Archive | January 2014

Cross Purposes 22 / Praying Allied And Aligned With Divine Intention

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It never ceases to fill me with awe and wonder whenever I’m drawn to the following passage. It’s the Reader’s Digest condensed version summarizing why the “Church” exists. She is a bride as extraordinary as her Bridegroom! Yet she is also a spiritual warrior fighting powers unseen and bringing captives to freedom at the deepest and most profound levels, in Her Bridegroom’s Name.

“…God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God… For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3: 9,10,14-19 KJV)

(I encourage the reader to peruse the entire chapter. “Peruse” does not mean scan; it means to consider and savor well and deeply. See also Romans 8 and John 17 for further insight.)

Several aims of the apostle’s prayer stand out dynamically as something worth pondering, something really worth entering into through the work and life of the elect, by way of prayer as the central focus and purpose of our being.

The question is, does our aim as the “church” align with what is revealed here? Or are we approaching God, in a manner of speaking, looking for beads and trinkets instead of spiritual pearls and diamonds of a priceless worth?

The first order of business is intention – intention allied, aligned with, and surrendered to Divine Will and Purpose. Paul isn’t talking about simply making a better life for ourselves. He is revealing that the the elect are called to a very supernatural purpose – that the multi faceted Wisdom of God is to be revealed by the elect – not just to Earth dwelling human beings, but to the principalities and powers in heavenly places!

It may be a good idea to just stop and contemplate that for awhile. Personally I don’t think we can find anything better that stretches us out of the finite and into the infinite!

(I also encourage the reader to meditate on Romans 8, to access even more insight into “the fellowship of the mystery”, as Paul refers to it in Ephesians 3:9. This fellowship is the “Ecclesia”, the ones Jesus prayed for, those called out of worldly religions and systems, per John 17:6, to a specific and supernatural purpose.)

The second thought addressed is the idea of being strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. There’s much to be done, and it begins with “an inside job” – our very first priority – the work of the Spirit in and through us.

Surrendering ourselves to the work of the Cross of our Lord Jesus – His redemptive work – so as to be set free from the entanglements of evil, beginning within ourselves – is what this is about. This takes place in time and space, here and now. It is in the innermost being where the process of salvation begins. We’re liberated at the most foundational level, cleansed, healed, restored and empowered by the Holy Spirit – reasons why we pray without ceasing.

The third point is that Christ’s Spirit must make His abode in us. This is so easily taken for granted. I’m baptized, so I’m a Christian… I belong to such and such a church or group, so I’m a Christian… I answered an altar call… I was baptized… I speak in tongues…

Not so fast, pilgrim. Redemption is given freely through Christ, yes. But salvation is a process worked out with our surrender to God’s will and work, Holy Spirit filled, with fear and trembling. Being in a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than being parked in a garage transforms your Chevy into a Rolls Royce. Nor will taking the Chevy to the car wash turn it into a Lexus.

Such ideas are “blessed assumptions”. Assuming does not make it so.

The fourth issue is this. Prayer in alignment with the Mind of Christ embraces a spiritual and supernatural vision unlike anything we can imagine. Prayer’s purpose is so we can be rooted and grounded in Christ Love in order to comprehend the breadth, length, height, depth of His Love (in all dimensions and directions!) surpassing all knowledge! Why? To be filled up to all the fullness of God – a far greater Reality than most of us ever thought possible!

Something happened a very long time ago. Angels staged a coup in Heaven. Humanity was complicit and drawn out of its blessed Celestial Home, falling into a cosmic trap. A plan of redemption was conceived and carried out by none other than the Fullness of the Godhead in bodily form.

He now calls forth His elect to live a life far above the morbid, miserable, and mundane, in order to serve notice to all principalities and powers hostile to the Supernal Creator and His children and responsible for this rebellion, that they’ve been evicted from the Creation which they hijacked. The ransom note was paid in full by the blood of the Son of God!

The question is, who has actually heard and understood the call – the call to come out from among the world’s systems, false religions, philosophies, and paradigms and to stand apart in His Name on behalf of His Kingdom which is not of this world?

This mission is not for the faint of heart, but in Christ it is also not “mission impossible”. Let us be about the Father’s business.

States Of Mind

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There is a tendency to play the blame game on Planet Earth. The atmosphere seems infected with discontent. We blame our spouse, our jobs, our various situations for all our woes, worries and wants. 

In times past, it was not unusual for people to remain at their workplace for most of their careers. They were happy to be able to work. It was considered a blessing to have a job or career. They put their shoulder to the task, finding honor in hard work and a job well done, There was a sense of satisfaction and self respect in serving others and being the breadwinner.

People toughed it out, learned from, and grew with the difficult people in life. Some were even transformed by learning to accept, love, and forgive. 

People did not feel “stuck” because they lived in the same place from cradle to grave. There was a sense of connection and support. There was pride in your family and your roots going back sometimes generations.

Church was also something you didn’t “shop” for, as if it were some sort of product designed to people please. You could stay and still “go deeper”, but deeper meant you became a better servant of all, not an obnoxious armchair philosopher.

I’m not trying to be a critic here either, but simply looking at the various pockets of discontent in my own life, as I mentally time travel backwards into it. 

This little expedition calls into remembrance various Souls who entered and exited my life along the way like tumbleweeds blown by the wind. There seemed to be no stability in them; the grass was always greener on the other side of the fence, and it was always about “moving on”. 

Admittedly there are circumstances where the heat really is too great, and it may be prudent to hit the trail, such as abusive relationships. I certainly can identify and empathize with that. 

What I’m addressing, however, is this pervasive spirit of discontent where nothing is ever right or “ideal”. Many seem restlessly on the move as if there is something driving them like cattle. Or if anything displeases them even mildly, they become magicians and disappear! 

St. Paul addresses this matter of contentment in 1 Timothy 6:6-11 “… godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content… For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness…” For the sincere Christian, these are our prime directives.

Our world schools us in the idea that “more” and/or “different” is always better, but not necessarily. If we go back to the beginning of this chapter, we notice that the message is addressed to “servants under the yoke of masters”. Paul isn’t cutting anybody any slack here as far as the attitude of humility – godliness with contentment. (Nor is he advocating slavery as some say.)  No, he is addressing a Godly and contented attitude.

What that amounts to is a mind that acknowledges the Lord’s presence in the here and now, and surrenders itself to God – in whatever circumstances one finds oneself, for the sake of inner transformation.

The Apostle also spoke of this in Philippians 4:11. “… I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” And he provides some dynamic principles in the preceding verses to help bring us into a contented state of mind in the here and now.

Philippians 4:4-9 states, ”Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice… Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Our rejoicing is not in what’s “better” or “more”, but in the Lord Himself. Right here and right now.

“Be careful for nothing” is the KJV way of saying, “Have no anxiety about anything.” Put it to prayer with thanksgiving.  Surrender it. Lay it to rest in His hands – the One Who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. That is the cure for anxiety, and guarantees a peace from God which is incomprehensible – in the midst of any and all circumstances. Knee jerk fight or flight just won’t bring this kind of inner peace or powerful transformation.

The thoughts that fill our mind need to be on “The Six Whatsoevers”. What if we chose one Whatsoever per day, and committed to featuring that as the dominant thought of the day? Could each Whatsoever transform our inner landscape in six days toward a “new creation”? 

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5). This is the Mind from which the Godly and contented mind comes. We’re being admonished to allow the Mind of Christ to do its work within us, to change our inner state.

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:1,2). 

We can reckon it so that we are risen in and with Him – “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” (Ephesians 1:21).

What could be better than that for the spiritual man or woman who by faith sees the heights s/he already has in Jesus Christ?

One With The Wind

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My spiritual M.O. is something that prefers not being pinned down. I’ve always been a spiritual adventurer.

Says Jesus,The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

Some of us prefer a cookie cutter approach to life, career, religion, even art and music. We like comfort zone familiarity, even if it doesn’t deliver.

I’ve never been happy with the idea that everyone needs to be “happy” per someone else’s definition of the word, for example grabbing for all the gusto, becoming “successful” by following steps A through K. Fine, if that’s what you want. People do become successful this way, in the worldly and materialistic sense of the word. I’ve also learned it’s OK not to give a hang about the gusto.

For years I kicked myself because I felt intimidated by the success peddlers. What bothered me most was that I never felt attracted to material goods, “dream” houses, and the pitch to have more and more and more. It’s also not impressive when it’s presented as “you’re not spiritual if you don’t get rich”!

Here’s what clarified this: The Savior and Lord that I know says love not the world, and that you cannot serve God and mammon.

After considerable experimentation I’ve come to the same conclusion.

Then there’s that word “gusto”. The word “gust” makes up the lion’s share of it. Gust refers to wind. So if you’re grabbing for the gusto, it seems to me that you’re grabbing at something that isn’t going to be hanging around for very long, something that is not only hard to hang onto, but cannot be grasped in the first place. You have to grab and grab ad infinitum. Good luck on getting a handful of that! Gusto is more trouble than it’s worth.

Did you ever stop to think about how many songs are about gusto grabbing? The Impossible DreamI Did It My WayI’m Forever Blowing Bubbles. And more.

The entire gusto gig is one big fat illusion – people chasing after wind, with a cookie cutter approach they learned at an expensive seminar, pursuing something that is destined to blow away in the end.

Jesus also refers to this as the house built on sand. The Buddha called it attachment to things destined to disappear, the source of all unhappiness. Solomon calls it vanity or futility. Apparently there’s a consensus of truly great minds over this matter.

There’s a difference between being gone with the wind, and one with the wind!

Let me see if I can clarify a little more.

As someone who makes art, I observe that people really like craft shows. They really dig it – all those little trinkets made by using cookie cutter patterns. Steps A through K guarantees an outcome. Customers at these events like to buy items based on patterns.

If I were a craftsperson, I would go crazy producing this stuff. Admittedly some of it is intricate and pleasing to the eye, but it is still based on patterns. Patterned items remind us of our comfortable patterned behavior.

That’s why abstract art drives people nuts. They can’t identify with its patternless movement or symbolism. The same is true for jazz improv. These art forms break us away from the comfortable ritual patterns we love to sink into. They say, “Hey you, there’s another way to live than in your rut-tines.” These art forms may even feel threatening! They unsettle us and change the energy.

Maybe they even change the rules of the game.

Many jobs and careers are very repetitious. I held such a job for many years. It was based upon the repetitions of patterns which brought successful results in the surgical setting and was highly technical. There are very definite procedures which one must learn to accomplish a desired outcome. I burned out, realizing it was pattern repetition, albeit very sophisticated – absolutely antithetical to my basic creative nature.

Religion is no different, whether it is sacerdotal in form or claimed otherwise. Much of it involves ritual formulae, which is the repetition of patterns designed to bring about a spiritual result.

This doesn’t have to be “high church”. Sojourning through many denominations, it would always bring a smile to my face when devotees of newer forms of Christianity would claim, “We don’t have rituals like the Catholics and Lutherans.” My reply: “Yes, you do. You meet same time every Sunday, prayers are said at a certain time, hymns are sung at a certain time, the choir does its thing at a certain time, the sermon is spoken at a certain time, with your altar call at the end. And that, my friend, is ritual.”

It’s difficult to get away from pattern repetition. It exists even when it comes to personal spiritual practices. For example, I have personal “devotions” every morning right after I get up in a space of quiet and solitude. Seldom does a day go by that I do not observe this ritual, since it’s my way of beginning the day in the Lord’s presence, and it sets the tone for all that follows.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with pattern repetition and rituals – until they become an end in themselves – delivering neither desired results nor us from evil!

The opening verse (John 3:8) was spoken by Jesus to a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who came secretly by night to converse with Jesus about spiritual matters. This sect was the epitome of meticulous observances – ritual behaviors for “getting right” with God.

Jesus teaching and way of doing things baffled them. “Where does His authority to teach and perform miracles come from? This is puzzling,” they reasoned among themselves. Jesus could not be pinned down as to where He came from or where He was going.

Such people can be disturbing to the cookie cutter advocacy.

The ART of Conscious Dreaming, or the ART of Dreaming Awake

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Imagine for a moment that a fellow purchased an old house. He did so because a trusted source told him that in the attic of the house there was a treasure which would change his life forever if he were to access it. However over time the attic had been sealed up and made to appear that there was nothing at all above the ceiling – no attic, no treasure. 

Within the old house was also a capricious ghost. We’ll call him Charlie. Charlie’s delight was to make sure anyone who lived in the old house never discovered the attic, let alone the treasure it contained. 

So during the night, Charlie would enter the dreams of the home owner and convince him that he had never heard anything about this attic treasure. 

If that didn’t work, Charlie made sure he provided plenty of distractions to keep him away from unearthing and discovering the treasure by making a lot of strange noises, or even making objects move about the house seemingly by themselves. Some things even came up missing. That was usually scary enough to make Mr. Homeowner move out and give up on any potential treasure hunts! But not THIS Mr. Homeowner.

Charlie also liked to stir up animosity among the family members living in the house. He put little thoughts into their minds about the others, so that all the focus and energy went into stirring up strife, hard feelings, and trouble. After all, even if Charlie couldn’t have the treasure, he certainly did not want anyone else to claim it either.

Eventually the owner realized what the score was and that he needed to plan accordingly. First he was going to need some help getting rid of Charlie’s interfering spirit, and then he must also learn exactly how he needed to proceed with getting through the ceiling and into the attic without bringing the entire structure down on his head. This had to be followed with the construction of some kind of staircase or ladder which allowed him to get from the ground floor all the way up into the attic.

The story isn’t much different in our spiritual life, which is actually supports our creative life. Within ourself lies a little piece of heaven all a sparkle with Divine Radiance itself! This is represented by the attic and the treasure. What’s needed to experience the reality of this is some sort of means of access.  We’re told by some that this is not possible. They’re like Charlie and all his antics designed to keep us from any experience with the treasure and the Good that it can bring into our lives. 

Charlie’s strategies can come in the form of beliefs keeping us tied down to all the busyness and distraction life can throw at us, to a gerbil wheel existence. Or it can come in the form of counter-productive relationships. He also represents anything [particularly in religion] which presents useless means of accessing the inner treasure, but also serves Charlie’s ideas about how to keep you tied up in dogmatic approaches which never allow you to go for the inner gold, so to speak. And in some cases Charlie’s modus operandi may actually be harmful or destructive, and is certainly prohibitive of full treasure access!

Long story short, at some point when you’re finished with gerbil wheel existence, as well as Charlie’s claims, and want to reclaim your Sacred Self, you set out to discover a means that works for you to access your own attic treasure, your Higher Self. 

What I’d like to share, especially with people who are interested in more creative and whole living, is what works for me. I’m merely offering some suggestions of practices I use as an artist to access my own inner treasure stores, or what Jesus refers to as the “Kingdom of Heaven within you”.

It may seem odd that I’m NOT going to suggest prayer, Bible reading, meditation, contemplation, or study of spiritual and inspirational information at this point. Those are of course perfectly valid. There is a unique way, if you’re an arty type like me, and that is through making intuitive art.

Making intuitive art, as far as I’m concerned, is a means of “dreaming while you’re awake.” The whole process acts like meditation or contemplation – it bypasses all the mental clutter [drifting thoughts,worries, obsessing, anxiety, negative emotions, and so forth] and takes you right into the Heart and Center of your Soul. It’s here that you may meet with your Higher Self, your Inner Creator and all the spiritual and life changing awarenesses you may be looking for. 

This is the attic, and I’m suggesting one kind of staircase up to it is through intuitive art.

What I have discovered is that when you approach art this way – with the intention of being put in touch with your own God given inner treasure – it often yields some interesting results. I’ve been experimenting with art as the spiritual practice of dreaming awake for the last few years, and discovering that the “brain-mind complex” is bypassed, while the hand [with pen or pencil or brush in it!] is directly guided by what’s coming from the Center Of Vital Experience [“COVE”] deep within.

As you make art in this way – intuitively and with intention – the process is both relaxing and at the same time gently exhilarating. Often it is pleasantly surprising. Images, shapes, and even symbols emerge – things you did not realize you were even creating because your will is surrendered to and trusting the process. 

Sometimes there is also a clear “interpretation” or understanding of their meanings for your life from a personal perspective, as well as for others who view the art. One is left with distinct impressions. Each one “sees” his or her own meaning in the art! Often these meanings can provide confirmation of such things as where you are in life, or where you need to move forward, or what on Earth is happening to you for “Heaven’s” sake, and other useful answers you may be seeking! 

Surprisingly these meanings can be multi-layered, as you become increasingly aware of yourself as a far more expansive Being than you may have ever realized before.

The way I’m “wired”, as someone who seeks more creativity in every area of life, this spiritual practice of making art as conscious dreaming becomes more and more meaningful the more time and attention I give to it, as well as approaching it with quiet anticipation and joyful expectation, but WITHOUT attachment to an outcome. Here is where art can move from merely surreal or abstract nebulous “stuff” into something deeply, personally meaningful, healing, and spiritual on many levels.

It is possible to practice the art of dreaming awake wherever you may be – on a bus or plane, waiting in the doctor’s office, or just grabbing a quiet moment to retreat to the kitchen table with pen and sketch pad in hand, while the kids are doing their homework or watching their favorite television program.

However, I would recommend that if you desire to commit to taking this inner treasure hunt seriously, that you carve out some “sacred space” for yourself, and at least a half hour per day when you can distance yourself from routine concerns and commitments, and insist upon committing to this on your own behalf! After awhile all the “Charlies” in your life will disappear and leave you alone, as they respect what you insist upon to benefit from your Highest Good. Mornings are often best – that’s been my experience anyway.

It is good to quiet yourself with a few good, slow, deep breaths before you begin. A little gentle relaxing music can also help you to enter into a quieter more receptive state as well. If possible, enter a quiet room where you may shut the door. You may want to light a candle to add to the sense of this being sacred space and sacred time for you. And then maybe you can place your prayer intention: Today I ask to align with the Holy Spirit and my highest good as this art flows through me.

And I cannot say enough about letting your family in on what you are doing by communicating that at such and such a time every day, you will not be available for contact, distraction, or interruption. [Exceptions may be exsanguination or the inability to breathe!] You will be going on your treasure hunt in search of the Holy Grail of your Highest Self. Eventually they will “get it” that this is your time to do your spiritual practice, leave you alone, and maybe even become curious enough to try it themselves!

Here is another suggestion. Sometimes the art you are working on will invite you to go further. Here’s what I mean. I have begun pieces this way that by no means can be “completed” in half an hour’s space.  Allow for that. Put it away somewhere safe where the cat cannot tear it apart, or Junior will not spill his milk on it, and return to it as many times as you need to until you sense it is completed.  

I have started these works at times when they require many sessions over many weeks or even months to complete, but it is always well worth the effort! Each leg of the “journey” in this process is important. But at times it can seem as if you’re asking yourself to walk from New York to California in a half hour, but please – do not put that kind of expectation on yourself. It just does not work that way. Your art may be the map of your journey into forever.

This is the kind of “dream experience” you can return to again and again. It is deeply personal and can provide meaning for your life as no other practice can, if you feel “drawn” to it and sense that it is for you.

Happy “dreaming” through your art! May it lead you deeply into the Highest and Best that God has for you!

Cross Purposes 21 / Align With The Divine

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Lately I’ve been inspired to embrace a more intuitive and less intellectual approach to life. This means surrendering my will, intellect, all internal programming, and outer-drivenness to the Holy Spirit. 

Part of that is learning to listen to the body’s consciousness, since the Unseen part of us animates what’s physically manifest. 

I’ve been hit with a bout of fatigue the last several days, so it became clearer than ever that it was time to listen to the body. My appetite was gone, so there was nothing for it but to surrender to the process, and use the time for silence, reflection, and meditation.

It’s been a bit scary to let go for that long, but the results are worth it. My body would not allow, however, for anything short of that.

I believe, using this different approach to the experience of “feeling like I’m coming down with something”, that our body “tells” us what it requires – if we can get off the carousel of traditional thinking long enough to “listen”. What is discerned by that listening needs to be honored, as much as possible. 

I suspect that, over the normal course of the day, people often think they need to eat or take stimulants just to keep going, when what the body cries out for is water or rest. It’s crying out, “Stop now and listen to me!” 

Yet our modus operandi in this world is so confused that we get our signals crossed. So we eat instead of drinking more water. We take stimulants instead of a nap or even a retreat. Thus the need for restoration and rebalancing is trumped all too often by the world system’s continual lash across our backs. “Hurry, rush, rush, rush… be ‘productive’! ”, cries the taskmaster, the accuser who will always drive us and intimidates us with the pressure that we’re just not doing enough.

However Jesus invites us to His way – All who are heavy laden come to Me, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light. He invites us to stillness and silence and healing – sometimes through our body which say, “OK, you. I’ve had enough!” 

Yet if the body is allowed what it needs, the Spirit that emanates and enlivens it will actually heal basically anything, make corrections, balance, and restore things. So many people are afraid of this approach to life because they have been “wired” with all sorts of should and oughts which are completely un-natural and out of rhythm with the rhythms of the Creator and His created order and seasons.

The Creator is entwined in His Universe. Tapping into His Mind is essential. I did a lot of meditating – simple entry into Stillness – the last few days to align with the Divine, where I was reminded of this once more, and am being put back on track. I was also reminded that I was being strongly prompted over the last couple of weeks to retreat and go on a limited fast, which I was ignoring. 

What follows disobedience to the Still Small Voice? Dis-ease. Not perhaps some full blown diagnosable malady, but a warning that says, “Hey, you need to lighten up.”

Jesus, the Son of God, often went up into a mountain to pray all night. He sought ought these periods of listening to the Heavenly Father. If this was good and necessary for the Son of God, then who do we think we are to ignore our Human need for this?

He promised us that we could do greater things than He did. That is a part of the Human legacy which He came to restore. Where is this power? Instead what we’re manifesting for the most part is weakness and sickness, due to being out of harmony and alignment with the Father. Must we be flattened with dis-ease that hits like a freight train in order to finally get the message that it’s time to align with the Divine?

Whence come all these rather anomalous maladies such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and many other chronic dis-eases and dis-orders? There are many different theories and ideas about this, but little of it is conclusive.

What I would offer is that the real etiology of these things is a metaphysical one. Metaphysics in a nutshell is simply the idea that the Unseen part of us determines what is seen or manifested in the physical realm, space, and time. So the question is, what am I doing to connect myself to the Holy Spirit and the Mind of Christ in the way of listening to that Still Small Voice? Do my thoughts, words, and deeds manifest His attitudes?

If we’re not listening, after a time it registers in the body which is not in harmony. The body lets us know! Maybe it’s letting us know that it wishes to be intimately connected to its Supernal Source of energizing power! 

Our Creator-Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need before we even know it, and is willing to grant it. And the least we can do is position ourselves in a “listening mode” to receive it. This means daily regular intervals of “God Contact” – it’s called prayer. It doesn’t have to be getting down on your knees and begging God for the things you want, or maybe even need. Prayer is the intentional surrender of our will to His will. It is letting go of our ideas and outcomes, and allowing the Holy (whole) Spirit to take over.

It can be a simple intentional practice of being like a little child, a royal child, who knows that s/he can go into Daddy’s throne room anytime and interrupt the board meeting. S/he knows that Daddy has priorities, and His priorities are His family. That comes before even running the Universe!

You can pray the Scriptures, meditate on and simply be in His presence. He will never give a stone to the child who comes looking for bread, nor will He give a serpent to the one who asks for a fish. We can count on that.

Thus prayer is really simple surrender to His Good and His gracious will. Its simple practice is to enter His Presence intentionally, letting go of all our “outcomes”, and allowing His grace to do its cleansing, balancing, harmonizing healing work in our life.

OK, back to the rest-oration, I’m being reminded, which has not yet accomplished its work fully. I just wanted to share what I’ve been experiencing with you. But for now, I must go. 

 

Real Seasons Help Us Get Real

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Dear Reader,

This is a bit off topic from my usual yarn, but I’d just like to preface what I’m about to say as a way of connecting and relating to our Creator in a more natural and rhythmic way, by taking a look at the construct of the calendar we normally use, as opposed to what is actually going on in the cycles of nature and the cosmos.

This is the time of year when many people begin to suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or S.A.D. A part of this may be due to the fact that we’ve been taught to observe the times and seasons in a way that is, to say the least, slightly off from reality.

So I’m hoping you’ll indulge my slightly less “theological” emphasis and consider what I’m offering here. There is a natural order of things and an unnatural and distorted way that we have been taught to look at them: “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise,and knowledge to them that know understanding.” (Daniel 2:21.) Might we do better to observe the natural order along these lines?

70 days till Spring? Not.

Here’s how to look at it in a far more “natural” way than the calendar we’ve been stiffed with by the “powers-that-may-have-been-but-not-for-long”, and it will make you feel more hopeful – since it’s based naturally on the cosmic and earth cycles. Let’s start with the basics.

February 1- April 30 = Spring.

May 1 – July 31 = Summer.

August 1 – October 31 = Autumn.

November 1 – January 31 = Winter.

Stick with me on this one. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what I’m showing you here.

So Spring begins in about 2 weeks, not 6! That should make you sit up and take notice. Consider “Ground Hog’s Day” – the sleepers in the forest begin to awaken. Lambs on the farms begin to be birthed, and so forth. Nature’s signs are signals to us all as Spring begins its rebirth. It is thankfully time to bid winter goodbye.

Around March 21 comes the Vernal Equinox – equal night / equal day. This falls at the mid-point [about 6 weeks] between Feb. 1 and April 30.

Next up is what’s actually “mid-Summer” (by far older, more reliable, natural reckonings of times and seasons). It happens at Summer Solstice, around June 21, which is not the “1st day” of Summer. Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year [northern hemisphere] with far more daylight hours. [Hint: Shakespeare’s play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream.]

That means that the tipping point has arrived and little by little the days will start to get shorter…

Until they reach the Autumnal Equinox when we once again experience equal night / equal day, which occurs around September 21, again at that approximate half way point between August 1 and October 31.

Around November 1 we plunge again further into darkness as Winter comes our way, until we come around full circle to another tipping point at the Winter Solstice (with all its celebrations depicting the victory of the light over the darkness), that leads once more to longer and longer days. (Solstice: Sun stands still.)

So here we are, in mid January bemoaning that Winter has just begun, when it’s actually nearly over!

I find that when I observe the calendar in this more natural light, consciously noting the ebb and flow of the seasons, it does something really positive in spirit, mind, and body. For example, seeing Spring arrive in 2 more weeks instead of 6 (which in fact by the natural reckonings and cycles of nature and cosmos), ever since I’ve done this, I seldom suffer from S.A.D.!

Someone tampered with these ways of looking at times and seasons. It is in my opinion a very ancient psy-op! It’s been done in cultures all over the world. I won’t say who, but it will become obvious if you look into the matter. Yes, the truth is out there, buried in data and meta data…

Our way of relating to the Earth, to the Cosmos, and time itself appears to have been “readjusted”. Is that so surprising? Consequently people are more depressed, stressed out, and strung out than ever before – because even the calendar encourages us to be in denial of the cycles of our bodies which are meant to harmonize with Earth, nature, sun, moon, tides and so forth. (Follow the money, per usual?)

If we understand this and allow for a more natural pace and flow of things, there is far more serenity. Serenity leads to healing of mind, and a healthy mind can bring about a healthier body.

The question I’m compelled to ask is, why have we been subjected to an unnatural reckoning of time and the calendar which is roughly 6 weeks off from the actual natural courses of the cosmos and Mother Earth?

Maybe it’s worth considering this on a planet where every other good and natural thing basic to our survival, that touches our minds and bodies, has been tampered with?

I’ll leave you to your own thoughts and searchings, but will just say, Take heart! Spring is not as far away as we’ve been taught to believe that it is.

Meantime, feel the pulse of Nature. Hear her heartbeat in the times and seasons as the Creator appointed them. Touch the Earth. Look up at the sky. Stop and smell the breezes. Reach up with your imagination and soar among the stars…

Cross Purposes 20 / Pacifist, Not Pass-A-Fist

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For reflection: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?…” (Luke 6:46. See verses 47-49 also.)

 

OK, I’m going to poke the stick at the bear on this one. Lately I’ve been getting into discussions with people on the matter of nonviolence, especially Christians who vehemently defend their rights under the Constitution to keep and bear arms. Certainly you are entitled to your rights politically and legally. And I’m just as entitled to my right to trust in the Higher Power for everything in my life, including safety, and to not keep and bear arms. 

Personally, as a Christian who takes the Lord’s Word seriously, I’ve been giving this a lot of prayerful thought, and examining these matters in the light of Jesus’ teaching. 

First of all I’ve always been a pacifist (not “pass-a-fist”, if you catch my drift). I did not grow up in a household that bears a resemblance to an arsenal. This wasn’t even in our consciousness.

As the years progressed, and I experienced deeper Christian conversion, I realized that the problem with  weapons may not be the weapons themselves, but the fear and aggression in human beings which drives people into seeking out weapons and using them. The problem is a human condition called “sin”. However, what purpose do weapons have, except to kill or hurt someone or something?

Additionally it does not make a person a coward, just because he or she chooses not to be armed, as is implied by many of the gun-toters.

I also realized, in surrendering my life to the Holy Spirit, that it is Jesus Christ Who provides the solution to the human aggression problem through redemption, the plan of salvation, and the transformative work of the Holy Spirit to set us free from these fears and aggressive tendencies as we grow in grace.

This is the beauty of the Christian message and a major reason why it is so important, especially in these times, for once again we find ourselves on the brink of thermonuclear annihilation as we play yet another round of “my gun’s bigger than your gun”. For when aggression grows in the human heart, apparently so does the size and sophistication of the weapons.

The question is, when and where will it stop? “When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?” So goes the old folk song.

As Einstein said, one cannot solve problems on the same level they were created. My point here is that Jesus Christ provided that higher level of solutions in everything He taught and exemplified. As I prayed about this issue, over and over, the answer I kept being reminded about was the beginning text quoted above. In modern English, it would say something like, “How can you call Me your Lord when you do not do practice My teachings?” He really was quite blunt and to the point about the matter.

He knew that the adversary of souls is where the real weaponry must be aimed, that it is on a spiritual level – a warfare which calls for peculiar spiritual artillery where “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4). That is the root and source of all Humanity’s woes!

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”(Ephesians 6:13-18) This is what Jesus’ “army” looks like.

The opening verse for this article comes near the end of Luke’s version of the Sermon On The Mount. Jesus had spent the entire night in prayer. He calls His twelve apostles out of a large crowd of His disciples. We’re told (Luke 6:19) that many people were trying to touch Him, due to the great power emanating from Him. As He healed them all, He turns to His disciples and begins to deliver this magnificent and completely other-worldly teaching to them. This was a word for disciples!

There is a lot of “radical” instruction here (You might like to read Luke 6 for yourself at this point.) Everything He teaches is diametrically opposed to the way the world system looks at things. A few examples: bless those who curse you; if someone takes something from you don’t demand it back; love your enemies – that’s what makes you different from the world, since it’s fairly easy to love those who love you.

And Jesus basically winds it up with a provocative challenge: If you’re calling Me your Lord, why aren’t you living according to My teaching?

I see this as His challenge to Christians in our times where we need a solution above and beyond bigger weapons and the fearful, vindictive attitudes which drive their proliferation.

So instead of weapons proliferation, how about some “pro-life-eration” instead?  

Maybe it’s time to finally beat those swords into plowshares and those spears into pruning hooks. If not this generation, then who and when? Tomorrow will be too late. Why expect the next guy, and the next guy, and the next guy to implement nonviolence as a fact of Christian life and experience?

Whatever happened to “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me”? 

Yet many say, “Well, I know Jesus taught this, BUT…”

If further insights and enlightenment are desired, read the entire chapter. Ponder well.