They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out.
Then He asked me, “Son of Man, can these bones become living people again.” (Ezekiel 37:2b – 3, NLT).
Exhaling Dew Drops
I live and revel with holy reverence in the glory of Your Presence, my Beloved … my Lord… King of my heart.
My vulnerable spirit marvels and rejoices with each new breath, filled with your goodness and grace, refreshing like early morning dew.
My hungry heart delights in every single heartbeat of Your Resurrection … exhaling Your love onto the lifeless valley and its inhabitants where I was once a prisoner of the evil queen of death.
You teach me with endless patience and mercy how to live in the exquisite, gentle reality and power of Your grace-filled Resurrection … the reality of your new Life.
I barely owned a last breath of the lies of self-sufficiency, when you rescued me from eternal extinction in the religious Valley of Dry Bones … in that world where You inhaled our sin and death and exhaled Your eternal Life.
My heart, darkened by the deceptions of the evil one, and puffed-up by my own imagined importance and performance, was paralyzed … unable to detect the direction from where the Wind of Your Life was blowing.
But when You softly and gently kissed me with the butterfly kisses of Your Resurrection Love, my heart delightfully came alive … baptized into the Kingdom of Eternity in You.
You allowed me to go back to that dreadful valley, where millions of souls were still living in utter barrenness and darkest death … lifeless skeletons … there where I was a vessel of your Life out of the putridness of death.
The Eternity of Your Breath was the gentle, mighty Spirit of Life who exhaled grace upon grace, slowly seeping into the dryness of these thirsty, parched dry bones, grinning the rigor mortis grimace of death.
You filled my empty, seeking heart to the utmost with the a beauty of Yourself … You became Springs of Living Water, bubbling delightfully in my innermost … a life-giving oasis in the cruelest desert … the narrow Way leading to life … leading to Your Loving Embrace.
Much love and sweet blessings xx
Linking-up with Lisa-Jo and the dear ladies at my Tea Time and Link-up page. Today’s guest of honor is the word exhale.
Fear not; you will no longer live in shame … You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of your widowhood. For your Creator will be your husband (Isaiah 54:4-5, NLT).
The Crown of Thorns
In the year 33, in the town of Jerusalem, an ordinary thorn tree was stripped of its glory to be weaved by murderous hands into a very special crown of thorns.
In the eyes of man, it was an instrument of torture to belittle and shame the King of the Jews. They were oblivious to the fact that this ordinary man was the extraordinary Son of God.
Yet, God knew each one of these thorns even before creation. He created them lovingly for a holy, special purpose. They were the jewels in the crown of shame; the crown of the King who became a curse in the stead of man.
It had to spill the Blood of the Lamb, the spotless Lamb who came to be slaughtered to take away the sins of the world. They had to fulfill the prophecy made so long ago by a man called, Isaiah.
Many millennia before, another ordinary thorn-bush in the desert of Sinai, was transformed by the fire of God’s extra-ordinary presence when He visited another ordinary man called Moses.
He transformed this ordinary man into His extraordinary meek and humble friend who freed His people …. His people who were the captives of the king of this world.
Any ordinary bush or heart will do for our humble King. This ordinary bush became extraordinary and could not be destroyed by the fire of God’s Spirit, for He is Love.
Not so long ago, an ordinary girl, consumed by shame and rejection and yearning for heavenly joy, was swept off her feet by the extraordinary fire of God’s passionate love.
He crowned her with a beautiful crown of His grace and mercy. He transformed this broken ordinary girl into and extraordinary woman … He transformed her into His glorious Bride.
Much love and sweet blessings. Xx
Linking with Lisa-Jo Baker and the ladies at my Link-up page.
As the Scripture say,”No one is righteous, not even one. No one is truly wise, no one is seeking God (Romans 3:10, NLT).
The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; He looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God (Psalm 14:2-3, NLT).
A Kingdom Beyond
C.S. Lewis wrote in his classic, Mere Christianity, “Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, OUT of all that, into something beyond … Everyone there is filled with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light… They do not call it anything … They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes.”
The Chronicles of Narnia, also the work of Mr Lewis, gives us a small peek into that something beyond, a Kingdom of Love and Light … the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus!
In 1963 the song, Little Boxes, was released and caused quite a stir. It is a political satire, telling the story of suburbia. But veiled between the lines, is the story of conformist middle-class attitudes.
This reminds me so much of the conformist attitudes and thoughts of the adherents of religion. We love to have all our religious rules, structures, programs and behaviours neatly worked out, all packed, sealed and stacked in little boxes.
For some peculiar reason we seem to be afraid to leave our little boxes of religion behind, to leave the prosperity of our Ur of the Chaldeans and to move on to our Canaan … to the Sabbath of rest.
We shy away from uncertainty and rather prefer a false man-made system of security, in place of the only unshakable certainty found in our Lord Jesus. For many years I have wandered in the Lost World of Religion and these words of Mr Lewis would have seemed like blasphemy to me.
Religious morality, or shall I call it correct conduct, was the cornerstone of my temple of beliefs. My security was built on the quicksand of a performance driven salvation and I was drowning rapidly!
Morality offered me a neat stack of little boxes, telling me which one to open for the correct behaviour or to fulfill a need. The only problem though, was that they were all made of “ticky-tacky” and they all looked just the same. The same program, methods or conventions, the only difference being the color.
There are green ones, blue ones, pink ones and yellow ones, but in the end, they are all just the same-old, same-old with a different wrapping.
Granted, that was the way I have been taught by almost every religious orginization I attended, but I always longed for something more.
What I found in every congregation I was part of, was just their own set of neatly stacked boxes, all containing their own set of rules, wrapped in their own brand of wrapping paper.
To be accepted, I only had to squeeze myself into the confines of their own tailor-made range of box sizes. By nature I am quite skinny, but believe me, that was quite a tight fit!
“Longing” is not a strong enough word to describe the yearning, that consuming craving in my heart … a longing that could not be satisfied by any kind of good behavior … according to my estimation.
There was not a single little box that I could open that contained the love of our Heavenly Father, the only kind of love that could satisfy my heart, there where deep cries out to deep (Psalm 42:7)! They all contained death … no life … no Jesus.
I realized that I had been traveling around the same moutain long enough and needed to press on further (Genesis 2:3). Going around another time was only delaying the inevitable.
So I decided this year to open all the different little religious boxes I have cherished for such a long time and to start throwing out the religious clutter.
The rules of morality were always the criteria for how I needed to behave. And I was drowning … drowning because of a lack of love … the true love of our Lord Jesus.
They all offered only a broken cistern that could hold no water and definitely not the Living Water of Life. Going back to Eden, we see the first lie whispered to the human race, resulted in the genesis of morality.
Before Pappa God led Adam and Eve into the first Sabbath, He created everything they would need for their sustenance. He knew the way He created them would render them unable to determine even one correct thought about what good and evil really were for there is no autonomous good and evil apart from Him.
He warned them to stay away from such folly and that eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would result in their death.
This one forbidden meal separated them from the Presence of their Pappa and since He is Life, they subsequently started to die, not just spiritually, but also emotionally and physically for they were seperated from the Sustenance that upholds all life.
Pappa is not at all surprised by our stupidity. He promised us that He will destroy the wisdom of the wise! (1 Corinthians 1:19). And if I want to be honest, for a long time, I was part of the gallery of the wise.
True wisdom is the common sense to seek Him, our Creator, Sustainer, Provider … our everything. Solomon told us in the Proverbs, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
The whole creation suffered as a result of this terrible foul revolt, for Adam was given the responsibilty to look after Pappa’s creation (Genesis 1:28).
It was His gift to us. And today we all suffer because the world we know, is slowly, but surely dying! We all groan as we wait for our Pappa to make all things new.
With my next post I want to explore the deception of morality, what it is and is not, and why it is the biggest joke Satan has ever pulled on man.
Much love xx
With joy, linking-up with Mindy.
Linking-up with The Weekend Brew. Thank you Barbie!
May He grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed (Psalm 20:4, NLT).
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4, NLT).
I allow my mind to wander back down the avenues of time and desires … back to the time when I was living in a world of self-derivation. I was living a lie that man could be autonomous … the time when I was eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I was trapped in the fowler’s snare, believing I was able to determine, on my own terms, what good and evil were.
The time when I was wandering outside the Garden of Love, separated from the presence of our Pappa and His Majesty, King Jesus. I was residing in the Land of Shame … being the captive of that cruel dictator. Nothing I did ever seemed to merit his approval!
Whenever I did something honorable, he would pierce my heart with arrows of condemnation for having a prideful heart. But this coin had another side … every time I did something wrong, my heart was shredded into pieces for being such a detestable creature, a shame to mankind, an excuse of a human being.
An unworthy Christian, unworthy of receiving the slightest consideration or love from anyone … least of all from my Pappa or His elite corps of Christians, according to my estimation, in the church. Receiving tons and tons of rejection seemed like business as usual and definitely what I deserved.
This was not a comfortable place to be, for I honestly believe that Pappa made a big mistake in creating me and the way I was treated by important people in my life only confirmed my suspicions about myself.
I was even indoctrinated by religious blah-blah-blah into thinking that this view of myself was proof of an extremely selfish heart. And this made me wander further and further down the road of self-loathing.
Looking at the human race, I realize that we were all created with a big empty, yearning heart that can only find peace and love from the source of all love … the God who is Love! No one or nothing else can ever serve as a substitute! Bur our obstinate hearts need to go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death before we finally realise this truth and reach out to grab the waiting Heavenly Hand.
That was when I started to hear the sweet voice of the Holy Spirit whispering mysteries to my heart. His Wisdom was standing at the crossroads of my life, actually, my whole existence, calling me, urging me to enter into a Kingdom of Love … a Kingdom of Acceptance … a Kingdom of incredible beauty, with a King of Love, the Prince of Peace.
He was yearning for my return from my wanderings as I was searching, like the Shulamite, for my Beloved in the streets of Jerusalem … until I heard a voice calling from mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem.
Yes, she was calling me out of Egypt of organized religion, but the Pharao of my Egypt only allowed me a few excursions into the wilderness to worship my Father. The desires of my heart kept calling me back to the same-old, same-old familiarity of the world.
What a blessed day when I was finally delivered from the slavery to that cruel king; when his whole army of soldiers was drowned in the Red Sea as they tried to recapture me, to force me back into slavery to the world and its ways. The Pharao realized that my days of free labour came to an end and this enraged him for he was losing another forced labourer. But … I was also carrying a lot of gold from Egypt into my wilderness wanderings and sooner rather than later, I had a few golden calves erected as I grew tired of waiting on our Lord to show me His glory. I was dancing to my hearts delight around the idols of morality, theology, bibliolatry and a lot of Nicolaitan teachings.
But thankfully Pappa sent a whole brood of poisonous snakes to bring me to my senses. As I was at the gates of death and hopelesness, I finally looked up to the cross and SAW … really SAW our Lord Jesus. That was the time when I was crying like the Israelites in the wilderness, when they were testing our Pappa and the poor Moses, longing for the pots of Egypt, filled with meat, watermelons and all the bread I thought my heart needed (Exodus 16:3). I had a heart of stone with many rules written on its tablets.
These two Scripture verses were my ticket to everything my deceitful heart desired and I thought delighting myself in the Lord meant singing praise and worship songs Sundays at church. I know now that I was only delighting my flesh and this offer had to be repeated week after week after week, just like the altar system of the old covenant of law … a never-ending cycle.
Pappa, though, never seemed to keep His side of the bargain and I was frustrated with His lack of fulfilling His promise, for my soulish desires were as unfulfilled as ever … with me being convinced that it was the yearnings of my heart!
Yet, He was not procastinating … He was bringing me to the end of myself. He brought a debilitating illness into my life and just like Paul, I was overwhelmed beyond my ability to endure. Just like him, I stopped being my own source of strengh and trust (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). I started to draw my whole existence from the Life of our Lord Jesus … living from the Bread of Life … feasting and drinking from the Fountain of Love! I was finally able to cross the Jordan river into Canaan … into our Lord Jesus. The shadow of the Sabbath became flesh and reality in my life … Emmanuel … God with me … God in me.
The cry of my heart changed dramatically from expecting Pappa to cater to my fleshly, carnal desires, to desiring only His will … needing to live in Him moment to moment. He gracefully changed my desires and plans as I learned to praise Him from the depths of my being, living where it is only Him and me … in a never-ending communion of love … a beautiful dance of being ( The Shack).
There in our secret place nothing could close the windows of heaven as He showered me with all His spiritual delights. Looking back at 2012, I fall to my knees and thank my Pappa for His wisdom and grace for allowing this illness and using what I thought of as evil, as an incredible good, to draw me into His life … into His love … into His heart … into His Loving Embrace.
Much love XX
I have the honor today to be part of a new link-up at My Freshly Brewed Life. Thank you, Barbie, for your new Weekend Brew. Come join us at http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/.
He doesn’t stop a lot of things that cause Him pain … your world is lost in darkness and chaos, and horrible things happen to those He is especially fond of. (The Holy Spirit to Mackenzie Allan Phillips, “The Shack”)
I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house …. Don’t be afraid …. Make a little bread for me first …. There will always be flour and oil left in your containers. (1 Kings 17:12-14)
When you go through deep waters I will be with you,
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up,
The flames will not consume you,
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
When Little Words are best
All of a sudden while in the season of celebrating the birth of the Savior Child, we are staggering under the shock of the murder of so many innocent children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
In one random, needless act of violence, the parents of 20 children and the seven families of the murdered adults have been ushered into their own Zarephath ….. into a smelting shop …. a workshop for refining metals! Zarephath means, “smelting, refining”.
Like the widow of Zarephath they feel utterly empty, not knowing how to carry on with their lives …..they have no faith …. no trust …. no love …. no flour …. no oil, but our Lord understands. Our Heavenly Father will again provide, like Elijah was sent to this widow.
They are going through the proverbial fire of oppresion. They are drowning in their tears of sorrow and we have not the slightest idea of the suffering, the smelting, the refining they are going through.
But we can walk with them, carry what burdens they are able to release into our trust. We can assure them that their Pappa God cries with them, collecting all their tears, saving them in a jar of love.
If they allow us, we can remind them that this refining, smelting fire will not consume them and all their tears of sorrow will not drown them.
We can encourage them to give just the little trust and even their unbelief, to their Lord Jesus.
He is their Holy One, their Savior and He assures them that the little faith, the little trust they still have, will never run dry. He will see that the containers of their hearts will always be filled with Himself!
May our God enable us to walk quietly alongside these people without many clever words or Scripture verses. Let us pray for a heart full of compassion …. a heart able to share their pain.
Much love XX
Ps. I want to pay tribute to all the teachers who paid the ultimate sacrifice to save their students.
I am linking up with Barbie at Fresh Brewed Sundays. Thank you Barbie for providing your link as a place where we can share in the sorrow of your nation. You can find us at http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/
Our earth is like a child who has grown up without parents, having no one to guide and direct her. (Jesus, to Mackenzie Allan Phillips in “The Shack”.)
New wine must be stored in new wineskins. But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine.”The old is just fine,” they say. (Luke 5:39, NLT)
At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. (Genesis 4:7, NLT)
You say, “I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing.” And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. (Revelation 3:17, NLT)
A Deceived Bride
Our desolate, damaged, orphaned world is in the season of celebrating the birth of its Savior without truly knowing Him. With frivolous unseen heart tears, it is singing Christmas carols. With gaiety it is trying to hide its insecurities and hurt. It is wearing a mask of satisfaction and fulfillment … ignoring its desperate need for forgiveness, love and grace … its need for redemption, reconciliation and restoration. It is trying go keep up with the Jones’s, denying its utter poverty …. scared of losing the little face it has left!
Oh, the delusion we live under; thinking that we can be infinite and independent, characteristics belonging only to our Heavenly Father. We are needy creatures, whether we acknowledge it or not, deriving all we are spiritually from either our Pappa or the prince of darkness.
Even the organized religious church is like the Lady of Laodicea ….. unaware of her poverty, wretchedness, pitiful naked poor state (Revelations 3:17). Their hearts are old wineskins unable to receive the new wine, the new life of our Lord Jesus …. the bubbly new wine of grace. They stake their claim to eternal life on their religious busyness and activities and …. they like it that way.
I recall an Afrikaans song of the late Johannes Kerkorrel, from his album “Die Anderkant”, meaning “The Other Side”, where he poignantly compares our world to a big, blue ball drifting aimlessly through time and space ….. an orphaned world …. a world without hope. Only once in a while two souls will meet, speaking and understanding the lost language of love. This is the exception, definitely not the rule.
The world had become the habitation for lost, orphaned children, feeding on the spiritual scraps this world dishes up, day after day after day …..leaving them starving …. dying of hunger ….. trying to deny their spiritual need and hunger by their own futile efforts to cover their nakedness with their filthy rags of self- effort. Oh yes, we are experts in covering our shame with fig leaves that we have sewn together, trying to hide from the presence of our Pappa. Man’s declaration of independence has opened their eyes to the shame of sin.
Yet, He desires to cover our nakedness and shame with the snow white robe of His own righteousness. He assures us that He has paid the price for our adoption, the bride price to buy us back from that kingdom of darkness, doom, dread and death. He has bought us back from the prince of darkness.
If we stop our frantic rushing for a while …. if we just step out of the busy pace and rat race of the world …. we still hear the angels singing of the joy our Pappa has brought to the world in the form of a tiny Baby.
When we become quiet and still, we will hear Him whispering His words of forgiveness, love and reconcilliation. If we allow Him, He will wrap us in His Graceful Loving Embrace, dress us in the most beautiful wedding gown of love and leads us down the aisle of His forgiveness to meet our Bridegroom, our Lord Jesus.
The beauty of our Pappa God’s love is that He never forces us to accept our Lord Jesus’ hand in marriage. True love is just like that, it gives us the freedom to choose. It knows it cannot be forced, but it can open up the way to restoration, sweet reconcilliation and an intimate relationship of love.
Dear Ones, let us become still …. let us be quiet…. let us listen to His song of love and hear how He rejoices over us with joyful songs (Zephaniah 3:17)!
You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence. (Psalm 16:11, NLT)
Yet, you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3, NLT)
Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10, NIV)
These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. (Isaiah 29:3, NLT)
The world is wrapped in a blanket of expectancy. The atmosphere is preganant with desire … a desire to capture joy, hope and love in the festivities of Christmas. Too many people are starving from a spiritual hunger …. a hunger that can only be satisfied by the Bread of Life, our Lord Jesus.
I am perplexed by the inability of so many of our Pappa’s children to receive, accept and understand the extent of His invitation to attend the feast He has prepared for them …. His wedding feast of love and joy. It cannot be for a lack of trying, because they are busy … very busy, trying to earn the food their hearts earnestly crave. Everywhere the glitzy glamour of Christmas is shining around us.
Solomon wisely remarked, “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NLT). Yet, this hunger is all consuming and I feel so much sorrow in my heart for those who never seem to be filled …. spiritually filled and satisfied.
Until our Pappa revealed to my heart the reason for this humungous predicament the human race finds itself in. He took my thoughts back to a certain young man. This rich young man also experienced a severe, spiritual hunger …. the hunger for eternal life. He went to the right Person to ask for this gift, our Lord Jesus, offering Him a long list of his impeccable law-observance …. an impressive inventory of all his good deeds.
Yet, he had a big problem …. his hands were filled with worldly things. He was convinced that he had kept the whole law from birth. But our loving Lord looked at him with so much love, seeing a little boy trying to earn his Pappa’s affection.
In the past I used to arrogantly critisize this greedy man for not loving our Lord Jesus enough to sell all his possesions and to give the money to the poor. But we are all aware that our feeble hearts can never change itself and we are dependent on the Lord to live His life in and through us.
Could it be that our Lord wanted him to rid himself of all his futile efforts, to empty his hands by showing him how utterly deceitful the human heart truly is? I realise that the Narrow Gate is so narrow that only as we come with empty hands and a heart filled with need, can we enter into our Pappa’s Kingdom of Light …. into our Lord Jesus.
It makes me wonder about what I might still be harbouring in my heart, my deceitful heart, as a bartering commodity for His love, joy and acceptance. May He bless us by giving us spiritual insight to perceive and understand the beauty of His Gift. May He enable us to empty our hands and hearts of anything that may hinder us from receiving the fullness of His Life …. the fullness of Himself. Only in His presence there is fullness of joy …. only in His presence can we experience true worship and praise, for He delights in the heartfelt praises of His people.
Much love XX
I am linking up with dear Barbie at My Freshly Brewed Life where we prepare our hearts to receive our Lord Jesus. Please join us at http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/
That night there were shepherds, staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. (Luke 2:8-9, NLT)
She wrapped Him snugly in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. (Luke 2:7, NLT)
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart. (Psalm 51:17, NLT)
The world is expectantly doing what it does best; rushing frantically…this time to prepare for Christmas. The atmosphere is filled with a busy buzzing, somewhat superficial, trying to envelope and misguide many into the commercial worldy version of Christmas.
Merchants have filled every nook and cranny of their shop windows with unnecessary goods wrapped in Christmas garb….all begging to be bought for non-existent needs, oblivious to the fact that the greatest need of mankind had been provided for, 2000 years ago. Bethlehem, the basket of bread, had been fiiled with the Bread of Life when our Pappa wrapped His love in human flesh, a tiny baby…small fingers, small toes and all.
My heart pondered a silent question, ” Where did it all go wrong…? When did Christmas become another money-making opportunity for so many of our Pappa’s children. Where is the wonder and awe of our God who is holy and magnificent beyond description?”
But, then I remembered the humble, dirty stable, the only accommodation available to receive the King of Kings. I could almost hear the angels singing a new song of joy, when I realized His birth was announced to the lowest of people, the shepherds.
The occupation of shepherding was considered by the Jews at the time of Jesus’ birth as quite low on the importance scale. His people were earnestly looking for and expecting an earthly king like King David to free them from the Roman oppression. Yet, gentiles from the east recognized and understood the majesty and importance of this birth and travelled far to pay Him honor and bring Him costly gifts.
I realized that no heart is too dirty for the new Life of our Lord Jesus to be birthed in….no person too unimportant to be the audience for His song of Joy….no culture, country or its people unable to come to Him with gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.
Lord, take my dirty stable heart
make it still and humble
sing to me Your glory song
in the quiet of the dark
Transform my faith
into the finest gold,
my wordless prayer
a costly gift of incense
my love a spicy gift,
myrrh for the King
I realize that true expectancy to receive our King can only be birthed if our Heavenly Father has done a mighty work of grace in a life. When a heart has been humbled, when a spirit is contrite, when spiritual sight has been restored, can tiny seeds of desire be planted in fertile soil…seeds that will grow into great expectancy…into passionate desire to receive and host our King of Kings.
Much love XXX
Thank you, dear Barbie, for the privilege of your linky place where we can prepare our hearts to receive our King this Christmas. You can join us at http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/
I am grateful to be linking up with Tanya Marlow from Thorns and Gold as well. You can join us there at http://tanyamarlow.com/. Thank you, Tanya.