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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

 

 

 

 

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Behave

daisy5

I’m not much of one to rant, though I’d like to share an experience I had today. I had a conversation with someone that left me feeling sad and ashamed of what I see that we as a society have become. Whatever happened to courtesy, respect and just being kind?

This person was pretty beaten down by all of the rude and obnoxious behavior that has taken place this election year, and expressing how tiring and frustrating it is to deal with people who want to cast blame, force opinions and vent.  Though I understand everyone has different motives, I do agree.

There is such a big difference between standing firm in your convictions and trying to harass and intimidate others into believing the same things that you do. What many complain has happened in Christianity through judgmental, holier than others, and superior to all behavior has now crept into the rest of the world. Some would say the world brought it to the church, but I don’t think so. I think it came with mutual consent. We think that because we have been given a podium and a microphone through technology like email, social media, and video recording that it means that everyone out there not only wants to but NEEDS to hear our every thought and opinion. And then if they have the nerve to disagree, by golly we are going to set them straight, because all men are created equal, not individual. How crass, and how arrogant. Simply rude.

I’m an old-fashioned girl, I guess, because I still believe strongly in thinking the best of others and as my husband would say, loving them for who they are even if I don’t like who they are. In other words, it’s my duty in life to love all of mankind, though I am not required to agree with every thought, every bent and every mindset. I am free to choose what I believe, so why should I try to force others and take that freedom from them? I can hope to express my thoughts in such a way that perhaps others might see wisdom or rationality in my values, and then perhaps I can learn from the wisdom and rationality in some of theirs. We may even meet in the middle regarding some topics. But if we don’t, I am going to choose to be kind anyway. It makes life so much simpler than having to be angry at and hate everyone, raising ire and blood pressure and stress in my life, creating chaos and war with family and friends alike.

I miss the days when people used discretion, held their tongue, waiting for the right time and the right place to discuss issues with others, and for the sake of decency and civility, chose words like, “I disagree because”, “I understand, but what if” and “do you think”. I miss laughing at our shortcomings, telling stories and jokes, and having fun in the simplest of ways. I miss songs like, “We Are the World” and “I’m Proud to be an American”. I miss sitting on the front steps with your neighbors and watching the neighborhood kids at play. I miss honor and integrity. I miss love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control. I miss nice.

Be nice. Behave. Please.

 

 

Spreading Our Wings

eagles-in-flight

As this year comes to its close and I reflect on everything that the Lord has done in our lives, I see clearly that it has been a year of transition. In birthing, transition is the shortest phase of labor, yet it is the most intense and the most uncomfortable part of the birthing process. The major emotional marker during this phase is the sense or perception of being out of control and feeling completely helpless. It is said that it is essential for one to be reminded during this phase that they are in transition, as it helps them to handle the increased intensity.

The Lord has led us through some major life changes in this season redefining our priorities, redirecting our path, and even making a career change. Through every step of this process, we have experienced pressure, emotional highs and lows, and feelings of loss and exhilaration all at the same time. We have experience intense levels of character development, faith building and trust. Yet through all of it God was there bringing words of encouragement, guidance and hope. It is through the grace of God alone that we were able to handle such a year of change.

The eagle is considered to be one of the strongest creatures in flight and can carry an object weighing as much as itself. It has the ability to soar to heights of more than 10,000 feet. Its nest is built in the highest part of a cliff and can weigh up to two tons, built strong enough to weather and endure the elements and the strong gusts of wind that come with high altitudes, because the nest is built inside the cleft of a rock. An eagle will fly in the midst of a storm, undaunted and seemingly unaffected by the elements, soaring even higher and appearing to challenge the ferocity of the storm with courage and tranquility, flying with grace into the wind and catching the updraft again and again.

I’ve realized that as we have walked through this period of growth and maturing in our spiritual and natural lives, the Lord has surrounded us with an amazing family and awesome friends to lend encouragement and support, and to help us face the wind with courage and an eagerness to see new horizons. He’s given us His word and the Holy Spirit to be our guide and our comfort, and brought new heights to our relationship with Him in the process. And He has lit up our world with His glory and grace to remind us of His unchanging and unending love.

We are thankful for each of you that we call friend and family. Our prayer for you in the coming year is His prayer for us as He prepared to fulfill His destiny, “Now Father, I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing So My people can experience My joy completed in them. I gave them Your word; Make them holy—consecrated with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth. In the same way that You gave Me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. I’m consecrating Myself for their sake so they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission. I’m praying not only for them but also for those who will believe in Me because of them and their witness about Me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind — just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, so they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that You, in fact, sent Me. The same glory you gave Me, I gave them, so they’ll be as unified and together as we are — I in them and You in Me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence that You’ve sent Me and loved them in the same way You’ve loved Me.” John 17:13-23 MSG

The Holy Spirit Within Us (co-written with my cousin Len)

Pen
Furiously laying down ink,

My pen is burning hot!

Feel my soul’s combustion,

Yet feverish I’m not.

It’s simply passion burning,

A flame fanned by desire

To glorify my Saviour

And set the world on fire.

Poetry pure and simple…

Gloryteller

No One Doesn’t

One can push the fact away. Deny it.
Ignore it.
Refuse it.
Reject it.
Decline it.
Or flat turn it down.
The fact is this:
No one doesn’t want love.
Everyone wants love.
Whether they know it or not.
Even needs it, to my mind.
It feeds the soul.
It quenches her thirst.
Shelters her.
Clothes her in glorious splendor.
No one doesn’t long for love.
No one doesn’t!
Like breathing.
You can’t breathe properly, nothing seems right.
Some accept that, many deny it.
But it remains, beyond denial.
Beyond refusal.
Beyond all rejection of the idea.
As nectar remains deep inside the flower.
As life is encased inside the hard, dry seed.
The longing lives in us all.
A smoldering coal.
Unquenchable.
An unreachable itch.
Unscratchable.
We search a lifetime to reach, to quench.
I know that in myself.
Ahhh, to love and be loved…

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SOMEONE I’D LIKE YOU TO MEET

My Friend, There's Someone I'd Like You To Meet.

I’m reblogging an absolutely wonderful piece written by my cousin, Lenn. Truthfully, I couldn’t NOT share it – so very well written.

INSPIRING ART

Sharing a link featuring the work of a very gifted artist. http://karanarora.posterous.com/insane-art-formed-by-carving-books-with-surgi