Monday, December 29, 2008

Thou shalt a promise

This week we begin the first subject in the 26 rotating topics for our Bible lessons. We begin at the beginning with God. This lesson happens to be all about the Ten Commandments. I like the way it shows us that these rules teach just what God is and what we are as His image and likeness. I have found it very helpful to take the phrase 'thou shalt not' and read it as a promise that ' I will not' commit any of those mistakes. Not as if God were shaking His finger at me in anger, but more as if He is reassuring me with a loving hug that I won't do any of those things because I am His beloved child. And because I understand His goodness being poured out on me.

When I see that there is not other god that I think I can rely on, no other source for supply, or happiness, or health, then I am at peace and happy. Trusting Good and goodness to fill my needs. When I keep a 'sabbath' time, I am honoring God as the Creator. When I honor and obey my human parents, I am honoring my divine Father Mother. When I love my children, I am reflecting His love.

Because He is all good and loves me unconditionally, always supplying what I need there is never any temptation to treat any of his other children with hatred, or make hurtful statements to or about them. Because my heart is pure, I do not look with desire on things that are forbidden to me. Because I reflect good I will not take what is not mine, nor will I choose to lie about anyone or anything. I will always speak and know the truth and not be tempted to give a false impression or accept something, be a witness to something, that is not of God. And because I already have and include all that is freely given to me from my Father, I will never have a feeling of resentment against anyone for the things they have. All we have to do is love God, see that He is the only Cause and Creator, and we will not do wrong and that is a promise.

Prayer is more than a means to get God to give you what you want. Prayer teaches you to want what He wants to give you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas present idea

Give everyone you love a spiritual gift this year. Take a quiet moment, fix some hot chocolate and close out all distractions. Make a list of those you care most about. For each one, identify anything you might have been seeing as a personal challenge they are dealing with. Now change your thought about that. They are not stressed, over worked, under appreciated, ill, impatient, depressed or short tempered. Replace that with a mental picture of them smiling and happy. Put them in some beautiful place. Treat them to a carefree moment.

Watch for an opportunity to show that person love with a word, or an action, a guesture...and then mentally say "Merry Christmas".

Be alert for Christmas 'presence' and not so much emphasis on Christmas 'presents'. Look around for a star. Turn off all the other lights and just look at your Christmas tree. Think about the ornaments. Remember Christmas from other years.

God was the source of the great love Jesus gave everyone he met, regardless of their social standing, personal wealth, religious preference, or any other preference for that matter. He just loved everyone he encountered. God is the source of that same love within you.

If you had to make up a naughty and nice list, who would end up on the naughty side? Is there anything you can do about that? Just for the holidays try to see them differently. We never condone wrong behaviour or choices but we also shouldn't be judging and condemning others. It doesn't hurt them, only yourself.

If you are preparing a holiday treat, do it with care and a feeling of giving someone else a treat. I'm off to make Chex Mix myself.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Babe we are to cherish

This week's Bible lesson asks a question: "Is the Universe, including man, evolved by atomic force?" The lesson develops an answer with many references to light vs. darkness. Everyone knows that no matter how complete and all-encompassing a dark room may seem, the moment you flip on the light switch, it fills with light. And not just for you, for everyone in the room. The darkness is powerless to resist it. Truth is like that, it can replace any darkness in your experience with a blaze of light that lifts you right out of the gloominess of illness or lack.

The lesson opens with a more spiritual view of the Nativity, the words froom John's Gospel. As if to remind us of our true spiritual origin, John uses the same three words that open Genesis One, "In the beginning..." He links Jesus with man made in the image and likeness of God; complete, whole, healthy, perfect. No birth, no death, just coexistence with divine Love. One Creator and one creation.

Gabriel, the archangel, is very busy. He visits with Zacharias, a priest, and his wife Elizabeth. This pious elderly couple have prayed for many years to have a child but Elizabeth is barren. Gabriel comes to tell both of them that their prayers are about to be answered, despite the claim of barreness and their age. Do you feel that you have an insurmountable problem in your life? Can it be bigger than this one? Take heart, your prayer can also be answered. For Elizabeth, this would erase years and years of others thinking she is being punished by God. Zacharias has also been praying to see the promised Messiah appear in his lifetime. The Christ is available to each of us at all times and under all circumstances.

Gabriel's words seem to be true for Elizabeth appears to be pregnant. She goes into seclusion for five months, perhaps protecting herself from the comments of others who, thinking a pregnancy impossible, would speculate on what is growing inside her. Meanwhile, Gabriel has now visited with young Mary, engaged to Joseph but still a virgin. He tells her Elizabeth's news and that she also is pregnant. Mary goes to see her cousin. Before Elizabeth can say anything, Mary greets her, rejoicing in the baby. It is only then that Elizabeth feels the baby move within her. What a thrill, to know that this is really the child she has prayed for has growing within her. The one old enough to be a grandmother and the teen-aged girl spend the next three months together. I can only imagine their conversations! Mary doesn't stay for the birth of John. She may have begun to 'show' herself and needs to get back home. To Joseph, who is also visited by Gabriel, that he might believe that this is a holy child and Mary innocent of any wrong doing.

Gabriel continues to share the joyous news, next with shepherds, the simple people of Bethlehem who have been waiting and watching for the Messiah. They get to share in the first Christmas morning. Later he will speak with the Magi, a further protection for the holy family.

We can see how the Nativity evolved, like ripples on a pond. Think how that has spread from a tiny city in the Middle East around the globe. Have you gotten an angel messenger recently? Are you expecting one? Would you believe the message? Would all those doubts and fears try to convince you that such things are impossible? No matter what comes into your life in the form of a problem you think just can't be met, remember that nothing is impossible to God, divine Love. That He cherishes each of us.

This is the most wonderful time of the year. Spend a moment thinking about the Nativity. Go look at the stars. Listen for the sound of angels singing. Feel the wonder. Welcome the Babe we are to cherish.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Off to Simon's House

I just finished reading an article in this week's Sentinel. The author is Keith Wommack and if he ever comes to your area to lectue, don't miss it! I just love what he explains about the story of Jesus and the woman who comes to wash his feet.

Think about where that woman's healing really began, on the way to Simon's house, where Jesus had been invited for dinner. She found the humility and grace to make the journey, knowing well what people thought of her, and what she had thought of herself. She gave up that past life, the cost of the expensive ointment she used to anoint his feet, the embarrassment and rejection she felt. All set aside by her deep gratitude to the Master and an irresistable impulse to show him her love. What courage! So deciding to do this thing and then following through began the healing.

Simon saw only a notorious sinner. He accepted the world's view of her. Jesus saw only God's daughter, pure and whole. He must have appreciated her motives and actions. He applauded her progress. If you have ever burned an expensive candle you know how that lovely aroma soon permeates the air. Think how the presence of the Christ must have sweetened the atmosphere wherever he went.

Keith points out that she must have recognized the difference between true humility and the unworthiness she had been accepting about herself. She did not want to carry around a false view any more. Simon failed to see any of that. But then, the Christ was sitting right with him and he failed to see that as well. Do we?

When she bathed Jesus feet she herself was cleansed and her healing was complete, acknowleged by the Master himself. Wouldn't we all love to feel that! If you are searching for healing in your life, think about this woman and her journey. Start your own path 'to Simon's house'. I know I'll be thinnking about this today.