Wednesday, October 23, 2019

False Lovers vs The Bridegroom

I had a dream that I want to share. In this particular dream I was not married nor did I have children. I was single and I had a HUGE engagement ring on my hand. The diamond was massive. I met a man and I told him I was interested in him. He looked at my hand and said, "Aren't you already taken?" Glancing at my ring I replied that, "it was negotiable" (meaning if something better came along I may change my mind). The man recoiled in disgust at my lack of loyalty and I immediately woke up. I felt awful. How could I be so unfaithful - even in a dream? And then I received the answer to the dream:

~The False Lover~

In ancient Jewish tradition, when a man proposed to his betrothed, he would bring all his worldly goods, all his treasures and everything he had to offer and lay it at her feet. He would lay it before the potential bride and offer it to her as her own. They would break bread together and to end the evening, he would set before her a glass of wine. If she drank from the cup, it signified that she accepted his offering for marriage. If she did not, there was no agreement to marry.

Once the woman drank from the cup, the man would immediately leave to go and build/prepare a place for them to live. She never knew when he would return to come for her. But when he came - it would be the wedding day and she must be ready for him. He would come with fanfare and a parade of friends shouting and playing instruments! The DAY had ARRIVED!!!

If she were to become distracted, she would be unprepared for his return. He could not marry her if she had strayed from him. He must always be in her thoughts - because, as you see, he is building a place for her and she was always in his thoughts. It must be an equal match. Equal devotion. Equal love.

To be prepared the faithful bride would bathe (become clean) daily, smell fragrant (virtue garnish her thoughts unceasingly)...she would anticipate his arrival (eager for his return), she would think of her true love continually.

We are the Bride and Jesus is the Bridegroom. The ancient story is our story. Each week you break bread with Him (his body) and are then offered the cup of wine (his blood). He offers His hand to us and it is up to us (personally) to remain faithful to Him. To wait for Him. To be prepared...for Him.

When you don’t turn to Him in your longings to be filled - to fill that pain or ache...what do you turn to instead? False lovers are not hard to find. Food, internet addictions, social media, youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, movies, television, chocolate…but they never awaken our heart. What we hoped would bring us relief, only leads to addiction and destruction. That ache we feel is actually a is a gift from our Creator to lead us to repentance....or in other words, the ache is designed to lead us to:

~The Bridegroom~

Jesus, like in the ancient Jewish proposal, has laid before you ALL of His treasure (His life & His Kingdom). You have broken bread together (sacrament) and when you drink that tiny cup of water you are symbolically drinking the glass of wine offered to you signifying your acceptance of His proposal to be His and His alone. To forever take His name upon you as His bride.

Jesus wants you to accept the offered cup of wine and commit to Him - but He won't force you to accept. He wants a heart that is truly committed to Him, not just one that "is negotiable". He wants to be loved by one who is all in. THAT is what repentance truly means. Often we think of repentance in terms of apologizing and asking forgiveness or 'messing up' and then talking to the bishop and not taking the sacrament for a while. True repentance is found in the first great commandment:

Matthew 22:
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.


That's it. That is TRUE repentance. It's about TURNING YOUR HEART BACK TO THE BRIDEGROOM and being fully committed and desiring HIM with your whole being.

Jesus refers to Himself as the Bridegroom to us. He’s telling us a story of how intimate He wants to be with us. We often think of Jesus being up there and distant from us. But he tells us he is the Bridegroom and WE are the bride. He wants to be One with us. To make a place for us. To be forever abiding with us. We are made for intimacy with God. Not just knowledge about Him.

Christian author, John Eldredge, is able to describe how I feel about Jesus. Listen to his poetic description of our Bridegroom's love for us:
"Jesus came to reveal God to us. He is the defining word on God—on what the heart of God is truly like, on what God is up to in the world, and on what God is up to in your life. An intimate encounter with Jesus is the most transforming experience of human existence. To know Him as He is, is to come home. To have his life, joy, love, and presence cannot be compared. A true knowledge of Jesus is our greatest need and our greatest happiness. To be mistaken about him is the saddest mistake of all." 
“Every song you love, every memory you cherish, every moment that has moved you to holy tears has been given to you from the One who has been pursuing you from your first breath in order to win your heart.” 
“The Lover of our souls, the One who has pursued us down through space and time, who gave his own life to rescue us from the Kingdom of Darkness, has made it clear: He does not want to lose us. He longs for us to be with him forever.” 
“You might recall that the Scriptures use a number of metaphors to describe our relationship with God. We are portrayed as clay, and he is the potter. We are sheep, and he the shepherd. Each metaphor is beautiful and speaks to the various seasons of our spiritual lives and to the various aspects of God’s heart toward us. But have you noticed they ascend in a stunning way? From potter and his clay to a shepherd and his sheep, there is a marked difference in intimacy, in the way they relate. It gets even better. From master and servant to father and child, there is a wonderful progression into greater intimacy. It grows more beautiful and rich when he calls us his friends. But what is most breathtaking is when God says he is our Lover (our Bridegroom, our FiancĂ©), and we his bride. That is the pinnacle, the goal of our redemption (used in the last chapter of the Bible, when Christ returns for his bride) and the most intimate and romantic of all.”
Read Isaiah 62 as though Jesus, your Bridegroom, is reading it right to YOU - HIS BRIDE. Substitute your name in place of "Zion" and "thee/thy", etc. Jesus is SO INTIMATE!!! He LONGS to be at One with you!
1 For (your name) sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
2 And the Gentiles shall see (your) righteousness, and all kings (your) glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.
3 (Your name) shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.
4 (Your name) shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but (your name) shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in (your name), and thy land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over (your name).
Here is an excerpt from Soren Kierkegaard's Disappointment with God. Consider in his story that the 'King' is Jesus and YOU are the 'humble maiden':
Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden. How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist—no one dared resist him. But would she love him? 
She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she a humble maiden and to let shared love cross the gulf between them. For it is only in love that the unequal can be made equal. The king clothes himself as a beggar and renounces his throne in order to win her hand.
Eldredge continues, "The life and the death of Jesus answers once and for all the question, "What is God's heart toward me?" This is why Paul says in Romans 5, "Look here, at the Cross. Here is the demonstration of God's heart. At the point of our deepest betrayal, when we had run our farthest from him and gotten so lost in the woods we could never find our way home, God came and died to rescue us.""

Considering the marriage to the Bridegroom, I have some questions to consider about the Temple:

What is the "New and Everlasting Covenant", specifically? 
What is "the fulness of the gospel"?
What does the endowment in the Temple mean?
How do you know when you've received/achieved it? 
What does the clothing represent? 
Are we like the ancient Israelites with their rituals - going through the motions not fully knowing what it means? The Jews believed they were a chosen and special people (does this sound familiar?) but they didn't fully understand the meaning behind the rituals they were preforming (are we like this?). 

What is each sign and token asking you to for?  
What does the endowment show as the pinnacle of your journey in this life? 
What is "the realization of these blessings"? 
What if "turning the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers" is "the realization of these blessings"...and, like "the father's" Abraham, Issac, and Jacob - you receive an embrace coupled with all the blessings that are possible to be bestowed? 
Where does it say your endowment is to be awarded in the afterlife? 

If there was an earthquake today that destroyed the temple and churches and disconnected you from the TV and radio to hear President Nelson speak on the Lord's behalf - where would you go? To whom would you turn? Is it only in the LDS Temple or chapels where God resides? Or is the Lord telling you that YOU are to be the Temple of God to which He will "come to suddenly"?
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16–17).

Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 137 (25 March 1839)
Consider asking God:

-Lord, what are the false lovers that You see I run to when I don't run to You?
-Where have I not surrendered to You?

Waiting Here For You


Christy Nockles

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