Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of The Lord forever (Psalm 23:6, KJV).
Shirley, Mercy and Grace
Heaven’s Courtroom was abuzz with breathless expectation! The three angels, Shirley, Mercy and Grace, were summoned by His Majesty, King Jesus.
According to the heralding angel who trumpeted the summons through the universe, King Jesus countenance was enveloped by the most beautiful rainbow of love and compassion.
Tripling with excitement the Triplet bowed down to their Heavenly Host in reverence, filled with brilliant delight to be in His Presence. The King was beaming with a glint in His eye when He informed them of His wishes.
“I have chosen you to be My servants to a little baby girl who will be born nine months from today. She will be My gift of joy to her mother for I have heard the cry of her heart!
She will be called Mia for she will forever be Mine and I am lending her to her mother for only three years. Then her mother will return home to us.
Even amidst the darkest nights of her little soul, she will trust in Me. Gather as much star dust as necessary to baptize her as Mine the moment she is born.
Shirley, wherever her little feet will tread during her sojourn on earth, your duty will be to make sure that she stays forever in the Shelter of My Wings.
You know from dear experience that these precious ones of Mine can be very stubborn, seeking their own way while listening to the deceiver’s lies!
Mercy, you need to make sure that My little darling will know that My mercy, love and goodness towards her are from everlasting to everlasting.
But, I tell you in advance that she will suffer much and you need to be patiently persistent for at the right time, I will enable her to hear My voice.
Grace, you need to assist Me in cultivating a garden in her heart. You daily need to plant seeds of grace and enlighten the narrow path of Grace for her to find her way out of the dark, lost world.
Some of these seeds will grow into mighty cedars of Lebanon. But some will grow by My design into a luscious orchard where she and I will feast together on the fruit of her love for Me.”
Much love and sweet blessings XX
Linking-up with Lisa-Jo and all the friendly hostesses at my Tea Time and Link-Up page.
The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against His Anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God. But the One who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoff at them. (Psalm 2:2-4, NLT).
The world is a publishing house blessed with new mercies and empty sheets at the break of each dawn.
It yearns for small stories of love and beauty written with rays of sunlight and colored with rainbows flickering through frisky dew drops dancing on blades of grass.
But the Tabloids of Life are written with the blood of murders and wars … the pain and sorrow of corruption … the putridness of crime … the infidelity of humanity.
The world’s Gazette is manipulated by a social hierarchy playing a game of chess with the minds of man. A Trinity of Terror splashes the front pages with lies and deception:
Politicians, puffed up with vanity, are leading their puppets, firmly gripping their strings of straw, into a pseudo peace beyond the grasp of any human mind. They are messing in the business of God.
Economists are promising an emaciated, starving world with beguiling lies, food and drink to feed and fill every empty belly groaning with hunger and thirst, seeking silently for breadcrumbs from the tables of the rich. They are playing God.
Religionists are building beautiful staircases to heaven, leading straight to hell, with tithes stolen from the overburdened naive, without lifting a finger to ease the sorrow of a suffering world. They think they are gods.
Yet, in the “Small’s” section of every newspaper, our little lives are interviewed daily. We are small advertisements, twinkling with the glory of grace … shining with the beauty of forgiveness … telling the wondrous story of love.
Much love and sweet blessings XX
Linking-up with Lisa Jo. Please visit my other linky places at my Tea Time and Link-Ups page.
We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country – a land filled with milk and honey. Here is the fruit it produces. But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw the giants there, the descendants of Anak (Numbers 13:27-29, NLT)”.
The Land of Milk and Honey
In 2010 Muse Entertainment released a television miniseries of 8 episodes, Pillars Of The Earth. It is based on one of my all time favorite books by Ken Follet.
The story is set in England in the 12th century during the reign of King Stephen and his anarchy. Tom Builder was a master builder and the whole story centers around the cathedral he built in the small village of King’s Bridge.
But there is one character that makes one’s hair stand on end; the fearsome and powerful Bishop Waleran Bigod. He was a corrupt cleric who committed great atrocities in his greed for power and lust to become the Archbishop of Canterbury.
His office as bishop granted him the trust of many illiterate common folk. He ruthlessly traded their trust, killed many innocent people to satisfy that insatiable power-hungry leech in his heart.
This guy traded in religion for his own monstrous gain as did the Canaanites at the time when the Israelites entered the Promised Land; just like so many still do today in the name of our sweet Lord Jesus.
The Canaanites were a group of people who lived in Canaan long before Israel’s exodus from Egypt. The name Canaanite means “merchant” or “trafficker” and speaks of the enemies we still encounter daily in our walk with Jesus.
As long as there were good trading opportunities and good profit, the Canaanites lived happily in the Promised Land and they were not eradicated in one day. Oh no, they were an enemy to be reckoned with!
When I look at current Christianity all over the world, it saddens me to see a lot of Canaanites still in our midst. The world is filled with religious merchants and traffickers trading in the souls of men (Revelation 18:13).
As long as there are souls for sale these merchants will grow rich from the commodity called religion. They are peddlers of promises of the Land of Milk and Honey and great relationships where broken hearts will instantly be healed.
Their lies spin deceptive, deadly webs that consume the ignorant like deadly, man-eating spiders and they treat our Heavenly Father much like a genie in a bottle or even a fairy godmother with a magic wand.
I am not innocent for I gladly used to rub shoulders with blab-it-and-grab-it-prophets. I proudly moved in the self-centered Prayer of Jabez circles, convinced that if this prayer worked for Jabez, it had to work for me too. These examples are but the tip of the iceberg, but enough to get my point across.
The only problem was that no amount of repetitive prayer like a mantra or naming-and-claiming Bible promises could move our Pappa’s hand to bless me with health and a restored relationship.I didn’t know then that I was involved in a great battle against the greedy Canaanites.
I have to admit that I was losing my long battle with the cunning Canaanites in my own heart. I was first and foremost concerned with the profit I could gain from being a Christian, especially healing from my debilitating chronic disease.
What I considered to be our Pappa’s hand of anger upon me, was actually His patient love bringing me to the point where I had nothing to hold onto or live for in this life. It was there, sitting in the ashes like Job, where I experienced great anguish about my life.
But it was also there at the end of myself , that I was able to hear that still, small voice beckoning and asking me all those difficult questions of life. All those questions that no amount of earthly, demonic wisdom could answer.
It was there that I had to cry out like Job, “You asked, ‘Who is this that questions My wisdom with such ignorance? It is I – and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful to me’ (Job 41:3)”.
It was there in the proverbial pit, utterly defeated, that I gladly handed the reigns of my life over to our Lord Jesus. It was there that I asked Him to go before me and rid my heart of the Canaanites.
It was there that I realized that I only heard about God before, but now “saw” Him with my own eyes.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NLT).
The world is cloaked in a blanket of sorrow and darkness. The hearts of men are sailors sailing the oceans of destruction, listening intently while being mesmerized and lured away by the lewd songs of the Sirens.
They beckon them on a voyage to the deepest water abyss where the Prostitute rules (Rev 17:15).
The merchants of the world are strutting like peacocks , spewing lies, committing adultery with the whore of Babylon, getting drunk on the wine of her passionate immorality.
They are traders of gold, silver, jewels, cinnamon, incense, wine, religion and the souls of men.
They whisper delightful lies to the itching ears of man with false, deceptive promises of wealth, prosperity and glory.
Their fate is eternal damnation for this great city has fallen. She has become a home for demons and a hideout for every foul spirit.
The merchants will weep and mourn over their beloved.
They will seek another lover, crying in sackcloth and ashes while their wealth disappears in a puff of smoke.
But they are deaf to the gentle voice calling from heaven, “Come away from her, my people” (Rev 18:3).
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16, NKJV).
The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord (Proverbs 20:27, NKJV).
Religious To-Do Lists
The world commends busy people. Being without a to-do list as long as your arm at least, brands you as a failure, disqualifying you quickly from climbing the ladder of success.
To have a fulfilled life and to experience the satisfaction of a job well done, you need to be able to tick off the last item on your list by the end of the day or run faster tomorrow!
A list to help you organize your day is good, but our Lord advised us not to be worldly-minded as far as His Kingdom is concerned.
I have observed this peculiar ladder-climbing phenomenon in the Christian world as well. And it just gets progressively worse with all the new programs entering the Christian scene left, right and center.
Every true believer often experience a spiritual dryness or winter season. It is necessary for the deep inner growth, which cannot happen during times of prosperity.
Do we suffer the germination process of new seeds in our lives gladly while we allow our roots to grow deeper into the life of our Lord?
Do we eagerly look forwards to the lush new growth or do we mumble and grumble, if not complaining bitterly, when we experience suffering?
The only result we get from complaining and resisting the discipline of our Pappa is harming and stunting the growth of the fragile new sprouts!
The colder the winter and more severe the drought, the more we are sorely tempted to revert back to a “religious to-do list”. We hope that being especially good will make Pappa smile at us again.
It seems as if we believe that our God’s presence is a bartering commodity with which we can earn His love and blessings by submitting to a few religious exercises!
We suffer from this life-threatening disease that makes us susceptible to thinking God needs anything from us before He would look at us with love and favor or rejoice over us with singing.
Yet, Solomon tells us that mans’ spirit is the lamp of our Lord. In the same way Jesus told us to let our lights shine before others so that it will bring all the glory to our Pappa and not ourselves in a crooked world and perverse society.
Paul told the Corinthians,”But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NKJV).
We need to do stock-taking of all the items on our religious to-do lists to keep our Lord happy and to fill up the empty lamps of our hearts.
A long repertoire of things to do can effortlessly cause us to stand out like sore thumbs by our weird expressions and programs of piety.
It is so easy to become a social nuisance when our lamps burn with the religious oil of the world.
Our evangelical zeal and our insistence that others do things our way, have caused so much spiritual abuse that people don’t want to have much to do with that god.
Does the fruit of our lives bear the stamp of Jesus or do we strive in our own strength to be a light in the darkness or salt to give flavor to those around us?
Do the lamps of our hearts burn with the oil of church attendance every Sunday as well as a few times during the week and serving in a ministry? Can our lamps even begin to burn on that fuel?
Do we rely on good things like Bible reading, having long quiet times, praying for a certain amount of time per day, being kind to the poor, tithing, attending all the new conferences, memorizing scripture, etc. to enable us to bring glory to our God?
It is so crucial not just to know of, but also to experience our Lord Jesus living His life and godly character in and through us.
Only as we come to Him with empty hands and He draws us ever closer, are our feeble hearts readied and opened to be filled with the oil of His Spirit.
Only as we empty our hearts of the oil of our own efforts, can we shine as godly lights in the world and be a pinch of salt that adds a flavor to a tasteless existence.
To all who mourn in Zion, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3, NLT).
Soap Bubble Imagination
The beauty of imagination transforms soap bubbles into fairies clothed in exquisite flimsy gowns of flower leaves.
They dance minuets and waltzes with valiant dwarves on the sweet melody of the moonlight serenade.
Crickets play the violins and bullfrogs sing the bass.Their music tells the story of the Divine Presence while fireflies transform the forest dance floor into a glorious rainbow and nature rejoices in light.
Darkness descends with deceptive lies masquerading as an Angel of Light. It hisses its venomous lies, daring them to imagine they can be masters of their own fate.
It spews venomous fire that causes a forest fire inferno destroying all the life and the fragile beauty of imagination until only ashes remain.
But the Prince of Heaven scoops the ashes into His hands, blowing it softly onto the wings of His Spirit Wind who carries crowns of beauty to His Majesty’s Throne of Grace.
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.
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.
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.
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)”.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
But His mother told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 5:2, NLT).
It is to divide between what is us in fallen nature, and what is Christ, and to get rid of the one to give full place to the other! (T Austin-Sparks).
Water, Wine and Merriment
I have a little 5 year old friend. We have been blessed to have Onwaba and her grannie staying with us the last few years.
Onwaba has a great sense of humor. When she does something funny, she is a funny bunny.
But when she is just plain stupid she calls herself a scabbanger. She is quite chaffed with herself for creating this big word.
Onwaba’s sense of humor is just a chip off our Lord’s dear heart. I can just see Him grinning as he looks down at the human race, all honorary members of the Scabbanger Club.
When Jesus and His disciples attended the wedding at Cana, He must have been a bit amused, as well as filled with compassion, for the predicament of the poor bridegroom.
To run out of wine at your wedding was a major faux pas that would cause them to be the latest scabbangers in town until someone else messed up worse than them.
We all know this parable where our Lord Jesus helped the poor groom out of his scabbangerish predicament. But He did much more than merely turning water into wine.
Our Lord never allowed an opportunity to pass without confronting and exposing the uselessness of the Jewish religion; actually, any religion for that matter. It only has the ability to bind us in chains.
He did so in this parable by using the empty clay pots that were used for the ceremonial, legalistic cleansing, instead of the empty wine jars.
After the servants filled the pots to the brim with water, the master of ceremonies gave some to the groom. They were all amazed at the superb quality of this “bubbly” wine and that, only being served near the end of the wedding feast.
The new wine symbolizes the new covenant wine of Jesus’ own life; ever active, dynamic, full of joy and spiritual blessings, replacing the old dirty water of the purification vats of the law.
Jesus’ command to the servants to fill the jars to the brim, shows us the abundance of His provision. There is no short supply in heaven. Unlike the water of religious cleansing, the new wine of His life never runs dry. As we allow Him to restore sight to our spiritual eyes, we become aware of the empty futility of filling the jars of our hearts with religious water of self-effort to clean our consciences and to find favor with our Pappa.
This new delicious wine is only served in abundance when we come to Him and learn how to abide in Him. It is way above and superior to the wine which we drank before.
Some modern-day Pharisees, in defense of abstinence, try to explain this new wine to be diluted grape juice, while others are calling Him a drunkard and a glutton, finding fault with His social life! Preposterous!! Mary told the servants at the wedding to do just as Jesus told them to do. They had the common sense to do just that. Something I used to be in short supply of.
I have been a scabbanger without an iota of common sense for a time. I labored so hard, trying to wash my dirty feet, hands and face with my own brand of religious soap and water.
Yet, with such patience and wisdom our Pappa allowed me to be refined in the refiner’s fire of suffering. He didn’t burn away only the stuff He considered bad and left and refined the good. Not at all!
Paul informs us that there is none who is truly good; not even one who seeks the Lord (Romans 3). If it was not for His prevenient grace, none of us will ever be able to even think one right and true thought about our Pappa. Only He and He alone is good.
He burned away everything pertaining to my scabbangerish self and replaced it with only Him and His new Life. This didn’t happen without a lot of complaining from my side.
But, He enabled me to realize that giving Him free reigns of my life, was the greatest gift of love I could give myself. He dared me to be brave enough to truly love myself by allowing Him to burn away all the dross of the flesh.
I am immensely grateful that He opened my mind and understanding to the uselessness of the legalistic purification methods of washing with religious soap and water. He gently showed me another way … a better way. Oh, the joy when I was able to hear, listen and heed His still small voice asking my hand in marriage … asking permission to fill my heart with the new bubbly wine of Himself.