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
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.
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.
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.
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
Linking with Lisa-Jo Baker and the ladies at my Link-up page.
The People who walk in darkness will see a great Light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine (Isaiah 9:2, NLT).
And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, his government and its peace will never end (Isaiah 9:6, NLT).
For you have said to yourself, “I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars” (Isaiah 14:13, NLT).
Light of The World
During my earthly wanderings in the deep, deep darkness, the chaos and the ways (especially the religious ways) of the world, I met a man.
Actually, this man is a King; a King not of this world, but from another Kingdom … a Kingdom of Light and Love … a spiritual Kingdom.
This incredible god-man is called Jesus. This man is the Light of the world, the Light of my life … my Beloved.
He stole my heart completely and ever since I have been happily lost, yet securely found, in Him.
He loves me with an everlasting love and I am learning to respond to His loving overtures for He has never been anything but good to me … my Knight in shining amour.
What is so remarkable about my Prince of Peace, is His unmeasurable love for … well … everyone His Pappa has ever created.
And that is the entire human race through all ages and time. Everyone since Adam and Eve opted out of this relationship of love with Him through the deception by my King’s archenemy, Satan.
This enemy was once called Lucifer and he was an archangel in the courts of my King. But he became proud and wanted to usurp the place of my humble Prince of Peace.
But thousands of years ago he was defeated and thrown out of the palace courts of heaven. Actually he was thrown out of my Prince’s Kingdom altogether.
For the time being, he is still roaming the earth like a roaring lion, trying to devour any gullible soul he can find to take them captive on his journey to the lake of fire our Pappa has prepared for him in advance.
He knows his sand-glass of time is running out and he is ferociously using his mightiest weapon, lies, to steal, to kill and to destroy. He is not called the father of all lies for nothing.
Of him, my King says,”How you have fallen from heaven, oh shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, “I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars (Isaiah 14:12-13).”
Only our Lord Jesus have the honor and can be rightfully called the Bright Morning Star, Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father.
The government of my life rests on His shoulders for He rules with fairness and justice … with love and peace … patience and mercy, gentleness and kindness.
He has many more honorary titles of which I want to mention just a few more. He is the Light of the World, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
He is the gate through which we enter into His Kingdom of matchless beauty … a Kingdom where there is no sorrow or tears … there where the lion feeds with the lamb.
His love is not dependent on anything we can offer Him. Even if we don’t love Him, He still loves us for He is love and He never changes.
He cannot become a better version of Himself for He is already the best there can ever be. He does not upgrade Himself for then He would not have been God in the first place. He has been the Perfect One from all eternity.
He cannot become a lesser copy of Himself, for the simple reason that He cannot change. He is the Great “I AM” who forever was and is and always will be … the same!
Any goodness our finite minds can perceive, is only a tiny fraction, a gracious gift from His abundant supply. Any love we can feel towards Him and one another is also just a tiny morsel from the storehouses of heaven, a gift from His Heart of Love.
He has a burning desire that everyone would hear His still, small voice beckoning us all into His Kingdom. He wants to betroth us and is preparing a feast at His Father’s table for His bride … the Lady Ekklesia.
I know that there are many travelers on this road called Life who are still seeking for His Kingdom … for His love and His redemption.
This year I want to expose the many boulders of lies I have encountered on my journey to His Kingdom. If it is the will of my Pappa, I want to bring Him glory by being His girl to clear the way for the King’s coming to many a heart.
For His name is Emmanuel … God with us … Christ in me, my Hope of Glory!
For those who are still seeking Him like the Shulamite, “Tell me, my love, where are you leading your flock today? Where will you rest your sheep at noon?”, I want to show a better way than the world’s … a way that leads to rest … into the shadows of His Loving Embrace.
But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children. (Galatians 4:4-5, NLT)
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up in slavery to the law. (Galatians 5:1, NLT)
The 1966 British film, Born Free, tells the story of a real-life couple, George and Joy Adams, who raised the lion cub, Elsa, and then released her into the wilderness of Kenya. When our Pappa God gives us His life through the new spiritual birth into His Kingdom of Light, we become like Elsa … we are born free from the slavery to this world and its ways, especially its extremely deceptive religous ways. Hallelujah!!
An enigma to me has always been the fact that our Savior King was born as a slave. As far as my faulty, limited and worldly human mind could perceive, I could not see that He was a slave to anyone. Yet, Pappa is not a man that He should lie. (Numbers 23:19)
As I was pondering that question in my mind this week, Pappa revealed to my heart the beauty of this divine birth. I don’t think we would ever be able to understand what our Pappa God gave up to become one of us … a slave to the law … a slave to sin … a curse on our behalf.
Yet, He was the only human who ever was able to keep the whole law … lock, stock and barrel. But best of all is His complete fulfillment of the royal Law of Love!
I was under the impression that our Lord had a good advantage over us mere mortals with Him being God and all. Not so, for not once did He walk according to His own ways or in His own power (John 5:17). Not one miracle was performed in His capacity as God. Yes, His whole life was lived in complete trust in our Pappa to be all in and through Him … the way we are supposed to live.
In order to enable us with His indwelling Life of Victory, He walked and lived every single moment of His earthly sojourn completely dependent upon and trusting the power of our Pappa as His only source of spiritual life. He lived from every word that proceeded from His Pappa’s mouth.
At Lazarus’ grave our Lord Jesus showed us this when He prayed that beautiful, confident prayer, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent Me” (John 11:41, NLT).
As we allow our Lord Jesus to live His resurrected life in and through us, we come to realize that He became a slave to fulfill the law … to break its power over us, for we all are slaves to sin and death through our physical birth. It is not an option … it just is the way it is!!
Being the second Adam, the only man after Adam who failed miserably, who had the ability to choose independance, He victoriously overcame the power of sin and self, completely dependant on His Father. Through His dependant victory, He enabled us and made it possible for us to live in Him, in His life, in His Kingdom of heaven, of love, joy and peace.
He reconciled Himself to the whole world, hoping and desiring that not one of us would be lost, but that we all would come to Him to receive His gift of life and be reconciled to Him.
It came as a shock to me that our heavenly Father does not require or ask our obedience, for He knows that even if we want to obey Him, we truly are incapable of doing so (Romans 7:14). The greatest gift we can ever give our Pappa … actually, the only gift, is our heart, our life and our love … fully convinced that He loves us with an everlasting love, allowing Him to change us from the inside out.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. It is our responsibility to stay free and not get tied up again under the yoke of slavery to the law (Galatians 5:1).
Dear Ones, I want to wish you all a blessed God-filled Christmas when we celebrate not only our Savior’s birth, but also the gift He came to bring … a life fully surrendered and reconciled to our Pappa. Let us allow Him to live His victorious, resurrected eternal life in and through us.
Much love XX
I am linking up again with dear Jane at Monday Morning Meditation (girlmeetspaper.com). Thank you Jane! Please, join us at http://girlmeetspaper.com/
I also have the honor of linking-up with a wonderful group of ladies at Fresh Brewed Sundays.
The Child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but He will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him …. and a sword will pierce your own soul. (Luke 2:34, NLT)
He Never Promised us a Rose Garden
Life has taught me a valuable lesson. Suffering causes one of two things; it either breaks us, or, it draws us deep into the life and arms of our Pappa God.
The families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre are experiencing suffering beyond comprehension … suffering that makes our Lord Jesus cry. I recall our Lord’s tears of sorrow when He saw the suffering of Martha, Mary and their friends at Lazarus’ grave.
It caused Him so much anger and anguish against the one who only came to steal, to kill and destroy.
As we walk through the pages of the four Gospels, we see how so many of the religious Jews stumbled over the cornerstone of our Heavenly Father’s spiritual temple, our Lord Jesus. Just like Simeon prophesied, they opposed Him. He caused many to fall … they refused to come to Him so that He could give them His eternal Life, the life once forfeited in the Garden of Eden.
Suffering also has another tendency. It causes many to blame their Pappa as the cause of all their woes. Others would rant and rave against our God, whilst hammering their fists against His chest. But He understands our limited human nature.
After all, He created us and knows how our machinery works.
He listens with so much compassion as we ask Him those difficult Martha questions. (John 11:21).
May they know that not one grief-filled sigh or sob will escape their hearts without Him knowing … crying and collecting all their tears.
May He bless these dear folks as they grieve and mourn over their loved ones. Let us ask our Lord Jesus to hold them tight in His Loving Embrace as they pound against His chest.
Let He be the Rock they fall on when their world seems to disintegrate as the sword of suffering pierces their souls.
May they receive mercy not to oppose Him like Simeon has prophesied. Instead, let us beseech our Pappa to draw them closer, into a deeper level of His life and love than ever before.
Much love XX
Today I am linking up with Jane at Monday Morning Meditation where we send our condolences and pay our respects to the families and community of the Newtown shooting. You are welcome to join us at http://girlmeetspaper.com/
He doesn’t stop a lot of things that cause Him pain … your world is lost in darkness and chaos, and horrible things happen to those He is especially fond of. (The Holy Spirit to Mackenzie Allan Phillips, “The Shack”)
I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house …. Don’t be afraid …. Make a little bread for me first …. There will always be flour and oil left in your containers. (1 Kings 17:12-14)
When you go through deep waters I will be with you,
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up,
The flames will not consume you,
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
When Little Words are best
All of a sudden while in the season of celebrating the birth of the Savior Child, we are staggering under the shock of the murder of so many innocent children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
In one random, needless act of violence, the parents of 20 children and the seven families of the murdered adults have been ushered into their own Zarephath ….. into a smelting shop …. a workshop for refining metals! Zarephath means, “smelting, refining”.
Like the widow of Zarephath they feel utterly empty, not knowing how to carry on with their lives …..they have no faith …. no trust …. no love …. no flour …. no oil, but our Lord understands. Our Heavenly Father will again provide, like Elijah was sent to this widow.
They are going through the proverbial fire of oppresion. They are drowning in their tears of sorrow and we have not the slightest idea of the suffering, the smelting, the refining they are going through.
But we can walk with them, carry what burdens they are able to release into our trust. We can assure them that their Pappa God cries with them, collecting all their tears, saving them in a jar of love.
If they allow us, we can remind them that this refining, smelting fire will not consume them and all their tears of sorrow will not drown them.
We can encourage them to give just the little trust and even their unbelief, to their Lord Jesus.
He is their Holy One, their Savior and He assures them that the little faith, the little trust they still have, will never run dry. He will see that the containers of their hearts will always be filled with Himself!
May our God enable us to walk quietly alongside these people without many clever words or Scripture verses. Let us pray for a heart full of compassion …. a heart able to share their pain.
Much love XX
Ps. I want to pay tribute to all the teachers who paid the ultimate sacrifice to save their students.
I am linking up with Barbie at Fresh Brewed Sundays. Thank you Barbie for providing your link as a place where we can share in the sorrow of your nation. You can find us at http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/
Our earth is like a child who has grown up without parents, having no one to guide and direct her. (Jesus, to Mackenzie Allan Phillips in “The Shack”.)
New wine must be stored in new wineskins. But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine.”The old is just fine,” they say. (Luke 5:39, NLT)
At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. (Genesis 4:7, NLT)
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)
A Deceived Bride
Our desolate, damaged, orphaned world is in the season of celebrating the birth of its Savior without truly knowing Him. With frivolous unseen heart tears, it is singing Christmas carols. With gaiety it is trying to hide its insecurities and hurt. It is wearing a mask of satisfaction and fulfillment … ignoring its desperate need for forgiveness, love and grace … its need for redemption, reconciliation and restoration. It is trying go keep up with the Jones’s, denying its utter poverty …. scared of losing the little face it has left!
Oh, the delusion we live under; thinking that we can be infinite and independent, characteristics belonging only to our Heavenly Father. We are needy creatures, whether we acknowledge it or not, deriving all we are spiritually from either our Pappa or the prince of darkness.
Even the organized religious church is like the Lady of Laodicea ….. unaware of her poverty, wretchedness, pitiful naked poor state (Revelations 3:17). Their hearts are old wineskins unable to receive the new wine, the new life of our Lord Jesus …. the bubbly new wine of grace. They stake their claim to eternal life on their religious busyness and activities and …. they like it that way.
I recall an Afrikaans song of the late Johannes Kerkorrel, from his album “Die Anderkant”, meaning “The Other Side”, where he poignantly compares our world to a big, blue ball drifting aimlessly through time and space ….. an orphaned world …. a world without hope. Only once in a while two souls will meet, speaking and understanding the lost language of love. This is the exception, definitely not the rule.
The world had become the habitation for lost, orphaned children, feeding on the spiritual scraps this world dishes up, day after day after day …..leaving them starving …. dying of hunger ….. trying to deny their spiritual need and hunger by their own futile efforts to cover their nakedness with their filthy rags of self- effort. Oh yes, we are experts in covering our shame with fig leaves that we have sewn together, trying to hide from the presence of our Pappa. Man’s declaration of independence has opened their eyes to the shame of sin.
Yet, He desires to cover our nakedness and shame with the snow white robe of His own righteousness. He assures us that He has paid the price for our adoption, the bride price to buy us back from that kingdom of darkness, doom, dread and death. He has bought us back from the prince of darkness.
If we stop our frantic rushing for a while …. if we just step out of the busy pace and rat race of the world …. we still hear the angels singing of the joy our Pappa has brought to the world in the form of a tiny Baby.
When we become quiet and still, we will hear Him whispering His words of forgiveness, love and reconcilliation. If we allow Him, He will wrap us in His Graceful Loving Embrace, dress us in the most beautiful wedding gown of love and leads us down the aisle of His forgiveness to meet our Bridegroom, our Lord Jesus.
The beauty of our Pappa God’s love is that He never forces us to accept our Lord Jesus’ hand in marriage. True love is just like that, it gives us the freedom to choose. It knows it cannot be forced, but it can open up the way to restoration, sweet reconcilliation and an intimate relationship of love.
Dear Ones, let us become still …. let us be quiet…. let us listen to His song of love and hear how He rejoices over us with joyful songs (Zephaniah 3:17)!
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18, NLT)
You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon. (Song of Songs 4:12-14, NIV)
The merchants of the world will weep and mourn for her, for there is no one left to buy their goods. (Revelation 18:11 , NLT)
Cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and bodies and souls of men. (Revelation 18:13, NIV)
My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. Come let’s drink our fill of love until morning. Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses. (Proverbs 7:15-18, NLT)
The Scent of a Woman
A while ago a South African artist released a song about the scent of women. The love of his life is captured in the fragrance of a naartjie …. his grandmother hides in the memories of cinnamon ….. the aroma of aniseed searches for lost dreams …. In every fragrance, a woman waits to be discovered.
And I recall the most beautiful Ode to Love ever written, the Song of Songs, with the Composer, none other that the Lover of our hearts, our Heavenly Bridegroom. The words He whispers to His Beloved is beautiful to behold and cherish.
Yes, our Heavenly Bridegroom sings a song of love to His Bride …. His Shulamite …. His Lady Ekklesia. He compares her heart to their private garden filled with the most exquisite and delicate aromas of love, the aroma of costly spices: henna, nard, saffron, sweet smelling calamus and cinnamon. All the odours associated with an intimate love relationship …. their intimate spiritual love relationship …. a mingling of hearts in quiet love and peace. Cinnamon is the symbol of His Beloved’s sheer delightfulness. (Song of Songs 4:12-14)
But there is another love affair, another woman, a seductress …. the great harlot. She is called Babylon The Great. She was introduced to the apostle John as being drunk with the blood of God’s holy people …. the Shulamites, all those being witnesses for and who stayed true to our Lord Jesus. (Revelation 17:5-6).
She bought and traded in the worldly commodities of religion and its counterfeit love. We see that the inventory of her purchases included the most costly spices, including cinnamon. Even more frightening is the fact that she traded in the souls of men. Through her counterfeit love, false acceptance and false security, she deceived many dear souls into her commodity of religion!!! (Revelation 18:11)
This woman was beautifully dressed in all the finest purple and scarlet linen of this world. She seemed immortal and eternal for she already started her deception in the Garden of Eden.
We find her in the streets of Proverbs where she seductively seduces those without common sense and discernment into her house. She uses the counterfeit fragrance of love, sprinkling her bedding of Egyptian linen with costly spices and cinnamon. She uses all her wiles to make her proposal appealing to the senses of seeing and feeling, provoking lust, drawing them into her deadly religious embrace. (Proverbs 7:16-17).
This woman is proud, blaspheming against the Most High God. She forms alliances with kings of the world … the political, economical and religious kings. Those who commited adultery with her, grew rich because of her extravagant, luxurious lifestyle!
But we hear His still, small voice calling us, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins.” (Revelation 18:4, NIV).
This woman is not immortal …. she will be destroyed. The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over the destruction of religion, because no one will then be able to profit any longer from her profanities. (Revelation 18:11)
Coming out of her is a spiritual exodus, an exodus from our slavery to the spiritual Egypt. This is a spiritual journey to Canaan, a journey into the life of our Lord Jesus … a journey into the bedchamber of our King … a journey into His Loving Embrace.
Much love to you XX
I am honored to link up again at the Run- a -Muck where I join Amber and the other ladies from the December Abstractions Community. We write about truth using the abstract. This is a challenge I enjoy so much. We would be glad for you to join us at http://therunamuck.com/ . Thank you, Amber!
I am glad to be linking up with Jane at Girl Meets Paper and the all the ladies at Monday Morning Meditations. Thanks Jane. Join us at http://girlmeetspaper.com/
But Jesus knew their evil motives, “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed Him a Roman coin, He asked,” Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Ceasar’s,” they replied. “Well, then give to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar, and give to God to what belongs to God.”(Matthew 22:18-21, NLT).
So God created human beings in His own image, in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27, NLT).
The Hurdles of Discipline
When my oldest son, Simon, was a secondary school learner, he was a provincial 400 meter hurdles athlete. At all the competitions his doting mother caused him endless embarrassment by, to put it mildly, proudly, yet noisily, jumping up and down, cheering him along and helping him to finish the race. Eventually he had to surrender, for he, for some strange reason, seemed unable to get his mother to behave more appropriately.
Then it happened! He stumbled and heartily greeted mother earth during a race he was about to win. My courageous, brave 18-year old baby got up and finished second…and then…collapsed! This mother hen quickly gathered her precious, bleeding chick under her wing, and that in front of an enormous crowd of spectators. So completely not cool at all!!
That was one of my favorite, precious God moments. Our Pappa taught me a most valuable lesson through this incident on His love and care towards us. Like the best parent ever, He lovingly disciplines us by allowing the hurdles of trials and tribulations during our race of life to teach us godliness and complete dependance upon Him. Every hurdle presents another opportunity to stretch those faith muscles to jump clear. When we fall, He lovingly picks us up and gathers us in His arms and wipes away all our tears while encouraging us not to lose heart, for He will always be there, right beside us, jumping up and down with joy as He cheers us on, rejoicing over us with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17).
As I was reading the above Scripture, the Lord opened my eyes to a big, bad insurmountable hurdle of misconception and wrong perception l had allowed to develop in my life, hindering my relationship with my Pappa to grow, to bloom and to blossom. My frame of reference told me that all our Lord Jesus’ anger towards the Pharisees and Scribes was also directed towards me. Our Pappa was, as far as I was concerned, a very angry, abusive God, expecting me to pull myself up by my own bootstraps and polish up my poor excuse of a life.
Our God patiently taught me through one of my favorite Bible teachers, James Fowler, my perception of His character was totally wrong. My frame of reference needed to include some “zits im leben” (setting in life). It needed to be based on the truth of whom our Lord really was referring to, as well as the culture and traditions of that specific time. When I read the text in that context, scales fell from my eyes and I looked at this Scripture with new understanding.
Allow me to give a little background information. At the time our Lord Jesus walked the earth, the Roman authorities issued a silver coin, the denarius, stamped with the image of the Emperor. It was used as the standard payment for taxes. The Romans were well aware of the Jews’ scruples about “graven images” and out of respect for their religious traditions, they issued a bronze coin without any image for the use of those devout Palestinian Jews, without having to defile themselves when paying their taxes.
I have wondered why politicians and religious leaders often seem to be bosom buddies until I saw the truth of Solomon’s words, there truly is nothing new under the sun! (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The Pharisees and Scribes were hand in glove with the Herodians, inviting them along when they tried to soft-soap our Lord Jesus by commending His integrity. As if they were qualified to be judges of integrity! They tried to force Him into a Catch 22 situation by asking Him the famous question about taxes. These highly religious and righteous Jews, as they considered themselves to be, had no reason to defile themselves by touching a denarius, but when Jesus requested one, they provided the denarius from their own pockets!! I wonder if all the bronze ones went to the poor!
Our Lord saw right through their evil intent into their greed for religous power, position, prestige and money. They were unwilling to give it all up and to give themselves wholeheartedly to our Pappa. We are all familiar with the outcome of this story.
A question started to form in my mind, “As humans, whose image do we bear?” Our Pappa revelaled to my heart the precious truth that we are all created in His image!! He created us as spiritual beings to lavishly love us and enabled us to love Him in return. That privilege was forfeited in Eden and bought back on the cross at Golgotha. If only I could rid myself of that brood of “Pharisees” joyfully lodging in my heart, suffocating the loving relationship between my Pappa and me. Our Lord’s words became crystal clear to me, “You search the Scriptures because you think they give eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this eternal life” (John 5:39-40, NLT).
I rejoiced when we together chased the slave woman and her son from my heart as Paul instructed us to do. (Galatians 4:30). Good riddance indeed! But little did know of all the son’s siblings, cousins and cousins-twice-removed still stealing and feasting on the delicious fruit our Lord was producing in my heart, keeping me imprisoned and chained to the system of religious performance. I had cordially invited them in when I had gobbled up many false teachings in the past. The stone tablets of my heart had many laws, over and above the Ten Commandments. As the years passed by, I kept adding more and more, as well as erasing a few outdated, old ones.
I never was certain what the current religous modus operandi would be and was horrified of being rejected one more time, so I kept my list up to date, I never knew our Pappa could be so finicky for He seemed to change His mind from day to day, from denomination to denomination and even from congregation to congregation! Just to name a few of the silver denari, stamped with the image of religion, I was carrying in my pocket:
1. Only the Psalms and organ music are suitable for our Lord’s ears.
2. Communion must be served around a big table where everyone drinks from a humongous silver communion cup.
3. Tithe your gross income if you want to ensure God’s gross blessings.
4. As proof of having been baptized in the Holy Spirit, speak in tongues.
5. Serve, serve, serve and then serve some more; give, give, give and then give some more.
6. You have to be under the church’s covering, submitting to their authority. Failing to do that is proof of habouring a Jezebel spirit.
7. Wives submit to your husbands even if it kills you or be warned of the danger that you might turn into Jezebel herself.
8. Never mention someone’s name while praying for them in church for that borders on idolatry.
9. Do not disagree with your pastor, or if you do; zip the lip!
10. Do not always be the one suffering from an illness, for that shows your lack of faith and without faith you are not pleasing God. So rather suffer in silence and pretend to be well.
11. Spread the Gospel. Failure to do so will hinder the growth of your fruit supply and if you are empty handed when you meet the Fruit Inspector one day, you might be in BIG trouble!
And so the list went on and on and on!! Keeping them caused me endless spiritual pride and I could teach the Pharisees and Scribes a lesson or two about hypocrisy. Today I realize that it was all due to my extremely poor and shame-based self-esteem for I always used to measure love, anyone’s love, especially God’s, as something earned through my performance, yet mine always seemed to miss the mark!
Although some of these practices are not wrong in and of themselves, they do become law the moment they become rules and therefore replace grace, bearing the emperor’s image. I realize now that the Great Deceiver, the Father of Religion, played dirty tricks on my mind. Our Lord Jesus did not mince His words when He told the Pharisees, “For you are the children of your father, the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth.” (John 8:44a, NLT).
Dear Ones, even though Fm/CFS takes us through deep, deep valleys of suffering, I can now see and appreciate our Pappa’s hand of love and wisdom in my life, providing the hurdles of suffering to draw me away from the law-based road to destruction and steering me gently into His kingdom of light of love, of freedom and peace. He will personally carry you over all the many hurdles this illness and life in general bring into your life, looking forward to the beautiful butterfly that will eventually emerge from your cocoon of suffering.
May our Lord bless you and keep you secure this coming week, snuggled warmly in the safety of His Loving Embrace!