Saturday, November 27, 2010

Field Notes to Mystical Theology: Interior Castle First Mansions

Field Notes to Mystical Theology are blog posts from my current writing project Field Guide to Mystical Theology. These are my research notes for the writing project. Without the overhead of printing costs, I can allow my notes to be as large and as exhaustive as I want. And keep the new Field Guide book I am writing, down to 200 or so pages. The first book in the series, Field Guide to Spiritual Warfare (Feb 2011, Destiny Image) is 300 pages.

These are my notes and not the book. So don't think you're getting away cheap here! The Field Guide to Mystical Theology is going to be awesome. Don't be turned off by the name 'mystic'. Did you know the original usage of the word 'mystic' was to describe the 'mystical body of Christ'? The mystical body means the Church. The term mystic means eastern religion or new age now. The enemy created its own counterfeit mysticism.  Grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and step into my writing studio as I work on this project. Feel free to comment and talk as I work in the studio on this fascinating project.

The Field Guide to Mystical Theology is about seeking a deeper prayer life with Jesus. I have spent a considerable amount of time researching some saints from the 1500s. Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross. As well as Padre Pio, from the past century. In this blog entry I am going to walk you through the works of the master of prayer, Saint Teresa of Avila herself, from her book, The Interior Castle. She was a no non-sense Carmelite prioress nun who was deeply in love with God and had some supernatural encounters because of her deep calling and spiritual union to God Almighty. In fact it was noted that about 6-7 years after her death, her body was on display and still not in a state of decay.

Her work outlines the contemplative prayer life, which I will cover in another Field Notes of Mystical Theology blog. These are my personal notes and research and I will believe they will help fellow Christians being attacked by the enemy. The key to overcoming the enemy is to seek Jesus deeper and enter union with him. Those who seek to be freed from just the pain and torment rarely succeed. If you are in what you feel a no win situation it is time to turn within and ask the creator of the universe, Jesus Christ for help.

Again, the following are my notes, hence the name, Field Notes.

Field Notes Sources:

Field Notes on Mystical Theology: Interior Castle First Mansions

Saint Teresa discusses, metaphorically, what she identifies as the 7 stages of prayer life. These are NOT to be read as step-by-step instructions to prayer life, or goals to achieve. Merely, a depiction of the soul as it develops with deeper prayer and commune with God.  It's about the soul and God becoming infused in a communion of love here on earth and getting a taste of Heaven. New Agers have run off with this as a spiritual guide and claims of how to attain the 7th mansion. This is a gross abuse of the works of our Carmelite saint. The Interior Castle is merely about prayer life development and its stages. And if read properly, the stages don't have to be in order. Although, for our edification, Saint Teresa arranges them in a logical order. The first and second mansions (rooms of the castle) are used in Teresa's metaphor of the soul to describe the beginning stages of prayer life.

Field Notes for Saint Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle, The First Mansion Chapter I

Chapter I The Description of the Castle
I:1 Plan of this book
Saint Teresa tells us she is laying the foundation for the rest of her book. 
I:2 The Interior Castle
The mansions are a metaphor Saint Teresa uses to illustrate 7 distinct development stages in ones prayer life. The metaphor of the soul having many mansions is inspired from scripture, John 14:2, My Father’s house has many rooms. Saint Teresa points out these are not achievable milestones by our own efforts in prayer but only possible through a loving commune with God. The true mystic saints believe that our soul is a paradise and that God wants to live in us. Saint Teresa illustrates that the soul is beauty beyond our comprehension, it is a mystery and God is a mystery. God created us in his own image and likeness and he wants to come dwell in us. Saint Teresa uses a castle made of diamond to illustrate how God radiates from the center of our soul.
‘In domo Patris mei mansiones multæ sunt.’ St. John xiv. 2 
My Father’s house has many rooms;
‘Deliciæ meæ esse cum filiis hominum.’ Prov. viii. 31
rejoicing in his whole world
   and delighting in mankind.
‘Faciamus hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem nostram.’ Gen. i. 26
Let us make mankind in our image

I:3 Our Curable Self Ignorance
The fact that God created the castle, the soul, in His image means that it too is a mystery. The soul’s true beauty is beyond our comprehension. To go through life and only tend to our bodies and having a vague understanding about our own soul, Teresa says, is like a man, through his own ignorance, does not know who his mother or father is or what country he came from. We seldom consider the true beauty of the soul, of what it possesses and who dwells in the center of it, God. Our focus is on our bodies, the rough setting of the diamond, the outer walls of the castle.

I:4 God Dwells in the Center of the Soul
The chief mansion is in the center of the castle, the soul. And it is here, that Teresa says, “where the most secret things pass between God and the soul”. It is in the center mansion where God will grant you favors (sometimes Teresa refers to them as graces). Why God grants some people these experiences and not others is a mystery. The purpose of these favors is to demonstrate the goodness of Heaven that awaits us. Whether we receive these or not we need to rejoice and strive to a livelihood to commune with God. That is the purpose of our existence here on earth (or in exile as Teresa puts it). God, in his great boundless love, mercy, and grace, wants to commune with us.

 (What saint Teresa refers to as favors and graces are commonly called touches in mystical theology. –author’s note. MJN).

mystical touch – is a deep intimate contact, union-experience of God in one of His attributes such, as power, light, goodness, beauty or joy. …The soul tastes here all the things of God, since God communicates to it fortitude, wisdom, love, beauty, grace and goodness. It is God giving a taste of eternal life. The soul clearly understands that this touch is from God and is too great to be expressed in any manner.

Thomas Dubay, SM, FIRE WITHIN, (Ignatius Press, 1989), 45.
More on mystical touches (favors/graces) later as Saint Teresa reveals them in other mansions (rooms of the castle).

(Mystical touches in the first and second mansions do not include visions. More a gentle sense of God's presence with us. God comes to us. We don't pray this into existence, and no matter how godly we are these don't occur on our own accord or through asking with prayer. God just bestows this upon us.  –author’s note. MJN)

I:5 Why All Souls Do Not Receive Certain Favors
By our own nature we can become envious at seeing our brother’s/sister’s receiving graces and we are not. We can be receiving graces and still be envious of others receiving graces (favors) too, as if we’re being deprived of our own share. We need to work on our own humility and love for our neighbor (a repeating theme in the Interior Castle).

God is not showing personal favor to those he bestows with these graces. Why does He grant His favors to anyone? Only God knows. But Teresa makes the point that sometimes God will do this to manifest His power for His glory, just as he restored the site to the blind man in John 9:12. The purpose of the manifestation is to make God’s greatness known. They have nothing to do with the holiness of the person He grants graces to. In other words, you can be on your face praying for years and never receive a grace. It is God who comes to us and grants them to whoever he pleases. He is God. The purpose is that His greatness be known and that we praise the God most high.

 I:6 Reasons for Speaking of These Favors
Teresa writes about those who will disbelieve the favors and graces God bestows on some people. Little harm will come from their disbelief. Instead, we should focus on edifying (lifting up/building up in spirit) those who are receiving graces. God may be using these graces in people to make his people wake up, rejoice, and bring a fresh love for Him.
Some people may develop a closed mind and discredit those receiving graces. They are shutting off the graces of God in their minds, in their disbelief, and by doing so may be shutting themselves off from experiencing graces. Do not put confining boundaries on the sovereignty of the God most High. Teresa warns us not to discredit others because we ourselves are not led down this road by God. (Be aware of who you are in God and what His plans He has for you. –author’s note. MJN).

 I:7 The Entrance of the Castle
Saint Teresa clearly states here that the metaphor of the castle is the soul. She writes that it sounds absurd a person needs to enter a room they are already in. But for the point of her metaphor, she describes some souls are in a state of standing in their own castle courtyard, held back by guards, and never entering their own castle. These souls are not interested in entering their own castle, or how many mansions (rooms) are in the castle, nor do they care who dwells in the center of it – God.

 I:8 Entering Into Oneself
(Teresa references a book, Imitation , that was available to nuns in the convent. She goes on to say that the book advises the reader on how the soul enters into itself. These are NOT step-by-step instructions! Teresa is referring to discursive meditation (prayer). Where you read something spiritual, such as a Bible verse, or a spiritual reading, such as Imitation, and your mind ponders what you read. Let God speak to you on what your reading. This is pretty much standard reading of scripture and thinking about it. This does not involve any eastern meditation practices, which are spiritually dangerous, such as, breathing, sitting positions, or centering. This is mentally fixing on the presence of God---–author’s note. MJN)

discursive meditation (prayer) – where beginners start in their prayer life. Reading the Bible, getting absorbed in the word and at the same time getting drawn away from “sensual things” and the worldly things start to lose their appeal.
Thomas Dubay, SM, FIRE WITHIN, (Ignatius Press, 1989), 52.

Saint Teresa describes a soul that busies itself with worldly affairs, and inner demons, is metaphorically paralyzed much like a body’s limbs can be physically paralyzed. Some people can spend their entire lives in the outer courtyard of the castle and never enter nor meet God who resides inside. Unless they realize their own situation they will (metaphorically) become pillars of salt, much like Lot’s wife. Genesis 19:26.

I:9 Prayer
Saint Teresa tells us the way to enter the soul is through prayer and meditation.
(Through meditation Teresa is referring to Psalm 1:2, Psalm 119:97, discursive styles of meditation. Where we read scripture and reason through it in our mind and asking the Lord for His divine revelation. This is not eastern meditation! –Author notes MJN)
Forms of prayer Teresa speaks about are mental prayer and vocal prayer. Teresa instructs us to remember who we are praying to when we address His majesty, God. Be careful when you are reciting words you memorized by heart. Do not just merely utter them, but reflect on every word as you lift the words up to God. Frequent repetition is not prayer. Saint Teresa makes reference to the Father’s prayer, in Matthew 6:7-13. Saint Teresa has dedicated several chapters on how she prays the Father’s prayer in her work, The Way of Perfection. She reflects on each word, and meditates, as she prays the Father’s prayer.

Conversing with God in prayer is a good habit and begins to lead us from our evil ways. (Teresa’s point of prayer is that the deeper we go to God, the more the likelihood our soul becomes to being offended by the thought of sinning against God. Author’s note. MJN)

vocal prayer – words used to express our hearts and mind to God. It can be the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 6:7-13. Or it can be an outpouring of the heart. It can be done alone or as a group, such as a liturgical reading. It makes use of the body giving honor and glory to God.  It is the simplest form of prayer and usually the first adopted by people beginning to pray.
Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R, Interior Castle: The Classic Text with a Spiritual Commentary, (Christian Classics, 2007),  13.

mental prayer – for Teresa is, “nothing but friendly intercourse, and frequent solitary converse, with him who we know loves us.” (The Life, St Teresa, Ch 8).
(The discursive meditation/prayer is required and an ongoing process to transform one’s life to commune deeper with God. –author’s note. MJN)
Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R, Interior Castle: The Classic Text with a Spiritual Commentary, (Christian Classics, 2007),  13.

 I:10 Those Who Dwell in the First Mansion
Saint Teresa refers to the paralyzed souls as being similar to the man who laid paralyzed near the pool in Bethesda for 30 some years. Some may not move unless God himself comes and tells them to take up their mat.

Some souls may enter the castle on their own and but still have the tug of the worldly desires they left behind in the courtyard. Some of these souls bring with them their worldly preoccupations and this stifles their prayer growth. These individuals pray infrequently, a few times a month, and they are driven by their preoccupations. They do sometimes get their minds to focus on God. These individuals enter the first mansion but seldom advance beyond because of their own inner demons (Saint Teresa refers to this inner struggle as reptiles). and preoccupations. These souls have entered into themselves but don’t find peace.
(Parable of the Wedding Feast, Luke 14:15-20, is put on my spirit with this section. –author’s note. MJN)

I:11 Entering
Some people enter the first mansions (rooms) of the castle but they still have their inner demons and preoccupations. Because of this they don’t find peace or see the beauty of the castle. They still have accomplished a lot by just entering the first lower rooms.

I:12 Difficulties of the Subject
Saint Teresa comments on what she has just written. She apologizes to her sisters that what she has written is so fundamental to them. But Teresa wants to lay the foundation of prayer life and she starts with first and second mansions, so she can explain the more advance prayer life mansions later on.

Field Notes for Saint Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle, First Mansions, Chapter 2

Chapter II. The Human Soul
I:2 1. Effects of Mortal Sin

3 Et erit tamquam lignum quod plantatum est secus decursus aquarum,
quod fructum suum dabit in tempore suo:
et folium ejus non defluet;
et omnia quæcumque faciet prosperabuntur.

3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
   which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
   whatever they do prospers.                Psalm 1:3

Saint Teresa now turns her discussion on what happens, when the beautiful pearl, “the tree of life, planted in the living waters of life – namely in God”, falls into a mortal sin.  The crystal castle walls, Saint Teresa’s metaphor of the soul, become darkened and black by sin. She says no thicker darkness exists. Even though the walls of the soul are dark from sin, the Son himself, the Sun of the soul, still radiates from inside, the center of the soul. And because the sinful darkness on the outer walls of the soul, the person does not know the Son is still radiating inside them.  Mortal sin causes the soul to completely miss the fact that the Son is residing deep inside. The darkness is a metaphor of a soul separated from God.

I:2 2.  It Prevents the Soul from Gaining Merits
(Saint Teresa is clearly discussing an unredeemed soul, when she says it is mortal sin. –author notes. MJN)

A soul in the state of mortal sin will gain no glory through good works. There can be no pleasing through good works because a soul in mortal sin has separated itself from God. A soul in this state can’t be pleasing in God’s eye because it is focused on giving pleasure to the devil. The devil is darkness, thus the soul becomes darkness.

Teresa reflects upon her own darkness from her youth. She encourages her convent sisters to pray for souls in a state of mortal sin and darkness.

I:2 3. The Soul Compared to a Tree
Saint Teresa describes a healthy soul, using the metaphor of the soul as a tree planted in a clear stream (Psalm 1:3). If the soul falls into sin, it is as if the soul leaves the clear life bringing stream and plants itself in pitch-black evil smelling water. Instead of producing fruit, the tree now produces misery and filth.

I:2 4. Disorder of the Soul in Mortal Sin
Souls redeemed by the blood of Christ need to reflect on the sins they were saved from. A redeemed soul needs to understand its own natures –sin. These souls need to strive to remove the remnants of sin that blackens the outer shell crystal shell.

(perhaps she is talking about self reflection and deliverance – author notes MJN)

Teresa speaks on how precious it is for Jesus to live inside of us while we are alive.
The discussion turns towards the ill-controlled faculties of the mansions. The faculties are the imagination, reasoning and so forth - literally, our mental faculties. Evil produces no fruit it only produces evil.

I:2 5. Vision of a Sinful Soul
Two things:
One - Teresa realizes to fear God means to fear falling into mortal sin and even committing the smallest act of sin to offend Him. She continually begs God to help her from falling into sin. A fall can bring horrible consequences.

Two - Sin is a mirror of humility (she may be talking about self-reflection –author notes MJN). This mirror of humility made her realize that anything truly good we do comes from the spring, the source (God), where the tree (soul) is planted.
Without the source (God) we are truly powerless. Whenever Saint Teresa did something good she gave glory to God and not herself. For God was the Source of the good.

I:2 6. Profit of Realizing These Lessons
Realize the importance of the two things. God give us grace to understand this.

I:2 7 Prayer
Teresa addresses the matter that the nuns are told continually what a good thing prayer is. There Constitution has them engage in prayer for many hours a day. Yet Teresa points out that they are given no instruction is given on what part a person takes in the act of prayer. Nor is there instruction on what part God plays in the soul because of a healthy prayer life. The soul is a edifice in which God dwells.

I:2 8 Beauty of the Castle
The discussion returns to the castle with many mansions (rooms). The rooms are not laid out in a normal fashion. No matter how the rooms are arranged we must keep our eyes fixed on the king’s court in the center of the castle. No matter how large we can imagine our souls to be – it is still beyond our comprehension. And it is the Sun (Son) who illuminates every chamber of the soul.

I:2 9 Self-knowledge
A soul, which gives itself to prayer, is free to roam the boundless mansions (rooms). However, with growth in prayer life, one shouldn’t remain in one room for very long.

Teresa explains the importance of humility through healthy self-examination of oneself. Teresa called this self-examination, self-knowledge.

Self-knowledge (humility through self-examination) is extremely important for those who are brought in to dwell in the center mansion with God Himself (full union with God in a contemplative prayer life –author notes MJN).

The soul needs to cease thinking of itself to rise in meditation the grandeur and majesty of its God.

The beginning of self-knowledge comes into play when the soul enters the first room. Self-knowledge helps us understand our on inner demons (reptiles – Teresa) and helps us free ourselves from them. It is by the grace of God we begin to practice self-examination (humility). Too much self-examination is as bad as too little.

We shall advance more in prayer by contemplating God than by keeping our eyes fixed on ourselves.
(eastern religion contemplation focuses on self, zen, saturi – author notes MJN).

I:2 10. Gained by Meditating on the Divine Perfections
The first rooms we enter into the castle are the rooms where self-knowledge (humility) is put into practice in order to advance to other mansions (rooms). Teresa comments that self-knowledge is of significance and must be understood.

We learn to know about ourselves by endeavoring to know God. Beholding His greatness reveals our baseness. His purity shows how foul we are. By meditating on His humility we see how far we are from being humble.

(Isaiah – Jesus prophesy of torture and humiliation.  John 13:1-7 Jesus washes the disciples feet –author notes MJN).

I:2 11 Advantages of Such Meditation
There are two advantages to this form of meditation (using self-knowledge).

First, Teresa uses a metaphor, that the color white, looks whiter when placed next to something that is black. Just as black looks blacker against something white.

Second,  if we focus less on ourselves and more on God,  our understanding and our will become more will become more nobler to embrace that which is good.

Teresa explains that trees (souls) planted in the black streams of mortal sin never examine their own faults.  As long as we are self-absorbed in our earthly natures, we will never be free from our own cowardice and fears. We will develop a fear of failing and let self-condemnation absorb us.

I:2 12 Christ Should be Our Model

True humility comes from focusing on Christ, our only good, and His saints.
Self-knowledge can be come warped and make us overly self-conscious about our own actions in public.

If the soul learns to elude the inner demons that dwell in the first mansions it will most likely most likely advance to other mansions.

The devil will stop at nothing to prevent you from learning about your own weaknesses.

I:2 13 The Devil Entraps Beginners
The first mansions can be comprised of numerous rooms. Souls can enter any of these mansions by different ways, but always in good intention.

The devil is aggressive in these rooms to stop ones progress in their Christian faith. New Christians may be ignorant of the ways of the devil and easily trapped. The devil knows souls in these rooms are still absorbed with worldly ways and pleasures. Those not solidified in their faith can easily be vanquished by the devil here. Souls that reach mansions closer to where God resides are not so easily snared by the ways of the devil.

I:2 14 Our Strength Must Come from God
Those in the first mansions are in a fragile state, the warfare is intense, and these souls must pray as often as possible in this state of battle. We possess little strength in our own self-defense. All our help must come from God.

Souls in the first mansions must remember the importance of self-knowledge and humility. This is of the most importance.

I:2 15 Sin Blinds the Soul
The light from the King’s palace in the center of the soul barely shines into the first mansions. This is because of the inner demons and mortal sin, that darkens the light and makes their first mansions gloomy. The room is lit, the mortal sin blinds the eyes from seeing the light.

Teresa stresses it is the inner demons (snakes, vipers, and venomous reptiles) in the outside the castle (the courtyard) that prevents the souls entering the first mansions from seeing the light.

I:2 16 Wordliness

The soul, although it may not be in a state of mortal sin, it can be easily preoccupied with materialism, pride and honor. These obstacles are what prevent a soul from entering into itself. It is important try and separate oneself from these desires in order to move on to the second mansions.

I:2 17 The World in the Cloister
What would happen if a nun, having reached farther in the depths of the castle has a fall from grace? What would happen to the people who looked to her for spiritual guidance? In convents the nuns are protected from the evils occurring outside the walls. May God protect them from these ills (evil).

I:2 18 Assaults of the Devil
Struggles with the demons occurs through nearly all mansions of the castle.

the guards – are the powers of the soul, have strength for the combat, and must be aware of the tactics of the devil. Such as, being deceived by an angel of light.

I:2 19 Examples of the Devil’s Arts
(Note the early Catholic church used mortification, physically wounding the body, as an act of penance. St Teresa and St. John of the Cross used this in their penance –author notes MJN).

Example 1:
A nun feels the need for physical penance, to find peace through her own torment.

The head prioress forbids the nun from practicing mortifications without special leave. The nun feels her cause is righteous and disobeys the prioress nun and performs the mortifications anyway. She becomes ill from her own acts of rebellion and now cannot fulfill the requirements of her rule.

Way of Perf. ch. x. 5; xxxix. 4; Rel. iii. 12
Example 2:
A nun is zealous about religious perfection, but this causes to her to over exaggerate every small fault she sees in her sisters to be more serious faults. Now the nun is watching her sisters to find any faults and running to the prioress to accuse them.

This nun does not see her own shortcomings through her own zeal. Nor do the other nuns like the fact she has taken watch over them.

I:2 20 Perfection Consists in Charity
True perfection exists in the love of God and our neighbor. We will live a better life by keeping these commandments.

I:2 21 Indiscreet Zeal
Our souls lose their peace if we are always criticizing trivial actions of others.

I:2 22 Danger of Detraction
detraction - is the unjust damaging of another's good name by the revelation of some fault of which that other is really guilty or at any rate is seriously believed to be guilty by the defamer.

It is unhealthy to engage in discussions of detraction. The devil will only use it to deceive you. Fortunately, the convent is in almost perpetual silence to prevent such conversations. Stand guard against such conversations.

Copyright Michael Norton, 2010-2011  Non-commercially share amongst yourselves all you want.
But beware - unethically steal my notes and you'll meet the fate of Lot's wife.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Prodigal Son Goes Home for Thanksgiving

On Saturday, November 20, 2010, my family and I went out with Jason and Katie of Lion's Pride ministries to minister to the homeless young people in "the Haight", of San Francisco. Along with us for ministry were a group of first year students from the Bethel Supernatural School of Ministry (SSM). Kim and Darrell Hill drove down 10 ministry students on Friday night to the city to minister on Night Strike in streets of the Tenderloin in San Francisco. We got drenched from rain on Friday.

Saturday morning developed into a beautiful cloud free day for the early part of the day. Our team met at the Mac Donald's on Stanyon. Yes, the very same Mac Donald's in the news for raising the dollar menu prices by a quarter to drive off the homeless.

We divvied up the students into 2 teams. Our team consisted of Jason (Pastor of Lion’s Pride), myself, my wife Lisa, and my son Josh, with Katie (SSM), Rebekah (SSM), Laura (SSM), Colleen (SSM), Joanne (Bethel and Time is Precious ministries), Precka (ministry friend from Sweden with the SSM team).

We set out on the streets with our bags of sweaters, blankets, new socks, and some inidividually wrapped servings of cheese crackers. The runaways in the Haight are called the Lost Boys. They’re transient and always en route to somewhere. The Haight is like a railroad station for these young people. Most all are adventurers in spirit but in truth are running away from something back at home.

The Holy Spirit led us to one street corner on Haight St. We encountered some Lost Boys (which includes girls too). We handed out socks to these individuals and they graciously took the new clean socks and sat down and put them on. One girl didn’t have any socks at all. She took the socks my son Josh handed to her and she sat down and removed her shoes. Her feet were filthy. I couldn’t tell positively, but there looked like there was some fungus on the feet from being wet and poorly protected for so long. As the girl cleaned off her feet with the socks, before she put them on, I felt the Holy Spirit highlight her on my spirit. I started receiving that her name was Ellen or Elaine. I asked the young woman if her name was Elaine.

She looked up at me a bit puzzled. “Do I know you?”

I responded, “No. But I keep getting that your name is Elaine.”

The girl answers, “No. My name is Loki Lelana. My friends call me Lelany.”

Then I get the picture from the Holy Spirit that she is working in clay with her hands. I ask Lelany, “Do you sculpt?”

Now I have Lelany’s attention and she smiles at me. “How do you know that? I am a sculptor!”

I answered with, “God told me you sculpt and he loves what you make with your hands. You’re a creator.”
My son Josh stepped in on his ministry duties and prayed for Lelany’s puppy for supernatural protection from above.

As this conversation is going on, another gentlemen shows up on the scene and starts talking with Laura, Rebekah, Katie and Precka. He is about six feet tall, fairly handsome, but is looking physically and spiritually tired. The young man introduces himself as Aaron. So this is a conversation taking place outside the group I am ministering with. Aaron tells the Bethel SSM ladies that he is from Portland and he said he wants to go home for the holidays. He had run away from home about six weeks ago looking for freedom, but hated it and wanted to go home. The Bethel ministry team asked him if they could pray with him and he asked if they could pray for strength. Laura and Rebekah are praying for Aaron and for his family. According to Katie, she came in to pray with Laura and Rebekah when she saw Laura crying during the prayer ministry.

Partway through the prayer, one of the girls, it was either Rebekah or Laura, asked Aaron if he knew Jesus. He said he did and he was a Christian, but was afraid to tell people about it on the streets for fear that he would get hurt or made fun of. There is a strong presence of eastern religion on the streets in the Haight. The Bethel ladies prayed and prophesied over Aaron.

At this time, Lisa, Joanne, Jason and I were taking a step back letting the Bethel team minister on the streets. We weren’t involved in the prayer or what was going on. We just keep an eye out, because, hey, we’re on the streets!

The Holy Spirit highlighted Aaron to me. I looked at him and started to get a picture in my head of a woman with brown hair. And then I was given the impression it was his older sister. It wasn’t my thoughts so I treated it as a God download and waited for a good time to step in and ask Aaron. I didn’t want to interrupt the Bethel team because a lot of GOOD ministry was going on.

At the right time, I asked Aaron if he had an older sister with brown hair. I received the usual inquisitive yet a bit freaked out look from Aaron that the information was from God.
“Who are you?” he asked.

I introduced myself and it was at that point I found out his name was Aaron. Then he asked me, ”how are the kids?”. It took a second to process but he was inquiring about his sister’s kids. I responded, “I didn’t see the kids, I only get pictures.”

Then Rebekah answers, “I saw a boy and a girl. And they’re fine.”

Aaron is now looking at me and then back at Rebekah. A bit awkward moment of –what is going on.
I told Aaron, “The point is, God is showing you right now that you are on the spirit of your older sister and she is thinking about you right now!”

Aaron bolts over to me and embraces me with arms tightly around me and weeps. I return a strong fatherly embrace and hold Aaron in my arms for over a minute. The heavenly Father above was embracing his prodigal son. I whispered words of restoration in Aaron’s hear as the Father above held him tightly.

As the fatherly hug ended, Rebekah whispers in my ear that she felt she needed to pray for restoration for Aaron and his family. She led the prayer for this with Aaron and the Bethel team.

When the Bethel ministry team had finished this intense prayer session with Aaron he asked to borrow a phone. He wanted to call his mom. I believe it was Rebekah that lent him the iphone so he could call home. He got his mom’s voice mail.

Rebekah continued in prayer with Aaron and led him in prayers of forgiveness. Now what is cool here is that 15 minutes earlier I first met Rebekah and we were having a conversation she wanted to minister in deliverance. And here she is now, knee deep in deliverance prayer ministry. That’s how God works. Rebekah led Aaron in forgiveness prayer about some family situations. The ministry team mentioned his demeanor clearly changed after the bondage was lifted from him.

At this point, God placed on Aaron’s spirit it was time for the prodigal son to return home. As the Bethel team ministered some more, Katie felt it was time for Aaron to call his family. Without being prompted, Aaron decided it was time to call home. Rebekah handed Aaron her iphone and he called home. This time he got through. His mother answered and Aaron poured out his heart asking his mother for forgiveness. This was actually his foster mom. Aaron ran away several weeks ago to find his real dad in Florida but only made it as far as San Francisco. His pack with his own personal belongings were stolen along with his cell phone with his dad’s number in it.

As the restoration and healing with the phone call progressed, he told his mom he wanted to come home for Thanksgiving. His mother gave him his grandather’s number, he lived closer to San Francisco and could assist Aaron in getting home and possibly even come pick him up.

Aaron then called his grandfather, “Grandpa it’s me – i’m ok, i am so sorry. I am with some church people and they are helping me.” And the inner healing began with his grandfather.

When the phone call was finished, the conversation switched to prayer for physical healing. Rebekah asked Aaron if he had any physical pain that needed healing.

Aaron answered, “I have arthritis in my right leg from a car crash when I was a kid.”

The Bethel A-team of prayer went to work and prayed for him and he fell on his butt onto the pavement. So they sat him down and prayed for Aaron again.

Katie wanted to see the level of progress in their prayers for healing so she told Aaron to get up and walk to the trash can and as he did he started jumping up and down – saying, “ it’s better it’s better.”

Aaron was blown away by the healing power of the Holy Spirit.

Katie remembered him saying ‘ you guys are powerful... so am I aren’t I?....’

The ministry team answered, “it was Jesus and that God loved him.”

Jason of Lion’s Pride, told Aaron that, “you forgave your sister but God also forgave you all the things you had ever done wrong.”

From Katie’s recollection of this event, Aaron kept saying, “I have seen the light! I have seen the light!”

Rebecca, our deliverance minister in training, then said, “is there anyone else you need to forgive?”

He did have some more forgiveness to walk through and the ministry team prayed and forgave them all. Then they looked up tickets, according to Katie, they $30 shy of the goal. They gave him a map to the train station.

Joanne of Time is Precious ministries, then came over and spoke a prophetic word over Aaron. She had a picture of him working on a white car. At first, Aaron didn’t make the connection with the white car. But then he remembered that his brother does so she went further and said can you change oil and things like that – he said ‘oh yeah yeah’.

Joanne continued, “I think God is going to give you a job when you get back to Oregon – maybe something temporary.”

Aaron said, “Well I did want to be famous, but now I want to do what you guys do and talk to people on the streets.

One of the ministry team members added, “well you’re famous to God, that is the main thing”. He grinned, jumped around and pointed at the sky.

Joanne continued with her word and told him to stick to the map and not get distracted on the way and that people would give him the rest of the money because they will see that he is trustworthy and want to help him. She asked him if he believed this and she said well that is faith.

Aaron’s dad called part way thru all of this and Aaron thought his dad would be angry. Aaron answered the phone and said, “I am so sorry I ran away. I know I should have told you. I thought the streets would be easier. Tell Robbie i love him. I love you.“

Aaron gave us all another massive hug, was yelling to people walking past, “I AM GOING HOME! I AM GOING HOME! I AM NOT HOMELESS ANYMORE!!!

Aaron gave away his sleeping bag away to another homeless guy!

My son Josh, who has the gift of perpetual entertainment caught Aaron’s eye. He asked how old Josh was. Josh said he was ten. A nerve struck home with Aaron about Josh and his age.

Joanne was given a word of knowledge about something had happened to him when he was 10 (hence the sad look – she wasn’t there when he had asked that question) and that God had told her to tell him not to get distracted on his way to the station and to tell him what faith was.

The Bethel team had to leave and drive back to Redding. Rebekah received a call from Aaron’s grandpa on the way back and he was asking who we were and was thanking us for helping him. Later we realised that his family could pay for his ticket via credit card but his grandpa text and said his mom had bought the ticket, his grandpa would meet him half way - give him some sandwiches and his mom will pick him up the other end.

We received word that Aaron is now home with his family and is off the streets.

One of the things I really love about this day is that all these powerful words of knowledge occurred right across the street from a psychic shop. While I was giving word to Aaron I saw this big neon hand with the words psychic. Look at the white building behind us with the red awning. The tree branches block out most of the sign in the window (on the second story, left hand side). Isn’t it great how God can use situations like these and change lives forever?
    –ALL FOR FREE!!!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Panic After Devil Attack at School in Trinidad

This is an interesting article that surfaced, Wednesday November 17, 2010 in the Trinidad Guardian (an island in the Atlantic just northeast of Guyana, South America). I copied the article over,Panic After Devil Attack, in its entirety, the server in Trinidad took forever to load the page.

Panic After the Devil Attack at School

Panic broke out at the Moruga Composite School yesterday as 17 female students fell mysteriously ill and began rolling on the ground, hissing and blabbering in a strange tongue, after suffering bouts of nausea and headaches. Two of the students reportedly tried to throw themselves off a railing and had to be physically restrained, triggering fears of a possible demon attack. The drama started during the lunch hour in the Form One block and quickly spread to other areas. Form Five student Kern Mollineau, who attends the Lighthouse Tabernacle Church, said he got worried when the girls’ eyes began rolling up in their heads and they began beating up on the ground.

With the assistance of several other students and teachers, the pupils were taken to the multi-purpose hall where some of them fell into a semi-conscious state. Mollineau recalled: “One girl was blabbering as if in a strange language. I could not understand what she was saying. “It was sounding like ‘shebbaberbebeb shhhhee.’ The girls were unusually strong. We had to hold them down so that they will not hurt themselves. “The teachers were right there. I get a kick in my face when one of the girls started beating up on the floor. Many of them had bruises.” Mollineau claimed he actually communicated with the “devil which had possessed the girl. “I asked the Devil what he wanted with the girls and the voice said he wanted a life. He kept saying to send the girls in the toilet and to leave them alone,” Mollineau claimed.

Roman Catholic priests, as well as pastors from nearby churches, including Josephine Charles, Deborah Charles and Pastor Gordon, visited the school and began showering the children with holy water and prayers. Two more students, Kriston Mollineau and Kishon Bethel, said they too were called by teachers to assist the ill girls. Kriston said the girls complained of headaches and some of them wanted to go to the toilet. Six ambulances arrived at the school accompanied by police teams from the Moruga and St Mary’s Police Post. A party of fire officers from the Princes Town Fire Station, led by acting Assistant Divisional Fire Officer Ramdeo Boodoo visited the school and began conducting several tests on the surroundings to determine the cause of the problem.

Boodoo said there was nothing in the environment to trigger fainting spells, nausea and headaches. A teacher, who requested anonymity, said two weeks ago an Orisha woman came to the school and had a dispute with a member of staff. He said following the dispute, the woman threatened to deal with the school administration. Another teacher said the school was built on a burial site, but neighbours who live around the school denied that was so. A source at the school confirmed that all 17 pupils were taken to the Princes Town Health Facility where they were medically examined. The other students were sent home at 2 pm.

Responding yesterday, Minister in the Ministry of Education Clifton de Coteau said he was aware that pupils had to be taken for medical attention. De Coteau said Student Support Service officials were sent to the school and students were expected to receive counselling. A statement from the Ministry of Education said the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) made maxi taxis available to the school to assist the Office for Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) which provided additional ambulances.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

M16 Ministries Pastors Rodwell and Grace November 4 2010

Podcast from the November 4, 2010, M16 House Meeting with Pastor Rodwell and Pastor Grace.
Pastor Grace leads worship and Pastor Rodwell gives a powerful testimony and a word on deliverance from the Old Testament.

May the worship, testimony and sharing of the word of God bless you.

M16 Ministries

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Curse Breaking Freemasonry and Daughters of the Eastern Star

Probably the two most controversial spirits walking into our churches and placing strongholds on the church body are Freemasonry and yoga. I will discuss yoga manifestations in a future blog. Now before you roll your eyes and point me to a let us reason Christian web site I should disclose the following bit of information. For decades I was spiritually asleep in the church pews. I did church rather well and I loved Jesus. I just wasn't in a deep relationship with my Lord and saviour and creator. From my perspective, back then, everything pertaining to Jesus' and his miracles ended with the book of Acts and the Apostles.

I was completely oblivious to spiritual activity in the church. I thought all spiritual activity looked like Linda Blair in the movie the Exorcist. In November 2006, the Holy Spirit woke me up. In the months that followed, the great teacher, the Holy Spirit revealed a lot of things to me. Since my formal training is in science and enginnering, I wasn't one of those guys where I could be taken to heaven and revealed all the wonders. I would rationalize away and dismiss the experience as a dream or a vision. The Holy Spirit knew I needed empirical and tangible data. So He schooled me on the streets with real people and real spirits. During this time, Febraury - July of 2007, I was exposed to the D-word, deliverance. I hadn't a clue what the word meant 6 months prior to this season in my life. But as I was brought into deliverance ministry, people I met in these circles were always bringing up this Freemasonry curse. I thought this was going overboard with spirituality and these Christians were looking for a spiritual scapegoat for everything. Afterall, the freemasons were our founding fathers! They were the good guys, right?

Between April and June of 2007, the Holy Spirit authorized the spirits I passed on the streets, during ministry, to manifest and identify themselves. It was an interesting time. A few possessed people came out of the woodwork on the streets. The spirits identified themselves and the person would disappear back into the crowds of people on the streets. A lot of spiritually oppressed, walked up to me and identifed their spirits too. These people I found to be the most fascinating. Superficially, they appeared normal on the street. I had, on several occassions, some encounters with the spirit of the Freemason of the 33rd degree. I knew about the Freemasons, but I didn't know about the 33rd degree was how the spirit would identify itself as. Another interesting bit of information is that there was no racial boundaries to this spirit either. Why is this interesting? I would suspect a Freemason spirit to be a generational curse in predominantly white, European, ethnicities. This was not the case.

I had two dilemmas that rocked my reality. One, there is a Freemason spirit, and two, what is this 33rd degree? Up until these events I thought the Freemasons were just a really old rotary club. The History channel Sy Fy (then Sci Fi) channels, during this period of time were running all sorts of wild fascinations and conspiracy theories on the Freemasons and the connection to the Illuminati. It was a bad time to research the Freemasons with the flood of garbage hitting the Internet. However, one History channel show on the Freemaons revealed the 33rd degree and that at one time it was related to satanic ritual. Was the History channel's information accurate? Who knows. They tend to sensationalize everything. It's hard to make the connection between the two because no real data exists to connect the dots. The point to walk away with was that there was an association to the 33rd degree and blasphemy.

In the autumn of 2007, I started seeing quite a bit of manifestations in prayer sessions of the Freemason spirit. As I looked deeper into this, I started meeting people who had children that had birth marks or strange birth defects reflecting the harmless oathes the family members had made in Masonic lodges. Researching the oathes started shedding some light on what was going on. Still no accurate information in my possession on the 33rd degree. I know this degree exists and it is a mockery of the Holy Trinity. I still need to one day see with thine own eyes the material used in this degree of Masonic indoctrination. I don't want it in my house! But I would definitely love to see it, and possibly photograph it, to validate a lot of what is being expressed second hand.

An interesting thing about a Freemasonry spirit is that it is never alone. It has its friends, perversion and a religious spirit in most cases.

One of the more interesting manifestations I witnessed of Freemasonry came in the form of the Daughters of the Eastern star. This incident took place in a church, I was discussing the dangers of taking vows, and gave as an example, the Freemasons. A woman nearby me manifested and started criticizing me for being a judgemental Christian. The person looking back at me through the woman's eyes wasn't the same person, it was a spirit. It went on its rant and identified itself as the Daughter of the Eastern star. This particular church was learning deliverance and just starting to usher in the movement of the Holy Spirit. The worst thing I could do now was take on a manifestation in the public and freak out the church members. And not to mention it would freak out this woman and her friends around her. They only saw it as an outburst. So I ordered the spirit to go down. And that was the end of that for the evening. Some people recognized the manifestation and asked me about it later. There were some people there who were starting to exercise their spiritual discernment.

You may be puzzled why I didn't deal with the spirit right then and there. One, as you walk in maturity in deliverance, you will learn when it is time to take on a spirit. This wasn't the time. These people were just beginning to learn delieverance and about being set free from their own chains. They weren't ready to see the next step yet. How do I know? The Holy Spirit didn't want me to engage the spirit. The only reason the spirit manifested in the first place was to interfere with the discussion on breaking unholy vows. The right time to deal with the woman's spirit would have been in private. People know full well when they have manifestations. They don't need us to tell them that. If a person wants to be set free they'll seek deliverance. Many times people enjoy the power spirits bring into their lives. The spirits inter-twine in deep emotional ways. This woman didn't want to be set free from her legacy - of Freemasonry.

That evening I did have to Google "daughter of the Easatern star" and low and behold, it is Freemasonry for the wives of Masons. The women take an oath over a Bible while kneeling at a masonic alter.

Freemasonry is in our church and it is our duty to point out the spiritual dangers of being involved with this organization. As Paul said, use gentleness and respect and wait for the moment of favor to discuss this with the person. The spirit of the Daughter of the Eastern Star already gave us a heads up it is looking for a 'judgemental' fight. You approach this with absolute love. If you suspect there will be confrontation with this person then you are not helping them by getting into a quarrel with them. It must be in absolute love of the person. If they brush it off -well, dust off your sandals. There is timing in all of this. You can't come to the table with an agenda. From my experience, if the person comes to you to be prayed for to be set free by the Blood of Jesus Christ, then this person will most likely be set free. If you pursue someone to pray for them, I doubt they will be set free. It must be their decision to be free, not yours. I recommend the following prayer to be used by people already released into deliverance ministry. This is not something to play with. Experience and discernment is required in this area of ministry. If you have never done this before, I strongly recommend seeking a deliverance team and working with them.

A quick word on spiritual discernment, -use it! Just because someone has a masonic ancestory doesn't mean they have a masonic curse. I know lots of Christians with masonic ancestory who are walking in the total freedom of the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ.

I have included a prayer for deliverance from Freemasonry. If you are seeking deliverance from Freemasonry spirit, I recommend reading it with a prayer team and NOT by yourself. This is for people who suspect spiritual activity from Freemasonry. If a spirit starts talking, the prayer team leader needs to bind it to shut up.

"I bind you to shut up, you're under the authority of Jesus Christ. You are bound!"

Then order the spirit to leave. It could take several hours with a manifestation if you're new to this. If you get tired or it gets late in the evening, bind the spirit and tell it to go down. Make another appointment. Don't let the spirit wear you down. Then pray over the person for the Holy Spirit to fill them and protect them.

Prayer team members, listen for every word the person is reciting in this prayer. If they skip a word, have them repeat it. Many times the spirits manifest and read the prayer and skip over the renunciations parts of it. So listen carefully, and this is why you have a prayer team and not read this alone.

Deliverance from Freemasonry Prayer

Father God, creator of heaven and earth, I come to You in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son. I come as a sinner seeking forgiveness and cleansing from all sins committed against You, and others made in your image. I honor my earthly father and mother and all of my ancestors of flesh and blood and by adoption, but I utterly turn away from and renounce all their sins. I forgive all my ancestors for the effects of their sins on my children and me.

I confess and renounce all of my own sins.

I renounce Satan and all of his works in my family and me.

I renounce witchcraft and seeking false powers not of the one true God.

I renounce and forsake all involvement in Freemasonry or any other lodge or craft by my ancestors and myself. I renounce witchcraft, the principal spirit behind Freemasonry, and I renounce Baphomet, the Spirit of Antichrist, and the curse of the Luciferian doctrine. I renounce the idolatry, blasphemy, secrecy, and deception of Masonry at every level. I specifically renounce the insecurity, the love of position and power, the love of money, covetousness, and greed, and the pride that would have led my ancestors into Masonry. I renounce all the fears that held them in Masonry, especially the fears of death, fears of men, and fears of trusting, in the name of Jesus Christ.

I renounce every position held in the lodge by any of my ancestors, including Tyler, Master, Worshipful Master, or any other. I renounce the calling of any man Master, for Jesus Christ is my only Master and Lord, and He forbids anyone else having that title. I renounce the entrapping of others into Masonry, and observing the helplessness of others during the rituals. I renounce the effects of Masonry passed on to me through any female ancestor who felt distrusted and rejected by her husband as he entered and attended any lodge and refused to tell her of his secret activities.

I repent and renounce all orders of Freemasonry from the First order to the 33rd order. I repent for myself and my ancestors any involvement in Freemasonry.

Addendum current events:
Ugly Betty Star Kills Mother with Ceremonial Freemason Sword -Moses is Architect of the Universe