Archive | April 2013

The Scabbanger Club

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God’s Thoughts to Me

But His mother told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 5:2, NLT).

It is to divide between what is us in fallen nature, and what is Christ, and to get rid of the one to give full place to the other! (T Austin-Sparks).

Water, Wine and Merriment

Onwaba, the Day of Her Baptism

Onwaba, the Day of Her Baptism

I have a little 5 year old friend. We have been blessed to have Onwaba and her grannie staying with us the last few years.

Onwaba has a great sense of humor. When she does something funny, she is a funny bunny.

But when she is just plain stupid she calls herself a scabbanger. She is quite chaffed with herself for creating this big word.

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Onwaba’s sense of humor is just a chip off our Lord’s dear heart. I can just see Him grinning as he looks down at the human race, all honorary members of the Scabbanger Club.

When Jesus and His disciples attended the wedding at Cana, He must have been a bit amused, as well as filled with compassion, for the predicament of the poor bridegroom.

To run out of wine at your wedding was a major faux pas that would cause them to be the latest scabbangers in town until someone else messed up worse than them.

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We all know this parable where our Lord Jesus helped the poor groom out of his scabbangerish predicament. But He did much more than merely turning water into wine.

Our Lord never allowed an opportunity to pass without confronting and exposing the uselessness of the Jewish religion; actually, any religion for that matter. It only has the ability to bind us in chains.

He did so in this parable by using the empty clay pots that were used for the ceremonial, legalistic cleansing, instead of the empty wine jars.

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After the servants filled the pots to the brim with water, the master of ceremonies gave some to the groom. They were all amazed at the superb quality of this “bubbly” wine and that, only being served near the end of the wedding feast.

The new wine symbolizes the new covenant wine of Jesus’ own life; ever active, dynamic, full of joy and spiritual blessings, replacing the old dirty water of the purification vats of the law.

Jesus’ command to the servants to fill the jars to the brim, shows us the abundance of His provision. There is no short supply in heaven. Unlike the water of religious cleansing, the new wine of His life never runs dry. image As we allow Him to restore sight to our spiritual eyes, we become aware of the empty futility of filling the jars of our hearts with religious water of self-effort to clean our consciences and to find favor with our Pappa.

This new delicious wine is only served in abundance when we come to Him and learn how to abide in Him. It is way above and superior to the wine which we drank before.

Some modern-day Pharisees, in defense of abstinence, try to explain this new wine to be diluted grape juice, while others are calling Him a drunkard and a glutton, finding fault with His social life! Preposterous!!image Mary told the servants at the wedding to do just as Jesus told them to do. They had the common sense to do just that. Something I used to be in short supply of.

I have been a scabbanger without an iota of common sense for a time. I labored so hard, trying to wash my dirty feet, hands and face with my own brand of religious soap and water.

Yet, with such patience and wisdom our Pappa allowed me to be refined in the refiner’s fire of suffering. He didn’t burn away only the stuff He considered bad and left and refined the good. Not at all!

Paul informs us that there is none who is truly good; not even one who seeks the Lord  (Romans 3). If it was not for His prevenient grace, none of us will ever be able to even think one right and true thought about our Pappa. Only He and He alone is good.

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He burned away everything pertaining to my scabbangerish self and replaced it with only Him and His new Life. This didn’t happen without a lot of complaining from my side.

But, He enabled me to realize that giving Him free reigns of my life, was the greatest gift of love I could give myself. He dared me to be brave enough to truly love myself by allowing Him to burn away all the dross of the flesh.

I am immensely grateful that He opened my mind and understanding to the uselessness of the legalistic purification methods of washing with religious soap and water. He gently showed me another way … a better way.image Oh, the joy when I was able to hear, listen and heed His still small voice asking my hand in marriage … asking permission to fill my heart with the new bubbly wine of Himself.

Much love XX

Mia

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He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

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God’s Thoughts to Me

I no longer call you slaves, because a master does not confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me (John 15:14, NLT).

Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Anyone who does the will of my Father  in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” (Matthew 12:48-50, NLT).

My Friend, My Brother

In 1969 Bob Russel, who was dying of cancer of the lymph nodes, and Bobby Scott met in person only three times.

That was enough for these two guys to write the beautiful ballad, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. It was released the same year by the Hollies and topped the charts in both the UK and the USA.

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There was a time when I was totally bowed over by all the baggage of my past, desperately ill and totally alone.

It will suffice to say that I was totally, as in really totally, alone  and rejected by even my disbelieving husband and children.

Yet, my spirit was soaring on the wings of the Wind. He gently carried me, cradling me against His breast, while whispering softly to my heart, “You ain’t heavy, dear one, you are mine!”.

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When I was truly groveling in the mud of sin and self-contempt, with only a few hungry pigs as company, I could hear His words of comfort and love.

Not long ago I asked Him why He was so close to me when everyone else was looking down  on me with utter disgust because of my incredible load of sin.

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He gently informed me that He saw my heart, He knew my pain, He heard my cries for help.

Besides, He was in the business of binding up the broken hearted, setting the captives free and seeking and saving the lost.

He reminded me that He is my friend who is closer than a brother … a bridegroom giving His life for His bride … a God who is far above and beyond the ability of mankind to fathom.

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He is close to the suffering … He never leaves them, nor forsakes them … He is the Friend of sinners … He carries them close to His heart … He envelopes them in His Loving Embrace.

Much love XX

Mia

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Freedom in Captivity

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God’s Thoughts to Me

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17, NLT).

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1, NIV).

My Freedom Manifest

During World War II, Corrie Ten Boom and her family helped many Jews to escape the Nazi Holocaust.

The Ten Boom Family

The Ten Boom Family

They were arrested in 1944 due to an informant. Corrie, her father and her sister, Betsie, were imprisoned in Ravensbruck, a Nazi concentration camp.

Only Tante Corrie survived and in 1953 her book, A Prisoner and Yet, was released where she shared their suffering and torture.

Despite everything she went through, she was released with her soul free and her mind intact. She found the secret of living free in our Lord Jesus whilst being a prisoner in the worst of prisons.

Corrie Ten Boom

Corrie Ten Boom

I have to confess that I am an experienced jailbird. For a long time, I have been a prisoner, imprisoned in the narrow confines of my mind. Lies were the jailers, torturing me relentlessly.

Unlike Tante Corrie, I was free in the eyes of the world! Yet, my heart was captured in many dark prisons of self.

Self-contempt and his brother-in-arms, self-condemnation, were trampling and destroying the last tatters of self-respect I was clinging onto for dear life.

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I was well versed in the language of abuse, but instead of unmasking this monster as the fiend he really was, I internalized all his lies.

I labelled myself as the perpetrator and considered these cruel, murderous words, my own fault and my just reward for being such a detestable person. Yet, I could never pinpoint my behavior that caused this treatment.

I did my utmost to placate the violent temper of the one who was slowly killing me with verbal bullets instead of loving me more than life. I soon learned that for survival, silence was the name of this game.

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When I was at the bottom of the pit of self-contempt, I turned to alcohol in an attempt to lessen the pain of rejection.

It is one thing to be the innocent recipient of such abuse, but quite another to believe the lies that you deserve nothing less.

I knew I was walking a very dangerous road of self-destruction, but truth be told; it seemed preferable to being jailed in the prison of my life. But my love for my children compelled me to look for a better way.

So I turned to God. Or rather; I became very active in organized religion. I tried to find answers in a myriad of religious do’s and don’ts. It was no surprise that the biggest don’t was , ” Thou shalt not DRINK!”!

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My mind was completely veiled by a burqa weaved of the finest silk of deception and religious lies. No wonder I was totally powerless to overcome anything destructive in my life.

I was trusting my non-existent abilities to keep laws and another set of laws and then another set of by-laws!! I was doing hard labor in this prison of religion and before long I was chucked away into the worst of worst kind of imprisonment: solitary confinement.

If ever there was a brutal crowd of cruel jailmasters, it was the Scribes and Pharisees throwing stones of condemnation and shame.

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I hoped to find help and support amongst these people, but experienced the worst kind of abuse one can think of: spiritual abuse.

I call it by another name, the rape of the heart. The rapist, to my mind, was none other than our dear Lord Jesus!

But a still, small voice kept beckoning me on another journey; a journey to freedom … a journey to truth … a journey to life.

Our Lord Jesus started clearing my mind of all the inroads of lies and redeemded me from its destestable father.

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This is the first time I am able to lift the veil of shame and offer a peek into this sector of my life where I was a prisoner of alcohol. Nothing I tried could enable me to stop this terrible addiction!

When I came to the end of all I could call “me”, I fell to my knees, telling our  Pappa that if He didn’t heal me, I was going to be a drunkard for the rest of my life. I got up and never drank again. I didn’t even experience any withdrawal symptoms.

Sharing this is still awkward and it still hurts at times. But I have received grace upon grace to not only forgive myself and the perpetrators of the abuse against me, but our relationships have been beautifully restored to wholeness in Him.

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With a grateful heart, I want to bring glory to our Pappa for the freedom that can only be found there where His Spirit reigns … the freedom Tante Corrie experienced when she was a prisoner and yet.

Much love and sweet blessings

Mia xx

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Jump Jesus Jump

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Then the devil took Him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off … He will order His angels to protect you.” (Matthew 4:5-6, NLT).

The God Man

I was often confused by so many interpretations of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness.

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The most intimidating was when we as mere humans were expected to be as adamant and strong as our dearest Lord in resisting the evil one!

My insecurities and lust to earn His love through performance just delighted itself with glee while mocking me about my uselessness to our Pappa,

“You cannot even fast for one day for you need to eat in order to drink your medication for your illness. And never forget; God didn’t value you enough to heal you! Blah, blah, blah.”

Until the Light of Heaven declared war on this lying darkness clouding my heart. He revealed to me the extent of His sacrifice to redeem us from the slave master of lies.

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Our  Pappa knew how totally lost and inadequate we were to escape this monster who kept us chained to the fetters of this world.

But, the ransom price had to be paid to break and destroy the fetters of lies forever.

So our Lord Jesus became the ransom through willingly surrendering His divinity and lived the way we were created and wired to exist.

Not for one moment did He revert back to His God-hood … not for one moment did He refuse to drink the cup of wrath in our stead … not for one moment did He do His own thing apart from His Pappa!

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If He did, He would not have been the spotless Lamb to be the perfect sacrifice for the iniquities of man . He would have been spotted by the monstrosity of independence.

No, He lived dependently on His Pappa and refused to give in to that pestering tempter to use His own power.

He was and is and will always be the only human on this side of eternity who fully trusted His Pappa’s love, goodness and power.

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That is why we need only to come to Him and abide in Him … that is why we need to only submit to Him and resist the roaring lion tempting us to revert again to independence … to jump back into the salivary jaws of the evil one.

Because Jesus did not jump, Satan has to admit defeat when he sees us living in His Loving Embrace.

Much love XX

Mia

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Jack and Jill

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God’s Thoughts to Me

You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men” (Matthew 15:8-9, NIV).

But the time is coming – indeed it’s here right now- when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, NLT).

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after

So Far Away from Me

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In 1985 Dire Straights released their album, Brothers in Arms, with the hit song, So Far Away. Poetry through music, according to me!!!

Whenever their lead singer, Mark Knopfler, laments his loneliness, shivers of delight run up and down my spine! “I’m tired of being in love and being so alone when you’re so far away from me”.

These words from the song capture the heart of our Pappa when Isaiah brought His message to the Israelites about His distaste for the farce of their religious show and pretense.

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He informed them through Amos that He was tired of their religious festivals and solemn assemblies.

He refused to accept any of their offerings and sacrifices or to listen to their noisy hymns of praise (Amos 5:22-23). Our Pappa turned a deaf ear to their prayers for their hearts were so far away from Him.

Another peculiar thing has surfaced amongst the churches nowadays: Praise and Worship teams to lead the congregation into the presence of our God!

In many instances, these bands have become the main feature or attraction to lure people into joining the congregation.

But we read in Hebrews and 1 Timothy that there is only one mediator between man and his God, and it is definitely not Peter, Paul, Mary, the Pope or the pastor.

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Our Lord Jesus has not abdicated His position to anyone or anything. He is the Narrow Gate, the Way and the Truth, the only One who can usher us into the presence of our Pappa.

I recall the words of a youth pastor friend of mine on how the worship leaders know which set of notes to play just before the altar call.

Apparently this specific octave has the ability and great potential to manipulate the minds of the congregants and stir up their emotions.

As I was pondering the act of worship, I was heartbroken to see how so many have cheapened this holy act of love.

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I  knew I had to find the true meaning of Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman at the well about the kind of worship that would bring joy to our Pappa’s heart.

Worship and praise have become like Jack and Jill, hoping to draw living water from the Fountain of Life by going up the hill of the modern interpretation of praise and worship. We all know that they, together with their empty bucket, tumbled down this hill.

Religious worship is totally self-centered and focuses on the worshiper’s actions and experiences.

It is bound by time, place and all the different procedures involved. This kind of worship is defined by what we do and plays along in the game of humanism.

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We gather together in the parameters of a program, a place and time … we sing … we pray … we listen … we give … we serve.

We do and do and do and do some more. This is truly a do-it-yourself kind of worship experience!

When we look at true Christian worship, we find it totally the opposite of what we have become accustomed to.

Worship in spirit and in truth is a daily lifestyle where we always express the “worth-ship” of our Pappa’s character through an intimate bond of love between two kindred spirits.

As we allow our Lord Jesus to worship our Pappa by His Spirit of Truth by living His life in and through us, He enables us to love our Pappa with total abandon, unashamed, unbound and totally free.

This is the mystery Paul spoke about to the Colossians; God’s mysterious plan which is Christ Himself (Colossians 2:2).

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Religious worship has taken the “in spirit and in truth” part and replaced it with things like emotion and mind … enthusiasm and orthodoxy.

Of this kind of worship A.W. Tozer wrote in the 19th century, “We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inward to meet God in adoring silence … I wonder if spiritual worship was ever at a lower ebb.”

I know I am taking the risk of being misunderstood and want to clarify my argument. I am not against beautiful gospel music; in fact, I love it.

I am not against a band playing when saints assemble together in the unity of the Spirit … there where everyone is captured by the beauty and love of our God … there where every heart is closely knitted to our Lord Jesus.

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Dear Ones, let each one examine her own heart and cease from man-centered religious worship.

Let us learn from a dear old saint, Brother Lawrence, who explained this mystery of worship of our everyday life, as the moment-by-moment privilege of practising His presence.

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

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The End of The Fig Leaf Fashion

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God’s Thoughts to Me

He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them (2 Corinthians 5:15 , NLT).

Christ is writing a letter in you each day,
The message, that is Him, must be true,
‘Tis the only Jesus men may see
The life of Christ expressed as and through you.
(Author unknown)

A Letter Being Written

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Sigmund Freud spoke of a childish king, reigning in the hearts of SELF in the Kingdom called ME.

He wittily labelled this little pompous tyrant ruling in our hearts, “His Majesty, The Baby”. I would like to add another childish ruler, Her Majesty, Queen Self.

These two tyrants used to hold the reigns of  my life. Queen Self fought valiantly to retain her crown and the throne of her Kingdom of Self.

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She was smartly dressed in all the latest fig leaf  fashion of religious teachings she embraced with such delight.

Whenever she read Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, she used to think that serving her God was just business as usual, albeit with another emphasis.

Her thinking told her that God Almighty is so good and aloof that she dare not approach Him without being the best performing religious artist of all times!

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She loved titivating and dressing-up in her law-keeping Sunday best before she considered herself worthy enough to go to her Pappa.

The monarch reigning in my heart, drove me like a slave, forcing me to build with bricks of straw like the Israelites in Egypt thousands of years ago.

Just like the Pharaoh in the time of Moses, she didn’t provide any straw for she was convinced that “I” was perfectly able to do everything necessary to build her Tower of Babel as well as producing the building material!

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I totally misunderstood the meaning of Paul’s words and was convinced that living for Christ only meant working hard to ensure that I stay on the narrow road of life once I had been saved by grace.

Yes, Her Majesty, Queen Self was convinced she could safeguard her redemption through the deceptive lust of her flesh to become righteous on her own steam.

We often see the lust of the flesh just as those overtly sinful deeds like murder, rape, corruption and the like.

Yet, the other side of this coin, includes all those deceptive, noble, good religious deeds we are so fond of doing and are so proud of.

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I was being chained in captivity to the Western theological mindset which is very scared of allowing grace to function freely and unrestrained in every individual believer.

This kind of reasoning considers the freedom of grace quite a risky, dangerous business. Something at best to be avoided at all cost.

I imprisoned the sweet Holy Spirit in church structures … I encased Him in my understanding of the Scriptures … I relegated His redemption to a judicial courtroom in Heaven.

So I had a cupboard full of the most beautiful religious robes made of self-effort; all in different colors and styles, according to the newest designs of the religious fashion houses.

My valiant efforts to be noble, humble, truthful and righteous, adorned me with garish fake jewelry, glittering like the brightest rubies and diamonds!

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This selfish lady expected our Lord Jesus to revolve around her needs and wants.  She never spared a thought for the possibility of living for Him alone.

Doing that would certainly rob her of her kingdom’s false security by allowing her life to revolve around the Son of Heaven.

She was so wary of the rays of His love shining bright and beautiful from His glorious countenance into the cold darkness of her heart.

But, my stupidity posed no threat to our Pappa. Through the teachings of men like James Fowler and Michael Clark, He dethroned that despot.

That cruel monarch reigning over my life with his iron fist of deception, keeping me chained to the slave of self.

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Of course I never succeeded in covering those two lackeys, shame and guilt, who endlessly pestered Her Majesty, Queen Self, with terrible accusations of worthlessness, fear, rejection, self-condemnation and the whole enchilada.

Our Pappa offered me a new way, a new robe, a new heart on which He writes the Gospel of Grace and Love.

He taught me the wonderful freedom of living for our Lord Jesus by allowing Him to live His life in me, as me and through me.

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He destroyed all my filthy rags of SELF and gently clothed me with the Beautiful Robe of His love.

He covered all my shame with His blood that purchased my freedom from the kingdom of the evil one … He paid the ransom for my redemption from Her Majesty, Queen Self.

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

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Knocking on Heaven’s Door

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God’s Thoughts to Me

The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20, NIV).

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said,”I believe; help my unbelief (Mark 9:24, ESV)”.

Enoch’s Secret

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There was a nagging thought that had the habit of pestering me every Sunday after church, “What makes you any different from all the people who walk the aisles of the grocery store when the first thing you do after church is walking with them along the same aisles in the same store?”

My heart was compelled by a persistent still small voice urging me to find the reason for this thief stealing my pseudo peace.

I had no idea that it was our Pappa convicting me through the avenues of my conscience about my hypocrisy.

This peace had the abilty to make me feel smugly superior to these poor lost souls. I know now that it was only a fabrication of the latest great gospel songs we sang at church. Music does have the ability to lull the soul. And today’s gospel music has a great beat and melody.

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I envied Enoch who knew the secret of just walking with God and I did the only thing I knew how to do well. I went knocking on heaven’s door, imploring Pappa to teach me Enoch’s secret.

And my Pappa answered!! I admitted to Him and Him alone, alongside many voices through the ages, that I had no idea what true faith really was!

I lamented alongside Mike Yaconelli, “I had totally misunderstood the Christian faith. I came to see that it was in my brokeness, in my powerlessness, in my weakness that Jesus was made strong. It was in my acceptance of my lack of faith that God could give me faith (Abba’s Child)”.

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Together with the father of the boy with the evil spirit, I cried out to our heavenly Father,”I believe; help my unbelief (Mark 9:24)”.

Our Pappa tenderly showed me how I desperately tried to manufacture faith through striving very hard, on my own, in the flesh. What a futile endeavor!

He knew of my fear of being included in the crowd who were chided by Jesus, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you?” (Mark 9:19).

He knew of my uncertainties and insecurities that made me believe our Lord was speaking to me in particular. He was well aware that in my vocabulary and my mind, “faithless” meant, “unlovable, useless, nuisance, shameful” and so forth!

When I came to that place where I had to admit defeat, our Pappa showed me the beauty of relationship. He didn’t give me faith as an entity per se; He gave me Himself.

The deep longing to desire Him and love Him, and then to love Him and desire Him even more, was the answer to my persistent prayers of years ago! Truth be told, I didn’t think I was worthy or important enough for Him to listen to my prayers, let alone, respond to my requests.

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First, He patiently had to remove the veil of law still covering my mind. The glorious truth and understanding of grace were veiled in my heart.

Like a bridegroom removes his bride’s veil, He removed the veil that prevented my heart from KNOWING His love … His grace … His mercy and compassion.

He gave me the wedding gift of receptiveness to receive Him into my longing heart and taught me the secrets of any relationship of love.

He convinced me that to get to know one another, I had to share with Him not only my life, but also my heart with all its secrets and my depreciating thoughts of myself.

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I willingly had to open the door of my heart to the room where a little girl was still hiding in fear, rejection and pain. I had to allow Him to gather her in His arms and heal her with His Kisses of Delight.

I had to dare to believe that He truly loved me unconditionally before I was able to show Him my spiritual nakedness and allow Him to clothe me with His righteous robe of His blood and redemption.

He whisked me off my feet to our private garden where He showed me the beauty of true love … where He overwhelmed me with His grace and forgiveness.

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He taught me Enoch’s secret of how to walk with Him, living in His Loving Embrace.

Much love and sweet blessings XX

Mia

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