Thoughts to share received in prayer and study of the word

Dottie Mae

I saw a picture today that was taken three years ago of my granddaughters, Karis and Atley, standing outside of the Hospice House in Owatonna. We were going to visit my mother who was receiving care there prior to her transfer to the end of life care center in Northfield. I remember my mother as a vibrant, active and generous woman, involved in several volunteer roles, working full-time, caring for home and family and yet having the capacity to be an exemplary friend to other women and to give of herself so freely. Her life was not without its stresses and disappointments but she overcame them with an inner strength and faith that pushed her through. She was a mentor and role model to the women she worked with and a mother to some of the younger of those. By far the greatest gift that she gave to me is the love of books and music. I remember many times sitting curled up beside her, both of us with a book in our laps whiling away the hours on some adventure. And the weekends, when she would buzz around the house in shorts and a sleeveless blouse, her bare feet pounding out the miles of housekeeping, cooking, baking, cleaning and laundry. She donated as many meals as she made for her family to the veterans organizations, church bazaars, our neighbors and those in need. And while she worked around the house the music played – big band, jazz, crooners and orchestras blaring life through the house just like the breeze that came in through the windows blowing the curtains. She always had a joke to share or a story to tell and her laughter was contagious, especially when she was among her family, the siblings she almost never knew she had. One of eight children, she and her siblings were separated after the death of their mother. My mother was four years old at the time, number seven of the eight. Each went to a different family, as it was the depression and none had means to take them all. As the families moved to find work, the miles grew between them all. After twenty years one of the older brothers located each of the siblings and brought them back together for the first of many years of family reunions. This family truly understands the value of love and sacrifice. My mother’s story of her childhood is one of many hardships, sorrows and fears, yet out of that somewhere was built a strength and resilience that seemed without rival. She and I, both being Irish had our moments, but I will always admire the change and the growth that I saw take place in her over the years, the drive to become a woman of integrity and honor who managed her house and her possessions well. Proverbs 31:28–31 says, “Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her saying ‘many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” As I prepare very soon to attend another reunion and surround myself with a love that is generous and unconditional, I rise up today and say, God bless you, Dottie Mae.

Bones

In the dreams of a million lifetimes lie the bones of mankind; – dry, lifeless, laying stretched out in the lowest point of the valley, waiting, waiting for the one who will cry out, “Live!!” And as they hear the sound reverberating through the valley, the bones begin to shiver, to quiver, as the breath of life reaches them. They tremor; they shake, and as the shaking increases the dreams jump to life. No longer are they dry and weathered, but they are filled with life and zeal, the passion of the King and the Lord who is the Life Giver, the Breath of God. “Here am I!” they cry, “Send me!” And the One who formed them and fashioned them hears their cry and answers their plea as He calls them and assembles them, a great army, the army of God. And as they assemble, they stumble. “Are you sure it’s me?”, they ask. “I’m weak, I’m ineffectual, I’m no one.” They take a step back and falter, looking all around them at the warriors and seasoned soldiers who stand ready for battle; and the seed of a lie takes its place in their minds. “Who am I that I should go?”, they ponder. And then comes the still, small voice, on a breeze that becomes a rushing mighty wind, “Remember who you are. Remember that I chose you.; before the foundation of the world I knew you. You are accepted in the Beloved. My love never fails and My grace is sufficient for you! Charged with identity, the army gathers in unity, watchmen, seers, intercessors, worshippers and scribes. They synchronize and strategize. Empowered and encouraged, they march forth as one to fulfill the dream that was crafted in them from the beginning.

Story and Song

I wasn’t born yesterday, and I don’t consider myself naive or ignorant in searching of truth. Yet, in this increasingly complex world, it seems that we can so easily forget or ignore the simple facts that lay right before our eyes. Is it possible, as life becomes more complicated, problems become amplified, divisive thinking abounds, and truth harder to discern, that we could be missing one of the simplest paths to peace and tranquility, a pathway that we can not only traverse on our own, but one that openly invites others to join in the journey and make that path theirs? Is there ready relief in a dystopian society?

By now, you’re probably thinking, “Here comes another gospel, need to get your life on track, get saved now, Jesus message from another delusional Christian.” If that was the purpose for my sharing the truth I re-discovered just last night, then I’d say go ahead, shut off the flow, and move on to a post you’re hoping to gain more from.

But I have a point to make, a revelation to share, that’s about a topic while relatable to spirituality, still it stands on its own merit and can change the life of anyone, no matter the philosophy or mindset.

I watched a movie last night about a man who from childhood was abused and rejected, left broken and hardened, and who walked through life numb to the pain that caused the fracture in his peace and well-being. Though he tried to push past mindsets that held him captive to failure, he was unable to break the barrier to true freedom and success. Until…

This is where you choose either fork in the road and the destination will still leave you feeling illuminated and perhaps better able to rise above any situation that is plaguing you today. Take the turn that furthers your spiritual journey and use this message as an empowering truth to validate your faith, bolster your convictions and add another layer to your foundation. Or, if you are just interested today in survival, getting out of a cycle of destruction and pain, and looking to escape the negativity and oppression, here’s a life application for you that can provide peace and consolation:

He was unable to break the barrier to true freedom and success until he learned of the power of a story and a song. As he began to share his story with others, it not only led to his own healing, but it also brought insight and broke the shackles off of others who were suffering the same pain. And when he found a song that resonated with his story, it took that healing to a deeper level and the story and the song both produced amazing results in his life, and the lives of others.

How many times in your life have you had a song change everything for you? How many stories have you read that grabbed you and carried you right along with them to a different place, a different realm, all while staying right where you are? Dive in! Let that healing power envelope you and take you captive and do its work in you! Live out your story! Sing your song!

And for those of you seeking a deeper spiritual experience, here’s something for you to think about: the whole of Scripture, the whole message of the gospel, the way, the truth and the life are all immersed and engulfed in story and song! Let the power of God’s word and the lyrics of the beautiful music that is brought to expression through imagining the possibilities of truth change you and shape your destiny! Let the story and the song become yours.

Hacked or Hoodwinked

net-trap-vector-2023770

A recent event has left me stirred, perplexed and extremely concerned, and so should we all be.

Many will be familiar with the social media post that went viral a few weeks ago that started with one person sending another a message that they had likely been hacked and that someone may have cloned their profile. The post offered instructions as to how to remedy the fact that their data and imagery may have been compromised, which included letting all your friends know.

Within hours, I received multiple dozen messages from friends instructing me to change my password, avoid accepting any new friend requests, beware, be alert, and pass it on. When I received the first one, I was standing next to a friend. I asked her to search my profile on social media. She did. There was only one me. I began deleting all of the warnings and alerts I had received and ignored the advice. Problem solved.

However, after seeing the viral response that occurred and how many people were anxious, concerned and panicked over a prank, I began to see a real and valid threat.

Matthew 24:4-14 TPT says,  Jesus answered, “At that time deception will run rampant. So beware that you are not fooled! For many will appear on the scene claiming my authority or saying about themselves, ‘I am God’s Anointed,’ and they will lead many astray. You will hear of wars nearby and revolutions on every side, with more rumors of wars to come. Don’t panic or give in to your fears, for the breaking apart of the world’s systems is destined to happen. But it won’t yet be the end; it will still be unfolding. Nations will go to war against each other and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be terrible earthquakes—seismic events of epic proportion, horrible epidemics and famines in place after place. This is how the first contractions and birth pains of the new age will begin! You can expect to be persecuted, even killed; for you will be hated by all the nations because of your love for me. Then many will stop following me and fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many lying prophets will arise, deceiving multitudes and leading them away from the path of truth. There will be such an increase of sin and lawlessness that those whose hearts once burned with passion for God and others will grow cold. But keep your hope to the end and you will experience life and deliverance. Yet through it all, this joyful assurance of the realm of heaven’s kingdom will be proclaimed all over the world, providing every nation with a demonstration of the reality of God. And after this the end of this age will arrive.”

As we look about, we can see that these words have life in them. There is a harsh reality  revealed here in something that was written many years ago. I see people feeding like piranhas on the words of others and passing those words along as quickly as they are read or heard. And I am bothered by it. Lies have a way of weaving a thread from person to person in no time at all, and the primary reason this is so easily done, is selfishness. People are so focused on their own needs, traumas, threats, struggles and trials that they have no buffer to keep them from instantly bowing to ‘panic and giving in to their fears”.

As my cousin, Lenn said, “Satan shows us the bait, but not the trap.” Profound!

John 8:32 says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” and Acts 17:11 says, “This was evident in the great eagerness with which they accepted the word and examined the scriptures each day to see whether Paul’s teaching was true.” The best way to avoid deception is to know the truth. It is essential today that we verify anything taught or shared with us to discern or understand whether or not it is truth, because there are many deceivers. Do your research; communicate with those you trust to lead you to the truth; don’t take everything others share with you as sound, unless confirmed, and thereby live in joyful assurance. Peace be with you.

 

 

Oh, look at the time!

  And, another year has come and gone. How did that happen? And where did it go? I can only pray that the things that I have accomplished in this past year have been for good – sharing positive things with others, enlightening, encouraging, and to build up rather than tear down.

Having gone through a major spiritual transition, personal losses, and career change in the past five years has given much opportunity for reflection, assessment, and re-direction. Although the journey was extremely difficult, I see much being restored. I see how I have changed, notice the good that has come into my life and I am thankful. God has brought me on a journey of discovery and I have relished the things that He has shown me. I can only pray that others experience the same personal relationship with Him that I have in these past five years. He has shown me without question His loving compassion, tender mercy, and His constant presence as I purposed to follow Him.

I have learned to look at life through a different lens. Leaving behind our need and greed – always wanting more, driven mentality, we have newly uncovered peace and contentment, joy and fulfillment. We are happy, spiritually alive, and loving this season. We are blessed with the rich fullness of living life. We live simply yet our lives are so intensified.

All of this leads me to the thoughts and reflection of today. How can those who don’t know there is joy and love and compassion and exuberant kindness and mercy available to them find their way? How can they know that this confidence is the thing that’s missing from their lives? How far will they go to seek what is right there with them?

I believe that the Lord that has brought me through this journey, loved and rebuilt me, and that my responsibility from this point is to continue sharing positive thoughts, encouraging those I encounter, thinking good things, believing the best. It is my portion to mentor and to pray for others, that He will lead them to that very same path that he has shown to me; that they may find their journey to Him, and they may personally know the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

I have seen so many hopes and dreams restored to me, yet different than they were. Each piece of my identity lost and regained has new sense of purity to it, a sense of it having been sent through the press and given back to me in a whole new light. With modifications, you might say. And again, I am thankful. The me I see today is so much fuller and richer than the me of yesterday.

I hope to continue writing on a more regular basis then I have. The journals that had been set aside in the heat of the push to maintain peace are now yearning to give insight to thoughts that ran deep. My love and compassion for humanity has swelled like the tide, and with it, a desire to reawaken expression.

Thanks for sharing this time with me.

Like, What?

likeIt’s been a while since I’ve written and I find these days a hesitation to write. It seems as if everyone is so bold today about sharing their opinions and perspectives. I miss the days when people purposed to listen rather than to blare out their thoughts and practiced the ART of discretion. So here I am, blaring out my thoughts, but on the very subject that this entails.

I’ve noticed recently that people are living their lives by what they do or do not “like”. The difficulty in this is that one’s opinions can change as often as they receive new information or data to add to their theories. My husband always encouraged our children in their school-age years not to worry about who liked them on any given day, because by the next day that would change.

The verb like as defined in the Webster’s is:

Definition of like, liked, liking

  1. transitive verb
  2. chiefly dialectal : to be suitable or agreeable to I like onions but they don’t like me

  3.  to feel attraction toward or take pleasure in : enjoy- likes baseball                       to feel toward :  regard – how would you like a change

  4.  to wish to have :  want –  would like a drink

  5.  to do well in this plant likes dry soil my car does not like cold weather

  6. intransitive verb
  7. dialect :  approve

  8. to feel inclined :  choose, prefer leave any time you like

And used in sentences:

  1. He likes baseball, but he loves football.

  2. Do you like Mexican food?

  3. I liked the movie a lot more than I thought I would.

  4. I don’t know what it is about that guy, but I just don’t like him.

  5. They were political allies who truly liked each other.

  6. What is it that you like or dislike about him most?

  7. She says she likes him as a friend but she’s not attracted to him.

  8. My boss was a tough guy, but I liked him for his honesty

 

Notice that all of these choices reflect emotions that can change in an instant. I believe the better way is to choose to live by what is moral, ethical, conscientious and right. This view serves the whole of humanity, not the purpose of one. This view is God’s plan for all of us, from the beginning to the end, whether or not one is able like or believe that He is there. This view makes way for us to enjoy one another to a greater degree, live peaceably, let go of anger, and find joy. It brings us back to the ability to just “be” and stop trying so hard to “prove”. With all of the stress, anxiety, turmoil and chaos in life, this seems to me to be so much more desirable. I think I like it.

Mansions

door-opening

I have a friend who has written a remarkable blog (and is actually approaching his 4th year wih it), that has brought me much inspiration and spiritual confirmation. His blog is Teresa of Avila turns 500.  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/9429716  Teresa of Avila is respected as one among the greatest writers of spiritual literature in the sixteenth century. His writing about her writing has inspired me to delve further into some of the spiritual understanding she gained on her journey with Christ.

One particular comment she made that I came across in my own research was this: “It came to me that the soul is like a castle made exclusively of diamond or some other very clear crystal. In this castle are a multitude of dwellings just as in heaven there are many mansions. If we muse on this deeply, friends, we will see that the soul of a righteous person is none other than a garden in which the Beloved takes great delight. What do you think that a place might be like that such a king- so powerful and wise, so pure and filled with all good things- would find so delightful? I myself can come up with nothing as magnificent as the beauty and amplitude of the soul.”

When she spoke about many mansions in heaven, she referred to John 14:2, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” Over the years, bible teachers have indicated that Jesus, upon returning to heaven would prepare for us mansions of gold and jewel, magnificent dwellings that would rival no other. I’ve heard many people say with a glow of lust in their eyes that they cannot wait until they get to heaven and see what their mansion looks like and what it will have in it. How absolutely absurd I have always felt this to be, and so very selfish. Of course, our Father has bestowed every good gift upon us, but not so that we may greedily consume it, but rather that we may reflect on the glory of the giver of the gift.

However, as I read this text, I am seeing that the garden of God is not a plot of real estate as so many would surmise, but rather the garden where God walks with us and “dwells” with us, is our very soul. His going to prepare a place for us simply meant that He was preparing for His crucifixion and resurrection, which would redeem our souls and provide for us eternal life with the Beloved.

This understanding then takes me back to the many mansions. What does that mean exactly and how does it apply?

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines mansions as such:

MAN’SION, noun [Latin mansio, from maneo, to dwell.]

1. Any place of residence; a house; a habitation. “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” John 14:2.  2. The house of the Lord of a manor.  3. Residence; above.

AND MAN’SION, verb intransitive To dwell; to reside.

I see my soul as being the house of the Lord or the place where we dwell and reside together. And in His house are many dwelling places (souls).

Teresa also said, “We have heard that we have souls, and our faith compels us to believe that is true. But we rarely consider the soul’s excellent qualities or who it is that dwells within or how precious that really is.” She goes on to explain that people become so involved in worldly matters that they are incapable of entering within themselves, so used to dealing with the worldly evils that they can find no remedy for them, even though they are naturally endowed with the ability to commune with the Beloved Himself at any time.

She fully believed, and I agree, that the doorway to that garden, where our Beloved dwells is prayer and meditation (reflection, contemplation). We have access to that place of refuge and peace, love and acceptance, wisdom and counsel in any moment of every day. We have a living God, who is waiting to walk with us in the garden and answer our every thought or need. And all we need to do is open the door….

 

Sources: http://webstersdictionary1828.com/ ; The Interior Castle Translation and Introduction by Mirabai Starr