I remember vividly the day that I proposed to Mandy. We had been dating for six months and just knew that we were made for each other. You know, soul mates. At the time we lived in Shreveport Louisiana. I had the whole day planned. After church I took Mandy for a walk down on the boat dock on Cross Lake where my roommate had a slip for his boat.
We held hands and giggled and walked as if we didn’t have a care in the world. As we approached the end of the dock, I stopped and told Mandy how much I loved her and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I then dropped to one knee, as every gentleman should do, and lifted the ring box. As I began to open it with the words, “Mandy, will you…” the lid of the ring box was spring loaded, and the ring took flight and flew into the air as Mandy and I both looked in shock and unbelief at what we were seeing. Plump! The ring landed in the lake. I stood up and said, “Oh no! That was my grandmother’s ring!” I jumped in and swam around a bit and then I surfaced with, “I’ll need a flashlight, I can’t see anything.” That lake was clear as mud. So, I jumped up on the dock and we both started back up to the lake house.
Mandy was still in a daze and grabbed my hand and said, “Let’s pray and ask God to help us find it!” I responded with, “You pray. I’m too upset to pray!” as I then threw the ring box on the dock. As we entered the house, I dropped to my knee a second time and said, “Life will be full of surprises and emotions, and I want to tackle each one with you, will you still marry me?” (I had bought a fake ring at the store for the sole purpose of tossing it into the lake and kept my grandmother’s original engagement ring safe inside the doorway ready for the real proposal.) Mandy said, “Yes” with a questioning look on her face and then asked, “But what about the ring in the lake?” I explained about the fake ring and then walked her through the rose peddle covered living room and served her a homemade gourmet meal.
Not sure if she thought the proposal was a hit as much as I did, but it made a lasting memory and that was the main idea. May 7, we celebrated our sixteenth anniversary!
I wanted to grab your attention with mine and Mandy’s proposal so that I could connect you to the moment when Jesus used the Jewish engagement process to illustrate the Father’s plan and will for the church.
In John 14:1-3 we read, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 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. 3 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.”
I bolded three phrases that I believe are pertinent right now. I have such an urgency in my heart for the church as I believe the Father, by the Holy Spirit, is speaking to us as we rapidly approach the rapture of the church for He is saying, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
In The Passion Translation John 14:1 reads, “Don’t worry or surrender to your fear…” the Message Bible says, “Don’t let this throw you…” Many of the currents event that we are encountering is a setup for the end time platform as the antichrist spirit spreads lies and threats against God’s word. God said it to me this way, “Return to Me completely and allow all that I AM to consume the terror, lies, and threats of the destroyer as I AM a shield, high tower, place of safety and protection to all who will abide here. These are not fictitious ideals to bring a false comfort in times of stress, but God’s reality released that cannot be overcome but will be the standard for those that believe and place an expectation on the response of heaven. Times have changed and man’s evil plans perfected, but My Word has not changed and My counsel stands!” We must never give way to fear or tolerate its presence, as its sole purpose is to disengage and silence our faith. Remember that this is the victory that has overcomes the world – our faith. (1John 5:4)
Secondly, Jesus says, “I go to prepare a place for you.” To understand the context of this verse you must know the process of a Jewish wedding proposal of the bride and groom. This word, “Place” is also known as, “Dwellings” and they were called insulas for plural and insula for singular. These insulas were large houses that allowed extended families to live, work, and interact with each other. They were combined living units around an open courtyard that encouraged family strength and growth. And you thought when you got to heaven you were getting away from your in-laws! I’m kidding. Jesus was literally saying to His disciples and ultimately to us the church, “Will you marry me?” which is a covenant bond.
The other part of this proposal was between the Father and the groom. There is what is called the “Bride Price” where negotiations took place on the value of the bride. In 1 Corinthians 6:20, Paul encourages the church at Corinth that they were bought with a price indicating that the bride of Christ, the Church, was bought with the highest price ever paid, the blood of Jesus.
Jesus ended with, “I will come again and receive you to Myself.” While the bride waited for the return of the groom, she prepared. She was actively making sure she was ready for the groom’s arrival. When the groom finished building and making ready for his bride, he would get the father’s approval and then travel to the bride’s village and blow the shofar announcing his appearance. I believe that this is it, we are living in the moments right before the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
So, what do we do in this time? Ephesians 5:18 says, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (or acts of selfish living) but be filled with the Spirit.” (AMPC says, “Be being filled.” Meaning continuously filled.) This is God’s will for our lives in this time. There must be a focus and determination like never before as the church needs to be filled, led, and empowered by the Holy Spirit every day.
Secondly, Luke 21:34 (MSG) gives insight, “But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled…” Expectation relieves the weight of waiting. This is why we spent time talking in previous months about prayer. Prayer is where the Father communicates and deposits His word into us. This gives us boldness, confidence, and courage needed in this time. It solidifies truth and gives us a living hope or a fervent expectation of our promised future.
Don’t let the distractions of this world pull your focus. Remain ready and if anyone asks about the hope or expectation living within you, always be quick to explain your faith. (1Peter 3:15 TPT)
Last, but most definitely not least, choose to walk in love, ALWAYS! Why is this so important you may ask? Because offense is used by the devil to bring havoc and unrest into our lives. I have been tempted several times in the last few months to become offended at words and actions of others. The Lord helped me realize the devil was using this to sabotage my faith and gain access into my life. Once I saw this I simply began to say, “I love that individual and believe the best of them, and the love that has been poured out in my heart by the Holy Spirit is expressed in joy, peace, patience, kindness, virtue, faith, gentleness and self-control. I cast the care of this situation on you Lord for I know that you care for me with great detail and attention.” This works every time causing the devil to run in terror! Please take time to read and meditate on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (AMPC) as it will work wonders when applied. Remember, Love always wins!