Tag Archives: Mature Bride

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.

Yellow cloud with text: God ie Jehovah Sabaoth, The 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

Military wedding couple with text overlay: Healed of Multiple Sclerosis and the mature military brideThe 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.

 

 

M10A Lord of hosts [Jehovah Sabaoth]

For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His Name; the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth He is called.—Isaiah 54:5 Amplified

Your Maker Is Your Husband: Lord of hosts is His Name

Lord of hosts maker is husbandThis whole Bible study explores twelve of the more prominent attributes of God that help us understand who He is. This one module addresses twelve attributes the Church must possess if she is to overcome and be given the “right to sit with [Jesus] on [His] throne, just as [He] overcame and sat down with [His] Father on his throne” (Rev. 3:21).

The Bible tells us “Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name” (Isa. 54:5). If He is our husband, then we must be His wife who will share His throne. Paul Billheimer writes in his book, Destined for the Throne, “The human race was created in the image and likeness of God for one purpose: to provide an eternal companion for the Son. After the fall and promise of redemption through the promised Messiah, Israel was born and nurtured in order to bring in the Messiah. And the Messiah came for one intent and only one: to give birth to His Church [believers] thus to obtain His Bride. The Church, then—the called-out body of redeemed humankind—turns out to be the central object, the goal, not only of mundane history but of all that God has been doing in all realms, from all eternity.”[1]

“From this it is implicit that a godly ‘romance’ is at the heart of the universe and is the key to all existence. From all eternity God purposed that at some time in the future His Son should have an Eternal Companion, described by John the Revelator as “the bride, the Lamb’s wife”[2] (See Rev. 21:9). We will be His Eternal Companion. In this module we will use the term bride—from the female point of view. The bride defined in Webster’s is a woman just married or about to be married; bridegroom defined the same way.

Sometime in the near future Jesus will come for His mature Bride. He does not want to marry an immature child, so He is willing to wait until she grows up. He is looking for those who have learned to overcome in His strength and power; thus, expressing His love— becoming as He is in this world.

This Bride exhibits an unshakable faith and determination as fulltime encouragers who worship and praise Him. He is looking for totally committed persons willing to spend time to know His mind through His Word. He is looking for—in the same persons—those who have dropped all excess baggage so they can fight the battles in the Promised Land Plan, and those whose trust—in Him and for one another—has matured. He is looking for those who have learned to respond rather than react, who communicate with Him about absolutely everything—including money—never trying to hide anything from Him. They cannot anyway. Their hearts are exposed so His love can flow through His royal red blood in them, reaching out to others.

Lord of hosts is looking for people who know who and what they are

Lord of hosts assembling troopsOur Heavenly Father, as Jehovah-Sabaoth, is looking for men and women who have learned to face where they came from so they can see where they are going in an interdependent relationship [marriage partnership] with His Son, Jesus Christ, right now on this earth. In other words, they know who they are—one with Jesus. Shortly before Jesus was crucified He prayed to His Father for his disciples and all future believers:

All I have is yours, and all you have is mine . . . I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one . . . . My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.—John 17:10-11, 20-21

This prayer of Jesus is no less than the traditional marriage pronouncement a minister gives the bride and groom after they have made their covenant vows of commitment. He says to them from Matthew 19:6, “‘[You] are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore, God has joined together, let man not separate’” (NASB). We have been made one in Jesus who was one in His Father through the Holy Spirit. He has given us His name in holy matrimony and is responsible for us, protecting us through the power of His name. He bought us for Himself with a great price by dying for us. He put a ring on our finger—a seal on our foreheads—“having this seal[3] the Lord knows those who are His” (2 Tim. 2:19; see also Rev. 9:4).

What does this mature bride look like who is still in the world—who proudly wears His ring and identifies with His name so that the world may believe? Three women, Barbara Watts, Pat Jessee, and Jo Anne Swezey, exhibit all the twelve attributes of the mature Bride. Although their stories are told in this chapter, it does not take away from the significance of other stories in this book. All are fully committed overcomers and reflect these values as well. These three women’s testimonies possess certain qualities in a more pronounced and easily discernable manner. However, before we look more specifically at the Bride, we need to understand just who Jehovah-Sabaoth is—the Lord of hosts.

Lord of hosts commander entire universe
Image of a painting by Pat Jessee: Out of the Darkness Into the Light: www.patjesseecreations.com

Who is Jehovah Sabaoth [Lord or hosts]?

  • Lord of hosts is husband to Israel and to us—as adopted Gentile believers. The Hebrew word for husband (bâal) means – “to be master, to rule, possess, marry, to be married, to be taken as a wife.” This is a verb, occurring more than 100 times in the O.T. God is the husband to Israel (see Isa. 54:5, Jer. 3:14, Jer. 31:32, and Mal 2:ll). The land of Israel is “married” (bâal) to Jehovah in the Book of Isaiah (see Isa. 62:4). This is similar to the relationship between Christ as husband of His people, known as the ekklesia (Eph. 5:21, “be subject to one another in the fear of Christ”). There is a covenantal tie of love and loyalty between God and His people. He has dominion over us (see Isa. 62:4).[4]
  • Lord of hosts is our bridegroom. Matthew, Chapter 25, tells the parable of the ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet their bridegroom. Five of the maidens’ lamps went out and they wanted the other five to give them their oil. They were told to go purchase their own. “And while they were going away to make their own purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut” (Matt. 25:10). When the five finally arrived and banged on the door to get in, the bridegroom said, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you” (vs. 12).Jehovah Sabaoth always victorious
  • Lord of hosts is Supreme Commander of Israel and the universe—ready to intervene. Host means, tsâbâ’, “The basic meaning is service done for a superior, usually military service . . . . Although the title of tsâbâ’ had military overtones, it pointed directly to Jehovah’s rulership over the entire universe. He stands ready to intervene for His people at any moment.”[5] The Lord of hosts took David from among the sheep to rule over His people Israel (see 2 Sam. 7: 8). He did this by working through David who killed the giant Goliath saying, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted” (1 Sam. 17:45 NASB); thus, the Lord of hosts intervened for Israel in defeating the Philistines through one willing vessel—David. Psalm 110:3 speaks of people who will volunteer freely in the day of His power—as in military service of the Lord.
  • He is the King of Glory. Psalm 24 is a beautiful picture of the Lord of hosts as mighty in battle. Who can stand before Him? Only those who have clean hands and a pure heart, who have not lifted themselves up to what is false. Lift up your heads, so the King of glory may come in. “Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory” (Ps. 24:10 NASB).

The queen, who will share the King’s throne and His glory, has faced Truth and is living before Him with clean hands and a pure heart, right now, along with those who have already gone before.


[1] Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne (Minneapolis, Bethany House, 1975) p. 22.

[2] Ibid. p. 23.

[3] In the Greek Dictionary of the New Testament found in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, seal means “to stamp for security and preservation; impressed as a mark of privacy, or genuineness,” p. 70.

[4] Spiros Zodiates, Th.D., Executive Editor, The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, (AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN 1990) p. 1716.

[5] Ibid. p. 1767.