A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Our Testimony. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Our Testimony. Show all posts

January 14, 2023

The Importance Of Your Testimony of Jesus!


Have you ever thought about the power of your testimony? Or perhaps you think it is of no importance or value. But I believe it is just as important today as it was when Jesus confronted the Jewish religious skeptics and doubters after the healing of the invalid at the pool called Bethesda, in Jerusalem. You see, once again, He had done His Father's will on the Sabbath, and the Jews were harassing the healed man for picking up his palette [and walking] on the Sabbath [because it was seen as breaking the law of doing no work]. I don't know about you, but I'm thinking, "Wait! You're worried about this man picking up his mat, when you can see he is walking for the first time in 38 years"!!! Such is the blindness of people who live by religious rules [only].

When confronted with this offense to the Law, the healed man attempts to deflect blame on to Jesus -- "He told me to do it"! Under Jewish tradition regarding the Sabbath, the man could have been stoned to death for this act. Since he was unable to identify who Jesus was, we must accept that the matter was not pursued in that moment because the Bible does not reveal anymore information. But the Word does tell us that Jesus found the man in the Temple and congratulated him. “See, you are well! Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” So, whatever reason, the healed man goes and tells the Jews who healed him [perhaps to divert attention away from himself for working on the Sabbath]. That makes sense, because the Word tells us For this reason the Jews began to persecute Jesus continually because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. [The complex Jewish restrictions regarding work on the Sabbath were man-made rules and most were not supported by OT Scripture]. But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now [He has never ceased working], and I too am working.”

Jesus makes His stance regarding working on the Sabbath quite clear. Furthermore, He establishes that YHWH is His Father! And that makes Him the Son of YHWH, and the Messiah! In addition, He is announcing He is doing work, just as His Father does! You can imagine that this rendered them speechless and extremely angry! That's what we call apoplexy! The Jews misinterpret that to mean Jesus is making Himself equal to God, the Father. But Jesus explains that everything He is doing is by the will of God -- He does nothing on His own. I can do nothing on my own initiative or authority. Just as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just (fair, righteous, unbiased), because I do not seek My own will, but only the will of Him who sent Me.

Then Jesus makes a very astute statement. If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not valid. [It would not be admissible in a court of law]. There is another [My Father] who testifies about Me, and I know [without any doubt] that His testimony on My behalf is true and valid. No Jew would question that God's testimony was admissible -- He is the Supreme Judge of all men. Now, this claim that God testifies to Jesus's identity is a bold statement. Jesus can't simply make it without being able to back it up. And so He proceeds to provide FOUR testimonies as to who He is. Since the Law of Moses states, "Out of the mouths of two or three witnesses let every word be established," (Deuteronomy 19:15), there should be no question about accepting Jesus's claim. Let's take a look at those testimonies...

The Testimony of John. John the Baptist testified as an eyewitness to the truth of Jesus's identity. Jesus states that men were willing, for a time, to receive John's testimony, but the Father's testimony outweighs that of a mere man. There is purpose to God's testimony about Jesus, i.e., their salvation.

The Testimony of Works. Jesus tells the Jews that the testimony He has is even greater than the testimony from John, because it attests to the works that the Father has sent Him to do. Remember, He never claims that He is doing any works other than what the Father has told Him to do, and that it is the power of the Father in Him, that is at work. And those works of miracles are proof of His Deity.

The Testimony of the Father. Again Jesus declares that His Father has testified who He is by performing His own works through His Son. And then Jesus accuses them of not having the Scriptures living in their hearts and minds, otherwise they would believe in the One whom God has sent.

The Testimony of the Scripture. Then comes the final indictment against the unbelieving Jews. They have worshiped the Scriptures, thinking that their eternal life lies in believing and following the Law as written in the Scriptures. And they missed the truth that these very Scriptures testify of Him! He doesn't seek the glory and approval of men. In fact, He tells them, I have come in My Father’s name and with His power, and you do not receive Me [because your minds are closed]; but if another comes in his own name and with no authority or power except his own, you will receive him and give your approval to an imposter. And if that's not enough, Jesus tells them that Moses, the very one who wrote the Scriptures accuses them ... he wrote about me personally; But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?

But, here's what I'm thinking ... Has anything really changed? There are still Jews who do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, or the Messiah. And we, Christians are also guilty of seeking the testimony of other men about whether it is true that Jesus has transferred His power to us. Many do not believe the Scriptures where He says we have been given His power and authority over the Enemy. They do not believe the testimonies that we do not do anything that Jesus has not instructed us to do; that we do not testify of ourselves, but rather His power and authority [in us] to do great works through us. It is the same dynamic as Jesus experienced when He walked the earth.   

And how many of our fellow Christians will follow a man who "comes in his own name and with no authority or power except his own", and receive him and give their approval to an imposter? It is very important to Jesus whose testimony we receive and believe. Does the testimony align with Scripture? Does your spirit recognize it as truth delivered in humility for the glory of the Father and Son -- or is it given by men who seek to glorify themselves in the pursuit of power and influence? We must be earnest in identifying the veracity of testimonies about Jesus in the world. We have been given the Holy Spirit to corroborate the testimonies we hear. There are great and compelling testimonies from men and women who have experienced being used by Jesus to exhibit His power in the earth; just as there are people who have been the recipients of His overwhelming power to change their lives. Jesus said that those who believe and follow Him, will do the [miraculous] works that He has done, and even greater! Just as Jesus said nearly 2000 years ago, the Father has never ceased working, and neither has He! May He be glorified throughout all the earth by our experiential testimonies of how He has worked in our lives! Don't keep them to yourselves -- the world needs to hear them!  

#testimonyofjesus #jesusislord #powerandauthority #glorifygod

Psalm 71:18   And even when I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not abandon me, until I declare Your [mighty] strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come. 


November 16, 2021

Never Underestimate Jesus!


This past weekend Mark and I were asked to come speak and teach at a small country town in rural Texas. The congregation is made up of a couple dozen people (on a good day) who found their way to the converted Old-West style saloon that now serves as their church. They range in age from octogenarians to middle-schoolers, and have found their way there for different reasons; some out of dissatisfaction with their previous church homes, and others I assume just looking for a new model in which to worship. So, the point of this post is not to disparage "the Church", but to share how Jesus never disappoints!

Frankly, we expected there to be more people in attendance, and based on other opportunities we've had to share our journey from Salvation [and lukewarm faith] to passionate ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, we had prepared a candid, laid-back talk about what Jesus had called us to, and their purpose in advancing His ministry on the earth. We figured we could slim down our talk to an hour if we hit the highlights; shortened from other versions where we had had the privilege to teach for anywhere from three to six hours. Needless to say, we asked the Holy Spirit to counsel us on what to say to this precious group of Believers; to guide us on what to emphasize that would stir their spirits to new heights of engagement with our Lord. We had a one-page sheet of hand-written notes, and were actually excited to see what Jesus would do in this compressed time-frame.

Well, it turned out to be a challenge for us, but of course, not for Jesus! We were told we had about 20 minutes to speak, which meant that we were going to have to find a way to present some very important principles, while sharing why we were qualified to be the spokespeople for these theological truths. So, we took a deep breath, gave a cursory glance at our notes and just began to talk. It was important [to us] to present how our belief system had evolved, and support it with what we had learned from our immersion in the Word... and do it in 20 minutes. I don't remember my soul praying for help from Jesus and Holy Spirit, but I'm certain my spirit did just that. I can't remember everything we said, but here is my recollection of the high points...

We explained about the dream the Lord brought to Mark nearly 8 years ago that was the genesis of this amazing journey of faith we've been on. The Lord gave Mark the same instructions (in two consecutive nights) in dreams that astounded my husband. He was told to sanctify ourselves [in a specific private manner] and then sanctify our small piece of property to His service. Then we waited ... for several years ... until we were invited to a teaching in a friend's home where author Peggy Joyce Ruth (who wrote a book titled, Psalm 91) related her personal struggle with depression for 8 years. For the very first time, in the 25 years of our history in the Church, we heard that, as Believers, we had power and authority! We shared with this small congregation the verse that changed our faith lives -- Luke 10:19, I have given you authority over serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the Enemy, and nothing shall harm you!

From that point on, the Lord has fast-tracked us. From that divine truth of our power and authority, we were led to a conference by Dr. Charles Kraft, who introduced us to a ministry known as Inner Healing; a ministry that embodies how Jesus, Himself, ministered to those to whom He was bringing the message of His Father's love and the restoration of His Kingdom on earth. We knew we were running out of our allotted time to speak, so we had to abbreviate the glory of God's plan to send His Son to bring freedom to mankind by healing the broken-hearted and setting the captives free (Luke 4:18). Jesus did this by casting out demons, healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, and spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom. As people experienced those miracles/encounters in their lives, they were encouraged and heartened to hear more about the Most High God whose power could restore them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And we shared with that little church that we have that same power in us to do what Jesus did. And when we spoke John 14:12 ... Those who follow Me will do the things I have done, and even greater ... we could see heads bobbing up and down. Thank you, Jesus!

By this time, we had just five minutes to express our dedication to spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom, which is the greater purpose of our Inner Healing ministry. I knew the best way we could explain why sharing the Kingdom of God on earth is so important was to use the late Dr. Myles Munroe's definition of a Kingdom ... "It's the King's domain; a country ruled by a King who influences and impacts the domain of his kingdom with his values, morality, lifestyle, principles, and laws until the people begin to reflect his lifestyle". We then asked the important question, "Have we, as the Church, represented the Kingdom of God on earth"? Do abortion, pedophilia, sex trafficking, murder, racism, satanism, lust, etc. reflect God's values, or His morality, principles or laws? Does our society reflect what we think Heaven is like? Because that was the charge we were given in Genesis 1:26-28 -- to rule the earth in God's stead and make it look like Heaven. 

As we checked the clock on the wall, we knew we needed to wrap it up, so we simply recited Matthew 24:14, which says, "And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached throughout all the world, so all nations will hear it, and then the end will come". We pointed out that the Church had limited itself to sharing the Gospel of Salvation, which is absolutely necessary and essential, but as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:1-5, we cannot expect to see or understand the Kingdom; and we cannot enter the Kingdom of God on earth until we are Saved. So the Church has done a good job of making Salvation a focus of their responsibilities, but they have neglected to share and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.

We ended our little presentation by reminding the group that Jesus is King of kings, and Lord of lords. We were meant to be those kings and lords; taking back the dominion of the earth, which was why we were created. My spirit was happy to see lots of heads shaking in agreement and smiles on faces, both young and old. We thanked them for the opportunity to speak of our amazing journey with Jesus; just two ordinary people that were unafraid to say, "Yes, Lord, use us". And then Jesus did what He does so well... He stirred the hearts of that small congregation who, as a whole, asked for more! He used our story to show them the possibilities in their own lives of how they could grow in their relationship with Him, and step in to their purpose in advancing the Kingdom. They also asked if we would be willing to come back and talk to more people; we praised Jesus for sowing His seed in the midst of this diverse group, who were hungry for more of what the Holy Spirit guided us to share.

I know that by the standards of the average Evangelist, this past Sunday was "small potatoes". We didn't speak before a large and energetic crowd, and the worship music consisted of a woman playing a portable piano while we accompanied the worship leader in our timid and quiet voices. We had to basically give our message as a summary, rather than a detailed dialogue. But Jesus used us in this opportunity just as He would have if we had been invited to speak in a stadium. These few blessed souls left with excitement over hearing something that spoke to their spirits. They heard they have a purpose, and it is to serve the King of Kings. They heard that Jesus can use anyone; all you have to do is say "yes". And they heard that they are to play an important part in defeating the evil we see in the world. Their lives mean something to the Father and to the advancement of His Kingdom! 

So once again, Mark and I learned to never underestimate Jesus. He can bring unexpected glory to God in the most ordinary of circumstances. He can take the mundane or the average, and turn it into extraordinary occasions to exalt Himself, our Father, and the Holy Spirit. And He can lift up the spirits of people the world would ignore, and light a spark that just might be the beginning of a blaze that changes a small town in Texas. Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to see You in all the places You long to be! I am extremely blessed!

Romans 8:28   So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together for good, for we are His lovers who have been called to fulfill His designed purpose.

May 10, 2018

Wolves In The Church

     I'm sure you are familiar with Jesus's Biblical warning in Matthew 7:15 which says, Beware of the false prophets, [teachers] who come to you dressed as sheep [appearing gentle and innocent], but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Implicit in this warning is that wolves of deceit have snuck into the Church and are ready to devour any true Christian sheep who are gullible enough [or unwise enough] to fall for their wrong teachings.
     And, boy, has the institutional Church used this alarming admonition to squelch any new revelations from God that are outside the established doctrine of any particular denomination. First of all, those who are quick to attack a fellow Christian's attempt at edifying the Body regarding something God or the Holy Spirit has revealed to them, don't bother to read Matthew 7:15 in context. Jesus says in the very next verse, You can identify them by the fruit [of their character], that is, by the way they act.  Scripture goes on to say that it's pretty obvious that you don't pick sweet grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from a tumbleweed. In other words, if you hear a different interpretation of Scripture, or a different teaching of a Biblical concept, the character of the "bringer" should be taken into account and easily discernible. If their testimony or word is plainly against Scripture, and if they don't possess a reputation of the fruits of the spirit (joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and they are not displaying the Lordship of the Spirit in their life), then you can rightly discern they are intent on damaging the Church. But if this fellow Christian is of good character, and his heart displays a visible love of the Lord, and his actions bear good fruit, then perhaps he or she should not be so quickly castigated.
     Yet, I have found far too often that the Church members will react in indignation and self-appointed authority in deciding that any new proposed understanding of Scripture that differs from the orthodox teachings is unacceptable, and it borders on either blasphemy or heresy. And that really saddens me, because this is a picture of the Church that is far different from how it began in the aftermath of Christ's resurrection and ascension.
     From the moment that the Disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and Peter preaches the first sermon at Pentecost, the idea of "church" meant "a fellowship of believers". The Bible clearly teaches that these believers were faithful to follow the teachings of these first apostles or "sent ones". (Re-read yesterday's post on my view of what makes an apostle}. They regularly met in devoted believers' homes, with the express purpose of sharing the Lord's Supper as a sign of their unity. They prayed, studied Scripture, sang songs, and the focus was always on edifying the body of believers who were present. I think it is important to note the Apostle Paul's exhortation to these "home churches", as stated in 1 Corinthians 14:26: Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you. Do you see that in the modern Church?
     Can you see how different this is from what the modern Church has evolved into? First of all, I would like to reiterate and re-evaluate Jesus's statements in Matthew 7 ... He isn't even talking to a group of Christians gathering in a Church building or denomination as we know it today. He is talking to disciples who are following Him around the countryside, and learning from His teachings. Shouldn't that describe each of us, regardless of which denomination we claim allegiance to? And doesn't He make it clear that we should look at both the character and the actions of our fellow believer before condemning their teaching/interpretation as deceptive? There are at least 34 verses in the New Testament that speak of the importance of fruit in the life of a believer, yet we seem too eager to judge based on shared theology.
    And, yes, Scripture is sufficient for us ... it contains all there is to know about our God, but as I have quoted from Scripture over and over, God conceals the revelation of His word in the hiding place of His glory. But the honor of kings is revealed by how they thoroughly search out the deeper meaning of all that God says (Proverbs 25:2). He reveals Himself through Nature; through our spirits who testify to His existence; through His Son Jesus as presented in the Bible; and finally through His written Word -- and through all these ways He gives us knowledge of Himself through our experiences with Him! It is not merely through our denominational doctrines and head knowledge! That is why the Greek translation of the New Testament talks so much about experiential knowledge -- knowledge that comes from experience.
     Have we, as the institutional Church, forgotten that God is a rewarder to those who diligently seek Him? Why is it so difficult for our fellow Christians to discern that God could reveal Himself to an individual believer today through the Holy Spirit? Why are we so quick to judge a fellow believer's testimony, just because it expands on accepted doctrinal beliefs? Why can't we think God might want us to know more about Him? Do we really think our doctrine is all there is to know about God? And for mercy's sake, why are we ignoring the character and actions of our fellow believers? Do we no longer believe that the Holy Spirit leads and directs us? Before condemning someone for what they are bringing to the Church Body, can we stop for a moment and spiritually assess the heart of the person, and look to see if they have borne fruit for the Kingdom of God?
     In fact, I often wonder just how Church members assess the fruits of their fellow believers. Is it based on the number of times they have been in the pews on Sunday morning, or the number of the Church activities they are involved in? Do they ever stop to think that perhaps there is fruit they don't see -- that this believer's fruit comes from being obedient to Jesus's commands when they invite Him to be present as they lay hands on someone who is in need of healing? What about the fruit that comes from the power of the Holy Spirit to defeat the spirit of unworthiness in a lonely and abandoned young girl, as this believer partners with the Spirit and Jesus to set her free from this torment.  All these experiences are revelations of the Presence of God in a believer's life and evidence that seeds are being sown and fruit is being produced.
     The Holy Spirit reveals God to our spirits through our experiences. The Holy Spirit reveals God through Bible passages; and through our thoughts, and ideas that He brings to our minds.  He is fluid and flowing; always ready to reveal an aspect of our God that magnifies Him; that amplifies His glory. John 3:8 says, For the Spirit [wind] blows as it chooses. You can hear its sound, but you don’t know where it came from or where it’s going. So it is within the hearts of those who are Spirit-born!” The Holy Spirit is not bound by Church doctrine!
     So, I ask you, how is it that Christians within the Church think they are qualified to decide how the Spirit is leading or directing a fellow believer [who exemplifies good character; whose actions portray a heart diligently seeking after God, and whose deeds bear fruit for the Kingdom]?  Could it be that the Church barely resembles those early gatherings of Spirit-filled believers who encouraged each other to share and edify the body with what the Holy Spirit was showing them?
     I am in no way negating the warning to be on guard against the wolves who bring false teachings. They are real, and I'm pretty sure the Enemy has been infiltrating them into the Church for hundreds of years. I don't see those early "home churches" being overly concerned with real estate, building programs, staff salaries, utilities, mortgages, pulpits, pews, sermons, elaborate worship programs, or how much money they had in the bank. When did the focus change from "going out" to "protecting our turf"?
     We all agree that wolves are definitely a danger to innocent sheep. And what I'm about to say may offend some, but I have personally witnessed a pack of wolves within the church driving innocent sheep out of the building where their Good Shepherd is waiting to feed them and lead them to springs of living water. It is not my attention to offend, but rather to give us all pause when meeting with our fellow believers, and before judging them.
     So, yes, we need to be persistent in keeping the wolves at bay and safeguarding the purity of Scripture. Lord knows, they are vicious and ravenous and waiting to destroy the Body of Christ. But let's not limit our oversight to one man's [or one denomination's] conditional and designated understanding. Let us give the Holy Spirit the freedom to reveal to a person's spirit what God would have them know about Himself. And then let us offer love and kindness and a heart that is willing to receive more of God. It just might bring more joy and peace to your spirit and to the entire Body. And that would be pleasing to God.

1 Corinthians 8:1-3     Knowledge [alone] makes [people self-righteously] arrogant, but love [that unselfishly seeks the best for others] builds up and encourages others to grow [in wisdom].  If anyone imagines that he knows and understands anything [of divine matters, without love], he has not yet known as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God [with awe-filled reverence, obedience and gratitude], he is known by Him [as His very own and is greatly loved].


February 27, 2018

Why We Must Bear Witness Of The Power Of God

     I am increasingly aware of the importance of bearing witness of the power of God in my life -- to both the Unbeliever and the Believer.  All we have to do is look around us to see the effects of Unbelief on our culture and the world.  It seems that nearly every TV show or movie includes ungodly relationships or the occult. Even a Doritos commercial blatantly displays the symbols of Freemasonry!
     It should be obvious why we need to bear witness of God's power to the Unbelieving world... it is through our witness [both in our word testimonies and our actions] that the dying world is able to see the power of God on display and His nature is revealed. Right now, they are predominantly seeing the supernatural displayed through the Dark Side -- witchcraft and the occult boldly make their presence known. But the supernatural is God's natural realm and His power is always on display there.  When we partner with Him to bring that power into this realm, it cannot be ignored. The Unbelieving world has a decision to make -- either accept or reject the reality of God and His power.
    They will either respond as Pharoah and the Pharisees did -- hardening their hearts and resisting His power because it threatens their own power and the desires of their hearts of stone -- OR their hearts are changed when that supernatural power is displayed [through me] when I lay hands on them and heal a sore neck or knee; or work with Jesus to heal an emotional wound; and yes, even when, in the Name of Jesus, the spirit of fear or anger is cast at the foot of the Cross.  Either way, these actions testify of God's love for them by invading this earth with His power, and it demands a decision: belief or unbelief; acceptance or rejection.
     And God always has a foundational purpose in my witness of His power: to change a person's heart and bring them into relationship with Him, resulting in their true repentance and His forgiveness. But it is also so that they see His power exhibited, hear the "Good News" that the Kingdom of God has invaded the earth, and this power is available to them to bring others into relationship with Him. But I find that it is not only the Unbelievers that can benefit from my witness, but Believers, too.
     The believing Body of Christ is just as guilty of denying God's power in this realm as the unbelieving world.  Why? Because they do not have their own testimonies. They have access to the power and authority of the Living Christ, but do not acknowledge it or exercise it. They are just like the sons of Ephraim in Psalm 78: Though they were all equipped warriors, each with weapons, when the battle began they retreated and ran away in fear. They didn’t really believe the promises of God; they refused to trust Him and move forward in faith. They forgot His wonderful works and the miracles of the past...
     Because the modern Church has abandoned the prophetic promise Jesus made in Matthew 11, they don't have testimonies to lean on. What promise was that? In Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus gives a prophetic promise and warning:
     Then Jesus began to openly denounce the cities where he had done most of his mighty miracles, because the people failed to turn away from sin and return to God. He said, “How tragic it will be for the city of Chorazin! And how horrible for the city of Bethsaida! For if the powerful miracles that I performed in Chorazin and Bethsaida had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have humbled themselves and repented, and turned from their sins. Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you.  And Capernaum—do you really think you’ll be exalted because of the great miracles I have done there? No! You’ll be brought down to the depths of hell because of your rejection of me. For if the miracles I worked in your streets were done in Sodom, it would still be standing today! But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom in the day of judgment than it will be for you.”
      Jesus declares that the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida and Capernaum saw more signs and wonders and miracles than all the rest combined. Jesus was limited with what He could do in Nazareth because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58), but these were cities that must have responded to His power and had a measure of faith because He demonstrated God’s power so many times through countless miracles there. He even says that Capernaum is exalted to Heaven because miracles were done and they believed it was the power of God. They had testimonies -- but they did not act on them!
     The result? Jesus says to these cities who had seen and believed in the miracles, You’ll be brought down to the depths of hell because of your rejection of me. Why the scathing judgment? They believed in the power they had seen, right? They believed in the miracles, but they did not repent. They had seen His power and believed, but it did not change the perspective on their lives – their belief did not make His activities (healing, casting out demons, etc) the focus and ambition of their lives. When we see that kind of power and the revelation that Jesus wants us to continue His work – and we believe, but don’t act upon it – then it’s just religion and we never really change ourselves -- or others.
      I have personally seen this myself. Years ago, Mark and I were members of a large congregation who had a successful ministry called Mobile Loaves and Fishes. We would load up vans with food, clothing, and necessities and deliver them to the homeless throughout our big metropolitan city. The Church, and those who volunteered to serve the homeless, were sincere in this ministry that offered mercy and charity; and the homeless people certainly acknowledged the kindness of the Church. But it was not always effective to bring repentance among those we served. In fact, I would say that it was rarely effective. Why? Our little group that approached the homeless were seen as no different than the Red Cross, the Girl or Boy Scouts, the Kiwanis Club, or any other service organization that met their physical needs. We had no testimonies of the power of God in our lives, because we weren't believing [or useful] vessels that exercised that power, or testified of it. Our hearts were sincere in serving the homeless, but we were powerless in changing their hearts or lives.
     So, can you see the warning Jesus gave? Witnessing miracles and hearing testimonies of the power of God -- yet failing to repent and believe in God's power, and demonstrating that power to effect change in another's heart, will lead to His judgment. But what about the promise? If the powerful miracles that He demonstrated in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had been taken to Tyre and Sidon, "they would have humbled themselves, and repented, and turned from their sins". It was the responsibility of those believers in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum to bear witness [in words and action] of the power of God [miracles, signs and wonders] in their lives so that the lives of those in Tyre and Sidon could be changed.
     How is it any different for us today? Unless the Body of Christ comes to believe [and act on] the witness of the Word that God's signs and wonders are just as relevant for us today as they were when Jesus came to model them for us, then we will have no testimonies to share with the Lost. And what's even sadder for me, is that those unbelieving Believers within the Body will scarcely be better off than the Lost. We, who have picked up the mantle of the First Century Church, and are walking in the power of the Holy Spirit in us, and continuing the work of our Lord to demonstrate the power of Heaven to invade this Earth (the Kingdom of God is at hand) have a tremendous responsibility to share our testimonies.
     It is our witness of this power in us that will change lives and cities; that will change our culture and our nation. It begins with us. We must not be afraid to be ridiculed or judged -- by the Body of Christ or the Lost. We must be bold in declaring our witness, no matter the cost. And it will cost us! We will be accused [by the Church] of being deceived; our friends and family will distance themselves; and because you are now boldly representing the Kingdom of God on earth, you can expect the Enemy to try to shut you down with physical and spiritual attacks. 
     But we are no different than those early disciples of Jesus. They believed in the hope and the promises He offered them; responsibly used the authority and power He gave them; and knew that they could expect suffering and tribulation in this life for following Him -- yet they were all willing to be used by God to bring His Kingdom into reality on earth. 
     So, in summation, it is important to bear witness of the power of God in our lives for the following reasons:  
• We are commanded to make disciples of all the nations -- to help all people learn about Jesus, believe in Him, and obey all His commands. 
• We have been grafted into Jesus, and God has chosen us as branches that will bear fruit, i.e., bring believers into His Kingdom
• If we don't give our testimonies of what He has done in our lives, how will the Lost hear of their Savior?
• When we bear witness of the power of God in our lives, and introduce someone to His Saving Grace and their Lord and Savior, Jesus, then the Kingdom of darkness loses another captive.
     What monuments of witness are you building for God? Begin today to ask Him for testimonies. Tell Him you are willing to host His Presence and His Power. Show the world who He is by your witness. And God bless you for being obedient to the commands of our Lord!

Psalm 145:11-12   They will tell the world of the lavish splendor of Your kingdom and preach about Your limitless power. They will demonstrate for all to see Your miracles of might and reveal the glorious majesty of Your kingdom.


February 6, 2018

The Power Of Our Testimony - Part Two

     I want to finish out my discussion on how our testimonies can encourage others to step out in the power and authority Christ has given us to effect change on the earth. I'm speaking of change in the sense of changed lives; lives that need to receive the message of what the Kingdom of God on earth looks like. And this "change" involves the power of the Holy Spirit to bring a pardon and forgiveness of sins to those who have been held captive by the lies of the Enemy [who whispers they don't deserve it]. It involves the power of the Holy Spirit to bring sight to the blind -- both those with physical blindness, as well as spiritual blindness to the truth of the Kingdom Gospel. This "change" also includes the power of the Holy Spirit to free those who have been oppressed by sins committed against them; those wounded by tragedy; and those who walk in false identities given to them by the devil. And finally, change can be effected when we share the good news of the acceptable year of the Lord (the day when salvation and the favor of God will abound upon all the earth for those who accept Jesus as their Redeemer).  This is the change prophesied by Isaiah and spoken of by Jesus in Luke 4:18-19.
     I want to make it perfectly clear that all this comes about by the power of the Holy Spirit -- whether one receives the power of these truths through their own unwavering faith; through an independent move of the Holy Spirit; or by us acting in our authority to represent the Kingdom... all allow the Holy Spirit to exhibit His power through us. Furthermore, it is our testimonies of that power that encourages others to seek the Divine Power in their lives... all of which transforms this earth for the glory of God.
     In the previous post, I presented Jeremy's testimony; one of hearing the Holy Spirit and responding in obedience to take a message of the redemptive love of Jesus to heal a hurting family. As I said in that post, it is clear to me that we have to find the balance between battling in spiritual warfare and proclaiming Christ's healing love.  They are really two sides of the same coin, and when you are doing one, you are doing the other, and both reflect the power of the Holy Spirit to change a person's life.
     Today, I want to share my dear friend, Terah's testimony.  First, I want to say that when it comes to being steadfast and committed in battling the Enemy and his schemes, I want Terah by my side. She has been unflinching in battling for her marriage and her family; always relying on her identity as a Daughter of the King. Even when the devil has landed a well-placed fiery dart, she quickly recovers, and returns to her true identity.  I think the secret to Terah's strong faith is that she was willing to examine her theology, and was willing to be discipled through a Bible study, where the Holy Spirit revealed God's truth. Then she was willing to accept those truths and walk out her salvation [in fear and trembling]. Now, together with her husband, Greg, [who is undergoing his own amazing redemptive transformation], Terah is growing in her spiritual maturity.  As we all should do, this couple was willing to undergo some critical self-evaluation and then commit themselves to advancing the Kingdom that Scripture has revealed.
     But before I let Terah tell you her story, I want to say that it is always amazing to me when I see the opportunities [to share the Kingdom Gospel] that God puts in front of us when we are willing to be obedient. Somehow, supernaturally, our hearts and spirits become both softened and more alert to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit. That is what has happened in Terah's life. And I ask her forgiveness if I have the timeline of her testimony wrong, but I am sure that her heart and her commitment to serve others through the power of the Holy Spirit in her life will come through.  Here's her story...
      "I have been praying for awhile for an acquaintance of mine who had been in a long-term relationship, and had finally broken it off.  My opportunities to minister to her just happened kind of organically. I was coming into contact with her through a series of meetings the residents of our county were convening regarding some concerns over government policies.  I could tell that she was upset and having a difficult time, so I made sure she knew we were there to support her.  But she remained heavy on my heart.
     Shortly after one of these meetings, I received a prompting from the Holy Spirit and texted her that Jesus loved her and wanted her heart to be whole.  She responded that she was struggling, and then she began to open up.  I prayed over her, encouraging her to turn to Jesus and reminding her that her comfort would be found in Him.  I then sent her a copy of The Full Armor of God: Defending Your Life From Satan's Schemes by Dr. Larry Richards". [My Note: This book has played a very important part in Terah's own spiritual transformation, and it is a book I highly recommend].
     Terah continues: "This girl was doubting her own self-worth, and I wanted her to know that each of us has an important role to play in God's plan for mankind and the earth. So, I quoted her a sentence from the book that had spoken to my heart.  I wanted her to know that she was important to God ... And through you, God will reveal something of Himself that will never be seen through anyone else. I then shared with her that one of Satan's primary schemes is to block our spiritual development by convincing us that we are worthless.  And then I told her, 'You aren't! You were worth the death of God, Himself!' 
     I told her I knew how she felt! God wants to hold a full-length mirror in front of us to show us in all of our created and beloved beauty. But what is Satan's counter-move in this spiritual battle? To hold up a magnifying mirror to show some slight defect, and then we become distracted from the full-length redeemed image God provides. The devil's battle plan then proceeds to make us appear ugly to ourselves; to feel bad about ourselves; and to keep us from becoming all that God designed us [and assigned us] to be. I encouraged her to pray with all her might, pressing into Him, and I promised her that Greg and I would be with her every step of the way.
     And then by the power of God and the Holy Spirit's ability to set up Divine appointments, within a few days, we passed her unloading hay on the highway. Both Greg and I felt the prompting to stop and pray over her, invoking her identity as a child of God, and the Daughter of the King. We pressed into Jesus on her behalf, trusting Him to renew her mind as to her new identity. 
     I have to say that I am amazed at these opportunities that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are presenting to Greg and me! And I see us both growing in our own identity, and our power and authority. It's as if the Holy Spirit is bringing people to us so that we can share our own testimonies of what He has done in our lives. For instance, a friend from college called Greg out of the blue to discuss his marital problems. Considering that our own marital issues are being healed by the power of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, it is a blessing to let Them work through us to heal another! I can only imagine the impact in the spiritual realm when my husband prayed a warfare prayer over this man's marriage, with authority!
     And within this same time-frame, an acquaintance from these political meetings in our county called us in a panic. After feeling threatened for her participation, Greg was able to talk her off the ledge by walking her through an emotional healing with Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit she was able to imagine Jesus healing her emotions and fears, and letting Him speak into her. In the spirit, she could see herself kneeling at the feet of Jesus while He ministered to her, and then she responded out of her gratitude by washing His feet. What a beautiful picture of spiritual healing! Then Greg showed her how to put on her spiritual armor to stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceptions of the devil. This woman has no need to fear the tactics of men when God is for her! It is such a privilege to share [with another] the power of the Holy Spirit, when we are willing to put on our armor and walk in the authority [given to us by Jesus] to overcome all the power of Satan. That's such a tremendous testimony of God's love for us!"
     I hope you can see the power of the Holy Spirit to heal, as represented by these two very different posts. Jeremy's testimony shows how just sharing a word of God's love, received from the Spirit, can begin the process of healing, while Terah and Greg's testimony exhibits our power and authority to battle Satan's schemes to intimidate and defeat us. But it is essential that we recognize both are anchored in the Father's love for each one of us.
     And we need to embrace the truth that the word of God (Jesus) is living inside of us in the form of the Holy Spirit; He is active and full of power -- whether to reveal a word from the heart of God to our heart, or to ask us to partner with Him in defeating a spiritual attack upon our souls and spirits. Whether we experience that power as Love or Warfare, it all serves the same purpose... to remind us that we belong to the Father, and that we are representatives of His Heavenly Kingdom while we are here on earth, commissioned to help set people free from the Kingdom of the god of this world. As heirs of that heavenly kingdom, we are to walk in obedience to our King!
     When we realize that each Person of the Godhead committed Himself to seeing that we receive eternal life, and dedicated Himself to helping us walk in freedom while behind enemy lines, then it is critical that we testify to the Power that can change lives for eternity! But for our testimony to be convincing and persuasive, it must involve more than recitation of Scripture and adherence to rituals and tradition. We must walk in the Power of God that resides in us. Our presence in any circumstance must convey an atmosphere that is charged with His Presence and Power. We must be the conduit between Heaven and Earth, using our testimonies to transmit God's love to a hurting world. 
     I don't need to remind you that God doesn't need us to exhibit His power and love -- He could just whack any of us in the heart and change us if He wanted. And it is surely not our own clever abilities which allow us to minister to others, but the empowering Presence of the Holy Spirit within us who guides us and counsels us whether to give a word from the Father, or to employ a tactic on the spiritual battlefield. Either way, we will have a testimony to share from our hearts; hearts that have been transformed by the love of the Father and the power of the Spirit within us. If you have personally been changed, and know the love of the Father, ask the Holy Spirit to use you and your testimony to change the life of another human being. Let God be glorified through our obedience to Christ and the Holy Spirit!

Psalms 107:2-3   So, go ahead -- let everyone know [Jesus' faithful love never ends]! Tell the world how He broke through and delivered you from the power of darkness and has gathered us together from all over the world. He has set us free to be His very own! (Passion Translation)


February 3, 2018

The Power of Our Testimony -- Part One

     This is a very personal post. It is personal because it speaks to new places the Lord is guiding my spirit; and personal because it involves the testimonies of people who are dear to me and walking in obedience, which has become the essential part of my own faith walk.
     If you have been reading me for awhile, then you know that the Lord has taken me on a journey towards Kingdom living and all that that term encompasses.  I have been given new revelation through His Word about the Kingdom of God invading this earthly realm in the person of Jesus. And what that means is that the control the Enemy has enjoyed over mankind since the fall in the Garden has been broken, and Jesus came with authority and power from His (our) Father to destroy the works of the devil and set people free from their bondage to sin.
     But you also know that I believe the Word when Jesus tells us that He has transferred that authority and power from Heaven to those who believe in Him, so that we can continue to destroy the Enemy's control over our fellow man.  It is really a very simple plan that God set in motion to re-establish His Kingdom on earth as it was in the Garden -- He sent a part of Himself, as His begotten Son, [and thereby bringing Himself into the world] in order to give us a model by which we could destroy Satan's goal of setting up his own permanent kingdom here on earth.
      Jesus defeated the power of Death over mankind by providing a way for us to live forever in the possession of our Creator and Father God. He paid the price and the debt that we all owe God for our sinful ways, AND THEN Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to indwell us, which means we can receive the same instructions and spiritual sight that Jesus received SO THAT WE CAN CONTINUE TO DEFEAT THE ENEMY AND GROW GOD'S KINGDOM!
     And how do we do that? By walking as He did, using that authority and power from Heaven to take action and speak into peoples' lives. I want us to consider [this concept] when He stepped into the power He received through the Holy Spirit to heal the blind man and the lame man; when He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well of His desire to give her a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, flooding her with endless life; when He rescued the adulteress woman from the mob of hypocritical accusers, and told her to "Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin"; when He cast the demons out of the Gadarene demoniac and set the man free --- all these instances, and so many more, testified to the power of the love of God in their lives. But we need to see the divine purpose of those stories. And it can be summed up by what Jesus told the Gadarene madman when he begged to stay with Jesus: "Return to your home and your family, and tell them all the wonderful things God has done for you".
     You see, part of God's divine plan is to exhibit His power [to heal] through us and to use our testimonies to lead others to the freedom that knowing and experiencing His love can provide in our lives. And that is why I was so blessed this week to hear the testimonies of some of my beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ. They inspired me with their obedience to the voice of God and how they made themselves vessels of His love for another.  Just the other day, I received a long text from my spiritual son, Jeremy. Let me share .... Jeremy found himself in a coffee shop when the Holy Spirit gave him a prompting to speak to a woman who walked in on crutches.  She wasn't suffering from something as normal as a broken leg; she had a club foot in which the lower portion of her right leg was so twisted that her right foot was pointing to her left ankle. From here, I will let Jeremy tell you his testimony in his own words:
    "I immediately knew I was going to have to pray for her. She came in and sat to the far left of me and my business partner, Doc. We were talking over elements of our new business, and the nudging [from the Holy Spirit] just got stronger and stronger.  I see her get up to leave, so I felt let off the hook for a minute.  But she moved over to the table right in front of us and sat facing me... so, now my palms start to sweat and I begin getting knots in my stomach.  I mean, this is not a headache I'm praying to heal here, but a very difficult healing, that frankly, I don't have the faith for. Plus, we are surrounded by serious businessmen, dressed in suits, and I am out of my comfort zone. I finally tell Doc that I have to pray for her before we leave, and I am real nervous.  
    I stand up to walk over to her and immediately Holy Spirit says 'You are not to pray for her leg, but to tell her how much I love her, and I want you to pray for her heart.'  Suddenly, I know I can do this, because I have the confidence to proclaim this, and I know I have the authority to declare it. So I go over and introduce myself and Doc, and then ask her if I can pray for her.  She gets very defensive and says, 'What, you came over here because you saw my crutches?' She said lots of Christians have prayed for her leg and she's not interested if that's why we came over to her. I told her, 'Actually, I feel like I am supposed to pray for your heart'. 
     Immediately, she relaxes, still very perplexed by the whole thing, and says, 'Sure, sit down'.  I told her that Jesus loves her very much and that He wants her to know He is protecting her heart. Then I asked her if I could pray for anything specific, and she proceeds to tell us that her marriage is falling apart and she didn't know if they were going to be able to reconcile. [In fact, her husband had left that morning]. 
     I almost lost it when she said that... so I proceed to give her the short version of the struggles my wife Mary, and I, faced in our marriage. At this point she is getting emotional.  She says that she and her husband are Christian, but her husband has stopped going to church because of his struggles with sin. I shared with her that the devil has him convinced that he's not worthy of forgiveness (porn) and all the guilt and shame that comes with that. I was also able to show her compassion because I understand what Mary went through during our marriage, and I was able to speak the LIFE we had received into their situation.  I was then able to pray with her, and she asked if she might be able to connect with Mary. 
     It was the scariest thing [like that] I have ever done, but by the end of our conversation, we were all very moved by God's goodness and love.  And we agreed that it was a Divine appointment, because the reason she was there alone was because she was supposed to meet a friend who forgot they were getting together, and she was going to leave when we got up and walked to her table. As I look back on this event, I am overcome with the Father's Goodness and Faithfulness".
     Jeremy's testimony doesn't end there. He also shared with me a text message he received from the woman: "Jeremy, thank you for chatting with me and praying for me and my husband, William, today. I excitedly called him right after you left, and shared with him our 'divine appointment'. He was encouraged and thanks you, too, for praying for us! I've attached a photo of our family. Our daughters are Taylor (oldest) and sweet Olivia Grace, our youngest. Wishing you many of God's blessings, Jennifer".  Furthermore, Jeremy has invited Jennifer and her husband to visit with him and Mary in the future, and he fully believes that more healing will be accomplished in this family -- including the finished work of healing her leg!
     This testimony was such a blessing to me! It speaks to the certainty I have in my heart and spirit that this is what we are supposed to be doing as part of our commission from Christ.  And let me be perfectly clear, this is not about walking in our own power, but about being obedient to the calling upon our lives to speak and act in the lives of those who need to know the love of Christ and the Father. 
     During a subsequent conversation I had with Jeremy, it became so clear to me that we have to find the balance between battling in spiritual warfare and proclaiming the redemptive love of Jesus.  There are times that demons need to be cast out to the foot of the Cross, because a stronghold has been established in a person's life. But it always has to point back to the love of Jesus that fills that void the enemy just vacated.  That's why it is so important to show Jesus in those painful memories and let people feel His embrace and love as He heals their wounds. Those voices of despair, abandonment, rejection, pain, fear, anger, etc. are all defeated by showing a person that they are qualified to receive Jesus' love, because He died on the Cross for them!

     As I finish this testimony, I hope it is clear that God arranged the steps of each of the participants in this story. By Jeremy being obedient to the Holy Spirit, the atmosphere was changed in that coffee shop. Jeremy honored the voice of Holy Spirit by hosting His presence, which allowed the power of the love of Jesus for Jennifer and her husband to begin their healing.  And Jeremy will be the first to tell you that it was Holy Spirit who did the talking, because he can't remember what he prayed. 
     Finally, I am in total agreement with his advice to our fellow Christians who find themselves in a similar situation ... Just have courage and step out in obedience. The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say and the authority to say them. He will not put you in a situation in which you have no authority to speak. Because Jeremy's marriage is being healed, he had the authority to speak Jesus's love and grace into Jennifer's marriage.  And Jeremy found the whole experience encouraging. He said that speaking the Holy Spirit's message of life and hope [and giving his personal testimony to Jennifer] created an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit could begin to work in Jennifer and her family. Because of the positive result of this experience, it will be easier for Jeremy to trust his authority the next time he receives a prompting. The result has been an increase in his faith to simply be obedient, and he knows that he can be a willing vessel to show the love of Christ to those who desperately need to receive it.  
     I would like to add that I also believe Jeremy and Mary will continue to receive blessings in their own marriage because he was willing to speak the message of healing into another's marriage. In the end, I hope Jeremy's testimony will encourage you to listen to those promptings when you hear the Holy Spirit, and to act on them. Jeremy thought he was in that coffee shop to discuss his business plans. But God had another plan to use him for Kingdom work -- to invade that coffee shop with the presence of the Holy Spirit to effect the life of a hurting family -- to invade that coffee shop with the atmosphere of Heaven on earth ... all because He loves each of the people involved with a love that defies our human understanding. How Great is our God!!
Proverbs 16:9     A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.

November 4, 2017

God Is Changing Names, Identities, and Assignments

     I am writing this blog post on Wednesday night, on the eve of attending the first ever female military veteran Christian Warriors Retreat. In keeping with the mighty power of our God, I pray that as you are reading this, He is doing great things among the 14 women military veterans that I have the privilege of spending this weekend with.  I'm not able to tell you at this moment what, if any, new revelations they will be receiving from this retreat.  But I can tell you that as you are reading this early Saturday morning, they will have heard some of the most moving testimonies I have ever witnessed; declarations of Jesus's mercy in the lives of my fellow Sisters in Christ who share that military background with our Seekers.
     If the transformation in my Sisters' lives is any indication, the Seekers will be shedding their old identities with which the Enemy has labeled them, and receiving new names as they are restored to who God made them to be.  I expect to see new looks in their eyes, and new enthusiasm in their walks. I want them to see the lies they've been believing about who they are.  I hope to be able to say to them, "Stop calling yourself _____, and ask God, 'What do You call me' "? And then I want them to hear His answer ... "I call you blessed, prosperous, healed, whole, friend, beautiful, and Daughter.  I call you my beloved Child". I want them to see themselves as God and Jesus see them, and I want them to hear the Holy Spirit call them by their new names.  And I definitely want them to renounce the names the Accuser has been calling them.
     The other day, I listened to an inspiring podcast by Jennifer LeClaire, the news editor of Charisma Magazine. With a testimony of God's power to turn ashes into beauty, she shares her amazing story with women who need to understand the love and grace of God in a lost and dying world. And from my own life, and the lives that these female veterans have experienced, I know that message can be life-saving. But I also found it most interesting that Ms. LeClaire states she has received revelations from the Lord that we Believers are about to enter a season where we will receive new names, new identities, and new assignments.  That is exactly what I want to speak over our retreat Seekers!
     You see, I believe when God reveals our new names to us through the healing power of Jesus, it is often to let us know we are destined for a new mission in life.  It lets us know we are part of a Divine Plan and that God intends to fulfill His plan through us.  The perfect example is the father of our faith... God changed Abram's  name ("high father") to Abraham, "father of a multitude" (Genesis 17:5); and his wife's name from Sarai, “my princess,” to Sarah, “mother of nations” (Genesis 17:15–16).  Both name changes portray how God planned to use them.  Their names indicated their new identities and their new assignments as God began His plan to establish His Kingdom on earth.
     But what happens to people when they don't know their identity in Christ?  When life's experiences tell us we are a failure; or that others see us as someone to be used and discarded?  When our identity is defined by what others tell us about ourselves (including the devil), then the very foundation of our life can be shaky and unstable.  So think about the identities these female military veterans are carrying.  I'm sure I don't have to spell out the challenges of women co-existing in a warrior atmosphere. What would it be like for them to have an identity formed knowing they are someone whom God loves deeply and fiercely? How would that change the way they think of themselves and live their lives? What if they could see themselves as Ephesians 1 describes them ... "blessed with every spiritual blessing; holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven] and blameless in His sight". What if they could take off those identities that have them wearing -- the "filthy rags" determined by what they've done, or had done to them, and put on a beautiful clean identity of having been chosen, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, grace-lavished, and unconditionally loved and accepted. Just think of what it would be like for them to see themselves as pure, blameless and forgiven!
     Then they would be free to walk in the new assignment, and receive the resources, the time, and the anointing (blessing, protection, and empowerment) to carry out their new mission.  Think of the excitement and expectation this would bring to their lives! But let's not limit this new season to just my retreat Seekers. Are you ready for a name change? A new identity and a new assignment? Who among us would not be excited to think God looks at us as worthy of a new identity and deserving of a new calling to serve Him?
     So, while I am looking forward to telling you of the radical changes that will take place in the atmosphere of our retreat, and in the lives of our female veterans, I want to tell you that just like Jennifer LeClaire, I am discerning that God is about to give us all new and more powerful names as we accept our new identities and assignments in the rapidly approaching fulfillment of His Kingdom. I just can't wait for each of us to receive that "white stone with a new name engraved on the stone which no one knows except the one who receives it." (Revelation 2:17).  Some theologians explain that white stones were sometimes used as tickets of admission to public assemblies. Here the white stone may symbolize admission to the Messiah’s banquet. That, to me, is a picture of the Bride!  And that's an identity and assignment that none of us will want to turn down!

Isaiah 62:2   "The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give".