The Point of the Message…..

Far too much evidence exists of the life of Yeshua there is no valid reason to dispute it. Whether or not the rest of the Bible is literal or allegorical is left for us to decide. Do I really believe Jonah sat in the belly of a whale for three (3) days, or Daniel and his friends walked out of a fiery furnace unharmed? Does it even matter? Should any time or energy be spent arguing the finer points of literal versus allegorical? Not as far as I’m concerned. When we do, we miss the truth, the teachings, and the universal wisdom within the stories.

Consider the story of Job. Was there a Job who sat on an ash heap scraping boils while God and Satan argued over ownership of him? Most of us schooled in organized religion have been taught that Job was faithful to the end and had all that was lost restored to him because Job believed God trustworthy despite enduring agonizing hardships. A very encouraging message for all who face trials and tribulations in life. A lesson on the power of thought and word is also found within Job’s story.

In Chapter 3 of Job we find Job depressed and questioning why he was ever born. Ever felt that way? I have, and likely most of us have been there at one time or another. We don’t like to be uncomfortable or suffer hardship.  Job’s feelings are not out of line for the situation; he had just lost everything near and dear to him. Toward the end of Job’s soliloquy on the nightmare his life had become he says, “for the thing I feared has overwhelmed me, what I dreaded has happened to me.” (Job 3:25 The Complete Jewish Bible) Job gave voice to fears hidden within his thoughts.

Throughout the Bible there are elaborate explanations for stories so familiar to us we just accept them without question. But do they make sense? Are they supposed to? Maybe I am the aberration, the rebel who just can’t leave the accepted alone? I cannot swallow that God and Satan are playing games with Job’s life, or that God and Satan are even having the conversation. Whether an explanation to man’s suffering or a literal event, the exchange leaves me cold. If God is love, regardless of the eventual outcome, the journey to the outcome is cruel.

Job had fears in his heart, we all do. Do I blame him for giving voice to his fears in the midst of his suffering? No, I don’t, but it gives us insight into Job’s thought life. Job feared loss of family, health, and wealth. The theory that thought creates matter says that whatever we give the most energy to is what the universe gives back to us. Certainly not the occasional thought, but ever present thought; that which consumes our conscious and subconscious mind. His fears were at work long before he sat on his ash heap. I’m sure Job was grateful for all that he had, but I wonder if his fear of losing everything overshadowed his gratitude? The niggling fear crept into his thoughts and grew until the thoughts became his reality.

Our thoughts don’t have magical powers by any means, but everything  is energy and energy has power. It is the foundation of any work; it lights our world, runs our cars and appliances, and gives life to our bodies made up of cells, organs and systems. What we think about matters. Philippians 4:8 says “…brothers, focus your thoughts on what is true, noble, righteous, pure, lovable or admirable, on some virtue or on something praiseworthy.” Focusing on the positive brings the positive back to us.

Fast forward to the New Testament. Yeshua was a rebel and challenged the accepted religious mindset of the day. He called out those whose hidden thoughts were to control while their words spoke otherwise. The proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing religion has interpreted to mean those who don’t accept the tenets of a fear based religious system. Yeshua’s entire ministry was a lesson in focusing positive thoughts to bring about a positive outcome. Healing, bringing the dead to life, even His resurrection. Yeshua told His disciples He would suffer and rise again on the third day; both of which are recorded events. None of it requiring one man or group of men to be in charge of others, all of humanity capable of his/her own journey. The reason for Yeshua’s death revolved around the religious leaders’ fear of loss of control. The rest of the story involving Pontius Pilate is surrounded by controversy.

I no longer accept that salvation was the point. The whole of the salvation message is an unhealthy dependence on man and God. The salvation message fosters fear; fear of not making it to heaven without uttering the “magic words”, fear of screwing up, and a dependence on God requiring unquestioning belief in His ultimate control and judgment of our lives, and acceptance of contradictory messages throughout scripture and within doctrinal teachings. What if the sole purpose of Yeshua’s life on earth, the reason Divine took on the flesh of humanity, was to personally teach and demonstrate the creative energy the Divine imparted to man? Fundamental religion teaches that we can have what we say, faith the size of a mustard seed moves mountains, and those who believe can heal and raise the dead as Jesus did; creative energy in action, plain and simple.

The new “church” as it went forward after Yeshua’s transition from earthly life to the spirit realm was a continuation of the teaching Yeshua brought to humanity. A lesson far more empowering and useful than a system full of confusing and conflicting messages and fostering dependence on mortal man…..

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Seeking the Divine…..

Most of my adult life I have studied scripture, attended Bible studies, listened, pondered, asked questions, taught, and spent a lot of time in prayer. All worthy endeavors, but in the past year I made a major shift in philosophy and belief. None of it has been easy. I have struggled to sort through the mire of religious orthodoxy, opened my mind to new ways of thinking, studied some more, and I found ‘me’ in the process.

For a while I tried to stay within the boundaries of organized religion from outside the walls of church however, the questions and contradictions persisted, everything still sounded rote, and I tried, in vain, to quell thoughts that I was still separated from a true relationship with God. I didn’t have issue with others who found fulfillment in  organized religion, and I still don’t. There is a path for everyone, in my mind, but organized religion with all the trimmings wasn’t my path, and never would be. A journey of self-discovery and relationship with the Divine was born.

Our understanding of God and the journey we walk are individual; there is no “one size fits all”. And why wouldn’t it be? We are not all alike. Yet, those who find themselves outside the accepted mindset of organized religion are subject to the unspoken truth of many in the church today; any who don’t conform to the doctrinal beliefs are wolves in sheep’s clothing, suspect of blasphemy, are woefully misguided, or declared “anti-Christ”. What if we are none of the above? What if we are just sojourners on a path to relationship with the Divine and a journey of self-discovery? Is there a place for us? I believe there is, and at this point I don’t find the study of awakened spirituality and the teachings of Jesus in opposition. Much of what Jesus said and did as recorded in scripture, and found within texts not included in the Bible, lend credence to beliefs and teachings widely accepted in the study and practice of awakened spirituality. Organized religion and awakened spirituality however, needn’t be at odds with one another. There is room for all who seek to know God.

Many are realizing organized religion doesn’t always make sense. The fire and brimstone of yesteryear repackaged in the more acceptable contemporary church service is no longer enough. It has become painfully obvious in the past few years that church leaders and congregants are subject to the same flaws as the rest of humanity and many either deny allegations, offer flimsy excuses, or just plain ignore the misstep completely as if it never happened. Too many within the walls have set themselves above those of us outside the walls. If we have wronged others it just makes good sense to admit fault, ask forgiveness of those we hurt, and move on That’s not so easy for anyone who believes themselves above the imperfections of man.

A trend within the past several years has not gone unnoticed. People are leaving organized religion.  One of our local stations had a special piece on the ten o’clock news one night about this very subject. I tuned in out of curiosity. None of the information was new to me, I have seen and felt the shift coming for a few years now. Empty pews are plentiful in every congregation across the nation.  Few new families are joining or attending churches like in past years when people wanted to give their children a “foundation”.  There are staunch adherents on both sides of the fence. Many new parents say they want their children to decide for themselves, not force them to join in on church-life alongside their parents. Some people state outright the  unruliness of children in this age is a direct result of not attending church, not receiving the “foundation” they did as youngsters. My children were “raised in the church”, immersed in church-life, and all 3 have chosen journeys outside of organized religion as young adults. Sorting through organized religious indoctrination, an unhealthy dose of spiritual abuse compliments of their father, and life in general, has taught them traditional church attendance is not fulfilling, doesn’t answer the tough questions, and exposes them to more hypocrisy than most find in the world outside the church walls. And I can’t say I disagree.

There is spiritual hunger out there in the world. In the course of everyday life people at work, or in my private life, are asking questions, and often the conversations take on a serious tone. Many have been to churches trying to find where they fit in, some have been burned by churches they had joined, and some were raised in the church, but the story is always similar. People want a relationship with God, but they don’t want the hypocrisy of organized religion. At the risk of sounding like an evangelist, we have a God-sized space in us that will only be filled with relationship. We came from Spirit, we will return to Spirit, and our spirits are searching for meaning, for direction, for acceptance and for love. Maybe we cannot accept the whole heaven concept; do good on earth and the pearly gates will open wide. Yet, innate knowledge tells us that life on earth is not all there is. We succeed, we suffer, we get sick, we get better, we work every day to pay our bills and provide for our families, and then we die. Is that it? I believe it is not, but I don’t believe the answers lie within the church.

Science and religion have not been the best of friends, probably since the beginning of time, but within the past several years a meeting of minds has taken shape. Quantum physics has stepped in to say that the concept of “God” may not be so far off; a concept the spiritually aware have known for eons. I believe Jesus taught the basic principles of quantum physics by demonstrating thought becoming matter, and what it means to live from the Divine spirit. The very last thing I would ever attempt is to explain quantum physics to anyone! Math and I are not from the same neighborhood, and likely exist on different planets altogether, but the most basic foundational truth is that all things are energy and consist of wavelengths, frequencies, atoms, particles, and so on. I will gladly leave that entire discussion to Stephen Hawking!

The belief is that the formation of matter is the result of brainwaves; thoughts equal energy; energy equals matter; thoughts equal matter. Communication with the Universal Source, God, to many of us, is done through thought; specifically the frequency of thoughts. Does religion not teach us to pray and “meditate upon the Word”? Prayer and meditation are often done through thought – communication with the Universal Source, or God. We project our thoughts through brainwaves, and these brainwaves represent our consciousness. Brainwaves can be measured, and as a nurse this makes total sense. medical science declares patients brain dead when there is an absence of brainwave activity.

Our consciousness in communication with God tells God what we need, what we want, which in turn creates our reality. Our words and thoughts are often in opposition to one another. Which does God listen and respond to? The thoughts, the language of the universe. God answers our thoughts, our brainwaves, by sending back exactly what we ask for. There is no judgment involved, simply an answer to a need or desire. A gap between science and spirituality still exists, but the chasm is narrowing. At least for many in the scientific field there is now an explanation for what many of us have believed by faith; there is a God in whatever way best fits your definition.

People are searching, and for many the answers organized religion has offered no longer resonate with us. Didn’t Jesus say, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps asking receives; he who keeps seeking finds; and to him who keeps knocking, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7 The Complete Jewish Bible) The Universal Source, God, answers our thoughts…..

Jesus – Perfected Spirit Man (Part 2)

Seeing Yeshua (Jesus) from a spiritual versus religious standpoint gives us a very different picture than the one organized religion paints. He embodied all of the Divine; Yeshua lived and breathed and moved within the Divine. Throughout the Bible we see the evidence of those who had met the Creator, the Divine, the Source, God, and moved within that knowledge. Yeshua and the stories of the New Testament are the culmination of the knowledge individuals had tapped into at various points in Biblical history.

I find it much more plausible and encouraging to see Yeshua as fully human, living out the human experience, while at the same time living from the fullness of the Divine. It was always difficult for me to understand how we were to be “like Jesus”, since by all accounts He was perfected man. How can any of us live as a perfected human subject to the imperfections of human life? We cannot, and so we wake up everyday knowing no matter how hard we try we will never measure up; the stick and the carrot become the promise of perfection in heaven. In the meantime, we live within the endless cycle of sin and forgiveness.

Living from the Divine spirit however, is possible, and Yeshua’s life as a human living the human experience demonstrated the possibilities. To view Jesus and the Bible from this perspective allows us the opportunity to learn and grow every day of our human lives, not having to wait until we are welcomed through the pearly gates. Instead of an endless cycle of sin and forgiveness, we are able to move forward in the process of learning to live from the spirit man. And isn’t that what life should be about? We are here to learn about ourselves, about others, and how we can live together within the Divine spirit of love.

For those who understood Yeshua, lives were transformed. The “prostitute” was able to forgive herself and leave the shackles of living out others opinions of her; the “woman with the issue of blood” understood that her belief, a shift in her concept of reality, brought healing to her infirm body, not Jesus; He had only shown her how when He said “daughter your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” (Luke 8:48 Good News Translation) Story after story is told within the pages of scripture of the human Jesus demonstrating living from the reality He created. There is nothing magical or mystical about it. Thoughts and words are powerful. Later in the book of James 3:5, it is said life and death are in the power of the tongue.

What we say matters, what we think about matters. All spoken words begin with thoughts. In modern day life we hear, “I can never get ahead”, “I am always broke”, “I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop”, “My family has a history of cancer, so I will probably end up with cancer too”, or “My kids are always brats”. Those words come back to us and bring us exactly what we say. This is the Law of Attraction, and Yeshua’s life and death demonstrated this very concept. Later in Luke 8:52 Jairus’s daughter had died. When Yeshua walked into Jairus’s home Yeshua answered the comments regarding her death with “Don’t cry; the child is not dead—she is only sleeping!” (Good News Translation) Yeshua was laughed at, and that too, is an important point. Living from the spirit self puts us at odds with the world mindset. Those of us who choose a different path are like salmon swimming upstream in a downstream world; conformity is the name of the game, and conformity flies in the face of living from the spirit self.

Following the death of Yeshua, the disciples, men and women, went to the tomb site to prepare the body. Those of us with any church background are well versed in the story of the tomb found empty; only the burial cloths remained. Today, we have the Shroud of Turin with what many believe to be evidence of Yeshua’s resurrection; an image of a man with wounds like those Yeshua was said to have suffered, burned into the cloth. The Shroud is a hotly debated subject from time to time, staunch believers or unbelievers on either side. Whatever individual belief may be, it appears the image was created by a radiation blast of some kind. I find that to be perfectly plausible; we are energy wrapped in human flesh. Yeshua had said He would rise from the dead. If that is true and He did rise from the dead, an image would be left on the cloths. No absolute conclusive evidence exists to my knowledge; it is for each of us to decide. Spoken words with the stated outcome is all we have.

I have come to believe that elaborate stories sprang up around the life of Yeshua to explain the events of His life. Stories that made Yeshua deity, and advocated worship and total dependence upon a God who sat in judgment of His creation, and set impossible standards of behavior, thought and word; a well conceived effort for the few to control the many. Yeshua was and is the ultimate example of living from the spirit self, living within the Divine spirit. Was He the Divine manifest in the flesh of humanity? I believe He was, and yet He lived as we live, subject to the imperfections of this human world. Therein is the challenge; to live from the Divine spirit, from the spirit of ultimate love in a world where few know Divine love. Yeshua showed us the way to live our lives within the Divine, not to devote our lives to religious doctrine and helplessness waiting for our home on the other side. Luke 1:37 says, “For with God nothing is impossible” (The Complete Jewish Bible) Said another way: To live from the spirit of the Divine, nothing will be impossible. We create our own reality with our thoughts and words. Living within the Divine we will always create a reality of love and peace that will ultimately bring peace in this world. We need not wait until the sweet by and by…..

Jesus – Perfected Spirit Man…..(Part 1)

Was Yeshua (Jesus) a spiritual teacher or a teacher of religion? The answer would appear obvious, but is it? Anyone who has the most basic knowledge and understanding of Jesus would likely agree that Jesus taught from the spirit, or spiritual concepts. But was Jesus religious? Religion defined simply means a belief system involved with the worship of God or gods. A quick read through the Gospels or an hour in any church across the U.S. would lead one to believe Jesus advocated the worship of God. But did He? The Gospels, although massaged by man’s continued attempt to control, still give us a glimpse of a Jesus who lived by the spirit, and the principles He taught are often metaphysical in nature; owing to a reality beyond our immediate perception. In my opinion, the study of metaphysics and spirituality do not stand in opposition to the teachings of Yeshua (Jesus). Sorting through what is likely man’s version versus the reality is the challenge.

I have come to believe that the filthiness of man, sin, in other words, and the need for cleansing in the “blood of the Lamb” is man’s creation. All civilizations have had their own versions of blood sacrifices to appease the gods, to garner God’s favor, and the like. Judaism and Christianity were no different. Christianity took the blood sacrifice of Judaism and sanitized and personalized it in the form of Yeshua; blood need only to be shed once and for all for all mankind. Discipline, too, is a creation of man. All civilizations through the centuries have disciplined others, often basing the need for discipline on some arbitrary set of rules decided upon by those chosen to be in charge. Granted, in order to prevent chaos and maintain civility of a given population there must be rules for the society. The question is who came up with those rules? Did God by divine intervention, or did man, then pass the credit to the Almighty to give weight to the rules? An oft debated subject in Christianity is capital punishment. Vague explanation and confusing and often contradictory references are given when the subject of capital punishment comes up which tells me punishment by death was likely man’s invention.

Years of organized religious indoctrination left me with questions and contradictory messages having no explanation except to resort to the tried and true which is to believe by faith, and God would explain on the other side. Many of these supposedly unexplained acts were said to be available to be performed by believers as well, yet I didn’t actually ever see the manifestation of any, with the exception of “speaking in other tongues” and “prophesying”, which in the cases I saw may have been more motivated by a form of religious hysteria rather than a true demonstration of living from the spirit.

To explain Jesus turning water into wine, walking on water and healing the sick, the authors of the books we know as the Bible, deified Jesus, giving Him supernatural powers; again very much like the mythical gods of literature. I’m not taking anything away from Jesus, here. I do believe He was the embodiment of the Divine in the flesh, and many of the gospels not included in the Bible allude to that, yet those transcripts paint a very different picture of Jesus, a more human version. Suffice it to say we have no one picture of Jesus more accurate than another; it is up to each of us to experience, or choose not to experience Him, in whatever way makes sense to us.

I choose to see Yeshua as fully man, fully human, possessing the spirit of the Divine in its totality. We are sparks from the Divine Flame; God, if you will. Yeshua was fully Divine clothed in flesh, experiencing the world as we experience it. The Divine lived as man subject to all the imperfections of man in an imperfect world. His presence as flesh gave man the opportunity to learn from Him, and He from us.

From what we read of Yeshua’s life, the main principle He lived and breathed is a principle belief in the metaphysical, or spiritual world; through thought and word we create our own reality. If you think about it, the concept is solid. Like begets like. Our thoughts and words have creative power, as it were, so what we think and say most often becomes our reality. A steady diet of “I can’t”, “No one like me”, “I will never have” or my personal favorite, “I can’t afford that, I’m always broke” bear negative fruit in our lives. Is it easy to change our thoughts and words? For most of us the task is a challenge as thought patterns and words are deeply embedded in who we are, but it isn’t impossible. I am far too familiar with this process, but I have set my intention for success! Old dogs can learn new tricks! If we think about people we know and pay close attention to their overall attitude and words we will begin to see the evidence. Successful people think, believe and speak words of success; likewise those who think, believe and speak negatively bear negative fruit. Does it work 100% of the time? Does anything? While living our lives on terra firma we are subject to our humanity, so we all struggle from time to time. A close look at our patterns of thought and word however, reveal much about us and soon the picture that emerges will tell the overriding theme or story of our lives.

Everything about Yeshua’s life on earth started with thought and word; every act, every teaching, every encounter with others. From Biblical and historical references it seems He lived authentically, and often challenged the accepted religious mindset. Throughout the Gospels and beyond we see glimpses of the metaphysical Jesus. Organized religion has focused on the results of the reality Jesus created, missing the lesson of the how. Turning the water into wine, walking on water, raising people from the dead, healing, and reading people; “he didn’t need anyone to inform him about a person, because he knew what was in the person’s heart.” (John 2:25 The Complete Jewish Bible)

Jesus was spirit man perfected, not some mystical being endowed with supernatural powers. His purpose, I believe, more than bringing “salvation” to man was to demonstrate the ability to live from the spirit, having put aside interference from the ego. We can do as Jesus did through thought and word, creating reality and experiencing its results. Again, the thoughts and words we think and speak most often create our reality within the world; the universe listens and responds, positively or negatively, depending upon us to direct the response. This cause and effect are not mystical or supernatural. We are created from energy, energy fuels everything in our universe; thought and word are no different. When the majority of the energy we put out there is positive, positive returns to us, and the reverse is true. Jesus showed us the possibilities. Is it not said in the Bible, “Everything is possible to someone who has trust! (believes)” (Mark 9:23 The Complete Jewish Bible) The statement relates to a story about a father asking Yeshua to heal his son of seizures. I’m not on board with the Biblical explanation of “demons” causing seizures, or anything else for that matter, but that was not the point of the story. Yeshua spoke as He thought and believed; that the boy was free of seizures. No need to add creative flare to the encounter.

We believe as we think and speak. What patterns of thought, word and belief have created your reality…..?

 

Wading In Deeper…..

The deeper I wade into the world of living a spiritual existence, the more I read the Bible from a metaphysical standpoint. For years I was skeptical, scared, actually, of considering possibilities beyond interpretation of scripture through the eyes of man. I have said many times over; God watches over His Word, and I believe He has and does, but in my eyes, the Word has taken on new meaning. The essence of the spiritual knowledge we need to function from our spirit self is all there, laid out in black and white, despite man’s attempt to derail the instruction. Some come to understand the knowledge hidden within the scriptures from a totally different road, but in the end, all roads lead to the same place, which is not to say that I believe all religions lead to the same place; the place of spiritual awakening. I also believe Christianity has fought against that knowledge for centuries, choosing to shroud it in fear, control its dissemination, instead of sharing it with all of mankind.

The many contradictions in scripture had me tangled in a knot of confusion for years, believing we are not to understand, simply to trust; but trust what? We are taught to trust man’s interpretation, that certain people are given the gift of insight to discern deeper spiritual truth, and the truth is that thinking is hogwash! Spiritual truth is available to all who come seeking, who come asking, who accept and receive the truths.

During my lifetime I have studied psychology, the Bible, and now spirituality; within each there are clues to living a spirit-centered life, and the pieces fit together because within each discipline the same pieces exist. Many psychological principles have simply been repackaged from Biblical teaching and viewed through the lens of spirituality. Each of the philosophies lead to understanding man and his relationship to others, the world at large, and his spiritual center, whether we call it God, the Universe, or Universal Intelligence. Man seeks to know why he exists, his purpose, and what lessons is he to learn from his time on planet earth.

Yeshua (Jesus), while He wore the clothes of humanity, spent the majority of His time, from what we can glean in scripture, with people; He taught, He healed, He prayed. Looking at the Beatitudes, the “blessed are” speech Yeshua delivered affectionately known as the “Sermon on the Mount”, Yeshua is not blessing the different types of people mentioned; rather the word for blessing is related to the state of being the blessed are to be in, their heart condition. Reading the passage it is clear man has had his hand in the interpretation of the message, however, the message is still there. Our state of being, our heart condition is of great importance to God, to the Universe, for within the heart are man’s motivations.

It is my firm belief that the Beatitudes speak to our spirit self, to spiritual pursuit for awakening, enlightenment, or if you prefer, knowledge and wisdom. I am learning to overlook exercises in semantics; too often we trip ourselves up and focus on the wrong things because we disagree with the use of a word! Yeshua was teaching deeper spiritual truth and if we solely interpret the Sermon on the Mount’s meaning to our physical existence we miss the point entirely, but more importantly, our view is skewed and our focus becomes earthly gain. For instance: “How blessed are the poor in spirit for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” (Matthew 5:3 The Complete Jewish Bible) I have heard it preached that poverty is a virtue and the Kingdom’s riches will one day be mine, but this also is often interpreted to mean material gain. Poverty is not a virtue, and Kingdom riches have little to do with material possessions. Poor in spirit, going back to original texts, means we are humble, not full of ourselves. Kingdom riches in the Aramaic, the word Yeshua most likely used, means to expand our spiritual potential. We notice that the phrase “Kingdom of heaven” and “heaven” are used frequently in the Bible and the interpretation of spiritual enlightenment would apply.

Pressing onward, the second Beatitude says, “How blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” On the surface we would think the interpretation relates to those who are sad, have lost a loved one, or the like. Looking at the verse from the Aramaic, the language of Yeshua, “to mourn” has nothing to do with sadness; rather the meaning is rooted in a passion toward, or being eager for transformation. Comforted, then, would mean further growth in our spirit life, soul growth being the result.

What about the third Beatitude? How blessed are the meek for they will inherit the Land!” If we are to follow the example and aspire to be like Yeshua, we have to admit Yeshua was anything but meek! He turned the known world, at that time, upside down, and challenged the religious leaders often; Yeshua was not “Baby Jesus meek and mild.” Meek in the early texts had a feeling of nonresistance, being open to truth and wisdom, and the earth refers to spiritual awakening; following through, our goal is heaven and spiritual enlightenment.

As a seeker of truth and wisdom, the Bible has opened up, my understanding expanded exponentially, each day a clearer picture of what God’s Word has for each of us. We are all on a journey and God welcomes each of us to join Him in deeper understanding. Is it time to wade in and get your feet wet…..?

Fear Not…..

Rumor has it that the Bible contains 365 “Fear not” statements or references; one for each day of the week. I haven’t actually counted them to be sure, I will take the claims of others as true!

Obviously, the point being we are not to fear, we are to have faith, instead. In my adult life I have heard several sermons preached on the subject, all centered around believing God has our backs, and I do believe that; so why do we need fear-based religion? The answer is we don’t. Fear-based religion uses fear in a number of different ways to control the thinking and behavior of its adherents. For example: if I don’t confess my sins before God and man and accept Jesus as my Savior I won’t be saved, so I will go to hell when I die. Who wants that hanging over their head? What about we will be held accountable for every careless word we speak? Granted, the passage in Matthew 12 is actually addressing the religious leaders of the day, but I have heard the verse applied to all of us, so we fear we may have inadvertently told a lie we haven’t confessed, taken the Lord’s name in vain, or committed blasphemy and we end up in a worse place than hell! What about the sins that go unconfessed? Is there a blanket prayer to make sure the ones I don’t remember I did are covered? What if I’m sick or in need of something? The Bible says that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains, our faith can make us whole, demons will flee in our presence, or we will live abundant lives; proof that we have the right amount of faith, but if these things don’t happen does that mean I don’t even have the smallest amount of faith? All of this may sound ridiculous to those outside the walls of fundamental churches, or even some of the box churches, but they are not; people get themselves wrapped up in such nonsense and miss the point.

The elitist mindset of many Christians and fundamental churches is based in fear; fear of getting too close to those who are unbelievers, being “unequally yoked”, or just plain letting the sins of others slop over into their whitewashed lives. Consider the ongoing and often vitriol discussion centering around homosexuality, and now gender identity. People think we are becoming a more progressive and enlightened society, but many of the churches have not gotten the memo. Some of the most well known evangelists and preachers of the late 20th century participated in thinly veiled homophobic hate mongering. I remember not that many years ago a very well known evangelist-teacher organized and staged a prayer vigil, of sorts, in the San Francisco area to pray against the homosexual stronghold in the area; of course stating that we love the gays, but in their current lifestyle, sadly, won’t be admitted into heaven. What?? The bottom line is that the churches and “Christians” who participate in this mindset fear those whose lifestyles don’t fit in with their narrow-minded, supposedly Bible-based standards of behavior. I, for one, am far more offended by those who are judgmental and gossip as a guise for praying for the needs of others. I have issues with those who say they serve a God of love, that all are welcome, yet once inside the doors roll out the list of qualifiers for that love and acceptance.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think that spiritual endeavors should be centered in love, positive thinking and energy, drawing others in because others see something in us that is pleasing and peaceful. What is out there are people who have clothed themselves in a facade of love and light, yet once inside the doors a very different picture emerges. The thou-shalt-nots are rolled out in full force, the standards of perfection required for approval dropped in our laps; no tattoos, no smoking, drinking, associating with the unsaved, memorize this many verses, pray that way, tithe this much, the list is endless. Thought patterns steeped in this mindset create fear of not measuring up, our heart motivations for what we do become skewed.

In chapter 12 of Romans, Paul is talking about how we are to act, be, think, and serve in this world. All things in scripture speak to a higher truth, striving to live from the higher self instead of from the ego. Romans 12:2 (New International Version) reads, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” I have heard countless sermons on this tiny phrase from Romans 12:2, each one dissecting the meaning behind “good, pleasing, and perfect will”. Apparently, from all reports I have received we are to choose which of God’s wills we want to be in! Really? Is that what we are supposed to get out of that verse? Taken together and viewed from the metaphysical, or spiritual standpoint, Romans 12 is speaking about living from the higher self, in peace with others, don’t accept the patterns of society, live above them: almost a repackaged “golden rule”. Isn’t that the more important message?

We should always be encouraged to seek higher spiritual truth, explore to discover what resonates within each of us because the journey is unique to each of us. We are all beings of energy created in the image of the Universal Creator, endowed with spiritual wisdom that is waiting to be tapped. We do not need a person standing in a pulpit, educated in the halls of man, espousing the often misguided doctrines of man that have been handed down through the centuries, many designed to instill fear in the hearts of its followers in an effort to control.

It is my firm belief that many in our world have been disillusioned by organized religion, disheartened by man’s attempt to dampen the spiritual stirrings in the hearts of those who earnestly and honestly want to pursue an intimate relationship with the Creator without fear hanging over their heads. I believe we are in the beginning of the end of the church age when people who truly want to pursue an intimate relationship with the Creator will seek spiritual enlightenment over the dry bones of religion.

One morning after I had participated in a funeral service for a friend, a woman who had attended the funeral approached me in the parking lot. Those of us in attendance had been subject to a fiery hell and brimstone message delivered with fervor and spit from the preacher who was obviously uncomfortable with the lesbian lifestyle the decedent had chosen. The woman thanked me for what I had said and concluded with, “ and what happened in there is exactly why I left the church”. Her comment saddened me and I have thought back on that moment many times. I knew that was a transitional moment in my life; my calling, my desire is that no one be discouraged from seeking relationship with their Creator because of fear, because of not measuring up. I don’t know, but I suspect she was involved in a lifestyle contrary to church doctrine. How sad that a person created in the image of God would feel unworthy of pursuing higher eternal spiritual truth for something so temporary as an earthly choice. We are all welcomed by the Creator no matter who we are, where we have been, what we do or don’t do, no matter our lifestyle. Yeshua, the Creator clothed in humanity who came to restore relationship with the created said, “Come ALL who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest…….”

Choosing the Path of Love…..

What does a spiritual journey look like? The path is unique to you, designed by The Divine to speak to your soul, the dwelling place of your spirit energy. What we are not aware of is that our spirits are speaking to us all of the time, calling us to seek The Divine; some will answer, some will not. For those who answer, the path taken will resonate within and we will recognize the path as ours. All paths bathed in love lead to the same place, to the source of Divine Wisdom, to God, to the Creator. The phrase “bathed in love” is critical because not all paths are bathed in love. Divine Wisdom is pure love and cannot be anything else, so we needn’t worry the path one travels looks different than another’s if love is at it’s core.

If you think about it, the individual paths can be a problem for many. So often doctrinal truths are based upon the experiences of a few people who cannot recognize, or choose not to recognize, that although one path looks different from another on the surface, the core is the same. Take church history, for example. Ever wonder why we have so many different denominations, yet seem to all be working from the same book? We share the Bible, but our interpretations of Biblical events are different. I’ve said before and will continue saying I don’t believe God ever had denominations in mind after Yeshua returned to the Divine. The doctrines and tenets for each denomination may be somewhat similar, but the differences are significant enough to the adherents many will defend them to their death, or the death of a friendship. Wars have been fought over them, much blood has been shed in the name of the church and its doctrines. We focus on the minutiae instead of the bigger picture, argue small points from one’s unique path that is formed and fashioned into a blanket doctrinal truth for the masses. One denomination believes dancing leads to hell, others that salvation is the only way to heaven, and yet others believe the various rituals and strict hierarchy were the sole intention of God. What if none of those resonate with me? What if I find my way to the Divine through meditation, through understanding the life of Yeshua from a metaphysical standpoint, through believing that my thoughts create my reality and that angels whisper higher spiritual truth? Am I the oddball? No, I don’t think so, and here’s why.

People are leaving organized religion en masse. Studies have been done showing that many of us are seeking substance in relationship with God, that many do not find God within the walls of a building where all are encouraged to believe, look, and act the same. The prosperity box churches appear to be growing in numbers, but again people are searching for substance and it will only be a matter of time before their numbers dwindle as well. The old time religion of the past isn’t cutting it any longer; we realize we don’t all have the same journey. Each one’s journey is and should be unique to their life and individual needs.

Immersing myself in the metaphysical world, I have found others who believe our journeys do not all need to look alike, we don’t all have to believe the same, yet still respect the views and opinions of others as we share our journeys. The overall goal is to live in love and appreciation of all the Creator provides, and strive for higher spiritual understanding.

However rainbow and lovely this all sounds, the living in love thing has proved challenging at times! Have you ever noticed not everyone is altogether lovely? I will go so far as to say I am not altogether lovely at times! I don’t have the luxury of living in a monastery on a Tibetan hillside; I am stuck in the here and now, the hustle and bustle of the work-a-day world and quite truthfully not everyone acts lovely. So, how do we balance the flaws of everyday life and the people around us with living in love?

For me, self-compassion and gratitude are key to walking through life in love toward all. An “attitude of gratitude” is more than a trite cliche. When we get beyond the surface of thanking the Creator for family, friends, a job, food and clothing, we begin to dig deeper into who we are and what our place is in the here and now. We have the choice each morning before getting out of bed to set our intention on love; gratitude opens the door to that intention. Sometimes I need to step back and thank the Divine for those I find to be “prickly”, those who are harder to love than others, realizing they too, have a purpose in the here and now and may be struggling with something of which I am unaware. I thank the Divine for the ability to choose only positive energy and reject negative energy flowing from others and in this way choose to remain neutral in situations I may have taken offense otherwise.

For example, as a nurse subject to the whims and warbles of doctors, the other day I had a doctor step into my office and unload her negativity, vomiting, as it were, the days trials and tribulations all over my office. I could have chosen to be offended, chosen to accept and internalize the negativity, but I did not; my intention had been set to love. In truth she was not angry with me, just the situation. Love recognizes the negative as not being directed at me; rather it was a result of a circumstance, a load on her shoulders not related to me. The next day she called me and we had a nice conversation. Did choosing love over offense excuse her behavior? No, but it allowed the behavior as a result of stressors unknown to me that I do not need to know and accepted her as a human, created in the likeness of the Divine, struggling at that moment; a human in need of love.

The unlovely will be a part of all of our journeys despite the fact that our journeys will differ. Were the unlovely part of Yeshua’s (Jesus’s) journey? Unequivocally. He chose to love them, and if He chose love over hate, love over offense, who am I to do less? His last words as He gave up His earthly existence were, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”…..