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God’s Thoughts to Me

You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it (Matthew 7:13-14, NLT).

The Broad and The Narrow

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Bright ideas and fibrofog are not bedfellows; so, down memory lane I went to find some common ground between my thoughts for today’s post and an exciting introduction.

When I asked Pappa to help me, He gently reminded me of an instance when I, as a young teenager, went on a school scouting camp. I vividly remember this one guy having everyone in stitches with the lamest of jokes.

I was merrily joining in the laughter whilst being dumbfounded that anyone could actually think such stupid jokes to be funny. And just there I found the reason for so much of humanity’s woes; our god given need to belong; to be accepted.

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It is this sensitive need satan uses to deceive and lead so many people happily along the broad road. I am not talking about the broad road where you find the company of thieves, drunkards, murderers, addicts, prostitutes and the like.

Our Lord didn’t seem to have much trouble with these folk. In fact, He was called a drunkard and glutton Himself (Matthew 11:19) and He called Himself a jail-bird (Matthew 25:36). I am talking about the broad road called religion with its wide gate welcoming countless souls into destruction.

I once was a cheerleader along this road until our Lord kindly blessed me with a disability that robbed me of my pom-poms and all my cheerleading skills.

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Truth be told, I was a religious socialite, always dressing myself in all the latest to-do fashion doing the religious rounds. But, no matter how much I flirted, I was always empty; devoid of life, true Life!

But where the great “I AM” is, you will never find a void, or an emptiness or need to belong that He does not fill with His wonderful love … actually with His Heavenly Wonderous Self. He dresses His bride in His white washed Robes of Righteousness.

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He patiently started to “home school” me, teaching me at a pace that suited my fibrofog, how I totally sidestepped the wonder and truth of His Gospel.

He taught me the difference between the broad road of darkness and the narrow road bathed in the Light of Jesus … the road called Jesus … the road called Life.

He taught me the complete dichotomy between these two roads. The way of Jesus’ Kingdom is uniquely radical and singular and is not easily passable.

In fact, it is impossible without faith, true faith; the kind of faith that we can only receive as a gift from Pappa’s Hand. Only this gift enables us to walk this tippy-toe road!

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This gift of faith makes our hearts receptive to God’s grace, moment by moment and enables us to walk the narrow road that is not popular or pleasing to the masses.

We often need to walk this road alone seeking only our Pappa’s approval. But life lived in our dearest Lord Jesus is the summation of God’s Kingdom.

Not many religious people are willing to submit themselves to God and Him ALONE in receptivity to enter through the narrow door and walk on the narrow path.

This is the life lived at the end of our tether, denying all our own efforts to be saved, allowing our Lord Jesus to live His life in and through us.

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It is much easier to get lost in the letter of the law, a doctrine, a creed, a rule, a sacrament or whatever gives us a sense of security even though it is false. It is much easier to enter through the beautiful, broad religious gate.

It is a popular road; convenient and socially acceptable and allows a wide scope for freedom of ecumenical tolerance.

It is widened even further by the many ruts and ditches of methodology (especially the “how-to-do-this-that-and-the-other-for-God” kind) and experimentalism. The better it feels, the better it is! The more important it sounds, the more important it is!

Solomon wisely knew from experience, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). We all have to choose which road we will travel; the one leading to spiritual death or life.

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Let us cry out to our beloved Lord with King David in Psalm 139 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

During the week I link-up with the friendly ladies at my Tea Time and Link-Up page. Thanks for your hospitality.

Unlocking Mysteries

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God’s Thoughts to Me

And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 16:19, NLT).

It is time we find the Resurrection Stone, and discover the “key” to these religious mysteries, to interpret the gospel as it was intended (Resurrection:  The key to understanding the gospel – James Fowler).

Priestly Prattle

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The word “hieroglyphics” is a Greek word that means “sacred” or “priestly carving”. For more than a millennium, from the year 500 BC to 1822 Egyptian hieroglyphics were considered to be a secret code of priests and the key to unlock these mysterious writings was feared to be forever lost.

Until 1799 when some of Napoleon’s soldiers found the Rosetta Stone near the mouth of the River Nile. The same inscription appeared on this stone in three different languages: Egyptian hieroglyphics, Egyptian demotic and Greek.

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The Rosetta Stone

But it took the Frenchman, Francois Champollion, 23 years to discover the key to unlock these mysterious writings. In 1822 he translated the symbols and the mystery of hieroglyphics was something of the past.

From as early as I can remember, I was a member of some or other Christian Church, but I was still lost in darkness and didn’t really understand what the gospel was truly about. I was well into my thirties when I first heard about our need to be born again through the sweet Holy Spirit.

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Not unlike most of my contemporaries, I knew an awful lot about the gospel. I paid lip service, celebrated and paid homage to the gospel instead of the God of the gospel without ever really knowing or understanding what it was all about.

To say that the Scriptures were a lot like prophetic-apostolic hieroglyphics to me, is nailing the truth right on the head. I used to read everything I could lay my hands on, trying to find the key to unlock the sweet mystery of the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

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I was as blind as a bat and lent out my itching ears to a lot of priestly prattling of quite a few deceived teachers and blind guides.

But my ignorance proved to be no problem to our Pappa and in His usual gentle, patient way, He had to use nearly a full bucket of mud to open my spiritual eyes to the simple truth of Jesus. The simple truth we have made a monstrous complexity of!

Suffice to say that for a long time I was happily falling time and time again over the stumbling block, our dearest Lord Jesus, the Cornerstone of our salvation.

I valiantly got up again after every fall, nursing my wounded ego for a while, dusting off my behind and then tried again from scratch.

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Until the Rock of All Ages reminded me. “Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on (Matthew 21:44)”.

When enough was enough, this Stone kindly fell on me, broke me into many pieces and took my legs from right under me through my illness. Gone were the days of my “self” being able to get up again and again.

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This became extremely difficult and I had to hoist the white flag in surrender. I knew I needed to start building cautiously on the only Cornerstone through all the ages.

The Master Builder gathered all my broken pieces and glued them all together with His tender love and gentle discipline until I was just a fragile jar of clay with many cracks to allow His Light to shine through.

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When one is blessed with a disabling disease, your time of dancing when the religious folk played wedding songs and crying when they played funeral songs, has passed.

I realized that I was not able to carry this burden of Fm/CFS on my own and I was soon knocking earnestly on Heaven’s Door.

True to His wonderful promise, He soon opened the Door to His Kingdom and gave me a wonderful key. This key unlocks the secret of our Resurrected Lord living His Resurrection Life in and through us.

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Once we truly realize our need to decrease like John did and we fill up and straighten the roads of our hearts for our King of Glory to enter, we come to know the joy of denying ourselves daily to experience the life in our Pappa.

Through the above-mentioned article of James Fowler, I discovered the Resurrection key; the key to unlock the glorious gospel of Jesus.

Scales fell from my eyes and my heart soared like an eagle that has been released from years of captivity in the prison of religious jargon.

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Many Bible verses that used to scare the living daylights out of me, became beautiful flowers in the garden of my heart. The Gardener, none other than the Holy Spirit cultivating flowers with the sweetest nectar to feed my thirsty heart.

The will of our God is one example of the secrets He revealed to my stubborn heart. I used to go on many a wild goose chase trying to determine the specific will of our Pappa for everything pertaining to my life; totally ignoring the sacred gift of common sense that doesn’t seem to be common anymore!

This glorious key unlocked many mysteries of our Pappa’s Kingdom and opened the doors of many prison cells where I was a captive for many, many years; a prisoner of the cruel jailer called Fear!

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In my next post, I would love to invite you along a few of the roads to freedom our Pappa has led me and few mysteries He lovingly revealed to me.

Much love and sweet blessings.

Mia

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The Feisty Philistines

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God’s Thoughts to Me

He did this to teach warfare to the generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle. These are the nations: the Philistines (those living under the five Philistine rulers)… (Judges 3:3a, NLT).

All in all you’re just another brick in the wall
Just another blunder
Just another lousy call (Pink Floyd, The Wall)

A Brick in The Wall

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In 1979 the rock band, Pink Floyd, released a rock opera, The Wall. It was a huge success and made the top of the charts worldwide.

The opera was written by the group’s bassist, Roger Waters, and was a protest against rigid schooling in general and the boarding school system in the United Kingdom in particular.

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The Apartheid Regime in South Africa banned the whole album in 1980 and no radio station was allowed to play the song, Another Brick In The Wall. Supporters of a nationwide school boycott adopted this song in their protest against racial inequalities in education.

But this didn’t stop us young, teenage South Africans from the late seventies to listen to this album and to come to our own conclusions about the message of the song and the inequality in the education system.

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The problems this album was addressing were actually much wider and much more serious than we would like to admit, for the whole world is lost in darkness and chaos and is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19).

I have often been overwhelmed by my finite smallness in comparison with a big, wide world. The only solution Satan offers for lost humanity, is to deceive us into thinking we can decide for ourselves what good and evil are.

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As a result, we came up with “human rights” which have been a total failure world-wide, for man is totally addicted to power.

Too often the rights of a single individual is denied for the greater good of a group. No wonder the “unimportant, forgotten ones” feel like nothing more than bricks in the wall the rich and powerful are building on a very shaky foundation of human rights.

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We have fallen prey to an enemy we do not even recognize, but who nevertheless has been with humanity since the beginning of time and with the Israelites in particular after they entered the Promised Land … the Philistines.

But man has not been created to have rights; we have been created with the need to be loved by our Creator, to love Him in return and also love one another.

Any right we think we have apart from the love of our Pappa will only result in another form of power struggle and puts the emphasis on the idol called “self”.

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The name, Philistine, means, “wallowing in self” and according to Wordweb, “wallow” means, “to indulge in to an immoderate degree or to give oneself over to”.

The Philistines were an aggresive tribal group living in the south-east of Canaan and were Israel’s most formidable, feisty enemy and they battled against them even in the time of King David.

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We all know the story of Samson and Delilah and how he eventually, after being their prisoner for a long time, killed many of them at a feast in their temple. Who can ever forget how valiantly David as a shepherd boy killed their giant, Goliath.

Please allow me to suggest that the five lords that were ruling these formidable enemies, represent five aspects of the self-life!

We get General Self-Pity with a whole bunch of troops below him like Privates Self-Loathing, Shame, Rejection, Despair, etc., etc.

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Another high official in the Philistine army, is Colonel Self-Depreciation with his own bunch of underlings called Captain Self-Condemnation and Corporal Worthlessness.

Not to mention Major Self-Importance with his subordinates, Sergeants Boastful, Braggart and Windbag. Last, but not the least, we get Sergeant Major Self-Indulgence and the millitary attaché, Captain Self-Pleasure

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We all have our own bunch of stinking Philistines in our hearts in all their different, delicious forms and flavors. They were not only a great formidable foe in the time of the Israelites in Canaan, but are still today.

It has never been easy to defeat them and they have the nasty habit to pop up again and again. I know I have to be on the look-out for especially those nasty critters, Rejection, Shame, Self-pity and their whole enchilada.

Someone else  may not have a problem with my enemies, but may have another bunch of Philistines to battle e.g.  that sly fox called Arrogance and his sister, Pride.

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Only last week I was in a fierce battle against the Philistine army of Discouragement, Hopelessness and Self-pity when my illness almost overwhelmed me and I felt locked up  in the dark dungeon of despair.

I knew I was totally helpless, but for a day of two, I still valiantly tried to overcome the enemy with what I thought the grace of my Pappa. But without any success. My enemy was ready for serious combat and I was so weak.

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I battled until I remembered that I was trusting my own skill, albeit empowered by grace. Only as I felt the hyena sinking his mighty teeth into my flesh, did I remember to turn around and run to our Lord Jesus.

When we have to battle this enemy in our hearts, let us not be foolish and think that we can defeat them on our own, for we simply cannot.

Let us submit to our Commander-in-Chief and resist this mangy pack of hyenas. These spiritual enemies can only be defeated by the sweet Holy Spirit.

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Let us remember His words, “Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15). Let us run to Jesus and Him alone, for He is our Conqueror.

Much love and sweet blessings.

Mia.

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Maze Dwellers

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me and you’ll recover your life … Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you (Matthew 11:28, The Message).

For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction (Philippians 3:18-19, NLT).

Around and Around

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Upington, South Africa, is the birthplace of the famous actress, Alice Krige. The Kalahari Orange Museum pays tribute to another famous character of this town in the province of the Northern Cape: the donkey.

This gentle, lowly beast has played an enormous role in the development of Upington during the pioneering days of the 19th century. Its humble contribution has been memorialized forever by the Donkey Statue.

I visited this gentle, humble statue only once and was saddened by the fact that this poor creature had to walk around and around in circles, milling at the same mill all day.

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I realized that the worthy donkey was doing an honorable job just like when he carried our Lord Jesus so many centuries ago.

But there is another mill that has captured millions of people through the ages, milling around and around in circles with nothing to gain at the end of their lives.

They are mostly deceived and oblivious to the misuse and abuse happening at the hands of the ravenous wolves, not sparing the flock as they dance around to the latest religious tune.

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In fact, these poor souls are the slaves of the money-hungry, power-greedy merchants. These merchants of the economy of religion trade in the souls of men and laugh all the way to the bank.

Knowingly or unknowingly, they are pawns on Satan’s chess board and use satanic authority, churchianity and empty promises of health, wealth and prosperity.

They relentlessly flog the poor, unsuspecting folk with whips of religion, creeds, doctrines, thou shalls and thou shall nots until only husks and piles of dead, dry bones remain.

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I was one of these donkeys who labored like a slave under the banner of religion. I was completely lost and running around in the most scary maze of all time: religion.

But my Pappa saw my misery, took my hand and safely ushered me out of this labyrinth that was swallowing me alive, by allowing Fibromyalgia to enter my life.

I was cast aside without a second thought or glance by most of my fellow maze dwellers who prefered labouring at this monstrous mill, instead of taking those first baby steps towards the freedom our Lord so dearly paid for.

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I couldn’t be on the go-go-go anymore; therefore, I couldn’t contribute to building the slave masters’ spiral stairways reaching to heaven, but I could start building the walls of the new Jerusalem in my heart.

I could join my Beloved in cultivating a beautiful garden, for at long last I was still enough to truly hear His gentle, loving, tender voice inviting me to come to Him.

There still was a desert ahead, but at least I was free and on my way to Canaan, onto the eternal Life and peace of Jesus.

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I was so tired of struggling, year in and year out, in a never-ending maze of deceptive lies, going nowhere … very slowly, that my illness was like a refreshing oasis, a well of living water where I truly met our Lord.

But, as I now look at this whole scenario from the outside, I see many disillusioned travellers on this highway to hell through the broad gate of religion, honestly believing they are on the narrow road to heaven.

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I see so many travellers lost in a deadly maze of deceptive teachings! The Christian bookshops are filled with book upon book upon book spewing their deadly lies.

I see a religious world joyfully adopting the ways of the world by using the successful methods of advertising for church building, church growth, worship services, etc. etc. etc.

I am crying with Paul as he was pleading with his fellow Jews who blindly trusted their Judaic religion to be right with their Heavenly Father.

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I realize why Paul pleaded with the Philippians, again with tears, time and time again as I am doing through my blog.

Earlier this week I have been reading a blog post about how we, as our Pappa’s children, have access to the storehouse in heaven. I think we have all heard of this so-called storehouse filled with all the different kinds of limbs and treasures for our taking! And my heart cried.

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A few months ago I read another article on how we should join the school of prophets to learn how to become prophets and prophesy over the lives of others. These schools cost a lot of money. And my heart cried.

Oh, that our Pappa would open all the blind spiritual eyes to see and ears to hear when Jesus stands at the door of our hearts, knocking gently, but never forcing Himself into our lives.

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Let us become still enough to hear His gentle voice calling and open our hearts to receive our Pappa’s blessing from Heaven, our Lord Jesus. For He and He alone is the gospel of grace, the priceless Gift from God.

Hugs and blessings XX

Mia

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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

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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!

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Mirror, Mirror on The Wall

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God’s Thoughts to Me

In his proud exclusivism he condescended to receive Jesus into his home, probably to engage in some ad hoc detective work to personally interrogate Him and pin Him down on His ideas and prophetic credentials (A Commentary on The Four Gospels, James Fowler).

Who’s The Greatest Debtor of Them All?

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A while ago, my husband and I watched the movie, The Huntsman; a brilliant new version of Snow White. Now, being an incurable romantic, I like my fairy tales to end with a happily-ever-after.

In this movie, Snow White was crowned as queen without a knight by her side. But, at her coronation feast, she lavished the handsome huntsman with a promising, coquettish smile. Soooooo romantic!!!

As I was pondering the parable of the two debtors, my heart was filled with gratitude towards Jesus’ love and compassion towards all the undesirables of the world.

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Jesus told the Scribes and Pharisees that prostitutes, especially those with broken jars of nard, tax collectors, murderers, etc. etc etc. and drunkards (mind you) will enter the gates of heaven long before they do. (Matthew 21:31).

Heaven is a place for the unwanted, the poor, the lame, the lepers, the harlots, the tax-collectors, the humble, the peacemakers, the sorrowful, the Samaritans and, worst of all, the despised gentiles as well!

Not a place for the self-righteous who prance around like peacocks admiring themselves in an evil magic religious mirror, looking down at the drab grey sparrows.

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When Simon, the Pharisee, invited Jesus to a meal at his house, his dislike and disdain of our dear Lord was open for all to see. He withheld even the common courtesy of washing His feet!

When the party was well under way, one of those undesirables, an uninvited immoral woman, violated their customs by gate crashing the party. She was a prostitute whose reputation for harlotry was well-known; a fact accentuated by her loose, flowing hair.

We all know of her sweet smelling offering when she washed His feet with her tears, dried it with her hair and annointed Him afterwards with her expensive nard oil.

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And Simon was horrified that someone claiming to be a prophet could allow himself to be touched and soiled by such scum of the earth. And it hurts … it hurts very much! I know that so well.

He is an excellent example of how repulsed loveless, merciless religion is towards notorious sinners like this woman.

Then, and how I love this part, Jesus told Simon the story of the two debtors. He knew Simon’s heart and wanted to know who would love the lender the most after their debt was forgiven because none could pay back the money they owed.

Was it the one owing 50 denari or the one owing 500? Simon’s greedy, materialistic mindset of course, presumed that it would definitely be the one who owed the lender the most.

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I can almost hear our Lord Jesus asking Simon,”Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the greatest debtor of them all?”. I think Simon needed a few mirrors to accommodate all his self-righteousness.

Was it the white washed tombs of religious hearts who meassured a person’s worth by a bunch of external religious rules, but were blind to their own subtler sins of pride and hypocrisy? Keep in mind that our Lord called them the children of their father, the devil.

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Was it the one who looked down his nose at our Lord Jesus and treated Him with contempt, or was it the sorrow-filled sinner who humbly, with a repentant heart knew how much she needed this Divine Forgiver?

Was it the one who was appalled at Jesus’ audacity to think He could forgive sins, but failed to appreciate his own need of a Savior?

Or was it the despised one who was heartbroken about her sinfulness that she didn’t dare even taking a peak into the murky soiled mirror of her heart?

Did her gratefulness to the sinless One enable her to humbly accept the redemption and forgiveness our Lord offered her as a free gift of grace?

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I always considered the woman to be the one forgiven the most, but that was at the time while I was still thinking with a religious mindset and from a human point of view.

After all, sexual sins were nearly at the top of my sins-to-avoid-at-all-cost list. I used to have a very long unwritten one. But not any more!!

I remember the time when my family and I were in a similar position as this woman and were treated with the same contempt by some modern day Pharisees.

My oldest son and a pastors’s daughter fell in love. It was at the time when the congregation was doing the Ancient Paths course.

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At that stage I was very, very ill and under the impression that it was caused by demons. After my doctor’s diagnosis of that between-the-ears disease, I believed them. And so did my husband.

I went for deliverance after deliverance, made a spectacle of myself in the process and eventually started drinking to ease the physical, emotional and spiritual pain.

Ancient Paths teaches that the sins-of-the-fathers thing never misses a generation! Suffice to say, my son was considered to be the next heir to that painful between-the-ears illness, as well as a drunkard in the making.

He was considered not good enough for that sweet girl and both their hearts were broken as a result.

I just pray that Pappa will do a mighty work of healing in both their hearts and enable them to forgive completely.

My Son, Simon

My Son, Simon

Today I have the joy of knowing that my child loves His Pappa with a fierce love, way above most other young men of his age.

I have the blessed assurance that my sweetheart is living daily in his Pappa’s Loving Embrace!

Much love xx

Mia

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Riding the Tithing Train

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God’s Thoughts to Me

The early church had no tithing system … But as the Church expanded and its material needs grew more numerous and complex, it became necessary to adopt a definite rule to which people could be held either by moral obligation or by precept of positive law.

The tithing of the old law provided an obvious model, and it began to be taught… The Council of Macon in 585 ordered payment of tithes and threatened excommunication to those who refused to pay (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol.XIV, pp. 174-175).

Blessings for Sale

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As a child, I often had the privilege of riding on a steam train. How I enjoyed the sound of the locomotive picking up speed.

When it was well on its way, the whistle would tell the whole world of its pride and glory.

I remember how we and all our luggage used to be covered with a thin layer of soot. It even found a place to hide behind your ears or between your teeth and toes! Today, the steam train is just a fond memory.

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Nowadays, there is another train; the one driving on the railroad tracks of the monstrous, cruel religious teaching of tithing.

This train is driving through a thick, dark and scary forest of deceit, straight to the Kingdom of darkness.

This train’s thick layers of soot has crippled many of our Pappa’s children; not just financially, but also spiritually and emotionally.

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When the Catholic Church started this teaching in the year 585 AD, they, at least, refrained from violating the famous verse on tithing in Malachi 3:8.

Their trump card, which was already an abomination in itself, was excommunication.

Looking at the origins of tithing in the Old Testament, we find Israel being under a Theocracy. Their president or prime minister was none other than our Heavenly Father Himself.

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He instituted the tithing as His income tax system for the upkeep of the nation. The people had to “pay” three tithes.

The first tithe was brought to the Levites in the seventh month of the year. The Levites and the priests were the cabinet responsible for the upkeep of the nation.

The Levites had to give a tenth of this tithe to the priests who attended the altar (Numbers 18:25-32).

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The second tithe was brought to the temple for the feast that took place in the seventh month.

Sort of their public holiday to honor their monarch where they all feasted and had a good time together.

The third tithe was only paid every three years and this one was given to the strangers, the widows and the orphans.

All in all it amounted up to 27,9% of their income, spread over a period of three years. This is as far as my mathematical abilities go!

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Today another trump card is being played by the drivers of the tithing train. They play on the insecurities and greed of the human race and promise wealth and prosperity to those who fill their coffers with their hard-earned money.

I wonder if they are the descendants of the Judaizers pestering the first Galatian believers and the priests at the time of Malachi?

Actually, our Pappa was chiding the Levites and the priests who cheated on their income tax and even the widows and orphans of their daily bread. They were also an adulterous bunch, divorcing their wives left, right and centre.

I will never forget how an old black gentleman told me once the reason why he COULD NOT go to church: a lack of money.

After giving a tithe to their church he didn’t have much left for even just a decent meal. We all know what our Lord Jesus did to those who turned His Pappa’s House into a den of thieves.

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Another wagon that has been hitched onto the tithing train, comes from the Beatitudes, “Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom (Luke 6:38,NKJV)”.

Could it perhaps be that our Lord Jesus was speaking of forgiveness like He did in verse 37?

This wagon also sport the Seed-Faith compartment.

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I remember the time when I met my own set of “Judaizers”, telling me that I can line my own pockets through giving as much as possible, waiting for my sevenfold return.

I recall an incident when I was given a choice of receiving a nett or gross return on my salary, all depending whether I tithed on my gross or nett income!

They reckon the more you give, and that to them of course, the bigger your return will be!

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This deceptive teaching is based on Galatians 6:7 where Paul chided the Galatians for lending out their ears to the Judaizers who added onto the simple Gospel of Jesus, which was no Gospel at all!

I am so grateful for Pappa’s protection against this tithing madness that has been the spiritual ruin of many.

Whenever I needed discernment on this matter, He abundantly supplied all the wisdom I needed.

In my own life I have found that as I allowed our Lord Jesus to become my life,  I started to give more and more and more!!! Giving and sharing just seem so natural. It gives me so much joy for our Pappa has written the law of love on the tablets of my heart!

I cannot do otherwise and truly understand now why the first Christians were commended by all because of their love for one another.

It does not really matter what percentage I give, whether it is 10% or the widow’s mite. The truth is that one actually wants to give way above one’s means for the sole reason of love!!!

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Dear Ones, let us listen and heed our Lord’s advice and not allow our left hand to know what our right hand is doing and be surprised one day when we are invited into the eternal Kingdom for clothing, feeding and visiting with our Lord Jesus.

Much love XX

Mia

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Lady Laodicea vs Lady Ekklesia

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God’s Thoughts to Me

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

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

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

Metamorphosis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Laodicean Ruins

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

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

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She seemed totally unaware of our Lord’s advise,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love xx

Mia

Michael’s blog can be found here

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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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