which allows them to get to know each other better.

Stage 2: Storming  stage of the military Bride

This is the most difficult stage. The task seems more different and difficult than imagined; persons become testy, blameful and overzealous. Members argue about just what actions to take, and they become impatient about the lack of progress. They are inexperienced and try to rely solely on their own personal experience, resisting any need to rely on other member’s wisdom and/or experience.

The feelings of those in the storming stage include resistance to the task because it is different from approaches used in the past. Fluctuations arise in attitude about the group’s chances of success. They may argue even when they agree on the main issue, become defensive and compete, choose sides, have unrealistic expectations with disunity, tension and jealousy.

All the above leaves little energy for progression, but individuals are beginning to understand each other, just as the geese gained an understanding of each other and started flying in the same direction.

Our leader as the Lord of hosts, our Supreme Commander, can also be seen as the head conductor of an orchestra. This is a stage of starts and stops, that He initiates, as we practice for our big performance—a most frustrating experience. Just as it seems the music will flow uninterrupted, it happens again. Over and over, the same piece of music is practiced very slowly in order to get it just right. Practice is all a necessary part of the end product— the big picture.

Military bride of geese going no where
Military bride going no where. Storming and Norming stages.

Stage 3: Norming

Finally, team members come to accept each other’s individuality and their roles in the team. They are learning to work together. Emotional conflict reduces to a cooperative approach. In other words, the team realizes they just might make it.

A new ability arises when each person sees where their contribution fits. There is a relief that everything is going to work out. Attempts are made to avoid conflict. There is a sharing of personal problems and trust is strengthened. All have a common spirit and goal.

Team members are working out their differences and finally there is more time and energy to make significant progress. The task at hand becomes worth the time and effort it will take to be successful.

Members of an orchestra meet in small group settings according to instrument, or gifting, and help each other with the hard parts. Finally, when all members come together they make the most amazing music.

The Lord of hosts showed me what the military bride looked like when the walls come down. It happened on a clear, beautiful fall day in October, 1994. Click through to the video so I can tell you in person

Stage 4: Performing stage of the military Bride

In order to perform, the mature team has developed relationships and expectations of each other. They have discovered each others strengths and weaknesses, have accepted them and learned what their role is—where their seat is in the grand orchestra and who their neighbor is. They are playing in concert and giving a grand performance.

The team elicits these behaviors: constructive self-change, the ability to prevent or work through group problems and a close love and attachment to each other. The group is now one cohesive unit. One can tell when this stage is reached because a lot of work is accomplished. Progress is made. People want to be a part of this group and volunteer to fill the empty chairs.

 

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[1] Zodiates, Key Word Study Bible, p. 1767.

Lord of Hosts is assembling His Military Bride! CLICK though for VIDEO Divine Encounter #1 or 2

M10E My Valentine Day Story

What I Learned On Valentine’s Day

Jim was teaching at the community college in Arkansas City, south-central Kansas, close to the Oklahoma border, and I was church secretary after our fourth child Hank was born. Hank was five years younger than Matthew; Matt five years younger than Francy and two years between her and Kurt. It was soon evident I needed to begin my business/ministry so I could work my own hours from home. I loved being on the road servicing book racks. It brought many adventures – like my Valentine Day story.

Valentine day story

I figured I could service book racks on Saturdays to begin, so I sold my first account to Graves Drug store in town. Twenty-four more accounts in close-by towns followed easily after facing my fears, which was very difficult. My life-saver was repeating out loud 2 Timothy 1:7, from the Amplified: “God has not given me a spirit of timidity—of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear—but of power and of love and of calm and a well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” Soon, I found Zechariah 4:6 to be quicker to say and just as powerful: “Not by might, nor by my power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty.” Repeating these Scriptures brought peace and calmed my fears.

In all the places which agreed to put in Christian books, those sales were made on the first call. Store managers liked the family values they portrayed with service provided as a guaranteed sale at 25% discount. We middle-(wo)men distributors bought at 40% discount, making it necessary to have an abundance of accounts to be worthwhile. With the racks and home parties, I soon left the secretarial job. I absolutely loved my new adventure with Jesus. It was like He took my hand and directed every move. He so very subtly built my confidence.

Over the next seventeen years the twenty-five racks grew to fifty. Matt and Hank helped me price books with UPC stickers. Our garage converted to a bookstore on delivery day. A room off the garage with no windows, built for the previous owner’s paintings, doubled perfectly for bookshelves—no sunlight to fade the books. We had fun and I was able to buy my own van for delivery, but all the work was not without a price.

The 10,000 miles per year turned into 30,000; stress began to take its toll. My time with the Lord was compromised when I found myself leaving at 4:30 a.m. to get to Oklahoma City to have those racks serviced by the deadline of 10:00 a.m. Trips from Tulsa to Lawton, Oklahoma, Wichita Falls, Texas, and Boonville, Arkansas started to get to me—especially after two close calls on the highway.

I started to wake up and ask God what I was doing. A book in the Bible began to haunt me. The prophet Hosea was appalled at the idolatry of God’s people, idolatry he called adultery. God expressed His love to the people through Hosea’s life when, at God’s direction, he took a wife who was as unfaithful to him as Israel was to her God. She left Hosea and he bought her back. God told Hosea, “Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods . . . “(Hosea 3:1).

The verse that haunted me was 2:16, “In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’”

I meditated on that verse and asked the Lord, “What does this mean? Am I seeing You as my master? Have I gotten out of balance into the doing side of life in ‘possessing the land’ and left my goal of being? He so very quietly seemed to say, “Yes, I think so.”

“Then what does it mean that we will call You our husband? I understand the bride of Christ; I’ve always thought we will be that in heaven, but this seems to mean now, right? Does it mean I should ask You to be my husband rather than my master? . . . I know You have already

done all You could ever do for me, so I do that. I’m asking you.”

No response.

Until . . . Valentine’s Day

I called a friend of mine, who worked in a neighboring town, to meet me for lunch. She had recently gone through a divorce and needed encouragement. My van was loaded for servicing racks that Friday afternoon close by her work. My latest delivery of books contained a new one, Hugs for Encouragement. I arrived at the little café early to finish reading this book that I was going to give her. I’d started it and couldn’t put it down. I sat at a table where she would be sure to see me and continued to read.

Noon came and went and my friend did not show up. Oh well. I’m glad she forgot. I can finish this book. Without being able to pinpoint anything particular, all I can say is that the whole book convicted me of how I’d sought to “be encouraged” rather than to be an encourager. I made a vow right then to the Lord, “I will spend the rest of my life seeking to encourage, rather than to be encouraged.”

I thought, I guess I should have stayed home and invited my husband to have lunch with me since it’s Valentine’s Day.

“He’s right here!” The words were clear. Jesus is right . . . here . . . beside me!

“My arm is around your shoulders.” He spoke again. I could not move—afraid I would spoil the moment. I basked in his love unspeakable and full of glory.

After about an hour, I mustered the energy to leave. The cashier asked me, “Is everything all right?”

“Uh, hum,” is all I could say.

I had to forget the racks, drove home and parked in front of the house. I sat in the driver’s seat, still unable to move, my strength gone—until two hours later when the UPS man came with a delivery. Almost unable to get out of the van, I could not speak to him, but managed to sign for the book. I got back in the van, still basking in the love of Jesus . . . until the school bus dropped off the children. My adventure with Jesus was only beginning. My friend had been at the café and could not find me. Afterwards, these words kept going through my mind:

        Will you be my Valentine? Love, Jesus. I knew they were not for me alone.

Click here for RESOURCES where you can find a Hugs book similar to the one I was reading this day–under Devotionals.

MAKING IT PERSONAL – JEHOVAH SABAOTH LORD OF HOSTSBe my Valentine, Love, Jesus

 

M10D The Mature Bride Cannot Be Shaken

The prophet Haggai encouraged the children of Israel after they returned to Jerusalem over seventy years before. They were rebuilding the temple which had been destroyed when they were taken into Babylonian captivity. He reminded them of the words of the Lord:

“. . . Take courage,” declares the Lord, “and work; for I am with you,” says the Lord of hosts.

“As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!”

For thus says the Lord of hosts, “Once more in a little while, I am going to shake heavens and the earth, the seas also and the dry land.”—Haggai 2:4-6 NASB

 The Mature Bride Cannot be Shaken

Lord of hosts rock not shaken

Jo Anne Swezey was to find out personally just what being shaken meant. She experienced the Lord of hosts’ protection and abiding in her midst when an F4 tornado destroyed her home, her son’s house, and her mother’s home. Fifty-five homes in the small Kansas town of Franklin in 2003 were whisked away, including the post office. Only one person died.

When the tornado was approaching, Jo Anne prayed. Many times previously the tornados would change paths. This time, the Lord told her, “Leave!” She and her family left, but her eighty-eight-year-old mother chose to stay. She was found one block away so mangled paramedics would not allow them to see her. The interesting thing is that her mother insisted on being baptized the prior Easter Sunday.

When Jo Anne went back to pick up the pieces, she was flooded with peace. It was like God took over her body in which she could feel nothing—a very strange experience. While sifting through the rubble, songs poured through her heart. Songs sustained her in the night.

“I would be going crazy!” a friend told her. People cried when they talked with her.

“So would I if it were my strength. Don’t cry.”

“There’s such a Presence and sweetness as you speak,” they all told her.

Later, going back to the place where her house used to be, Jo Anne looked at the ragged trunks of the once beautiful huge trees that provided shade for her yard. She thought, are they going to die?

She could not believe her eyes, though, as she saw green sprouts growing from the trunks.

She heard the Spirit of God say, “The Life is in the root.”

She knew the tree never depended upon the branches for life and growth, but now it was so plain to her. She felt a burden lift as God revealed she had been striving to produce that Life. It’s all Him, she thought.

Jo Anne’s whole life is one of patiently endured bitter trials while not shaken

How to not be shaken when your world is shaking. Jo Anne Swezey was to find out personally just what being shaken meant. She experienced the Lord of hosts’ protection and abiding in her midst when an F4 tornado...

.She overcame each trial with Jesus by her side. Through the process, God overturned her timid nature into boldness for Christ.

She was raised in a moral, but non-Christian home. As a young nurse at twenty-one years of age, she was caring for a man one night. No windows were open, but she felt a breeze come in the room. When she looked to see where it was coming from, Jesus was standing near the bed with his right hand extended toward her. Looking deeply into her eyes He spoke gently yet with authority, saying, “Follow me.” And he left.

After that, she tried to read her Bible but could never understand it; then, she went to a conference led by Frances and Charles Hunter. She believed Frances when she said, “You need to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”

Jo Anne went to the front of the room to receive the Holy Spirit that night, and realized afterwards that things were different. She could understand her Bible and would read it until the wee hours of the morning—with an unquenchable thirst.

Jo Anne married a man named Walt and they had four sons and one daughter; one son was born diabetic and another was born with birth defects which were destroying his kidneys. In addition, Jo Anne developed multiple sclerosis—the fast growing type. Doctors told her she would soon be bedfast. A lady asked her, “Have you asked God to heal you?”

“I can’t say that I have. Why would I do that?” Her medical background caused her to look only to doctors.

“Who is going to take care of you and your children when you are bedfast and gone?”

Jo Anne thought about it and decided that maybe it would be a good idea to ask. She simply prayed, “God, I would really appreciate it if you would heal me so my husband will not have to take care of me and our children.”

One day at a time, slowly and amazingly she grew stronger. Her vision returned and her speech became plainer until she could walk unaided. She asked the doctor if her son with kidney problems would live to be a grown man. The doctor said he would not, so she gave her son and other children to the Lord—trusting God with them. Five years later, the son’s kidneys fully functioned, when medically speaking, kidneys do not regenerate. The doctor said, “Someone higher than I had a hand in this.”

The other son with the diabetes developed holes in the retinas of his eyes. Sometime later, the doctor said, “There are no holes in your son’s retinas!”

With each trial in her life, Jo Anne felt lighter and became a better person. She said, “It was like breaking an alabaster vial of costly perfume so it could flow freely” (see Matt. 26:7). Before the tornado, she would get discouraged about this and that. Since the tornado, eternal joy fills her soul as she sings, “I shall not be moved. In His love and favor, I shall not be moved.”

After the move, Jo Anne was to discover even more how much the Spirit of the Lord of hosts was in her midst. She lamented over the loss of her valued and rare study books that were no longer being published. While sorting through the recovered articles, one by one, she found them; other people had snatched them up.

The mature bride is legally on the throne – unshaken

Lord of hosts Jehovah Sabaoth on throne with mature bride

Today, Jo Anne has a booklet she wrote, Praying with Power, in circulation among 10,000 Christians in India. She revised that booklet into a small book containing more visions and stories with Scripture study of victorious living. It is a concise and thorough book on praying with authority—Born to Triumph.

One excerpt from it tells of a vision the Lord gave her:

We must remember that there is a time for praying and a time for asserting our authority. One evening as I was praying about a prolonged physical problem, I suddenly found myself standing before Jesus seated on his throne. As I continued praying, he said nothing and motioned to someone on his right. Three angels came forward carrying a beautiful, full-length ermine robe that appeared to be heavy, and they placed it around my shoulders. Without a word, Jesus leaned forward and handed me a silver scepter that had a small globe of the earth on one end, signifying my royal authority on earth. I was speechless! Yet the vision wasn’t for me only; it was a reminder to all Christians that there are times when we must exercise our authority if situations are going to change.

Jo Anne decided to speak directly to doors of opportunity to open for her, visualizing the scepter in her hand. Within hours, she received phone calls to speak. One opportunity was to share with a small group of women—to impart to them what she had learned. At this writing in 2007, miraculous signs and wonders are happening as she teaches God’s Word. Women are being healed and delivered of emotional, mental and physical problems passed from one generation in their family to the next.

What Jo did in speaking to her mountain (see Matt. 17:20), is no different than what Phyllis Croat did when her husband, Senator Michael Croat, died of a heart attack. She told the medical personnel, “Thank you; I appreciate all you have done, but you don’t have the final word over my husband.” She took hold of both his ankles and spoke these words, “Michael, come back in your body.” The heart monitor resumed its beat. She knew her royal authority. Both women demonstrate that death and life are in the power of the tongue (see Prov. 18:21).

Jo Anne seized her royal authority- unshaken, and is witnessing what the disciples of Jesus did after He left them in the world. “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by signs that accompanied it” (Mark 16:19-20 emphasis mine).

God gave Jo Anne another vision (one of many) of dark rain clouds hanging very low in the sky, ready to burst and release healing in the streets of the United States. She is a part of releasing those healing streams to others, just as Barbara and Pat are, because they know who they are—the mature bride—legally on the throne with Jesus Christ right now.

In Destined for the Throne, Billheimer further writes, “The Church, through her resurrection and ascension with Christ, is already legally on the throne.”[1] “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).We don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to be seated with Him. We are right now—with a scepter in our hand. Are we using it?

“God will not go over the Church’s head to do things in spite of her, because this would abort His plan to bring her to full maturity in the Son. He will therefore do nothing without her . . . God could put Satan completely away, but He has chosen to use him to give the Church training in overcoming”[2]—in order to reign with Jehovah-Sabaoth [The Lord of hosts] as our bridegroom, husband, Supreme Commander, King and Eternal Companion.

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[1] Billheimer, Destined for the Throne, p. 16.

[2] Ibid. p. 17.

M10C Endured Bitterness: How Pat Learned to Overcome Fear

Pat  Jessee overcame emotional bondage – endured bitterness

endured bitterness and emotional bondage overcome

For Pat, acquiring an unwavering faith through endured bitterness meant overcoming emotional bondage with lack of trust and a fear of what people thought about her. She had an inability many times to eat anything except oatmeal, rice, fish or beans due to allergic reactions. Pat sought the Lord by reading her Bible and going to a Christian conference. As she read 2 Kings 20, where God told Isaiah to say to King Hezekiah, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you” (2 Kings 20:5), she felt God had healed her. During the ministry time, the Lord brought up a memory of her mother ironing and not speaking to Pat because she was mad at her about something. It was a repeated thing that brought feelings of rejection. Tears flowed as healing entered.

After the conference, Barbara Watts called Pat and said, “Your food problem is a hidden anorexia. You’re healed.” Pat wanted to eat. She was not trying to starve herself, but because of self-hate, her body was rejecting food in the form of food allergies. From that moment, the worst of the problems with food were over. Today, she can eat anything unless she gets too stressed.

About this same time, Pat went through a mid-life crisis where she felt like a failure with no purpose in her life. Mothering days were over and she stopped painting her beautiful pictures because no one was buying her paintings. The words of a friend spoke to her heart: “God put wild flowers on the side of the mountain nobody ever sees.”

That spoke volumes to her, if God does that, then my paintings are valuable to Him, even if I never sell another.

endured bitterness mark of mature bride
Image of a painting by Pat Jessee: Jesus and His Bride www.patjesseecreations.com

Pat started painting again. She went back to school and got a degree in Interior Design. God gave her three dreams to go to school; it gave her a safe place to succeed and not fail. God built confidence in her this way, but especially through His Word. Every day, she read Psalm 139:13-14 until she grew to believe God truly did love her: “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Pat also overcame a mitral valve prolapse which an echocardiogram had revealed was there. After a friend prayed for her, she felt heat and it was gone! During prayer at a conference, her jaw moved forward to where the dentist said it should be. Pat proclaims, “You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). She also claims for herself that “everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:4-5).

Emotional healing comes before physical healing

During her battle, after she was initially healed, the symptoms returned—back to rice and oatmeal. One day, while driving in her car, she prayed, “Lord, what’s going on? Why can’t I get to the bottom of why my healing has not been permanent?”

God’s reply was a vision. She saw him on the cross as He said, “I died for you. Even in my weakness, I conquered on the cross.” She pulled to the side of the road because she felt the heaviness of the Holy Spirit—a good feeling; then, heat in her stomach—His touch again.

God opened her eyes to see her deceased mother discovering her own mother dead. Pat immediately had an understanding of the fear that had consumed her mother—fear of the same thing happening to her. Her mother was always tense and worrisome, unable to trust, and her treatment of Pat caused feelings of rejection with the inability to trust, as well. The Lord spoke to Pat’s heart, I took your mother out of a poor immigrant background, and you brought her to the Lord.

Endured bitterness overcome

How Pat Learned she was in bondage to FEAR: A Story of endured Bitterness to Freedom!

Having dealt with the cause of her physical problems, Pat is now able to trust. She does not fear what people think of her. She walks free in many areas of her life and has a boldness to share Jesus as God uses her to minister to others. Pat is also one of the women who travel with Barbara to fast and pray.

God has blessed her painting and uses it for His glory in the pictures, murals and banners she paints of “who God is.”

One of the best things that happened to Pat was receiving a note written to her about an exposed nut–that endured bitterness. The friend saw how Pat was and what she would become—a strong teacher, gifted and powerful, who previously had been like a nut—half hidden under a shell so no one could see the valuable protein and oils inside. She wrote:

What could it do? It was worn out with introspection and could not escape from its shell. As long as no one could partake of its full nutritional value, it would shrivel up and die. It had to escape. So what could this poor nut do? It decided to be still and surrender its case to the Lord who made it in the first place. You take up my cause.

Jesus came and Pat invited him to stay. This nut prayed to God and said, “Lord you made me with so many hidden values and potentials and none have reached their full potential.”

I myself saw this hidden nut. The Lord caused a bird to come along and pick at the shell, until it was fully removed. The nut was exposed; and, so we all looked, but we didn’t see just Pat alone. The whole room was filled with a picture book of the released joy, peace, confidence, and productivity of a Pat who was teaching others the way.

Openly and freely, without shame and excess baggage from her past, Pat says, “I was that nut.” “Oh Lord of hosts, How blessed is the [wo]man who trusts in Thee!” (Ps. 84:12).

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Emotional Healing comes Before Physical Healing

M10B What Does the Mature Bride Look Like?

The mature Bride has an unwavering faith—toughened by hardship and endured bitterness

Chuck Pierce, vice president of Global Harvest Ministries and affiliated with the World Prayer Center, addresses endured bitterness of the mature bride. He says, “Esther 2:9-13 explains that 12 months of preparation were necessary before a woman could be presented to the king. That preparation consisted of two phases, one in which oil of myrrh was used and one in which beautiful perfumes were applied.

“The myrrh represented endured bitterness that ultimately produced a beautiful fragrance. After six months of wearing oil of myrrh, the woman was then given perfumes and other beautifiers that would enhance her appeal to the king.

“After this extensive preparation, Esther appeared before the king and found favor in his sight. Soon she was exalted to the royal position of queen.”[1] We will be exalted to this position beside Jesus on His throne as queen, the mature bride—if we overcome through endurance. Barbara Watts endured great bitterness.

Mature bride: Jehovah Sabaoth Lord of hosts

Barbara Watts as an im mature bride

One of Barbara Watt’s earliest and very special memories is a picture of herself when she was eight years old. She was standing in a beautiful cathedral-like setting with the blessed sacraments of the Lord all around—her first communion. In the front row of children, she was dressed in a beautiful little girl’s bridal outfit, with a matching white veil and little white shoes and socks, with her brown hair cascading around her shoulders.

Even though Barbara was raised in church to know about God, she did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When thirty-three years old, she learned what true communion with the Lord was. She found a church with a women’s group who studied the Bible. The women talked about Jesus as though they knew him. The church soon had revival services which she went to on a Wednesday night. That evening she sensed Jesus coming up behind her and saying, “I AM the One you’ve been looking for.”

Barbara remembers that night as something like an explosion. All the Scriptures, the teachings, and the hymns she learned over the years seemed to suddenly erupt in her heart and mind, and an incredible flood of realization came bursting through—crumbling the wall that kept her from knowing the blessings of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit descended upon her and she knew in a moment’s time that Jesus was real. At the close of the service at invitation time, she bounded to the front and exclaimed what Jesus had just done for her.

The next day, Barbara ran all over town to her friends and family telling them, “Jesus is alive. He is a real Person!” Everywhere she went, she witnessed. She told them, “I will never let go of Jesus’ hand, no matter what happens.” She would soon find out what that meant.

The following year, she led her son and daughter to accept Jesus and many family and friends. The Holy Spirit led her from one divine appointment to another. One day, she stopped at a convenience store and her heart ached when she saw a tall, muscular man with tattoos all over his arms leaning on the building and just staring out into space. When she walked out, he was still there. The Lord spoke to her, “Tell him I love him and that everything’s going to be all right.”

“Lord, are you sure you want me to talk with this man?” Her heart started beating hard.

“Yes,” He replied.

Barbara obeyed, walked up to the man and said, “I know you might think this very strange, but I am a Christian and Jesus just spoke to my heart and told me to tell you that He loves you and everything is going to be okay and to just trust Him.”

All of a sudden, this big, burly man hung his head and cried; then he looked at Barbara and said, “Thank you so much.”

Barbara walked from one divine appointment to another which she told her husband Jerry about; he still did not know the Lord. He saw many changes in her, though, especially when God taught her to treat him “as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). She hated to make his lunches for work, but she began to put all his favorite things on them and wrote on a napkin, “I love you.” She continued to praise the Lord and to thank Him daily for Jerry’s salvation.

Barbara’s endured bitterness begins

Barbara Watts' incredible story of healing from multiple sclerosis--what it has to do with becoming the mature bride of Christ through endured bitternesss.

The day arrived when she ran into opposition to her witness. She and Jerry were at a restaurant for dinner with their friends. As usual, Barbara was witnessing to Jerry’s buddy, when a stroke-type thing hit her. She lost her speech as one hand flew up. She pulled it down with the other hand as tremors racked her body; however, peace consumed her as she knew God was still in her midst.

Her speech eventually returned; then, another stroke-like feeling. Her feet would only let her scoot to the car. Jerry wanted to take her to the hospital, but she wanted to go home first.

By the time they arrived at the house, Jerry had to carry her. While he called the hospital and doctor, Barbara, lying on the couch, heard a voice that filled her with fear, “You are going to die!”

She asked their friends, who had followed them home, to get her Bible. It fell open to Psalm 118:7, “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.”

After many tests and weeks in the hospital, the diagnosis was multiple sclerosis. From there, her condition worsened and would get better. She was in and out of an electric wheelchair, a walker, crutches, and a cane to totally bedridden. The disease, affecting the central nervous system, caused migraines, extreme hot and cold episodes, and pain-like crippling arthritis. It felt as though someone was inside her body—shaking it for all its worth.

One day, Jerry and their children were watching television. Barbara was in bed—numb. She could have called for help but did not feel she wanted to. She wanted to get in there on her own, so she slid out of bed—fell on her belly and scooted down the hallway. When Jerry saw her, he jumped up and ran to her. Shortly after that, he accepted the Lord when he realized he could no longer bear this in his own strength.

Husband and wife become the mature bride together

Barbara mature bride healed
Image of a painting by Pat Jessee: Rise Up and Walk, of Barbara Watts. www.patjesseecreations.com

Together, Jerry and Barbara trusted the Lord for her healing. She discovered 3 John, verse 2 in the Amplified Bible, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers.” This was confirmation that God wanted her to be healed. They waited, hoped and expected the Lord to intervene (see Ps. 27:13-14).

Finally, one very cold Sunday arrived. The family had not planned to go to church, but to listen to the service instead; cold was Barbara’s enemy. Cold makes multiple sclerosis flare up uncontrollably, but she heard a voice, “Go to church.” Recognizing the Lord’s voice, she called friends to pick her up.

Using her cane, she got to her handicap class in the sanctuary. Within five minutes, the affliction hit her bladder, and she had to go to the restroom. That happened five or six more times until she lost control of her whole body and could not stand. A friend loaned Barbara his own wheelchair as the service was about to begin.

Returning from the restroom the last time, Barbara, with her girlfriend, Jonnie, rolling her in the wheelchair, saw that the sanctuary doors were shut.

“Barbara, what do you want to do? I can get some help and get you to the car.”

War attacked her mind and body: “GO HOME . . . STAY . . . GO HOME . . .!” Tremors grew so strong that the wheelchair shook. A migraine hit her as her throat began to close.

“Open the doors, I’m going through!” Barbara finally said.

While sitting in the back of the church by Jonnie, she sensed the presence of the Lord. Many began to move from their pews to go forward. Barbara felt compelled to “go forth.” She said to Jonnie, “Get me out of this wheelchair.”

“Barbara, you can’t stand up.”

“I don’t care. Get me out of this wheelchair.”

Jonnie lifted her up and set her down on the floor. Barbara lifted her trembling hand and sobbed, “Jesus I love you. Jesus I love you.”

It was as if liquid love poured all over her . . . she heard the Lord’s voice, “My child, stand up.”

“I can’t. You know I can’t?”

“My child, stand up,” the second time.

“Lord, please help me.”

“My child, stand up,” the third time.

Finally, Barbara put faith into action and lifted her shoulders. At that instant, the power of God hit her head, went through her body, and raised her to her feet, healing her instantly. She ran from the back of the church, unclasping the hands of the people who were singing, “There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit in This Place.” From the pulpit, she declared what had just happened—in a church with a history of not believing in divine healing—and for an incurable disease.

Barbara felt God had a certain date set for manifesting her healing, although Jesus paid for it with His blood so many years ago. During her illness, she had been given drama tapes that she acted out with her fingers. The Lord now brought even more tapes to her. She had told Him that when she could use her feet again, she would use them for His glory.

Barbara as the mature bride

the mature bride living in powerOne of the most compelling dramatizations Barbara performs is of the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years (see Mark 5:25-34). With a dark cloak wrapped around her, she struggles down the isle to the front of the room. The Lord allows her to feel what that woman felt many years ago. More amazingly, her face becomes contorted as though she was the woman herself. When she arrives at the front where Jesus is standing and touches the hem of His garment, she demonstrates how His power rushed through her body, and He transforms her into a beautiful bride, with a pure dazzling white wedding gown on.

Dressed in her wedding garment and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Barbara moves, as the mature bride of Christ, to hurting individuals in the audience who are spiritually or physically bound. She speaks words of God’s wisdom and knowledge to them and prays for them. Before any presentation, she and other women stay the night before to fast, worship, and to pray and praise the Lord before the meeting. The Lord always shows up in His power, for they believe the evil one is overcome by the word of their testimony (Rev. 12: 11) and that “the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (1 Corinthians 4:20).

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What Does the Mature Bride of Christ Look Like?

[1] Chuck Pierce, “Women Transforming the World,” SpiritLed Woman, April/May 2000, p. 17.