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What Does Gay Spirituality Mean?

By Howie Holben
What exactly do we mean when we talk about gay spirituality? Since many of us grew up in religious organizations that told us we were abominations and unworthy sinners there are plenty of people within the GLBT community that aren't interested in religion. Others want some validation from the church and thus look for meaning in religion. If you take your spiritual journey, you'll find that the process can definitely be satisfying.

In many cases, whether we were ready or not, our spiritual quests started in our youth. Not all of us completely grasped why condemnation of the gay population bothered us so much. Some of us understood all too well.

This led to a natural progression of questions that were taken away from the church and into other possibilities. Some people created groups and offered emotional and spiritual support along with the fight for social justice.

Fortunately, spiritual answers do not necessarily have to come from a church or a person of religious affiliation. Not all of us culminate our gay spirituality quest on the steps of a religious building. We've gone from the efforts of a few brave religious figures reaching out toward the community to what are now known as open and affirming churches.

If your family is particularly religious it can be difficult to reconcile your emotional and spiritual ideas. Your emotional side remembers the prayers, the "treatments, " and the casting out while your spiritual ideas look further inside. There is no admission from the religious affiliations that cast you aside, and there is no confirmation from their view that you are just fine the way you are. That's for you to find out. Many would say that's for you to feel.

This means that you never have to set foot into an organized church if you prefer not to, as the answers aren't likely to come from a single man or woman of the cloth. Rather, spiritual answers tend to come from within. They come in the form of a loved one or a partner. They come in the form of a sense of self and a strong sense of owning your sexuality. They come in little tid bits all throughout life. They come in moments that you recognize but often aren't sure what to call them.

Historically, religions and spirituality do not even have to mean the same thing. While we make the associated connection, spiritual beliefs are of a totally different make and model. Religion is a taught belief system. Spiritual beliefs are a felt and internal belief system. Bringing the two together can be an interesting challenge but one that can be done in your own way. Having the option to figure out what works for you is really the key.

You can join the open and affirming churches and learn to grasp your gay spirituality if you choose. It can be a great place to debate and discuss. Or you can create your own private moments that offer you a reflective chance to decide for yourself. The journey simply never really has to end.

Howie Holben has traveled the world learning from indigenous peoples. Spirit Journeys is a spiritual gay travel group. They have exceptional spiritual travel trips. You can learn more about gay spirituality, Howie and his work at http://www.SpiritJourneys.com.

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The Perfect Prayer

By Cherokee Billie

Many people ask me about praying. As a spiritual advisor I pray with almost every one of my clients. I do not believe in any religion, but find strength and encouragement from all of the great masters and teachers of the Great Spirit. People always feel a great release when I pray and I would like to lay out what I have found to be the perfect prayer that is simple and easy to do every day. I choose no argument with those of various religious doctrines who oppose these ideas that I put forth, and ask only for the same courtesy in return.

I had a visitation with Jesus last year, this was not my first visitation with Jesus, and he laid out to me why this prayer was so important to say every day. No matter what religion or spiritual belief you have here is a wonderful outline of how to pray. You do not have to be a Christian for this to be effective because this prayer is perfect in its simplicity. Remember Jesus was not a Christian. I am spiritual and I do admire many of the teachings of Jesus.

I am going to break down each line of this prayer and show you why it’s important in its beautiful simplicity.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (This is acknowledging the Divine Spirit and showing your belief in the sanctity of the creator.)

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Here you are expressing that all spiritual work be done on earth just like it is in spirit. You’re also asking for the heavenly kingdom to be here now with you.)
Give us this day our daily bread. (You are asking for what you need today, not tomorrow-just for today.)
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Forgiveness of ourselves and those who have treated us badly is the foundation for spiritual growth.)

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: (It’s easy to be tempted and here you are asking to be kept from temptation and any wrongdoing, which can be evil.)

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Once again you are showing reverence for the power and glory of the Divine.)

You do not need to use vain repetitions because you think this will get the attention of God. Get alone and pray by yourself because this will give you time to quiet your mind and hear any messages God can give you. Praying in a group is good, but it will not help you get answers that you need or give you the perfect peace of the Divine.

God loves having time with you alone. He’s always waiting for you and prayers are answered. Prayers are often answered in ways that we did not ask. The reason is God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. If you pray for just what you need for the day you will start finding openings in your life that you never had before.

Be patient and trust that God will take care of you. The Divine Creator knows what you need even before you ask. It’s in the asking that the miracles occur.

About the Author:
http://www.cherokeebillie.comPsychic Cherokee Billie has been working as a Clairvoyant advisor for over 25 years. She receives messages that will change your life! She helps her clients to connect with their Soul's Path, bringing peace and joy into their daily lives. Fast - Straightforward Answers and the Plain Truth!

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www.isnare.com
Permanent Link:
http://www.isnare.com/?aid=436154&ca=Religion


Jesus Wasn'T A Christian!

By: Ernie Fitzpatrick

For many THAT is like getting thrown into a pool of cold water. Say what! What happens when we put Jesus in our "Religious Christian box" is that we LIMIT him to only those thoughts contained in our BOX. We know we can't box Jesus in, but we do it almost subconsciously, and we do it to our peril. 

Many religions have sprung up and taken on the moniker- Christian. So,which one really is the real deal?

In fact, Jesus didn't come to establish yet another religion. Catholicism had sway over the Christian domain and kingdom for many years, but as it turned out all those Crusades and shady Popes (there were many good ones too) put a blight on what the phrase "universal church" should really be. If there is a universal church it's the one that simply IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!

While many wonder just what it was that Jesus did for eighteen years (12-30), I have a larger question.

Why is it that much of Christianity acts as though Jesus really did die?

Jesus died on the cross and then came back and showed us that there is an eternal life, and that he can and did communicate with us in the spiritual body; however, many act as though he really did die because they don't or haven't heard from him in 2,000 years. Does it really make any sense that we who are Christians aren't hearing from the one we profess to have made numerous religions? What's so hard to understand about the phrase "I am with you ALWAYS" (Matt. 28:20).

Jesus is ALIVE and to place 2,000 year old words above and higher than his NOW word(s) just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe it's because I am more into the INNER, esoteric, and more INTIMATE nature of the spiritual relationship. Some simply say it's because I am deceived. Sine I'm not into the duality of who is right and wrong, let me just end by saying, I sure love my current relationship with Jesus so much better than the one I had five years ago: even a year ago!  :-)

About the Author

As a spiritual-futurist, I interpret current events in light of possible macro-universal forces at play leading up to 2012, but not limited to it.

(ArticlesBase SC #785044)

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/ - Jesus Wasn'T A Christian!

Jesus Was Free!

By: Ernie Fitzpatrick

There are so many things to LIKE about Jesus and quite a few to NOT LIKE as well, especially if you think that life should be FAIR! Most people who follow almost every or any brand of religion subconsciously falls prey to the FAIRNESS CODE only to find out that God isn't FAIR. GRACE is not FAIR!  

The story in John, chapter eight, quickly does away with any fairness issues.

Here we have a woman caught red-handed by several witnesses. The God-fearing and self-righteous Jews who discovered her sinful act needed to ahve their VINDICTIVE theistic God do something. They believed in a reward-punishment paradigm. This woman had clearly been caught in the act of a great moral compromise that demanded punishment. There was just one problem.

Jesus didn't see God as vindictive! Neither do I.

Jesus saw God as love. So do I!

Jesus saw God as love (fancy that!). Jesus not only SAW, but He KNEW God as compassionate, forgiving, and merciful. So, regardless of how you want to spin the story on how she got off Scott-free, she felt the hand of grace in her life regardless. God didn't need to punish her, but love her. Can you hear that? The very religious simply cannot hear it at all.

Why, if someone isn't punished, what'sin it for them? Why should they toe the line, heed the law, and miss out on all the fun if there's no retribution. Bring on the punishment lest it tempt them to so indulge as well. Paul Tillich called such a potential attitude as "the vengeance of the denied possibility." Think about that one.

Ultimately our view of God will determine how we see life, see others, and live life. We will either be FREE or we'll live in some sort of self-imposed slavery to various laws and thoughts. Jesus knew Abba Father as FREE and so Jesus was FREE and therein FREED others.

What's your view of God?

Are you FREE?

About the Author

As a spiritual-futurist my commentaries and articles deal primarily with an interpretation of current events in light of macro-universal forces at play, particularly leading up to 2012.

(ArticlesBase SC #444639)

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/ - Jesus Was Free!

Christian Meditation. Sacred Silence

Author: David Wilcox

Are you a Christian who would like to know how to enjoy the benefits of meditation, but are afraid to try it because you believe it is not compatible with Christianity? If so would you like to see what the gospels have to say on the subject?

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:6)

There is a general mistrust of meditation by Christians. This stems from the fact that meditation is seen by many Christians to be an occult practice, and there is no doubt that it is practiced by occultists. However, the gospels mention that Jesus practiced meditation, and as the passage above points out, Jesus encouraged his followers to meditate as well.

How does Jesus encourage his followers to meditate? The passage offers 3 simple steps.

Step One: Go Into Your Room. This Means Have an Open and Receptive Heart.

Jesus did not mean literally go into a room. Most people who lived during Jesus\' time lived in open houses with one room, shared with many people. Jesus was speaking symbolically. The room is the human heart, the seat of intuition, desire, and emotion. Jesus is telling us that the first step is to have an open and receptive heart, to believe and expect that God can be found through intuition, and feeling. This takes trust, but this trust is not misplaced and in fact it is the only way that you can see the Father, who is unseen.

Step Two: Close the Door. This Means Silence the Objective Mind.

The objective mind needs to be silenced. There is nothing wrong with our objective mind, and in fact it has an important function to play. However, it gets in the way during prayer and meditation, because it constantly chatters, judges, and tries to keep us totally focused on the life of the senses. Praying to the Father means opening ourselves up to a higher mind and communing with it on its terms. We must close the door on our objective mind and the experiences of the senses, and open our hearts and minds to another reality.

Step Three: Wait For The Father.

If you approach meditation with an open mind and heart, and are able to effectively silence your objective mind, then you will be ready to commune with the universal mind, which Jesus calls the Father. Jesus tells us the Father will see us in secret (that is while the objective mind is quiet) and will reward us with His presence. At this point, you will be establishing a relationship with the universal higher mind through direct contact with your mind and heart. And at this point transformation becomes possible.

As you can see, Jesus offers a method of meditation which is effective for communing with God. There is no doubt that as a Christian, if you follow these steps, you will meet God in the silence of your heart and mind.

 

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/meditation-articles/christian-meditation-sacred-silence-4384487.html

About the Author

David Wilcox has taught and coached at the high school level for 18 years. He writes articles relating to his passions: meditation, spirituality, self-improvement, teaching, and coaching, drawing off his depth of personal experience and desire to make a difference in the lives of others. Visit http://thepowerofthespirit.blogspot.com/  and http://www.squidoo.com/meditation-for-self-improvementfor information and programs designed to teach people how to meditate and unfold the Power of the Spirit in their lives

 

The Importance Of Prayer And Meditation With God

David Maillie is a well known author and award winning researcher with over 12 years experience in research and analysis. For more great information and ideas similar to this please visit http://www.bestskinpeel.com and http://www.mdwholesale.com

Prayer and meditation have been proven in multiple settings to have a profound influence on peoples health and especially on hospital patients. People who pray and meditate daily have shown marked decreases in stress hormone levels. They have also been shown to age better, live longer, and handle adversity far better. Basically, people that believe in God and pray consistently are happier and have a better quality of life. Why is this?

People that pray and meditate feel a sense of belonging. They are not alone to face the perils of this world. All major religions believe in a God and that through this prayer and meditation they can communicate with God. They can ask for forgiveness and ask for help. It has long been shown by psychologists and psychiatrists that it is essential to have a sense of belonging for proper mental health. People that are loners by nature tend to die early, not look and feel as healthy, and do not handle adversity and stress well. They tend to hold it in and then blow up on those that are actually trying to help them.

Prayer and meditation let one detoxify their body and mind of toxic thoughts. Just like toxins we are familiar with, toxic thoughts can bring on depression, dark thoughts, hatred, mental illness and even suicide. Toxic thoughts and being alone are very negative for good mental health. By praying and meditating we are distressing our bodies and learning to put ourselves and our minds in a relaxed state. The best thing is that prayer and mediation are free. You can do it anywhere at anytime, in an elevator, in a quiet room, before going to sleep at night, the possibilities are endless. Prayer will help clean your mind of worry and stressful thoughts and replace them with thoughts of hope and serenity. Prayer before bedtime has been proven to reduce or entirely eliminate the need for sleeping pills altogether in some cases.

Prayer should not be thought of as a chore. It can be as simple as the infamous Lord's Prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Basically in the Lords Prayer one is asking for forgiveness, for deliverance, guidance and that Gods will be done. In Matthew 7:11 it says:

So if you, weak mortals that you are, are capable of making good gifts to your children, do not you think your spiritual Father will give even better gifts to those who ask him?

We need to realize that regardless of our religion, God is infinitesimally smarter beyond any human comprehension and knows what is best for each and every one of us. God may not always seem to answer our prayers in the way we would like, but that does not mean he does not hear us. God gave us the gift of prayer so that not only could we talk to him, but so we could heal our bodies and better cope with the stresses of daily life. Through our prayer and meditation we can learn patience, forgiveness, hope, love and true happiness. This is why some biblical scholars say prayer is Gods greatest gift to mankind.

4 Steps to Christian Inspiration

One of the most important things to remember as we study Christian inspiration is that when we are inspired we must use our inspiration for the glory of God and to do His will. Jesus tells us: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33, KJV) We must first seek His righteousness and His will before we will be able to use His inspiration for both His glory and our growth and benefit.

There are 4 steps to achieving success through Christian inspiration:

1. Recognize that everything we have is from God and that everything we do should be to glorify the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God gives us His Spirit and His inspiration to be used for His glory. Job says of God (the Ancient): “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.” (Job 12:12-13, KJV) God holds all the wisdom in the earth and only He can dispense of it.

2. Ask God for the inspiration that you need. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 7:7, KJV) Before we can be given the wisdom of God and His inspiration, we must first ask Him for it. James tells us: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5, KJV)

3. Purpose to use the wisdom and Christian inspiration He gives you for His glory and His purpose. Once we are given wisdom and inspiration, we have a tremendous responsibility to use it prudently. Jesus Himself tells us: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Lk. 12:48b, KJV).

4. Practice using Christian inspiration. Once you have Christian inspiration, you must practice using it. So often we are given a gift and we do not use it. Just like any skill we might learn, Christian inspiration is most effectively used long-term when we daily accept it. When you are inspired or have an inspired thought about something you have been struggling with, write it down, or immediately put it into action. When you use the Christian inspiration you are given, you likely place yourself in an ideal position to receive future inspiration.

Now you have 4 basic steps to Christian inspiration. When you consistently apply these four steps, and spend time with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself on a daily basis, you will be able to tap into a nearly limitless supply of inspiration. Take the time to study the accompanying Bible verses in this article, and meditate on the Word of God daily.

You have my permission to reprint and distribute this article as long as it is distributed in its entirety, including all links. © Sean Mize 2006

MARY MAGDALENE, THE MYSTERIOUS ONE

Author: Nancy B. Detweiler

MARY MAGDALENE, THE MYSTERIOUS ONE

Nancy B. Detweiler, M.Ed., M.Div.

For most of the past 2,000 years of the Piscean Age, the true identity of Mary Magdalene has remained shrouded in secrecy.  Why?  What earth-shaking cataclysm is thereby postponed?  Why is Mary Magdalene the only biblical character to be controversial?  Why, in 591 C.E. (A.D.), did Pope Gregory I in his Homily 33 declare that Mary Magdalene and the woman caught in adultery (Luke 7) were one and the same; and that the faithful should regard Mary Magdalene as a penitent whore?  In 1969, the Vatican officially repealed Pope Gregory I's designation of Mary Magdalene as a whore and declared her a saint instead.  However, the majority of the public continues to think of her as the prostitute.

For many, Mary Magdalene's identity has been confused by the presence of at least seven women called 'Mary' in the gospel stories.  At least one major Hollywood movie presented Mary Magdalene as Mary, the sister of Lazarus.  Can we solve the mystery—who is Mary Magdalene?

Harper's Bible Dictionary lists the seven Marys.

1.  Mary, the mother of Jesus – Roman Catholics venerate this Mary as the Virgin Mother of the God Child, Jesus.  Yet, aside from the virgin birth stories in synoptic gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mary—the mother of Jesus—is portrayed as not truly understanding her son's mission.

At age twelve, Jesus is perplexed when his parents, believing him to be lost, do not immediately look for him in the Temple.  'Why were you looking for me?  Did you not know that I would be in the house of my Father?  But they could not understand the words which he said to them.' Luke 2:49-50

Mark, the earliest of the synoptic gospels, does not mention the birth of Jesus.  The Gospel of Mark depicts Jesus\' family reacting to his healing of those afflicted with unclean spirits by thinking he has gone insane:  'And his relatives heard of it, and went out to seize him, for they said, ‘He has lost his mind.\'' Mark 3:21

A few verses later, the Gospel of Mark leaves the impression that Jesus makes no response to the request of his mother and brothers to see him.  'The people were sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Behold, your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you.'  And he answered, saying to them, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?'  And he looked at those who sat near him and said, ‘Behold my mother and behold my brothers.  For whoever does the will of God is my brother and my sister and my mother.'' Mark 3:32-35

The Gospel of John differs in many ways from the synoptic gospels.  Although Jesus' birth is not mentioned in the Gospel of John, Mary appears to be familiar with the spiritual power residing within Jesus—as depicted in the story of the wedding in Cana.  But is this Mary, the mother of Jesus – or – is it Mary Magdalene?  Has the text been manipulated so that it appears to be the wedding of an unnamed couple in Cana to which Jesus had been invited?  Let's look at the narrative in John 2:1-11.

When the wine is depleted, Mary commands the servants to obey Jesus' instructions.  As a result, jars of water are transformed into wine.  Upon Jesus' request, the servants take the newly created wine to the chief guest (or master of ceremonies) for his approval.  The chief guest calls the bridegroom to him and says, 'Every man at first brings the best wine; and when they have drunk, then that which is weak; but you have kept the best until now.' John 2:8-10

Four significant impressions stand out in John's account of this wedding:

1) Mary takes charge when the wine runs out, even though as an invited guest she would be acting inappropriately.

2) No mention is made of the bride.

3) The chief guest calls the bridegroom to commend him on the wine.  Was this Jesus?

4)  Mary and Jesus were responsible for the wine … why?

Jewish custom was that the wedding feast took place in the home of the groom's father.  Here is where the wine flowed freely and the celebration lasted for a week.  By the time Jesus began his ministry, his earthly father had died.  According to the Talmud, Joseph of Arimathea was the younger brother of the father of Mary, mother of Jesus.  As Mary's uncle, Joseph of Arimathea became their legal guardian.

Joseph of Arimathea was one of the wealthiest men in the world, with vast holdings in the tin mines of Britain and one of the largest private merchant shipping fleets afloat.  Since the village of Cana is located between Magdala—a thriving community for shipbuilding and pickled fish that were shipped throughout the Roman Empire—and Phoenicia, also known for its shipbuilding industry, could Joseph of Arimathea have owned a residence in Cana?  History and traditional legends report Jesus spending much time in the company of his uncle during the 'lost years' of the New Testament record.   Could the wedding feast have taken place in Joseph's residence in Cana?  Connecting all the dots certainly makes it a possibility—a possibility that could even explain why Mary and Jesus took charge when the wine gave out.

2.  Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus – Mary Magdalene is frequently confused with Mary of Bethany.  This confusion is based partially on the three differing stories of a woman anointing Jesus.

In the Gospel of John, Mary of Bethany is depicted as the 'Mary' who anoints Jesus' feet with expensive perfume and wipes them with her hair.  'Mary took a cruse containing pure and expensive nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.' Mary of Bethany anointing  her Master's feet is a sign of Middle Eastern hospitality and of her obeisance to him as one of his disciples.  (John 11:1-2  from Lamsa's ancient Aramaic text)  The fact that she used very expensive pure nard reveals Jesus' friends in Bethany were also wealthy.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is eating at the home of a Pharisee.  An anonymous female sinner appears and symbolically bows down to Jesus as she wets his feet with her tears of repentance, wipes them with her hair, then kisses and anoints them with perfume.  Afterwards Jesus compares the woman\'s deed with the lack of ancient Middle Eastern hospitality he received upon entering the Pharisee's home:  'when I entered your house, you did not give me even water for my feet.  You did not kiss me; but she, since she entered, has not ceased to kiss my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil; but she has anointed my feet with perfume.' He then forgives the woman's sins and affirms, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.' (Luke 7:37-50 – Lamsa's ancient Aramaic text)  This is the woman to whom Pope Gregory I refers in his homily 33 of 591 C.E. (A.D.)

Both versions proclaim obeisance by the holding of Jesus' feet and reflect John the Baptist's statement:  'He who is coming after me is greater than I, one whose shoes I am not worthy to remove.' (Matthew 3:11)

As we shall see later, the Gospel of Mark's version is striking in its differences.  According to some biblical scholars, there is no reason to think the anointing event was limited to only one occasion.  Due to the hot, dry climate, it was Middle Eastern custom to anoint oneself/guests with aromatic oils.  It is possible the gospels reflect written or oral accounts of more than one anointing.  Both Luke's and John's versions appear to occur early in Jesus' ministry.  Mark's version takes place at the end of Jesus' ministry.

Another reason Mary Magdalene is confused with Mary of Bethany is that Jesus considered the three siblings—Martha, Mary, & Lazarus—close friends whom he visited frequently.  However, Mary of Bethany's personality is the opposite of Mary Magdalene's.  Mary of Bethany is most often mentioned as being in the company of Martha and Lazarus in or near her home in Bethany.    She is the passive, mystical member of the family who appears to lack practicality.  Martha is definitely the head of the household.  Mary of Bethany views Jesus as her teacher; she sits at his feet while he speaks in her home—oblivious to the food preparations occupying Martha's attention.  Mary of Bethany was not active within the ministry of Jesus.  He saw her only when he visited Bethany, a Judean village on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives about two miles east of Jerusalem and approximately two weeks journey by foot from Nazareth—Jesus' hometown and Capernaum—where Jesus' ministry was based in Galilee.

A map of Palestine during Jesus' time reveals the distance from Magdala, near Capernaum on the west side of the Sea of Galilee in Galilee, and Bethany, located just outside Jerusalem near the Dead Sea in Judea.  Samaria is located between Galilee and Judea—most Jews would not enter Samaria during the time of Jesus.  Almost the entirety of Palestine separated the hometowns of Mary of Bethany and Mary of Magdala.  To confuse their identities defies logic.

The lesser known 'Marys' were:

3.  Mary, the mother of James, Joseph, and Salome – or – the 'other Mary' as she is called in the crucifixion and burial scenes.

4.  Mary, the wife of Clopas and sister-in-law to Mary, mother of Jesus.  Some accounts list her as the sister of Mary, mother of Jesus.  This Mary was also present at the cross.  She is often confused with Mary, the mother of James, Joseph, and Salome.  In Matthew 10:3, 'James,' the lesser disciple, is listed as the son of Alphaeus (also called Clopas and Cleopas) and thus, the son of this Mary and cousin to Jesus.

5.  Mary of Jerusalem in whose spacious home Jesus and his disciples celebrated their last Passover together and where 120 (not counting women) of Jesus' followers met after his death.  (Acts 1:13-15)   Mary of Jerusalem's son, John Mark, accompanied Barnabas and Paul on some of their missionary journeys.

6.  Mary of Rome, who is mentioned by the Apostle Paul in Romans 16:6:  'Greet Mary, who has labored hard among you.'

And, last but far from least:

7.  Mary Magdalene or Mary of Magdala, whose name appears first in every listing of Jesus' female disciples.  (Mark 15:40-41, 47;  Mark 16:1; Matthew 27:55-56, 61; Matthew 28:1; Luke 8:2-3; and Luke 24:10)      Biblical scholars therefore believe Mary Magdalene to have been the leader of a group of women who traveled with and served Jesus throughout his three years ministry.

Mary Magdalene was ever-present with Jesus in all four gospel narratives.  The majority of Jesus' ministry took place in Galilee, along the western shores of the Sea of Galilee.   'He did not wish to travel in Judea because the Jews wanted to kill him.' (John 7:1)His ministry was centered in Capernaum, where he taught in the synagogue and frequently stayed in the home of Peter.  Archaeological remains of both the synagogue and Peter's house are visible today.  The still vividly painted ceramic tile floors of Peter's home are confirmation of his wife's wealth.

Ancient traditional legends state Peter's wife's name as Petronilla, a beautiful, well-bred, wealthy woman who assisted Peter throughout his ministry.  She and Peter were martyred together in Rome.

Jesus and his disciples have been portrayed as poor.  This could not be farther from the truth.  The fishing business was an international industry; Jesus' uncle—Joseph of Arimathea—was acknowledged as one of the wealthiest men in the world; a group of wealthy women traveled with Jesus; anytime Jesus needed a large house in which to meet, it was available to him.  Jesus descended from King David; he was of royal lineage.  Matthew 1: 16 provides the genealogy for Jesus, tracing him through the line of Joseph to King David.  'Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus.' The people of Palestine recognized Jesus' royal lineage.  One example:   'Have mercy on us, O son of David,' called two blind men as Jesus passed by.  (Matthew 9:27)

The main route of an international highway known as the Via Maris was located along the western coast of the Sea of Galilee.  Capernaum and Magdala—located on this route—prospered by the international fish trade.  The Sea of Galilee contained some forty species of fish that were salted in Magdala and shipped throughout the Roman Empire.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Via Maris was one of the most important trade routes in the Middle East during ancient times.  Via Maris is Latin for 'Way of the Sea' referred to in Isaiah 9:1.  The map above reveals the three major trade routes in ancient Palestine:  Via Maris, Ridge Route, and the King's Highway.  According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the Via Maris 'connected the major routes from the Fertile Crescent to Mesopotamia (from Egypt to modern day Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria.'  Ancient Palestine was cosmopolitan; its territory was alive with international trade and exposure to numerous cultures.  Biblical characters spoke several languages, including Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.  Studying the geography of ancient Palestine requires that we re-think our concept of who the biblical characters were.  Those characters that we study by name were not poor, naïve, and uneducated.  Instead, they were wealthy, educated, and well-traveled.

Ancient Magdala (Tarichaeae = the Greek name; Magdala = the Hebrew—they were one and the same) was a thriving rural community on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee between Capernaum and Tiberias.  Magdala contained a small synagogue and we can assume Jesus taught in this synagogue as well as the one in Capernaum.  In fact, Mark 1:39 confirms, 'He preached in all their synagogues throughout Galilee.'

According to Corinne Heline, traditional legends reveal that Mary Magdalene met Jesus in the home of Peter.  At the time they met, Mary Magdalene is described as being young, beautiful, arrogant, gorgeously attired, worldly, and very wealthy.  When she stepped into his presence, she was so impressed that she immediately renounced her former life in order to follow Jesus.

This transformation from a life focused on the emotional and materialistic planes

to a life completely dedicated to serving the Christ denotes the healing mentioned in Luke 8:2:  'Mary who is called Magdala, from whom seven demons went out ….' Charles Fillmore, founder of the Unity Movement, interprets demons to be error thoughts and feelings.    Mary Magdalene was not possessed.  She lists the seven powers of wrath or demons in her The Gospel of Mary.  They are:  'darkness, desire, ignorance, excitement (likely meaning fear) of death, kingdom of the flesh, foolish wisdom of the flesh, and wrathful wisdom.'  Another translation of The Gospel of Mary lists these demons or manifestations as:  darkness, craving, ignorance, lethal jealousy, enslavement to the body, intoxicated wisdom, and guileful wisdom.

These demons are the same demons each of us must overcome in order to achieve a higher, 5th dimensional consciousness—no negativity or non-truth can more forward into the higher dimensions.  The description of young Mary Magdalene by the traditional legends could describe any number of super stars in our 21st century American culture—super stars whom many attempt to emulate.  In modern language, Mary Magdalene was a super star who was transformed into a servant of the Christ and thereafter used her wealth to support Jesus' ministry.

Biblical scholars have found no evidence to prove that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, or the woman caught in adultery, whom (as the story is told) Jesus prevented from being stoned to death.  This connection was made many years later, possibly by those who wanted to hide her true identity.  In fact, according to a footnote in Lamsa's translation of the Bible from the Aramaic of the Peshitta, this story is not found in the ancient Peshitta, but occurs in later Aramaic texts.  This footnote explains:  'With reference to originality of the Peshitta text, the Church of the East received the scripture from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original … the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the East which has come down from the biblical times without any change or revision.'

As related in John 8:1-11, the woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus while he taught in the Temple of Jerusalem.  By this time, Mary Magdalene was an established and integral part of Jesus\' ministry.  Even if this were not the case, Mary Magdalene lived in Magdala, a town located approximately two weeks foot-journey from Jerusalem.  Even though her family was wealthy, the possibility of a young Jewish woman from Magdala being free to roam alone in the metropolitan city of Jerusalem appears remote.  Ancient tradition places her first meeting with Jesus as being in Peter's home in Capernaum, not in the Temple of Jerusalem.  It seems far more likely that Mary Magdalene's family were friends with Peter and Petronilla's family.  Both were wealthy and would have associated in the same economic/social circles.  The outskirts of the villages located around the Sea of Galilee were very close to each other, enabling easily accessible interaction between their residents.

From her life of materialism, Mary Magdalene became the most spiritually advanced of Jesus' disciples—an Initiate into the hidden wisdom to which Jesus so often referred.  She pre-empts Peter and John when she receives revelations from the risen Christ that she is to share with the disciples gathered at the home of Mary of Jerusalem.  The Gospel of Mary reiterates this favored position.

'At Peter's request, she (Mary Magdalene) tells the disciples about things that were hidden from them.  The basis for her knowledge is a vision of the Lord and a private dialogue with him….  After Mary finishes recounting her vision to the disciples, Andrew and then Peter challenge her on two grounds.  First of all, Andrew says, ‘these teachings are strange.'  Secondly, Peter questions, would the Savior really have told these teachings to a woman and kept them from the male disciples.  Levi admonishes Peter for contending with the woman as against the adversaries and acknowledges that the Savior loved her more than the other disciples….  The confrontation of Mary with Peter is also found in The Gospel of Thomas, Pistis Sophia, and The Gospel of the Egyptians.  The Gospel of Mary portrays Mary Magdalene as the Savior's beloved, possessed of knowledge and teaching superior to that of the public apostolic tradition.  Her superiority is based on vision and private revelation and is demonstrated in her capacity to strengthen the wavering disciples, and turn them toward the Good.'

Throughout the four gospel narratives, we see Mary Magdalene and a group of wealthy women traveling with Jesus.  They financially supported his ministry, as well as served alongside of him and the other disciples.  Joanna, the wife of Herod Antipas' steward, Chuza, and Susanna are also listed as belonging to this wealthy group of women. (Luke 8:3)   Some of the women traveling with Jesus were either the wives or family members of Jesus' disciples—Peter's wife Petronilla; Philip's wife and daughter; Mary, wife of Clopas and mother of the lesser James.  For the duration of his ministry, Jesus was surrounded by his wealthy female disciples.  His attitude and treatment of them had no resemblance to the traditional attitudes toward women that were prevalent in the Middle Eastern culture during biblical times.  They were his equals and he recognized them as such.

How and why has Mary Magdalene been confused with Mary of Bethany?  From the biblical account alone, we see Mary Magdalene stood out as a respected leader of Jesus' female disciples, many of whom were likewise wealthy and would have been accustomed to demanding the respect afforded an individual of high status in Galilee.  Yet, they willingly accepted Mary Magdalene's leadership.  Mary Magdalene possessed the 'eyes to see and the ears to hear'—a phrase Jesus used to denote those who could understand the hidden meaning of his teachings—the spiritually awakened.  Mary Magdalene understood the mission of Jesus.

In contrast, Mary of Bethany led a sheltered life in the home of her siblings, Martha and Lazarus.  Mary Magdalene is assertive with a strong sense of individual identity evidenced in her leadership role; Mary of Bethany, though loving the teachings of Jesus, is passive and submits to the leadership of her sister, Martha.  She sits at Jesus feet to listen to his teachings, while Mary Magdalene walked beside him throughout his ministry.  To confuse the two women defies reason.  The answer as to why confuse them is a matter of far greater import.

The discovery in 1945 of the Nag Hammadi Library consisting of 4th century manuscripts can shed light on this confusion.  The Gospel of Philip identifies Mary Magdalene as 'the one who was called his companion,' meaning Jesus' companion.  'And the companion of the … Mary Magdalene.  Loved her more than [all] the disciples and [used to] kiss her [often] on her […]  The rest of [the disciples].  They said to him, ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?'  The savior answered and said to them, ‘Why do I not love you like her?  When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another.  When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.'' According to ancient traditions, Jesus and Mary Magdalene had three children:  a daughter named Sara and two sons.

In The Gospel of Mary, Levi tells Peter, Andrew, and the other disciples:  'Surely the Savior knows her very well.  That is why he loved her more than us.' At least until the 4th century, the early Christians had no reason for concern over Jesus and Mary Magdalene being married.  Quoting from Harper's Encyclopedia of Bible Life:  'Marriage was an agreement between two heads of families, not between two individuals who were ‘in love.'  …  For a man, marriage was the only conceivable state; bachelorhood is never mentioned as a viable alternative.'

Since Joseph of Arimathea was legal guardian for Jesus, he would have been the one to meet with the father of a perspective wife.  The very likely connection between Joseph of Arimathea and the wealthy families living in a major shipbuilding community like Magdala enhances the likelihood of marriage between Mary Magdalene and Jesus.  Marriage was for the purpose of having children and continuing the family lineage and DNA.

The relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus is that of Twin Flames—two parts of the same Soul.  The symbolic story of Twin Flames is found in Genesis 2.  'And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to all fowls of the air, and to all wild beasts; but for Adam there was not found a helper who was equal to him.  So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh in its stead.  And of the rib which the Lord God had taken from Adam he made a woman, and brought her to Adam.  And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.  And they were both naked, Adam and his wife, and were not ashamed.' To be naked is symbolic of being pure, open.

According to the Ascended Masters' teachings, twin flames are two parts of the same Soul.  Although twin flames may experience a few lifetimes together, they tend to go their separate ways until they are ready to be reunited, to leave the wheel of karma, and to prepare for ascension into higher dimensional living.  In order to prepare for ascension, twin flames must accomplish a mission together.  This does not mean the twin flames will be on the same dimension while engaged in the mission; however, they will most likely be consciously aware of working together.  Twin Flames are never truly separated because as one grows—or fails to grow—he/she impacts the other.  Even though Twin Flames are in vastly different sections of the cosmos, the soul link is ever-present and they will eventually be ready to reunite on the same plane.

When she first met him at Peter's home in Capernaum, Mary Magdalene instantly recognized Jesus as her twin flame and transformed her lifestyle in order to complete their mission together.   She accompanied and assisted Jesus throughout his ministry, then continued, as the Apostle of Apostles, to teach the disciples the hidden wisdom Jesus had taught her privately.

This Twin Flame relationship is evident in Mark's story of the woman anointing Jesus' head.  In Mark 14:1-9, we find 'There came a woman who had with her an alabaster vessel of perfume of pure nard, of good quality and very expensive; and she opened it and poured it upon the head of Jesus.. Jesus said, 'Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has done a good deed for me.. But this one has done it with what she had; she anointed my body in advance as for the burial. And truly I say to you, wherever this my gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told as a memorial to her.''

Although Mark's gospel does not identify this woman, we can derive several clues from the narrative:

1.  The woman is wealthy. She uses very expensive pure nard (spikenard), a perfume imported from the Himalayas in alabaster boxes and opened on special occasions. In biblical times, this nard cost approximately one year's wages. (Harper's Bible Dictionary).

2.  Anointing on the head, during biblical times, was a means of investing someone with power, such as the anointing of Solomon as king by the priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan. (I Kings 1:39) Anointing could also signify the consecration of someone or something for a holy purpose.  Anointing on the head in the presence of a gathering was performed by priests and prophets—persons held in high esteem and possessing spiritual authority.

3.  Jesus recognized the woman's anointing as highly significant. In his words: 'Wherever this my gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told as a memorial to her.'

4.  The story of the woman anointing his head is to be told as a memorial to her, not to Jesus. Jesus knew her actions to be on par with his gospel. This eternal union instituted by Jesus signifies a pairing of male and female.

Mary Magdalene and Jesus were Twin Flames performing their mission together.  Even though the time of being physically together was drawing to a close, this joint mission continued as Mary Magdalene became the Apostle of Apostles.

In the next article, we will follow Mary Magdalene to the British Isles and Marseilles.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Gospel of Mary, Nag Hammadi Library, David Tresemer, Ph.D. & Laura Lea-Cannon

Translators.

Harper's Encyclopedia of Bible Life, Madeline S. & J. Lane Miller

The Drama of the Lost Disciples, George F. Jowett

Harper's Bible Dictionary , Paul J. Achtemeier, General Editor

Jewish Virtual Library website

New Age Bible Interpretation, Corinne Heline

Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, Charles Fillmore

Preface to the Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text, George M. Lamsa's Translation

From the Aramaic of the Peshitta.

The Gospel of Mary, Nag Hammadi Library, Introduction, Karen L. King

The Gospel of Philip, Nag Hammadi Library, Wesley W. Isenberg, Translator

Genesis 2:20-25

 

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/mary-magdalene-the-mysterious-one-3386145.html

About the Author

Nancy B. Detweiler's website is www.pathwaytoascension.com.  You can find photos of the Middle East by scrolling down the center of the Home page to Middle Eastern Photos/Commentary.  Volume 3 will be relevant to the above article.

Scripture Meditation: Hiding God's Word in Your Heart

Author: Rhonda Jones

We become what we meditate on. The scriptures tell us that a good man out of the good treasure of his heart creates that which is good. If we become or manifest what we continually think about, it is imparity that our thoughts and meditations reflect that which is good, holy, and loving. Fortunately, we have a whole arsenal of scriptures, verses, and passages right at our finger tips that we can meditate on daily. As we meditate on the scriptures or inspirational passages, these words begin to drop down in our spirit and transform us from within, beginning with our heart. As we continue with the practice, whether it takes days, months, or years, we will be changed. This is called Scripture meditation.

Through Scripture Meditation we learn how to quiet our minds and control our thoughts. The Bible tells us that the mind is the greatest enemy of the believer. Our minds are depraved. Our minds are unregenerated. Our minds are filled with all types of evil. Our minds war against the Spirit. Our minds want to be in control and if you are not controlling your mind, then your mind is controlling you and most of us are completely unaware of it. If we slowed down our thoughts and just listened, many Christians would hear a silent message playing over and over again. If these mental messages are uplifting and positive, then we are most likely attracting the good associated with our thoughts. But for many people, our mental messages our fear-based, debilitating and often laced with worry and other toxic emotions. These thoughts which areplanted deep within ourconsciousness cause us to miss out on the peace, joy, and prosperity that God wants to provide for us.If we are not monitoring our thoughts, it can lead us astray and out of the loving provision of God.

2 Cor. 10:4-5; 11:3 'But now I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from whole-hearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ!

Through meditation or Scripture Meditation, we learn how to:1) become an observer of our thoughts, 2) to quiet our minds and control our thoughts, 3) reduce stress, 4) uproot negative and destructive thoughts or patterns for positive and empowering ones 5) be still and connect with God, 6) be led by the Spirit instead of being lead by the flesh, 7) become more Christ-like, because we become what we meditate on, 8) subdue our flesh and reduce or eliminate compulsive behaviors or conditioning.


With all those benefits shouldn\'t every Christian be a meditating Christian? Absolutely, and what can be more Godly than meditating on the Word of God. Joshua 1:8 tells us that meditating on God will cause us to have success in life.

'Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.' - Joshua 1:8 'I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.' - Psalms 119:11

What better way to hide God\'s Word in your heart than to meditate on it everyday? And meditating on the scriptures is very different than just reading them. How many times have you read the scriptures and didn\'t understand them or soon forgot what you read? By meditating on the scriptures, by slowing and silently repeating them in your mind, you are allowing the scriptures to seep deep down into your consciousness where they can take root and grow. It\'s not even necessary that you think about the meaning of the words. The Bible tells us that God\'s word cannot return void. As we hide God\'s word in our heart, it will take root and grow a harvest of God\'s kingdom right here on the earth. Jesus said I will keep thee in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on me.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/scripture-meditation-hiding-gods-word-in-your-heart-3861529.html

About the Author
Learn how to eliminate worry, negative thinking, stress, and bring your thoughts under Christ by meditating on the Lord. Visit The Christian Meditator for free scripture meditation course & Christ-centered meditation CDs. Need a Physical and Spiritual Makeover? Visit Detox Your Life Now!

Daily Devotion: Your Everyday Ministry

Author: edwin joseph

How do you define a ministry? Is it about supporting every church activity and gathering? Or joining the music team? Or is it about being active in church evangelism programs? etc...


As I analyze the term 'Ministry', it seems that there will be 2 types:


1.) General Ministry - this is the type of ministry where most people get joined with. Just like what the term implies, this is intended for the general public who is interested. For example, music team, ushering team, pastor support team, evangelism team and many more.


2.) Personal Ministry - this is not about any other people, its all about you. We all have our own calling, own destiny to live in, own skill to use and develop, and own life to dedicate for God.


God has a very unique plan for all of us. Hard to imagine and think of but easy to know especially if we will truly seek God.


According to Romans 12:3-8, '(Rom 12:3) 'For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.(4)For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,(5)so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.(6)Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;(7)or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;(8)he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.'


It clearly states that we all have our own spiritual gifts to nurture and use everyday. We may have different capabilities but what matters most is that we all use it to fulfill God\'s plan in our lives.


Daily Devotion Conclusion:
God will judge us not based from all those things we did but on those things we obeyed. If you still don\'t know yet your spiritual gift, try seeking God because it will be the only solution.


You may start by sharing His marvelous Word. Believe me, we are all called to share the Gospel. It is a fact that you should consider.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/daily-devotion-your-everyday-ministry-1194647.html

About the Author

Edwin Joseph is a former self help and personal development writer which now focused on writing christian devotionals to share the word of God online. Giving You Enough Time To Know God www.InstantDevotion.com


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