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The Lonely Desert

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God’s Thoughts to Me

And human hands can’t serve His needs – for He has no needs. He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need (Acts 17:25, NLT).

Gratefully Dying Gracefully

imageWhen thoughts are drifters on the wings of confusion, gratefulness seems like a mirage in a dry, barren desert …

… always shimmering delightfully on the horizon …

… always  inviting, yet empty, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

As I have been wandering though the swamps of illness, caught in the fowler’s snare, an evangelical humanist, desperation has nearly been the victor as ungrateful thoughts played havoc with my mind.

Silly ideas and futile thinking battled to breathe just another little breath of stale, self-pitying air, causing unending, dreadful torment.

imageGuilt and condemnation were my hated companions as I was trying to navigate my way through the dense fog hovering constantly on the surface of my muddy mind …

… there where no two thoughts walked together as friends.

I battled to hear my Lord’s loving overtures … bidding me gently to come …

… just abiding in the cool shadows of His love.

There where I could stop striving to be His co-savior, albeit a prisoner of my mind, and just rest in the coolness of His limitless affection.

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He longed to gather me with unconditional acceptance, yet I stubbornly ran to and fro …

… seeking reason and rescue for my debilitating plight …

… fearfully fighting that sweet surrender.

He once again accompanied me faithfully to the end of my reasonings and self. Again He showed me the folly of that evil lie of independence …

… the fruit of the lips of the great deceiver, the father of all lies.

The uselessness of being useful and the usefulness of being useless became vividly apparent as I was limping on my last legs.

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My turmoil was gently quieted by the whisper of His voice as He reminded me that He is not served by human hands.

Gratefully, as free as a bird, my heart rose with repentance to new heights of joy and freedom as He softly gathered me into His Loving Embrace and seated me in heavenly places in Him.

Sweet blessings xx

Mia

Linking with Lisa-Jo at FMF where Grateful is the guest of honor and the ladies at my Tea Time and Link-Up page.

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The Seed of Eve

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Had Jesus Christ been born as you and I were born, by natural conception through the line of Adam, He too would have been in Adam (The Mystery of Godliness, Maj. Ian W Thomas).

Introduction

imageI am delighted today to introduce my dear brother and friend, Joseph Pote. Joe is an avid Bible student since childhood and teaches Sunday School.

He lives with his wife and 12 year old son on a farm outside Hope, Arkansas, U.S.A. Joe is a structural engineer and has agreed to honor me today by being a guest writer at my blog. To visit Joe, just click on his picture. Thank you, friend, and over to you..

Born of a Virgin

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Impossible, yet, it happened…the virgin birth of Christ, an essential part of God’s plan of salvation.

We will look at three specific reasons for the virgin birth:

  1. to identify Jesus as the Messiah (Christ)
  2. to qualify Jesus as our Kinsman-Redeemer
  3. to illustrate how Jesus delivers us

Identifying Jesus as Messiah

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

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Christ’s virgin birth fulfilled the prophesy that Jesus is the Messiah. It could only be made possible by God and was chosen as a sign to prove that Jesus is Christ…Immanuel…God with us.

Qualifying Jesus to be our Kinsman-Redeemer

And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel. (Genesis 3:15)

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This first Messianic prophecy was spoken by God, to the serpent, after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. God promised a coming Redeemer even before He banished them from the garden.

…her seed…

In scripture, the seed is pictured as coming from the man, while the woman’s womb is pictured as a fertile environment for the seed to develop into a child. Yet here God speaks of the woman’s seed.

Before creation God had already planned for Messiah to be conceived without an earthly father…to be born of a virgin. Jesus is the seed of the woman.

And I will put enmitybetween your seed and her seed…

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The seed of the woman is Jesus Christ. Who is the seed of the serpent?

Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.

You are doing the deeds of your father. … You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.

Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies…” (John 8:39-45 – emphasis mine)

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The seed of the serpent are those who do the deeds of Satan…those who are at enmity with God…those who walk in sin. The seed of the serpent are all the descendants of Adam who reject Jesus as Christ (1 John 5:1&19).

Adam was created in covenant with God (Genesis 1:27 & 2:7, Hosea 6:7). When Adam sinned, he entered into covenant with the kingdom of darkness.

This is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…being in covenant with both good and evil.

Remember those fictional stories about people making deals with the devil then despairing because Satan gained legal right to their souls?

This was the issue facing mankind after Adam’s fall…the devil had legal claim over Adam’s soul.

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In the Old Testament, covenant is a father-to-son inheritance. The sons inherited not only the father’s property, but also his covenant relationships, including his debts.

So, not only was Adam in covenant with evil…so were all his descendants. What a seemingly hopeless situation! How can we escape an evil legacy inherited from birth? Every human child is born into Adam’s covenant with evil.

Every child…except Jesus!

Jesus was born of a virgin! Jesus is the seed of the woman, conceived with no earthly father from whom to inherit Adam’s covenant.

Conceived of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was born in covenant with God but not in covenant with evil.

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As the only descendant of Adam born with no covenant ties to the kingdom of darkness, only Jesus was qualified to act as our Kinsman-Redeemer. Only Jesus could redeem us from the kingdom of darkness.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.

He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
I will make justice the measuring line
And righteousness the level;

Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies
And the waters will overflow the secret place.

Your covenant with death will be canceled,
And your pact with Sheol will not stand… (Isaiah 28:16-18)

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Only Jesus was qualified to be our Kinsman-Redeemer, and His virgin birth was an essential part of God’s plan of redemption.

Illustrating how Jesus would Deliver Us

Every first-born male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord. (Luke 2:23)

Luke quoted from the book of Exodus to explain the infant consecration of Jesus.  This edict was given to Israel after the plague of the death of the first-born of Egypt.

In memory of God’s deliverance, they were to consecrate all first-born males to the Lord.

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Like many aspects of the Old Testament, this law also carried a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah and was only completely fulfilled in Jesus.

Every first-born male that opens the womb…

Of the many first-born males in Israel, only one opened the womb as Jesus did. A betrothed Israeli virgin expected the physical barrier to her womb to be opened on her wedding night.

That was the night where the bride and groom became one flesh … the passion and intimacy of love by which the marital blood covenant was consummated.

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This rending of the barrier is essential for conception of a child. Jesus, however, was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. The barrier to Mary’s womb was intact until the time of Jesus’ birth.

John, speaking of the uniqueness of Christ’s birth, said,

This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood.

And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. (1 John 5:6-8)

Only Jesus is truly a “…first-born male that opens the womb…called holy to the Lord.”

So…what does this have to do with Jesus delivering us?

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In scripture, the womb is often used as a metaphor for Sheol, the place of the dead.  Sheol is pictured as a place of constriction where the Old Testament saints were confined, awaiting deliverance, much as a baby is confined in the womb.

The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up;
His sin is stored up.

The pains of childbirth come upon him;
He is not a wise son,

For it is not the time that he should delay at the opening of the womb.
Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
Shall I redeem them from death?

O Death, where are your thorns?
O Sheol, where is your sting? (Hosea 13:12-14)

The latter part of this passage was quoted by Paul as having been victoriously fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Paul also said of Jesus:

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He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything (Colossians 1:18 – emphasis mine).

Jesus, who opened the womb, also opened the tomb. He is the first-born who opened the womb for His younger siblings to follow…and He is the first-resurrected who opened the gates of Death for His people to follow.

A midwife delivers a baby by working from the outside to assist the baby out of the womb into the mother’s arms.

Jesus delivers by joining us in our place of bondage and leading us out into liberating relationship with the Father.

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In His birth, Jesus opened the womb. In His death, Jesus opened the Holy of Holies, rending the temple veil both on earth and in Heaven. In His resurrection, Jesus opened the gates of Sheol.

Through Jesus Christ, our Deliverer, we are truly born again!

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

From what bondage has Jesus redeemed and delivered you?

Joe

Thanks again so much , dear Joe. I am linking this post at some of the places on my Tea Time and Link-Up Page.

Tribute to Madiba

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God’s Thoughts to Me

The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against His anointed One.

“Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”
(Psalm 2:1-3, NLT)

Two Humble Men

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My country is in mourning. Thursday evening at 21:50, Tata Madiba has gone to be with His Lord! Tata, we are going to miss you! Now you know true freedom!

I wrote this post at the time when the South African Reserve Bank introduced our new set of banknotes nearly a year ago to honor this great man of boundless integrity.

I offer this post as a tribute to Madiba who lived humility, love, forgiveness and servanthood for he was a leader who always descended to the level of the person he served. He was a leader who washed the feet of his country:

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This week our beautiful rainbow nation, South Africa, was blessed by the South African Reserve Bank with a new set of banknotes.

On the one side it bears the renowned image of President Nelson Mandela and the other side, South Africa’s famous Big Five: the lion, elephant, rhinoceros, leopard and the buffalo.

My husband had the privilege of visiting Madiba twice at his modest home in the small Transkei village, Qunu, on provincial government meetings.

Tata Madiba's Qunu Residence

Tata Madiba’s Qunu Residence

He was overwhelmed by this gentle man who was truly larger than life. Mr Mandela was a humble man who taught South Africa the blessedness of forgiveness and he lived the truth of considering others as more important than himself.

Being the chief of his Xhosa clan, the villagers visited him often to ask him to settle disputes amongst them as was their custom.

To show their gratitude and respect, these humble, poor folk would bless him with a chicken or a goat. He received their gifts with heartfelt thankfulness.

Traditional Xhosa Women Dancing

Traditional Xhosa Women Dancing

On a state visit to England, Madiba was the guest of Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, at Buckingham Palace where he surprised the palace household staff by making his own bed in the mornings.

When told that there was enough palace staff to do these menial tasks, he replied that it was an old Robben Island habit he had not been able to unlearn yet.

Madiba was one of only two people that did not address the Queen as “Her Majesty”, but called her by her first name and got away with it! The other one, her husband, of course!

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I was always impressed by how this famous and great statesman always preferred to write with and sign documents with the cheapest pen we have in South Africa, a Bic pen.

A Jewish boy once personally delivered an invitation to Mr Mandela at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, to attend his Bar-Mitzvah.

Although Madiba did not know this young man from a bar of soap, he graciously accepted and attended the celebrations.

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During his term as the President of our country, he once queried a higher amount of money on his pay slip.When told it was his annual salary increase, he told his staff that he did not need more money for he lacked nothing.

That increase birthed the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. I am delighted that this fund is currently building the Nelson Mandela Children’s hospital.

One of his prison wardens during his imprisonment on Robben Island once told the story of how they all went together to church on Sundays for there was only this one small chapel on the island. They kneeled together and prayed together.

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After his release, they stayed friends. Years later, when the warden passed away, Madiba personally went to Cape Town to attend the funeral and console the widow.

Men of his stature and integrity are few and far between and very hard to find amongst politicians and Heads-of-State. His love for his country and all South Africans went way beyond any racial issues.

It saddens me to see the once beautiful dream South Africans had for a new South Africa now lying scattered amongst the reality of political unrest, violent crime and strikes, vandalism, murder, rape, domestic violence and drug abuse.

Robben Island

Robben Island

I hope that the Mandela family hid this sad state of affairs from Madiba as far as possible while he was an old and frail man. Yet, his lion heart could never be contained through old age.

G.K. Chesterton, an English writer, once remarked,”Once abolish the God and the government becomes god.” Wise words, for man was never created with the ability to govern himself or function independently from our Pappa.

Man was created as a finite spiritual being who derives his spiritual nature either from our Lord Jesus or the prince of the world; that greedy power-hungry destroyer of humanity.

He is the father of all systems and structures where power is abused, whether it be political, economical, social or religious.

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He deceives the power-hungry humanity into accepting a couterfeit security, for most people do not truly know that their Pappa loves them passionately.

Yet, Madiba was a man who was locked-up in prison for nearly a third of his life on earth. He came out and showed forgiveness in stark contrast with most of the power-hungry leaders of our continent.

What saddens me even more is the hurt and sorrow humans cause their Heavenly Father by paying allegiance to the father of all lies.

Madiba and Francois Pienaar in 1997 when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup

Madiba and Francois Pienaar in 1997 when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup

Not only do they destroy themselves, but also the beautiful creation He prepared as a gift for the crown of His creation, man! We are mostly ignorant of our folly.

Yet, He still became human just like us, He humbled Himself and paid the price for our freedom from our slavery to that cruel slave master.

In following in his Master’s footsteps, Nelson Mandela, reflected this true Picture  of humility.

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Madiba as Prisoner on Robben Island

I wish we could, like the Mandela family, hide man’s foul revolt from our Pappa to save Him all that anguish, heartache and sorrow!

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

This is an edited repost.

Widows Of The World

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Fear not; you will no longer live in shame … You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of your widowhood. For your Creator will be your husband (Isaiah 54:4-5, NLT).

The Crown of Thorns

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In the year 33, in the town of Jerusalem, an ordinary thorn tree was stripped of its glory to be weaved by murderous hands into a very special crown of thorns.

In the eyes of man, it was an instrument of torture to belittle and shame the King of the Jews. They were oblivious to the fact that this ordinary man was the  extraordinary Son of God.

Yet, God knew each one of these thorns even before creation. He created them lovingly for a holy, special purpose. They were the jewels in the crown of shame; the crown of the King who became a curse in the stead of man.

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It had to spill the Blood of the Lamb, the spotless Lamb who came to be slaughtered to take away the sins of the world. They had to fulfill the prophecy made so long ago by a man called, Isaiah.

Many millennia before, another ordinary thorn-bush in the desert of Sinai, was transformed by the fire of God’s extra-ordinary presence when He visited another ordinary man called Moses.

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He transformed this ordinary man into His extraordinary meek and humble friend who freed His people …. His people who were the captives of the king of this world.

Any ordinary bush or heart will do for our humble King. This ordinary bush became extraordinary and could not be destroyed by the fire of God’s Spirit, for He is Love.

Not so long ago, an ordinary girl, consumed by shame and rejection and yearning for heavenly joy, was swept off her feet by the extraordinary fire of God’s passionate love.

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He crowned her with a beautiful crown of His grace and mercy. He transformed this broken ordinary girl into and extraordinary woman … He transformed her into His glorious Bride.

Much love and sweet blessings. Xx

Mia

Linking with Lisa-Jo Baker and the ladies at my Link-up page.
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The Faceless Ones

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God’s Thought’s to Me

“For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy, he has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.” (Ps. 22;24, NLT)

“I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.” (Mat.25:43(b), NLT)

Introduction

imageToday I am so honored to introduce my friend, Joy Lenton. She is a very special lady who suffers from ME/CFS and arthritis.

Joy is a mother and wife to her husband, Phil. She used to work as a nurse before becoming chronically ill.

Joy and her husband live in Norfolk, United Kingdom. To visit her blog, just click on her picture. Thank you, dear friend, for blessing me by being a guest at my place. Over to you.

The Girl with Light in Her Eyes

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Sadly those who are too sick to work have to contend with issues of shame. In a society where we are “framed, boxed, categorised, sifted, found wanting in society’s eyes” as I wrote about in the poem here, we experience deep frustration at being pigeon-holed and stigmatized.

It all impacts our lives adversely, affecting our relationships and connections with others.

On the rare occasions when I am alone downstairs in the house and have to answer the door during a late morning/afternoon/evening period in my night-clothes, wearing  bed-head hair, a dazed, sleepy expression and a veneer of embarrassment, …

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…I either say nothing (for such a state is normal to those who know me) or mumble something like, “Please excuse me, I’m unwell today” to those I don’t.

Then I hasten to close the door as fast as possible to avoid curious stares from neighbours or passers-by who may wonder what they are seeing.

I just want them to understand I am sick rather than lazy. Does it always take a stick or wheelchair to convince people we are ill?

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As someone who used to be thought of as attractive, took a fair amount of time and trouble over her appearance, sought out clothes to enhance and suit my figure, it is a far cry from those days to be where I am now .

I am almost permanently pyjama-clad due to the time I spend resting in bed or too exhausted to make the effort required to get up and dressed,  and I’m far too weary to let it worry me as it would have done before.

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I have a body that doesn’t walk like it should, lists and comes to a halt after a very short distance, is riddled with and swollen-jointed by arthritis, sinks wearily under M.E fatigue.

I have a face marked by the effects of over 20 years of chronic illness, exhaustion, pain, medication-taking, as well as the natural ageing process. I feel ashamed of my appearance at times. It doesn’t reflect how I feel on the inside.

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Though I’m far busier these days trying to work on the inner beauty that endures and cannot be taken away. To feel ashamed just for being ill is an additional burden we don’t need. And, yes, there are other areas of shame that have a great impact on relationships.

One of those is having experienced childhood sexual abuse. To have precious innocence taken and adult things pressed on a mind and body too young to understand them is a horrible thing indeed.

Those of us who have experienced it feel that we not only carry a huge scarlet letter ‘S’ for shame hanging around our necks, but have it imprinted on our very souls.

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Many who carry this shame stigma also carry a burden of emotional trauma, often leading to mental and physical illness, whereby the acid accumulation seems to leach into our very frame causing deep emotional/physical pain and disorder.

It can take a great deal of time, wrestling, prayer, struggle, pain, counseling, and much Holy Spirit input and help to work through the devastating legacy it leaves us with.

Full emotional healing cannot be rushed. So why share these things? Aren’t they meant to be private? Well, yes, and no.

The minutiae of how people deal with these issues is something for them to work out individually and together as a couple. But the sadness and frustration they cause is something to make known if it will help even one other person to feel less isolated and alone.

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Actually, it’s the hiding, shaming and embarrassment that keeps us from feeling understood or getting the support we need.

When your daily life experience lacks most of the defining vestiges of normality, it tends to reduce life to a drive to appear normal in the midst of personal chaos. And to a drive to see lives changed, with health and wholeness restored….one day.

In our image-obsessed society and culture, all of us who fail to manifest the perceived ‘norm’ ideal can be left feeling totally inadequate and shamed. Much depends on where we place our worth and value and where others do too.

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“We are “normal” in God’s eyes when we demonstrate endurance and long-suffering, when we keep looking to the unseen things. This is the normal Christian life” ~ Joni Eareckson Tada ‘Daily Devotionals’.

Let me reassure you, my friend, we are ‘normal’ right now, even when our lives and bodies may feel anything but, no matter how well or badly we function, no matter our level of disability. Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.

If, in naming and discussing these issues I can bring a greater degree of clarity, understanding, empathy or practical solution-finding to the mix then it will have been worthwhile.

We need to speak out. To air our concerns. To make invisible illness visible. To open up a forum for discussion so that others who suffer like-wise (and those who may follow after) will be assisted to live as fully and freely as God intended.

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For God the Father is not ashamed to call us His children who are restored, whole, beloved, precious and beautiful in His sight as He looks at us through the lens of Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

The Seven Dwarfs

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God’s Thoughts to Me

But I warn you – unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:20, NLT).

The Seven Pharisees

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In May 2012 the movie, Snow White and the Huntsman, was released by Universal Pictures. I totally fell in love with the uber-cute real-life little dwarfs in this new release.

Who would ever forget how valiantly Gus fought in the Dark Forest and took the arrow meant for Snow White to save her life.

I had to peck away a tear or two, for just the previous night the two of them danced so beautifully together.

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As I was reading an article of James Fowler called Pharisaism, I met another bunch of seven “dwarfs”, if you would pardon my pun.

I had a good giggle when I read about how the Talmud described the seven types of Pharisees.

The first group they identified was the “Shoulder” Pharisee. These were the guys whose shoulders were never big or wide enough to accommodate all their good deeds, like keeping the Sabbath, feeding the hungry, etc.

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They tithed to the last drop of wine they owned before taking even one sip and prided themselves on the fact that they were not like the scum of the earth such as the publicans and their kind.

It seems to me they were not part of the crowd when our Lord Jesus taught the people not to let their left hand know what their right hand was doing (Matthew 6:3). Nope, they loved blowing their own trumpet!

Then we meet Mr Wait-a-Little. They were the cautious ones who would weigh all their options a few times, and then wait a little more, before they would do a good deed or help someone in need.

I think we can also call them the Forever Sabbatarians; totally ignorant of Solomon’s advice, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them!” (Proverbs 3:27).

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And then, there is the poor Mr Bruised Holier-than-Thou. They walked around with their eyes downcast to avoid looking at women, oblivious to the lustful devils reigning in their hearts, “But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

Can you imagine how unclean they would have been if they accidentally, mind you, touched a menstruating woman; not to mention a despised Gentile or Samaritan! Gross!!!

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The fourth group they identified was the Hunchbacks. They were not Quasimodo’s ancestors, but the guys who made a big show of trying to be humble.

Perhaps they were trying to win our Pappa’s favor and were well aware that, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble” (James 4:6).

What better way of showing off your humility than walking with a bent back! I am sure they had to endure excruciating back pain because of their hypocrisy.

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Close on Mr Hunch Back’s heels follows Mr Ever-Reckoning. This poor guy was a useless mathematician and was forever tallying his good and bad deeds.

This gentleman never seemed to get the scales to balance and was therefore never certain of his standing before our Pappa. What a God-forsaken place to be!

If you search well enough, you might find Mr Scary-Pants hiding in the closet. These guys were forever trying to hide from the wrath of our Pappa for they were lending out their itching ears to the enemy who slyly told them horror stories about their heavenly Father.

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They were convinced our Pappa was a monster looking for the slightest excuse to annihilate them. It does not seem as if these guys were familiar with the words of King David’s beautiful psalm, “But even in darkness I cannot hide from you” (Psalm 139).

Then there were also the ones who loved their Pappa and respected Him as their God. Nicodemus and Gamaliel were thought to be good examples of this group. The Kingdom of Heaven accommodates all kinds and flavors, it seems!

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Before we shake our heads in innocence, in self-righteousness and with a know-it-all smirk, let us do some serious introspection. Let us ask ourselves how many of these evil dwarfs are hiding in the remote niches of our hearts.

When I was lost in the Kingdom of Insecurity, I used to allow my good deeds to subtly slip into my conversations in the hope of convincing my fellow churchgoers that I was a good Christian.

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I knew my alleged enemies much better than I did my Lord Jesus. In fact, I knew them each by name: the demon called Rejection … Death … Insanity … Condemnation … Illness … Unbelief … Doubt … etc … and the worst of them all; Jezebel!

I was worse than the worst Scary-Pants and petrified of my Pappa, convinced He was a mean, exacting God expecting me to earn even His slightest smile.

I was totally deceived by the archenemy of humanity, Satan, who was conquering my mind with his greatest weapon: religion!

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Let us bare our hearts to the Light of Heaven, allowing Him to chase away and destroy all the gremlins incubating and hatching in the humid darkness of our souls.

Oh, that He would capture and destroy all those pestering little foxes who ruin the vineyard of our Love!

Let us come to Him with the candor of a little child assured of His waiting arms longing to envelop us in His Loving Embrace.

Much love and sweet blessings.

Mia

Linking-up with

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The Rooster Crowed

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God’s Thoughts to Me

“Then Peter denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.” (John 18:27, NET).

It is Never Too Late

I am delighted to introduce you to my husband, Andre. He has graciously agreed to write a guest post. Thank you, so much! Over to my Dearest:

My wife, Mia, asked me to look for a photograph that speaks to me spiritually. I immediately thought of the rooster that crowed when Peter denied our Lord the third time.

What is really significant to me is the way Peter reacted when he realized Jesus’ prediction came true! In Luke 22:62 (NLT), we read that Peter left the courtyard weeping bitterly!

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Can you imagine how Peter must have felt? He just denied his best Friend, the Man he spent three years with travelling the length and breadth of Israel.

They virtually lived in each other’s pockets as the saying goes. Was Peter not considered to be the leader of the disciples? Yet, at crunch time he could not speak up for Jesus, he denied Him.

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Proud Peter failed and the first one to realize it, to his credit, was him. Did he not boast a few days earlier that when everyone runs away, he will stay with Jesus? He did stay for a while, chopping a guard’s ear off when they came to arrest Jesus!

This seems quite brave, but he denied that he knows Jesus, not once or twice, but three time! Proud, impulsive, boastful Peter. Once again, pride came before the fall.

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In my language, Afrikaans, we have a saying: “Spyt kom altyd te laat.” Roughly translated it means that remorse always comes too late.

Fortunately for Peter, he did not deny an ordinary Man! He denied the Lord of lords and the King of kings in Whose book, remorse is never too late.

Just a few days after Jesus’s resurrection we find them on the beach of the Sea of Galilea. When Peter realized it was Jesus, he did not even wait for the boat to dock, but jumped overboard and swam to shore!

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After they all had breakfast, Jesus asked Peter three time if he loves Him. Peter was hurt that the Lord had to ask him the question three times. He kept on saying that Jesus knows the answer. Did he remember the cock that crowed?

However, after the third time that Peter answered that he loves Jesus, the Lord simply said, “Follow me” (John 21:19, NLT). This is the epitome of forgiveness!

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I mean, here is the man that denied Jesus and He asked Peter to follow Him and to look out for His followers. How many of us would’ve done that? Peter was once again restored.

I also deny my Lord daily, whether I want to or not! Life happens and before you know it, you have scolded a colleague or bad-mouthed the boss. Is that not the same as denying Jesus?

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Are we not supposed to love our fellow-man? Should we, as folks who have been rescued from the pit of hell, not live as an example to the rest? This is how we think.

But, we have a Spirit that convicts us. It does not condemn us, but simply reminds us in a gentle way that we have sinned.

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We don’t need a rooster to crow. This gentle conviction gives us the opportunity to go back to Jesus, ask for His forgiveness and His love will overcome everything!

It is never too late for remorse in Jesus’ world! Trust Him.

Blessings

André

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Baba Black Sheep

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God’s Thoughts To Me

“But Lord”, Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Mannaseh, and I am the least of my family.” (Judges 6:15,

“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12, NIV)

The Destroyer and The Shofar

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Gideon was hiding like a coward in the winepress, frightened of the Midianites, threshing wheat, when the Lord paid him a visit, “Good day, mighty warrior! Why are you hiding? No need, brave one, for I am with you.”

Startled and horrified, Gideon answered, “With all due respect Lord, but you must certainly be confused. How can you be with us when you have delivered us into the hands of the Midianites?”

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With a roguish smile his Pappa God answered, “My dear brave child, why don’t you go and destroy the Midianites instead of being a scary pants? After all, your name does not mean destroyer without a reason. When I look at you I see a mighty warrior!”

Appalled by this suggestion, Gideon asked, “Father, you must certainly be joking! Look at me; I am from the tribe of Manasseh, the son of Joseph, and you know what that means. Like Joseph, the other clans do not like us at all!”

After a pause, he continued, “The great-great-great-grandparents of the Midianites were Abraham and Keturah; not Sarah, whom you called princess. We are the descendants of Sarah, your favorite, and still you delivered us into their hands!! It is not fair.”

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Hastily he added, “Manasseh does not mean “causing to forget” for nothing. We are the forgotten ones, the least of the least, we are certainly your black sheep”. He used all the excuses he could think of to get out of this predicament.

(Five minutes are finished)

Patiently God sighed, “Gideon, I have no favorites. Besides, the other clans are so puffed-up with their own importance, that I have to choose the least of the least to deliver you all out of the strive and in-fighting going on amongst yourselves.”

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A flabbergasted Gideon still wanted to object when the Lord explained, “Gideon, the meaning of the name Midian is “strife and contention”.

Then our Pappa God became somber, “Although I want to destoy the physical threat against my people, those rumbustious Midianites, I want to eradicate all those stubborn roots of strife and anger in your hearts.”

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God smiled,”My desire for us is to catch those little foxes ruining the tender sweet grapes. They are destroying my beautiful vineyard that I have cultivated with so much love and care.”

Love and blessings XX

Mia

P.s. I was informed by someone that I had my facts a bit skewed. Instead of saying Abraham and Keturah were the Midianites’ great-grandparents, a few times removed, I only said they were their great-grandparents. And I had the descendants all mixed-up.

The spelling of Keturah’s name was also wrong; I had it “Ketubah” which is a Jewish marriage contract. I am sure Abraham never married a marriage contract! Hahaha!

They say it is not a shame to be poor, but to be stupid is quite another matter altogether! Please forgive, for I corrected it after my five minutes.

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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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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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