A Tale of Two Brides

Devoted Bride? Distracted Bride. A Tale of Two BridesDevoted bride? Or distracted bride?
Which Bride of Christ are we?
Speak now… or forever hold your peace!


This may be my final plea to the blogosphere


If you visit my blog much, you know I often draw inspiration from the Hebrew calendar and the Feasts of the Lord. Such an amazing picture of Messiah’s work is on display there! And with the Feast of Trumpets coming up in a few days, we are in the season.

Could this be the year He calls us up?

Full disclosure–I have said this every year starting with 2017. And every year it feels more true. But looking at the “birth pangs” and the rise of lawlessness reaching new heights around us, 2020 does seem to be making an excellent case for itself, doesn’t it?

My husband and I are no longer asking when judgment will fall on this nation. It has begun.

“A La Nina climate pattern has appeared in the Pacific Ocean, which could lead to an increase in activity during the ongoing Atlantic hurricane season and create conditions more prone to wildfires out West, forecasters say.” – Greg Norman, Fox News

“Vicious Mosquito Swarms Wipe Out Hundreds of Cows, Deer and Horses After Hurricane

“Rain from Hurricane Laura created clouds of mosquitoes which killed 300-400 cattle. The animals were drained of blood and deprived of oxygen as they paced to try and escape the pests….” – Daily Star

Who ever heard of such a thing? Outside of Exodus 8, that is, which describes a plague of “biting gnats.” (Many Bible scholars have remarked that plagues in the last days will mirror those inflicted on Egypt.)

Here’s my question for you. While there are many points in eschatology sincere believers disagree on, if you take the Bible at all literally you have to believe this.

The Lord will return, and our present system of things will draw to a very sudden conclusion.

We could be out of here and off to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb tonight, or tomorrow. Or–more likely in my view–at the end of this week.

How does that make you feel–honestly? Creation is groaning. Are you groaning with it?

Examining my own heart… Our family is in the middle of a house move, downsizing in preparation for retirement. The move is slated to happen in a few days and the details are endless. I spent hours going through my closet–I have accumulated so much more than I need–and sorting things into “keep” vs “giveaway” piles. And in the middle of that, I realized I was obsessing over shoes.

SHOES!! What could be more emblematic of our rampant throw-away materialism than a “well-heeled” woman’s horde of impractical shoes? The Arizona sun is a fuzzy amber splotch from the smoke of California burning, and I’m all distracted over shoes??

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts… (1 John 2:15-17)

My Feet Where Jesus Walked

My feet where Yeshua walked, in Biblical Bethsaida. (Yes, these sandals wound up in the “keep” pile.  🙂 )

To be clear, I don’t love shoes. But at that moment they were certainly pulling my attention away from the things that weigh on God’s heart.

Let’s suppose for a minute I’m a bride, and my Beloved could come at any moment to whisk me away to start our new life together. Where would all my focus be? Because that should be our mindset.

Yes, a bride thinks about arraying herself. But in this case, not with high-fashion shoes! 

His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Rev 19:7-8)

I want women to adorn themselves… by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. (1 Tim 2:9-10)

A Tale of Two Brides

Here’s what’s haunting me right now. There’s a place where the Song of Songs feels like a “tale of two brides.”

  • The devoted bride who “swoons” for her lover’s embrace. (And seeks him all over the city–where he’s not! Song 3:2)
    “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— For your love is better than wine.” (Song 1:2)
  • The distracted bride who’s all about her own comfort. When He shows up at an inconvenient time, she takes so long to open the door that he goes away into the damp night!
    “I have taken off my robe; How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; How can I defile them?… I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone….” (Song 5:3,6)

So if Christ is our Heavenly Bridegroom, which bride are we?? Is God our all-in-all, or a passing affair to swoon over when it suits us? Does His plan revolve around my comfort and convenience? Or does my life revolve around serving Him and His Kingdom?

Comfort and convenience, or the Cross and conformance to His image? Which bride am I?

Tale of Two Brides | Bride | Linda ThompsonOur bridal canopy awaits!
Which bride are we?


Central or Supreme?

We like to flatter ourselves that Israel is the adulterous bride. That that depiction doesn’t pertain to us–after all, it’s the Old Testament, right? But here’s the rub.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev 3:20)

Many Bible scholars believe that the seven churches in Rev 2-3 symbolically represent the phases of church history. Which makes the Church of Laodicea, to whom this plea is addressed, is a general picture of the church in our era.

Notice that Yeshua isn’t even inside the church! He’s outside the door, knocking.

When He Looks at Us, Does He See True Faith?

In November 2014, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, I got up early to spend some time in prayer. For no reason that has ever been apparent to me, a verse sprang into my mind.

“When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

The question has challenged me ever since. Why would our Lord pose it? Yes, we’re in a post-Christian era, and most people no longer accept key tenants of God’s word as truth. Still, I look around me and Christians aren’t exactly rare.

Ah, but what kind of Christians? Which of the two brides?

Consider this: 

  • “It may be unsurprising that the majority of the general U.S. population rejects the deity of Christ, but now almost a third of evangelicals agree that He was merely a great teacher.” This is from Ligonier Ministries’ 2020 State of Theology survey.

    Let that sink in. Almost a third of U.S. “evangelical Christians” now deny the deity of Christ.

…There will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Pet 2:1-3)

  • A respected research group recently conducted a national survey of a thousand adults. They concluded that more than half of born-again believers do not agree that the Bible conveys absolute moral truths!

  • A recent LifeWay Research study found that only 45 percent of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week, while over 40 percent read their Bibles once or twice a month. And 18 percent of those who fill our church pews never read it at all.

“They made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets…” (Zech 7:11-12)

Here’s an interesting perspective, from a blog post by Dr. Richard Ross of Southwestern Seminary.

One of America’s best-known worship leaders recently confided a heartache to David Bryant. He said:

Often it feels to me as if, for many of our people, singing praise songs and hymns on a Sunday morning has turned into an affair with Christ.…  Too many of us are far more passionate about lesser, temporal concerns…. But we rarely ever get that excited about Christ Himself, at least on any consistent basis. Except when we enter a sanctuary on a Sunday. Then for a while we end up sort of ‘swooning’ over Christ with feel-good music and heart-stirring prayers—only to return to the daily grind of secular seductions to which, for all practical purposes, we’re thoroughly ‘married.’

Centrality is about keeping Christ at the center of who we are, where we are headed, and all we are doing. Supremacy speaks of so much more. Supremacy proclaims Christ’s right to keep us at the center of who He is, where He is headed, and how He is blessed. Jesus does not exist to come down here and make my life a little easier. I exist to stand before him in awe-filled worship and to join him in bringing his kingdom on the earth. It’s never all about me. It’s always all about him.

We sometimes say, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” Perhaps it would be better to use David Bryant’s words: “God loves His Son and has a wonderful plan for Him, to sum up everything in heaven and earth under Him as Redeemer and Lord; and He loves you and me enough to give us a strategic place in it.”


Outside Looking In

To build on this point, a survey of 3000 teens reached the following conclusion:

The creed to which much adolescent faith can be reduced. …

  1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”
  2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”
  3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”
  4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”
  5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”

When it came to the most crucial questions of faith and beliefs, many adolescents responded with a shrug and “whatever.”…This is not the God who thunders from the mountain, nor a God who will serve as judge. This undemanding deity is more interested in solving our problems and in making people happy. “In short, God is something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist: he is always on call, takes care of any problems that arise, professionally helps his people to feel better about themselves, and does not become too personally involved in the process.”… This God is exceedingly tolerant and this religion is radically undemanding….

(Granted, some of this research is a bit old, but I don’t see any reason to think the situation has fundamentally changed.)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev 3:15-20)

Again, the context here is Yeshua speaking to the Laodicean church. Just as in the Song of Songs, the Bridegroom isn’t even inside!

The real Yeshua, not our “divine butler,” stands outside the door in all His majesty and knocks. It’s not too late to let Him in!

I often think about one picture Yeshua gave us of the last days–the parable of the virgins (Matt 25:1-12). Here are a few things that strike me:

  • All ten had been invited to the wedding celebration.
  • All ten “believed” enough that they intended to join the feast—they all went out in the expectation of meeting the bridegroom.
  • All ten fell asleep! Jesus says the point of the parable is that we need to be alert and watch for His return, but not one of the ten met that standard!
  • All ten woke up when they heard the shout, but only the five who had oil in their lamps got to enter. Oil is always a symbol of the Holy Spirit… whose chief ministry in our lives is to make us, ahem, holy… (John 16:8)
  • For those who thought they were ready but weren’t, the bridegroom has some very harsh words.

“I do not know you.”

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is one engagement I don’t want to miss! And yet this parable seems to indicate that many who expect to be there… won’t. The deciding factor? A lamp filled with oil.

Oil Lamp for the Wedding Feast | Bride

There was plenty of light inside, I’m sure, but each virgin had to have her own lamp producing a little point of light out there in the darkness if she wanted to go in.

In “this present darkness” (Eph 6:12), does my faith produce a point of light?

In these “perilous times” (2 Tim 3:1), does my faith help illumine the narrow path?

I don’t claim any special prophetic gift, but now and then the Lord speaks to me in a particularly pointed way. In 2017, I fasted and prayed through most of Yom Kippur. That night I had a vivid dream. I’ll spare you the details, but the dream ended with a poignant image of a door irrevocably closing—and me playing the part of the foolish virgin, trapped on the wrong side (Matt 25:1-13). Knowing I’d blown it–I’d literally missed the boat–because I wasn’t ready and there was no way I could ever make it right.

Trust me, I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone. Can you picture how happy I was to wake up? I felt like Scrooge after the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come! When he woke up and realized the dream had passed and redemption was still an option.

Are you ready for your Bridegroom?
Are your bridal garments washed clean in the blood of the Lamb? 

Brothers and sisters, time is VERY short. Don’t get caught on the wrong side of that door!

 

Five Minutes to Midnight


If you’ve never opened God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus (Rom 3:23, 6:23), please please please be persuaded to do it now!
It’s simple. Just tell God from your heart that you admit you’re a sinner that needs a Savior (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23) that you’re done running your own life, and that you’re ready to make Jesus Lord of your life.

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” (Rom 10:9-11)

The decision that saves you is that simple!

Simple… But no one said living it out will be easy. Especially now.

Bridal party photo by Valerie Elash on Unsplash.

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Linda Thompson stepped back from a corporate career that spanned continents to write what she loves—stories of unstoppable faith. Her debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, is an O.C.W. Cascade Award winner and a finalist for several 2019 awards: Christy and Carol Awards, plus the International Book Award in two categories. Linda writes from the sun-drenched Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, a third-generation airline pilot who doubles as her Chief Military Research Officer, one mostly-grown-up kid, and a small platoon of housecats. When Linda isn’t writing, you’ll find her rollerblading—yes, that does make her a throwback!—enjoying their first grandchild, or taking in a majestic desert moonrise.

He made aviation history in WWII’s daring Doolittle Raid. Now he’s downed and on the run.

She wants to bury a knife in him. Can her victim offer redemption instead?

“A taut, crisp debut achievement that colorfully evokes the Pacific theater of WWII. Start this one forewarned: it’s a stay-up-all-night read.” –Jerry B. Jenkins, 21-time New York Times bestselling author

Winner, 2019 Cascade Award |
Finalist, 2019 Christy and Carol Awards |
Inspired by Actual Events

1942. Pilot Dave Delham revels at the success of his historic Japanese bombing mission. Until he’s caught and endures years of torture at the hands of cruel captors. Despairing that he’ll survive, Dave vows if he escapes, he’ll answer God’s call on his life. 

Osaka, Japan, 1948. Miyako Matsuura longs to restore her family’s shattered honor. After watching her little brother die in a horrific American air raid, she was reduced to selling her body to survive. When the pilot whose bomb stole her brother’s life returns as a missionary, her thirst for revenge consumes her.

Two damaged people race along a collision course that could bring eternal change. Can Dave and Miyako transform their tragic histories and surrender to forgiveness and faith?

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  1. Hope all who read this will help share it!

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