Archive | February 2013

The Afikomen

image

God’s Thoughts to Me

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drinks my blood, you have no life in you (John 6:51-53, NIV).

The Feast, The Food, The Flesh and The Fruit

image

I have often wondered why so many of our Lord’s followers turned away from following Him after these difficult sayings they were not able to understand. To be honest, neither did I for a long time.

Looking at the ancient Greeks of Jesus’ time on earth, gave me a much clearer understanding of how they might have interpreted His words.

image

I am convinced they thought it was business as usual when they heard these gory words of blood, guts and flesh.

They were well aware of the Communion Ritual to honor the Greek god, Dionysus. He was the god of wine, one of the main deities and his birthday was celebrated on the 25th of December.

During this ritual his followers would crush the grapes, drink the scarlet life “blood” of Dionysus and get extremely drunk.

Just as well, for they also dismembered an animal, usually a bull, by tearing it apart with their hands and teeth (Luana Fabri/Messianic Fellowship).

They called this the “Omhagia” and were convinced that eating the flesh of the bull and drinking its blood, caused the life and power of their god to be absorbed into their bodies.

image

In the Jewish culture, sharing a meal is very important. With every meal bread and wine are served. The head of the family breaks a piece of bread before and after every meal, blessing the food and thanking God for His provision.

But then there was the Passover, another breaking of bread, where our Heavenly Father broke His Afikomen to feed His children with the sinless, unleavened Bread of Life.

image

At the early stages of Passover Seder they set aside a piece of the “matzo”, the unleavened bread, to be eaten after the last meal. This piece is called the “Afikomen”, and it means “that which come after”, or “dessert”.

Some families hide the Afikomen for the children to find and reward them with candy or money when they find it. This is their way of keeping Passover interesting for the children.

Now, I would much rather take part in the Jewish way of celebrating Passover than be part of Dionysus’ team celebrating their Communion Ritual.

image

And I can well imagine how these poor folk must have thought that Jesus was introducing another kind of bloody ritual similar to the one of Dionysus.

At least these guys used an animal, but this Man wanted them to use His body and blood as the sacrifice. Gross!!! This was lunacy!!

Yet, they were totally ignorant of the fact that they were on the brink of doing just that. His body was broken and His blood was spilled, slaughtered like an animal, when they nailed Him to the cross.

image

In the Upper Room it was the Afikomen our Lord Jesus took, broke and offered to His diciples.

After all our striving and coniving, our huffing and puffing to earn our Pappa’s love, approval and acceptance, He offers us His Afikomen, the last, hidden piece of the unleavened bread … the sweetest dessert … our Lord Jesus.

image

Death was not able to hold Him in its grip and when we listen carefully, we can hear His voice, gentle, still and small, inviting us to come to Him … to feast on His Afikomen … the delicious fruit of the Spirit of love … to live in His Loving Embrace.

Hugs and blessings xx

Mia

I am linking-up with

image

 

image

image

Advertisements

God’s Instrument of Suffering

image

God’s Thoughts to Me

Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18, NLT).

It is being tested as fire tests gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold (1 Peter 1:7, NLT).

I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather I have refined you in the furnace of suffering (Isaiah 48:10, NLT).

Growing in Grace : The Refiner’s Fire

image

My black South African countrymen are all born musicians. Music and rhythm are an integral part of their DNA- structure.

When they sing together, their voices become an orchestra, playing the most melodious music. Adding any other musical instrument will just scar a perfect symphony, for their voices are all the instruments they need.

It reminds me so much of the slaves of the 18th century in America, singing together while working on the fields of the rich landowners before slavery was abolished.

image

Daniel Day Lewis has just won the Oscar for the best actor in the movie, Lincoln. It tells the story of his untiring, relentless efforts to abolish such a detestable practice.

I am reminded of their labouring together under a sweltering sun, singing to their Pappa their songs of lament, yet trusting in His goodness, love and provision.

Who can forget that symphony of their voices as they sang the beautiful song of the once slave-trader-turned-saint, John Newton’s, Amazing Grace.

image

Yet, those poor people knew suffering, but also that their Pappa was in their midst like He promised,” For He has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned His back on them, but has listened to their cries for help (Psalm 22:24)”.

I am again reminded how our Pappa uses suffering and adversity as the instruments to discipline His beloved children and will use even the worst suffering the enemy inflicts upon us to our advantage and good when we come to Him.

image

Nature often tells us the story of how grass and vegetation are the most luscious in the heart of the valleys.

In the same manner, our faith and trust flourishes in the Valley of Weeping. Our weeping becomes the instrument our Pappa uses to lead us to a place of refreshing springs where the autumn rains will clothe us with His blessings (Psalm 84:6).

We see how gold and silver are refined in a furnace, how abrasion polishes metal, how a pearl is formed in the seclusion of an oyster from a single grain of sand.

image

We see how heat strengthens and tempers steel and even how boiling water brings out the flavor of tea (Dr Rick Ferguson, The Sermon Index).

But we also see how the once barren trees are clothed in the most beautiful royal robes of splendor once the winter has passed.

And once we have gone through the refiner’s fire of suffering, we emerge like a butterfly arrayed in the colors of His love … His life … His glory. We are stripped of our old nature to be clothed in the splendor of His righteousness.

image

Then, and only then, are we released from the slavery of this world of darkness to live in the beauty and liberty of His eternal Kingdom of Light … to live in His Loving Embrace.

Much love xx

Mia

Linking-up with

image

 

image

Rejoice in The Lord

image

God’s Thoughts to Me

Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep. They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough (Isaiah 56:10-11a, NIV).

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that is through faith in Christ (Philippians 3:8, NIV).

Striving in The Flesh

The first lie ever whispered to the human race sounded deliciously good and appetizing: man had the ability to live independently from his Creator … the ability to live according to his skewed perception of good and evil.

This belief, ushered all the children of Adam into a world lost in chaos and darkness, and caused the birth of the nearly 40 000 Christian denominations worldwide, too many trying to earn their way back into Pappa’s favor and Presence.

image

I was no exception … until … the Truth started to pursue me relentlessly. I was lost and alone, stripped of my abilities to rely on myself to earn anyone’s love, let alone our Pappa God’s.

I had to experience my total inability to love myself, our Pappa God and others before I was able to let go of all my feeble efforts to prove that I had it all together. But, I did not …  not even remotely!

For a long time I suffered from the Paul syndrome described in the Epistile to the Philippians: all the religious works of the flesh.

Paul listed his repertoire of accomplishments and looking through the eyes of the world, it was truly impressive.

He was circumcised when he was eight days old and was a pure-blooded citizen of Israel, a member of the tribe of Benjamin – a real Hebrew.

image

He was a Pharisee of the highest order who DEMANDED the strictest obedience to the Jewish law, which, by the way, he succeeded to obey without fault, according to himself!

He was the church’s greatest enemy and harshy persecuted her until our Lord Jesus stopped him in his tracks.

And from then on, he left all those noble accomplisments behind, calling it dog excrement! He used a much more descriptive word, according to the original Hebrew and he knew he used to be one of those dogs described by Isaiah so many centuries ago.

image

He was the leader of the pack, barking and biting the poor, ignorant folk, urging human works in opposition to simple faith in our Lord Jesus.

But after his encounter with the living, resurrected Lord, he knew the folly and deceptiveness of religion.

He called the preachers of Jesus plus works, evil workers .. the Party of The Circumcision ,for they were renting the church, tearing her apart.

image

Just like Paul on the Damascus encounter, our Pappa stopped me in my religious tracks by allowing a debilitating illness into my life.

He planted beautiful seeds of longing in my heart to know our Lord Jesus. It caused an unexplainable yearning that devoured my soul in its intensity … a glorious yearning to know the One whom my heart now desires above all else.

image

But, just like Paul, I HAD to leave all my noble, impressive religious ways behind. I had to suffer not just physically, which I do every day, but more importantly, I had to suffer spiritually like Paul and our sweet Lord Jesus.

Our Lord was the only man who ever lived who was able to uphold the whole law in His own strength, but He did not.

He chose to trust our Pappa from the one moment to the next to do His works in and through Him, all to Pappa’s honor and glory.

image

Just like Jacob, I had to cross my Jordan River, where I wrestled with God through the darkest night of my soul to be blessed abundantly with the privilege of living my life in Him.

A life where I daily have to deny myself and my feeble efforts … a life where I carry my cross like our Lord, not trusting in my own strength, but trusting the only Man who ever lived a life of complete dependence on Pappa, our Lord Jesus, to live His life in and through me.

For I know that apart from Him, I can do nothing.

image

Just like Paul, I needed my own Damascus encounter where I was rescued from the world and its ways … rescued from the lie that I can earn my salvation with a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

And just like Paul, I know I have not arrived there yet, but the one thing I have learned, was to consider the futility of all my religious ways.

Just like Paul, I am leaving it all behind, pressing forward against all odds, for I want to know my gentle, kind, humble Lord Jesus. I want to share in His death to experience the power of His resurrection.

image

I want to leave everything behind that hinders me to live in Him … to rejoice always in His Loving Embrace.

Much love xx

Mia

Linking-up with the Monday Morning Meditation Community.

image

Uniting with Jen.
image
Also with Emily.
image
And a play- date with Laura.
image

In The Image of God

image

God’s Thoughts to Me

So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27, NLT).

Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name in the palms of my hands (Isaiah 49:15, NLT ).

The Mother Heart of God

image

Our heavenly Father’s love is immeasurable … incomprehensible … limitless. Yet, in all its greatness and grandeur, it is gentle, soft, kind and patient beyond my ability to fathom!

The Scriptures are deliciously laced with the sweet fragrance of the love of a mother. Our Pappa pays tribute to motherhood when He compares Himself to a hen who wants to gather her chicks under her wings.

image

A father is concerned when a child breaks a leg, but a mother kisses a skinned and bruised knee. In the same manner our Pappa is concerned about a single strand of our hair.

He loves with a good dose of sentimentality for He collects all our tears and treasures them like a collector’s item.

His affection has that non-preferential quality of a mother’s heart for He leaves the 99 behind to seek and save the one who is lost.

image

He compares His love and heart to the most tender and beautiful love we can imagine, when He wants to gather us in His arms, nursing us like a mother nursing her helpless infant at her breast.

He even suggests that a mother can forget her nursing child and feel no love towards her little one. But He is aghast that we can even consider His love to be that way.

image

And, if we look closely enough, we can see how He has written our names on the palms of His hands when they were nailed on the cross!

Much love xx

Mia

Linking-up with Lisa-Jo and the Five Minute Friday ladies

image

Also with Still Saturday
image
And dear Barbie and The Freshly Brewed Community
image

 

The Joy of The Lord

image

God’s Thoughts to Me

This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! (Nehemia 8:10, NLT).

The Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21, NIV)

The Kingdom Within

We were all created with the longing to be loved … accepted, faults, failures, boots and all! It is quite the opposite of what the world teaches.

image

From childhood we are bombarded with the lie that we need to be independent! Stand on your own two feet. At best, keep your feelings at bay!

Work hard and climb the ladder to success, only to find that there is no end to this striving, no end to this crazy scurrying to nowhere!

And this longing to be loved goes unfulfilled. And we starve!

image

Another lie that is soon added to the world’s diet, is that worldy pleasures supposedly would still the hunger in our hearts for fulfillment.

We soon learn that playing just as hard as we work, is another prerequisite for happiness.

At some stage we begin to realize that there must be much more than this rat race that ends up only in the cat’s stomach and we feel the first stirrings of the sweet Holy Spirit drawing us to the heart of our magnificent Creator.

image

Some people try to quiet this stiil, sweet voice through drugs or sex or alcohol, only to spiral down into the destruction of their ability to be human.

Others sell their souls to a career only to find that ladder resting against a shaky wall, built on an even shakier foundation.

Others seek filfillment in sports and different societies, but I have found that my nemesis was religion!

My heart was like a sunflower turning its head towards organized religion hoping to find the warmth of the Son.

image

I was experiencing all these stages of life while I was a member of a church, a Sunday School teacher and part of a Bible study group and I was at my wits end.

For even there I couldn’t experience that deep inner joy and love my whole being craved for.

I cannot even begin to describe the intensity of that longing and how it robbed me of my ability to eat or to sleep.

I started on a journey, an inner journey, through the streets of the heavenly Jerusalem … a journey to find the priceless, costly pearl … that pearl of incalculable value.

image

Like the Shulamite, I said to myself, “I will get up and roam the city, searching in all its streets and squares. I will search for the one I love. So I searched everywhere but did not find Him (Song of Songs 3:2, NLT).”

Yes, I tried everything religion had to offer in the name of my beloved Lord Jesus. Yet, all to no avail.

I soon realized I was in an adulterous affair with the letter of the word and it was killing me slowly but surely (2 Corinthians 3:6), while my heart was longing, no craving, for the love of the Living Word!

Yet, it is so human to prefer the familiar, known streets of captivity, than escaping to the glorious freedom of the unknown.

I had to ask for grace to leave it all behind and to start my journey to Mount Zion … grace to be bigger and wiser than my fears!

image

When I read verses like Nehemia 8:10 , I became so frustrated, for the much coveted joy seemed to mock me in its absence.

Until one day when I realized that I was not searching for my Beloved with my whole heart like our Pappa advises us to do,”If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me (Jeremiah 29:13, NLT).

Just then and there I decided to take the first step … that leap into the unknown and my whole heart rose up to seek and find the one I love. I cried out … deep cried out onto deep … longing, craving, starving for my Beloved.

image

Then, one day in the early morning hours after another sleepless night, I was sitting on the floor, totally lost in my longing to be found by Him, when a shining white figure of a man appeared next to me. He held out His hand, inviting me softly, kindly and gently to come.

Just that one word,”COME”.

At first I was frightened, for after all, I didn’t believe in ghosts. But He kept inviting me with so much love and kindness that I couldn’t resist Him any longer. I took His hand and collapsed into His being.

I was lost in love and peace and surprised by JOY unspeakable.

image

I was lost in His Loving Embrace.

Much love xx

Mia

Linking-up with

image

image

image

image

Cupboard Love

image

God’s Thoughts to Me

Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety (Proverbs 29:25, NLT).

Deceitful Love

Wreaking my mind for ideas about the cupboard, took me straight to Pappa’s throne of grace, hat in hand, admitting that all my striving resulted in zilch, nada, nothing!

The Fibrofrogs were having a great time stealing all my noble, important ideas and I could feel my flesh rising in sheer frustration. I was blessed with two words, “cupboard love”!

I was totally ignorant of this saying and thought it to be a quaint English phrase. But I was soon about to find out what it truly meant.

image

According to Wikipedia, “cupboard love” is a phrase referring to love and affection shown to gain a reward. In other words; love inspired by some selfish motive.

It is derived from the way a cat will give a cupboard containing its food superficial love and can be described as a milder form of conditional love. Children are quite masters of this art!

image

Actually, this is the kind of love that almost all humans are experts in giving … sort of a common chronic illness amongst the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.

And … I knew I was guilty as charged. I used to be very skilled cupboard lover!

For a long time I listened to teachings that tickled my ears and taught me I could “love” my Lord and King with the same kind of cupboardy, selfish love (2 Timothy 4:3).

image

Tithing would, for instance, oblige Pappa to open the storehouse of heaven, showering me with all my heart’s desires.

Praying our Lord’s words from Scripture would compel Him to send His angels from heaven to be at my beck and call. For our Lord’s words would never return empty or void (Isaiah 55:1).

Speaking positive words would ensure that Pappa would never allow any harm to come to me or my loved ones, for there was power in my words (Deuteronomy 30:1).

image

Oh, I was well trained in showering our Pappa with cupboard love and throwing tantrums when I didn’t get my way!

The prodigal son and I were much alike in that he only thought of his Pappa when he was wallowing in the mud with the pigs. His main concern was more his empty stomach than his father.

image

But, looking at the Scriptures that were used to birth these monstrous teachings made me even more aware of the deceitfulness of the human heart.

The famous book of Malachi, was our Lord’s reproach to the careless, corrupt priests who were divorcing their wives, oppressing the orphans and widows and not paying decent wages to the laborers. They were also guilty of tax evasion for the upkeep of the theocracy.

The first century Christians were mostly illiterate and there were not any Bibles around, in any case! I am sure the priests were also not lending the Torah to them to pray the words, trying to get God to transform His angels into a few Santa Clauses!

image

They knew of only one Gospel. To them Christianity was the living, resurrected Lord Jesus living in them and they in Him in a wonderful, intimate relationship of love.

I came to realize that my own feeble words, didn’t carry one bit of power to create anything. Only the words of our Lord Jesus have that honor!

True to Himself our gentle Lord did not condemn me. Instead, He saved me from myself.It was not an easy escape from all the lies I believed!

It was more like the 1963 American film, The Great Escape, where the Allied Prisoners of War escaped from a German POW camp through a tunnel they dug underground.

image

Together, my Lord and I dug a tunnel beneath enemy territory, fully aware of their sharp shooters who were masters of deception and waiting for the slightest chance to hinder my escape with their bullets of lies.

But my Commander-in-Chief, our Lord Jesus, brought me through to truth and freedom … the freedom for which He has set us free (Galatians 5:1).

Yes, the Truth has set me free indeed; free to live in Him … in His love … in His Loving Embrace!

Much love xx

Mia

Linking-up with

image

image

image

At My Beloved’s Table

image

God’s Thoughts to Me

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5::22, NLT).

Living in My Beloved

image

My Beloved Lord Jesus, living in you and you in me, transformed my heart, allowing me to feast on the spiritual delights of your love.

Where selfishness were the reigning monarch of my soul,  you have created colorful blossoms of joy.

Where the storms of life threatened to destroy my life on the rocks of turmoil, the gentle breeze of your patience has steered my heart to still, calm waters.

image

Where the stormy dark clouds of my petulance, blocked the sunshine of your heart, your brilliant, patient smile melted the crust of ice enveloping my soul.

Where rudeness was my fortress of protection against the hurt and sorrow of this world, your kindness demolished those walls of lies and brought me to the safe tower of  your gentleness and kindness.

image

When you could only catch a glimmer of faith in my heart, as I was fearing and fleeing from your pursuing love, your faithfulness brought me back to the vineyard of your affection.

Where I was the captain of my soul, you were the captor who took control and gently uprooted my independence and grafted me into the vine … into your life … into your Loving Embrace.

Much love xx

Mia

I am again linking-up with

image

image