Thoughts to share received in prayer and study of the word

Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Category

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.

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Mansions

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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

 

 

 

 

Experience

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What is your experience in relationship with God?
For some, the definition of Chistianity is based on their personal viewpoint of what Christianity should look like. But viewpoints can and do frequently change, which allows veering from foundational truth. Rationalizing that truth can result in deception, even to the point of deceiving self and attempting to introduce new doctrine.
Experience, defined is: practical contact with, observation of, involvement in, participation in, contact with, acquaintance with, exposure to, awareness of, insight into; and to experience is to encounter, to meet, come into contact with, come across, come up against, come face to face with.
Christianity, then, is not a viewpoint. It is a continuous experience. It is a seeking, finding, learning and knowing of the character and person of Jesus. It is the breath of life from God – inhale, exhale, inhale. It’s discovering what “abide in Me, and I in you” really means.

Compassion

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Compassion is defined as the response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help. Compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help physical, spiritual, or emotional hurts or pains of another. The English noun compassion, meaning to love together with, comes from the Latin preposition cum(= with); the passion segment is related in origin, form and meaning to the English noun patient (= one who suffers). The truest form of compassion, then, is to love together with one who suffers. It is ranked as among the greatest of virtues in numerous philosophies and in almost all of the major religious traditions.
The scriptures say that Jesus was filled with compassion. The greatest gift He gave to mankind was to take our sin and sickness upon Himself, which restored our right standing with God and assured that we would not have to suffer the consequences of sin. He loved together with all who were suffering as the result of separation from God. He was filled with a desire to help those in need.
At the beginning of each year our pastor encourages us to seek God for one word that will define our direction and our focus for that year; an area that will require us to be intentional and ever mindful of God’s presence and His plan for us. My word last year was gratitude as you learned in an earlier blog I posted. This year my word is compassion. When I shared that with a dear friend, she said, “That’s interesting Ann, because you’re one of the most compassionate people I know.”
True to His nature however, the Lord has shown me (and actually He started two years ago though I was unaware), there is a great deal of difference between feeling compassion for others and loving together with them in their suffering.
Our calling is not to sit in a private box at the big race and watch others as they run, feeling empathy for them when they stumble and shouting a “woohoo” when they round a curve, judging their form and performance; but rather it is to run beside them, feeling the burn as they fight for momentum, urging them onward toward the goal, hurting when they hurt and sharing in the exhilaration when they rejoice. Irrational generosity, unconditional love, and intentional purpose is what we bring to prepare them and to provide for them as they struggle to overcome in both the straightaway and in the press. It is not seeing who they are, but seeing who God is and who they are in Him.
So though in days past I “felt” compassion for others, I believe now that I am becoming compassionate and reaching toward being filled with compassion.

Seasons

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I so love the change of seasons as you see the old fading away and the new coming in fresh and alive, full of the unknown, full of adventure. I’ve been pondering all that has taken place in our lives since the new year. I am startled to see that this is the first time I have blogged this year, and yet very pleased in knowing that I am once again ready to write. There has been a passing away of the old in our lives, some of it painful in passing and yet other parts opening new life where we had not anticipated it to come. I am reminded of something that I read, “Sometimes you don’t know you’re taking the first step through a door until you’re already inside.”  ~Ann Voskamp

We are alive again, vibrantly and brilliantly alive! And while we still yet see an occasional crumpled up dry leaf on the path that needs to be swept away, we can confidently say that God has been so good to us! He has healed us and made us new, opened our eyes, corrected our vision, changed our course and headed us down a path we couldn’t have seen without His loving guidance. Each day that dawns brings with it a new adventure, a new discovery and a renewed strength. We have a determination to reach the end goal and are truly inspired by the things we have learned and the friends that we have made to believe that we are in His plan for our lives and fulfilling His purpose in us.

Gratitude…

A Love Story

crowd
She heard that day that he was in town, and she thought, “I’ve just got to see him! I feel like I know so much about him from what everyone has told me, and he sounds like all that I’ve dreamed of!” The only thing holding her back was that she knew when she got there that no one was going to want her around. She was looked down upon by so many, despised by others, and actually hated by even more. They would not be happy to see her. So what should she do? This, she knew, was her one chance to find out if he was THE ONE, that special man, who was just for her. Yet, she knew that he was famous, always surrounded by such a crowd of people, there was nowhere he went that his presence didn’t cause a stir. People thronged him, everyone wanting to be close, to get his attention. Getting anywhere near him would be a hard thing to do, like riding on a sea of bodies, all determined to be first in line, and aggressive in their persistence. What if she got there and couldn’t get close enough to see him? What if she did get close enough, and he totally ignored her? What if her presence there even went so far as to make him angry, or make the others angry enough to call her out? But she had to find out, she just had this feeling that this was the day, this was her time. It would be all right. It just had to be, she was desperate. She felt drawn to him and she knew that she needed him like she had never needed before, and at the same time she wondered how it was that she knew that if she’d never even met him, they’d never been introduced or even been in the same group of people before. What was she thinking? Even while this war was going on in her mind, her feet carried her to the place where he was. She was right, there were a lot of people there. She began to make her way through the crowd, taking each opportunity of a person shifting on their feet to gain ground, moving a little further ahead, weaving her way through like a thread on fabric, I’ve just got to get from beginning to end. As she got closer, all movement stopped. The people were packed so tight together, she could go no further. But wait, think! There has to be a way. Tuck in a little, stoop down, she kept striving, little by little, inching closer to him. And again, a sudden stop, no more ground to gain. But she was so close this time, she could see him, hear him, and literally FEEL him that close to her. She couldn’t let him get away without finding out. She could hardly breathe, the crowd was so closely bound together. One more try, she pressed in, stretched and worked and reached out her arm, working her way to the ground, and suddenly……SHE WAS HEALED! Luke 8:40-48

Insight from 1965

Very sobering. How little did he know how his words would ring true.

Paul Harvey 1965