For They Shall Be Comforted
Continuing with the Beatitudes Series, we learn the next two keys to Christian living – Willingness and Congruence.
Finding Comfort in the Midst
We are looking to the Beatitudes for October’s series, “Finding Comfort’. Using his book, “The Kingdom on Earth,” Dr. George M. Lamsa, explains that some of the words we thought we understood have a different meaning when understood in their Aramaic context.
Opening the Door
In the final week of the Hallway series, we finally reach the time where we take what we learned in the hallway experience and cross the threshold into our new life in God.
The Work of the Hallway
The Work of the Hallway has essentially five phases which are keys to experiencing a transformed life. They are Acceptance, Surrender, Forgiveness, Prayer and Design. The work is simple, but may not be easy when first tackled. And the work is well worth the effort for our spiritual journey.
Welcome to the Hallway
Using Rev. Ellen Debenport’s book, “Hell in the Hallway, Light at the Door”, we learn that anytime we experience change, it’s as if a door closes and we cannot return to the life that was before. We end up on the other side of the closed door, right in the middle of a hallway. There are many types of doors, she suggests, as we go through the various changes throughout our lives. There are good news doors and not-so-good news doors. And at any given point, we might be in several hallways at the same time. Today’s lesson introduces us to “The Hallway.”
May 26, 2019
Because Jesus was about to be crucified, resurrect and ascend into heaven, he told the disciples in the Gospel of John 14:16 that he would ask the Father, and the Father would give them another Advocate (Helper), to be with them forever. And we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost as a reminder of the fulfillment of this promise.
Now we can ask ourselves, “Are we actually listening to the guidance of this Advocate? Or are we too busy with “real life” to pay It much attention?” According to the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA, we think between 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts every day. We are thinking machines! Our task is allowing the Advocate get a word in edgewise. And we do that by being skeptical of the thoughts in our minds and being open to listening for the voice of Truth.
A New Commandment
May 19, 2019
In the Gospel of John 13:31-35, we learn two very interesting things. First of all, when Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him,” He meant the Presence of God has been made visible in him. The heart of Jesus’ teachings was the way in which Jesus made God’s love visible in and for the world.
And then He went on to tell the disciples to love one another as He loved them, so that the whole world would know they were His disciples. Are we, the followers of the teachings of Jesus the Christ, making the unconditional loving presence of God visible in this world today?
In The Four Agreements, author Don Miguel Ruiz gives us four simple lessons to awaken us to our true nature, the nature that is made in God’s own image and likeness. The lessons are simple, but not easy. They require us to speak with impeccability, to not take things personally, to stop making assumptions, and to always do our best. By diligently practicing the Four Agreements, we will allow God’s unconditionally loving presence to freely flow through us, so that it is made visible in the world.
Heart of the Mother
May 12, 2019
Happy Mother’s Day!
In John 20:27, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me”. My Mom once called me out of a deep, post-surgical state of unconsciousness. I heard her voice calling and I followed it.
Mom was like that, though. She had the ability to call us out of near comas and out of harm’s way. She also had a knack for calling the best possible abilities out of us, even though we didn’t know those abilities were there.
Years ago, I came across a little book called “The Four Agreements” by the Toltec shaman, Don Miguel Ruiz. This book helped me realize Jesus’ teachings and my Mom’s wisdom weren’t restricted to one religion or family group. We can find the heart of the mother (unconditional love) in any tradition, should we choose to awaken.
My Mom’s loving heart woke us up from our mistaken dreams of limited abilities into the realization that we could accomplish anything. She taught us to be impeccable with our word, not to take things personally, not to make assumptions, and always, always, to do our best.
The Right Side
May 5, 2019
The Gospel of John 21:1-14 dramatically describes being on the “right” and “wrong” sides of life. We may have noticed that some people seem to live a charmed life while others barely scrape by. The disciples barely scraped by with their empty fishing nets until Jesus told them to cast their net on the “right side”.
Author Eric Butterworth suggests that it’s really a matter of the “right” and “wrong” sides of consciousness, our thoughts and beliefs, and our feelings about those thoughts and beliefs. The fish were always in the sea. The attitudes of the fishermen needed to change before they could experience God’s abundance. Are you letting the love of God, flowing through you, recognize God’s Presence in every situation and circumstance?
The Spiritual Power of Jerusalem
April 14, 2019
The story of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem was told in all four Gospels. In Luke’s version, as Jesus came near and saw Jerusalem, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” He went on to foretell the destruction of the Temple that would occur in about fifty years’ time.
In “Love is Letting Go of Fear”, Dr. Gerald G. Jampolsky expertly guides us through the “things that make for peace” in our own lives. In the final lessons for our Lenten journey, he says we tend to forget that we have free will and choice as inherent abilities in our consciousness. As we move into Holy Week, let us remember to choose Love more often than fear so that we may open our eyes to “the things that make for peace”
The Resurrection and the Life
April 7, 2019
In the Gospel of John, Chapter 11, we read of Lazarus’ rising from his burial cave. Jesus had the same life-giving power as God, the Father. And when he called him out, Jesus told those near him to unbind Lazarus and let him go.
We receive a similar message in Dr. Gerald G. Jampolsky’s book, “Love is Letting Go of Fear”. Who have we locked in the tomb of our mind? Is there someone who needs our forgiveness? Someone who, through omission or intention, hurt us in some way? As we continue our Lenten journey, we can remember that we always have a choice to view our world through the window of Love or the window of fear. We can call that person out of the tomb in our minds and forgive them, forgive ourselves. We can unbind them from our own unforgiveness and set them, and ourselves, free in the process.
Let It Shine
March 31, 2019
Today’s Scripture reading from Luke 15:11-32, known as the parable of the Prodigal Son, has all the elements of a good book. It’s full of intrigue, suspense, reconciliation and a cliff-hanger of an ending. Have you ever examined each character in the drama and asked yourself, “How am I like the younger brother? Have I ever turned my back on the goodness of God?” Or “How am I like the Father? Am I unconditionally loving?” Or “How am I like the older brother? Am I full of resentment, judgment and anger directed at someone or something?”
This story leaves us with a question. Will the older brother find forgiveness in his heart, like the father did? Will he join the celebration? Will we? Let’s take that question into our own hearts as we continue on our Lenten journey.
Repent! Change Your Mind
In today’s parable, the landowner wants the gardener to cut down the fig tree that hasn’t produced fruit. The gardener asks to wait a year, so he can dig around it and put manure around it. After the year has passed, if the tree bears fruit, all is well and good. If it doesn’t, then it can be cut down.
Have you ever considered that the “manure” we find in our lives might just be what we need to flourish and bear fruit?
Minding Your Own Mind
March 17, 2019
We continue this week with our Lenten lessons from “Love is Letting Go of Fear,’ by Dr. Gerald G. Jampolsky. On this second Sunday of Lent, we will explore the ideas of “I Am Never Upset for the Reason I Think,” and “I Am Determined to See Things Differently.”
When we commit to a changed consciousness, we are asking God to help us see all life as He sees it, already perfect, whole and good. We are asking for help forgiving ourselves for not seeing God’s presence everywhere and in everyone. We are asking to truly live the Two Great Commandments, “Love God” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Pay It Forward
March 10, 2019
In his book, Love is Letting Go of Fear, Dr. Gerald G. Jampolsky tells us that when we examine our emotions, we will discover there are basically only two, Love and Fear. During our 40-day Lenten journey, we will explore how to choose love over fear more consistently.
Using Dr. Jampolsky’s 12 lessons as our guide, we will explore the process of interior purification and the transformation of consciousness. By retraining our thinking and feeling natures to choose love more consistently, we will begin to live from our authentic nature, the one made in God’s Image and Likeness.
Divine Love and Law
March 3, 2019
This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, which begins the Christian season of Lent. Lent consists of 40 days (plus six Sundays) beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday. Growing up, I considered Lent to be a time of fast, abstinence, penitence and self-denial, in preparation for Easter. Those words “penitence” and “self-denial” had always carried negative connotations for me, but did you know they mean something very positive?
• Penitence means: Sorrow for sin, with desire to atone and amend.
• Atone means: To make amends.
• And Amend means: To change for the better, to improve, to free from faults.
Lent, then, becomes the season of changing for the better, the season of improving, and of freeing ourselves from faults (error thinking and error feeling,) a season of resurrecting our Authentic Self from our false beliefs about who we are. It’s a season to practice the Two Great Commandments, to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and might, and to love your neighbor as yourself.
February 24, 2019
Sometimes called “The Sermon on the Plains,” Luke gives a slightly different perspective on Jesus iconic teaching of “The Sermon on the Mount.” We begin to get the picture that all is not as it appears on the journey to inner transformation, a journey that promises freedom and abundant life.
Whether we read the Sermon on the Mount or the Sermon on the Plains, Jesus is teaching a radical spirituality, one that cannot and does not rely on the conventional wisdom of the day.
Your Spiritual Remote
In the New Testament, the Greek word “metanoia” is often translated as “repentance.” Literally, the word means “change of mind.” Yet the full meaning is somewhat deeper. This kind of repentance is not about regret or guilt or shame; it implies making a decision to turn around, to face a new direction. Jesus brought the radical message of kindness and compassion. His message was for us to turn from adverse beliefs and to immerse ourselves in the goodness of God.
See It Right
In the Gospel of Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus instructs the gathering on the social dimensions of discipleship. Remember that His followers were a small community living an “alternative” lifestyle in the greater Jewish community. The “alternative” was to live with compassion. To ‘not judge’ didn’t mean not to use discernment. It meant that they could not exercise God’s right to determine one’s ultimate destiny or condemnation. They were to exercise self-examination and correction, before mercifully giving guidance to others.
Making Friends With Conflict
As a nation tomorrow, we officially celebrate Dr. MLK, Jr’s birthday. He once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This statement lends itself perfectly to our topic today – Making Friends with Conflict. If we are experiencing conflict in our lives today, we need to take a look at our minds and hearts and ask two questions, “What is the most loving thing I can do in this situation?” and “Who must I forgive in this situation?”
We have just entered into a new year, into a fresh start to our lives – again. If our previous fresh starts didn’t turn out for the best, we might try a different approach this year. To start anew, we might want to try deep inner work first. We might want to start this year’s journey with a spiritual one. To do that, we quiet our intellectual mind that tries to “butt in” with every reason we cannot go on this particular journey. Next, we “lowly listen” or “holy listen” and then follow the internal guidance and direction that comes from the Holy Spirit.
I Am So Blessed
12302018-The Advent journey led us to the realization and exercise of the indwelling spiritual attributes of Faith, Peace, Joy and Love. Hopefully, that journey also leads us to a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude is also part of our spiritual nature, which is waiting to be expressed deeply and profoundly, and for everything. This kind of gratitude is the quickest way we can align ourselves with the guidance God always has for us. And when we are aligned, all things are possible.
My Soul Rejoices
When we think about “Joy” as the happiness of God expressed through His creation, especially us humans, we begin to discover the meaning of Jesus’ words in John 15:12. He gave his faith, peace, love and now joy to his disciples. Joy and gladness are strength-giving, especially if our minds are focused on the things of Spirit. When we develop a foundation of deep, trust in God, faith that with God, all things are possible, even if we don’t know how it could be possible, and unconditional love that loves for the sake of loving, we discover an unconditional Joy emanating from the Awareness of God.
Love Came Down at Christmas
In the New Testament, the word Agape is used to describe the love that is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself: “God is love” (1 John 4:8). God does not merely love; God is love itself. Everything God does flows from love. God’s love is ever-present and may feel very intimate and personal. And yet, Divine Love is impersonal. It loves for the sake of loving.
The Prince of Peace
In the second Sunday of Advent, we turn our thoughts to peace. We might think that there is very little peace in our lives and in the world today. Creating a peaceful environment, especially at this time of year, might seem impossible. But as the Angel Gabriel reminds young Mary in the Gospel of Luke 1:36, with God, nothing is impossible.
Faith: From Mustard to Miracle
In the Gospel of Matthew 14:22-33, we read about Jesus’ miracle of walking on the water. Peter walked on the water too, until he didn’t. Faith is the assurance of a power, greater than us, that can do the seemingly impossible. Faith is a deep inner knowing that that which is sought is already ours for the taking. Peter started out in Spiritual Faith, by walking on the water like Jesus did. But he doubted. Have you ever been in a situation, experiencing deep faith, and then begin to doubt? This first week of Advent gives us an opportunity to practice Spiritual Faith, the one that moves mountains.
The Ultimate State of Gratitude
In the miracle story of the loaves and fishes, the disciples focused on a problem – there was not enough food available to feed the 5000 men, plus the women and children. They had meager resources, and they exhausted their intellectual mind-generated solutions. Their only solution was to send the crowd to the nearby town. But what did Jesus do? He looked past the problem to the solution. Jesus elevated his vision, seeing the crowd happy and well fed. He blessed the bread, and his blessing, in essence, thanked God in advance, knowing the supply was perfect. And it was…
A Life of Gratitude
When we look past the immediate situation, when we look above it and give thanks in advance, we open to divine inspiration and divine ideas that will guide us in the right direction for us.
Have you ever received love letters in the mail? Modern communication via Facebook, Twitter and Text just doesn’t compare to the wonderful and delightful experience of opening an envelope and reading the words of love written in the beloved’s own handwriting. In those love letters, the beloved would describe, as eloquently as possible and in as much detail as the mind could express, the deeply held emotions and desires of the heart.
While preparing for an upcoming move, I’ve been practicing an ancient ritual of “clearing.” You know the process – going through cupboards, drawers and closets to clear out anything you haven’t used, worn, or sat upon in the last year (okay, maybe two years,) and then selling, donating, or throwing it out? (Read more)
Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Throughout her life, our Mom would pay special attention to our birthdays, ensuring that we had our favorite dinner, cake (or sometimes pie) with candles, and when we were younger, presents at the foot of our beds when we awoke. Mom and Dad ensured that each one of their six children felt special on their birthday. And whether we lived near or far as adults, we welcomed the dinner invitation or phone call celebrating “Happy Birthday” wishes.
It’s almost Jesus’ birthday. And whether we believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior, our most important Teacher and Prophet, or a Man from Nazareth, we can celebrate the day because of the ideals He left with humankind – to love God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our might; … and we must love our neighbor as ourselves. He told us there is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:29-31, Luke 10:25-29, and Matthew 22:34-40.)
Not in the Mood
I had an interesting conversation with several of my friends recently. We discovered none of us were in the “Christmas mood” this season. It’s usually a time of joyous celebration, singing old and new carols, cooking, eating, exchanging gifts, and being with family and friends. Whether we were experiencing a general craving for Scrooge-like, self-imposed isolation, feeling the loss of a loved one, or discovering we couldn’t be quite as generous a gift-giver as we wanted, we could all agree this year had a very different feeling for us. Read More
Faith – Taking the First Step
“Faith, Taking the First Step”
Unity’s co-founder, Charles Fillmore, taught that Faith is an innate ability within us. That means we always have Faith. And it is our responsibility to develop and strengthen it, so that we can use it appropriately. On this first Sunday of Advent, we are reminded that the unbounded Christ presence abides within each of us. And as we prepare ourselves to “give birth to” the awareness of, and truly live from that presence within, we keep the spirit of Faith –not the wish, but the perception, conviction and expectation that with our focus on God, all things are possible.
Advent – Preparing for the Holidays!
“Love knows how to form itself. God will do his work if we do ours. Our job is to prepare ourselves for love. When we do, love finds us every time.” – Marianne Williamson
It’s Advent Already!
The lights are on the house, the angel is in the yard. Soon the Christmas tree will be up and decorated. As I pull the decorations out of their boxes, I’m reminded of when and where they came to be in our home. Some of them are older than I am, and some are brand new, collected from our travels. Our neighbors came by yesterday to ensure we got together for “holiday cheer!” I just love preparing for Christmas.
And speaking of preparation, did you know that tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent? Advent, the 40 days prior to Christmas, is the season for preparing ourselves for Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. During the season of preparation, many Christian traditions spend the 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting. So, while these 40 days are filled with holiday cheer, parties, shopping, and TV specials, it’s also a time of preparation and deep reflection.
Changing for the Better
Let’s reflect on penance. In the Doubleday dictionary, “penance” refers to the feeling of sorrow for sin or fault, demonstrated by some outward act; repentance. This implies that a person sincerely and contritely apologizes, so that the act or fault won’t be repeated. In “penance”, we hopefully learn from our mistakes and we refrain from doing them going forward. We commit to change for the better. Read More.
November 20, 2017
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” – Henry David Thoreau
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!
It’s that time of year when we, individually and collectively as a nation, give thanks and appreciation for all the blessings in our lives – for family, friends, shelter, employment or retirement, travel, balance, stability and so on. But what if we don’t feel grateful about anything? What if life has dealt us a hand of trouble, poverty, or illness? This time of year can be a mixed emotional bag for some of us. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could give thanks perpetually, as observed by Henry David Thoreau?
On my journey toward perpetual gratitude, I became acquainted with the Heartmath Institute. This organization is dedicated to helping people “bring their physical, mental and emotional systems into balanced alignment with their heart’s intuitive guidance. This unfolds the path for becoming heart-empowered individuals who choose the way of love, which they demonstrate through compassionate care for the well-being of themselves, others and Planet Earth.” They have several wonderful exercises on their website to coach the viewer into balanced alignment with their heart’s intuitive guidance.
In one of the many Heartmath Institute exercises, we are instructed that we can improve mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being by invoking and sustaining sincere appreciation. And further, they claim that the more fully and frequently we feel sincere appreciation, the “deeper the connection to our heart, where intuition and unlimited inspiration and possibilities reside.”
Can you imagine dropping into a deep, relaxed state of well-being and sincere appreciation at any time, in any circumstance? It is possible, and if you haven’t tried it before you might need a little practice to sustain the feeling more deeply, more frequently, for longer periods at a time. Read More
The Space Between Our Thoughts
November 1, 2017
“Thoughts are things. They stick to the walls.” Maya Angelou
Happy November! “The Space Between Our Thoughts” refers to an exercise based on the book, “The Secret of Instant Healing”, by Dr. Frank J. Kinslow. In the exercise, we pause our conscious minds and become the observer, watching for the birth of our next thought. This exercise is easy, fun, and is a necessary precursor to becoming aware of what Dr. Kinslow calls “Pure Awareness.” (It’s in the book and shared later in this article.)
When we become more familiar with Pure Awareness, he says we naturally feel better in every way. If we are less familiar with the experience of pure awareness, we may experience disorder (illness, disease) in our bodies, in our thinking (anger, confusion, worry, etc.,) in our experiences (chaos, financial stress, poor relationships,) and so on. Read More
Awareness, Healing and Transformation
October 8, 2017
A “Healer” Calling
Have you ever felt the call to becoming a “healer?” Or perhaps you already practice a mainstream or alternative healing modality, or are the patient of one. My own healing journey began when I was eight years old, and realized that I could use illness as a tool to avoid difficult situations. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the wisdom or maturity to realize what I was doing, and created a lifestyle that would cause injury and illness as an escape from difficult or uncomfortable situations until I was well into my 40’s.
While lying in a hospital bed following a surgery to repair a ruptured spinal disk, (hey, it kept me home from a stressful traveling job,) a realization dawned on me. Unknowingly, I was creating physical illness (or ruptured disk) in response to stressful situations. When I mentioned this realization to my mother, who sat by my bedside, she simply replied, “Well, good. Don’t do it anymore.” And thus began my journey into Religious Science, Unity, Reiki, and a profoundly new way of relating to life. Read More
October 1, 2017
Change is in the Air
The weather is turning cooler in the Northern California valley. Summer’s temperatures have dropped from triple digits to highs in the 80’s and lows in the 50’s. Daylight grows shorter and the trees are beginning to drop their leaves. Change is in the air…
I had long wondered how my ministry would evolve. I had always envisioned a “brick and mortar” church or chapel in which to serve. That vision, though, tended to conflict with my retired husband Jim’s desire to pick up and travel. Fortunately, I had long held the belief that in life, I must be open to guidance about my spiritual calling.
Holding the vision, “this or something greater,” a long buried idea resurfaced in my mind. What if I started a virtual church, one without physical walls, reaching across the country and, eventually, the globe? Wow! Instantly, my creative personal mind piped up with exceptions that I quickly dismissed: What would that look like? What are your credentials and experience in this area? How can you afford the internet software you will need? Who do you think you are? (That’s a popular one that I answer regularly with, “I am God’s offspring and heir to the Kingdom!”) I knew two things: if I was receiving guidance, I would have to change my paradigm for ministry, and the means for fulfilling it would appear. Read More
Spiritual Power – Are You Plugged In?
August 9, 2017
We might typically think of power as meaning a form of strength or the ability to act. We might refer to power as thinking or willing something – using our power of concentration to make a change or to overcome a challenge. Power is usually associated with an activity of some kind. And in its many forms, such as electrical, solar, wind and water to name a few, it can be uncontrolled and destructive or it can be used for a specific purpose to add much benefit to our lives. Our Spiritual Ability of Power is no exception. It’s already active within us, however, it’s waiting for us to develop it to add benefit to our lives. Read More
The Ultimate State of Receivership
July 15, 2017
This message, called “The Ultimate State of Receivership,” is based on Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work, “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself – How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One.” In the book, Dr. Dispenza describes gratitude as “the ultimate state of receivership.” He says it’s how we communicate with what he calls Loving Intelligence or Intelligent Love. And in the Science of Getting Rich, Wallace Wattles, one of the early metaphysical pioneers said, we need to convey the idea of our wants to the “Intelligent Formless Thinking Stuff”. To convey ideas to this “Formless Thinking Stuff”, we must relate ourselves to It in a harmonious way – to bring our consciousness into perfect unity of mind with God. And we relate ourselves to It by a feeling of deep and profound gratitude. How can you feel profoundly grateful when your life feels like it’s in the pits? Listen to the possibilities here.
Free to Prosper
July 6, 2017
Wouldn’t you just love to have an instruction book explaining how to prosper in every area of your life? Believe it or not, there is one! Just like a driver’s handbook, it spells out all the rules to follow in life so that you can live freely, happily, and prosperous in every area of your life. We just might not have the key to deciphering the information contained in it. So let’s take a closer look now. Read More
“No Self Judgment? Always Do Your Best.”
May 14, 2017
On this Mother’s Day, we look at the Fourth Agreement from the book,”The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz. The fourth lesson is “Always Do Your Best.” Ruiz tells us that we need to do our best in all circumstances but that our best is not going to be the same from one moment to the next. If we always strive to do our best, there is no room for self-judgment. Growing up, my mom suggested I do the same thing – always do your best. Don’t do someone else’s best, do your best. And if you don’t like that “best”, try again. Watch the video here
The Harmony of Love
April 24, 2017
Have you ever thought about love as the harmonizing, unifying power of the Universe? In the Revealing Word, Charles Fillmore, Unity’s co-founder helps us understand love as the pure essence of Being that binds the universe, and everything in it, together in divine harmony. And Love is an inner quality that sees good everywhere and in everybody. It insists that all is good, and by refusing to see anything but good it causes that quality finally to appear uppermost in itself, and in all things.
What if we could experience that kind of love all the time! What would our lives be like if we could see only the good in every person and situation, so that quality finally appears in our experience? Read More