Thoughts to share received in prayer and study of the word

Posts tagged ‘comfort’

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.

 

 

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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.

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

 

 

 

 

Be Anxious for Nothing

ForestMy heart is breaking for others today. All around me there are so many who are suffering with anxiety, from low level moments to full out panic attacks. And I understand it because this is an area where I have struggled to overcome for many years.

Through all of the study I have done on this subject, I have learned some very interesting things – first, that there is a definitive difference between anxiety and worry.  It is said that those who worry know the object of their fear or what they are worrying about, such as a job interview, a mortgage payment, or a troubled child. Anxiety, however, is an emotion you experience because of a perceived threat, imminent event or uncertain outcome; it is restless energy. You feel overwhelmed, out of control, fearful, and experience unusually high tension and uneasiness without understanding why you feel that way. People may ask you what is bothering you and you respond with “I don’t know” in complete honesty.

I have also come to understand that anxiety can affect how we feel and behave, and can manifest real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating, having a serious impact on daily life. General anxiety is characterized by excessive, long-lasting anxiety and worry about nonspecific life events, objects, and situations without being able to control or identify the fear. Phobias are a fear response identified with a specific cause, rational or irrational. Panic attacks are abrupt, spontaneous and intense, generally leading the person who experiences them even becoming anxious about recurrence of the attacks. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a potentially disabling condition that can persist throughout a person’s life. The individual who suffers from OCD becomes trapped in a pattern of repetitive thoughts and behaviors that are senseless and distressing, but extremely difficult to overcome. They usually know that their compulsions are unreasonable or irrational, but they serve to alleviate their anxiety. Social anxiety is characterized by a fear of being negatively judged by others, and while once only affected a small number of individuals, is on the increase due to the rise of social media. It can cause people to avoid public situations and human contact to the point that normal life is rendered impossible.

The latter of these listed here is the subject I would like to address further. Because of the influx of social media into our society, and also through the work of many faith communities, people today are being pushed to “be more, do more, have more” to such a degree that I believe it is suffocating their ability to find and know peace or rest. People are not just attempting to “keep up with the Joneses” as one generation put it, but now everything has to be perfect. We post in our news feed about our perfect fitness workouts, perfect homes, perfect families, perfect activities and perfect meal plans. If we are not perfect, the fear of being negatively judged looms overhead like a black cloud. Our culture has become performance-based and anxiety driven.

From Philippians 4:6-7

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

My husband and I recently had a conversation with someone where he asked that individual, “When is the last time you felt at peace?” The gentleman’s response was, “I don’t know that I really even know what that is.” To me, this is tragedy. Peace is freedom from disturbance; it is quiet tranquility, calm, restfulness and stillness. Our performance-based lives have taken calm and tranquility and cast them out the window while we were speeding down the freeway.

How do we re-discover peace? First, take the advice of the scripture referenced above. Then add the following, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true,whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) In other words, stop being driven by the demands and expectations of mankind and keep your thoughts focused on the beautiful and good in life. Stop trying to be everybody’s everything and JUST BE YOU.

For all of you who are suffering, I pray that you find peace.

Seasons

door

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…

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

Gifts

ForestA word of wisdom from my dear cousin!

Gloryteller

At Christmastime, when I was a boy, my dad understood the relative poverty of his children, so he would give us each a small amount of money to be spent on gifts for the other family members.  What was a small amount to him was a small fortune to us, so we each happily shopped with Mom and picked out trinkets and treasures for our siblings and parents.  Wrapping the gifts was fun, but the best part was the excited anticipation we had for Christmas morning when the family would partake in what we children had built in our minds to be the Olympics of giving and receiving.  It was as good as it gets, and after all the unwrapping, and showing, and laughing, and modelling, and cheering, and thanking, we all felt richer and more blessed than we were before.  But it was Dad and Mom, I think, who…

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