Posted in Amber Haines, Everlasting Father, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Spirituality, Tell His Story, The Run-a-Muck

Jack and Jill

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God’s Thoughts to Me

You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men” (Matthew 15:8-9, NIV).

But the time is coming – indeed it’s here right now- when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, NLT).

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after

So Far Away from Me

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In 1985 Dire Straights released their album, Brothers in Arms, with the hit song, So Far Away. Poetry through music, according to me!!!

Whenever their lead singer, Mark Knopfler, laments his loneliness, shivers of delight run up and down my spine! “I’m tired of being in love and being so alone when you’re so far away from me”.

These words from the song capture the heart of our Pappa when Isaiah brought His message to the Israelites about His distaste for the farce of their religious show and pretense.

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He informed them through Amos that He was tired of their religious festivals and solemn assemblies.

He refused to accept any of their offerings and sacrifices or to listen to their noisy hymns of praise (Amos 5:22-23). Our Pappa turned a deaf ear to their prayers for their hearts were so far away from Him.

Another peculiar thing has surfaced amongst the churches nowadays: Praise and Worship teams to lead the congregation into the presence of our God!

In many instances, these bands have become the main feature or attraction to lure people into joining the congregation.

But we read in Hebrews and 1 Timothy that there is only one mediator between man and his God, and it is definitely not Peter, Paul, Mary, the Pope or the pastor.

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Our Lord Jesus has not abdicated His position to anyone or anything. He is the Narrow Gate, the Way and the Truth, the only One who can usher us into the presence of our Pappa.

I recall the words of a youth pastor friend of mine on how the worship leaders know which set of notes to play just before the altar call.

Apparently this specific octave has the ability and great potential to manipulate the minds of the congregants and stir up their emotions.

As I was pondering the act of worship, I was heartbroken to see how so many have cheapened this holy act of love.

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I  knew I had to find the true meaning of Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman at the well about the kind of worship that would bring joy to our Pappa’s heart.

Worship and praise have become like Jack and Jill, hoping to draw living water from the Fountain of Life by going up the hill of the modern interpretation of praise and worship. We all know that they, together with their empty bucket, tumbled down this hill.

Religious worship is totally self-centered and focuses on the worshiper’s actions and experiences.

It is bound by time, place and all the different procedures involved. This kind of worship is defined by what we do and plays along in the game of humanism.

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We gather together in the parameters of a program, a place and time … we sing … we pray … we listen … we give … we serve.

We do and do and do and do some more. This is truly a do-it-yourself kind of worship experience!

When we look at true Christian worship, we find it totally the opposite of what we have become accustomed to.

Worship in spirit and in truth is a daily lifestyle where we always express the “worth-ship” of our Pappa’s character through an intimate bond of love between two kindred spirits.

As we allow our Lord Jesus to worship our Pappa by His Spirit of Truth by living His life in and through us, He enables us to love our Pappa with total abandon, unashamed, unbound and totally free.

This is the mystery Paul spoke about to the Colossians; God’s mysterious plan which is Christ Himself (Colossians 2:2).

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Religious worship has taken the “in spirit and in truth” part and replaced it with things like emotion and mind … enthusiasm and orthodoxy.

Of this kind of worship A.W. Tozer wrote in the 19th century, “We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inward to meet God in adoring silence … I wonder if spiritual worship was ever at a lower ebb.”

I know I am taking the risk of being misunderstood and want to clarify my argument. I am not against beautiful gospel music; in fact, I love it.

I am not against a band playing when saints assemble together in the unity of the Spirit … there where everyone is captured by the beauty and love of our God … there where every heart is closely knitted to our Lord Jesus.

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Dear Ones, let each one examine her own heart and cease from man-centered religious worship.

Let us learn from a dear old saint, Brother Lawrence, who explained this mystery of worship of our everyday life, as the moment-by-moment privilege of practising His presence.

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

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Posted in Amber Haines, Covenant of Grace, Covenant of Law, Michelle De Rusha, Mosaic Law, Playdates at the Wellspring, Spirituality, The Run-a-Muck, The Truth, The Way

The Sabbath Moon

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God’s Thoughts to Me

You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years (Galatians 4:10, NLT).

So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ Himself is that reality (Colossians 2:16-17, NLT).

The Shadows of the King

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In any democracy, the government has the privilege of governing the nation with righteousness, integrity and justice. The Cabinet is responsible for making laws that would be fair and beneficial to the citizens of the country.

Likewise, they can also withdraw any law from the statute books when it has served its purpose, is outdated or are not for the good of the people anymore. I was overjoyed when the apartheid laws were scrapped from the statute books of South Africa between 1990 and 1994.

In the same way, our Pappa God, the Author of the Ten Commandments, is the only Person with authority over the old covenant laws of Moses.

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Being the Lawmaker, He had all the right to be the “lawbreaker” as well by withdrawing any law that did not serve the Royal Law of Love.

Our Lord Jesus and the Pharisees were often in heated discussion about the observance of the Sabbath. This day was a gift from Pappa, a gift of rest from our physical, everyday labor to spend time with Him and our families.

It was also a gift to usher us into His emotional and spiritual rest, All in all, the Sabbath was just a shadow of our Lord who invites us to Him to experience rest from our labors and be under the favor of God.

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As with every religious heart, the Pharisees added a myriad of rules and regulations, man-made prohibitions and injunctions to the Sabbath law. They transformed this wonderful gift of grace into a legalistic, nightmarish horror.

When Jesus sojourned the earth, we find three instances where he confronted the hypocrisy of the religious Jews who were trying hard to retain their religious power and authority over the ordinary folk by smothering the Spirit of the Sabbath.

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When Jesus and His disciples were attending a Passover feast in Jerusalem, our Lord of mercy healed a paralytic of 38 years at the pool of Bethesda, meaning “house of mercy”.

The Pharisees were enraged by this poor fellow who had the audacity to break the Sabbath law by carrying the pallet!

At another occasion Jesus and the disciples were walking through some wheat fields on a Sabbath. According to Deuteronomy 23:25 they were allowed to pluck the heads of wheat with their hands, but not to harvest it with a sickle.

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Well, the disciples made use of this concession and were harassed by the Pharisees who accused them of breaking the law by harvesting, and that on a Sabbath!

The third time our Lord of love and compassion, was in a synagogue when He noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees were watching Him with a hawk’s eye.

According to the law, you were allowed to save someone’s life on the holy day! When they questioned the Lord on what was permissible on a Sabbath, Jesus turned the tables on them by making doing good and saving a life two sides of the same coin.

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A deformed hand was not a life-threatening illness. Yet, if one of their sheep were to fall into a pit on the Sabbath, they would rush to save their asset.

We find the anger of our Pappa burning within Jesus towards the hypocrisy and inconsistency of their hardened religious hearts.

These blind men considered themselves the experts in leading the blind into the Kingdom of our heavenly Father. Yet, they had no inkling of their own blindness.

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They were leading these poor folk straight onto the highway to hell. They hated the only Way and Truth and Life and ferociously tried to get rid of this Man called Jesus.

I used to condemn these Pharisees for their hatred against our Lord Jesus until I realized that for a long time, I used to be exactly the same.

The denomination I attended as a child taught me that a prayer meeting was against our Lord’s command, to go to your inner room and close the door when you prayed.

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We were boxed into a religious closet. An invitation to a personal relationship with our Pappa became a man-made rule.

At communion we sat next to a long table where the pastor would break a loaf of bread and then hand out pre-cut pieces. We drank the wine from a big silver communion cup. Sitting in the pews were against the way our Lord taught us in the Upper Room.

Truth be told, I enjoyed the big gulp I could take of the delicious sherry that was served and we didn’t have to wash all those little glasses afterwards!

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Apart from that, I still don’t know why we did what we did in the way that we did it. I just know that I looked down on those who didn’t do things our way.

I have found that all the different denominations have their own set of rules and regulations that made their particular brand the best and most correct on the religious market.

Although differences in the style of liturgy is not wrong in and of itself, it does earn our Pappa’s stern disapproval when it replaces the unity in the Holy Spirit of love. Of that, everyone needs to be their own judge.

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Dear ones, let us all take a heart inventory, asking our Pappa to uproot all the secret and stubborn laws hiding in the rocky ground of our hearts.

Let us allow Him to destroy all those weeds preventing the tiny mustard seed of faith to sprout and bloom into a mighty tree of life.

Love and blessings

Mia

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Posted in Five Minute Fridays, Lisa-Jo Baker, The Run-a-Muck

The Day After Darkness

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God’s Thoughts to Me

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you (1 Peter 5:6-7, NLT).

A Trampled Rose

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There was a time when I believed my Beloved to be a cruel, angry, non-caring abusive God.

Yet, deep in the recesses of my heart, there was a twinkle of hope that was repulsed by this monstrous lie.

I couldn’t even fathom the idea of humbling myself under the mighty Hand of this God who might just squash me to a pulp in one single blow.

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But as I had nothing more to lose, I took a brave step into the unknown and gave my spirit into His hands.

At least I knew I was already at the bottom of the deep, dark pit of the world. I was weary, bone-tired, wasted and already worse for wear.

My heart was scattered in broken fragments …  shredded by the windmills of the world … tossed to and fro on the stormy seas of suffering … stampeded on by wild horses of contempt … captured in the cul de sac of my life.

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Like a coward I have travelled all the avenues the world has to offer to escape the deep inner conflict, turmoil and pain of my soul.

But all proved to be just another detour leading straight onto the highway to hell.

At the right time I could sense rather than see the first rays of the dawn of a new life after this death. I could feel Hands lifting me up after I was broken, laid bare, bleeding in shame and humiliation.

Like a broken, trampled rose, my heart yearned for redemption and love … true love. THEN …  I heard a song … I heard heaven … singing … of another … trampled Rose.

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The Rose of Heaven who purposefully took the fall for my brokenness, to release the fragrance of His unconditional love.

Me Beloved was wooing me … courting me … healing me … loving me into the most beautiful romance of the heart.

The fragrance of His brokenness was a sweet-smelling sacrifice of love … a perfume of grace … a gift of mercy.

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As I lay dying, THE LIFE from Heaven descended upon me like a dove. After being ripped apart by the falcon claws of sin and the world, He gathered me into His Loving Embrace.

Much love xx

Mia

P.S. Today I don’t have an idea how long it took me to write, for it is my birthday  and I wrote between phone calls and a visit from a friend! Sorry!
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Posted in Abraham, Amber Haines, Circumcision, Covenant of Grace, Covenant of Law, Galatians, Grace, Hagar and Ishmael, James Fowler, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Mosaic Law, Relationship vs Religion, Sarah and Isaac, Shearing Sheep, Spiritual Kingdom, Spirituality, Tell His Story, The Run-a-Muck, The Weekend Brew

A House of Cards

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God’s Thoughts to Me

A promise from God is not a challenge to man to assist God in bringing the promise to pass, despite the abominable religious cliches that say, “God helps those who help themselves; “Do your best and God will do the rest (James Fowler, The Galatians Series).

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and DO NOT let yourself be burdened again in a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1, NIV).

The Spirit of Freedom

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I used to be a master in the art of persuasion. In fact, I did the daughters of Eve proud! The saying goes that practice makes perfect.

So, through practice and practice and some more practice, I perfected my skill in trying to convince my husband to do things my way, or why he needed to buy me another necessary trinket I did not need.

Using my womanly wiles was, after all, an integral part of my spirited womanhood. My husband though, called it manipulation and nagging.

Why do men always get it wrong? I nearly caused my dear husband to become an attic dweller.

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I used to be just as bad as the Judaizers who caused the poor Paul premature grey hair when they manipulated the foolish Galatians by perverting the sweet gospel of grace.

They were shearing the sheep for their own gain, dampening the beautiful Spirit of freedom the Galatian Christians enjoyed in our Lord Jesus.

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They came like a thief in the night after Paul left, convincing them that Paul’s gospel was true and right, but they also needed to keep the old Judaic religious laws. These Mosaic law-abiding Jews drooled over circumcision.

Paul was not friendly in his attack on these guys and suggested they rather go and castrate themselves, if they were so obsessed with a foreskin, and leave the Galatian Christians alone.

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He didn’t mince words when he showed them the futility of reverting back to the spirit of law by building a religious house of cards.

In his letter he once and for all demolished the misconception that grace and law were bedfellows.

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He made it crystal clear that their fence-sitting caused them to be cut off from Christ, cut of from grace. They had to choose!

Studying the letter to the Galatians , I was surprised by a very interesting point. I was taught that the Arab nations, especially the Muslims, were the descendants of Ishmael and the Jews were the descendants of Isaac.

i have found this to be untrue! Paul told the Galatians that holding on to their Judaic religion,  and all religion through the ages, caused them to be children, descendants, of Hagar the bondswoman.

On the other hand; all the people who trust our Pappa God alone to save them through His grace, are the children, descendants, of Sarah, the free woman, the woman who never went into labour. Allow me to explain.

Looking at the human race, we see that even Abraham had the tendency to help our Pappa fulfilling His promises.

When the infertile Sarah nagged him to have a child by her Egyptian maid, Hagar, the poor man capitulated! I suppose Bedouin tents did not have attics!

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It was quite an acceptable and moral practise in their culture. Ishmael was born as a result and we found Abraham pleading with his Father to accept Ishmael as his promised heir. All, of course, to no avail.

When we look at the two women and their sons, we see that they represent the two covenants. Hagar and Ishmael represent the covenant of Law, mans effort to fulfill God’s promises.

Sarah and Isaac stand for the covenant of grace, God doing what He does well, fulfilling His promises without human interference.

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Paul explained that the Covenant of the Mosaic Law, “… came from Mount Sinai, bearing children who are slaves; she is Hagar (Galatians 4:24)”.

Yet, the Judaizers were convinced they were the descendants of Sarah. Actually they boasted in their heritage of being descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through their genealogical heritage and law-observance.

But Paul turned their whole theory upside down and with a little huffing and puffing, blew their religious house of cards away.

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Paul also dropped a bomb in my religious belief system, for I was convinced that trying to do my best in assisting my Pappa to redeem me from my captivity to the kingdom of darkness, made me the proud owner of the honorary title “Descendant of Abraham”.

Not so! All my trying, striving and coniving helping our Pappa to save His world and myself, only resulted in me being captured by the spirit of bondage.

I was a slave, a descendant of Hagar and Ishmael, wallowing in the mud of self.

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Only by entering through the narrow gate, our Lord Jesus, into the freedom of His resurrected life, do we become heirs of the promises our heavenly Father made to Abraham and His descendant, our Lord Jesus, who lives in us through His Spirit (Galatians 3:16).

Dear Ones, let us search our hearts, asking our Pappa to eradicate any traces of the spirit of Hagar and Ishmael still lurking in the recesses of our minds and the murky corners of our hearts!

Let us ask Him to lead us out of the bondage to law-observance and self-effort into the freedom of His grace.. His forgiveness … His love … His mercy. Come, let us allow Him to usher us into His Kingdom of Light … into the joy of His Loving Embrace.

Much love XX

Mia

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