Counting our blessings is a powerful form of prayer

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 One of my favorite movies, and I will confess to watching it at any time of the year, is “White Christmas.” You all know the movie. The producers went through the catalogue of Irving Berlin songs, created a flimsy story to weave them all together and created a classic.

One of my favorite songs in this film is “Count Your Blessings.”

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep

I count my blessings instead of sheep

and I fall asleep counting my blessings

When my bankroll is getting small

I think of when I had none at all

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

This lyric has a powerful message and I have to think that when Mr. Berlin was writing it he thought back to his early days of struggle on the lower Eastside of New York City, living as an immigrant from Russia and just trying to get by day to day. In the midst of the life he was living at that time stopping to count his blessings had to seem a bit daunting. Daunting – but powerful.

Our recognition of our blessings is powerful. In the middle of whatever is going on in our lives counting our blessings can set for us a new course, one that before our recognition of those blessings was most likely unknown to us.

For me the truly amazing thing about blessings – and they can also be called miracles – is that they are all around us, but so often we fail to see them, to connect them. They are with us to lift us up and remind us of the unconditional love of God, but we fail to see those things that are right in front of us because the direction of our thinking has been so placed on the opposite. The struggle, the lack, the limitation.

I think that the biggest obstacle we have in life is our thoughts of fear. Fear is the very thing that will stop us in our tracks every time. Our default setting seems to be set to one of fear. We have become programmed this way by years of seeing life as a constant struggle. Fear will cause us to not do the things we think we want to do, it will cause us to question our own abilities, it will even cause us to imagine things that aren’t even present and we feel are working against us.

Fear will convince us that we are not enough, that we don’t have the abilities to succeed, it will convince us that our only way forward is to repeat our patterns of the past and that our future is just a carbon copy of every other day we have ever lived. Tomorrow will only be a carbon copy of today if our thinking about tomorrow remains the same as our thinking today. I love the saying, change your thinking, change your life. It’s true. What is the dominant direction of your thinking? Start by counting your blessings and the entire focus of your thinking will shift to a new and more powerful truth.

I firmly believe that the root of this fear is our feelings and thoughts of a separation from God. We think that there is us, and there is God and our life’s work must be to somehow connect with this far-away spiritual presence. Maybe if we do all the right things, say all the right prayers, maybe then we can convince God to bless us.

But God is not separate and far away from us.  The God we seek, the Spiritual presence we desire is always right within us at this and every moment. What we are seeking has already found us and it dwells right where we are. Too often we fail to see and experience it because we have failed to look within.

Our prayers, our meditations and our spiritual work is to daily chip away at these fears that have been built into our lives like a self-protective crust shielding us from the outside world. Our own thinking has created a barrier to the good that we seek. We need to chip away at this barrier, this crust, and beginning by counting our blessings can be a powerful way to begin.

The wonderful and creative artist Michelangelo was asked how he could have ever created anything as magnificent as the statue of David. How could he have even imagined that out of some huge block of marble there could be this statue? What he said in reply was that he knew the beautiful figure of the David was right there. God had already created it inside that block of marble and what he as the human artist had to do was just chip away all that was blocking his view of that incredible reality.  The David was there, waiting for him to reveal it.

The blessings of Spirit are within us, waiting to be revealed and recognized. Chip away at all that blocks you from the truth of who you really are as God’s perfect creation by changing your mind. You can begin by simply counting your blessings.

When I have starting counting my blessings I seem to find more and more things for which to be grateful.

You are blessed because God is a God of blessings. God is in the blessing business.

If God had a business card it would read: GOD. Blessing Business.

God loves you, cares for you. Hurts when you hurt, rejoices when you rejoice and God counts YOU as a blessing. Yes, God counts YOU as a blessing. What do you think about that?

Counting your blessings is a mantra. Counting your blessings is a meditation. Counting your blessings is a powerful form of prayer and counting your blessings is a form of stewardship of the things that God has given to you.

Seeing and thanking God for one small blessing reveals another and another and another. You are abundantly blessed, you may just not know it right now because you are looking in the wrong places.

Count your blessings and you will be changed.

A young man named Israel Beline on the lower East-side of New York City, a refugee from the pogroms in Russian, would start to write songs under the name of Irving Berlin. His songs would be about possibility, hope, and blessings.

Count your blessings, for God loves you, walks with you, cares for you, and always remember, God counts YOU as a blessing to this world.

Rev. Jefferson Beeker

http://jefferson340.wix.com/index

We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.

Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.

Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker for daily affirmations of uplifting and positive faith.

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A new spirit born in us with our every thought and breath

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Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way.”  (Matthew 1: 18a)

After a lengthy account of the genealogy of Jesus the gospel writer Matthew begins to describe how the birth of Jesus came to be. This beautiful story reminds us of the humble beginning of the Christ. No one imagined that the long awaited Messiah would be born in a lowly stable and placed in a manger, a feeding trough. In Luke’s gospel he writes, “I decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you.” Luke then proceeds to give us a very different account than Matthew wrote. Put together, this is the birth story we often see in pageants and think about when we tell the story to others.

But there is another story of the birth of Jesus and that is the one of how Jesus came to be made known in our individual hearts and minds. This is the story that truly shapes our faith and our personal walk with the Christ.

We can meet the Christ again and again as we turn within and feel the presence of Spirit comfort and bless us. We meet the Spirit of the Christ anew when we let go of earthly limitations that speak only to our own abilities and allow the Christ to move us forward in ways we had never before thought possible. We, of ourselves, can do little, but with the presence and direction of the Christ unlimited possibilities open before us.

Later in the gospel of Matthew we read: “Many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what hear, but did not hear it.” (Matthew 13: 17)

We fail to see because we fail to look. We fail to experience because we fail to surrender.   Jesus is born anew in each of us with our every thought and breath if we trust in the power of the Christ to change our lives. Celebrate today that the Christ is born again within you and that your recognition of this beautiful presence blesses you this day and always.  With your every thought and every breath a new beginning awaits.

Affirmation: “Unlimited possibilities bless me this day and always as I allow the Christ Spirit to open my heart and mind with childlike wonder.”

Rev. Jefferson Beeker

http://jefferson340.wix.com/index

We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.

Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.

Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker for daily affirmations of uplifting and positive faith.

 

Let us know the truth of God’s perfection for one another

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I thank God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you.”   (Philippians 1: 3-4)

I watched the recent fires in Southern California on television. The Skirball fire in the Hollywood Hills was close enough to me that the ash fell from the sky covering the yard and car and creating extremely bad air, requiring the curbing of outdoor activities. Last Sunday I was preaching in Ventura, where the Thomas Fire had devastated so many homes and uprooted thousands of people’s lives. Consequently church attendance was low as people endeavored to put their lives back into some kind of familiar order. As I watched the television I felt helpless to reach out to minister to those I knew felt abandoned by God, challenged beyond their ability to cope and with deep feelings of being completely forsaken. All I could do was know for them, that was my prayer, knowing for them that God had not forsaken them. God had not abandoned them, and my prayer was that they would somehow come to know that they had a comforter who would see them through.

One of the most beautiful acts we can perform for another is to lift them up in prayer. It is something we can do at any time, in any place, and in doing this we can realize God’s beautiful presence not only in their lives, but also in our own.

In the midst of the “stuff” going on in our lives it can be so difficult to see the truth of God’s presence. I know this for a fact, for I have felt it on many occasions.   Our burden can seem especially heavy, the path forward can seem unclear and uncertain and the pain we have feels as though it has come to stay. In these times, as much as I know God is right here with me, and that I am never alone, it can still be tough. We all feel like this at times.

There is such power in having others lift us up to God in sincere and faithful prayer. As others lift us up they can see beyond our concerns and burdens and they can see the reality of God’s healing for us. I have always found it helpful to know that another is “holding that space of perfection” until I can see clearly enough to recognize it myself. When we pray for another we have a wonderful opportunity, and responsibility, in holding that sacred space of Gods truth for them.   In our prayer we are to be crystal clear in our own minds that the power of God is present and moving in this, and every situation. The more belief we, as the prayer, have in the power of God’s blessing, holding that space in absolute truth, the more we will be able to help those with whom we pray begin to see that truth as well.

My friend Rev. Amy Butler has written, “None of us ever does the work of the Gospel community alone.” How true, and how magnificent. With one another, and with God, the miracles we seek for another become a gift to us as well.

Affirmation: “The truth of God’s beautiful miracle is at hand. It is revealed to me perfectly and I am ready to receive it.”

Rev. Jefferson Beeker

http://jefferson340.wix.com/index

We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.

Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.

Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker for daily affirmations of uplifting and positive faith.

 

Recognizing our blessings is as simple as shifting our focus

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“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”   (Micah 6:8)

How easy it is to look around our lives and see all the things we wish were different. As we concentrate on those things, and they become to dominant direction of our thought, those things we wish were different only multiply. When instead we stop, change direction, and count our blessings, giving thought to the things going well in our lives, we soon begin to notice that those are the things being multiplied. Through each positive thought, each positive affirmation of life, we are experiencing a powerful affirmative prayer. Not only are we thankful for all that God has provided, but we are saying thank you to Spirit/God for all that will be provided each and every day to come. We walk humbly with our God whenever we realize that through God’s grace we are blessed abundantly.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Affirmation: “As I count my blessings I am giving thanks to God.”

Rev. Jefferson Beeker

http://jefferson340.wix.com/index

We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.

Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.

Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker for daily affirmations of uplifting and positive faith.

Moving forward co-creating new possibilities with the omnipresent Spirit of God

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Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’” (Luke 15: 31-32)

In the parable Jesus told about the prodigal son we find an amazing ancient story that still speaks so vividly and truthfully to us today. (I refer you to Luke chapter 15 if you wish to read it again in its entirety).

Here we have a story about a young man who decides he wants his inheritance right now, even though his father is still alive, and taking that inheritance he journeys off to experience life not only on his own, but left to his devices. From the very beginning we can see that he has set himself up for disaster. He is going to rely completely on his own abilities, hope that circumstances always move in his favor and take the gifts he has been given through the largesse of his father and throw away that with which his father has blessed him.

So what happens? This young man discovers that he is ill prepared for the world he has encountered. He is unable to use the gifts he has been given wisely and soon finds himself at the very bottom of life’s circumstances. From his life of privilege he is now so low and defeated that at last he begins to understand the lessons his father was seeking to instill in him.

So what does this story teach us for today? I would submit that it teaches us everything about the unconditional love of God waiting to be lived in and through each and every one of us.

I think we each have our “Prodigal Son moments.” Think about it. The amazing and lavishly unconditional loving presence of God is always available to guide, lead, inspire, nurture, support and bless us, but too often we begin to think that we can do it all on our own. Most often this occurs because we get distracted by life and the demands of daily living. Our focus shifts to what needs to be done in that very moment to surmount a challenge and instead of pausing to remember we are supported by loving Spirit, we move into “react mode,” where we respond with a kind of reptilian impulse that all too often just makes our circumstances worse. It’s not that we are bad or faithless people, it’s just that our humanity has at those moments overtaken our better spiritual self. We forget that with whatever is happening in life it is our right thinking, our affirmative faith and our positive actions that are available to us to move us forward co-creating new possibilities with the omnipresent Spirit of God. God is with us to inspire and be the energy and vibration that supports our being and doing, and it is up to us to remember that we can call upon this energy and vibration of Perfect Spirit and return to our place of rightful inheritance.

What this parable of Jesus reminds us is that whenever we choose to return to trusting and calling upon God that Spirit (like the father in the story) rejoices and receives us back. Each and every time. Without recrimination or punishment, but with joy and happiness that again we are celebrating this meaningful relationship. We may make this return to Spirit hundreds of times in a single day and that is wonderful. For each time we remember we are loved and blessed we can celebrate another victory and another homecoming.

I personally take great comfort in knowing that I can always bring my thinking and my awareness back to Spirit/God. I can always with a simple shift of my thinking return to a place of calm assurance that I am being blessed. Even the chaos of daily life becomes a blessed time when we remember we are never walking alone.

Affirmation: I know that through all the chaos life may present I can always return to the presence of Spirit/God right where I am at every moment and feel renewed peace, calm and happiness.

Rev. Jefferson Beeker

http://jefferson340.wix.com/index

We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.

Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.

Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker for daily affirmations of uplifting and positive faith.

 

Let The Presence of Spirit/God Catch You By Surprise Today

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Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; God’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.” (Proverbs 3: 5-12)

God can only do for you what God can do through you.” (Eric Butterworth, author)

I have a question for you. What are you really hungry for today? Sometimes we get hungry, like for that double chocolate cake with the rich chocolate icing and after two bites we wonder what we could have been thinking. Now, we hurt. Too rich, too heavy.

There are those things that we think will satisfy our hunger pangs and then there are those things that will be truly satisfying. If we are satisfied with what we can do for ourselves we have stopped really growing in faith. If we think that it is through our own cleverness, ability, or charm that our lives will truly have meaning then we are missing out on experiencing so much more of life. If we are satisfied with what we of ourselves can accomplish then I think we have some thinking to do about our life.

God can give us great insight for our lives and as well as insight into how we can make a difference in the world. God wants us to grow beyond that which we think we are capable of accomplishing. God wants to show us a newness of life that can only be experienced in completely trusting what God/Divine Spirit can do through us. The miracles that we experience in our lives are those wondrous things that are beyond what we had previously thought possible. But what we think is possible is so very limiting and unfulfilling. Spirit/God can open our eyes and minds with a consciousness to understand and experience so much more. Theologian Richard Rohr has written, “God needs to catch us by surprise.”

Trusting God to lead us and then being willing to “go there” with God can be a bit scary. Good. It should be, because it is taking us out of our comfort zone. It is taking us out of what has been the routine of the day and I bet, even if that routine has served you up to now, experiencing more of the fruits of God’s Spirit in your life would be welcome. So, good, step out of your comfort zone and see what God has in store for you. Because we are trusting in God we can know we are working with a safety net. Yes, along the way we may stumble, but we will be picked up, dusted off and shown even greater riches of Spirit.

Affirmation: “I delight in the many ways that Spirit/God shows up in my life.  It is amazing what a change in focus and thinking can reveal.

Rev. Jefferson Beeker

http://jefferson340.wix.com/index

We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.

Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.

Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker for daily affirmations of uplifting and positive faith.

Make Space In Your Dreams For Spirit/God

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In 1971 John Lennon wrote “Imagine,” a song that expressed his dream of world peace:

“Imagine all the people

Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one.”

The life we desire, and the world we aspire to experience, begins anew when we realize that the presence, power and energy of God shows up for us through our thoughts. In our thinking. Even before the words can be formed our thinking was setting the stage for our experience. In our imagining, our seeing visions, our dreaming of dreams. Here is placed into the fertile soul of mind the seeds of that which we can nurture and begin to see bear fruit. We need to dare to imagine, to visualize and to dream that we may experience. But that planted seed needs nourishment in order for it to grow and show up in our lives in ways that have meaning, have tangible substance and worth. Let our imagining, our visions and our dreams then become our action. Our action in our words, in our smiles, in our embracing of another. Action in our service to others. Let our imagining be one of seeing love and light wherever we may be. Love that heals and encourages. Light that exposes the darkness of negativity and floods that space with a new Truth so that we may be transformed through the energy of the Christ Consciousness. Imagine peace in our community, our country and the world. See it, visualize it and then see and visualize those actions that can bring the dream to reality. Let our action become speaking out when we see injustice, reaching out to comfort those in need, let our action seek to do those things that will be part of a movement to change our world so that the worth and dignity of all people is celebrated and affirmed. All people. There can be no peace until the dignity and worth of each individual, regardless of nationality, gender, sexual orientation or faith practice is celebrated as a beautiful expression and path toward a greater realization of the presence of Spirit.

Our imagining begins with what it is we would wish to experience. Affirm that which we would wish to experience – proclaim that which we would wish to experience – and with grateful hearts offer up thanksgiving to God, that Spirit is indeed moving in our lives.

Imagination is powered by faith and followed by positive and intentional action. It is followed by new vision and possibility and it is powered by knowing that God can, will, and does indeed provide all that we need to move forward – with that imagining – to creating a new picture of our lives in vivid colors and textures.

Imagine and believe. Start now if you haven’t already and continue to grow in your vision each and every day. Each little step we may take is actually a mighty leap forward for us all. There is much we need to do under Spirits guidance to change our circumstances and our world, but the good news is we don’t ever need to do it alone. The outcome is not all on our shoulders. The same Spirit that gave us each the dream also gives us what we need to make that dream a reality. Spirit/God is shouldering the weight; it is our vision, our dreams, our faith and our action that can give that dream its direction and it is Spirit giving us the energy to move forward. Instead of waiting for the dream to become a reality before living within that vision how about we endeavor to start living that dream now, in each and every way we can, to move our consciousness toward seeing it come to life.

We have always thought too small, with too much limitation as to what we can do on our own. Celebrate the imagining, the dream, but always leave room for God to make that vision even more wonderful than our limited consciousness could have ever conceived.

Faith is always powered by action and one could even say without action faith is just an idea, not a lifestyle. It needs to be our lifestyle with our every breath and our every thought.

So let our action begin with thanksgiving and gratitude that our dreams are guided now and always by perfect Spirit working in and through each and every one of us. Starting from that centered place of joy we can move ever closer to not just imaging, but experiencing, miracles.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! God does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, this Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (Ephesians 3: 20-21, The Message)

Never limit your view of life by any past experience. The possibility of life is inherit within the capacity to imagine that life is, backed by the power (Spirit) to produce this imagery, or Divine Imagination.” (Dr. Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind, page 187)

Affirmation: “What new imaginings can God and I bring to reality today?

Rev. Jefferson Beeker

http://jefferson340.wix.com/index

We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.

Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.

Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker for daily affirmations of uplifting and positive faith.

 

 

 

We are each spiritual beings having a human experience.

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What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.” (1 John 3: 1, The Message)

I often write about this subject, in varying words, but I think it is important to continually return to, for the truth of who we really are can get so lost and confused in the midst of all that goes on around us.  The events of our world, and the words of others can so easily tear us down.  Events and words can only effect us if we allow them to.  If we agree to participate in what the world and other people are doing we can soon build a hardened crust around ourselves and forget that through the unconditionally loving thought of Perfect Spirit we are so wonderfully made.

We are each spiritual beings having a human experience. So often in our thinking we have that reversed. We think we are first and foremost human, physical bodies trying desperately as we journey on this earth to connect with some form of spiritual truth. Our physical being however is just the human presence that we wear so that we can experience life with one another while we are here on this planet. When we realize that we are first spiritual beings our connection to Spirit/God becomes not only more easily understood, but lived.

God loves us so much, cares for us so much, wants relationship with us so much and God wants us to understand who we are. As children of God this beautiful spirit of truth and grace and unconditional love is the very core and essence of who we are. That is first, all else is built from that place.

So from being spiritual beings God has given us our humanness, our thinking minds and our ability for discernment. God has given us wonderful human experiences that can make our time on this earth the fulfillment of God’s kingdom here on earth. I think our humanity is terrific and wonderful. It is rich with possibility and can give us so much joy and happiness. Our humanity opens us to amazing revelations of Spirit that can act through us to make this journey we call earthly life so much more meaningful.

But, as humans we often experience physical things that can be overwhelming. Our bodies hurt, our hearts break, we go through dark places that seem endless and with seemingly no a passageway out.

Psalm 23 says, “Though I walk through the darkest valley.” Whatever that valley might be, whatever that burden we carry, we are guided back out into the light and restored to our rightful place in God’s house. The Master Teacher Jesus, through his life, his teaching and his resurrection has demonstrated for us that the Christ Presence, Christ Consciousness is one of pure love, inclusion, acceptance and affirmation.  It is a non-judging, non-duel thinking consciousness that sees possibility in the face of limitation and hope in the face of despair.  There is meant to be joy in sharing our unique individualities and a willingness to experience and learn from our shared experiences.

Our humanity is rich and prosperous with unlimited possibility when we know we are first and foremost spiritual beings living a humanity that is filled with the energy and vibration of perfect creation.

Affirmation: “I am forever standing in the presence of God on Holy Ground.

Rev. Jefferson Beeker

http://jefferson340.wix.com/index

We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.

Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.

Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker for daily affirmations of uplifting and positive faith.

Transformation can be as easy as changing your very next thought

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Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12: 2)

This scripture, from the Apostle Paul, is one that has long engaged me for much reflection and study throughout my life. And from Pauls’ letter to the church in Philippi, (Philippians 2: 5), Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” This is a theme that appears in Paul’s writings often. It is an idea that was very important to him and one that he felt foundational for first century followers of the Christ and church to understand and to live. To the Roman church in his letter he wrote that we are to have relationship and spiritual companionship with Jesus Christ and in doing so we are “to allow God to transform us inwardly by the complete renewing of our minds.” In his letter to the church in Corinth he wrote that, “we are to have the same mind of Christ.” To the church at Philippi, “put on the mind which was in Christ Jesus.” To the Apostle Paul one cannot even begin to understand Jesus until we have a Christ Consciousness of service as did Jesus himself.

So, what is this Christ Consciousness that Paul is asking us to have? If you were to ask that question of Paul he would tell you that Jesus was speaking of a particular level of human consciousness when he told us these comforting words, “the Kingdom of heaven is within.” There it is. The kingdom of heaven is within. We need look no further than within our very selves, each and every one of us, to find that for which we have so long been searching. Within. Right where we are at this and every moment. Not far off – over there – or over there – or out there – but within. Right here.

Being transformed by the renewing of our minds is our remembering that which is within. Being transformed by the renewing of our minds and remembering to seek the mind of Christ in all that we do, think and say changes our game plan for what is about to happen in our lives and the lives of those around us.

The mind of Jesus. Think on that for a moment. What mind did Jesus demonstrate for us as he traveled about in his life and ministry?

It was the mind of Jesus that never saw the people he encountered along his journeys as “the other.” It was this mind that never labeled these people as worthy or unworthy of his attention.  Jesus certainly understood the teachings of his elders, certainly the Pharisees, that this or that group is untouchable, not part of us and separate and out of favor with God’s plan. Each time I read the stories that include the Pharisees I am amazed, and yet amazed yet again, to see how narrow-minded and opinionated they were. They witnessed the healings of Jesus time and time again. Each time they saw Jesus heal someone they too had an opportunity to be healed of their bigotry and to be transformed into new life, but they just couldn’t see what was before them. The mind of Jesus reached out to the hurting, the sick, the lame, the blind, people all around him. In the mind of Jesus he didn’t ever see people as “the unworthy.” He saw them as human beings, creations of a loving God, he saw them as souls that were longing to experience new life and new possibility for their lives. The mind of Jesus never saw defeat and pain when the truth of God’s presence was right there. He saw that there was victory and abundant blessings available for all. To have the mind of Christ is to have what we in the 21st century call NON-DUEL THINKING. Not a “this or that,” not a feeling of being “separate,” not a “you vs. me,” and certainly not a need to label everything putting certain things down so one can feel superior.  But he understood the unity of humanity as all living in the Kingdom of Heaven right here, right where we are now and always. Each of us together – united as one.

In Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” or “Kingdom of God” meant being in God’s very holy presence. Each person he encountered he saw as citizens of this kingdom. Each person he saw – each thought that he had – was a thought of blessing and peace and possibility for all.

In our more modern time I look at the life and ministry of Mother Teresa and see one who not only had the mind of Christ but was transformed over and over again as her work transformed the lives of all those with whom she touched. No “this or that” thinking in her life. She saw all as precious children. Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, everyone.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. A renewing that shifts your thinking from seeing with blinders – and through a veil – and to make a decision to see and to serve as Christ saw and served.

Can you imagine if this was how everyone saw life? Wow. If we all saw our world through a mind of Non-Duel thinking and belief? No longer would there be bigotry, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, anti-semitism, misogyny, hatred, lies and the biggest hurdle to our lives – FEAR.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

But the Apostle also charged us do something else. He wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world.” A tall order isn’t it? Easy – not so much. Possible – yes. Paul cautions us – that as we look around seeing lies and distrust and people who do business with questionable ethics, with greed as ones motivation and goal, who speak falsely and hurtfully about others, as we see them puff themselves up to feel superior – as we look around and witness that – that we not fall into that way of living. Do not see that as so present  that we come to accept that as the new norm. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Seeing what is around you -choose another path. Make another decision. Set your intention to be one of LOVE and dwelling in the perfect presence of Spirit.

Where do you want to be? What do you want to experience? What is your destination of choice?

Fear is perhaps one, if not the, most terrifying force that our “world” would like for us to dwell in. Fear will stop us in our forward movement of life each and every time. Fear will entangle us in the worlds orbit so fast we won’t even know we are orbiting in it until something catastrophic happens to us. Fear will change our perceptions of life, focus our vision to latching onto negativity and it will devastate us. But, do not conform to the world. To fear. To the system that seeks to suck you in.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Seek love. Remember to pray. Meditate. To talk with God/Spirit. Remember the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, right where you are, so God is right with you. Within. Waiting, longing for your presence at every moment.  This is true in whatever faith you practice.  Spirit is with you.  Are you with It?

We have to live in this world, but we can change this world. In our present day world, in the midst of our lives, filled with the everyday ups and downs of modern life, surrounded by a mindset – ever so prominent – that can foster and nurture a defeatist attitude and tear us apart, the apostle tells us to not dwell in that negativity, but to see our world and our place in this world as Jesus would beckon us to see and experience. The world will be forever with us, but, yes, we can change this world.

I think the words of the bumper sticker are very true. “Change your thinking – change your life.”

Paul writes of a freedom of spirit that awaits us whenever we make the decision to turn to it, recognize it, recalculate, reboot and accept it as our way of life. He tells us that Spirit is near. As close as our very next thought.

Rev. Jefferson Beeker

http://jefferson340.wix.com/index

We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.

Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.

Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker for daily affirmations of uplifting and positive faith.

We wouldn’t starve our bodies, so why are we starving our spirits?

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And after Jesus dismissed the crowds, he went up to the mountain by himself to pray.” (Matthew 14:23)

I set today aside as a dedicated “me” day. I don’t mean for that to sound selfish or ego driven, but today I decided to concentrate on those things that would bring me inner peace, joy, energy and inspiration.

I started out earlier than usual today and began with some meditation. Turning within, communicating with the always present Perfect Spirit of God, and setting forth my intention for the day. A day to feed myself both physically and spiritually for my journey onward. After meditation and a protein shake it was off to the gym. A brisk half hour on the treadmill and then a tour of the machines for some muscle exercise. It felt good, I had fed my body the physical life support that we should all do to stay healthy, strong and fit.

That was step one. Returning home (and vowing that there would be no TV news today to throw off my communion with my spiritual source) I put on some sacred chanting music and read for several hours from a couple of inspirational books. More mediation has followed. I did meet a friend of an iced tea at a neighborhood spot knowing that our conversations are always life affirming and positive affirmations of a deep friendship walking with, and supporting, one another through the ups and downs of life. This was good. It was unexpected, but a pleasant addition to my “me” day. (I think it is important when we have these Sabbath days that we remain open to what may come our way that can add to our experience of peace, knowing that we can always decline any invitations that might throw us into a negative space).

The rest of my afternoon, after a lovely lunch on the back deck of the house, will consist of more reading and deep reflection. It is a lovely cool day today and perfect for being with nature. Tonight I will cap off my day attending a beautiful Taize meditation service that is led by a friend of mine and is always followed with a potluck for fellowship with those in attendance.

Why do I write all of this? From someone who is good about going to the gym and trying to eat right (as I know many of you also do) it also occurs to me that though we can be good about feeding our bodies we all too often starve our spirits. Our spirits also need nourishment and a chance to in turn nourish us. Taking time for meditation, prayer, reflection and affirming the presence of God all around, through, and as us, is an important part of helping us to lead abundant productive loving lives. We can get, and do, become so distracted with the events of life that tending to our spiritual self most often gets pushed aside until we suddenly face some crisis. Then we stop and wonder what happened. Well, what happened is that we were running on empty. Our spiritual self was being neglected and our conscious human minds were thrown into a state of “I have to do everything myself.” (Or worse). What happened in that moment probably would have happened anyway, but when we run on empty we are much more likely to react negatively before we think, make the wrong choices and make a bigger mess out of things. Running on empty we are less likely to handle life’s occurrences in the ways we would much rather be engaged.

Maybe there is not a whole day we can always set aside, but that should never stop us. Never forget to feed your spirit. A few moments of meditation, a positive affirmative prayer of thanksgiving, even a “thank you Spirit/God for always being with me,” will feed you in so many beautiful ways. A nourished spirit and deep personal spiritual practice will always be a life changer.

Okay, writing this mediation has been a great part of my “me” day. Thanks for sharing a bit of it with me.

Affirmation: “I stop and say thank you for the presence of Spirit/God that is always the source and engine of my life. Wow, that felt great!”

Rev. Jefferson Beeker

http://jefferson340.wix.com/index

We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.

Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.

Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker for daily affirmations of uplifting and positive faith.