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Sunday Message for December 31, 2023


As we start the year 2024, know that a new year is a time of beginnings. The white stones that we are using are from Hebron. Just allow yourself to feel the energy of the stone you are holding.

The White Stone Bible verse is taken from Revelations, the 2nd chapter, Verse 17: "Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying. To everyone I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it."a

This verse deals with a renewal and a new understanding. A new name!! It was written by the disciple, John, around 95 AD, on the Island of Pathos; located off the west coast of Asia Minor where he was in exile. John states that the book is the 'Revelation of Jesus Christ,' which God gave to him.

It is in the message to the seven churches that we find today's reading. The church that received the message was Perganum. Perganum, was noted in that day as a religious center with many pagan shrines within it's walls.

John stated that those who remain faithful will be fed in the new age with Manna just as the Israelites were fed in the desert after their deliverance from Egypt. He further stated that they will be given a new charm, which would protect them against every evil. This charm was in the form of a white stone - similar to the stone you received this morning.

And the new name is that of Christ, or God, as was written in the Old Testament in Isaiah - Chapter 62, Verse 2;
"The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give."

We believe that the Bible is in each and every one of us; it is our own individual story. We came into this world hard-wired for spirituality. Each person, place, and incident is symbolic, and is within us - a part of us.

As you hold the white stone that you received this morning, I would like to offer a suggestion as to what this mornings' verse might mean to you. I would like to present an inner meaning for you to consider, remembering that Bible verses are individual to each of us.

Take your stone and look at it, see its beauty, see its newness.

As we journey on the path of our spiritual awakening, the white stone in each of us is constantly being renewed.

The white stone in each of us is being revitalized, redeemed.

The white stone, and the name written on it, is a symbol of our spiritual growth, whereby we cancel out the old; discontinue our old way of thinking and put an end to our habit of forgetting who and what we truly are.

As each of us partakes in the Manna, or spiritual food that is ours for the asking, we become nourished and whole. The energy that we derive from this Manna, gives the inner energy that we need in order to reach a higher state of consciousness, of a purified state of consciousness; a state of consciousness that is symbolized by the white of your stone.

As this renewal process takes place within, we gain the knowledge of a 'new name' within us, and more importantly, we gain a deeper understanding of that new name and where it might lead us.

The new name, the new spiritual name that is the true nature of our being is the name we know of as 'I AM.'

Does everyone have a pencil; does everyone have a white stone?

As you hold your white stone in your hand, know that you are starting with a clean slate. In this ceremony, we are going to be writing down a new name for ourselves.

The white stone is an ancient ritual. In Jesus' day, when someone served time in prison or in bondage of any kind, they were given a white stone when they were released. Each of us comes from bondage of some kind today, and we are being given a white stone to signify our freedom. All of your past nonsense was as a prison to you, but now you are free to go and be and do anything you choose. Anything you can believe and conceive - you can be and do.

In Revelations, John talks about the people being given a new name. 'Let anyone who has an ear listen, to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.' (The churches were those people whose thoughts were turned towards God.) 'To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna.' (To all who see beyond the appearances, I will give all that is needed to live.)

This ear John refers to is not your outer ear, but the ear of the soul, which is within us. This refers to the ear that hears "the still small voice" as it whispers to us. We develop this inner listening quality by getting out of our intellect and into our hearts, through prayer and meditation. Prayer and meditation are ways to take the journey from our heads to our hearts.

So the first part of the verse tells us to listen, to develop the ear of the soul. To sit in the silence and listen to Spirit.

And then it says, "To everyone who conquers." For us, as followers of Spirit, this is not an outer war at all, but an inner war that requires our surrender... for us to be in the world, but not of the world. And yet, how many times have we not surrendered to that sweet Spirit that calls us in every moment? ... But when we do surrender to that Spirit and go within, then and only then do we conquer. What a paradox. Only in surrender is there victory. Not an outer surrender or an outer victory. But an inner surrender and inner victory, of letting go and letting God be God in me and through me.

When Moses was wandering in the wilderness, the manna was that which God sent down each day. The people only had to go and collect it each day; they did not have to do anything else for God to give them all that was needed to live. So when we surrender to Spirit, then the promise is fulfilled, and we are given hidden manna that is not visible to the world. We are given the peace that passes all human understanding and we are given an entirely new source of energy and nourishment.

This hidden manna is derived from the higher levels of being within us. It nourishes the soul first, then the body. (Matthew 6:33) "Strive first for the kingdom, and all these things will be given to you."c It benefits the whole being. In the Gospels, Jesus alludes to this very thing when he says to his disciples, (John 4:32) "I have food to eat that you do not know about."d This "hidden manna" is the vital life substance and energy of Spirit, directly assimilated into our entire being.

The second part of the promise is: 'And I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.'

At this time it was believed that when the people had overcome and had made their connection with the Divine; then they got a new name. That new name was written on a white stone. The name was given to them directly by God. No one else intervened, no one else was aware of this new name. It was a new nature, the freedom from bondage. When people had overcome, when they were set free from their bondage, they got that stone.

In the Bible, you see many name changes. For example, Saul - which means personal will - was struck to his knees. His physical eyes were blind for three days and he had to look within. He went from persecuting Christians to helping them. He became the reason that Christianity survived. His trips to spread Christianity changed the face of this earth. He was given a new name at the time of his awakening. Saul (personal will) was transformed to Paul, which means enlightened will. He became will that followed God's will.

Abram, as he grew in spiritual awareness, became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah. The change in name always signifies a change in consciousness. In Biblical times, a name was a very meaningful and sacred thing. Every name represented a quality that was in the person who carries the name. You didn't choose a name for your child because you liked the name. You chose it for whatever essence you saw in the child.

After we surrender to that inner Spirit, we are promised a new name. This refers to the new and higher realization of the I AM. Before coming into truth, when we said, "I AM" we were usually thinking of only our current opinions of ourselves. After study and greater realization of "I AM" we came to realize that it is more than an opinion of one's self, it is more of an awareness of the God self, of the higher self, or real self. Our real self, or God self, is so much greater than any opinions we can ever have of ourselves. It requires our reaching a higher level of consciousness within ourselves to even bear facing a realization of our real self, God self. This is the white stone mentioned.

White metaphysically represents Joy, Victory, and Purification.

In this white stone, or purified state of consciousness we know that the Father and I are one.

In this white stone consciousness we remember what God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM," and

In this higher white stone consciousness within ourselves we learn our "New Name," an entirely new realization of our true "I AM."

We conquer and receive the hidden manna, our full potential, by consciously surrendering, letting go of that unnecessary baggage. By prayer and meditation, by utilizing the tools of affirmations and denials and by remembering that, I AM: GOD IS.

As we surrender and follow the tools of Spirit we make a space for unlimited possibilities to become manifest in 2024. In creating a space in our consciousness, we open ourselves up to unlimited possibilities, unlimited potential in 2024.

And so I encourage you to consciously invite the activity of God - the Holy Spirit - into your heart and mind for the next few minutes. Perhaps there is a new career, a new title, or a new quality that Spirit is pressing out through you. I ask you to give your ego a few minutes off and let that Divine Holy self in you come through. Give yourself permission to know that you have a new quality, a new name.

I've seen people who, when they write the word peace, love, or presence, take on a new essence of who they are.

Later, you will be invited to write the name on your stone, and to carry it with you, and carry that name in your heart.

Whenever we ask there is always an answer.

You can close your eyes and open them whenever it is comfortable for you.

Let's become still for a minute and allow God to express through you and as you. I invite you to take the white stone in your hand and know it as a symbol of a new life. See it as a symbol of who you have become, or of who you are becoming, or of who you would like to become.

Feel the presence of God and know your oneness with God. Know your I AM'ness with God. Feel that loving presence of God as it surrounds and supports you. Know right now that you're safe and secure. You are loved and supported by the presence of God. Know that you are encouraged by your fellow travelers. Know that you are loved and appreciated by this spiritual community.

Behold, the Christ of God in each of us says, "I make all things new."

Again, the scripture that we are using today is: (Revelation 2:17) "Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it."

And so this white stone is the promise of a new life. It is the symbol of a clean slate, as was the custom in the times when the Bible was written. When one was set free from prison, they were given a white stone, and they carried that white stone with them as proof for anyone to see that they had completed their obligation, that their slate was clean and that they were free.

And so this is our sign of a clean slate. Whatever has gone on in the past, we let it go. This is a sign of our ability in this moment to live in this new beginning. This is a moment in which we know we are free, free from all that has bound us, free from the prison in which we had put ourselves.

To those who move forward with faith, a new name is given. So now we meditate on our new name, for each of us has overcome adversity. We have freed ourselves to live more fully, conscious of the activity of the whole spirit of God in the creative life force and in every aspect of our lives. We are now free from limiting thoughts about ourselves, each other, and our world.

Anytime you look at your white stone realize that you have the gift of choice; the gift to live differently, to live a more fulfilling life, to begin again, to connect with God and co-create with God.

John wrote in the book of Revelations that the white stone carries a new name, the spiritual identity and a deeper awareness of what God has planned for you. No one, in the entire universe except you and God, knows what this new name is. But it has come to you to be lived out, to be expressed, to be embodied as you. It is what God is calling you to be or do. It is a whisper from your soul that you are so much more than you have ever let come into expression.

Begin to reflect on a new name. Let it come to you easily, without trying to make it happen. Let a name come to you that marks your new beginning, feel the stone in your hand. Hear it beckon to you. Spirit has decreed a name for you to be written on the stone. What will your life be called from this point forward?

And so, as you are guided by Spirit, (and it may feel to you as if you are making it up because it may seem so wonderful or so much what you have yearned for), but still I invite you to trust in this now moment, ....as Spirit gives to you in this sacred place...in this moment of Truth...an insight into your divine purpose...an insight into your holy essence, and so in that secret place of the most high, I invite you to allow yourself to hear the new name that God has for you.

And, as that name becomes clear, just allow yourself to write it...it may be a title, it may be something like published author...or clean and sober...or grateful...whatever.

If a name has come to you, stay quiet and allow yourself to ask for a deeper understanding, to ask if there are any steps to take. In this moment allow yourself to simply open to Spirit, to say, 'God in me reveals my true essence. God in me reveals my next step. God as me lives a joyous, peaceful, fulfilling life.'

"Behold, I make all things new...for you are my beloved in whom I am well pleased."

A thankfulness flows over us as we receive our new name. Along with it comes the power and guidance to achieve all that we desire. This is our new name. We see it. We decree it. We are on the path to gaining greater insights and awareness and mark a new beginning.

"It is your Father's good pleasure to give you this kingdom." Accept this consciousness of ever increasing good in your life. I invite you to carry this white stone as a reminder of that promise." Amen." And have a Happy New Year!!

aRevelations 2:17
bIsaiah 62:2
cMatthew 6:33
dJohn 4:32

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