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Deep Beauty and True Wealth cost a lot to gain, often great bitterness and pain.  We are often quick to give value to beauty and wealth that was attained too easily. 

In a letter to his dear friends who lived far away, a wise man once wrote, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  

Perfection. Complete and No lack.

Deep Beauty and True Wealth are ultimately in the Unseen Realm.  All beauty that can be seen ultimately fades.  All wealth that can be counted is eventually spent or hoarded.  Deep Beauty and True Wealth are stored in the soul; they are a currency that is banked in the Heavens.

The Far East holds icons and symbolism near and dear to her heart. They often speak of a desire to thrive in mind, soul and body. They lend inspiration to speak of living an Abundant Life.

The phoenix stands as an ancient icon of excellence.  She is regal, kind, a picture of devotion, a character of valor.  In mythology, she is endowed with these virtues at her creation.  But in the story of a true and valiant soul, the phoenix symbolizes one who ultimately endures a great trial (or many) to arise to this pinnacle of beauty.  

Golden oranges serve in the “seen” as a symbol of that precious metal.  Gold is not perishable and it does not tarnish.  To have much of it is to have many riches.  The risk of this wealth still stands…there is loss, worry and greed to name only a few.

This thriving life is assumed to be absent of bitterness or suffering.  This is thought to be a noble goal and the only way to reach up to the highest point of the spirit and soul.  But how can this be?  Can one be strong without training his muscles? Can we have knowledge without learning?

Pain comes to each one of us. It does not discriminate.  Is it a curse or a blessing?  Is it the omen of a poor character or a tool to form a Beautiful Spirit?  The artist observes it is periodically the first, but can always be the latter.

Consider the suffering and beauty of the auspicious orange. It comes forth from a journey of life and death, life and death.  A frozen seed gives green life.  A journey of pushing through the hardened ground is rewarded with a warming light.  A beautiful blossom radiates from the branch, yet her petals fall to the ground. The fruit emerges from its center, striving and yearning for the sun and rain.  The green shifts to a bright hue, making a beautiful fruit.  Its zenith is here, a golden and full vessel of sweet.  Yet, decay is avoided only if the fruit lends itself to be cut, a death that brings sweet to another.  This is a Rich Soul…a beautiful one that is willing to give its best, leaving a seed of potential for others. 

The highest wealth and riches are found in friendship with the Creator God and His Son.  The Son is no stranger to suffering.  It is a sweet gift to have a Friend in our sorrow.  Our trust in His Friendship and Guidance is the Greatest Wealth we can be given.  His Wealth is both a free gift and hard work.  We are underserving of His Sacrifice. His invitation and acceptance into the Pure Presence of His Friendship is free.  We also work with Him to achieve the virtue that develops our Spirit.  This is the place where that True Beauty is given.  We are like sparrow released in compassion when the trial has reached its full potential.  But look again. The cage itself multiplied the wealth of beauty and wisdom.  The sparrow emerges a Phoenix

It is written:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.  This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”