Then they said, ” Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” (Genesis 11:4, NLT).
Once upon a time, when the world was lost in the evil one, the prince of darkness summoned his black knights around his throne of lies.
Their malignant wrathful presence filled the extravagant courtroom with their venomous sulphuric vapors of pride, evil grandeur, hatred and lies. They reeked of fatal destruction, decay and deceit.
Their prince informed them of his wicked plan to tickle the ears of the gullible earthlings by whispering damnable lies into the itching ears of their greedy hearts,
“Let us once again subtly mix truth and lies and deceive these vermin again. They know they are skilled master builders.
Let us inflate their arrogant egos and tell them that they are able to build for themselves a city with a tower to reach their God! Let us imprison them together in chains of our hatred.
With persistent lying we can convince them that standing together in humanistic, devilish unity, will make them like the King of Heaven.
Let us convince them not to use the stones that their God has created, but to build their own bricks to glorify the works of their hands.
Persuade them of the uselessness of tar and the benefits of using the mortar they have mixed with lime and cement.” The hosts of hell screeched with hateful excitement.
They bowed to their evil prince and departed for the dwelling place of man, not wasting a moment to spin their poisonous web of falsehood.
Their lies and deceptions seemed to be a succeeding, but they failed to consider the Omniscience of the Divine One. The King of Heaven summoned His host of angels,
“My naive ones are once again lending our their ears to be tickled with lies and their hearts to be filled with pride.
My children have once again rebelled and succumbed to the monstrous lie of spiritual independence.
They are standing together in devilish unity and trying to reach my Kingdom with a wicked man-made tower.
They are ignorant of the fact that this stairway to heaven will actually lead them away from Me and is nothing more that a cursed monument to glorify themselves!
Let us destroy this evil unity that makes them believe they are like gods by creating a Babylonian confusion.
I will confuse their speech and scatter them across the whole world. Only when they once again see their fragility, they will realize that they are but dust.
Then I will reach out to them with my endless mercy and draw them with the overtures of my love. I will woo them and cherish them in the cradle of my heart.”
Much love and sweet blessings xx
Linking-up with Lisa-Jo and the ladies at my link-up page
You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it (Matthew 7:13-14, NLT).
The Broad and The Narrow
Bright ideas and fibrofog are not bedfellows; so, down memory lane I went to find some common ground between my thoughts for today’s post and an exciting introduction.
When I asked Pappa to help me, He gently reminded me of an instance when I, as a young teenager, went on a school scouting camp. I vividly remember this one guy having everyone in stitches with the lamest of jokes.
I was merrily joining in the laughter whilst being dumbfounded that anyone could actually think such stupid jokes to be funny. And just there I found the reason for so much of humanity’s woes; our god given need to belong; to be accepted.
It is this sensitive need satan uses to deceive and lead so many people happily along the broad road. I am not talking about the broad road where you find the company of thieves, drunkards, murderers, addicts, prostitutes and the like.
Our Lord didn’t seem to have much trouble with these folk. In fact, He was called a drunkard and glutton Himself (Matthew 11:19) and He called Himself a jail-bird (Matthew 25:36). I am talking about the broad road called religion with its wide gate welcoming countless souls into destruction.
I once was a cheerleader along this road until our Lord kindly blessed me with a disability that robbed me of my pom-poms and all my cheerleading skills.
Truth be told, I was a religious socialite, always dressing myself in all the latest to-do fashion doing the religious rounds. But, no matter how much I flirted, I was always empty; devoid of life, true Life!
But where the great “I AM” is, you will never find a void, or an emptiness or need to belong that He does not fill with His wonderful love … actually with His Heavenly Wonderous Self. He dresses His bride in His white washed Robes of Righteousness.
He patiently started to “home school” me, teaching me at a pace that suited my fibrofog, how I totally sidestepped the wonder and truth of His Gospel.
He taught me the difference between the broad road of darkness and the narrow road bathed in the Light of Jesus … the road called Jesus … the road called Life.
He taught me the complete dichotomy between these two roads. The way of Jesus’ Kingdom is uniquely radical and singular and is not easily passable.
In fact, it is impossible without faith, true faith; the kind of faith that we can only receive as a gift from Pappa’s Hand. Only this gift enables us to walk this tippy-toe road!
This gift of faith makes our hearts receptive to God’s grace, moment by moment and enables us to walk the narrow road that is not popular or pleasing to the masses.
We often need to walk this road alone seeking only our Pappa’s approval. But life lived in our dearest Lord Jesus is the summation of God’s Kingdom.
Not many religious people are willing to submit themselves to God and Him ALONE in receptivity to enter through the narrow door and walk on the narrow path.
This is the life lived at the end of our tether, denying all our own efforts to be saved, allowing our Lord Jesus to live His life in and through us.
It is much easier to get lost in the letter of the law, a doctrine, a creed, a rule, a sacrament or whatever gives us a sense of security even though it is false. It is much easier to enter through the beautiful, broad religious gate.
It is a popular road; convenient and socially acceptable and allows a wide scope for freedom of ecumenical tolerance.
It is widened even further by the many ruts and ditches of methodology (especially the “how-to-do-this-that-and-the-other-for-God” kind) and experimentalism. The better it feels, the better it is! The more important it sounds, the more important it is!
Solomon wisely knew from experience, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). We all have to choose which road we will travel; the one leading to spiritual death or life.
Let us cry out to our beloved Lord with King David in Psalm 139 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Much love and sweet blessings xx
During the week I link-up with the friendly ladies at my Tea Time and Link-Up page. Thanks for your hospitality.
As the Scripture say,”No one is righteous, not even one. No one is truly wise, no one is seeking God (Romans 3:10, NLT).
The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; He looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God (Psalm 14:2-3, NLT).
A Kingdom Beyond
C.S. Lewis wrote in his classic, Mere Christianity, “Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, OUT of all that, into something beyond … Everyone there is filled with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light… They do not call it anything … They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes.”
The Chronicles of Narnia, also the work of Mr Lewis, gives us a small peek into that something beyond, a Kingdom of Love and Light … the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus!
In 1963 the song, Little Boxes, was released and caused quite a stir. It is a political satire, telling the story of suburbia. But veiled between the lines, is the story of conformist middle-class attitudes.
This reminds me so much of the conformist attitudes and thoughts of the adherents of religion. We love to have all our religious rules, structures, programs and behaviours neatly worked out, all packed, sealed and stacked in little boxes.
For some peculiar reason we seem to be afraid to leave our little boxes of religion behind, to leave the prosperity of our Ur of the Chaldeans and to move on to our Canaan … to the Sabbath of rest.
We shy away from uncertainty and rather prefer a false man-made system of security, in place of the only unshakable certainty found in our Lord Jesus. For many years I have wandered in the Lost World of Religion and these words of Mr Lewis would have seemed like blasphemy to me.
Religious morality, or shall I call it correct conduct, was the cornerstone of my temple of beliefs. My security was built on the quicksand of a performance driven salvation and I was drowning rapidly!
Morality offered me a neat stack of little boxes, telling me which one to open for the correct behaviour or to fulfill a need. The only problem though, was that they were all made of “ticky-tacky” and they all looked just the same. The same program, methods or conventions, the only difference being the color.
There are green ones, blue ones, pink ones and yellow ones, but in the end, they are all just the same-old, same-old with a different wrapping.
Granted, that was the way I have been taught by almost every religious orginization I attended, but I always longed for something more.
What I found in every congregation I was part of, was just their own set of neatly stacked boxes, all containing their own set of rules, wrapped in their own brand of wrapping paper.
To be accepted, I only had to squeeze myself into the confines of their own tailor-made range of box sizes. By nature I am quite skinny, but believe me, that was quite a tight fit!
“Longing” is not a strong enough word to describe the yearning, that consuming craving in my heart … a longing that could not be satisfied by any kind of good behavior … according to my estimation.
There was not a single little box that I could open that contained the love of our Heavenly Father, the only kind of love that could satisfy my heart, there where deep cries out to deep (Psalm 42:7)! They all contained death … no life … no Jesus.
I realized that I had been traveling around the same moutain long enough and needed to press on further (Genesis 2:3). Going around another time was only delaying the inevitable.
So I decided this year to open all the different little religious boxes I have cherished for such a long time and to start throwing out the religious clutter.
The rules of morality were always the criteria for how I needed to behave. And I was drowning … drowning because of a lack of love … the true love of our Lord Jesus.
They all offered only a broken cistern that could hold no water and definitely not the Living Water of Life. Going back to Eden, we see the first lie whispered to the human race, resulted in the genesis of morality.
Before Pappa God led Adam and Eve into the first Sabbath, He created everything they would need for their sustenance. He knew the way He created them would render them unable to determine even one correct thought about what good and evil really were for there is no autonomous good and evil apart from Him.
He warned them to stay away from such folly and that eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would result in their death.
This one forbidden meal separated them from the Presence of their Pappa and since He is Life, they subsequently started to die, not just spiritually, but also emotionally and physically for they were seperated from the Sustenance that upholds all life.
Pappa is not at all surprised by our stupidity. He promised us that He will destroy the wisdom of the wise! (1 Corinthians 1:19). And if I want to be honest, for a long time, I was part of the gallery of the wise.
True wisdom is the common sense to seek Him, our Creator, Sustainer, Provider … our everything. Solomon told us in the Proverbs, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
The whole creation suffered as a result of this terrible foul revolt, for Adam was given the responsibilty to look after Pappa’s creation (Genesis 1:28).
It was His gift to us. And today we all suffer because the world we know, is slowly, but surely dying! We all groan as we wait for our Pappa to make all things new.
With my next post I want to explore the deception of morality, what it is and is not, and why it is the biggest joke Satan has ever pulled on man.
Much love xx
With joy, linking-up with Mindy.
Linking-up with The Weekend Brew. Thank you Barbie!
Some time later there was a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab, king of Samaria. Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.” ( 1 Kings 21:1-2, NIV)
The Hidden Story of Naboth’s Vineyard
I am a thinker. Actually I think a lot; deep and investigative, always searching for a story, the story behind the story and a few hidden ones in between! When I quite accidentally stumbled upon the meaning of the people’s names in the tale of Naboth’s vineyard, my story catching radar immediately tuned to the frequency of drama, murder, suspense and intrigue. I sensed a spiritual drama buried deep in the ground of Naboth’s vineyard.
Since we are all familiar with this story, allow me to to set the scene and introduce the cast:
1. Look at Naboth through our heavenly Pappa’s eyes! His name means “fruitful”. 2. Jezreel is the handywork of the divine Gardener for it means “The planting of the Lord.” 3. Ahab is derived from the Hebrew word “Aheb”. It is a masculine word meaning “lovers”. 4. Jezebel literally means, “Where is the prince?”, the prince, in this instance, being Baal. It was the custom of the Baal worshippers to chant this prayer whenever they perceived him to have taken an extended winter vacation to the underworld, hoping to encourage him to return speedily with spring and new vegetation. 5. The elders and nobles represent the law-observers of the old covenant; man’s efforts to win God’s favor and blessings.
Ahab was a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8). I find it meaningful that his palace and Naboth’s vineyard were situated very close to one another. He was a religious man, wavering between his divided loyalties to Jezebel’s Baal worship and the religion of his ancestors. Ahab was an unfulfilled man and looking from the palace window at Naboth’s fruitful vineyard, made him greedy. Or, perhaps he realized the emptiness and futility of his own life when he saw the fruitful planting of our Pappa’s hands every time he looked through the palace window!
In the past, I used to self-righteously condemn Ahab for his covetousness and audacity, wanting to buy Naboth’s ancestral inheritance; and only to plant a vegetable garden! Ahab had no intention of cheating Naboth for he offered him a better vineyard or ample monetary compensation.
I had to face myself, admitting that I too, used to bargain with our Lord, wanting to “buy” the fruitful vineyard only our Pappa can plant and nourish, to replace it with a vegetable garden of religious self-effort, traditions and customs. Just like Ahab I was convinced that I could do a much better job than our Heavenly Father. Oh, the futility and impossibility of such reasoning.
Just like Ahab, I sulked and moped when our Pappa frustrated all my efforts! And just like Jezebel, the enemy of our hearts didn’t allow any grass to grow under his feet. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing he lured me to the assembly of the religious traditions of the elders and those whom we consider our Pappa’s Elite Corps; the spiritual nobility! He used a very pious religious practice as bait to make me feel so important in participating: fasting. The only fast I experienced was the hunger for our Pappa’s presence and love!
Just like Jezebel, he made it look so authentic by forging the king’s seal upon the invitation. He even gave me a place of honor, but soon sent his scoundrels to falsely accuse me of cursing our Heavenly Father and the traditions of the religious elite. Needless to say, I felt the stones bruising my heart and it took a long time to heal!
Oh, but the sweetness of that voice calling me just to come to Him, to stay in Him, and to experience His rest, was the coolest, most refreshing spring of joy and indescribable peace in the midst of an extremely severe winter season of my life.
I am not blessed with green fingers and therefore, with great joy and relief, I have surrendered my plans to plant a vegetable garden, to our Lord, resting in the shade of the vineyard He is planting in my life, enjoying all the delicious fruit He produces.
So Ahab summoned all the people of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions ? If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent. (18 Kings 1:20-21, NLT).
The Contest on Mt Carmel
The last month I have been reluctantly travelling through the well-known Fm/CFS country, Mega-Flare Land. Actually, I was forced to accompany my unwelcome friends, Mr Pain, his ugly wife, Exhaustion, and their brood of brat-like kiddos: Fibrofog, IBS, Migraine, Desperado and all their siblings. They were joyfully irritating me, taking turns in giving me the honors of piggybacking them.
Taking a short respite, we stopped at a shady Inn called Quitters Paradise. This scaly looking building was situated in the middle of the desolate Plain of Despondency. I peeked through a dirty window and was not at all surprised to see a few very familiar felons already lodging there. Mr Self-Pity and his cousin, Mr Down-in-the-Dumps, were beckoning me inside, cordially inviting me to join their wallowing in a dark, dirty cesspool of muddy despair. I willingly capitulated and in the blink of an eye I was overwhelmed by a major Elijah moment. Remember that time after Elijah outran King Ahab to Jezreel?
Well, true to human nature and just following Elijah’s example, I offered our Lord my very famous BUT-GOD complaint. Yet, our gentle, loving Pappa patiently enquired, “What are you doing here, Elijah? (Mia?)” (1 Kings 19:9b) He encouraged me not to waste my valuable little energy on my lamentations and languishing and invited me to rather join Him on another journey far back in time, thousands of years ago. I was not too keen to accept His offer for I did not want to leave my mud wallowing gremlin friends behind!
But our Lord’s gentle charm won my heart and I followed Him back to the days when Israel was experiencing a severe drought and was ruled by King Ahab. Actually, by Jezebel, since Ahab was totally under the petticoat government. Our Father introduced me to those obstinate, double-minded Israelites who were comfortably resting on their religious laurels. Their minds were in a comfy state of equipoise and they had one foot firmly planted in the state religion of Jezebel, and the other one, in the Heavenly Kingdom of our Pappa. My Pappa gently showed me that the condition of my heart was in reality not much different from theirs.
To my sorrow, I realized that my loyalties were also divided between religion and my allegiance to my Pappa. In other words, I was also double-minded and conveniently ignoring our Father’s words, “He is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:8, NIV). I realized that I was also dancing around two altars and needed to repent of my foolishness, allowing the sweet Holy Spirit to drastically renew my mind and change my heart’s desires.
I appreciated Elijah’s originality in using a metaphor from the world of birds when he compared the Israelites to the notorious habit of birds, hopping from the one branch to the next, quite finicky about choosing where to settle. I could relate to that!
Ahab summoned Elijah and had the audacity to blame him for Israel’s 3-year long drought. Elijah vehemently denied the accusation and turned the blame back to its rightful owners: Ahab, Jezebel and their large entourage of Baal and Asherah cronies. Elijah courageously challenged them to that famous Carmel contest. Since Baal was considered by the people as the presiding deity who had the power over fire, the Israelites considered Elijah’s challenge to be a brilliant idea to determine once and for all who the only true God really was. I found it quite interesting that Elijah had rebuilt the altar of our Pappa that was previously demolished by Jezebel and her Asherah and Baal hirelings. It consisted of 12 stones representing the 12 sons of Jacob, and therefore the 12 tribes of the Israelite nation. It reminds me of our Lord Jesus using each and everyone of us as a living stone to build the spiritual temple of which He is the cornerstone (1 Peter 2:8-9).
To eliminate even the slightest possibility of human help (works of the flesh), Elijah ordered the Israelites to drench the altar three times, each time with 4 big jars of water. We are all familiar with the outcome of this contest, but my Pappa patiently showed me my allegiance to so many of the modern-day Baal and Asherah prophets and I knew that I also needed my own contest on Mount Carmel. I knew that serving their God only resulted in extreme spiritual poverty and subsequent “cutting of flesh” and bleeding of my soul.
I needed to allow our Lord Jesus to slaughter all my false prophets. Like Elijah, I knew that I could spare them not even the slightest hint of mercy. I placed all these false perceptions and beliefs on the altar of my heart, drenched with all my tears. Our Heavenly Father wasted no time in sending forth His fire from heaven to consume my offering and filled all the empty spaces, vacated by all the wrong perceptions and idols of my heart, with His Love, His Life and abundant grace. He gently opened my eyes to the futility of the so-called Health, Wealth and Prosperity gospel with its own legion of prophets who had already ushered so many people into apostasy.
He opened my eyes to the dangers of the doctrines of all the so-called “…isms”, like Fundamentalism, Evangelism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Pentecostalism, Calvinism and so forth. Although these religious systems all contain a lot of intellectual truth, they reek of a multitude of laws, rules and regulations, but very limited life, no grace, no love, compassion or the relationship with our precious Savior.
They can actually be quite detrimental to the wonderful freedom our Lord Jesus has called us to for a relationship of love and respect to blossom and flourish. Our Pappa is all for simplicity, “He has showed you , O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8, NIV).
He has shown me that Christianity is not and will never be a book religion, or morality, or a belief system. Christianity will never be a method of problem-solving, or a-what-would-Jesus-do role-playing or an ideological option. For, Christianity is and will always be Christ, a blessed life lived in our Lord Jesus, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27, NIV). Forever and ever. Amen.
Dear Ones, needless to say, I was then completely cured of my affectionate affinity to mud pool wallowing… if only until next time!! Thank you so much for once again listening to all my ramblings.