The Bride of Christ: Growing in Intimacy with God

On Fridays at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mike Bickle recently began a series on the Bridegroom/Bride message throughout the Bible concerning us and Jesus. I have been tuning in to their online stream during this series as I seek to stay faithful to the assignments God has given me as an intercessory prayer missionary and messenger through worship, song and teaching.

This is such an important message, and in this post I wanted to share some of the points that stood out to me. If we neglect the pursuit of intimacy with God, we are missing the primary purpose of our faith and our lives. We only fully come alive in connection with Him alone.

What Is the Bridegroom Message?

In one sentence, the Bridegroom message is the call to intimacy with God by encountering His heart and love toward us, and to walk in partnership with Him.

Ephesians 5:29-30 says:

“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones” (NKJV).

These verses essentially express that Jesus truly cherishes us. He is the lover of our souls–He desires us to come to salvation and to then enter into a forever-long friendship with Him as His Bride. God is love, and He cannot help but desire to pour out His affections on us and see us through the perfection of our faith in His love and loyalty.

To know His heart in this way, we must turn off and turn away from those things that keep us from spending quality time with Him. He won’t make us take the time. Then as we begin to experience how He encounters us, we will be set us free of all that hinders love.

Our fears, doubts, disappointments and confusion, our depression, burnout and purposelessness will be washed away over time through the washing of the water of His Word. Even in our fears of how He sees us, we will come to encounter Him whose love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8). He wants to set us free from those struggles, but by lovingly disciplining us, not beating us down in condemnation.

Christ’s position is a King who rules and reigns in power; however, unlike any earthly king, His heart is that of a Bridegroom who faithfully loves us. He does not want a workforce or slave-servants, He desires a bride in wholehearted partnership, given to expanding His Kingdom alongside Him.

He fights for us; He leaves the ninety-nine to bring that one prodigal to Him. His heart for even the most lost, hardened heart is to pursue them until they return to Him. Truly we were all prodigals, our home is in Him and He longs for every lost soul to return to His heart. As we continue to pursue intimate friendship with Jesus, we will grow in confidence in His love as we meditate on all He has given simply to be with us: He paid the highest price through taking our sin upon Himself and dying in our place.

There is so much more that can be said concerning the heart of our Bridegroom. If you want to learn more, check out Mike Bickle’s on-going series, “The Bride of Christ: Growing in Intimacy with God.”

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How to Guard Your Heart: The Online Edition

In this life, we know we are to guard our hearts. Encounters with toxic people, the offended, the abusive, bullies and more. These reveal the necessity. They are in our workplaces and classrooms, even in our families and amongst the Body of Christ.

I specifically want to address guarding our hearts online, on Facebook and social media. Much of this comes from personal experience (including mistakes) as well as wisdom received from godly mentors and friends. Some can be applied offline as well.

To start: How do we guard our hearts? We guard our hearts in various ways. We do so by not letting others’ remarks and behaviors get to us. We take our fears, hurts and anxieties to Jesus and allow Him to wash us with His peace.

Furthermore, we guard our hearts by having boundaries and not allowing toxic people access. We guard our hearts like we do our living spaces. We do our part to keep out anything toxic. We don’t let potentially combustible items near the fire of Jesus’ love in our hearts. Continue reading

True Success in God

As believers in Christ, we should define success differently than those in the world. Yet often in Christianity, success is seen in very much the same way as the world. We feel we must do big things for God, and that other things are seen as less. Yet this is not always true.

We are often told to look for a “world changing” destiny for ourselves and this is communicated as something big, such as fame or other highly influential things. Yet firstly and primarily our calling is to know the heart and person of Jesus.

Our assignment may be big, small or somewhere in between. The best thing we can do is what God shows us, not comparing ourselves and our lives to others, who have different personalities, gifts, skills and assignments.

The truth is that most of us will do many seemingly small things, and these things matter to God! Not everyone will be on a stage or be well-known. In fact, it might be dangerous if we are seeking a big platform because this may not be what the Lord desires for our life on this earth. As we look for the big, we may even miss the “ones” He would have us go after, those He would leave the ninety-nine for who need His touch. Continue reading