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Sunday Message for January 8, 2023


Today we are talking about doing the will of God and what that may look like.a

Dr. Albert Schweitzer, a Franco-German theologian, organist, philosopher, and physician from the early 1900s, said, "The deeper we look into nature, the more we recognize that it is full of life... and that we are united with all life that is in nature. We realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all this life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship to the universe."

"The most immediate fact of man's consciousness is the assertion: I am life, which wills to live. To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward, and to exalt the will-to-live."b

I went to the memorial service once of a young woman who had ended her own life and left behind a 12-year old son. She didn't understand that she could end the experience she was having without ending her physical life here.

We all have the will to live, but we get what we are doing confused with who we are. Then we can't see that it is merely the experience we wish to end.

God's will is life. Jesus says he came to do God's will. If God's will was illness, he would have ignored ill people because they would have been expressing God's will.

There was a man in the hospital all hooked up to tubes and wires and very sick. The sick man said to his minister that it was probably just God's will that he should be sick. So the minister asked him what he was doing in the hospital then - and shouldn't he just go home and get sicker - if it's God's will?

If this was the case then Jesus would have invoked illness rather than healing. Some people have misunderstood and misrepresented God's will. God's will is life, and that life is eternal, abundant, and our divine destiny.

Life is sacred....,

affirm with me "I am life... that wills to live... and has reverence for all life."

There is a book called Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. In it he says, "The one thing you can't take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me." "When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves." "We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."c

We all have free will. Many factors and forces influence us, but we still have freedom of choice and will. We are not stuck with what we inherited from our families, our conditioning, or our childhood patterns. We are not just bound to our environment, others' influence, or outer situations. And please know that you are not the pawn or puppet of God.

Our power of will needs to be understood in a deeper way than the Victorian or Horatio Alger "where there is a will, there's a way." We do not "make things happen" by force of will. It is more like breathing, where we coordinate with the Spirit, the divine breath.
In the book of John it says that, "Jesus breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'"d Prayer is an affirmation that declares and feels the good established. It is the spirit of "amen," which in Hebrew means, "I believe" or "It is so."

Let's look at God's will and our will. If God's will for us is total life, love, prosperity, well being, and happiness - and God is Omnipotent - then how can we have poverty, illness, loneliness and wars? God is Love and wants us to "Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live."e He wants us to live fully and peacefully, but also we have free choice and free will. And we have created all the negative nonsense.

Charles Fillmore wrote, "We are all as free to use God as we are free to use the principles of mathematics or of music."f God is not a controlling judging "person," but Principle, Law, Intelligence, Love, Life, Itself. We make the choice as to understanding and utilizing God in our thinking, speaking and actions. We are dealt a hand, and we can play it as we choose. The choice is always ours, and we always have a choice as to how we will think, speak and act. Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet. "There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will."g

We are to align ourselves in understanding and right action with the will of God. Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance, but taking hold of God's willingness.

The question becomes: Am I willing? How much do I want to grow, to be healthier, to be free, to prosper, to live in a peaceful home and world? How much good can I stand?

Let God's will of good be done. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane said, '"Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will, but Thine be done.' Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength."h

There is always greater good that can come forth by facing and meeting difficulties and hard experiences. In a spirit of willingness, we find greater good by opening ourselves to the will of God. God always has something greater in store for us than our present vision can see. But we have to face and meet our present challenges in order to take hold of the new possibilities of supply and livingness.

Are there areas of your life that have no life in them? Ask yourself, "Where do I need to "take responsibility," "take charge," or "will to live," in my life right now? What good awaits me, calls to me, wants to come forth in my life. What do I need to willingly affirm and receive?"

How willing are we to let the Spirit of God unfold all Good through us and as us? Do we doubt, resist, pull away? How do we surrender to our Good and let the Higher Power direct our lives?

Chapter 3 in The Book of Exodus tells the dramatic story of Moses and the burning bush. God, who is speaking out of the flames, instructs Moses. He is telling Moses to be the leader who will free His people in Egypt. Moses protests, "Who am I to do such a task? What will I tell the people so they will follow me? Who can I say sent me?"

These are questions we have all asked when faced with a challenging task or responsibility. Can I do this? How will I do it? How will I get help in accomplishing this? Will God be there throughout the whole job to help me? Where and how will I find God? Will there be more burning bushes all along the way or what?

And God said, "I AM THAT I AM." The mystical answer that comes to Moses in the story is God's identity - "This is my name," says God, "I AM."i

Remember, if Moses is going to do God's will and use his will - his executive power - and accomplish this monumental task, Moses wants to know what will happen when he actually gets into the midst of the challenge. Where will God be then? God is out here in the burning bush in Midian. What happens when Moses gets far away, back in Egypt?

Martin Buber, the Jewish existentialist theologian and philosopher, helps us understand how we continue to find God's will and direction. Buber says that "I AM THAT I AM" implies in Hebrew, "I WILL BE WITH YOU AT THE PLACE WHERE YOU ARE."j That is, I will meet you in a new and different way each time. I will be with you always, but don't look for another burning bush. That was for now, but next time, it will be a totally new experience. It will still be Me - God. Look for me in a new way. I will be there with you and for you.

So I need to discover God where I am. So often we may look for God in the way God formerly appeared in our lives or others' lives. "I AM THAT I AM" says, I will meet you at the place where you are. Discover Me and your Self in fresh, new ways at every unfolding stage along life's way. God is not just a Being of tradition, routine, sameness, the past, status quo, and repetitions. Spirit is dynamic and directs us always in fresh, innovative, inventive, creative ways. God is always here, and we will find God - especially if we are less bound by precedent and rote ways of praying. We are open, looking with new eyes.

God says, I AM SPIRIT. How can this "I AM THAT I AM" insight help me meet God where I AM? How have I found God? Am I trying to "repeat" that experience? Have I wished I could "go back" and have the "bush burn again?" Do I know the divine direction is still with me? Am I looking for God's will - the divine Good - with fresh eyes today?

Jesus likened the Spirit to the wind that blows as it will from many different directions. In The Book of John it says, "Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born anew. The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit."k

The Spirit is not only in a certain place or book or writings or creeds or past events. The I AM Spirit is here and now. God is always meeting me at the place where I am because I AM what I am looking for. I cannot be without God, for God is what I AM.

Let me repeat that, "God is always meeting me at the place where I am because I AM what I am looking for. I cannot be without God, for God is what I AM."

I can is the child of I AM. We are able to choose, direct, and accomplish because we are conscious of our true spiritual being. It was of this inner Power that Paul said, "I can do all things through the one who strengthens me."l

Charles Fillmore wrote, "Individual consciousness is like an eddy in the ocean - all the elements that are found in the ocean are also found in the eddy, and every eddy may, in due course, receive and give forth all that is in the ocean. As the will of God, man represents I Am identity. This is individual consciousness, freedom to act without dictation of any kind... the power to make or break without limitation, constructive and destructive ability with a universe of workable potentialities."m

As I know in the midst of any day, night, or situation: '"I CAN, BECAUSE I KNOW I AM," I am knowing that God is meeting me at the place where I am. I live in "a universe of workable potentialities."

Let it be your way... Thank You.

aTwelve Powers In You TV/video & book by David & Gay Lynn Williamson, & Robert Knapp, MD
bDr. Albert Schweitzer, a Franco-German theologian
cMan's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
dJohn 20:22
eIsaiah 55:3
fChristian Healing by Charles Fillmore, Unity Books
gHamlet by Shakespeare
hLuke 22:42-43
iExodus 3:1-12
jMartin Buber, the Jewish existentialist theologian and philosopher
kJohn 3:7-8
lPhilippians 4:13, Inclusive Version
mChristian Healing by Charles Fillmore, Unity Books

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