Posted in Cleft in the Rock, Emily Wierenga, Faith Barista, Imperfect Prose, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Jesus Christ, Relationship vs Religion, Spirituality

Lady Laodicea vs Lady Ekklesia

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God’s Thoughts to Me

You say,”I am rich, I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!” And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked (Revelation 3:17,NLT).

I am very rich; I have become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find in me any iniquity or sin (Hosea 12:8, NIV).

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven … Blessed are the meek, for they will inheit the earth (Matthew 5:3-5, NIV).

Metamorphosis

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A while ago a friend of mine, Michael Clark, watched a documentary on the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

The documentary featured a scientist conducting an MRI scan on a cocoon while it went through the process of metamorphosis.

During the transformation, the worm completely dissolved and nothing of the original pupa remained.

The whole chrysalis was turned into a sort of worm soup with only a few left-over cells remaining, transforming this gooey mass into a beautiful butterfly.

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During the time of John’s Revelation from our Lord Jesus, we find the Lady Laodicea, the church at Laodicea, a lady sorely in need of such a complete metamorphosis.

She lived in the city that was formerly known as Diospolis, the City of Zeus. In the third century AD the name was changed by Antiochus to Laodicea after his wife, Laodice.

At that time Laodicea was a major, important trade and banking centre of the region and the people, as a result, became quite rich (James Fowler, The Revelation Series).

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Laodicean Ruins

Religion was alive and well in the city. There was a beautiful temple of Zeus and a medical school that developed a “Phrygian powder” that was used as an eye salve.

The Lady Laodicea was self-sufficient and very proud. She boasted in her physical and material riches and claimed to be in need of nothing.

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She seemed totally unaware of our Lord’s advise,

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven … Where your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be (Matthew 6:19-21)”.

She paid scant attention to the One who really was the Source of everything … the One who called her wretched, miserable, blind, poor and naked.

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She was neither hot nor cold in her love towards her heavenly Bridegroom. Yet, not chilled enough to the point of apostatizing.

This proud lady lacked spiritual dicernment, ignorant of the truth that spiritual riches, spiritual clothing, spiritual eyesight can only be found in Him who is Truth (Colossians 2:3).

Once upon a time, I related very well to this lady. I was dressed beautifully in the purple robes of religious riches.

My neck was adorned with the necklace of diamond-like “gifts of the Holy Spirit” and around my wrists, golden bracelets jingled in tongues.

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I proudly pranced like a peacock, delighting in all my wealth of spiritual snobbery, thinking myself quite advanced and favored by our Pappa, higher up the ladder into heaven than others. I was oblivious to the fact that this was the stairway to hell.

Yet, I was poor and wretched, naked to the core of my being, but I didn’t know it.

I blindly followed the world and joyfully participated in building all sorts of golden calves at the foot of Mount Sinai, instead of going up Mount Zion to meet my Lord and feast on His glory.

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Instead of being blessed, as I thought I was, a gnawing hunger in my heart told another story; one of a lady who was cursed in her self-righteousness and her pride.

My soul was tormented by an acute loneliness; yet I was in the company of many lost souls in the same predicament.

And my heart cried out to the only One who had the power and authority to seek and save the lost.

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I could faintly hear our Lord’s gentle invitation to buy gold from Him that has been purified by fire, white garments to cover my nakedness as well as ointment for my spiritual blindness (Revelation 3:18).

Our Pappa took pity on me and on the spinning-wheel of suffering, He spinned a silky cocoon of His love and clothed my nakedness.

What happened there in complete secrecy between my King and I, is so holy, that, forever, it will stay a sweet, precious secret between two hearts.

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Sufficient to say, He took all of my old self, dissolved it into worm soup, clothed me in a beautiful robe of butterfly wings and released me into the freedom of the eternal life of our Lord Jesus.

I emerged as a beautiful butterfly with wings glorious like an angel’s.

He brought me to the cleft in the rock at Mount Zion where I could stand before Him, poor in spirit, and humble in heart to receive the inheritance … to receive Him.

There, in Him, I could stand with an unveiled face, delighting myself in His glory.

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He redeemed me from the ugliness of my proud, haughty self and replaced it with the humble, gentle beauty of our Lord Jesus.

He clothed me in the white robe of His righteousness … He transformed me into His Lady Ekklesia.

Much love xx

Mia

Michael’s blog can be found here

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Posted in Chronic Ilness, Common Sense, Emily Wierenga, Faith Barista, Fibromyalgia, Imperfect Prose, Relationship vs Religion, Spirituality, Suffering, The Love of God, The Pharisees

A Monster called Fear

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God’s Thoughts to Me

To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey (Matthew 25:15, NIV).

The Gift of Grace

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I am well acquainted with a monster called Fear. Like a giant octupus, this species has not only eight, but seventy-times-seven tentacles.

Each one reached deep into the remote corners of my heart, suffocating the last bit of life, breath and hope of the little one hiding from the world.

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The Master Creator also equipped us with the common-sense-kind-of-fear to enable us to survive in a world lost in chaos and darkness … a world without a father’s hand to guide, steer and love her.

The check-the-traffic-before-you-cross-the-street kind, the don’t-do-handstands-on-the-edge-of-a-high-cliff kind of common sense, the kind my oldest son lacks completely.

My Fearless Son
My Fearless Son

Murder, rape and abuse are the order of the day. But there is another kind of invisible rape … spiritual rape! In my opinion, the worst kind, with the perpetrators usually the “authorities” responsible for the care of our souls.

Blaise Pascal once wrote,”Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction”. I am a victim of this truth!

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Fm/CFS researchers report that it takes up to 4-5 years to diagnose a person with this disabling disease. I was no exception and I’m well aware of the stigma attached to this illness. We are labelled as lazy hypochondriacs who do not have all their marbles.

But even worse, was the treatment I recieved from the religious community. When I became ill and was diagnosed with that between-your-ears disease, I went to see my pastor and his wife, urgently needing help to get rid of this nonsense in my mind.

The Sunday before my visit, he preached a sermon on the talents. According to him, the talents were the Gospel we needed to spread. You can just put two and two together and see where the poor soul who buried his talent underground was doomed to go!!

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I was devastated and angry at our Pappa and my visit to the pastor nailed my suspicions on its head. For before I could say much, they diagnosed this illness as the result of not serving in the church ministries.

My Pappa God, in my mind, was a cruel, uncaring slavemaster kind of fellow, demanding the impossible or if I didn’t perform,  sending me to hell. Quite a catch 22 situation.

At that time, when this cruel thing happened, I believed my heart was raped and to my mind, my Pappa was the rapist. Didn’t He see how very, very ill I was? I could barely take care of my myself or my family. Now I had to spread the gospel and serve in church; otherwise, I only had a one-way ticket to the hot place.

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To make a long story short, I spent hours spreading the gospel and tried to do as much as possible for whoever had a need I could fulfill. I recall experiencing my family as a burden, standing in my way to serve this God who had His knife in for me.

Until the day arrived I became bedridden for a long time. All the fear, stress and hard work caused this illness to become much worse.

That was when I seriously started seeking my Pappa and trying to understand the Scriptures. I was unable to read the parable of the talents without getting a panic attack!

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But our Pappa owns all the time in the world and patiently taught me the true meaning of the talents. I discovered the work of Mr James Fowler, an excellent Bible teacher, and his explanation of the parable brought light and love to my heart.

The talents our Pappa dispenses is the costly grace gift of our Lord Jesus Himself. Two of the servants who received the talents, were guys with open hearts to receive the availability of Pappa’s grace.

Through their grace-filled endeavours, they expanded and multiplied their initial supply and received grace upon grace upon grace. They functioned the way humans are designed to live and were led into the joy of their Pappa.

The other servant was like the religious Scribes and Pharisees who viewed our Pappa as an exacting, tyrannical bookkeeper; fearing the day of the Divine Audit.

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This poor soul would not even allow for the slightest operation of grace, but rather buried his portion in the false security offered by doctrines, creeds, rituals, morality, church attendance, etc.

The followers of this false security can only dig up the archaelogical remnants and theological tenets. They become master hoarders of religion and bury the Gospel of Grace deep underground.

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Oh, the freedom our Pappa brought to my heart when He revealed to me the truth of His master plan of redemption, “God saved you by His grace. and you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8).”

He showed me that just like Adam and Eve, I was deceived by the serpent’s lie, which told me that I could be like my Pappa, able to save myself through all my religious efforts.

He was not in the least offended by my terrible accusations against Him. In fact, He told me that  He also would not have served a monstrous deity such as the one I had painted in my mind.

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He enabled my feeble heart to receive His grace, mercy and compassion in abundance;  new every morning, and allowed me all the time I needed to heal while resting in His Loving Embrace.

Much love xx

Mia

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