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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

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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The Shulamite and the Foxes

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God’s Thoughts to me

Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming! (Song of Songs 2:15, NLT).

Fox Hunting

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Through the years I have been walking with God, I have often been harassed by the little foxes from the Song of Songs. They have been so persistent with their gnawing and pestering of my thoughts.

I realised the time was ripe for me to chase and catch these little rascals. Little did I realise how cunning these creatures could be! I started to plan my battle strategies on how to fight and conquer these hard-to-destroy-grapevine-loving cute little pests by doing some research.

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My expert advisors, the Bible scholars, seemed to agree on one thing, at least. These, not so little foxes, represent all the false preachers, prophets and teachers of a different gospel.

Our Lord Jesus warned us, ” On judgement day many will say to me,’ Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply,’I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.” (Matthew 7:22-23, NLT).

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My advisors nearly convinced me through the letter Paul wrote to Timothy, ” Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2, NLT).

But I knew, although these gentlemen were spot-on with their analysis, this battle, for me, had to be fought on a much deeper level; on the only battleground my enemies were able to destroy; my heart and soul.

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So, I fired my clever, highly esteemed advisors and asked our Lord Jesus to be the Commander-in-Chief of my whole life; a position He gladly wanted to fill since forever, and to show me the best plan of action against these potential soul destroyers.

At the time King Solomon wrote this beautiful song, vineyards had protective walls built around them against all the unwelcome visitors. The foxes would dig holes in the vineyard, spoiling the roots of the vines, gnawing and breaking the tender, little branches and leaves.

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These gluttonous, little creatures were not interested in the flowers, they wanted the juicy grapes, especially when they were young and tender. Then my ever-so-romantic mind’s eye caught sight of the Shulamite and her King! To be specific, the love relationship between the two.

It is a relationship of love; not a doctrine, teaching, a charismatic speaker nor all the things we associate with the modus operandi of the modern church scene. The foxes are those great and little enemies and adverse circumstances that threaten to gnaw and destroy their blooming, tender love!

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I knew it was time for me to take stock to discover how many of these little foxes I allowed to freely roam and destroy the vineyard of my heart. I knew I had no means to fight against these formidable foes.

But I remembered that only our Pappa God is mighty to save, I recalled His words, “Listen all you people … ‘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, NLT).

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My heart jumped with joy when I realised our Lord Jesus was my Knight in shining armour and together we made a mean team, just like Lancelot and Lady Guinevere. He was more than able and prepared to destroy this foe that was preventing my heart from producing the delicious fruit of love and trust, He so greatly desired.

Together we first had to identify and destroy this big army of little foxes’ commander-in-chief, Brigadier-General Work-To-Earn-God’s-Love. What a despicable liar this one was! We overcame this fellow easily, once I allowed our Lord Jesus to counteract his lies with truth.

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Once he was slain, his whole army of well-trained soldiers started to crumble. Lieutenant Good Works and Sergeant Shame put up a good fight, but quickly raised the white flag when they saw my Commander-in-Chief! Their whole platoon of privates soon followed suit; private Guilt, private Condemnation, private Rejection, Anger, etc., etc.

Of their once mighty army, only a few mercenaries remained, but I knew that as long as I didn’t willingly hire their services, they would leave me well alone. They know the battle belongs to the Lord and that makes them tremble with fear.

Our King of kings destroyed all their shelters of wood, hay and stubble. Now, if I just spy one of them on the horizon, I run to my Strong Tower and Place of Refuge, into our Lord’s loving embrace.

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We daily encounter many of these nasty little foxes and foes who want to lock us in shackles of despair. We have to fight many battles and it can be downright horrible, but as we allow the sweet Holy Spirit to teach us how to abide in our Lord Jesus, we only need to submit to our Pappa and resist the evil ones!

As we live in His Love, moment-by-moment, we can confidently say with Paul, “Neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Romans 8:35).

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Living life is a fine balancing act in a world lost in chaos and darkness, filled with many foxy foes. Let us therefore fix our eyes on our only Commander-in-Chief, our dearest Lord Jesus.

Hugs and sweet blessings

Mia

Linking-up with

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Please check my Tea Time and Link-Ups page for the blogs where I link during the week.
This is an edited repost from the archives.

The Sinai Encounter

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Either you will find yourself opening up more and more to the Lord – and you will know it – or else you will find yourself constricting and tightening, in which case the atmosphere will become intolerable (Terry Fullam, Miracle in Darien).

Parable of A Father’s Love

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In 1979 Terry Fullam, an Episcopalian priest, was trekking in the footsteps of the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt.

At Mount Sinai he had an encounter with God and was directed to the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien, Connecticut. They needed a minister and had called Mr Fullam a few weeks prior to the Sinai encounter.

The day he preached his debut sermon, the congregants were looking at him with great expectancy when he delivered  the words above.

Yet, they were stunned into silence when he remarked that some of them might even find it necessary to leave the congregation.

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For three successive Sundays he preached about nothing else but the great, scandalous love of our Pappa for each one of His children individually.

When the elders tentatively enquired when he was going to start preaching about something else, he replied that only when all of them really and truly believed this vital truth.

I had the honor of reading the book, The Miracle in Darien, a few years ago and was impressed by how our Pappa whispered His life into the heart of a congregation that was not much more than a heap of dead, dry bones.

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I  was also deeply convicted of my unbelief and knew that I did not really have the saving kind of faith … the kind that knew my Pappa’s love … the twinkle-in-the-eye-song-in-the-heart kind of childlike faith.

Valiantly and with an unhealthy dose of fear and trembling, I tried my utmost to get my head faith to somehow find the road less traveled to my heart for I had often heard sermons on our need to do this!. Oh, I failed miserably and completely!

Eventually I realized that only as I admit my total lack of not only not understanding faith and grace, but also my inability to supernaturally conjure up some magical fairy faith, could Pappa bless me with abundant faith and mercy!

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Unbeknownst to me, I was actually at a very good place for I had to admit my failure to my Pappa. I told Him that if He doesn’t give me faith as a free gift of His grace, I will forever be a heathen.

I reminded Him that even Jesus told us that with us nothing is possible, even the simple act of believing. This He did with gladness.

The angels were rejoicing in heaven over this stubborn child who at least had the common sense to go home when she was at her wit’s end. He led me to another little book, He Loves Me, by Wayne Jacobsen.

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Through this book, our Pappa opened my eyes to another central focus of the parable of the Prodigal Son: the love of the Father.

This Father acted shockingly when His good-for-nothing son claimed his inheritance while his Father was still alive; He gave it to him. Have you ever heard of such audacity!

To add injury to insult the son squandered all his riches on wine, women and song while his Pappa was waiting with longing on the farm.

When he ended up destitute, his Pappa didn’t rush to rescue His child, neither did He nag or prodded his son to get his life in order.

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No, He allowed him to hit rock bottom, hoping that he would remember his Pappa’s unconditional love and come home willingly. When he was still a far way off, His Father, who was waiting with longing since the day he had left, saw him.

He hiked up His robes and ran down the road to meet His wayward son whose famished stomach made him prepare a good repentance speech.

The Father didn’t hear a word of His child’s apology, but smothered him with hugs and kisses of delight. There was not even a hint of anger or retribution.

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No, instead of receiving punishment, this child received a feast fit for a prince to celebrate his homecoming. He told His servants to dress His child in royal robes and to put His signet ring on his finger.

Our Pappa showed me how He is totally the opposite of an earthly parent. Here on earth we make such a big issue of obedience and respect.

But this is not what my Pappa wanted. He desires nothing else but my whole heart, my love and my life from the moment He formed me in the seclusion of my mother’s womb.

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He is not interested in our sacrifice and service to Him and reminds us that He is not served with human hands (Acts 17:25). No, not at all!

He wants each and every one of us to truly know how much He loves us. He desires an intimate relationship with all His children, as if that one was His one and only, hoping that we would willingly love Him in return.

Oh, what joy when the Heavenly Light of Love flooded my heart with the sunshine of understanding.

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He took my hand and invited me to stand on His big Father feet while He taught me how to dance to the rhythm of the heartbeat of His love.

Much love and sweet blessings.

Mia

Linking-up with

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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

Linking-up with

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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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Sly Deceptions

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1, NIV).

Test everything. Hold on to the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21, NIV).

The Noble Bereans

I used to be good friends with a lady who was a member of the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church. She had a very difficult childhood and subsequently grew up into a very insecure, vulnerable young woman.

The White Family

The White Family

When she desperately needed love, she met a few Seventh-Day-Adventists and they welcomed her with open arms. As she didn’t grow up in a church and didn’t know our Lord, she accepted their teachings and married their young pastor.

The founders of the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church were Ellen G White, her husband, James White and Joseph Bates. The Adventists consider the teachings of Mrs White, which are based on visions she apparently received from God, to be just, if not more, reliable and true as the Bible.

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These precious people are heavily bogged down under the yoke of legalism. Yet, they consider themselves to be the remnant spoken of in Revelation 12:17.

This belief can easily scare the living daylights out of a naive, gullible person, like my friend, and make them a life-long member of this church.

Their teachings are very dangerous and the fact that they celebrate their Sabbath on a Saturday, is only a small fish in the ocean of deception.

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My friend tried her utmost to convert me to Seventh-Day-Adventism, but when she realized she was wasting her time, she sadly ended our friendship. I did a thorough study of their teachings and our Pappa protected me from believing lies.

I am amazed how educated, intelligent people use a single Scripture verse as the basis for a whole new doctrine and subsequently a new church!

Just to give you an idea how easily a Scripture verse can be taken out of context and manipulated to create a whole new doctrine, I want to mention their teaching about dietary laws.

According to them it is sinful to eat pork, but conveniently ignore Paul’s warning, “So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink… (Colossians 2:16)”.

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When Peter received the vision from heaven of the sheet containing all the “unclean” animals, according to the Old Testament laws, our Pappa told Peter to eat these unclean food. We know our Lord wanted to show Peter that, contrary to their belief, He didn’t consider the Gentiles to be unclean.

The Seventh-Day-Adventist believe He was referring only to people and not animals! Pigs are still happy and safe in Jerusalem and amongst these folks! The dietary laws of the Old Testament are still operative to them today.

Their teachings made me realize how easily one can base many false, deceptive doctrines on a few Scripture verses taken out of context and by implication deceive millions of people. The fear factor and the false security it offers keep many earnest seekers of God chained to these false doctrines.

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The greatest danger lies in the fact that nearly every lie can be defended from Scripture and the adherents usually valiantly claim to be just as noble as the Bereans who eagerly listened to Paul and Silas and searched the Scriptures daily to if what they preached was in fact the truth.

When I came to realize that countless, terrible lies were being nobly taught straight from the Bible, I seriously looked at what the Bereans were really doing. I found the secret lying not in what they were doing, but in what Paul was preaching.

Paul and Silas were in Thessalonica before they came to Berea. There was a Jewish synagogue and for three Sabbaths in a row, Paul reasoned with these Jews.

He used the Torah to explain the prophecies about the Messiah who had to suffer and rise from the dead. He informed them that Jesus was this promised Messiah.

Jewish Children Learning The Torah

Jewish Children Learning The Torah

The Bereans were more open-minded than the Thessalonians and eagerly listened to what Paul was preaching. Yet, they didn’t just gobble-up everything Paul said, but searched their copy of the Torah daily to make sure of the truth of their words. Paul commended them for this (Act 17:11).

Paul warned the Thessalonians to test everything and only hold on to what is good and true. In the same manner we find John warning the believers not to believe every spirit, but to test the spirits to see whether they were from God. Even then many false prophets were claiming to preach the truth of Christ.

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Today were are in the midst of a great apostasy and we have greatly stifled the Holy Spirit’s gift of discernment. We believe left, right and centre everything that is taught in the name of our Lord Jesus without testing anything.

I know that if people are like me, we often cry this great battle cry of  “Sola Scriptura”. Yet, we are clueless about the battle we are so valiantly fighting for! No wonder the Roman Catholic papacy, at the time of Martin Luther, used to say that the Protestants only exchanged their idol of the Pope for another, the Scriptures!

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I invite you to accompany me as I investigate, like the Bereans, for another few posts and test a few of the subtle false spirits doing the rounds today and which are difficult to discern as falsehood.

I want to delve deep into the Gospel Paul was preaching and hold onto our Lord Jesus who is the only Way … the only Truth … and the only Life.

Blessings and love.

Mia

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The Shepherd from Heaven

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God’s Thoughts to Me

He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry His lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young (Isaiah 40:11, NLT).

He Feeds Us

Today is the beginning of the International Fibromyalgia/ME Awareness Week. Although research is only in its infancy, we look forward to progress and perhaps a breakthrough in the near future.

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Due to unbelief, many if not most sufferers, received very bad and hostile treatment from the medical profession.

But at least we are finally beginning to be acknowledged as human beings with a real and quite disabling disease.

Isaiah 40:11 reminds us so wonderfully of how well the good Shepherd from heaven takes care of mothers and their children.

He cares for the broken ones, the weak, the sick, the unimportant, the unwanted and the rejected of this world. They only need to come to Him.

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When my son, Simon, was in Grade 11, we had to buy text books for Grade 12 when the Grade 12 pupils were selling their old books second-hand at a much lower price than new books.

I recall the week when we had to pay about R600 (around $67) for two text books as well as payment for the initiation camp for the following year’s Grade 12 learners.

It was in the middle of the month and we were stone, cold broke with only a few pennies we had to rub together in any case. Yet, I knew I had a Pappa who promised to take care of all our needs.

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The morning the payment was due, we still had not received our Lord’s provision, but I assured my children that the money would be paid before the end of the day.

When they left for school, I had a serious talk with my God, reminding Him that today is D-day and we still were empty-handed (or rather empty pocketed).

He told me to go to the ATM, and of course I stubbornly had to argue a bit, for the previous day when I checked, I was taunted by a big, round zero. Oh, those trust issues!!!!

At the word of our Lord, in the famous Peter style with the fishing nets, reluctantly, off to the ATM I went.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found that double the amount we needed was paid back to us from the Receiver of Revenue. We were overjoyed and my children’s faith grew with leaps and bounds.

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One would think that I was now cured of my stubbornness. Oh no, not this one. As a Fm/CFS sufferer, I had my fair share of unbelief, rejection and neglect from doctors, church people and also family and friends.

To such an extent that I landed up in the proverbial pig pen; not because of my foolishness, but because I had no one to care for me when I couldn’t take care of myself. Nobody believed that I was really ill.

But I was never alone. I could hear my Pappa screaming in my pain and suffering. Faithfully He was working in His normal mysterious ways to perform His wonders in my life.

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The shepherds of ancient times would break the legs of the lambs that constantly wandered away.

Then he would set the leg and carry the lamb on his shoulder until the leg was healed. After that the lamb would remain by the shepherd’s side for the rest of its life.

Pappa knew of my stubborn propensities to be a master performer to earn everyone’s love and approval.

With my religious mindset, I just could not believe that I already was loved and accepted by our God.

Because of His amazing love, He did what the shepherds did with their stubborn, wandering lambs. Allowing Fm/ME in my life, He “broke” my legs.

With such tender care and love, He gently set it as well and carried me around His neck until I was healed of my stubbornness and insecurities.

I have learned how good it is when my Beloved Shepherd Himself feeds me with the milk of His love… His grace … His life and compassion.

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Fm/CFS has taught me how to always walk with our Lord and never ever to leave His side again.

Even though we suffer greatly at times, I am so grateful for the wonder and joy of walking daily with our God … for the privilege of living in His Loving Embrace.

Love and sweet blessings

Mia

We all have experienced how our Lord has provided in miraculous ways. Please, share His goodness with us!
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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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