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Sunday Message for April 30, 2023


During your life, I'm sure you have seen things going away that you weren't expecting. So, today I'm talking about Spiritual Courage.

It is time that we stopped centering on the money we lost on stocks, the job we lost, or other financial challenges that we have been facing. Yes, these things happened. Yes, these are the facts. But what is the Truth? Spiritual Courage will bring you through this part of your life.

Courage and bravery, in my view, is not necessarily the same thing. Bravery, as I understand it, suggests a kind of fearlessness. Brave people face danger willingly, even eagerly, unafraid.

But courage is different. Courage is less about fear and more about something deeper, something I think that has to do with our spirit or soul. Courage is doing the right thing, even in the face of those who tell us we are crazy or stupid. Courage is taking a stand and living with it. Courage is also about growth; about a willingness to change our mind if that is the right thing to do. A brave person may fight when called upon. A courageous person may choose not to fight even if it means certain death.

I believe that courage is a spiritual value, one that could use some exploration by all of us. Spiritual Courage is necessary for a meaningful life and especially in this time of economic upheaval.

The events of September 11, 2001, showed us the extraordinary courage and bravery that men and women could call upon during times of great national tragedy. Now we have to see if that kind of courage can continue in ways that will make our world and our nation safer and more humane.

Over two thousand years ago a man taught a religion that changed the whole trend of thought of people. His teachings were called "the Way."

When he started out, he only had a few followers. And like Socrates, he was accused of treason and killed. Those who put him to death assumed that after he died his doctrine would utterly disappear, as had many doctrines of prophets before his time.

However, they were wrong! The teachings of the man, Jesus of Nazareth, possessed an element that the people vitally needed, and they soon sprang up in regions far beyond the little land where they were promulgated. These teachings spread to many lands and have been spreading ever since.

Jesus had the Spiritual Courage to teach the Truth. And sometimes the courage to take your own road can make the difference between being who you came here to be and being just another face in the crowd.

True courage is giving yourself permission to be true to yourself, no matter what others may say or think. And it's not easy. Because we are tribal creatures, our brain wants to take the well-traveled road, even when our intuition and our logic both say otherwise.

I believe that Spiritual Courage is the art of remembering. Remembering that we are never truly alone... that we are part of All That Is, part of God. Even when we forget and close our ears and eyes to that connection, we are still part of the Whole. And this awareness can give wings to our intuition and ideas, because it allows that each person can be unique and special, and still be part of the Whole.

Jesus was teaching the Word of God. The Word of God is the creative agent, and spiritual man is its supreme creation. Besides, the man Jesus stands far out in front, as evidenced by his teachings. He is the divine man of this race. We should impress this on our consciousness. We should study His teachings. We should understand and follow them.

Do you want this economic situation to turn around? Pray as Jesus did, act as Jesus did, have faith as Jesus did, and have the spiritual courage that Jesus did. Then you will see it.

Jesus taught that the world belongs to man and that man is responsible for it. The human family is responsible for the poverty or the prosperity of the world. By our mental beholding and working we determine whether we shall have or have not.

In the days when the Israelites were held in captivity by the Babylonians, a few of the companions of the prophet Nehemiah were allowed to return with him to Jerusalem and to rebuild the wall. They engaged those remaining in the city to help. It says in (Nehemiah 4:6) the people had a mind to work.a

Our prosperity is the result of work - not physical work alone, but first mental and spiritual work. There is an everlasting marching on in every industry and science. We are never content with the present methods but are constantly seeking better ones; we are not content with our schools but are always finding easier ways to gain knowledge for ourselves and our children. Our nation is, therefore, progressing.

We find that Christianity is surprisingly progressive, too. Our religion is constantly unfolding new possibilities, new powers, and new beauties; we are on the way to a great outpouring of spiritual development. We have not realized what a wonderful religion we have. It is filled with possibilities, and these possibilities are made known to us in mind and spirit.

But we need more courage to develop these possibilities. We need more initiative. We need more awareness of this divine power in us and when we awaken to the spiritual man, which every one of us has within them, we shall see that through spiritual unfoldment all good things are possible of accomplishment, as Jesus promised.

All things are possible to us, only we have to believe. But believe what? We must believe in ourselves, in this innate spiritual man in us and we must encourage him. Encourage him with what? With sound words, with affirmations of almightiness; then we shall have the key to the overcoming world.

Our most important study is our own mind, not only the intellectual mind but the spiritual mind. "Know thyself" was inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi; and it must be inscribed on our own temple, over the door of our mind. "Know thyself." We must become acquainted with our own mind.

Now that it is being universally taught that with every thought our brain sends vibrations into the surrounding atmosphere, every progressive metaphysician is admitting that with this invisible thought stuff we are constantly making structures for ourselves and the world around us. The scientific world is also beginning to recognize the fact that man has within himself the capacity to re-form the world.

Modern metaphysicians have discovered that with every thought we think there is a movement of active forces - not only a movement of those forces, but a movement of everything connected with our consciousness, our body, our world.

Every time we speak we cause the atoms and cells of our body to tremble and go through certain changes. Not only do we cause the cells and atoms of our body to form new adjustments, but we even affect the cells of the bodies of those with whom we associate.

We are told that (Isaiah 35:1) The wilderness shall blossom like the crocus and that we shall have a millennium here on earth; that things will be changed in the twinkling of an eye.b This is a Biblical view. We find that changes come gradually, and they come through work.

We find in the Old Testament the poems and prophecies of Isaiah. He tells in the language of the Orient some of the signs of the millennium - and they have been shown by modern science!

(Isaiah 35:1-8) The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;"Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;He will come and save you."

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
&bnsp;&bnsp;&bnsp;but it shall be for God's people.c

In every generation since the dawn of history there have been prophets who claimed that they received revelation of the end of the world. It is claimed that even Jesus told of the end of the world. However, more recent and accurate translations of the New Testament show this to be an error. What Jesus spoke of was the completion of the age.

A vivid description of the end of the earth's civilization is found in the 34th chapter of Isaiah. Whether Isaiah knew any more about the end of the world than many modern prophets is a question.

History testifies to the fact that they are all wrong. The world is not coming to an end any time soon. Geologists say that it has taken the Colorado River at least fifty million years to carve out the Grand Canyon. It is logical, then, to conclude that God has a future for a globe that has taken Him so long to make.

But through poets, prophets, and pessimists in every age we are warned of what, from a human, destructive viewpoint, might occur. Shakespeare says: "These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve;
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind."

Now what we want to ask is this: Are these prophecies of the end of civilization and the destruction of the earth and all things the result of sane thinking or are they the work of sick minds?

They are undoubtedly the work of sick minds. The sane man with a little logic would determine that our God, with the power and wisdom to create a world of such mighty possibilities, would not destroy it and leave the destiny of all the good people to the mercies of a few unscrupulous fanatics.

The destiny of the earth and of its people is in the minds and hands of those who seek to know God as Spirit, and those who seek Him must seek Him in Spirit.

Jesus points the way, and by following His formulas we shall find the solution to every problem. All the formulas given by Jesus are constructive rather than destructive. He does not teach death but life. (John 8:51) says, Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.e

Where in Jesus' teachings shall we find a formula to offset, to dissolve, to meet and nullify this current challenge? We find it in the 10th chapter of Luke and the 22nd chapter of Matthew. This is the formula:

(Luke 10:27) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.f (Matthew 22:38) This is the greatest and first commandment.g

Jesus told the lawyer who asked Him what the greatest commandment was. This is the fulfillment of all commandments.

The formula has been tested, and history shows that it has built and sustained civilization and produced peace, happiness, and prosperity.

Let us all join in prayer to this end, that we may take the formulas that Jesus gave as working principles, that they may be sent out in the world through the power of the word. (Joshua 1:6) Be strong and courageous; for you shall put this people in possession of the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them.h

May each of us have enough trust in life that our fears will burn away.

May each of us have enough hope in the future that we will let go of despair and work to leave a better world for our children.

May each of us have enough love for each other that we will abandon hatred and never fail to notice the great miracle that is the human spirit.

May each of us have enough courage to face the challenges of our troubled world, so that we may act with trust, hope and love in the face of fear, despair and hatred.

And may the great mystery, which some call the spirit of life, be with us on our journey.

aNehemiah 4:6
bIsaiah 35:1
cIsaiah 35:1-8
eJohn 8:51
fLuke 10:27
gMatthew 22:38
hJoshua 1:6

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