Archive | December 2013

Cross Purposes 17 / “Cuss-tomer” Service

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Dear Reader,

Where to from here? At this point in time we may be asking ourselves that question. After all it is the time of year once again when a lot of folks talk about making “resolutions”. I refer to them as “re-solutions”.

Solutions are ways of solving difficult problems, such as the breaking of bad habits. Thus might re-solutions mean visiting and solving them yet again, these persistent things that will not go away in our life, such as bad habits, vices, addictions, and the like? Is there a permanent answer to dissolving these persistent and “permanent” issues, rather than a perpetual re-visiting and re-solving them time after time?

I would offer that there is a Way. However, my answer may not be the “formula” that will work for you. I only share it so that you may consider it, try it if you choose, or discard it and seek another way. But in all of it, always ask and it shall be given – how shall I be delivered of this, Lord? Take it to the Lord directly in prayer!

Caution: It may still not go away over night, but it may be that you’ll be shown a process which will work for you over time, not based on re-solutions operating from the ego, false self, old adam, flesh, lower nature… whatever you wish to call it, but rather your solution will be sourced in Divine Mind! Again, always ask and it shall be given. God is the Omniscient One. He has the solution to your pollution! You have been given redemption through Jesus Christ, but are you “working out” your salvation? (See Philippians 2:12.)

First of all I’m not so sure that making resolutions to change some bad habit, such as cussing (one of my “favorites”), is the approach to take. The focus is still on the habit. All the energy is focused on changing it. Metaphysically speaking we understand that where the focus goes the energy flows. Bad habits are very much like children who are addicted to attention: the more they get, the more antics you will experience with them. My experience with my own bad habit has shown me that this is so often the case.

So, since re-solutions don’t seem to work, back to our original question: where to from here? If re-solutions won’t work, then where are the solutions?

May I share what’s been provided to me in a fresh way, as a prescription by the Great Physician? It’s an affirmation and prayer that goes something like this: 

Let me align with the Divine, in full Surrender

of spirit, soul, mind, body, and strength 

consecrated completely to Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit,

within Sacred Silence and Solitude,

with my voice given entirely 

to Gratitude, Love, Truth, and Spiritual Songs!

Resistance really is futile. Approaching an undesirable habit with the ego-will simply does not work. The “old adam” has no abiding power over a bad habit, which is in fact a “child” of itself that it will not easily surrender. There needs to be a Higher Power called into action which will indeed render once and for all the solution. What is needed is a miracle of Divine Intervention, a deliverance from evil, not a re-solution!

Foul language is for the birds! Scripture reveals to us that the tongue is set on fire by hell itself and no man can tame it! (See James 3:2-10.) This presents us with a conundrum. Cussing, lying, put downs, dirty jokes, and all manner of perverse speech have infiltrated our world at every level. This is a more serious problem than we can imagine, and we all seem to participate in one level or another with it. If no human being can tame the tongue, then it must be surrendered to Divine intervention.

Moreover, life and death are in the power of the tongue (see Proverbs 18:6-8,21). Is it any wonder then – with this prevalent, profuse, and proliferating profanity – that the quality of life on this planet is deteriorating and seems more dizzying and delusional every day? Could that have to do with the fact that all the cursing and “f bombing” has opened the very gates of hell, causing massive discord and devolution?  

If, according to Psalm 33:6, the heavens were made by the Word of the Lord and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth, then perverted words on the part of we the people created in His image and likeness could have a very darkly creative effect upon this world?

And let me address this idea, often vehemently defended, concerning the “right to free speech”. Certainly – if you think that freedom means being allowed to demean and denigrate yourself, others, and your world through the use of profanity, lies, deceit, and any other misuses of the vocal organs powered by thought and breath – you have the “right” to do so guaranteed by the US constitution. We’ve cursed ourselves, called our curses freedom, and then wonder where our freedoms went! All the minions of Hell must be doing some unholy rolling with laughter in the church aisles on this one!

if you are a Christian there is a higher Law which ought to guide you. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19.) This is the One Who must be called upon to curb an unruly tongue, to deliver us from its causes and effects. Have you asked Him about that lately?

Please be advised that although you have the “right” it may not be right. 

You may be contributing to the downfall of the very thing you most desire – freedom – by abusive, profane, and unenlightened speech. These are reactions of fear, and given the current attitudes, what you fear will appear. There are better choices, effective because they are Divinely inspired and Divinely empowered! God’s “operative Grace” – Perfect Love – casts out ALL fear (See 1 John 4:18).

Perhaps it’s time to turn that loss of freedom around by participating in what supports it instead of what defeats it – at a most rudimentary metaphysical level. 

When we speak, we create. What are you creating by your speech? What does it reveal about the character of your heart ( See Matthew 12:34-37)?  Are you taking responsibility for what you’re creating by your words, by the breath of your mouth? Have you ever considered it in this light before?

Moreover, are you intentionally, daily, and regularly “showing up for work” in the Divine Presence of God’s unfathomable transformative Grace – by prayer, study, and meditation on His Word – where the tongue can be tamed? 

Life and death are in the power of the tongue! How can we use this knowledge to turn our world around?

In 2014, and beyond, perhaps it’s time to light a candle within us instead of cursing the darkness around us.

In closing, please allow me to repeat this prayer and affirmation – to offer a potential place to begin to experience God’s empowerment more directly now and in the future.

 Let me align with the Divine, in full Surrender

of spirit, soul, mind, body, and strength 

consecrated completely to Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit,

within Sacred Silence and Solitude,

with my voice given entirely 

to Gratitude, Love, Truth, and Spiritual Songs!

 May Divine Peace go with you always,

Messenger At The Crossroads

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

“Gimme what I need, not what I ask for!” I cannot tell you how often I heard that remark from a stressed out surgeon during my many years of working in the operating room. That’s when they ask for the wrong thing at the wrong time. A good “scrub” knows ahead of the game when that happens – tuning into what is needed, and delivering.

Sometimes it’s said in frustration due to faulty anticipation on the scrub’s part to hand over the correct tools – which are often asked for non verbally by gesture – a simple open hand. The object of the game is to anticipate the next step in the surgical procedure and have the proper instrument ready for your surgeon’s hand before it’s needed. That helps him maintain his focus.

Sometimes it was said in jest, as a backhanded sort of compliment, when you’ve managed to combine knowledge and mastery of the “brutal craft” with a dash of mind reading. It’s their way of saying, as you see the smile behind the mask and the twinkling eye, “Well done! How did you know I needed that instrument at this moment?”

After awhile, when you’ve seen every surgical procedure known to man hundreds of times over, for years on end, the second scenario becomes second nature and seems largely like repetitive motion. The first scenario occurs in the beginnings of one’s career, in the training phases, or when new procedures with new technologies arrive in your space.

What has this to do with the season of giving and getting? Well, it’s just one form of “Gimme” that I can personally attest to. The giver of what’s needed realizes that a life may be at stake if you don’t come through with the right tool at the right time.

Here’s another form of the Gimmes: closets and drawers full of stuff that other people feel obligated to give you when you’re not asking for it. This isn’t necessarily a gimme on the part of the recipient, so much as guilt operating in the giver.

There’s a lot of guilt out there, especially during the holly daze, whether we recognize it or not. Just because it’s Christmas or some other “occasion” some feel that gifts must be given.

It’s an especially effective tool to trigger guilt programming by inserting that, since it’s Jesus’ birthday, well, you certainly do not want to miss this opportunity to give and get, do you? Say what? [For some reason Revelation 18 comes to mind.]

No, thanks.

There seems to be something about this kind of giving which goes back a long, long way. Tribes and cultures appeased the gods, or invoked their favor through giving, ritual, and sacrifice.

This is seen in the Bible as well. Blood sacrifice was especially effective. At least that’s what priests and priestcraft had going for them. You sin? No problem – just buy a lamb or a little bird from us and sacrifice it. Voila! You’re guilt free and your sin is washed away.

However, the prophets for the most part took issue with “the system”. They were far more interested in people knowing God than giving Him what He wasn’t asking for

Prophets were passionate about a direct relationship with the Lord. They put the finger on the sacrificial system, which did nothing for the spiritual enhancement or understanding of Souls, nor did it help them to know the Love of God which had the power to transform them. The prophets wanted what God wanted for the people. So did Jesus Christ. They cried out for repentance!

What did God ask for? What did He want from His people? What does He still want?

He didn’t say, “Gimme, gimme, gimme blood sacrifices of goats, bulls, and lambs!” He didn’t ask for ritual and obligation.

Rather, per Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”.

What’s required was recorded by the Psalmist, very simply – in Psalm 51:17.  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

He wanted the right “tool” at the right time to get the job done right. That tool is us in our entirety, continually surrendering to His loving will and the Holy Spirit, which alone can transform and “save” us – so that this sorry world can see the Father by seeing and experiencing His Love through us.

Jesus put it this way, that we should love the Lord with our whole heart, soul, strength, and mind and our neighbor as ourself [also per Deuteronomy 11:13]. Mark 12:33 reiterates and encapsulates this very well – “And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

It’s essentially like asking your child to go and clean his room. The next thing you know he’s outside weeding the garden. He’s pulled up most of the vegetables and left the weeds. Moreover, his room is still a mess. 

You ask, “Johnny, why are you weeding the garden?” He replies, “I thought you might like it if I do that for you.” 

You remind him, “But Johnny, I asked you to clean your room. If I wanted you to weed the garden, I’d have asked you to do that. Don’t you understand? I want you to gimme what I asked for, not what you want to substitute for it…”

Yet isn’t this how we relate to our Heavenly Father? He asks us for our heart, soul, strength, and mind – so that these may be under Good Orderly Direction. He’s not asking for what we think he wants, according to the doctrines and traditions of men. He doesn’t want substitutes and sacrifices! He wants us restored to Him.

The challenge is to surrender our own will to His, listen, hear, develop sensitivity and insight toward others, and above all a willingness to give God what HE asks for, not what we want to give, or what someone else “obligates” us – through traditions of men – to give.

The old children’s carol comes to mind: 

 “What can I give Him, small as I am? 

If I were a shepherd, I’d give Him a lamb; 

if I were a wise man, I’d do my part; 

What can I give Him? I’ll give Him my heart!

Presents Or Presence? A Christmas Yule-ogy

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Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Here we are at the big celebration of the year once more! The shopping may or may not be finished. Oh dread! The gifts may or may not be wrapped. Never on time! Oh no! We forgot to add Aunt Susie to the Christmas card list. What will she think of us?

But the stockings are hung on the clothesline to dry… Yes?

Here we come a wassailing amidst bah humbugging… the NSA internet bugging… and everything that’s bugging just about anybody. When it comes down to the wire, tapping our toes to familiar carols and seasonal songs may after all raise our spirits to a somewhat higher plain truth. At least for awhile.

All the fuss. It will be over in a few moments time. It ends. It brings a momentary joy, but all these contracts with Time have a lot of small print that everyone seems to overlook. It reads as follows, “Due to a Universe subjected to futility, we regret to inform you that all is vanity; therefore, this moment of finite pleasure is destined to come to an end. For this reason, you will consequently need to seek out one new experience or pursuit after another, until you run out of options and come to a dead end on Pleasure Boulevard. That is all there is.”

What? Is that true? Is that all there is?

No, there’s a new Star twinkling in the Heavens. His name is the Sun of Righteousness, and His Ephemeral Light is of a very different kind than we are used to perceiving. Those who are wisely drawn to His Light look to His radiance and are guided by it. They seek His emanations at all times and in all places, in all seasons, both night and day, for He is the Omnipresent One Whose Light never fails or diminishes. In Him there is no darkness at all.

His light is always present for any and all who ask in faith, without doubting. He is the one ever-present Presence – beyond all the nifty-gifty trinket presents. He is the Presence wherein exists fullness of joy that can never pass away. He is the Presence forever found in the present! 

Those who follow this Star know a peculiar, deep, unending satisfaction – a peace that passes all understanding. Once they “see” it, they never hunger or thirst for anything else again. It is, after all, available to all – the Christ Light that is present to enlighten everyone coming into the world. This Presence is He in Whom we live, move, and have our being!

This Presence has also been called the Morning Star and the Day Star. We celebrate His rising at this time of year – the time of His entry into the space of our great and universal darkness. He abolishes all the dark terrors of the night and puts them to flight forevermore – both within the individual Soul and in the world, wherever He is welcomed!

He heralds a new day, a new Presence on the Earth, and His glow will never diminish. He is destined to replace all the other presents, and the “lesser presences” who can never satisfy, keep their promises, or honor their word – as the kingdom of this world becomes the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He reigns forever and ever, not by way of force, mandates, or at gun point – but through the one-by-one internal revolution of hearts, ablaze with His Presence, through the power of the unconditional Love experienced through the Holy Spirit.

He is the Fullness of infinite joy, infinite love, infinite wisdom, infinite peace…

How shall we find and enter into His Presence?

Ask and keep on asking, through all the falsehoods, filters of your difficulties, stresses, and trials – He is already given to you and awaiting you.

Seek and keep on seeking, through all the times you feel as if His Presence is not there – you shall find your way through that illusion and into His Present Reality here and now.

Knock and keep on knocking, even when it seems like the drawbridge will never be extended for you to cross the remote possibilities that seem wildly beyond imagination – the door will be opened… And you can take it to the bank that His Light is always left on for you, and that there really is Somebody Who has the castle in order and is waiting for you with open arms to enfold, comfort, and heal you! He never lets go of you.

When all the glitz and glitter of the holly daze are gone, when the dog has swallowed the last piece of tinsel, when the cat has broken the last ornament, when the Seasonal Affective Disorder Blues hits you as if you’ve run up against a brick wall, when the presents given this night become next year’s clutter – seek for the Presence of the Sun of Righteousness that never sets.

In Him is Light, and His Light is the Life of all!

Wishing you His Light, His Presence, now and forevermore, dear reader and friend.

Sincerely,

Messenger At The Crossroads

 

PS. A few promises about His Presence to keep you going all through the night and into the new…

1 Chronicles 16:27. “Glory and honor are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place”.

Psalm 95:2. “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms”.

Nahum 1:5. “The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.”

Psalm 9:3. “When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.”

Psalm 31:20 “Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.”

Psalm 140:13 “Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.”

Into The Silence Part 10

Peace, Be Still 

Mark 4:39. “And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

We’re all in the same boat, you might say. In many ways it resembles the boat occupied by the disciples  when this event took place.

At the beginning of this narrative Jesus extends a rather interesting invitation. Mark 4:35 says, “Let us pass over unto the other side.” As I read this, it occurred to me that this is exactly what we’re doing here in life’s little voyage, is it not. We’re passing over to the other side! Indeed we’re in the boat, are we not? All of us are on this voyage! We’re passing over from “death” into “life”, from the finite into infinity.

We observe the approach to this of the disciples when the tempest arose. They are panicking. And then there was Jesus’ approach: He’s in the stern, asleep on a pillow! They awaken Him in the midst of this fierce gale, with accusations. “Master, carest Thou not that we perish?”

Naturally focused on their fear of a foreseeable future, they approach Him. He awakens, rebukes the wind, and commands the sea, “Peace, be still.” He is not angry with His disciples for awakening Him, but chides them for their lack of faith and their fear. 

It seems like a hard lesson, but is there something in it which the Prince of Peace wishes us to see, as we pass over unto the other side?

Fear often focuses on a worst case scenario for the future. Fear is not an orientation in the present. Jesus, being very much in command and at rest at the back of the boat on a pillow, puts us in mind of Psalm 4:4 – the invitation to be at rest while communing with God upon our beds, and to be still. Even in this.

The One Who was able to be still in the midst of the gale was also able to command the winds and the sea to also be still! This would require a realization that we are not separate from God’s Presence and Peace – that He is always available to us as we simply choose to be there in Jesus.

There are plenty of “storms” especially at this time of year, seemingly demanding our attention and focus. The weather is only one of them. But in coming into our Father’s almighty Presence as one in Jesus, who is quietly resting on His pillow, we do so in  both confidence and quiet and in full assurance that this “crossing over” is going to have the very best of outcomes – according to His good, gracious, and perfect will for us.

It is in this attitude that we welcome the Prince of Peace, the Word made flesh Who dwells among us, and we behold His glory, as we pray, “O come, O come, Emmanuel!”

Into The Silence Part 9

Be Still And Know.

Psalm 46:9,10a. “He maketh wars to cease until the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariot in fire. Be still and know that I am God…”

Wars, weapons, weeping, waste of Human life and liveliness. These are the signs of conflict. And all the specialists in “conflict resolution” never reveal the real source of the conflicts, either personal or political, to an end.

From whence comes the conflict?

The source of all conflict lies within the fact that many, many Souls are at conflict with God their Creator in the first place. They are in an illusion of separation from Him, at least in awareness and experience. People against God Who is not “against” anyone, people against one another – individually or in groups, people against this or against that. Everything on this planet is approached in terms of conflict! We have wars on drugs, wars on cancer, wars on poverty, wars on everything you can think of – and now we even have a war on terror… Say what?!

It boils down to the fact that fighting fire with fire only begets more fire. Fire must be put our by “Water” – a daily washing of regeneration by the Holy Spirit! That is best approached by a practice of God’s Presence through prayer. It means going into that closet with Him, being in His Presence, “showing up for work” – the work of Grace as His Holy Spirit applies it to us.

Could we ever come to terms with how utterly counterproductive this is in terms of even such things as the forward movement of Human progress, creativity, and the ability to envision anything better or more beautiful?  Dare we to look at the fact that we’re the ones who’ve been sacked? What’s the solution? Do we want the solution offered to us by God, or are we so used to the ghetto of conflict that it never crosses our mind that we can move out of conflict and into peace?

I would offer this: What if we were to be still long enough to actually experience the peace that passes all understanding, through the sublimating grace of God’s Presence, as we come to Him in prayer, and to realize that God alone is the end of all conflict? 

What if it is possible to be still and know this? 

I would say that it is, since this is exactly what our Lord invites us to do – to be still and know that I am God! He never asks us to do anything that is not possible, and with God all things are possible which are according to His will!

This may be the best gift we could offer ourself this Christmas – the gift of being still and knowing that God IS, and that He is the end of all conflict, as that cessation of hostilities ends beginning with our renewed connection with Him! Such prayer does not even require words, only a showing up to spend time with Him, and even to listen.

We can enter that still place of prayer to experience our reconciliation with Him, provided by our Redeemer, our Lord and Champion, Jesus Christ – the One Who ends all conflict at its source.

Into The Silence Part 8

Commune Within Your Innermost Being

Psalm 4:4. “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still…”

How delicious an invitation this is to come into the quiet – to commune with the Lord within the heart, to just lift up our hearts with a smile of appreciation for Him, while at rest, even upon your bed! What a contrast to the frenzy of so much of the world at this time! 

Not only does the weather deliver blizzards, but our inner landscapes are no strangers to the storm, the cold, and the harsh driving winds. We may do well to ask, from what direction do these inner conditions arise? We could reflect again on Elijah with his whirlwinds, earthquakes, and fires – the fierce “drivenness” wherein the Lord is not found… Might these things beset us because we have separated ourselves from the Presence of the Lord, His gentle Spirit that breathes across us like a gentle breeze.

How do we enter this rest, especially at this time of year? It requires some decision making, some willingness to say, “My apologies, but I’m not going to participate in this or that anymore. I have all I can handle without becoming involved. In fact I’m simply making the choice not to _______” You fill in the blank.

If we are spending time communing with our Heavenly Father in stillness, silence, and the solitude of our hearts, maybe even while at rest upon our beds, the more this is practiced, the less enticing tinsel and trinkets become. The sweetness of His Presence become the desire of our heart, and “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace”, says the old gospel song.

We shop till we drop and spend ourselves silly, eat ourselves silly, party, overindulge, become sick, over commit, say yes when everything in us cries out to say no. Does this sound like the proper greeting for the Prince of Peace, if we choose to observe this Season as His birthday? The pastor of a church I used to attend many years ago always said that this time of year resembles bedlam, not Bethlehem. I’d have to concur.

It’s time to reflect, time to appreciate what it means for God to send His Son into this world, and for that Son to choose to lay down His life for us. 

“What wondrous love is this, O my Soul?”

Into The Silence Part 7

Pray Ceaselessly.

1 Thessalonians 5:16,17,18. “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Practice makes perfect, they say. My old voice teacher, however, used to say, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” This might be applicable to the practice of perpetual prayer – to pray without ceasing. This would require some means, or attitude of abiding in the Presence and Mind of God. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Being no master of this, I’m certainly not about to be in the business of passing out unsolicited advice. The Christian spiritual life requires a complete, radical overhaul of our being. As far as I can tell, that’s what the plan and process of salvation is about. Prayer – connection to our Heavenly Father – is the foremost component of that deliverance, salvage, and reconstruction wrought in Jesus Christ and experienced by us throughout life and into Eternity. No, no master, only the Messenger at the Crossroads.

We have all these fabulous Holy Days which hold great opportunity and advantage, if we will see them with spiritual eyes and partake of them. This is especially true if you grew up in a sacerdotal church as a child. As the years have progressed, these things have grown dim as forms, but have grown into an enormous treasure in terms of spiritual depictions of a far greater reality. They lift the Soul into more meaningful prayer through what they symbolize. They have helped me in my life of prayer, especially during Christmas, Lent, and so forth. The forms have decreased; Christ’s Reality has increased.

I’ve been all over the map as far as spiritual and religious traditions. I spent a lot of years under the influences of Unity, Science of Mind, and similar traditions.  In those paths there is the idea that “our thoughts are prayers, and we are always praying.” Then comes the admonition to take charge of what you’re saying. Up to a point I can buy that, but seldom does one hear about the claims of Jesus Christ or surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit as the attitude or “posture” of prayer. Consequently that is where I got off the boat of naming, framing, and claiming “truth” based on finite understanding and the human will declaring to God what it wants.

No, to pray without ceasing is more than confessing that all your thoughts are prayers. [May God help us if that is true!] Biblical praying is to pray, to abide, consciously in the Will and Mind of God, whose thoughts are not our thoughts and whose ways are not our ways, not according to what your ego thinks it wants to make your life better, or to make you “happy”, or to have more worldly success. It is the surrender of the will – “Thy will of infinite understanding, Heavenly Father, not my will of finite understanding, be done”.

Prayer without ceasing is to abide in this will and Holy Spirit. It is a space where we can therefore rejoice evermore and give thanks in everything, in the knowledge that we have come into a place of humility in God through Christ, as we realize that prayer is our work – for the restoration of this fallen reality.