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The Sacrament of Living

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV).

Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter do no common act … For such a man, living itself will be sacramental. As he performs his never so simple task, he will hear the voice of the seraphim saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts. The whole world is full of His glory.” (A.W.Tozer – The Pursuit of God).

The Housewife Syndrome

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The yardstick of this world is a mighty weapon leaving many, many casualties in its wake. A major disease that is a result of this monster, is the housewife syndrome.

This disease is as old as time and no cure has ever been found. No amount of psychology or common sense is totally able to heal this illness. It has ingrained its lies deep in the hearts of its victims.

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Most of us become skilled in the game of comparing very early in life and we soon measure our worth on the scales of performance. And this, at least, is one thing I used to be able to perform with excellence!

Ever since my boys were small, I used to be just a housewife, a wife and a mother. I considered myself to be quite low on the scale of importance and were plagued by feelings of guilt for burying my talents in the ground.

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Who will ever consider doing laundry, scrubbing floors, cooking meals, ironing, making beds, etc, etc, etc, to be a noble vocation! Definitely not me for I was quite snobbish.

Helping my husband to keep the pot boiling, I designed children’s clothing. I was an excellent seamstress and worked into the early morning hours sewing the most beautiful clothes. Yet, in my eyes this was still a common profession.

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Another cohort contributing mightily to this whole shebang is the world of religion. The religious elite is not innocent in this folly and most have their own set of performance rules and regulations to keep the wheels of the cart rolling!

I recall the time when the medical profession was unable to provide an explanation for my Fm/CFS. Well, my husband did not understand it either. In the beginning he was not supportive, believing this illness to be just a figment of my imagination.

This was a hard time for both of us for I was unable to fulfill my duties and he worked very hard. One day he even dragged me to the stove telling me to stop being such a hypochondriac and look after my family. I could only scream in pain and crawled back to bed.

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I needed help and support desperately and went to see my pastor and his wife. In a previous post I wrote about the catastrophic outcome of this meeting for their diagnosis was that my sorry state was actually the result of not serving the saints.

One day I realized that all my striving and comparing were just  as useless as chasing the wind and I heard a voice!! Softly and tenderly it wooed me like a fresh breeze of love to come to Him.

His cure for this foolishness was actually so incredibly simple, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31, NLT). When our Pappa God wrote this cure on the tablets of my heart, I was overjoyed.

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My eyes were opened and I could suddenly see why Brother Lawrence considered washing the dishes at the monastry, a holy experience (The Practice Of The Presence Of God).

I realized that if humble duties like eating or drinking, things we share with our lowly animal friends, could be done to honor and glorify our Lord, there is nothing, except sin, that is not important to our Pappa.

Like all the blessings our Pappa bestows on us, the secret for this cure is hidden and available only in Him. As we learn to set our eyes on heaven and to store our treasures there where moths and rust cannot destroy, we soon find our hearts desiring nothing else, but the will of our Pappa.

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I often wondered why Pappa hasn’t healed my Fm/CFS until He told me that it is for my own good. This is just a thorn in my flesh to prevent me from surrendering again to this cursed life of earning approval through performance.

Much love XX

Mia

I would like to hear if I was the only sufferer of this performance disease. Please, let me know!

Linking-up with
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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

Linking-up with

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The Ordinary Complexity of Life

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God’s Thoughts to Me

For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see (Psalm 36:9, NLT).

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning (Lamentations 3:22-23, NLT).

The Simplicity of Jesus

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Every ordinary sun-filled morning my cat’s wet little nose wakes me up, reminding me of his ordinary request for me to consider his breakfast an extra-ordinary important necessity above any ordinary needs I may have.

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The ordinary, familiar blanket of despair overwhelmes me, as I am enveloped by the ordinary pain, foggy mind and exhaustion; my ordinary Fm/CFS companions of every ordinary waking moment.

An ordinary day when getting up-and-about is like mounting an ordinary high mountain, where my ordinary climbing gear consists of painkillers and the ordinary paraphernalia accompanying a chronic illness.

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But another ordinary, is my extra-ordinary Beloved who takes my hand and accompanies me through every ordinary second of my ordinary day.

Where every ordinary day transforms itself into the extra-ordinary eternity of beauty and joy, where I drink deep and hard from the Fountain of Life, living within the eternal life of an extra-ordinary, wholy other, holy God.

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An ordinary day transforms itself into the extra-ordinary as I feast on the love and peace of my Pappa, where His grace and mercy embraces me anew every ordinary morning.

An eternity where my ordinary complexity is transformed into the extra-ordinary simplicity of my Lord Jesus, where my ordinary self is cherished in His Extra-Ordinary Loving Embrace.

Much love xx

Mia

I am linking-up with

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The Joy of His Presence

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God’s Thoughts to Me

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice … granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasure of living with you forever ( Psalm 16:9:11, NLT).

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My ever present companion Fibrofog has a cousin visiting, Floris the Flu Bug, taking up residence in me!

Cousin Floris

Cousin Floris

All I want to do is dive head first under the pillows to nurse quite a few pity feelings until they are round, fat and potbellied.

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But … I don’t want to strain my limited cognitive abilities for I know trying to do so would surely play havoc with the low energy supplies I have been blessed with today. And I know from experience that self-pity takes a lot of spoons … spoons I have not even taken stock of today.

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Yet my heart rejoices in my Lord for I know that only … TRULY only … in Him … in His Presence there is joy forever and ever and ever. Hallelujah.

Amen !!!

Hugs and blessings

Mia

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Thank you, Lisa-Jo and all the ladies at Five-Minute-Friday for being an incredible group of ladies. Join us at http://lisajobaker.com/category/five-minute-friday/.

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Jesus, the Iconoclast

God’s Thoughts to Me

Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves.
(Matthew 21:12, NLT).

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. (1 John 5:21, NLT).

For, as I have often told before and say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. (Philippians 3:18, NIV).

And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles, on behalf of the beast – miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshipped his statue. (Revelation 19:20, NLT).

Deceiving Idols

My husband is clever…a living, walking, talking Encyclopedia of Trivia, he modestly claims. Oh, he does not suffer foolishness gladly!! Whenever Fibrofog pitches its tent around my mind, he suffers BIG time!

Then, one day I discovered a word…a BIG word! With glee, the somewhat malicious kind, I rejoiced with a wordless scream,”Bingo!”. Of course I did not know the meaning of the word, but neither did he.

According to WordWeb the meaning of “iconoclast” is:

1. Someone who attacks cherished ideas of traditions or institutions.
2. A destroyer of images used in religious worship.

I want to tread softly, delicately in my exposition, taking off my shoes, for this is “holy” ground. I can almost see the stones flying and feel the tar and feathers! And, I don’t suffer suffering gladly!

Then, I remember my Beloved, our Lord Jesus, the greatest iconoclast of all times. He was ruthless and showed no mercy when He condemned and criticized the Scribes, the Pharisees and the religious elite. Matthew 23 paints a vivid picture of our Lord’s attitude towards the religion of the Jews, and by implication, all religion through the ages.

And!!!! He was despised by His people and far too many people through the ages as well. He was ostracized, a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering and crushed for our sins. (Isaiah 53:3-5).

Religion produces enemies of the cross; for instead of denying our efforts to save ourselves and allowing our Lord Jesus to do His job, religion teaches us to cling to our rules, traditions, programs, laws, do’s and don’ts, for the whole focus of religion is on our feeble performance which at best is usually just less than pathetic and of no use.

I definitely am not a Communist, but Carl Marx did have his bright moments when he observed with unusual wisdom that religion is the opiate of the people.

Our Lord Jesus identified Satan as the father of religion, and those who misused the common people for gain through their religious practices and rules, the “children of the devil”. (John 8:44)

He labelled their religiosity as evil and as hatred of the truth He came to bring; binding the poor, the over-burdened common folk, the laity like us who are easily duped by the charisma and rhetoric
of anyone who claims to speak on our Pappa’s behalf! Spiritual discernment has become extinct!

Please allow me to be a teeny bit iconoclastic. An idolatry I have found amongst our God’s children
is bibliolatry…. esteeming the letter of the Word above the Living Word, our Lord Jesus. A dear friend of mine has accused me of calling our Pappa a liar, when I told her that the Bible is not a book of rules, but a story of redemption…pointing to Jesus, our Redeemer, not the letter of the law. I lost a dear friend in the process and it hurt…very,very much.

Currently there are about 41 000 different Christian denominations worldwide, all claiming their fame from the Bible. Common sense, which is not so common nowadays, should tell us that everything is not so kosher as far as to who has the hold on the truth!

Looking at origin of the word “Bible” we see that it is derived from the Greek ” biblion”, meaning “book”, or more accurately, “papyrus scroll”. In some aspects the Bible is just like any other book with pages and printed letters. What makes it completely different and unique is that its Author is our Heavenly Father…His letter of love! What makes it completely unique and different from any other book ever written is that it is the only book where you need to know the Author personally to understand His words and heart towards you, always wooing you back into His Loving Embrace!

The Christians after Pentecost were mostly illiterate and socially unimportant. An estimated 80% could neither read nor write and came from a slave background. They had no Bibles, but they had the Divine Teacher living within them through His Holy Spirit. They lived in Him and that was all they needed.

The human race is not irreligious; just the opposite! They are extremely religious as we see through the ages. Looking at the religious Crusades, I can only say AMEN to the words of Blaise Pascal, “Men never do evil so cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.” We are all created with the need to worship. Whom or what we worship is the daily choice we have to make.

This, in my mind at least, is a humungous, monstrous problem, for many of our Pappa’s children have been deceived by the Great Deceiver…that beast who forages through the world, trying to lure us away from our Beloved Lord Jesus! And his bait….the sometimes undetectable lie of religion.

The mark of the beast has been associated with many things, but I ask you to consider the possibility that accepting religion might just be the mark etched on our foreheads, on our minds, into our thoughts! The mark on the hand might also just be our efforts trying to replace our Pappa’s saving grace with the work of our hands.

I consider this a very serious matter and carry a heavy burden in my heart today, robbing me of all my peace. Thank you for indulging me and, Pappa, for returning my peace.

Much love and blessings to you

Mia

Linking-up with Mindy at New Equus.

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Tenacious Thankfulness

God’s Thoughts to Me

A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? (Proverbs 18:14, NIV)

The Gracefulness of Grateful Suffering

“What a contradiction of terms! Mia, you surely do not have all your ducks in a row!”, my fleshly self exclaimed through a lot of pouting and complaining.

But a still, small voice beckons me with persistent, patient wooing,”Come to me, my darling, for I will wipe away your tears and transform them into sparkling diamonds of delight!”.

I recall a time when I was lost in Fibroland, wandering through the thick foggy swamps of despair and excruciating pain. In complete dependance my heart reached out to our Pappa who gently hushed me to sleep. My feeble heart was murmering a quiet prayer as I drifted of to dreamland.

A little time later I awoke, cuddled in Hubbyface’s arms. But….. Hubbyface was snoring to his heart’s delight in the Land of ZZZZ’s on his side of the bed. Our Lord softly whispered, telling me that He was nestling me in His Loving Embrace, holding me quietly just as my heart desired.

“Pappa, I want to bring you a thankful, humble gift of heartfelt praises for refining me through the fire of suffering. You have taught me to run to you instead of running away! You have taught me to hide under your wings, allowing you to envelope me in the sweetness of your love.”

Thank you sooo… much.

Your daughter

Mia. XXXXX

I am visiting all the dear ladies again at the Five Minute Friday get-together.
We all write for five minutes (sometimes a bit more, sometimes a little less).
We don’t overthink, don’t overedit or correct spelling mistakes and so on. Hopefully we all laugh at our mistakes. Please join us at Lisa-Jo’s for a wonderful fun time.

Frost and Sunflowers

God’s Thoughts to Me

He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down His hail like pebbles. Who can withstand His icy blast? He sends His word and melts them; He stirs up His breezes, and the waters flow. (Psalm 147:16-18, NIV)

Thawing in His Love

Oh, the beauty and joy of frolicking in the snow with complete abandon, creating snow angels and building big, chubby, potbellied snowmen with carrot noses, is truly a delightful gift from the storehouse of heaven.

Yet, another good heavenly gift I reluctantly accept and endure, is the beautiful flowers of feathery frost. Somehow I seem unable to see and appreciate their other-worldly, ethereal beauty!

While snow and frost are both formed from atmospheric vapor, snow crystals form on suspended dust particles high in the air, and frost, near the ground on just any flat surface like windowpanes and blades of grass. Their microscopic anatomy brings glory to our Heavenly Father’s attention to individuality and detail, for every single crystal, snow and frost, has a different shape and form; sort of their fingerprints from a Pappa of diversity.

Just like our Pappa truly has no favorites (James 2:1) and honors our individuality by giving each one of His children their own set of fingerprints, He also honors His creation. It’s diversity and beauty speak of a God who never overlooks a leper, a prostitute, a drunkard or glutton, or even a naked man possesed by a legion of demons, His children enveloped by the coldest winter frost of life.

Frost can be a killer by destroying whole crops during a severe winter season. I always contributed this to the extreme cold. Not so! The edges of frost crystals are needle-sharp. It destroys and damages any surface it settles on by cutting, slicing and stabbing like a knife. Truly, any surface, including my heart!

Ice crystals following the veining of a dead leaf

Before I walked with our Pappa God, I used to deal with the frosty winters of life in a very wordly, fleshly kind of way. Whenever the frost crystals of dissappointment, heart ache and sorrow, the pain of unfulfilled dreams and the whole enchilada settled on the surface of my fleshly, ground-dwelling soul, I would groan and moan, sulk and mope, indignantly blaming everything and everybody for my uncomfortable indisposition. So completely human! Truth be told, I even had the audacity to blame our Pappa at times!!

I am ashamed to admit that I even praised Him profusely, thanking Him for my discomfort and suffering. Yet, my heart, full of hypocrisy, seethed inside, frostbitten by anger and resentment, bemoaning the unfairness of life. Secretly, I kept both my eyes on heaven, fully expecting our Pappa to reward my valiant efforts of praising Him amidst my hard circumstances by making all the bad stuff dissapear. Of course, that never happened! Our Pappa in His wisdom, blessed me with even harder trials and tribulations, for He cannot be manipulated! So, the blame-game kept marching on, keeping me imprisoned and chained to that monstrous jailer, self-pity.

I am grateful to our Pappa for bringing me to the end of myself by allowing Fm/ME to stop me right in my tracks.

I vividly recall one morning in the early morning hours. I was suffering from insomnia (a Fm/ME symptomn) and this was the fifth day without sleeping a wink! Totally exhausted and with a body wracked with pain, I was at the end of my tether and endurace. I raised my voice one more time and, with an honest, sincere heart, I praised my Pappa, telling Him that I trust Him, regardless; no strings attached.

Our heavenly Father immediately reached down and gathered me into His Loving Embrace. For a few hours my heart was soaring high in the sky where the snowflakes dwell. The Spirit of our Lord Jesus was the wind beneath my wings.

Our Pappa taught me a valuable lesson. When my heart is imprisoned by the feathery fingers of frost, I must look at sunflowers and learn. A sunflower’s eyes always follow the sun. It basks in its warmth and care, praising our Pappa with it’s incredible beauty.

I have learned to never take the eyes of my heart off Jesus, the Son of all comfort, warmth and love. I have learned to look full in His wonderous face, assured that the warmth of His love will melt all those frozen tears in my heart and transform them into a bubbling stream of joy and delight, to the glory and praise of our Pappa.

Dear Ones, I am fully aware that at times it seems as if the frost-filled winters of life never seem to end. They seem to transform our weary hearts into flowers of cold, feathery frost. But at times like these we need to keep our spiritual eyes fixed on the Son, basking in the warmth of His never-ending love. This also has come to pass, not to stay!

Much love, blessings and peace to you!

Mia

I’m linking up with Amber Haines again with gratitude and joy. Other “abstractions-on-the-frost” can be found at http://therunamuck.com/2012/11/12/an-abstraction-on-the-frost/