Allegories to Transform the Heart
Stories are mirrors through which we see our true selves. Through them, we enter fantasy—another time, another place—and emerge with a clearer view of reality. In Escape from Laodicea, you will walk through a medieval village, watch the king rule, buy from unscrupulous sellers, find yourself imprisoned, and sail away in your yacht from a flotilla of ships...
In this collection of allegories and analysis, Ken and Cathy Esplin share original tales inspired by our loving God, who sent His Son Jesus to save us from sin and our selfish clinging to the world. He wants to transform our hearts to be like His. With examples from the writers’ own lives, the support of scriptural references, and classic Christian writers, the reader will be encouraged. Though walking the path away from Laodicea’s worldly ways may not be easy, it leads us from death to everlasting life.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:
now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 Cor. 13:1
Rachel L.Hall, editor for ESCAPE FROM LAODICEA by Ken with Cathy Esplin
Do you often wonder why you are going through one hardship after another? If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and find that after a while suffering has entered your life in any form, be encouraged: it is because the Lord is transforming you. Trust Him. He has not abandoned you: He is finishing the work He started in you. And for this kind of transformation—a true change of your heart—there is no other way. No religious effort on your part will do it; no New Year’s resolution will work. The only thing that will change your heart into the true, loving heart of Jesus, is death to selfishness and being filled with His life flowing through you! It is all by grace. The gift of salvation and the work of sanctification is all by grace. All of Him, by Him, and all to His glory! Be encouraged, because Jesus is leading you on the hard road to set you free from your "SELF" and to draw you into an intimate and incredibly fulfilling relationship with Him.
If this is your heart’s desire, then may this book encourage and inspire you to keep on walking.
Take a peek inside...
What does it mean to be a Laodicean? God doesn’t mean those who are
weak and struggle in their faith and their walk with God. He means those
who purposely pretend that they serve Him. He means pretenders. Play-actors.
This book is about the motives of the heart and the treasures we
pursue, because where our treasure is, there our heart will be.
The allegories here symbolize the spiritual journey of a lukewarm
heart being transformed by Jesus and are not to be taken literally.
One day I was thinking about this question: What does it mean to let Jesus be
your Lord? I thought of an earthly king sitting on a throne, listening to
God say that Jesus is the only true King who should sit on a throne and
“Well now, God,” said the king, “I have already given up my throne.”
But there he was, still sitting on his throne!
Carrying on with this lie to God and also to himself, he quickly added,
“I believe giving up my throne happened automatically when I asked You,
God, to forgive my sins and I did my best not to sin anymore.
“Look at all my good deeds. I do my best not to sin anymore. I go to
church and I am involved with its programs. I read my Bible every day
and I pray a lot. God, I give you my time and my effort and my money.
And on top of that, I have begun to behave nicely as well. What more
could You ask for? I am dedicated to the cause!”
Then, over the next hour or so, I started to see much more of this
king and his castle.
It is like this…
Imagine yourself for a moment in this scene: There you are sitting in
your castle, in your throne room, on your throne. Your castle is built of
heavy, thick stone. Right behind your throne on your left is a priest dressed
up in all the garb that priests wear, and behind you to your right
is a general dressed in military uniform with all his medals and insignia.
These two men often lean over your shoulder and whisper in your
ear giving you advice—the priest about spiritual matters, and the general
about standing up for yourself and fighting for your rights...
Outside the castle and surrounding it completely is a well-kept, square-shaped village with forty-foot high outer walls protecting it from unwanted intrusion. On top of the outside perimeter wall, guards patrol day and night, keeping watch for intruders.
The main entrance way into the village is a two-part steel gate in the forty-foot high wall. It is shaped the same as the throne room doors with an arch at the top.
In the distance, other villages can be seen in a variety of sizes, all with their own high walls. If you watch for a while, you will notice ongoing building projects, such as the enlargement of the villages and castles and the expansion of walls. You have enlarged your village several times. It seems like there is strong competition among everyone to have the largest village and the biggest castle.
Your village has neat little rows of houses with white picket fences. All of the houses are painted in white and pastel colors. The lawns around the houses are immaculately trimmed and are a healthy green color showing the great care afforded them. The cobblestone roads are laid out clearly and precisely. In between the houses are buildings such as the church, the printer’s, the bakery, the courthouse, the sheriff’s office, the jail, and the town hall.
I can see Mr. and Mrs. Mayflower working in their garden. They work to clean little specks of dust off their picket fence. They are extremely nice people, well thought of by the rest of the townsfolk. Mrs. Mayflower works for the baker and Mr. Mayflower is the village printer. Both Mayflowers are avid church members: Mr. Mayflower is an elder and Mrs. Mayflower is a member of the choir.
To help keep the village godly, the Mayflowers feel it is their duty to keep an eye on other church members. When they come across what they deem to be bad behavior, they immediately report it to the church board.
Now, feeling very important, because he has his jail and office, the sheriff keeps a watch out for wrongdoers, promptly arresting any and putting them in jail. The printer prints the local news and all things religious, and the baker bakes perfect loaves of bread, complete with a scripture imprinted on one end of each loaf. The town has a certain religious hum to it, and everyone has their place.
Meanwhile, down at the main entrance gate to the village, a voice called out, “Let me in. Please let me in!”
The sheriff, who has chased this nuisance away many times before, went down to the gate to chase him away again. He always obeys the strict, standing orders related to disturbances. The orders came directly from the castle, and, he had heard, came directly from the king himself. Whether this was true or not, the sheriff didn’t know, but the orders were to keep this town good and quiet and clean for Jesus Christ, and that meant keeping a handle on everything that was going on. He was determined to carry out the order. “After all,” he huffed, “this town is dedicated to the Lord, and one cannot just let any riffraff in!”
After chasing the man at the gate away, the sheriff went down to the printers to collect the latest tracts. He placed them in a distribution machine outside of the city hall. He liked this responsibility. It made him feel religiously superior to the ordinary folks over whom he kept watch.
Now, the more religiously-inclined villagers dutifully came and placed a silver coin in the box and got their little bundle of tracts to read and give out. They would read the “Changes of Behavior” tract which came out almost daily, and they implemented those changes into their lives. And just in case other people were negligent and didn’t pick up their behavior change tracts, the “responsible” would make the others aware of the needed changes. The behavior changes were a good thing, and they made everyone in the village behave progressively in a more godly manner.
For instance, because of the behavior changes that she had made, Mrs. Mayflower now only wore very plain dresses. Any of her clothes that did not measure up to the latest tract’s new standards, she would give to the poorer townsfolk or, if they were too far from the required standard, she quickly would dump them in the garbage. She always made sure that other people saw her getting rid of these clothes. She would turn up her nose as she dropped them into the garbage can as if they smelled bad… that is, if someone was watching! She was inclined to look down on anyone who ended up wearing one of the outfits that she had given away whilst secretly judging them. Somehow, it seemed to make her feel better about herself. If anyone ever protested that she was throwing away expensive items, Mrs. Mayflower would say that she did not care about the cost—this was for the Lord.
At the end of each day, the Mayflowers and others would go for their evening walks, peering into other people’s gardens to see if they were being kept properly. They also looked at the people’s wash lines to see what type of clothing hung there and to determine whether or not it was up to standard. They would often stop at someone’s picket fence and peer over it, talking and pointing and clearly displaying their disdain or their pleasure...
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