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

Linking-up with

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Posted in Emily Wierenga, The Love of God

Heaven’s Launderer

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there,”Take off his filthy clothes”. And turning to Jeshua he said,”See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.” (Zecharaiah 3:3-4, NLT).

For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10, NIV).

A Royal Wedding Dress

I am the mother of two robust young men who have both spread their wings and flown off into the wild, wide world. Both are students at the Nelson Mandela Metropolotian University in Port Elizabeth.

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My first-born, Simon, is doing his Masters Degree in Architecture, and my baby, Andreas, has just started mechanical engineering. They are their mother’s pride and joy.

Bringing them up, taught me the fine art of laundering and removing those strubborn stains that were part of just being normal mudplaying young boys.

If any stain survived my vigourous war against them, they were meant to be there, sort of adding an extra bit of chatacter and flavor.

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I am a master of the bleach method, the blue laundry soap method, the liquid hairspray method, the insect repellent spray method, the elbow-grease method and so the list of my expertise goes on.

If clothes could talk, I am sure I would have received a lot of moaning, protest and back-chat from all the laundry that went through my holy laundry sanctification process.

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We are so blessed to have a Pappa God who is the Master Launderer from eternity to eternity. His laundry detergent consists of nothing less than the blood of His Son, our beloved Lord Jesus.

We have an enemy who delights in pointing out all the stains and grime marring Pappa’s children, but our Heavenly King has no time for gossip and detests the slandering of His precious children.

Whenever Satan accuses us before our Pappa’s throne of grace, we have a High Priest in whom we stand who was accused as a criminal on our behalf.

Willingly, He has paid the price for our freedom and washes everyone who comes to Him from the guilt and condemnation of their sin and makes us part of His Royal Priesthood.

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He takes away our filthy rags of sin, self-effort and independence and clothes us with His beautiful robe of forgiveness and mercy.

When we come to Him, exhausted of all our own useless spiritual laundry efforts, He clothes us with the squeaky clean garment of His salvation and dresses us in the most beautiful robe of His righteousness.

He prepares a royal wedding dress for the Bride of the Lamb, and clothes the Lady Ekklesia so tenderly with this breathtaking garment of love as He prepares her for the wedding feast of the Lamb.

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He adorns us with the precious, costly jewels of our Lord Jesus; the pearl necklace of His suffering and the ruby ring of His spilled blood.

After He has adpoted us as children into His Kingdom of Light and Love, like any good parent, He starts cleaning our inmost hearts of all the ingrained filth, the stubborn spots and meticiously mends our broken hearts that have been ripped and torn apart through suffering, rejection and abuse, using a needle of tender love and the finest silk as cotton.

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The world has left some stubborn stains on the garments of life. There are stains of shame, condemnation, guilt, all-over corruption, self-effort, religion, etc, etc, etc! But it poses no laundry blues to our Pappa! He is an expert in stain removal.

He uses trials, suffering and tribulations as He washes us clean from all the dirt and grime we have aquired from playing in the mud of the world.

The washboard He uses for His laundering at first seems to be very relentless, but we soon begin to realise how merciful He is by making sure that not a spot remains to mar the beauty of His Son’s bride.

We often wonder why He uses such a rough corrugated surface, instead of something more smooth and suitable to our delicate, feeble hearts!

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Our moaning, groaning and protesting leave no doubt to our unwillingness to suffer the cleaning process and He seems so hard of hearing when it comes to paying attention to our feeble, cowardly cries.

We squirm and squeal, and like any normal child, try everything to get our Pappa to stop washing behind the ears and between the toes. But we soon find out that He loves us too much to leave us the way He has found us.

Mercifully, we aquire wisdom along the way that makes us realize that surrendering to our Launderer from Heaven, is the best way we can show love and respect towards ourselves.

The honesty and courage to dare to be seen in my brokenness and need, brings tremendous freedom to allow Pappa to paint a masterful piece of artwork on the dirty canvass of my heart.

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Where the heavenly Photographer captures and reveals the hidden beauty only His master eyes can see, to create a picture of His mercy and grace, framed in the golden frame of His love.

When He is satisfied, He hangs us on a laundry line to dry in the sunshine of His smile which adds a delicious, sweet-smelling fragrance to the ordeal.

As we bask and soak up all the warmth and love of His Son, we realize why we had to be laundered so vigorously and why we need to be cleaned-up again and again.

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In the cool of the evening after laundry day, we can go to our Pappa, spick-and-span, all dressed up in clean garments and crawl onto His lap, assured of His love, resting in His Loving Embrace.

Much love xx

Mia

I am linking-up with

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Posted in Amber Haines, Suffering, The Love of God

God’s Instrument of Suffering

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18, NLT).

It is being tested as fire tests gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold (1 Peter 1:7, NLT).

I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather I have refined you in the furnace of suffering (Isaiah 48:10, NLT).

Growing in Grace : The Refiner’s Fire

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My black South African countrymen are all born musicians. Music and rhythm are an integral part of their DNA- structure.

When they sing together, their voices become an orchestra, playing the most melodious music. Adding any other musical instrument will just scar a perfect symphony, for their voices are all the instruments they need.

It reminds me so much of the slaves of the 18th century in America, singing together while working on the fields of the rich landowners before slavery was abolished.

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Daniel Day Lewis has just won the Oscar for the best actor in the movie, Lincoln. It tells the story of his untiring, relentless efforts to abolish such a detestable practice.

I am reminded of their labouring together under a sweltering sun, singing to their Pappa their songs of lament, yet trusting in His goodness, love and provision.

Who can forget that symphony of their voices as they sang the beautiful song of the once slave-trader-turned-saint, John Newton’s, Amazing Grace.

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Yet, those poor people knew suffering, but also that their Pappa was in their midst like He promised,” 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 (Psalm 22:24)”.

I am again reminded how our Pappa uses suffering and adversity as the instruments to discipline His beloved children and will use even the worst suffering the enemy inflicts upon us to our advantage and good when we come to Him.

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Nature often tells us the story of how grass and vegetation are the most luscious in the heart of the valleys.

In the same manner, our faith and trust flourishes in the Valley of Weeping. Our weeping becomes the instrument our Pappa uses to lead us to a place of refreshing springs where the autumn rains will clothe us with His blessings (Psalm 84:6).

We see how gold and silver are refined in a furnace, how abrasion polishes metal, how a pearl is formed in the seclusion of an oyster from a single grain of sand.

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We see how heat strengthens and tempers steel and even how boiling water brings out the flavor of tea (Dr Rick Ferguson, The Sermon Index).

But we also see how the once barren trees are clothed in the most beautiful royal robes of splendor once the winter has passed.

And once we have gone through the refiner’s fire of suffering, we emerge like a butterfly arrayed in the colors of His love … His life … His glory. We are stripped of our old nature to be clothed in the splendor of His righteousness.

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Then, and only then, are we released from the slavery of this world of darkness to live in the beauty and liberty of His eternal Kingdom of Light … to live in His Loving Embrace.

Much love xx

Mia

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