Tag Archive | Jesus

The Tear Collector

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God’s Thoughts to Me

So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way …

“Zacchaeus!” He said, “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today. (Luke 19:4-5, NLT)”

When Little Boys Cry

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In a specific street in the town of Jericho, Lady Dawn woke up to welcome a new morning with her sun kissed smile.

The Keeper of Heaven’s Gardens had meticulously planted the seed of a sycamore tree along this road during the last hour of the moon. This was the year 200BC.

A Guardian Angel was appointed to cultivate and guard this tree for it was paramount to one moment in the future, roughly in the year 32AD.

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When the tree’s rings were telling the history of approximately 205 years, a young boy named Zacchaeus used to climb and hide in its branches.

He cried his sorrows to the branches and the comforting leaves who listened and wrapped him with love.

Zacchaeus, who was brought up in the strict ways of the Jewish laws, was a small, shy and little child.

Because of his stature and soft heart, he was a lonely boy who never felt quite good enough to be accepted by the in-crowd. His little boy heart craved love and approval.

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Whenever his heart was ripped apart by the cruel mocking of the other sturdy and stronger boys, this little one, who’s name means “pure”, found solace and shade in the shadow of his tree friend.

As he grew up to manhood, he locked his wounded soul in the dungeon of his own short man’s syndrome and promised evil justice to the perpetrators of his pain.

He became a despised tax-collector and his hatred and cunning caused him to rapidly advance to the chief seat of these scumbags. He was consumed by his lust for revenge.

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The tax collectors were notorious for their greed and lust for worldly riches and shamelessly cheated on the taxes of the people and exploited the poor.

They were scoundrels, despised be the religious Jews. According to their laws, they were to be avoided at all cost. One day Zacchaeus heard of a Man called Jesus.

This Rabbi did not only dine with the tax collectors, prostitutes and their kind, He even called Matthew, one of Zacchaeus’ hated colleagues, to follow Him.

Rumors were that He was the Son of God and was on His way to Jericho. These rumors awoke a broken, forgotten little boy deep within the depths of Zacchaeus’s heart.

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As his tree friend was along the way Jesus was traveling, this little boy who was still starving for love and acceptance ran and climbed his familiar friend to get a better view.

When Jesus came by, He stopped, looked up to where Zacchaeus was trying to hide his shame with fig leaves and tenderly called Him down, “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in you home today”.

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Jesus softly whispered a new song of love and forgiveness, while the weathered branches bowed in reverence, inviting Zacchaeus to open his house and his heart to host the King of Heaven.

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

I am linking-up with Lisa-Jo and again the sweet ladies at my Tea-Time and Link-Up page.

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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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Fools Gold

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Jesus told him, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6, NLT)

Don’t bother! It is not me that matters; it is my teachings that should be propagated and adhered to throughout the world (Buddha’s words, James Fowler).

The Crux of Christianity

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Siddharta Gautama, better known as Gautama Buddha, is thought to have lived approximately 400 BC. He was the founder of Buddhism. When he was dying, his adherents wanted to perpetuate his memory.

He was adamant that he didn’t want to be memorialized, but gave his own “great commission” to preach his teachings throughout the world. This sounds so noble and self-effacing.

Yet, it is extremely dangerous and deceptive, for his teachings ushered in one of the greatest religions of all time into the world, Buddhism.

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Contrary to the teachings of Gautama Buddha, we find the words of Jesus, who told His disciples just prior to His crucifixion, that HE IS the Way, the Truth and the Life.

He invites us with such tenderness and love when He sees us bogged down and heavy-laden with religion to come to Him. He invites us to follow Him for He wants to give us rest and peace beyond our finite comprehension.

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Can you imagine where we would have been if Jesus told them not to bother to remember Him, but only His teachings? That would just have been a whole new bunch of disastrous laws that kill and contain no life (2 Corinthians 3:6).

Jesus did not tell us that He would show us the way to our Pappa. Neither did He teach us new truths about God or gave us a new way to eternal life.

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No, He boldly proclaimed, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). He boldly proclaimed that many will come to Him on judgement day saying to Him, “Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed miracles in your name” (Matthew 7:22).

Allow me to add another few favorite things that we might want to add today: we were teachers or preachers, pastors or priests, reverends or bishops, leaders of a worship team, taught Sunday School, spread the Gospel, spoke in tongues, didn’t drink … or danced … or smoked.

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We faithfully went to church every time the doors were opened, we attended all the prayer meetings, we selflessly served the saints in a church ministry, etc. Oh, the sorrow these ones will experience when He tells them He didn’t know them for they were mining for fools gold.

These things are not wrong in and of itself, but that is building on sand as far as Christianity is concerned. Christianity is built only on the Eternal Rock, the Sure Foundation; our Lord Jesus. He is the capstone rejected by the religious builders (Mark 12:10).

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In His wonderful prayer just before He was arrested, Jesus told us that eternal life is that we might know our Pappa and Him (John 17:3). Christianity IS Jesus Christ!!! HE IS the Great I AM.

If this is the truth, which it is, where does the approximately 41000 Christian denominations come from? This “knowing” is such an intimate union of our spirit with the glorious Holy Spirit.

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I personally think we will find the answer to this question in the Garden of Eden when the great deceiver deceived Adam and Eve into believing that they could be like God, knowing good and evil! In a human way I think we can compare this union to sexual intimacy between husband and wife; oneness personified.

Denominationalism is the result of that lie and the age-old characteristics of the flesh: pride, selfish ambition and dissension (Galatians 5:20). It seems that every denomination proudly proclaims that their doctrine/teachings of Jesus will show us the way, the truth and give us eternal life.

Not so! The person of Gautama Buddha might not be of much importance in Buddhism, but our living, resurrected Lord Jesus IS the crux of Christianity.

imageIn total contradiction to Gautama Buddha is the story of Sadhu Sundar Singh. He was a Sikh who converted to Christianity. A European professor of comparative religions, an agnostic himself, repeatedly asked Mr Singh during an interview why he exchanged one religion for another.

When Mr Singh answered him that he now had Jesus, the professor became quite impatient and wanted him to be more specific about the different principles or doctrines of the two religions. Mr Singh’s only answer was that the particular Person he had now found, was Jesus (James Fowler, Christ in You).

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The words of a friend of mine describes this so vividly, “You cannot eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and expect to live in the Tree of Life”. Thanks Grace Ann!

Much love and sweet blessings.

Mia

Linking-up with

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The Narrow Path to Life

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God’s Thoughts to Me

There is a way which seems right to man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12, NIV).

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 (Philippians 3:18, NLT).

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

Enemies of The Cross

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A few years ago I was struck by this verse in Philippians like a fist between the eyes. I was filled with fear and dread, but didn’t realize this time it was the good kind … the kind of fear that is the beginning of wisdom (Proberbs 9:10), a gift of grace!

I knew I seriously had to make it my serious business to find out what Paul meant by being an enemy of the cross. I remember pleading with my husband, just like Paul did, for I realized we were not on the narrow path that leads to life.

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That fear brought me to another Man; the Man who is God. Yes, this Man is our Lord Jesus … the one who repeatedly told us that He is telling us the truth. Actually, this incredible God-man is Truth Himself.

He was teaching us about two gates and two roads: the narrow gate vs the wide gate and, the narrow road vs the highway to hell! And I knew the Truth was telling me truth I couldn’t ignore.

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Today I admire our Pappa’s sense of humor for allowing this illness in my life to physically bring me to that place where I was so weak and totally unable to do what I was so very skilled at: trying to earn everybody’s love … including Pappa’s.

For I was the personification of a religious busy bee, serving in as many ministries as I was able to. I craved love and would do anything to be accepted by God’s people!

Until the day arrived when I realized that there was only one man who ever was and ever will be able to live the righteous life our Pappa required, our magnificent Lord Jesus.

Just before He gave His spirit into His Pappa’s safekeeping, He uttered His famous words, “It is finished (John 19:30)”. Everything is done and dusted and there is nothing we can add to His sacrifice, the one He has made once, for everyone through all the ages of time.

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We can only come to Him and abide in Him, moment by moment, with receptive hearts, which, by the way, is also a gift from His generous hand.

This is not an easy concept for a performance driven society. Oh, and what sounds more noble than working and serving, all for the cause of His Kingdom.

He did everything that was necessary to reconcile our Pappa to His creation and was inviting all with ears to listen and to hear to enter into His resurrected life, fully pardoned and reconciled to Him.

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This illness brought me to a place where I was finally able to make a drastic u-turn on that dreaded highway to destruction, the beautifully paved path of religion and return to my Pappa’s house.

I was truly crying by the Rivers of Babylon where I was sitting down at the time. I was unable to sing the Lord’s song in that strange land, lost in the streets of the great harlot, Mystery Babylon. (Psalm 137:1).

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But I could hear my Pappa’s still, small voice calling me,”Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins (Revelation 18:4)”.

Our Lord was telling us through the illustration of the two paths, the complete dichotomy between the narrow path of grace vs the broad way of religion.. He explicitly told us that He and He ALONE is the only Way … the only Truth … the only Life!

Actually, truth be told, Christianity is Christ! “Christ IN me, my hope of glory” (Colssians 1:27).

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And it filled me with wonder to know that our Lord who was crucified and raised to life again, was now living in me! What an amazing, incredible privilege!

I have come to realize that the most inviting of these two gates is definitely the gate of religion. It appeals to the sensuous pride of man. Oh, we are so fond of trying to earn everything in life! We need the humbleness of our Lord to overcome that great monster called Pride.

It makes us feel so important and in control. But this is just a false security, a shaky foundation on which to build. It takes only one storm to demolish the house of religion. And then you have to start building all over again … and again … and again!

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I knew I had to make a choice! I had to choose between the narrow gate and the wide gate … the narrow road and the wide path, God or Satan, Christianity or religion.

Only as I live in my Lord Jesus and He in me, will I ever be able to partake of His blood that was spilled for us and His body that was broken on the cross.

Trying to earn this wine and bread was the different way Paul spoke of when he warned the Galatians. I have come to realize this different way, the one that is socially much more acceptable, is a deception straight from the evil one.

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This is the way that makes us enemies of the cross, for everytime we try to earn His favor, everytime we succumb to the temptation to place ourselves under any law again, we are cut off from Jesus … cut off from grace.

We are then isolated from the Fountain of Life, still trapped in the lie that we are able to determine independently what good and evil are!

We are unknowingly and unintentionally nullifying the power of the cross. We are fooled by those who twist the truth of Christ. We are listening to a different gospel that is not the Gospel at all!

It is a lie that robs us of the joy of living daily nestled in His Loving Embrace!

Much love xx

Mia

I am linking-up with

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A God Who Waits

Be still

God’s Thoughts to Me

Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it. You said,”No, we will get our help from Egypt.”…. So the Lord must wait for you to come to Him so He can show you His love and compassion. (Isaiah 30:15-18, NLT)

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10, NLT)

A Still, Quiet Christmas

During 2011 South Africa had a census. The country was bustling with activity and expectation, hoping for better services and living conditions as a result.

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Fortunately we were all visited at our homes by the census officials and had no need to travel to our places of birth like Joseph and Mary had to do when the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed a census throughout the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus’ birth.

I can only imagine the commotion in Bethlehem when they arrived; with all the travellers returning to register for the census. No wonder there was no accommodation available for this unimportant carpenter and his highly preganant wife, who was already in labour.

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The world, as usual, was too busy with its worldly things to pay to much attention to their greatest need. I don’t think they were even aware of their need …. the need to be saved from itself and all the futile ways of trying to find worth and meaning …. the need for forgiveness, love, grace and compassion ….. the need to come to our Pappa to freely receive His Gift of Redemption, our Lord Jesus, and to live in Him.

Looking at the frantic hustling and bustling around me, as the world is again preparing for the Christmas celebrations, it makes me sad and I wonder how much, if anything, has changed!

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I can sense our Pappa still waiting, longing for His children to just be still and quiet …. to just return to Him and listen to His heartbeat of love …. to allow Him to show them His love and compassion ….. to allow Him to hold them securely in the palm of His hand.

It breaks my heart to think of all the times I was just like the stubborn Israelites who “would have none of it”. For much too long I had been looking to Egypt. For much too long had I been wining and dining the ways of the world, especially its religious ways, frantically trying to find my acceptance and worth in the false security it offers.

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But still my Pappa had been waiting for me, patiently allowing me to come to the end of myself and my ways, knowing that the time would come when I had no one and nothing to look up to, but Him. When that time arrived, how graciously did He shower me with all His love, grace, goodness and compassion!!! The love, peace and joy I experience in His Loving Embrace is way above the busy, futile ways of the world.

Come dear Ones, let us all return to Him, rest in Him, confident of His goodness, drawing our strength from His presence. Let us become still and KNOW that He is God.

Much love XX

Mia

It is again time to link-up with Barbie at The Fresh Brewed Sunday community. We are all invited to share a verse from Scripture that has special meaning to us. Come and join us at http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com

Thank you, Barbie!!

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