"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

May 15, 2013


This week I will conclude the study from last week regarding believers being the bride of Christ. A quick recap from last week of how ancient Jewish betrothal and marriage ceremonies correlate to the church being the bride of Christ:

  1. Brides were usually chosen by the father of the groom. Jesus tells us in John 15:16, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you....."

  2. Brides were purchased and the price was paid to the father of the bride to show him how much the bridegroom loved and valued the bride. 1 Peter 1:18-19 tells us that we were not redeemed with things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. Then in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 scripture tells us that we were bought at a price.

  3. The ancient Jewish marriage began with the betrothal. The couple entered into a covenant and they were legally married in all aspects except for the physical consummation of the marriage. The betrothal entailed a ceremony where a contract was presented to the bride's father and it contained the bridegroom's promises to his bride. The contract that God gives us is His Word. It shows us all that we are entitled to as the bride of Christ, and we have the right to claim all the promises contained within God's Word.

  4. Although a bride was selected for a particular bridegroom, she had a choice whether or not to consent to the betrothal and marriage. She gave her consent or her "I do". God never forces anyone to say "I do" to His Son. Although He has chosen us as the bride of Christ, we have to willingly consent to the commitment.

  5. After the terms of the betrothal were accepted, a cup of wine was shared to seal the marriage covenant. A second cup of wine was shared during the marriage ceremony. During the last supper, Jesus took the cup saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood which is shed for you." The cup He shared with us represented the shedding of His blood for forgiveness of our sins. The second cup that the bride of Christ will share with Him is the second part of the marriage ceremony where we will be united to Him for all eternity. In Matthew 26:29 Jesus says, "I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it with you in my Father's Kingdom."

  6. Another part of the betrothal included the giving of gifts by the bridegroom to the bride. It would be something of significance that the bride could look at and remember the love and commitment her bridegroom made to her. Jesus has bestowed upon us many gifts: forgiveness, mercy, love, all the fruits of the spirit, and many more.

  7. Brides experienced a mikvah prior to her wedding. Being immersed in the water was part of a physical and spiritual preparation for the wedding ceremony. It represented a separation from the old life to a new life. Being baptized represents the living water of our mikvah. When believers are immersed in water, it represents a separation from the old life to a new life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new."

8. Once the marriage covenant was sealed, the bridegroom left to go to his father's house to prepare a wedding chamber. Most often this was not done by building a new home, but by simply adding additional rooms to the family's existing home. It was not the groom's duty to determine when the place he was preparing for his bride was ready -- his father would make that determination and tell his son when it was time to go get his bride. He was usually gone for about a year.

Jesus tells us in John 14:2-3, "In my Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

Matthew 24:37 says, "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows."

Jesus has gone to His Father's house to prepare a home for us. He is building us a wedding chamber so that we can go dwell in His Father's house. The Father will determine when the timing is right for His Son to go and get the bride. Not even Jesus knows when He will return for us; only God, the Father, knows when He will send His Son to come and take us home to be with Him for all eternity.

9. While waiting for the return of her bridegroom, the Jewish bride was set apart, consecrated, and separated until her bridegroom -- the one who purchased her -- came to take her to his home. While waiting for his return, she remained faithful. It may have been easy at first, but as months went by she may have questioned his return and been faced with temptations. But she was to keep herself busy in preparation of the wedding day. One of her tasks was to sew and prepare her wedding garments.

As we wait for the return of our Bridegroom, there are times when we are faced with temptation and at times may even question His return. But we must remain faithful. We must keep our hearts pure so that we will be ready for the return of our Bridegroom at any time.

We are to also prepare our wedding garments and keep them clean; without spot or wrinkle. We are not to take our wedding garments on and off whenever we feel like it, but are to keep our covenant promises and vows to Jesus; always ready and waiting for His appearing. When He comes we aren't going to have time to hurry and get dressed in our spiritual garments, for the Bible says that He will appear in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. We won't have time to repent and confess our sins when the trumpet sounds. Those who have never put on their spiritual wedding garments or those who once wore them but then took them off, won't hear the trumpet announcing the arrival of the Bridegroom. Therefore, we must ready ourselves now and remain ever diligent and watchful at all times.

10. Jewish bridegrooms usually came for their brides late at night, near the midnight hour. The time of his arrival was a surprise, therefore the bride and her bridal party were to always be ready. It was customary for one of the grooms party to go ahead of the bridegroom, and on the way to the bride's house he would shout, "Behold, the bridegroom comes!" The sound of the shofar would break the silence of the night and there would be shouting and dancing in the streets as the entire wedding processional would go through the streets to the bride's house.

We see this in the parable of the ten virgins found in Matthew 25:1-13. "At midnight a cry was heard, 'Behold, go out to meet him.'"

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Mark 13:32)

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 says, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words."

Our Bridegroom will call us to rise up and meet Him in the air. We don't know the day or the hour when this will occur. We need to be ready for His appearing at all times.

11. The groomsmen would then set up the Huppah -- which was a canopy. It represented the new home to which the bridegroom would take his bride. The ceremony was finalized with promises and vows. The bride and bridegroom were escorted to the bridal chamber where they would be alone for seven days.

Isaiah 26:20-21 says, "Come my people, enter our chambers and shut the door behind you, hide yourself as it were, for a little moment until the indignation is past. For behold the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity."

While the bride of Christ is in the bridal chamber with Jesus, the rest of the world will be in a time of great tribulation. While the wrath of God is being poured out upon the earth, the bride of Christ will be hidden away with her Bridegroom.

12. Following the seven days in the bridal chamber, the bride and bridegroom joined the guest for a joyous marriage feast. Music and dancing and food were a regular part of the celebration.

Revelation 19:6-9 says, "And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, 'Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine line, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.' Then he said to me, 'Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' And he said to me, 'These are the true sayings of God.'"

Just like the ancient Jewish wedding, there will be shouts of joy, dancing, singing and rejoicing. The bride will dance for joy because the Bridegroom has come!

Revelation 22:20 tells us, "'Surely I am coming quickly.' Even so, come Lord Jesus, come!"


It seems like such an odd custom to have the wedding be so sudden. We planned for about 4 months for our wedding. And we let all our guests know months ahead of time so they could almost all be there.

I did get to surprise Loretta with my proposal. She knew I was waiting to meet her father and ask his permission before I officially asked her. She didn't know I was going to ask her two minutes after getting his permission.

It was fun and exciting to see the look on her face; to know that we really were going to get married; to know who I would plan to grow old with. We moved from dating to engaged, and she went from my girlfriend to my fiance!

The wedding was also great. We moved from engaged to married, and she became my wife!

When we make our commitment to Jesus, it's very exciting. We know where we are going some day. And this marriage isn't "till death parts us", but forever. And we will get to see Jesus face-to-face. What a wonderful hope.


Fruit Pizza

I roll Pillsbury sugar cookie dough

Spread the cookie dough out to cover a cookie sheet or large pizza pan. Bake at 350 until light golden brown.

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese (softened)

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Soften the cream cheese. Mix all ingredients together and spread on the cookie crust. This is easier to spread if you do it while the crust is still warm.

1 can pineapple tidbits (drain but save the juice)

Bananas, sliced

1 can sliced peaches, drained

Strawberries, sliced

Kiwi, sliced


Can also add blackberries, cherries, mandarin oranges

Arrange fruit on top of the cream cheese mixture. Use whichever fruits you like; using a big variety of colors makes this dessert really pretty.

1 cup pineapple juice (can add water to equal 1 cup if necessary.)

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Mix ingredients together in a saucepan and cook until clear and thick. Pour evenly on top of the fruit. Chill until ready to serve. (This is better if made ahead and allowed time to set in the refrigerator for several hours.)


My relatives on my mom's side of the family are planning a reunion for later this year and a memory book is being put together. A family member has been collecting old family pictures and stories. Some of the stories some have shared are how their parents met, so I thought I'd share the story of my parents' meeting.

Daddy attended a revival at Highview (which is the A/G church I was raised in) to look for girls. That night he saw Mama and asked to take her home. Mama said that she knew that Daddy really liked her when he tied her headscarf around the steering wheel in his car. I asked Daddy a few years ago how long they dated and he wasn't sure, but he was 21 and Mama was 17 when they got married on April 15, 1949. At the time they got married, Daddy had a big strawberry patch, which was his source of income.


He who stops at third base to congratulate himself will never score a home run. - unknown


We love you!

Loretta & Jon