Attitude of Gratitude

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before God’s presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD is God: it is God that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture. Enter into God’s gates with thanksgiving, and into God’s courts with praise: be thankful unto God, and bless God’s name. For the LORD is good; God’s mercy is everlasting; and God’s truth endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100


As adults, over-time, we can become cynical, and critical in daily living.
Here is an idea I want to share.  Most calendars deal with the future, writing down dates, and deadlines to remember. These types of calendars create added stress. This calendar system , I am talking about now works in the reverse, writing down events that have already happened, so that you can later remember in gratitude to God. This remembrance, changes a person spiritually at depth.


The reason we come to church, is to remember what God is doing in our lives. We forget. It’s easy to forget. We look with these eyes and hear with these ears, to the appearances, and we forget the blessings of God. Then there is a special week, an incredible week, a week of power, when we choose to remember God, and give thanks.


Take an inventory of your life during Thanksgiving week. Go through your entire house and really look at everything. Look at the pictures on the walls, the wonderful possessions you own, and remember how you received them or who gave them to you. You live an incredibly blessed life of joy. Choose this week to relive it. Relive everything by taking an inventory, and thanking God for the good in your life.


It will not take long before you will have tears of gratitude coming down your cheeks. Your joy will be expressing through you. You realize that no matter how some possession seemed to come to you, it really came by God. Life is so good when you take the time to do this.


Look around. Look at the people who are in your life and give thanks for them. Give thanks for everything – not only the people who are in your life today, but the people who have gone on before you. Give thanks for the hundreds of other people who have been here trying to do the same thing you are doing today – remembering God and giving thanks to God. That is the highest form of thinking that the human mind can have–to be aware that everything comes from God and be thankful for it.


I want to share a bit of a story with you about the people who started this great land, just so you realize how special and tough and strong they were. There was a minister named Reverend John Robinson. He was the one on Sunday morning who motivated the Pilgrims to come here in the first place.

He told them, “You do not have to live this way. You can worship in your own way. You can have freedom.”


Let’s suppose I did that this morning. Maybe I am. There may be someone listening to this message that has never heard this message of religious freedom that we are sharing. They have never heard of the right they have to know that God is with them, that God is not far off, but with them their help in EVERY need.


There were 102 Pilgrims in the beginning. This minister, Reverend John Robinson, talked to these 102 people. So let’s say that we took a section of this church and you were the 102, and I said to you, “Hey, you have a real opportunity here. I’d like you to go with me. I have a little boat, about 100 feet long, and it doesn’t have any electricity on it, and no running water, and it is winter (the worst time possible to cross the Atlantic), but I would like you to go with me on a journey of 3,000 miles.
Now, I can’t promise you anything at the other end. I know we are going to a land where there are only savages and wild animals, and I know we are going to be low on food. We are going to have a tremendous shortage, and a lot of you will die. But you are going to suffer for a meaning, and purpose, on a mission, believing in something.”


I wonder if you would stand up and say, “I’m ready to go! I’m ready to follow God in this way”? I don’t know if I would. This is a tougher journey than anything I have ever experienced in my life, and probably tougher than anything you have experienced in yours.


These were not soft people. It takes great, tough people to make a great nation. And it takes tough people to make a great life. We need to be tough; not tough on the outside, but perhaps on the inside with ourselves. When we have the human impulses that want to tear us down and bring us down, we need to be tough.


If I were to ask you to go with me on this journey just like they did, do you know what kind of a commitment it would be? We would be leaving today, and we would be gone through December, January, February, and we would arrive around March 21st. We’d be hungry. On the boat we would get together and we would form, through I believe Divine guidance, the model for what this country would become. We would pick our leaders from among ourselves. Then, we would elect them to serve for a time, and we would follow their leadership. That became the model for what we have today, for what we celebrate as the life we lead.


My friends, we have to be tough today like the original Pilgrims. We have to want something today so badly that we are willing to make sacrifices to get it. Now, the thing we have to want so badly is the Divine impulse (God) guiding us. We need to cultivate that. There is a human impulse inside of us, and there is the Divine impulse. The human impulse finds fault. It looks at the things around us and finds fault with just about everything.


The Divine impulse counts its blessings continually, knows where those blessings come from, and realizes how marvelous they are.


We need to focus on the good. If I were to show you a big piece of paper with a dot in the middle of it, and the paper was gleaming white (so white it almost hurt your eyes to look at it) what would you see? Some people would only see the little speck. Even though it’s 99.9% gleaming white, perfect, they would focus on the speck so much so that they can’t see anything else.


The Bible talks about this. Do you remember in the Bible where Jacob wrestled with the angel? There’s a lot there. He would not let that angel go until the angel gave him a blessing. It is the same with our lives.   When things don’t look very good in the moment, let’s wrestle with it until we see a blessing in it. If we can’t in the moment, let’s know through our faith in God that the blessing will come, and it will provide an incredible turn in our lives. Your individual blessing will come if you allow it, and if you’re centered in the right way.



Let me tell you an ancient story. “A master had a young man come to him and say, “I want to be your disciple. I want to learn all there is to learn about God. I want to feel God so much that I can give thanks in every moment.”


The master said to the young man, “Go into the woods and sit there. Be aware of everything. Come back after you have discovered the specialness of God.”


So the young man went out in an eager way. He was in the woods for three days and three nights. He viewed everything with open eyes and open ears. He came back to the master and said, “I have seen it. I have seen the animals in the early morning light. I have heard, from a distance, the animals as their paws went across the fallen leaves. I’ve heard a stream miles away in the distance as it went down the mountainside. And I’ve heard the wind.”


The master looked at him and said, “You have missed it. Go back and look again.”


He went back, this time for four days and four nights. He struggled to see what the master was talking about, but the struggle became so great that finally he just, in a great release, started to cry. In that moment, he realized. He ran back to the master and said, “This morning I heard the sun coming up. I heard the rays beaming from the sun. I heard the grass as it woke up this morning and took its first sip of morning dew.”


The master stopped him and said, “You have found it. You have seen what can’t be seen and you have heard what can’t be heard.”


To really have that Divine impulse inside of us, we have to do the same. Native American tradition has all young men (and now even women in some tribes) do a similar task. They call it a “Vision Quest.” When they return with their “vision” or truth, they are given a special name in a naming ceremony. I have actually done one myself and hope to do more in the future…… (in a tree in Africa or some Sanctuary with my daughter in the next tree). Beth and are were given NA names in a naming ceremony. Hers is “Golden Dove.” Mine is “Turtle Women with Eagle Heart.” Neither of us remember the Lakota language for the words (a shame).


Sometimes it takes looking beyond appearances to the glory and the specialness that is in our lives.


If you were a store owner, once a year you would take an inventory. You would go through the store and count every individual item and mark it down. This is common practice in a business. It is common practice even in a home, for insurance purposes. But I’m going to ask you this year to take a spiritual inventory of your life; to become so totally aware of the glory of God in your life today. I’m going to ask you to look back on your life, not just at the things that are in your home now, but things over your entire life to see how God has worked in your life. You’ll be surprised. You’re going to look back and see some of those blessings that were in disguise at the time. You know the things that were the worst possible things that could have happened at the time. You’re going to find out how glad you are that it happened.


When you’re going through your inventory, do not rehash old problems and grievances. Remember, this is a spiritual inventory you are doing. Here are the steps necessary to take a spiritual inventory of your entire life:


When a problem comes up, commit yourself to “golden key” it. What does that mean? It means that you’re going to look past the problem and think about God instead. You’re going to say, “God, I have this mountain in front of me. I’ll tell you the truth, with my human eyes and the human impulse inside of myself, I don’t know how to give thanks for this. But I also know in faith that You are with me in this. I know that we’re a team and good is going to come out of this.” Golden key it.


Next, get rid of all anger, fear and resentment in each moment.


Now,as you take your spiritual inventory, ask yourself if you have forgiven everyone you believe has injured you? And do so. You will receive an incredible blessing.


Everything comes from God.   When we are at our best as human beings, we are making that journey like the Pilgrims, and we are finding the place where we can be in gratitude.


Plato said, “A great mind is a grateful mind that attracts to itself great things.” Gratitude is absolutely magnetic to attract God’s good.


What is this going to give you in your life? When you enter into an area of God’s impulse, it is the highest state that we can be in as a human being – a state of gratitude and thankfulness, totally and completely aware in the now moment that God is working in our lives and that all is good, we’re going to have something I call “Divine momentum.”


Have you ever had a time in your life when things just seemed to go so well? It’s like a snowball effect. It gets bigger and bigger and bigger. It almost overwhelms you with all the good that is coming in your life.   This can come in the highest way possible with Divine momentum. Let’s decree, in prayer, that it will for all of us.


This week, let’s all have the desire to take a spiritual inventory of our life. Let’s open up our eyes and see the good that is here now, yet see beyond what we can see physically and hear beyond what we can hear physically. We, as spiritual beings as children of God, are going to realize spiritual things this week, and bring about spirituality inside.  With family, this week, we will be a light of love and happiness and joy and gratitude. We will live the example of our religion, and will shine it to all to see freely.


Pray this with me: I pray this week, that every moment there is God’s Divine momentum inside of me and that helps me to realize and see and give thanks for all the good that God has done. In this, I am beginning a journey, and I am willing to go. In this I begin the journey with, “Thank You, God,” and I will end the journey in much the same way, but I will be different.


Thank You, God . . . Amen.





And the Bird Sings

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge God, and God will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6



Here is a cute story: a momma hen had ten little chickens. Nine of them were little girl chickens and one was a little boy chicken. Momma hen had to go away, so she told all of the girls to take good care of their little brother. She went away, and when she came back, all the little girls were crying and crying and crying. She said, “What in the world is the matter? Where is little brother?”



They said, “Momma, while you were gone, the minister came to visit the farmer, and the farmer came out and took little brother.”



So mama hen cried and cried, and then said, “Well, I’m glad that if he had to go, he went into the ministry. He wouldn’t have made a good layman anyway.”




God can talk to you, using many ways to get your attention. A woman shares this story:



Here is an experience that many of us may have shared at one time or another.



“I lived about two blocks from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. I would go down to the shore and walk on the beach with the fresh wind blowing in my face. I loved that. This particular time, I was feeling very low and confused, not knowing what in the world I was doing there. I sat on a rock and began to talk out loud (because nobody can hear you by the ocean).



I said, ‘God, what I am doing here?’ You know, there are always pelicans going by, seagulls that are always very raucous, and cute little sandpipers at the beach. But suddenly, at that moment, I noticed a little English Song Sparrow on a small bush right beside me. When I asked that question, he started to sing. Instantly tears came to my eyes.



Before I came into the work of the church, I was in the hospital for a long time, and then I was home recuperating. I lived in the Northwest and we had lots of those little English Song Sparrows. There was one who would come to the bushes by the window of my bedroom, and he would sing and sing and sing.



(enjoy listening as you read.)

My mother used to tell me, ‘Your little bird is singing for you. He’s telling you that you are going to get well.’



“And then here, fifty years later by the ocean, was a little Song Sparrow.


First of all, to me he was totally out of place. I was just thrilled to hear him. I loved him and appreciated him as he sang to me. That’s when it came to me, ‘There’s always an answer. There’s always a way. I’m in my right place at the right time.’ That began to sing itself in me over and over again. It’s been a very strong point in my prayer consciousness ever since.”



Do you know about Victor Frankel?   Well, he had a very thick German accent. It was difficult to understand him, but he had a great impact on all of  who were privileged to hear him. Here was a man, who was put in a concentration camp during World War II. He was a Jewish scientist, a very strong man in consciousness, and a very dignified soul who had all he owned in a manuscript he had worked on for years. When he entered the concentration camp, they stripped him of everything. There he stood, naked, but he clutched his manuscript. Then they took that and threw it away. He realized that all he had was what went on within his own mind and heart.



He realized that he had a responsibility and a choice to be what he was destined to be.



I’d like to tell you some of his story because it’s so powerful.



He tells about how out in this cold, cold weather, they sent all these people out on marches and how they would go to these fields and dig and dig.


He said:   “As we stumbled on for miles slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said but we knew each of us was thinking of his wife. My mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look, real or not.
Her look was then more luminous than the sun, which was beginning to rise.



“A thought transfixed me. For the first time in my life, I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers, the truth that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret of human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart—the salvation of humanity is through love and in love.


“The dawn was gray around us. Gray was the sky above. Gray was the snow in the pale light of dawn. Gray were the rags in which my fellow prisoners were clothed, and gray were their faces. In the last violent protest against the hopelessness of imminent death, I sensed my spirit piercing through the enveloping gloom. I felt it transcend that hopeless, meaningless world, and from somewhere I heard a victorious “Yes!” in answer to my question of the existence of an ultimate purpose.



“At that moment, a light was lit in a distant farmhouse which stood on the horizon as if painted there. In the midst of the miserable gray of a dawning morning in Bavaria, ‘And a light shineth in the darkness.’ For hours I stood hacking at the icy ground. The guard passed by, insulting me, and once again I communed with my beloved. More and more I felt that she was present, that she was with me. I had the feeling that I was able to touch her; able to stretch out my hand and grasp hers. The feeling was very strong. She was there. Then, at that very moment, a bird flew silently and perched just in front of me on the heap of soil which I had dug up from the ditch, and looked steadily at me.”



He went on to say that at that very moment, he knew she had died and she was truly with him.



I bring this up because I believe that all creation is one, and that we, as travelers on this wonderful world of life, are always receiving signs. Like Walt Whitman said, “God writes letters to me in the grass.” (“Leaves of Grass,” W.W.) I think there is always a confirmation, every time we ask, that the presence is real and is there.



A sign means something material or external that stands for or signifies something spiritual, something that serves to indicate the presence or existence of something. That’s what the dictionary says.



In the Bible, in the Old Testament particularly, we find that people looked all the time for signs from God. Jesus was constantly asked to show a sign of His authority. “What authority do you have,” they would say. In the Gospel of John they said, “What sign showeth Thou unto us, seeing that Thou doest these things?” The Gospel of Mark says, “And he sighed deeply in the spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation seek after a sign?'”



In the truth of the one presence and the one power, God the good, omnipotent, looking for signs to confirm God’s presence could and does foster superstition.



One man said: “When I was a little boy, living at my grandparent’s house after my father died, my grandmother used to say that a bird at the window meant that somebody just died. Breaking a mirror meant bad luck. A black cat crossing our path meant that something would happen which we wish wouldn’t.”



We make our own signs. Often we are as likely to call a certain event or indication of direction positive as well as negative. Here’s where level of consciousness comes in. If you are a negative person, the signs are read as negative. If you are a positive person, the sign is a good sign.

This is what Jesus was experiencing with the Pharisees and the people of His day. He knew where they were coming from. They had a lack of faith; they doubted; they had fear; they were ignorant. He knew that healing people, raising the dead, casting out demons, could easily have been interpreted as evil and of the devil.



We live in God, a universe of love, law, life, and order. We worship in a household of faith and/or in our little Bethel. We are in God, right now. There is no outside to God; and God is everywhere bringing order and life. We live and move in God, in a universe of order, and we are constantly receiving signals of intelligent life. Our task, or our assignment, is to accept our God-given guidance of good; that which is healthy, helpful, and constructive.



A bird is all feathers.


There was once a little parakeet. He was the cockiest little fellow that ever was. He learned everything. He did anything that any bird could ever do. He was entertainment to the people who watched him. Then he would take a bath, and he was nothing. He wasn’t as big as your little finger. He was all feathers. That’s sort of the way we are too. Out here, we are all feathers. The only reality, and it was true in the little bird, is the heartbeat, the Divine design, the image of a perfect little bird.



People joke about having intelligence as small as a bird brain. But birds are very, very smart. They have highly developed sight, acute hearing, high temperature.  (They have such a circulation that they are warm all the time.). Its ability to sustain a uniform temperature is almost perfect. For most rapid flights, the plumage protects and conserves the body heat because it is non-conducting.



God, our Creator, is magnificent, beyond even what we can comprehend.



There are 8,600 known species of birds today. The symbol of a bird is well known. For example, a dove means peace. The eagle means strength. In Isaiah it says, “Ye shall rise up with wings as the eagle.”



There is always an answer. There is always a way. It is within us. We can allow that light of Christ to be in us and really draw it into focus when we need it, and not only when we need it, but also every single second of the day.



So, when a bird comes and gives us that reminder, or people, or events, come into our lives to remind us, it will always turn out well, if we are reminded of God’s good and the creative plan of good that is always in order. There is always an answer and there is always a way.



Freedom Within by James Dillet Freeman


How free the hawk who, at the height
Of heaven, flings himself in flight.
But his high flights had first to start, Not in the sky, but in his heart.
Likewise with me. How shall I find
Freedom if not within my mind?
And learn, with thought by thought I try, That I may fall, yet I can fly.
And even sometimes rise up free
Beyond the highest heights of me.



God’s perfect power and presence is always with us. There is always an answer, there is always a way.


With positive, faith-filled spiritual awareness, we can and do accept God’s miracle of life. It is, itself, a sign that as we listen, persevere, pray, and learn, as thought by thought we try, and even sometimes even rise up free beyond the highest heights of our former self.


We give thanks, oh God, that somehow we can come together in a place like this, and that we can all, through songs, words, Christian companionships, and quietness, remember again. Thank You, God.


Let us pray. Dear God, we each ask for a sign that we can understand, that gives us a full comprehension of Your presence, and help. Help us to fully know that You are with us right now.


We pray for a heightened awareness, and a greater faith.


In Jesus Christ name… Amen



Our Heroes – The Peacemakers

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9



Last Wednesday, the 11th was Veterans Day. We had wonderful remembrances in our Spiritual Family Prayer Group and in our communities. The whole point of having a military is that freedom and peace is not free. As the saying goes, “Some gave much, but many gave all.” No one gave more that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And we follow him, even over 2000 years later, to this day. So, as we move forward in our lives and as we promote peace and well-being for all, we must remember first and foremost that in order for it to begin with us we must develop ourselves, our spirituality, our true love and path to truth.



“Above all else, guard thy heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23



Steven Covey, in his best-selling book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, said “Begin with the end in mind and keep your eye fixed there. Evaluate your life’s path.”



As we go through life, we want to be a place where we can be happy. But sometimes we trip over our own feet and often we trip over another person standing by. That may change our feelings of happiness into feelings of anger, even what we tripped over was just a rock in in the road. Then we might hold a grudge and anger levels begin to swell inside us. Secondly instead of looking at the happiness we have been seeking and enjoying we turn to unhappiness and anger. And the more we think about it, the more it grows until finally it’s practically taking over our life, our thoughts, our actions. And we did it to ourselves; we made the decision, within our mind, to feel these emotions.



There is a comic strip titled, Marvin. Marvin is sucking on his bottle in this comic strip. He says as he sucks on his bottle, “My short term goal in life is to be fed again in four hours. My long term goal is to be fed again in eight hours.” Too many of us have only short term goals in mind. We go for the instant gratification of thinking about what we should get in life. We hold too much in our minds the feeling of how we are going to have satisfaction.




Sometimes to get that satisfaction we want negative things to happen to those with whom we have disagreements. We think those people deserve negativity in their life because they exhibited it to us at some point in time. And we may think about all those negative things that could happen because of something that happened in the past. It may have been something that only lasted for a moment; but we build on it and keep it going for years and years replaying it over and over and our minds – making us miserable. Sometimes we want the satisfaction of hoping bad things will happen to people that we think deserve those bad things.



We just had an evening of debates. Well, a couple decades ago a Presidential debate with more than one hundred million people watching was held up for 27 minutes. For 27 minutes the President of the United States and a challenger for that office stood silent before an immense television audience. The reason for the silence was an equipment malfunction caused by a capacitor. The part of the equipment that failed cost only one dollar.



The space probe, Mariner I, was bound for Venus. It headed off course and it had to be destroyed. It cost our government eighteen and one half million dollars. The rocket had responded incorrectly because an anonymous flight computer programmer had left out a comma in the Mariner’s computer program.



I mention these stories above because as we are seeking happiness in our own life we need to look at the little things. Do you find “little things” around you disturbing your focus, upsetting your thoughts. Well these little things actually are thoughts inside the start gnawing away at our contentment. These are just little things. Life is not a series of big things, but little things – that make the difference. Begin with the end in mind and keep your eye fixed on love, forgiveness, and peace because you are a spiritual being.




We are children of God, and we are incredible. What a shame it is for me and for you if we do not constantly use this incredible life that was granted to us by God to love. We were all created in the image and likeness of God, and that is why we can never be totally at peace with ourselves and feel good within ourselves when we harbor grudges, anger, or withhold forgiveness.



“When we express fully the Divine qualities of love and forgiveness we cast off depressing thoughts and feelings. As we do we feel an inrush of peace, light, joy, and release. We let God’s love rule over our thoughts and feelings. There is no room in our hearts for anything but the all-embracing, forgiving love of God. We are spiritual beings so our nature is to be loving. Our nature is to be kind. Our nature is to be forgiving and compassionate in all of our relations with other people. Our souls will grow in grace and harmony as we follow the way of love and forgiveness.”



So starting today let’s focus and ask God for the power to move forward in love and like a tiny seed that is growing strong and tall –a seed of love and happiness that will stay with us, that will live inside of each one of us.



“For three days a fierce winter storm had traveled 1500 miles across the north Pacific from Alaska, packing gale force winds and torrential rains. In the Sierra Nevada’s to the east, the snow was piling up and would offer great skiing once the storm had past.



In the foothills of the Sierras, in the town of Grass Valley, California, the streets were flooded and in some parts of town the power was off because trees had blown down. At the small church the heavy rain and high winds beat against the windows with a violence that Father O’Malley had never before heard. In his tiny bedroom, O’Malley was writing the Sunday sermon by candlelight. Out of the darkness a phone rang in his office. It shattered his concentration. He picked up the candle and with his hand cupped over the flame of the candle he ambled down the hallway in the sphere of the dim flickering light. When he picked up the phone, a voice quickly asked, “Is this Father O’Malley?”



“Yes,” he said.



“I am calling from the hospital in Auburn,” said a concerned female voice. “We have a terminally ill patient who is asking us to get someone to give him last rites. Can you come quickly?”



“I’ll try my best to make it,” O’Malley answered. “But the river is over its banks and the trees are blown down all over the town. It is the worst storm that I have seen in all the years I have been here. Look for me though within two hours. I will try my best to make it.”



The trip was only 30 miles, but it would be hard going. The headlights on Father O’Malley’s 20 year old car barely penetrated the slashing rain. Where the winding road crossed and re-crossed the river in a series of small bridges, trees had blown down across the river banks. But for some reason there was always just enough room for Father O’Malley’s car to make his way around them. His progress was slow and cautious, but he continued on toward the hospital. Not a single vehicle passed him during his long tense journey. It was way past midnight and anyone else out on a night like this would also have to be on an emergency.



Finally, in the near distance, the lights of the small hospital served as a beacon to guide O’Malley the last 500 yards. He hoped he had arrived in time. He parked behind three other cars in the parking lot to avoid as much wind as possible. He slipped into the right hand seat and awkwardly wrestled his way into his raincoat before stepping out into the wind-whipped storm with his tattered Bible tucked deep in his overcoat pocket, O’Malley forced the car door open, stepped out and leaned into the wind. Its power almost bowled him over and he was nearly blown away from the hospital entrance.



Once inside, the wind slammed the hospital door shut behind him He was shaking the water from his raincoat and he heard the steps of the night nurse headed his way. She said, “Oh, I am so glad you are here. I am so glad you could make it through this storm. Please hurry because the man that I called you about is slipping fast, but he is still coherent. He has been an alcoholic for years, Father, and his liver has finally given out. He has been here a couple of weeks this time and he hasn’t had one single visitor. He lives up in the woods. No one around here knows much about him. He always pays his bill with cash when he comes here. He doesn’t seem to want to talk much. We have been treating him off and on now for the past couple of years, but this time it’s as though he has reached some personal decision and has given up the fight.”



“What is your patient’s name?” O’Malley asked.



“The hospital staff has been calling him Tom. That is all we know, Tom is his name.”



In the soft night light of the room, Tom’s thin, pale countenance looked ghost-like behind a scraggly beard. It was as though he had stepped over the threshold and his life was already gone.



“Hello Tom, this is Father O’Malley. I was passing by and I thought we could talk a bit before you go to sleep for the night.”



“Don’t give me any of that garbage,” Tom replied. “You didn’t just stop by at 3:30 in the morning. I asked that dumb night nurse to call you to give me last rites. I know my deal is done and it is my turn to go. Now, get on with it. Get on with it before I die.”



“Patience, patience,” Father O’Malley said. He began to say the prayers of last rites.



After the Amen, Tom perked up a bit and he seemed to want to talk. “Would you like to make your confession?” O’Malley asked him.



“Absolutely not,” Tom said strongly. “I would just like to talk to you a bit before I go on to the next dimension.”



So Tom and Father O’Malley talked about the Korean War, the fierceness of the winter storm, the knee high grass and summer blossoms that would soon follow. Occasionally, during the hour or so before daylight, Father O’Malley would ask again, “Are you absolutely sure that you don’t want to confess anything?”



After a couple of hours and after about the fourth or fifth time that Father O’Malley asked the same question, Tom replied, “Father you don’t know what you ask. When I was young I did something that was so bad that I never told anybody about it. It has ruined my life. It was so bad that I haven’t spent a single day since without thinking about it and reliving that horror.”



“Don’t you think that it would be good for you to tell me about it?” Father O’Malley said.



Tom said, “Even now, I still can’t talk about it-even to you.”



As the first gray light of dawn crept into the room and began to form shadows, Tom sadly said, “Okay, it is too late for anyone to do anything to me anyway isn’t it? I might as well tell you.”



“I worked as a switchman on the railroad all of my life until I retired a few years ago and moved up here to the woods. Thirty-two years, two months, and eleven days and some hours ago, I was working in Bakersfield on a night kind of like tonight.” Tom’s face became intense as the words began to tumble out. “It happened during a bad winter storm with a lot of rain and 50 mile-per-hour winds and almost no visibility. It was two nights before Christmas, and to push away the gloom the whole yard crew drank all through the swing shift. I was drunker than most of them, so I volunteered to go out in the wind and the rain and push the switch for the northbound 8:30 freight.”



Tom’s voice dropped almost to a whisper as he went on, “I guess I was more drunk than I thought I was because I pushed that switch in the wrong direction. At 45 miles-per-hour that freight train slammed into a passenger car at the next crossing and killed a young man, his wife, and their two daughters. I have had to live with my being the cause of their deaths every day since then.”



There was a long moment of silence as Tom’s confession of this tragedy hung in the air.



After what seemed like an eternity, Father O’Malley gently put his hand on Tom’s shoulder and said very quietly, “If I can forgive you, God can forgive you. Because in that car were my mother, my father, and my two older sisters.”



We believe that in life a lot of things come by chance.



But what is “by chance?”



Warren Miller tells that true story of what really happened to Father O’Malley that night. He went to the hospital at 3:30 and by chance he happened to meet the man who had killed his mother, father, and two sisters – and he forgave. How much better it made the man feel who was lying there preparing to die. Father O’Malley had already forgiven and moved on, but Tom could not forgive himself.



Forgiveness is not for the other. It is for you. When we do not forgive, we have a hole in OUR heart. We have something that is destroying our mind and our body.



Each and every one of you, as you sit here reading or listening to this, you are the greatest miracle that God has made. From the top of your head to the very bottom of your feet you are made of atoms. You are God’s creation. Now it is up to you, to each of us, to use these atoms, our life, in the best and greatest way possible and that way is the way that is created in the image and the likeness of God. And because we are living children of God we are made more humble, more open, more loving because we open ourselves up to the loving all people and not allowing ourselves to trip up on the little things that come in our life.



Have you ever heard of the word “catmatic.” Well it’s meaning is the opposite of dogmatic. Most dogmatic personalities have opinions and beliefs about everything, and they always are expressing those strong opinions. But catmatic people are those who are pussyfooting around. They never make a firm decision; they never get into action.



To follow God we have to be a “Love-matic” person, one who loves, makes strong decisions out of that love, and takes action.



A farmer in need of a farm hand posted a notice in a village. Three promising young people responded and the farmer met with each in turn. He asked the first young man about his background and concluded with a particular question. “Tell me,” said the farmer, “How long can you work with a stone in your shoe?”



“Half a day,” responded the youth. The farmer thanked him and sent him on his way.



The farmer spoke with the second young man and then concluded with “How long can you work with a stone in your shoe?”



“All day long,” boasted the boy. “All day long.” The farmer sent the second young man on his way.



The farmer met with the third youth. “How long can you work with a stone in your shoe?”



“Not a minute!” exclaimed the youth. “When I get a stone in my shoe, I take it out right away.” The farmer hired the third boy.



As you walk along life’s path, is there a stone in your shoe? Is something keeping you from progressing forward? If so get rid of it – now. Is there something that is tearing you down? If you evaluate that situation you realize that what is tearing you down is all about you and your thoughts and your reactions and your opinions. If You may be in a work situation that you know is destroying you and then you realize that you are angry inside of yourself because of what they have done to you. Let it go.



Or you may be in a situation with your family or your group of friends, where you know you can’t continue without a tremendous amount of pain. If you are going through something like this, don’t allow yourself to be miserable. Release it; turn it over; let it go.



We have hundreds and hundreds of thoughts in our mind every day, hopefully, they are good thoughts, maybe great thoughts. But then there’s one little thought that bubbles up every once in a while which is a focus on a person we really dislike; but another may bubble up that shows the suspicion of someone, or something; maybe a bubble pops up that shows a lack of trust with someone. Let it go; let all those bubbles go let them float upward, up, up, and away.



Jesus says that you cannot love and trust God if you hate and distrust humans. Matthew 5:43-44(NIV) 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”



As we close in a few minutes, focus on removing those old thoughts of bad things about other people. We are all here to grow in our spirituality. We are on a very serious mission – to become the very best person we can be. We are here to follow Jesus Christ and his mission 100%, by becoming exactly who he said we could become. This is our mission, this is our commitment, the commitment and focus to let go of all negativity – let go and let God.



Let us pray.” Here I am again, God. Here I am bringing my human mind to worship. Here I am to have a bathing, a cleansing, a re-freshening of thought. Here I am to concentrate, not on debts, but to concentrate on love. May the spirit of honesty, promptness, efficiency and order be expressed in me, in all that I do, and in all that I think.”  Amen


God Bless You!

The More We Do It The Easier It Gets

Proverbs 24:13-14:  “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31



Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “That which we persist in doing becomes easier – not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.”



Here is a true story that happened over 100 years ago in a small town upstate in New York in the summer of 1885. This town stands as a witness to effective prayer, because at one time this town needed a breath of fresh prayer. .



“It was a long, hot summer. Wells were drying up. Crops were wilting. But the new Presbyterian minister in the town had an idea. He said the townspeople ought to pray for rain.



He put out the word – not just in his church, but all over town. People went door to door–even to the saloons and pool halls–encouraging people to pause at a designated time and pray for rain. The response was overwhelming and complete except for one cantankerous old farmer named Phineas Dodd.



The next day at noon, everything shut down for the prayer meeting. Then, they watched the sky. Clouds formed after an hour or so. A gusty wind arose after a couple of hours. Within four hours of the prayer meeting, the temperature dropped twenty degrees and the streets were drenched in water. Besides that, lightning struck the hay barn of Phineas Dodd, and it burned to the ground.



Phineas sued the Presbyterian Church and its minister, seeking $5,000 in damages for his barn. The trial lasted three days. Finally, the judge determined that the pastor and the townspeople had prayed only for rain and not lightning. The bolt that destroyed the barn was something for which neither the minister nor his congregation could be liable. The judge dismissed the suit but ordered Phineas Dodd to pay all court costs.” [from “Persistence Pays Off!” by Gary. C. Redding.]



The town that was drying up prayed for rain, and they got rain. The earth below got saturated and cracks disappeared. The wells that were almost dry were filled. The crops that were failing began to come back. Life was getting back to normal.



Think about the fact that that town is a lot like our lives. Sometimes a part of our life becomes dry, and we need God’s saturating miracle rain. We need it to come through some way, somehow, and we need something fresh to happen because everything appears so dry and stale. We pray to God for something miraculous to happen. That has happened to all of us.



As children, a lot of us, even we women, used to have toy airplanes that were powered by a rubber band. You would turn the propeller and it would wind that rubber band tighter and tighter. It’s amusing in a toy airplane, but it’s not so amusing in life when we see a human being twisted, tight, and under pressure. Something has to give. Something has to release that buildup of pressure and stress inside of us.



This pressure is accumulative. It seems to get tighter and tighter day by day. What will release this? A soothing, relaxing prayer will release this, and make us new again. It will make the day a new, joyful experience; we will be able to view things from a new level of spiritual consciousness. We will be as affected by the things that come to us because we’re empowered by something within. The ordinary muck and mire of life is not going to bother us, because we’re connected to something greater.



I knew a lady a few years ago who was experiencing days that really got her down, and she was not sure if she could cope any more with her life.



“I feel that my husband and I have both made wonderful progress in the last few weeks,” she said. “My greatest progress dates from the night when I was told that ‘every day is a good day if you pray.’ I began to put into practice the idea of affirming that this would be a good day the minute I woke up in the morning, and I can positively say that I have not had a bad or upsetting day since that time.



“The amazing thing is that my days actually haven’t been any smoother or anymore free from petty annoyances than they ever were, but they just don’t seem to have the power to upset me anymore. I have come to realize that the change occurred within me, more than events outside of myself.



“Every night I begin my prayers by listing all the things for which I am grateful, little things that happened during the day which added to the happiness of my day. I know that this habit has geared my mind to pick out the nice things and forget the unpleasant ones. The fact that for six weeks I have not had a single bad day and have refused to get down-hearted with anyone is really marvelous to me.”



This lady had a spiritual prayer experience. I want you to have that too. Many of us attend spiritual prayer meetings on Thursday nights. Everyone is welcome. We pray for the sick, each other, our nation, and chat with each other about our spiritual and daily lives. Join us, if you are looking for a prayer group on the internet; we are international, and all are welcome. We are here for you.



Try this as you continue to develop your spiritual prayer in your life.



Set aside a few moments every day. Do not say anything. Simply think about God. Many of us have made a corner of our house a prayer corner and make a habit of going there at least once or twice a day to sit quietly and just release all the stresses, aches, and pains and be with God.



Before going there, you, probably, were thinking about your problems and all the things that were making you tight, angry, and nervous inside yourself and all you had to get done. Now, instead, you can relax and think about God.



This is the golden key that author Emmett Fox wrote about in the book “The Golden Key”. Think about God instead of the problem. When you think about God, everything begins to change in a miraculous, wondrous way. This will make your mind spiritually receptive.



And as you pray, use simple, natural words. Tell God anything that is on your mind. Do not think that you must use stereotyped pious phrases. Talk to God in your own language because God understands.



Many people exclaim, “I don’t know how to pray to God.”



I would ask them, “Do you have a best friend? What makes your best friend your best friend?”



After talking for a moment they usually say, “I can easily talk to my best friend.”



“God is your best friend. You can easily talk to God.”



Then they say, “I wouldn’t know what to say!” “You pray for me because I don’t know how to talk to God.”



“Just talk. Take a walk with God out in the woods. Take a drive with God in your car. Work with God at your desk and simply talk to God.”



You could say something like, “Dear God, You are my best friend in the world, I’m feeling a little nervous right now, and I have a headache. Heal me.” The words don’t matter. God understands. When you know that, you have “a breath of fresh prayer” in your life. God understands.



And allow yourself to pray as you go about the business of the day. Often you will say to yourself, “Well, I just don’t have the time to pray. I wish I did, but I have to do this, and that. If I only had the time, the luxury, to sit down and enjoy God.” Well, you have the time to take one minute. Prayer is the language of Spirit. It bypasses time and space.  One minute with God is tremendously healing.



You can take one minute breaks many times during your day, and you will be surprised at how refreshed you feel and what these one minute prayers do for you in your life. You will be surprised how near you feel to God’s presence.



Do you know what time tithing is? That is where we give 10% back to God. Take a whole week and dedicate yourself to God by giving back six minutes out of every hour. At the end of the week you will feel like you have been on vacation, and have still dealt with everything that has happened during the week.



Acts 6:4 says: “While we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” You are a partner with God, but what is your part of the partnership? It is to take time and consent. When you have the inspiration of God come to you and through you, it is to devote yourself to the word that comes to you. Your whole day is going to receive a refreshing spiritual breeze when you do this.



Don’t always ask when you pray, but instead affirm positively that God’s blessings are being given, and spend most of the time giving thanks.



Know that you are being showered with God’s good blessings right now, right where you are. You are immersed in the good of God as much as a fish is immersed in a tank of water. It is in you and around you so that you cannot see it, but you can feel it. You can totally sense it when you consent to it in your mind. When you do, your whole day is transformed.



Always pray with belief and faith. We often we get wordy in our prayers, but we really don’t believe that what we are praying for can possibly come to pass.



I want to share a wonderful story with you. “A man was flying in an airplane right after America’s first commercial jet air service began with the flight of the Boeing 707. This man was a traveler on a piston-engine, propeller-driven DC-6 airline. He struck up a conversation with a fellow passenger. The passenger happened to be a Boeing engineer.



The traveler asked the engineer about the new jet aircraft. The engineer was most enthusiastic about this new development in aviation. He began speaking at length about the extensive testing Boeing had done on the jet engine before bringing it into commercial service. He recounted Boeing’s experience with engines, from the B-17 to the B-52.



When his traveling companion asked him if he himself had yet flown the new 707 jet airliner, the engineer replied, “I think I’ll wait until it’s been in service a while.” It’s one thing to talk enthusiastically. It’s another to put your life on the line.



When you pray, put your life on the line. Pray for God’s way not our personal way. Jesus talks about putting your life on the line – going from here where you are in mediocrity to be on the line of excitement and answered prayer. That’s putting your life on the line of God. It’s going from the average to the supreme. It’s going from the mundane to unbelievable good beyond that which you can even imagine. That is the good of God and that is the message of Jesus Christ.



In Mark 11:23-24 Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, “Be taken up and thrown into the sea,” and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”



Never use a negative thought in prayer. Only positive thoughts get positive results. Wish well and ask that all peoples be blessed – even the negative ones in your past. Always pray for good in a positive way. It will come through you first and shower down immediately on your life.



Always express willingness to accept God’s will. Ask for what you want, but be willing to take what God gives you. It is always better than what you have asked for.



Today I’m going to ask you to believe in God, and turn toward God. That’s what the meaning of ‘repent’ means—to turn around from the way we are going or thinking in the moment, and think higher God-inspired thoughts. And, practice the attitude of putting everything in God’s hands (PEIGH).



Pray at the beginning of your week, instead of being so twisted up on Monday morning thinking about the week ahead of you and the worries in our future. Be Pre-prayed! Turn to God and say, “God, I know Your will for me is absolute, wondrous good.” Don’t just say the words, but totally know and believe it without a doubt.



Life is so sweet. It is a huge error for something else, some other opinion of life, to rob you of that spiritual sweetness. Life is a joy. Every minute is a joy beyond belief. Put God first, think about God first in every aspect of your life.



And your life will be full of joy and love because it will be joined with God.



And as we discussed last week – the sweetness of your life with God will be flowing with honey.