PORTRAIT OF THE BRIDE
Perhaps a woman is most beautiful as a bride! But have you ever met a gentleman and an impression was made which, when you met his wife or when he chose a bride and you met her, your impression or image of him totally
changed? Why or how could that affect your image of him because of who she was-or her appearance, etc.? Because you saw a different view of him. Wives reveal the character of their husbands. She projects his likes – traits – what he admires – she is someone with whom he can relate! To have a good relationship, the two must relate – they must have a lot in common. What characteristics did your husband admire so much that he chose you?
God has waited patiently for the church, His Bride, to so perfectly relate to Him, His cause, His purpose, His Person, His Spirit, His love, so that the world can see Him through her and glorify Him! His Bride is so much a part of Him that she is called His Body on earth!
I want to be a part of that body – one body – His Bride – the church – not Brides or Churches as being many. As the family structure projects the church structure God’s perfect plan calls for one wife – one church.
How does He choose His Bride out of the millions in this world? Of course, as was stated, He chooses those to whom He can relate. When we say “He” what do we mean? If we can relate to Truth, Light, love, goodness, purity, honesty, peace, etc., we can relate to God. That is what we love when we say that we love God!
Since God has not changed nor ever will, we can review the women He chose to use as special vessels to see characteristics God admires (can relate to). I quickly thought of a few very special ones that had very different backgrounds, very different situations – thousands of years apart. Yet in my search I was rather surprised at the similitude of basic characteristics.
Let us analyze some outstanding women used of God. I’m interested because I believe He is requiring the same spirit and attitude in 1980. Lord let there be more Hannahs, Annas, Rebekahs, Ruths, and the “Three Marys”.
HANNAH – refused to be barren or tormented (I Samuel 1:6-11). She had faith, was fearless, fervent in spirit, fruitful – not afraid to sacrifice, or make commitment – she found favour/grace in His sight, (vs. 18, 19, 22). Compare Hannah’s prayer and praise with Mary’s.
ANNA – (Luke 2:36). Age does not disqualify you from being useful to God. Anna lost her husband in death, was a widow for 84 years, but attracted the attention of God (obtained great favor,) so much that He calls attention to her commitment and service – and He richly rewarded her by singling her out for a “once in the world” experience. She came in at the exact right time, to witness the presentation (His dedication ceremony). Then she shared it with everyone who looked for redemption in Jerusalem – Anna, a handmaid of the Lord, who chose not to grieve her wasted years away over what “could have been” but to make “very precious minute count for God’s cause. She departed not from the temple but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. This encouraged faithfulness in others, she was called a prophetess because she spoke of great things to come according to the scriptures.
RUTH – (Ruth l:l4) Respect, love and loyalty – made up her mind (because of love and faith for Naomi) made total commitment (Her family ancestors were descendants of Lot through incest – Moabites) “. . . steadfastly determined
to go . . .” Ruth 1:16-17. She desired to glean, humbly asked – humble attitude – (found grace), faithful laborer (2:17) made herself available because she submitted herself to her Mother-in-law in obedience (3:5).
REBEKAH – (Genesis 24:15). “. . . she served a servant”. Her traits/characteristics were; very fair (God beatifies the meek), sensitive to the spirit, servant attitude (serves not for reward), would go the extra mile (servant requested a “little” water – she watered the camels also). She had whole hearted enthusiasm – hastened, ran. She was humble – vs. 55, 57, 58, 64, 67, a blessing to her husband (blessed and honored by husband Gen. 25:5-21), and had developed a very personal relationship with God (Gen. 25:22, 23).
THE THREE MARYS – In studying the backgrounds of these outstanding women, we begin with three totally different portraits. Mary, the mother of Jesus, so totally pure, so sensitive to the realm of the Spirit . . . Mary, the
condemned, an adulteress . . . and Mary, possessed and motivated by evil spirits . . , such contrasts! But as they submit to God’s will and purpose the love of God begins blending the vessels with the will of the Potter. So
the camera must refocus, finally projecting as it were, one picture of serene beauty. “Their” image becoming “His” image!!!
It was rather exciting to discover one outstanding, remarkable, characteristic. A basic ingredient was found in each woman who was used as a special vessel by God – “a servant spirit”. (Luke 1:38)”…Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word…” (study the characteristics of a servant). Let us purpose to squeeze ours the mold – God’s perfect portrait of His Bride! (I Peter 3:4) Paul admonishes us to “…put ye on the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit . . .” a meek spirit (a servant spirit) weighs heavily on God’s scales of values.
You may say “I’m nobody great” – but it makes no difference who you are. You can be somebody special with Jesus!!! “. . . she hath made herself ready…” How? By conforming to His image- “… we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is . . .”
How intense is your love affair with Jesus? Do you adore Him, stand in awe and wonder in His Presence? Do you worship Him?! If we really love Him, we are thrilled to respond to His beckoning call – we are ready to give of ourselves for His glory – it is our delight to serve Him.
“How much would I give Jesus,
How much of self would I deny,
How much would I give Jesus;
He gave His all, He gave His all,
He died . . .”
There is no way I can serve Him apart from serving His image and remember… a servant or handmaid serves whether thanked or scolded…
But He will not allow us to serve always…Joseph will not be confined to the prison house indefinitely! The poor little Shulammite (Song of Solomon 6:l3amp.) will one day stand by His side to be crowned with Him . . . serene in her beauty, arrayed in spotless white, reigning majestically in honor, power and glory forever and ever Amen !!!
BLAME IT ON LOVE
It is true…”Love is a many-splendored thing.”
Because it is comparable to the sun… it’s brilliant rays project its warmth in such indescribable proportions that even the planet earth cannot retrain it… Indeed after it gently embraces the four continents, the swift wings of light carry its influence into God’s vast universe “giving out” life preserving substance. So consistently and freely providing elements essential to life, with limitless sharing… and yet with unconquerable authority, it steadfastly defies control.
It has been described as the highest degree of tolerance and yet love is the greatest disciplinarian.
There we have it-the magic mythical balance of limitless sacrifice combined with the strongest motivating force in the universe.
This is what we, as wives of the Ministry, need…and yet none of us can produce it! That brings us to the vital key: the developing of “Love Relationships”…
Any effort to produce (love) mechanically is easily discerned and recognizable. Furthermore it “breaks down” under severe trials and pressure.
But the origin and source of genuine love is “lovingly” accessible. God is love and His love is “shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.” The only possible way that I can possess and manifest the fruit most necessary to my calling and position is to walk after His Spirit. And this is a daily exercise or experience! I cannot pray enough to suffice for tomorrow…I cannot commit my will today for tomorrow… It is a daily, momently, communication–a love relationship. And my Lover cherishes it as much as I. In fact this is my sole purpose for existing. I am becoming like
Him. He is making of me a vessel of honor. And it is very important that I remember that it is not the vessel, only its flexibility and availability to the Potter that renders it honorable.
This opens up a new and beautiful dimension to us-no matter who we are, or who our husbands are…our potential is limitless!
Following this, the second step is easy and flows naturally…to love those close and dear to me…my husband, our children, my parents, etc. But, since we are both carnal and spiritual, and have the potential each and every day
for either-we must allow our love for God to discipline us. Our selfish flesh and its’ desires must learn to submit to His will. This is where trials teach us obedience by the things we suffer. Trust God’s love, be patient with yourself and you will feel the fulfillment of development and usefulness…
Which brings us to the ultimate of a love relationship…Nothing knows the joy of sacrifice-but love. If we sacrifice to serve others because of any other motivation, we are most miserable. Disappointment always follows selfish giving. Because selfishness is never satisfied; it never receives enough in return. It cannot rejoice in the sheer pleasure of others.
So the secret of a happy productive ministry, is living in His shadow and under His wings. Psalm 91:1 “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…” (vs. 4) “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust…” Yes, there will be attacks and battles by the enemy, but (vs. 13)
“Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet…Because He hath set His love upon me.”
By Beth Orgen. June 1991 ‘In Touch’ magazine. Page 33.
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