Seeds of the Kingdom Devotional July 2, 2023
Seeds of the Kingdom Devotional July 2, 2023 Daily Message || By Ellel Ministries International. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
by Denise Cross
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: He who has the bride is the bridegroom but the friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So, this joy of mine has been made full. – John 3:29, NKJV
MESSAGE: John the Baptist’s disciples come to him with questions about Jesus. Who is he, and what right does he have to baptise people? John answers them by declaring that Jesus is the anointed one and he, John, is just His friend. He describes Jesus as the bridegroom who has come to claim His bride.
It’s such a lovely word picture, which has so much depth. Past experience of weddings, our own or of others, helps us to grasp what John’s words are implying. We recognise a bridegroom and bride as two people prepared and looking their very best, entering into a particular, intimate, and exclusive relationship. They are passionately focussed on each other, desiring to always be together and to make a new life in which they can grow as one and hopefully live ‘happily ever after’. But to facilitate this new start each of them will need to let go of some of their old ways. It could be time priorities, use of finances, specific relationships, or the right to do what I want to do when I want to do it. In other words, to enter into a marriage you need to give up independence and learn how to live together in interdependence. Those who don’t understand the need to let go of, or readjust old ways, enjoyed in their single life, may cause their marriage to falter,
It isn’t just John who calls Jesus the bridegroom. Jesus also describes Himself in this way. When the scribes and Pharisees come to Him complaining that His disciples don’t fast, He tells then that, while the bridegroom is present with his friends, they will obviously not fast, but when He is taken away from them, then they will fast (Luke 5:34-35). So, if Jesus is the bridegroom, who is His beloved bride for whom has He given up His glorious heavenly life?
Paul teaches about earthly marriage in Ephesians and states, ‘husbands love your wives as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her’ (Ephesians 5:25). He goes on to explain that Christ Jesus will help His bride to prepare herself. He desires to ‘sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word’ (Ephesians 5:26).
Clearly the church is Jesus’ bride. Each of us, who believe in Jesus and desire to enter into this intimate relationship with Him, is part of this bride. Are we personally ready for this commitment? Have we prepared ourselves as carefully as any bride would prepare for her wedding day? Have we considered what changes are needed to our past independent lifestyle? Have we readjusted where necessary our time priorities, use of finances, or other conflicting relationships?
These questions bring an ongoing challenge for each of us. But Jesus promises to help us, through the power of Holy Spirit, our personal Helper. He reveals to each of us what ‘stuff’ from our previous life we need to let go of, or at least readjust. He challenges us when we slip back into the ‘I have a right to do what I want and when I want it’ lifestyle.
The marriage of the bridegroom Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God, and His bride, the Church of those who believe in Him on earth, is a great mystery. But we are assured that one day we will ‘be glad and rejoice and give Him glory for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His wife has made herself ready’ (Revelation 19:7).
PRAYER: Father God, I want to be personally prepared to be part of the bride. Help me, Holy Spirit. I give You permission to search my old ways and reveal anything to me that hinders my full commitment to Jesus, the bridegroom. I look forward to the wonderful day of the marriage of the bride to the bridegroom, Jesus the Lamb of God. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
TODAY’S AUTHOR: Denise Cross, has been married to David for nearly fifty years and they have three grown-up children and eight wonderful grandchildren. For many years Denise was a Director of Ellel Glyndley Manor but in recent years has been peripatetic across many of the Ellel Ministries Centres, teaching guests and supporting or training teams.
She originally trained as a mathematics teacher but her life and the future of her whole family was radically changed by a “Damascus Road” experience of the Lord Jesus in 1981. For many years previously David and Denise had been attempting to live a self-sufficient life in the Highlands of Scotland but Jesus completely changed their views and focus and showed them how much they needed His sufficiency rather than their own.
Denise now delights to share with others what she has discovered about God’s amazing love and His dynamic truth that radically transforms lives in wonderful and often unexpected ways. Her passion is to stir the hearts of believers to appropriate all the benefits of the abundant life that their Heavenly Father freely offers to each of His children.