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Sunday Message for June 26, 2016

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Our theme for this month has been "The Divine Nine." And what are the Divine Nine? They are nine spiritual practices that, when experienced in tandem, support us in living from our God-centered nature with our hearts opened and our visions and dreams made manifest. So far, we have covered six of the nine.

So what are the six we have explored already?

* Sacred Service otherwise known as Seva - which we explored the first Sunday of the month. And, as a final reminder, it is giving of our time and talent from the overflow of our Infinite Beingness and from a place of knowing that as we serve all of God's creation, we are re-enacting the loving Givingness of God and therefore expressing our own Divine Nature.

* Sacred Giving otherwise known as Tithing - which we also explored the first Sunday of the month. And, again as a final reminder, it is leaving 1/10 of our supply with the Source of all our Supply and keeping and using as we see fit the remaining 90%.

*Visioning - which we explored two weeks ago is a way to open us up to receive God's highest and best. Behind this practice is the idea that if we do not have a vision for our lives, a vision of where we want to end up, then we will live our lives by default. But if we have a vision (God's higher vision than we might even have for ourselves), our lives will be lived by design.

* Affirmative Prayer - Another way to open us up to receive by accepting that higher vision.

* Meditation - explored last week, this practice stills the wandering mind and gives us a direct conscious connection with the Divine.

* Visualizing - also explored last week, we saw how visualizing supports our other work to bring our vision into manifestation.

Today we complete the list and put it all together in a way that will be sure to open your hearts to God's profound love and joy and support you in manifesting your dreams, so let's jump right in.

1. AFFIRMATIONS

Do we all know what affirmations are? Statements that are:
* Positive - what I want, not what I don't want
* Present Tense - in the now, not in the future
* "I" statements - it really is all about me!
* Short, so they can be committed to memory.
* Repeated often - to re-groove the brain to new "habitudes" (habits of attitude, a term coined by RS minister Harry Morgan Moses)

What are some of your affirmations? Notice that they are all words of Truth.

Eric Butterworth in Spiritual Economics: ". . .[these] words do not become true because you affirm them. This is a common confusion about the practice of affirmative prayer, that if you speak words of Truth over and over, you impress them on the subconscious mind and thus they become true for you. They do not become true because you affirm them. You affirm them because they are true. You are synchronizing your consciousness with the reality of Truth, creating a channel through which the mystical flow may do its powerful work through you."a

I so love that idea. Let's hear part of that quote again:

"They do not become true because you affirm them. You affirm them because they are true. You are synchronizing your consciousness with the reality of Truth, creating a channel through which the mystical flow may do its powerful work through you."

Why can't we just say them one time and be done with it?!

Emma Curtis Hopkins, Scientific Christian Mental Practice: "Suppose the rain and dust have beaten against the plate glass windows until they are very dirty; do you think the mere cessation of the rain and dust will make the windowpanes clean? So it is with the mind that is covered with years of habitual imaginations [false beliefs, race thinking, wrong thinking]. It ceases from imaginations, but practical daily washings of the dust of years must be made."b

Use affirmations to support your prayer work when a worry, concern or false belief wants to creep in. They are perfect for stemming the tide of unproductive thinking!

Do you have your "go to" affirmation? If not, think for a moment what would be a powerful one for you? Remember:
* Positive
* Present Tense
* "I" statements - "I am" statements are the most powerful!
* Short

We are going to do something wild. Are you up for it? Does everyone have an affirmation in mind? On the countdown from 3, everyone, with power and authority in your voice, say out your affirmation. 3, 2, 1 . . . Say it again . . . and again . . . one more time. Now squeeze your thumb and forefinger together. Hold it as you anchor in the affirmation and say it one more time.

Use it, make it your go to statement. Make it a habitude!

So, if we just regularly engaged in the seven practices we've looked at this month in our live, if those seven became who we are and just what we do, we would live in harmony with Universal Love, Infinite Good and Divine Blessing . . . no doubt about it.

And if we really want to take it up a notch and come to the Ocean of God's Goodness not just with a bucket, no matter how large our bucket may be, but hook a hose directly up to it instead, I suggest that there are two more that we will want to regularly engage in.

2. FORGIVENESS

One of the greatest statements I have ever read about the power of forgiveness comes from the essay "The Lord's Prayer," in Power Through Constructive Thinking by Emmet Fox. He wrote: "If your prayers are not being answered, search your consciousness and see if there is not someone whom you have yet to forgive.... Do you think that you can afford this? Of course, no one can afford such a thing; and so the way is clear. You must cut all such ties, by a clear and spiritual act of forgiveness. You must loose him and let him go. By forgiveness you set yourself free...."c

And intellectually, we would probably all agree with this, yes? Sure, it sounds really amazing; it rings completely true. But then there are the words of C.S. Lewis: "Everyone says that forgiveness is a lovely idea until he [actually] has something to forgive."d

You may say, "I have tried to forgive, but I can't." That's not the truth. You may THINK you cannot forgive because you have learned not to forgive, because you have spent a long time practicing not forgiving, and because, in fact, you have mastered the art of not forgiving.

But there was a time when we were children that forgiveness was our instinct. Before we caught the mental disease of unforgiveness, it was effortless and natural to forgive. We used to forgive others almost right away. If you see two children playing together, and they start to fight and hit each other, the children cry and run to their mothers.

One mother goes to talk with the other mother. Pretty soon, the two mothers are having a big fight, but the two children are playing together again as if nothing happened. Now the mothers are angry and will harbor resentment and hurt for who knows how long, but the children are just fine!

Yes, we are born with the innate capacity to love, but we have LEARNED the opposite behavior, and we have PRACTICED it so much that now returning to love through forgiveness seems difficult, if not impossible. But it IS NOT impossible and it IS essential if we are to build the life we want to live in a world we want to live in.

Holmes in Discover a Richer Life, writes: "Spiritual mind healing will not be complete until the individual is attuned to the Infinite. It will not be complete until we get a clearance from a sense of rejection and guilt; therefore, we will have to forgive ourselves and others."e

I want to offer you a 3-part Buddhist meditation for forgiveness this morning. It's not quite New Thought because it isn't completely in the affirmative, present tense, but it is so beautiful and sacred that I don't want to change it from its original form:

1. For any way that I have caused harm to myself, through judgment, action, self-blame, indifference -- knowingly or unknowingly -- in thought, word or deed, may I forgive myself. May I allow myself to be a student of life and to make mistakes. Just as a river moves with ease around rocks and stones, may forgiveness naturally flow around my difficulties to rest in my heart. May I forgive myself and if I cannot do so in this moment, may I be able to forgive myself in the future.

2. For any way that I have caused harm to you, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, I ask for your forgiveness. May you accept me with my imperfections and mistakes. May you allow me to learn from my actions. May your forgiveness naturally flow around our difficulties to rest in our hearts. May you forgive me. And if you cannot do so in this moment, may you be able to forgive me in the future.

3. For any way that you have caused harm to me, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, may I forgive you. May I allow you, too, to be a student of life and to make mistakes. May I recognize your humanity, in the midst of my pain. May my forgiveness soften any difficulties between us. May I forgive you, and if I cannot do so in this moment, may I be able to forgive you in the future.

Now that you have heard the three meditations, let me say them again. This time, close your eyes if you like, and, as I say them, really take them in. If you have areas of forgiveness around yourself or others, insert those situations into this meditation.

1. For any way that I have caused harm to myself, through judgment, action, self-blame, indifference -- knowingly or unknowingly -- in thought, word or deed, may I forgive myself. May I allow myself to be a student of life and to make mistakes. Just as a river moves with ease around rocks and stones, may forgiveness naturally flow around my difficulties to rest in my heart. May I forgive myself and if I cannot do so in this moment, may I be able to forgive myself in the future.

2. For any way that I have caused harm to you, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, I ask for your forgiveness. May you accept me with my imperfections and mistakes. May you allow me to learn from my actions. May your forgiveness naturally flow around our difficulties to rest in our hearts. May you forgive me. And if you cannot do so in this moment, may you be able to forgive me in the future.

3. For any way that you have caused harm to me, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, may I forgive you. May I allow you, too, to be a student of life and to make mistakes. May I recognize your humanity, in the midst of my pain. May my forgiveness soften any difficulties between us. May I forgive you, and if I cannot do so in this moment, may I be able to forgive you in the future.

My friends, forgiveness does not change your past, but it absolutely enlarges your future.

3. GRATITUDE

And the final Divine Nine practice is . . . well you will figure it out from this reading. It's a personal passage, not mine, but from someone you may be familiar with:

One day, many years ago, I was sitting in my bathroom with the door closed, booing and hooing on the phone so uncontrollably that I was incoherent.

"Stop it! Stop it right now and say thank you!" my friend Maya chided.

"But you don't understand," I sobbed.

"I do understand," she told me. "I want to hear you say it now . . . out loud."

"Thank you." Tentatively, I repeated it: "Thank you -- but what am I saying thank you for?"

"You're saying thank you," Maya said, "because your faith is so strong that you don't doubt that whatever the problem, you'll get through it. You're saying thank you because you know that even in the eye of the storm, God has put a rainbow in the clouds. You're saying thank you because you know there's no problem created that can compare to the Creator of all things. So -- say thank you!"

So I did -- and I still do.

I keep a gratitude journal and daily list at least five things I'm grateful for. My list includes small pleasures: The feel of Kentucky bluegrass under my feet (like damp silk); walks in the woods with all nine of my dogs and my cocker spaniel Sophie trying to keep up; reading a good book and knowing another waits.

My thank you list also includes things too important to take for granted: An "ok" mammogram, friends who love me, 25 years on the same great job, staying centered, having financial security.

I won't kid you, having money for all the things I want is a blessing. But as I look back over my journals, 99% of what brought me real joy had nothing to do with money. (It did have a lot to do with food, though). [Know who the author is?? Know who the friend Maya is?] It's not easy to be grateful all the time. But it's when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you - perspective. When you learn to say thank you, you see the world anew. As Meister Eckhart so eloquently stated: "If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is 'Thank you, God,' that would suffice.f"g
                    -- Oprah Winfrey

Ernest Holmes: "When we speak the words of thanksgiving to the God within, knowing 'before they ask I will answer,' there is something in this attitude of thanksgiving that carries us beyond the field of doubt into one of perfect faith and acceptance, receptivity...realization. Appreciation, gratitude and thanksgiving - the motive power which attracts and magnifies the hidden potentialities of life."h

Father, Mother, God we are so grateful for all the blessings in our lives. We cannot help but embrace gratitude as we look at our life and see You in our friends, pets, spouses, and all the things we have gathered about us. We are so abundantly blessed that we now forgive ourselves and all around us of any perceived wrong doing. We forgive so that we may be free to move forward unhampered by our past. To move forward, connected to the Divine within us, we practice the Divine Nine spiritual practices.

Say after me:

As I engage in Sacred Service, or Seva, I re-enact the loving Givingness of God and express my own Divine Nature.

When I leave one-tenth with the Source of my Supply, my 90% expands in beautiful, miraculous and glorious ways from expected and unexpected channels.

I open myself to receive through Visioning and catch a glimpse of God's highest and best for me.

Through my prayers, I empower God's vision for my life.

As I visualize, I see God's vision for my life in action.

Through meditation, I am calm I am strong and I am centered. I know that I know I am one with the Divine.

By living the affirmative life, I synchronize my consciousness with the reality of Truth and create a channel through which the mystical flow may do its powerful work through me.

All that has offended me I forgive. Things past, things present, things future; I fully and freely forgive.

With deep gratitude, I call life good oh so very, very good!

And so we anchor these Divine Nine spiritual practices by saying together and so it is. Amen.



aEric Butterworth Spiritual Economics p. 21
bEmma Curtis Hopkins, Scientific Christian Mental Practice p. 178
cThe Lord's Prayer Power Through Constructive Thinking Emmet Fox
dC.S. Lewis
eErnest Holmes Discover a Richer Life p. 24
fMeister Eckhart
gOprah Winfrey
hErnest Holmes



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