THIRTY-ONE DAYS TO A MORE POWERFUL SOUL
INTRODUCTION: How may Christians know they have a soul? How many know what a soul is? How many would agree with others on their definition? How many Christians can remember a sermon preached on the soul? The answer to the first is most and the rest is few if any.
PRACTICE AND THEORY
We learn things through theory and practice. When we try to understand the meaning of things spiritual, we must start with the practice, then comes the theory. There are certain things we need to take on the journey. We need a definition of spirituality. Things exist that are seen and unseen, such as faith hope and love. Things seen are called physical and unseen spiritual.
There are three important points to spirituality. First we have two ways of thinking, rational and conscious. We can only think in a rational way about one thing at a time. You can be aware of many things such as the lighting in the room right now, the temperature, and things surrounding you. This is conscious thinking and it differs from rational thought. The secondly as Christians we know God has put the Spirit that was in Jesus in our hearts. Galatians 4 The Spirit is “in” or unseen and therefore spiritual. The third point is we access this Presence only with our conscious faculties. We cannot go from our theoretical head to the Presence. We must enter from the heart. In other words, we must change our way from rational head to conscious heart thinking, before we can experience the Presence within. The Presence is always in us, but we are not always in the Presence. When we move from our head, to our heart, we can become aware of a release of energy. That is soul power. When we access the Presence within, we will discover the soul and what our true nature is.
All the theory in the world cannot help you. You must discover this truth for yourself. It is estimated that it takes the average person twenty-one consecutive days to start to form a habit. Take the thirty-one day journey and see if you come up with the same results I have. Only you can make these insights authentic. After each lesson you will have a chance to rate your soul power. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within?
DAY ONE: I ADVENT. IN OR OUT OF THE BOX THINKING. MATTHEW 24:37-44
Most people when they come to church are thinking “in the box”. They have their faith, their belief, their lives, their relationships all neatly stored in one large box. They certainly do not want to risk getting things messed up, “All is calm all is bright”.
As the saying goes, anyone a can be happy when all is well. However, all is well is seldom the situation. The major cause for all our problems is “in the box thinking”. “In the box” thinking is vertical, horizontal, and linear. It is learning more about that which we already know.
We think “out of the box” when we use the power of our soul to access the Presence of God within us. When we experience His Peace we will see, hear and act differently than when we are feeling insecure about events.
“They did not know until the flood came and swept them away”. What we need to do is to think “out of the box”, that is to think perpendicular. It does not take a lot of work. It is just peeking over the wall, to see the beauty that is around us, flowers, birds, butterflies, lakes, rivers and streams. It is the difference between being conscious or not of the Presence of Jesus. When you are in the Presence, you are out of the box. When you are out of the Presence you are in the box.
Noah was able to think out of the box and built the ark. The others could not imagine such a disaster, until it was too late. The two men and two women represent in and out box thinking. When Jesus tells us to “watch” he is not talking about external, but internal watching. We watch internally by using our spiritual faculties to sense His Presence within.
The Son of man is coming when “in the box” thinkers least expect him, but He is already here to “out of box” thinkers. We think in the box when we are in our heads. We only see the seen. We get out of the box when we move to our heart and begin to focus on the Presence within. The kind of knowledge we get is called inspiration or “in the spirit”.
Advent is a great time to practice “out of the box thinking“ by using our soul power to go from the head, to the heart, then to focus on the Presence within. We are able to make this move by using the power of the soul to do so. Some find it easy, others difficult. The more we do it the stronger our soul becomes. Try it now. Think of someone you have talked with recently. Close your eyes and sense their presence. They do not have to be nearby. Once you sense their presence realize this is how being in the heart feels. Now begin to focus on the Presence of Jesus, who is closer to you than anyone else. As you open your eyes, use both your heart and your head by staying conscious of the Presence as you look around. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within?
DAY TWO: II ADVENT, GOOD NEW BAD NEWS
“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the granary, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” An old saying goes. “The Good News is, Jesus is coming, the bad news is, boy is He mad.”
“Repent” is a Greek word which literally means to “change our way of thinking” that is going from “in box” to “out box” When we do this we begin to focus on the Presence of His Kingdom and His Reign. When you are thinking “in the box” it’s the bad news. You get to wondering if you are going to be the wheat or the chaff. When you are thinking out of the box and are in His Presence, you realize it is always Good News. The wheat and the chaff are in us. The experience of being in His Presence means our urges and addictions are burned up and, our hopes and fears are met in him tonight, today and always.
EMPOWERING YOUR SOUL: Soul power enables us to move from the head, to the heart, to focusing on the Presence within. The head sees the seen, the heart experiences the unseen. Advent is a time to learn to make this switch, which enables us to live in the Presence of His Peace, Love, Joy and Wisdom. This experience is labeled “soul”. It is being the new creation of God. We can sense ourselves as peaceful, loving, joyful and wise.
We must start by getting a feel for what the head is. Think about someone, just think about them. Feel how it is to think about them. This is the head. Label it. Now sense their presence, and be conscious of how different the feeling is. Label this the heart. Reflect now on how the change was made. When you went from the head to the heart, there was a moment of a release of energy, perhaps of power. You have to name what it was, if you are to claim it. This is what we are calling the power of the soul.
When we are in the head, we are satisfied with the names and definitions. When we are in the heart we begin to realize these three names are like icebergs. Ten percent of them is above and can be seen. Ninety percent is below and must be discovered. Every time we go over this approach, we get a deeper insight into their meanings. I have been consciously working for over twenty years with these names and constantly get a deeper understanding of their meaning
Advent is a great time to practice repentance. The King and Kingdom are here, Use your soul power to move from your thinking head, to your wondering heart. Ponder how do you feel when you think of yourself in the Presence of God’s Peace, Love and Joy during the low moments of your life? What a difference it can make. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY THREE III: ADVENT MEDITATIONS MATTHEW 11:2-11 WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
“Are you who is to come or shall we look for another?” It all depends whether you are in or out of the box, when you are looking for Jesus. When you are in the box, you want a theological answer. When you are out of the box, you are looking for a life experience. We need to learn to follow our heart and use our head.
We can only get the experience by using our soul power to focus from the heart, not the head. The experience produces the theology. Theology is needed to confirm the experience. It is important that we have both faith and belief. The biblical definition of faith is, “ the evidence of things unseen.” Hebrews 11:1
Faith is the experience of the Presence of God. Belief is the understanding of that experience. Faith alone is not enough. We need to have a belief system that backs it up. Faith without belief is like the man sitting in front of the mirror saying. “I have faith, I have faith. I have faith”. But he never says what he has faith in. It is not enough. After he leaves, the faith feeling leaves him. Belief alone is not enough. We need the faith to back it up. You might believe air travel is completely safe, but if you are afraid to fly, your belief is worthless. When our experience of the Presence of Jesus is backed up with biblical theology, we become real in our life.
STRENGTHEN THE SOUL FORMULAS: As with any formula, these formulas are only true for you, if you can work them. If you look them over in the head, even memorize them, but do not work them for yourself, they might as well not exist. The only way you can prove them for yourself is by doing them. These are not mechanical formulas. They are the dynamics behind all other mechanics. People will use different exercises to access the Presence within.
SOUL, BODY AND SPIRIT: Jesus tells us we have a heart (spirit) a soul (self) and a mind (head). Matthew 22:37. We can feel how it is to be in the head, when we look at someone over “there”. We can feel how it is to be in the heart, when we sense their presence “here”. The power of the soul is found in the gap just before going from “there” to “here” If you hold a weight at your waist it is “there”. When you bring it up to your shoulder it is “here”. In doing so, power from the arm is released and strength is gained. So it is with the soul, when we consciously move from head, to heart and back to again. Try going from here, to there and back to here, using your soul power. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY FOUR: IV ADVENT MEDITATIONS THEME; Matthew 1:18-14
When you are in the Presence of God, you are out of the box. When you are out of the Presence of God, you are in the box. In box thinking cannot imagine the possibilities of what being in the Presence can make. It can only see the next step. Out of box thinking lets us get into the Presence of God’s Peace. From there we gain the wisdom to understand, believe and accept God’s direction. If Mary was thinking in the box, she would be worried about what would happen to her, what Joseph might think, and how could God possibly be able to do what He promised. Her out of the box response to God was,”Let it be”. In other words, if you can pull that off, go ahead.
If Joseph was thinking in the box, he would have been trying to figure out what his next step would be. He would soon start the process of putting Mary away, to protect hers and his reputations. He caught the vision, when he got into the Presence of God. He was able to believe what he had been told. It never would have happen if either of them remained thinking in box.
We see things physical and we sense or feel things spiritual. To understand the soul we must use our senses first and then our thoughts or theology. If we start with our theology, we may never get to the soul. The spiritual principle to remember is, we cannot claim it if we do not name it.
To name the head we must sense how it feels to be in the head. Then we can name that feeling as “Head”. Look at something, and sense how it feel just look at it. Say to yourself,”there it is”. Just witness it being “there”. That is the head feeling. Now sense its presence. It was there and now it is here. When you are feeling its presence, that is how it feels to be in the heart. Name the feeling as “Heart”. Now do it again. You will sense, not think about, there is a moment when you make the shift. You can feel the power of the shift. There is a moment when you exert and release the power in the movement. That is soul power.
When you are thinking in the box, you know that Emmanuel means “God with (in) us.” When you are thinking out of the box you experience Emmanuel, God within us. Where are you thinking right now? What is your most prevalent worry? Do you worry whether you or others can do what they need to do? Perhaps it is about things not working out to your expectations. Realize the issue is not the issue. Possible future events do not cause the worry. It is our perspective. Use your soul power to become conscious of what are you experiencing right now. Now focus on the Presence of the Peace of God within Phil, 4:7. Can you say with Mary, “Let it Be?”. If it is about someone else, can you say, “Let them be?” On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence? ___
DAY FIVE: CHRISTMAS I CHRISTMAS JOHN1: 1-18.
“All who received Him, to them he gave the authority to become the children of God”. With God, there is neither time nor space.“ In the beginning God created” Genesis 1:1 This statement tells us that before anything else was, God was. Before time began, God was and therefore God IS eternal. Before anything was created, God was. He was the creator, therefore God is infinite. This holds true to us, who have been created in the image of God. We have the spark of the divine in us. In our heads we are limited by time and space. Our souls are eternal and infinite.
WHAT DOES YOUR CHRISTMAS LOOK LIKE? Christmas is over. The gifts are opened. We have both given and received gifts. The greatest gift of course is always the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Many times with all the rush of Christmas preparation and celebration, some people have missed opening the gift. The Greek word for “receive” is “lambano” meaning to “get” or to “take”. Through Baptism we have been given the Gift of the Spirit, but at times we forget to take the gift. Picture a Christmas tree surrounded with gifts, still not opened. The person says: “Look at all the gifts I have received.” “But”, you might ask, “Why haven’t you opened them?” Learn what the Grinch discovered. The people he stole from could still celebrate the Joy of His Presence, even with no presents.
What does your Christmas look like? I talked with a family who told me, they had a terrible Christmas. I asked them if being in or out of the Presence of Jesus would make any difference as they looked back on their Christmas event. They agreed that sensing the Presence of Jesus’ Love, Joy and Peace made a difference, than when they were out of the Presence and feeling unloved, unhappy and insecure. They had not opened the gift yet. Have you?
I know of some people who cannot celebrate Christmas, because of what happened to them in a past. Does this happen to you? If so, think of your worst Christmas. Realize the issue is not the issue. That past event is not causing your Christmas not to be bright. It is your attitude, not the event. You do not have to feel upset every time you think of what happened.
STRENGTHENING THE SOUL: GOING FROM HERE TO THERE: Some people find it difficult to go from head to heart, because the soul is weak and needs strengthening. Which is more difficult for you, going from head to heart, or heart to head? We strengthen our soul when we go from the “there” to the “here” and then to focus on the Presence of the Spirit within.
Take time to strengthen your soul by consciously choosing to feel the difference. How does it feel when you think of that low time when you are out of the Presence? Now use your soul power to move your thinking from the head to wondering in your heart. Ask yourself what difference does it make, when you are in the Presence of His Christmas Love, Joy and Peace? On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within?
DAY SIX: CHRISTMAS II MATTHEW 2:13-15, 19-23
We think “out of the box” when we use our spiritual faculties to access the Presence of God within us. When we experience His Peace, we will see, hear and act differently than when feeling insecure about events.
God kept asking Joseph to do things that did not sound logical. Taking Mary was the start. He had a difficult trip to Bethlehem, a dramatic birth, and not much time to settle down and be with his family. Then suddenly he got a dream from God who warned him to get out of the country, then to come back and then to move to Nazareth. It is what some call ODTAA or “one darn thing after another”. I am sure we have all been in that place before. You know how it feels; there is no rest for the weary.
We begin to make excuses for ourselves by thinking. the reason I am feeling so low, or worried, or afraid is because of the event. The event is not the issue, It is us. It is only when we are willing to admit, it is our thought creating our fears of dashed hopes, we begin to become freed up. Sometimes our head is too strong, or our heart is too cold for the soul to move us. This is why we need to strengthen the soul. We do it with practice.
The problem of being in the box is, we cannot see what is next. We are looking for the logic of it all. What do I have to do next? When we are in the box and feeling snug and perhaps smug, we tend to ask, “Is this trip necessary?” We are sure we know what needs to be done.
Try getting out. What in the future makes you most insecure? Take a moment to use your soul power to move your thinking, to your wondering. Become conscious about what is going on around and in you. Smell the flowers, look at the sunshine, see the bright colors, all at once. Now use your soul power to sense the presence of something in the room. As you feel its presence, begin to focus, not think, about the Presence of Jesus within you. Begin to wonder what difference does it make to you right now, when you think of possible future events while in His Presence? On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within?
DAY SEVEN: I EPIPHANY THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
Our spiritual faculties include our Spirit, Soul and body Thessalonians 5:23. Matt. 22:37. The Spirit, which we call our heart, senses the unseen. The Body, which we call the head, sees the physical, or the seen. The Soul is like a coin, which has both heads and tails. The coin is the metal between the two.
The power of the soul has the ability to move from our head, to our heart and then to focus on the Presence within. It is a fact that between the stimulus and response there is a gap. This gap is where the soul releases the power to make the move. We strengthen our soul whenever we consciously move from one to the other.
ISAIAH 42 1-9, ACTS 10:34-38 MATT 3:13-17. Isaiah tells us, God's soul delights in Jesus. Peter tells us Jesus was baptized with the Holy Sprit and with power. Jesus tells us in Acts 1:8 , “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” The Spirit empowers our soul, when it witnesses to our spirit, that we are the children of God. Romans 8:16. Our soul delights, when we access the Presence of Jesus. We do this by using our soul power to move from the head, to the heart and then focusing on His Presence. It is like the "off" and "on" of a light switch. We can only access the Presence through the heart, not the head. The head is the "off" position, and the heart is "on". Neither position can switch to the other. You must move the switch. You being your soul. When you make the switch, you can then focus on the Presence, which is lighted up by the soul. Each time you make the conscious movement, you will gain more strength to be able to make the switch during a difficult time, when you most need to be in the Presence.
Check the strength of your soul now. Look around the room at someone. Now, sense their presence. Note the difference between being in the observing head and the intimate heart. Once you feel their presence, start to focus on the Presence of Jesus, who is closer to you now than anyone else. As you sense His Presence, be aware of how your soul delights in being with Him. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY EIGHT: II EPIPHANY: THE LAMB OF GOD THAT TAKE TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD. I COR 1:1-9 JOHN 1:29-41.
In the reading from I Corinthians 1:2, Paul gives the biblical definition of a saint. A saint is one who is being “sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” We are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit, when we are in His Presence. The Holy Spirit is in all of us, but we are not always in the Holy Spirit.
We access the Presence, when we are able to move from the head, to the heart and then to focus on the Presence. John tells us, Jesus came not to take away the sins of the world, but to take away the Sin, of the world. Sin with a capital "S" means separation from God. All sins are created by being out of the Presence. His Presence cleanses us from all sins. John 1:7.
It is the power of the soul, which moves us into His Presence, and it is His presence which sanctifies our soul. When we understand this in our head, we are then able to enter into the Presence of His Peace through our heart. We can know about His Peace, but we cannot experience it with just knowledge, we need out of head and into our heart, where we can focus on sensing His Presence.
IF YOU DON’T NAME, IT YOU CAN'T CLAIM IT: Take a minute to think of a pleasant scene. There it is. Now sense being there. When you have the feeling of being there, you have moved to your heart here it is. Feel the difference. Once you feel it, you can name the first feeling “head” and the second “heart”. If you do not consciously name it, you won’t understand the difference once you name the feeling of the head and the heart, you can then claim them as yours. If you don’t name them, you cannot claim them. Right now as you become conscious of the Presence of the Peace Jesus breathed into His Apostles, you are experiencing the power of sanctification. How does sanctification feel? On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within?
DAY NINE: EMPOWERING YOUR SOUL. III EPIPHANY THE CALLING OF THE APOSTLES. I COR 1:10-17 Matt. 4:12-23
There are two ways we can respond to the call of Christ, with our head or heart. Those who respond with the head are thinking, what would Jesus do. (WWJD) It sounds very spiritual, but the problem is even if we know what Jesus would do, there will be times we cannot do it. As a matter of fact we never can do what Jesus did, if we are out of His Presence. Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing&rdquo: John 15:5.
The question we must practice asking is, what difference would it make, if I were in or out of the Presence? (WDWIM) The dynamics is in the wondering. We cannot wonder in the head. The head is for analysis. Wondering puts us out of the box and into the heart and focusing on the Presence of Jesus. The power of the soul enables us to make this move.
Covey, in his book, “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” points to our habits. Habits are made through repetition. We can try to break habits in either a negative or a positive way. Some try to fight the old habit in a negative way trying to overcome it. The positive way is to strengthen the soul by practicing going from the head to the heart and then focusing on the Presence. A strong soul can overcome a hard head, or a cold heart.
We can know about Jesus in the head, but we may not know Jesus. That must come through the heart. The Apostles responded to Jesus’ call from the heart not the head. They responded because of the power of His Presence. None of the New Testament writers such as Peter, John, Matthew, or Paul had a ready made theology at the time of their calling. Their theology came out of the experience of their relationship with Jesus, rather than from a book.
A person could have the perfect theology and still not be a Christian. Paul states, he was not sent to preach the Gospel with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. The power of God’s love is shed abroad through our hearts, not our heads. Romans 5:5, 8. It is the experience of knowing that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and has forgiven us. This experience is the foundation of our faith. We confirm its reality every time we experience His Presence.
STRENGTHENING THE SOUL: Two things that exist are the seen and the unseen. Two ways of thinking are reasoning and consciousness. Reasoning or the head, deals with what is seen and consciousness, or the heart, deals with what is unseen. The power of the soul enables us to move from head thinking, to heart thinking and then to focus on the Presence within.
Jesus calls all of us daily to grow deeper in our relationship with Him. It is the power of the soul, which can move us into His Presence. Will you heed His call today by letting your soul move you deeper is not the most important question. The most important question is, did you? On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ____
DAY TEN: IV EPIPHANY I COR. 18-31 THE WISDOM OF GOD
“God has made foolish the wisdom of the world.” There are two ways of looking at things. We can see them as the world, or as God sees them. We see things in a Godly way, when we are experiencing His Presence.
WHAT’S IN A NAME: The names we give things spiritual and unseen, are not definite titles, as those which we can give the physical or the seen. Spiritual names are like sign posts pointing to what is beyond the immediate. There are many names that can be used to describe the head, such as the physical, the rational, the analytic. The heart may be described as the spirit, the conscious, the discerning faculty. The soul is the experience of being in God’s Presence. When we feel His Love, Joy and Peace, we can sense ourselves as being loving, peaceful and joyful. None of these are actually the faculty themselves. They only point to it.
When we are in our heads we are “then and there”. When we are in our souls, we are “now and here.” Ask yourself, who am I. In our heads, we are all past tense. We are what we have been. We are who we were. Our feelings, the events that have happened to us, our positions in life, are all created from the past. We have been children of certain parents, we may be husbands or wives, fathers or mothers, workers, care takers, home makers. We are what our past was.
We know love exists, but we cannot see it. We can feel it. We cannot see God, but we can sense His Presence. We believe we have a soul, but to know it, we must experience our Being. Our being is not found in the experience of our head or our heart. It is beyond both. We experience our souls. When we use our soul power to go through our head, to our heart, then focusing on the Presence of God. We are loving, joyful, peaceful and wise beings. This can only be understood by experiencing and naming it for our self.
Things spiritual are unseen. Things physical are seen. We see the seen with our physical rational thinking faculties. We sense the things unseen with our spiritual, conscious thinking faculties.
St. Paul writes that the world did not know God through wisdom. No human being can boast being in His Presence, because we cannot experience His Presence through the head. We must go through the heart. The Presence of Christ is both the power and the wisdom of God. The Presence of Jesus is our source of life. God has made Him our wisdom.
It as a known fact, when we are in God's Presence and feeling secure, loved and happy, we will see, hear and act differently, than when we are out of the Presence and feeling unloved, unhappy and insecure. We access this Presence by choosing to use our soul power to move us from the head, to the heart and then to focus on the Presence within. We strengthen this power by consciously practicing this movement. It enables us to move more freely during difficult times, when we need to experience His power, love and wisdom.
Try this movement now. What is the first thought that comes to you? There it is just a thought. Now make it real. Experience it through the power of your soul. Begin to move into the heart, by experiencing your thought. Now focus on the Peace of God’s Presence within. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move in this way?
DAY ELEVEN: LAST SUNDAY IN EPIPHANY THE TRANSFIGURATION. MATTHEW. 17:1-9 “THAT I MAY BE FOUND IN CHRIST.” PHIL 7:7-14
Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John. It might be interesting to look into the ways and means that this happened. However, more important is how we too can become transfigured. Transfiguration means what it says. It means the figure is transformed. We are transformed externally and physically at our resurrection. We can be transformed internally and spiritually right now. When we experience the Presence of Jesus, we become transformed from the old self, to the new creation. Paul tells us, “in Christ we are a new creation.” I Cor 5:17.
THE “P” WORD Some Christians are afraid of the “P” word. They will walk out of church, if they hear it. The “P” word is “psychology”. Yet psychology is the study and knowledge of the soul. It is interesting that there are not many terms for the soul. There are qualities that make it up, such as rational and conscious thought. Beyond these two is the will, or free choice. A strong or mature soul has the ability to know and to choose right from wrong. Hebrews 5:14. The soul might be likened to our conscience. A strong soul has a strong conscience. Yet none of these names are “it”. They point to “it” but are not “it.” Paul Tillich said of God, “God was not God, but a reality beyond God.” You can say this about the head, the heart, and the soul. No matter what you call them, they are not it. They are realities beyond the names.
If we are to know the soul, we must experience it by being in the Presence. We experience the power of the soul in the moment we move from the head to the heart. It is important to teach Christians how to discover the soul by accessing this inner Presence. We must go from the head, which sees things externally, to the heart, which can sense the Presence internally. This is done consciously, when we choose to use our soul power to move from the thought, to the sense of a presence, then to focusing on the Presence.
This Transformation Sunday is a great time for all of us to experience internal transfiguration. The more we practice it, the more we will want to remain transfigured. Try it now, and feel the power of the soul to freely move you into His Peace and Wisdom.
Look at an object and just see it physically. Now begin to sense its presence. If you are feeling something, you have moved from your head to your heart. To experience the power of your soul, do this again. The moment before you move from the head to the heart, sense the release of energy. Your soul made the choice. That is the essence of you. Your head or your heart will not and cannot move from on to the other. It is your soul’s ability to will and have the power to do it. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY TWELVE: LENT I; MATTHEW 4:1-11 THE TEMPTATIONS OF JESUS: GOING FROM HEART TO HEAD
The head sees the seen, the heart experiences the unseen. Soul power enables us to move from the head to the heart to focusing on the Presence within. It also enables us to reverse this move and go from the heart to the head and then to focus on the Presence. Lent is a time to learn to make the switches that enables us to live in the Presence of His Peace, Love, Joy and Wisdom.
Three primary temptations in the life of Jesus and in our life, include our appetites, our need for approval and our desire for power and control. Jesus overcame these temptations by continually going back to depend on God's Presence to supply His needs. To get into the Presence, we have been using our soul power to go from head, to heart, and then focus on the Presence. Temptation creates a greater challenge. The Beatitudes tell us, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8. We cannot see God with a heart that is impure. In the case of temptation, we are already in the heart, but it is not pure, so we cannot enter the Presence. We must clear the heart, by going back to the head. Then we can return to the heart and the Presence.
JUST SAY NO: Soul power gives us the strength to say no to the temptations of our addiction. That includes the external chemical and tobacco dependency, food and alcohol abuse, as well as sexual and drug addictions. It also includes the internal addictions, including overcoming anger and rage, release from guilt and fear, and freedom from past pain and depression. Soul power gives us the freedom from reaction and freedom for proaction. Try it out.
1. First of all, think of some temptation you have. Say these words until you feel their truth, “When I think of (it), I feel tempted. This is true.&rdquo
2. Now recall the truth by saying “When I think of it), sometimes I feel more tempted than at other times.” This is a true statement, and if so, then the object is not causing our feelings. It is our perspective. It is how we think about it.
3. Realize this truth by saying, “ I do not always have to feel tempted every time I think of (it).”
4. When you realize you do not have to feel the temptation every time you think of it, you are in your head.
5. Consider this truth, when I think of (it), it would be possible for me to be in the Peace.
When you make this real for yourself, you have used your soul power to go back into the heart and to have focused on the Presence of God's Peace. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from heart, to head, back to heart and focus on the Presence? __
DAY THIRTEEN: LENT II. JOHN 3:1-17 BEING BORN AGAIN WORLDLY AND GODLY THINKING. INJURY TO OUR SOUL
The soul is your real self, not your old self. You are your soul. We are a new creation in Christ. Galatians 5:17. When we are out of the Presence, our thoughts and actions can injure out soul. We weaken and cause injury to the soul by giving into to abuse, addictions and dependency. We weaken our soul with negative thinking, which creates out of control feelings such as rage, selfishness, Idolatry, etc. Galatians 5:19ff We put our soul into bondage by trying to follow the law. Acts 15:24 Galatians 5:18 Our lusts war against the soul. I Peter 2:11 See Romans 8:23, Gal. 5:17a righteous soul is vexed by unlawful deeds. II Peter 2:8 Adam had the ability to choose and knew the difference between right and wrong. His soul was not strong enough to avoid the temptation put before him. This is why God sent the Spirit to quicken our soul, to give us the strength to choose right over wrong. I Cor 15:45
Our soul lives in the Presence of Jesus. Matthew 11:29 Our souls find rest in the Presence of Jesus. Transposing what St Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee. Our minds are restless until they find their rest in Thee. Our souls are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” The way we strengthen the soul is to be born from above. There are three ways to consider being “born”. We all have a physical birth from our mothers. We also have an emotional birth. We have emotional ties to the place where we were born. I am from New York. My grand parents were from Germany. That is why some people used to call me the German Shepherd. That is where I am from.
We also have a spiritual birth. The Greek word “apo” can be translated “again” or “from above”. To be born again refers to the physical birth. From above, means from the spiritual side, while from below means from the worldly or physical side. John 8:23. To “come from above” refers to our spiritual birth. Jesus is telling us we need to come from the spiritual, rather than from the physical way of thinking. We experience a spiritual birth by being in the Presence of Jesus. We do this through our soul power. We can move from the head, to the heart and then to focus on the Presence. We understand the meaning of being a new creation in His Presence.
If the soul is weak, the head will fill the heart will all kinds of feelings from lust to anger to guilt. When the head takes over, it leads to dependency, rage and blame. When the heart takes over, it leads to co-dependency, guilt and shame. The soul needs both head and heart, but it also needs the power to control both. The power of the soul enables us to come from above. We cannot enter from above when the heart is filled with darkness. We need to get back into the head.
Practice doing that as you think of some disturbing issue you face. As you think of it, feel the negative emotion. It is caused by the way you are thinking. So change the way of thinking from a “here” to a “there”. You think and feel “here” they are, now think and feel “there” they are.
As you get out of the heart and into the head, begin to wonder, “What difference does it make if I am in the Presence when I think of this situation?” Can you feel the difference? How strong is your soul power today? Can you experience being born again? On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from heart, to head, back to hear and to focus on the Presence within?
DAY FOURTEEN: LENT III JOHN 4:4-42 NO CONDEMNATION: THE WOMAN AT THE WELL
She was a despised woman. Despised by the Jews because she was a Samaritan. Despised by the Samaritans, because after several failed marriages, she was not even married to the man she lived with. She avoided the haughty stares, by going to the well at noon, when no one was there. She was a despised woman
This time it was worse. Here was a young Rabbi, asking her to draw some water for him. She spit out, “You a Jew, asking me to give you water?” He replied softly, “If you had asked me, I would have given you water, living water.” “Give me this water that I no longer have to come here and put up with the insults.” “Get your husband.” She flirts with him, “I am not married.” “Right, at least not to the one you now live with. It is all right to bring him. You do not have to be ashamed. There is no condemnation in my Presence” (Rom 8:1)
What a difference being in and out of the Presence of Jesus makes on her life. When people are in the Peace of His Presence, they can see themselves and others differently, than when they are out and feeling insecure. Our job is not to judge others, but to enable them to enter into His Presence, by our being in His Presence, loving and non-judgmental.
Think of someone you tend to judge, or blame for your unhappiness. Think about what they did. Think how you are tempted to be judgmental. Realize how this anger and bitterness separates you from the Presence. This is not you, but your old self-trying to take control. Do you have the soul strength to move from a “here” to a “there” position? With all that anger they definitely are “here” in your heart. Move out of the heart and clear your head, seeing them as “there”.
Now begin, not think, to wonder, what does being in the Presence do to you and what does it do to your attitude toward them? As you wonder, let your soul empower you to move from your head, back to your heart, to focusing on His Presence. You will find the more you are able to do this, the stronger your soul and the easier your life becomes. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from heart, to head, back to hear and to focus on the Presence within?
DAY FIFTEEN: LENT IV WALK IN THE LIGHT EPH. 5:1-14, JOHN 9:1-38
There are two kinds of blindness, physical and spiritual. St. Paul talks about spiritual blindness, as does Jesus. It is unfortunate the conclusion of the story is left out of the Gospel Lesson. Jesus adds, “For Judgment I am come into this world, that those who see not, may see and those who see, might be made blind.” Why would anyone want to be made blind?
The Pharisees asked him, “are we blind?” Jesus replied,“If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say we see, therefore your sin remains.” To understand what this means you need to remember Genesis 3:7. When Adam and Eve received the knowledge of good and evil, Scripture said, “their eyes were opened.” What this means is, they were trying to see the unseen with their physical faculties. As long as we say, we see, that is try to see God physically, we will be blind. We must use our spiritual faculties to sense the unseen. When we are out of our heart and in our head, our eyes are opened and we are in sin that is separated from God. It is only when we can’t see, that is in our heart, can we see the unseen.
Jesus came into this world not “to” judge, but “for” judgment, or because of our judgment. When we see others with our eyes, we are prone to judge and condemn them. When we use our soul power to see them through the eyes of God, we will see them with compassion and love.
What is it we are most tempted to judge others about? What is it we cannot stand about a certain person? As long as we think the “That” does it we will always be victims of our old self. The truth is we do not have to feel upset every time we think of what they did or do or will do. It is our mind filling our heart with these negative thoughts. Jesus came into the world to set us free, but we must we willing to be free. We must be willing to let go of judging others.
Take the time and practice moving from “here” to “there”. “Here they are” you can feel the anger, hurt and bitterness. Now with you soul power move back into your head and think, “There” they are. Feel the change. Now wonder what difference being in the Presence of Jesus would make. As you do this you will be able to move back into a pure heart and gain the wisdom as to how you should handle the situation. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY SIXTEEN: LENT V JOHN 11:1-44 RESURRECTION IS ONLY A MOMENT AWAY
There are three Easter resurrections to consider, Easter past, present and future. We pretty much know and believe in the first Easter resurrection, which happened some two thousand years ago. We look forward to our future resurrection, however many do not realize the significance and power of the Easter present resurrection. Jesus did not say to Martha, I was, or I will be, but He said, I AM the Resurrection. There are two kinds of resurrection. Physical resurrection, which comes at the end of this life, and spiritual, which is available to us right now.
Colossian 3:1 is read every Easter day. Both clergy and congregation generally miss it, because the emphasis is on the Gospel events of the day. St Paul writes, “Since you have been risen with Christ, seek that things that are above.....set your affection on things above, (the spiritual seen through the heart) not on things of the earth, (physical seen through the head).
What Paul is telling us is, when we are in His Presence, we are already risen with Christ, In order to do this, and we must seek the things that are above, that is spiritual. We must move from the worldly or earthly or physical thinking, to the thinking that is above and spiritual. That means we need to go from the head, which sees the physical, to the heart, which sees the spiritual, and then we can focus on the Presence within.
The head cannot make this switch, nor can the heart. It is done by the power of our soul or our real self. There is a struggle going on between the old and the new self. The old self does not want us to depend upon God's Presence. The new self does.
WHO IS DRIVING THE BUS? Picture the scene of a tourist bus. The driver is the owner. He takes the bus where he wants to go. The tour guide describes the scenery. The tourists sit back and enjoy the trip. See the bus driver as the soul, the guide as the head and the tourists as the heart. What would happen if the tour guide took over the bus? The trip would not go according to plans. When the head out muscles the soul, the life tends to go away from what God has already planned for us. Only the soul has the will and wisdom to follow in God’s way.
What if the tourists took over? The bus would become lost and possibly crash. When the heart takes over it leads to addictions and a broken heart. The broken heart can only become healed when the soul takes charge.
We strengthen the power of the soul, when we practice moving into and staying with the Presence of the risen Lord. Sometimes when the heart is in charge, we are driven by our urges and addictions. We all have them. What is your chief addiction? It might be a physical urge or it can be emotional rage. With a heart filled with that kind of negative feeling, you cannot just enter into the Presence.
You must clear the heart and the head of that kind of “here” it is thinking. This takes understanding and practice. Look at what tempts you. Realize the head has filled the heart with the emotion by thinking, here it is. Use your soul power to change the way of thinking by just witnessing its being “there”. There it is. Now begin to wonder what difference looking at it “there” makes when you are in the Presence of Jesus. Keep it up until you sense the difference by being in His Peace. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from your heart, to your head, to wonder and focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY SEVENTEEN: LENT VI MATTHEW 26:36-27:66 PASSION SUNDAY
“My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Why would God forsake Jesus at the moment of His most desperate time? What kind of God, what kind of Father, is this? Jesus in Gethsemane sweated drops of blood as he struggled and prayed, “Father if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but Thy will be done.” Matt. 26:39
Jesus spent his whole earthly life in the Presence of God. He wanted to enable us to learn to do this by the Presence of His Spirit. The one thing Jesus did not want to do was to be separated from God. In order to save us, he had to become like us, separated from God. St. Paul writes, “He who knew no sin, became sin.” II Cor.5:21. It is at this moment, Jesus became separated from God and brought us our salvation through His love, power and forgiveness. We find sanctification and salvation through being in His Presence. We enter His Presence when we use our soul power to move from head, to heart and then focus on the Presence of His Spirit within.
Jesus faced all of His challenges in Gods Presence. It makes a difference. There are three kinds of problems we face, trivial, solvable and unsolvable. Trivial problems are not really problems because they are trivial, nor are solvable problems because they are solvable. The only real problems we have are the unsolvable.
Unsolvable problems can only be managed. The way we manage our unsolvable problems is to change our perspective. If we have an issue, which when we think about it, causes us worry, fear, anger, guilt or pain, we need to make an internal rather than external change. When we are in the Presence, we will see things through the eyes of God’s Love, Joy and Peace.
When we are out of the Presence out thoughts create our feelings. Our heart feels what our head thinks. We need to clear the heart by changing our way from “here” to “there” thinking. What unsolvable problem have you taken so personally that it is controlling your life? Use you soul power to make the switch. Say the words with the ring of truth, here it is.
Now witness to its being there, not here. As you witness to its being there, wonder what difference being in Jesus Presence makes. As you get control of your life realize God’s thoughts create the feelings of our inner Peace. When we are in the Presence, our head thinks what our heart feels. This switch is called “redemption”. We become redeemed from the old self. We experience this redemption every time we choose to make the switch.
As we enter this Holy Week it is appropriate we walk with Jesus through the Triumphal Entry, the cleansing of the Temple, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and then the Easter event of next Sunday. Discover what a change in your life these redeeming events can make. On a basis of 1- 10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from your heart, to your head, to wonder and focus on the Presence within?
DAY EIGHTEEN: EASTER DAY: JOHN 20:1-18 BELIEF AND FAITH
Two things that exist are, the seen and the unseen. Two ways of thinking that exist are reasoning and consciousness. Reasoning or the head, deals with what is seen. Conscious or the heart, deals with what is unseen. The power of the soul enables us to move from head thinking, to heart thinking and then to focus on the Presence within.
It is important to realize when we are dealing with things spiritual; it is not about me, it is about God. Getting in God’s Presence is not about us, it is about God. It is not about how good we are, or how sincere, or how much we have succeeded or failed. It is about God and His Love, Joy, Peace and Wisdom.
It is about His Presence in us. We can enter this Presence only as He has set it up. He chose to have us enter through our spiritual or conscious faculties, which some call the heart. We enter the heart by using our soul power. We move from the head to the heart focus on the Presence within, no matter who we are, or what we are, or where we are. His Presence is always here, just for the asking. We are not always here. The process of accessing the Presence is a matter of our moving from there to here. The more we practice the movement, the more confidence we have in His Presence, His Promises, and His Power.
JOHN 20:1-18 “THEY SAW AND BELIEVED, FOR AS YET THEY DID NOT KNOW THE SCRIPTURE THAT HE MUST RISE FROM THE DEAD.”
This is probably the most mysterious of all the Easter passages. How could they believe and yet did not know the Scripture. The problem is they did not believe and they did know the Scripture. A literal translation of this passage offers a more accurate understanding. It translates, “They saw and believed not yet, for they (only) knew the Scripture, that it was necessary for him to rise from the dead.” The Apostles did know the Scripture, but they did not have a resurrection experience. The knowledge was not relevant for them.
We need to understand there are two ways of knowing. We can know physical, logical, analytical facts with the reasoning of our head. We can know spiritual, intimate, experiential events through the conscious thinking our hearts. These are two valid ways of thinking. Our Head sees the seen. Our heart sees the unseen. If we are to see or sense the Presence of Jesus within us, we must have an open heart.
Judas not Iscariot, asked Jesus, “How are you going to manifest yourself to us and not to the world?&rduo; John 14:22. The world represents the physical that is the head. As long as we are using our physical faculties, we will not be able to experience His Presence within us.
A person in the parish told me someone was upset because they said, “Fr. Paul only has three sermons”. It really hurt, because I only have one sermon. I don’t know where they got the other two. It is all about how to access and stay in the Presence. Everything else pours out of this.
I make a distinction between teaching and preaching. Teaching is to tell someone something they never knew. Preaching is to enable people to experience the Presence of Jesus in such a way they can do it themselves. Then they can then help others do it.
The difference is this. If I was teaching on forgiveness, and someone heard my teaching, they would not come back to hear it again. If I was preaching on forgiveness, and they understood the difference, they would want to come back. The intention of each session would be for the people to experience forgiveness and the power of forgiving. Even if they had heard every word before, the significance would not be in the words, but in the experience of the words.
Wonder what difference believing in the resurrection means to you, if you have experienced His Presence or not? Be aware that as you wonder what difference it makes, the power of your soul enables you to move from the physical, to the spiritual and then to experience the Presence within. The instruction to wonder is the mechanics of what to do. The dynamics of moving from head to heart to focus is how it works. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY NINETEEN: II EASTER JOHN 20:19-31 “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET BELIEVE”
Jesus commissioned the Apostles saying,“ As the Father sent me, so send I you.” We need to realize the word “as” has two meanings. It can mean either “what” or “how”. When we think “what” we believe we have been sent to do the same things as Jesus did. He did say, “You will do these things, and greater”. John 14:12. The word “greater” needs to be translated “more”. As the body of Christ is throughout the world, we can do more at any given moment, than Jesus could. He was limited by time and space we still cannot do greater. How many people have raised the dead, turned water into wine, walked on water, and fed five thousand with only a few small fish and some loaves of bread? That is just for a start. No, we cannot do what the Son of God did much less do greater. We can do more.
“As” also means “how”. How was Jesus sent? He was sent in the power of the Holy Spirit at Baptism. He now sends the Apostles in that way, using the power of the Holy Spirit. He tells them immediately after, to receive the Holy Spirit. When we are in the Presence of the Spirit, we will think in our head, what we feel in our heart.
In the Greek translation of the New Testament, the Greek word for “faith” is “pistos”. The Greek word for believe is “pistos”. It is the same Greek word. How it is translated depends on the translators belief and knowledge of the Presence. When referring to the Presence of Jesus, there is a difference between the words, “faith” and “belief”. Faith tends to be the experience; belief is knowledge of the Presence. One comes from the heart the other from the head.
The word “believe” in the Scripture then has two meanings; one could be intellectual belief, the other a spiritual experience. In the case of Thomas, the translators seem to say that Thomas believed after seeing Jesus physically. Jesus then says blessed are those who do not see physically but still believe anyway.
When you understand the experience of the Presence, you might understand the words of Jesus differently. You might understand it to say, Thomas saw Jesus physically and experienced His Presence, that is had faith. Jesus then goes on to say, blessed are you who do not see my Presence physically in the head, but experience my Presence spiritually from the heart. This can make sense because this is what happens to us. We use our soul power to go from the head, which cannot see Jesus physically to the heart, which can focus on His Presence within spiritually.
As we continue to use this power daily, we will begin to notice we are beginning to gain the strength, not only to go from out to in, but we will begin to lead the life we intend to do with less struggle. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within?
DAY TWENTY: EASTER III LUKE 21:13-35 THEY KNEW HIM
The men from Emmaus were heading home. Their dreams were smashed, along with their hopes. Their fears had become reality. All was a lost cause. Jesus was crucified. They did not recognize Jesus, when he came upon them. It was only as He talked and their hearts began to burn. They suddenly knew Him in the breaking of the bread.
These men are a lot like us. Much of the time, Jesus is with us, but we do not know Him, that is experience His Presence. He is here in us, but we are not always here in Him. We cannot know Him in our head. All the theology in the world cannot put us in His Presence. We need to use our soul power, to move from our head, to our heart, to the focus of Him. This cannot be said too often, because we forget. We have amnesia. The Greek word to remember is “anamesia”.
We, like the men from Emmaus, remember Jesus in the breaking of the bread. The “Prayer Book” quotes Jesus as saying, “Take this FOR the remembrance of me.” We take the Eucharist, not to receive the Presence. But because we already have received His Presence. We take it to remind us His Presence is already with us, no matter where we are. This is simple to understand, but hard to do. It requires practice from the heart, not only from the know how in the head.
About twenty years ago I began to understand the dynamics of accessing the Presence. I could separate the mechanics from the dynamics. I was able to get in the Presence, and then began understanding how to stay in. From there I was able to help individuals and then small groups. I changed my preaching style. I began intentionally meaning to not only bring the community into the Presence, but to show them how to do it. They began to understand how to access the Presence during difficult times, when they were not in the community.
In the old days when I preached, if I spent too much time on one sermon, the material would become stale. I could not become too familiar with the sermon. I needed fresh material. I found when I changed my preaching style, my approach also changed. I needed to become familiar with the material. I included teaching others to access the Presence in each of my sermons. When I practiced preaching the sermon, I was also practicing to access the Presence. I knew how to do it, but each time I went over the sermon, I gathered more insight on how the dynamics worked. The key was in the practice.
If a person were to go through these daily exercises, their insight would deepen over the thirty-one days. When they were through with the first thirty-one days, it would be more beneficial to go over the lessons again, rather than have a new set of thirty-one exercises. It is not what is new, as much as what is familiar. These exercises are mere signposts pointing to the deeper meaning, which we all seek and already have within ourselves.
By going over the material we begin to be able to separate the mechanics from the dynamics. We will never be able to grow deeper spiritually, until we are able to make this separation. I had a person do this. I asked her, who was someone she loved deeply. She said it was her son. I asked her to picture him in her head. Now I asked her to sense his presence. Her response was, “O, I see, you want me to picture him in my heart.” Once you move from picturing the person in your head, to picturing them in your heart, it should not be too hard to use your soul power to picture Jesus in your heart.
Take time now to use your soul power to move from your head to your heart. Think of someone you know. Now sense their presence. They could be half way around the world and you still could sense their presence. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within?
DAY TWENTY-ONE: EASTER IV JOHN 10:1-10 HE CALLS HIS OWN SHEEP BY NAME. WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
Jesus the Good Shepherd calls his own by name. They hear His voice and come to Him. What is the name He calls His sheep that they hear and respond to Him? There are many names for Jesus. They include Emmanuel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Redeemer, Messiah, Savior, and Prince of Peace. We have an equal number of names like sheep of his pastures, servants of the Lord, forgiven sinners, Christians, disciples of Christ, followers of the Way, plus our many denominational names.
There is one name God calls both Jesus and us. He called Jesus. “Beloved” at His baptism. “You are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” Matthew 3:17. We are also called “beloved” by God. “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine” Song of Solomon 6:3. Deuteronomy 33:12. Paul calls us “beloved of the Lord.” Romans 1:7
It is a shock for some to realize God loves us as much as He loves Jesus. We know this by Jesus own words in His prayer to the Father, “that they might know you have loved them, even as you have loved me.” John 17: 23. We know how much He loved Jesus. We know He loves us, because He “So loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” John 3:16. We understand that God is Love 1 John 4:8. If He is love, then He could not love Jesus one little bit more than He loves us, or it would not be love. He could not be Love.
Do you see why you cannot just acknowledge this to be true in your head? When people get married, they are asked, will you have this (person) to be your (spouse). Will you love her..etc. The answer does not come from the head with a “True”. It comes from the heart as an, “I will.” It is only when we use our soul power to move from the head to the heart and to focus on the Presence within can we truly say,“MY NAME IS BELOVED OF GOD”
When we are out of the Presence, we all can be haunted, as Scrooge was, by ghosts from the present, past and future.
THE GHOST OF THE PRESENT. Try this Today. Ask yourself, how does it feel when you are out of the Presence of God and having a sense of low self-esteem? Now take your time. Get in the Presence. What difference does it make being in His Love and called beloved? See yourself as His beloved. Say it, tell yourself, I am beloved of God. Feel the difference it makes. What is true, becomes real. The first feeling comes from the old self; the second feeling is that of our new creation in the Lord. A strong soul can power us into this new creation relationship during the most difficult of times. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within?
DAY TWENTY TWO: EASTER VI JOHN 15:1-8 ABIDE: Jesus tells us to “abide in Him.”
THE MYSTERY: I spent some twenty years trying to figure out what this means. I came to the following conclusions. The mystery of Christianity is that some of the most basic truths for the Faith are the ones Christians least understand. Most Christians know the Spirit of God that was in Jesus, is in us. Galatians 4:6. However, they do not know how to access that Presence.
THE PROBLEM: The problem is, if they decided to learn more about this, they would not find much written or taught about it. Few if any teachings can lead a person as to “how” to access the Presence within. There are a lot of writings as to “what” to do such as pray more, and a lot of advice about what one should do. However, these are the mechanics of accessing the Presence. We need to learn not the “what” of the mechanics, but the “how” of the dynamics. We must learn to distinguish the mechanics from the dynamics. Understanding the dynamics is still an unknown area for Christians some two thousand years after the Life of our Lord. It is still critical to understanding the meaning of the teachings of Jesus.
THE DIFFICULTY: If a Christian were to embark on a journey to find the answer on how to abide, there would be one more obstacle in their path. That obstacle would be, they would probably be searching in the wrong place. The truth will not be found in classrooms, libraries, or study groups. Ultimately, it must be found within us. The Presence is within us. It means these are areas we must experience. Knowledge alone will not do it. It must be done from the heart. We need to get a feel for it.
THE GHOSTS OF THE PAST: Take a real event in your life. Think of some past event which has given you pain. How does it feel, when you are out of the Presence and feeling the pain? Now take a moment, and use your soul to power you into the Presence. What difference does it make when you think of the event, when you are experiencing the Power of God’s Presence? Which is reality, being in or out of His Presence? On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY TWENTY-THREE: HOW TO PRACTICE THE PRESENCE
The experience of the grace Presence is always with all of us. However, we all are not always experiencing the Presence. We have two faculties. The rational head sees the physical seen. The conscious heart consciously senses the unseen spiritual. The only way into the Presence is when our conscious heart becomes open to the grace Presence.
Some depend on sets of exercises to move from the rational head to the conscious heart. They only can get in the Presence when they have time to do the exercises. Doing spiritual exercises are no guarantee of getting into God’s Presence. We can do them and get in the Presence or NOT get in. The only time spiritual exercises work is when our heart becomes open and conscious to the spiritual Presence within us.
Why not start by first becoming conscious of the Presence and then doing whatever is needed to do?. The reason is because we have not practiced using our conscious faculty. We are too used to using our rational mind. It takes daily soul practice to start with the conscious to get a new rational insight.
One practice I call the television effect. I have no idea how the TV works. I just turn it on and it works. The exercise that works best for me is to wonder. Wondering is an act of the heart while thinking is an act of the head. As a starter I begin to wonder what difference being in the grace Presence of God’s Peace makes when dealing with a certain difficult time. The guarantee is when you do this the light goes on. You will receive a knowledge you could not have had when out of the Presence. Don’t try to figure it out. Just try it.
DAY TWENTY-FOUR: THE DAY OF PENTECOST ACTS 2:1-11 “THEY WERE ALL TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE.” WHICH PENTECOST DO YOU CELEBRATE?
Pentecost comes form the Greek word “Pente” or “five”. There are two Pentecosts. The first happened fifty days after the Passover when the Hebrews arrived on Mt. Sinai. It was on that day, God gave Moses the law. Twelve hundred years later, on the second Pentecost, God poured out His Spirit on all flesh.
The Apostles were together and they were in one place. We can be together, but not in one place. We might be in one place, but not together. I have been with various types of people from different backgrounds and view points, who have been hostile towards Protestants, Catholics, or even Episcopalians. They displayed their hostility by their legalism and judgment. I have been with the same kind of people in a worship service, where the Spirit of God was moving. All these barriers seemed to have blown away, fallen down, or just disappeared. The individuals were the same people, but their perspective was different. The atmosphere of the Spirit changed their attitude. When we are looking with our mind out of God’s Presence, we can see things differently, than when we are looking while in the Presence through our heart. Which Pentecost do you celebrate, the one with the Law or the one in the Spirit? Is it external or internal?
The Greek word “Koinonia” is translated “fellowship”. Some churches or groups like to promote Koinonia or fellowship groups. Some call their parish buildings, “fellowship halls”. It implies a sense of having a fellowship relationship with one another. This is a misunderstanding of the meaning of the word. It is not fellowship with others; it is fellowship with the Holy Spirit. It makes a big difference, where you are fellow shipping.
What are you looking for in a community? Some people are looking for union. They want to worship with those who think as they do, politically, religiously and socially. What we need to do is to search for unity. We need to look, not at the mechanics, but at the dynamics. It is not in what they do or say, it is in the atmosphere. Is the Presence of Jesus Christ being made known? New people coming into Emmanuel would sometimes remark, “How these people love each other!” The response to them was, “they don’t even know each other, but they do know Jesus.” The love was manifested in the Presence.
Every time we use the power of our soul to access the Spirit of God, we celebrate Pentecost. We are all equal at the foot of the cross and at the communion rail. At Emmanuel, people lay hands on others while they are taking communion. It is based on the story of Ananias, who was sent by God to St Paul after his conversion. Ananias was fearful because of Paul’s reputation of violence against the church. When he came through the door he saw the anointing of the Spirit on Paul. He said, “Brother Saul” and laid hands on him. (Acts 9:17) At Emmanuel we do not have to know who a person is, or what they are, or where they have been. At the foot of the cross we are brothers and sisters. We all belong. This is our community, the Body of Christ.
Sometimes we feel slighted when others do not include us in their plans. Think of a time this happened to you. What difference does it make, when you are in the Presence of Jesus and others slight you, or do not include you in their plans? Wondering what difference it would make, being in the Presence moves us from head, to heart thinking and focusing. When you can sense His Presence, it is because you were able to use your soul power to move from your head, to your heart and to focus on the Presence.
Try this now. Think of some disappointment you have felt in the past? Wonder what difference if would make when you are in or out of the Presence. Be conscious of the release of your soul power as you feel the difference. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within?
DAY TWENTY-FIVE: TRINITY SUNDAY: MATTHEW 29: 16-20. “BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”
THE MYSTERY OF THE TRINITY. THE DIFFERENCE DOES NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE. We have within us the fullness of the Godhead. Father, Son and Spirit. Col 2:9 What does this mean? John tells us. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1. You want to say, “Make up your mind. Is the Word, God or is the Word with God? Which is it?” Well, it is both. The Word is with God, means it is different from God. The word is God means thy are the same. This means that there is a difference, but it does not make a difference.
Jesus says to the Apostles, “I will give you another Comforter.” John 14:16 “Another” means something that is different, but it does not make a difference. If a child drops their lollipop and comes back crying to their parent, what does the parent say? They say, “Don’t cry. I will give you another one.” The “other” one is different from the first, but it does not make a difference.
The Holy Spirit is different from Jesus, but it does not make a difference. He is the same as Jesus. Jesus is different from the Father, but it does not make a difference. He is the same as the Father. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus and Jesus glories the Father. This is the same principle Jesus uses, when he takes bread and says, “This is my body.” The consecrated bread is different than the physical body of Jesus, but it does not make a difference. We can still discern His Presence in the breaking of the bread. The wine is not the actual blood of Jesus. It is different, but it does not make a difference. We can still discern the Life of Christ in the cup of Salvation. When we use our soul power to access the Presence of Jesus within us, we are able to discern His Presence in the Eucharist, in the community, in all situations.
FEEDING THE SOUL: We feed our soul when we have communion with God. Our souls find rest in the Presence of Jesus. (Matthew 11:29) Our soul is purified by obeying the truth of the Spirit. I Peter 1:22 The Word of God, which is Jesus, helps us understand the difference between the soul and the spirit, in order to discern the thoughts of the mind and the intent of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 God’s Word is the Hope that is the anchor of our soul. Hebrews 6::16 Faith (not the law) is the saving of our soul. Hebrew 10:38-9 We strengthen our soul by magnifying the Lord and our Spirit then rejoices in God our savior. Luke 1:45 As the soul prospers, so will we prosper and find health. III John 2
HOW ARE YOU FEELING? Sense the power of your soul as you shift from seeing an object with your head, and then sensing its presence in your heart. Use your soul power to sense the Presence of the fullness of the Godhead. As you sense the Peace, Love, and Joy of the Lord's Presence, experience your soul. Your soul is peaceful, loving, joyful and wise. On a basis of 1- 10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY TWENTY SIX: II PENTECOST PROPER 6 ROMANS 5:6-11 WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US
Jesus’ new commandment to us is to “love one another as I have loved you.” We need to understand the word “as” has two meanings, what and how. The way we see it, depends on whether we are thinking legalistically or gracefully.
THE MECHANICS AND THE DYNAMICS. There are two things necessary for being a Christian. They are the mechanics and the dynamics. When we think legalistically, we think the mechanics determine the dynamics. When we think gracefully, we realize the dynamics determines the mechanics. There are millions of mechanics, telling us “what” to do to get into the Presence. There is only one dynamics, that is “how” to do it. We must get out of the head, go to the heart and focus on the Presence. No matter what mechanics we do, none will work, unless take these three steps.
Legalistically, we think we have to do the mechanics in order to get into the Presence. When we think gracefully, we realize we need to do the dynamics, if the mechanics are going to work.
In I Corinthians 2:14 Paul tells us the things of God are spiritually discerned. Our physical or natural faculties, the head, see the seen and our spiritual faculties, the heart, sense the unseen. We cannot see the spiritual (unseen) with physical faculties.
Jesus gave us a new commandment, to love one another as He loved us. John 13:34 When we think legalistically, we believe Jesus is telling us to do “what” he did. We must love others in the same manner He loved them. This is impossible to do. Are you willing to die for a Timothy McVeigh, Jeffrey Dahmar, or those terrorists on 911. This is what Jesus did. It is not something we are capable of doing.
When we think gracefully, we believe Jesus is telling us “how” he loved, should be the way we love. How did He do it? He did it in the power of God’s Presence. He never did anything He did not see God doing. We are to love others in the Power of Spirit of God that was in Jesus, which is now implanted in our hearts. Gal. 4:6.
In order to do this we must know how to access the Presence and to practice it. It is all in the practice. Going from the head, to the heart to focusing on the Presence. Just knowing it in the head, will do us no good. The more we practice the movement, the stronger the power of our soul will be to move us in difficult times.
Try it. Think of someone you have had difficulty loving. How does it feel when you are out of the Presence. What difference does being in the Presence make, when you think of them? Your soul power determined your ability to move from out to in. Now reflect on how your soul power has been increased from the time you first started this series until now. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY TWENTY SEVEN: III PENTECOST MATTHEW 10:16-33 FEAR NOT (VS 31)
As you read intently the Gospel for the day, be aware of the many things that would make you afraid. Being flogged, brothers rising up against brothers, persecutions, et al. There is a lot to be afraid of here. Yet Jesus tells us, “Fear not”. Easy for you to say, unless you know how not to fear. Fear itself is neutral. It can be either good or bad. When our fear warns us of danger, it is helpful. When our fear takes over our life, it can posses us. How do we overcome our phobias?
First of all it is important to realize our thoughts, not events, create our feelings. Changing events is not the answer. It is changing our thoughts. We change our thoughts, when we move from being out of the Presence, to being in. This is done when we use our soul power to move from our head to our heart and then to focus on the Presence.
There is a difference between the two experiences. Our thoughts create our external feelings when we are out. God’s thoughts create our internal feelings when we are in. When we are out, our heart feels what our head thinks. When in the Presence, our head thinks what our heart feels.
THERE, HERE. FOCUS FORMULA: Some people find it difficult to go from the head to the heart. Others find it difficult to go from the heart to the head. It is important you know the difference, and where the weakness lies.
F + T = E. INNER FEELING, CREATES THE THOUGHT WHICH GIVES MEANING TO THE EVENT.
You need to know you cannot get into the Presence from the head. You need to get in the heart and the focus on the Presence. The head is sly and foxy. It can fake you out by thinking you are in the heart, when you are not. One way you know you are in the heart, is by feeling the presence of someone or something. One of the best ways to do this is to think of someone in the head, then sense their presence. Once you are feeling their presence, it does not take much to sense Gods Presence, Who is nearer to you now, than anyone or anything else.
You need to get the feel for being in your head and then your heart and the feel for being your soul. Take a moment and become aware that just before you move from the head to the heat, there is a gap. You can call it a release of energy or power or whatever you want to name it. It is what we are calling soul power.
Reread the Scripture. What in this passage would you be most afraid of? What difference does it make to you, when you are out, or when you are in the Presence, when thinking about these things. When you can sense the difference you know you have moved from out to in by using and strengthening your soul power.& As you wonder about the difference, be aware of the movement into the Presence. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY TWENTY EIGHT: IV PENTECOST ROMANS 6:3-11 OUR TWO SELVES
Christianity is the only religion I know of, which takes the fact we have two selves seriously. We have within us two selves that are at war with each other. Galatians 5:17 The old self is created by us. All past memories both good and bad, make up our perspective. Romans 6: 4-11 Our thoughts create our feelings, which determine our actions. A cluster of feelings make up an experience and our experiences make up our old life.
Our real self is our soul which is created by God. We are spiritual people because we have a soul. The soul is made of both the head and the heart. It needs both the head to understand rationally, and the heart to access or implement what it knows. They are the eyes and the nerves of the soul.
Because we are dealing with spiritual things, the experience comes first, then the knowledge comes. “The Spirit of God witnesses to our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 8:16 This experience is translated to the head as theology, knowledge of God, which gives the soul understanding of God’s Presence. Without this understanding the soul wanders lost. Without the experience, the knowledge is irrelevant.
When we are in the Presence of Jesus the old self is dead and buried. (Romans 6:4,6) When we are out, we basically dig up the old self and try to revive the past. Paul tells us not to walk in the flesh but in the spirit. (Romans 8:4) To be carnally minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6 It is the head that creates our old self or ego. We never get rid of the old self. The old self is dead to Christ, when we are in His Presence. It becomes alive when we are out of His Presence. The old self with all its pain and hurts of the past, is the one our head created and which our head attempts to maintain.
Our new life is our real self or our soul. Our soul is a new creation, when in union with the Spirit of Christ. When we are in His Presence we have a sense of His Love, Joy and Peace. In that Presence we will have the wisdom of God, as we see things from His perspective, not our own. We can experience the new self as a loving, peaceful, joyful and wise person. This is who we really are, who we want to be, and what we are looking for in life. II Cor. 6:17.
HERE, THERE, WONDER FORMULA. HEART, HEAD, WITNESS WONDER
Some people have certain objects which attract them . It can make them addictive, dependent and abusive. You cannot get into the heart unless it is pure. Matthew 5:8. When the heart is filled with anger, guilt, pain or is driven by desire, it is too filled with darkness to make the move. These feelings are created by thoughts from the head. You must get back into the head and shut the thoughts out. You know the feeling of just being in the head. It is just witnessing to its presence. “There it is”. Once you can do this, then you can wonder what difference being out or in the Presence of God can make. The wondering will set you back into your heart and focus on being in the Presence. We can sense the power of the soul by the energy released in the brief moment going from our head to our heart.
What urges do you find difficult to get out of your heart? Practice moving from your heart to your head, and then to wondering. Think of what your attraction is. Now use your soul power to bring it from a “here” to a “there”. Witness to its being “there”. Now focus on the Presence, by wondering what difference it makes when you are witnessing to its being there when in the Presence. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY TWENTY NINE: V PENTECOST ROMANS 7:21-8:6
“Those who walk by the flesh, set their minds on things of the flesh, but those who walk in the spirit, set their minds on things of the Spirit.” We set our minds on things of the flesh, when are out of the Presence and on the Spirit, when we are focused on the Presence within.
Sometimes we think things spiritual are not for our time. The one central theme of all psychology is, we must find what we are looking for inside, not outside our selves. Depending on something outside creates dependency and loss of control of our life. The problems is, few if any have been instructed on what is inside and how to access it.
Once instructed, the rest is in the practice. If you are not practicing it, you are not growing.
There is a war going on between the spirit and the flesh. “The good we want to do, we do not and the evil we do not want to do, we do.” It is the power of the soul which enables us to move toward the hard right and against the easy wrong. There comes a time in a Christian’s life, as they grow spiritually, that doing good is not hard and doing evil becomes hard, because of the power of the soul. We have been able to win the battle. The war is always going on, but the battle can be ours.
In order to win, you must be able to distinguish between the mechanics and the dynamics. There are millions and millions of mechanics, but only one set of dynamics. If you cannot tell the difference, you will not be able to consciously move into the Presence. You will think the mechanics are doing it. But they are not. The mechanics tell us the “what” and the dynamics tell us the “how”. People will tell us how you get into the Presence and then they will switch and talk about the what or the mechanics. They might say to go to the mountains, go to the sea or listen to music. They might tell us to pray more, by saying the Jesus prayer, or do centering prayer, or use some eastern meditations. Others might tell us to get more religious, read more Scripture, sing more praise hymns, go to church more and take communion. The truth is, none of these will work. We can pray prayers, and not pray. We can sing praise hymns and not praise, we can take communion until we are stuffed with Eucharistic bread and still not be in communion.
There is only one set of dynamics. They only reason any of the mechanics or exercises work, is because of the dynamics. The person went from the head, to the heart, to focusing on the Presence. We cannot see physically things spiritual. We must experience the spiritual before we can name it. Take a moment and look at some object that is “there”. This is how it feels to be in the head. Now sense its presence and bring it “here”. Note the difference. This is how the heart feels. Label to two feelings. Now begin to focus on the Presence within. That sense of Gods Peace is how the soul feels. Keep on practicing. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY THIRTY: VI PENTECOST ROMANS 8:9-17
“If you live according to the flesh you will die, but if you live according to the Spirit you will live.” We must understand there are two selves. The old and the new, You are the new self, but you also have an old self created by thoughts of the past and future. When we live from the head and out of the Presence, the old self or ego takes over. When we move into the Presence, the new creation by God takes over. The Spirit of Christ dwells in us and we know who that Spirit is. It is the Spirit of our Father.
It is amazing to me that few leaders have taught people how to access this Presence and new life. Knowing it is there, is just the menu. The meal is getting into the Presence. It is done by using our soul power to move from the head, to the heart, to focusing on the Presence within.
These exercises are to encourage you to empower your soul by practice. You cannot be a spiritual couch potato, if you are to grow in the Spirit. Realize the difference it makes when you know how to do it and when you actually do it. You know the drill. How does it feel to have this knowledge in your head and not do it?
Now do it. Move from the head feeling, to the heart feeling, noting the power release each time. Focus on the Presence within. This is your soul, created by God. How does this contrast with the person who just knows the drill and the one who does it?
Say “I am” in place of the word “Love” from I Cor 13:4-7
___ patient, and __ kind, __ not envious, ___ not boastful, ___ not proud, ___ not rude,
___ not self seeking, ___ not easily angered, ___ not judgmental, ___ not rejoicing in evil,
but ___ rejoicing in truth, ___ always protective of the poor, ___ always trusting in God,
___ always hoping in Him, ___ always persevering, ___ never failing in God’s eyes.
Did you have any trouble saying these words with confidence? If so it was because you dropped out of the Presence. Out of His Presence we can feel unholy and guilty. In the eyes of God we are holy and blameless. Ephesians 1:4 Consciously experience being in His Presence when saying these words and note the difference. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___
DAY THIRTY ONE: VII PENTECOST ROMANS 8:35-39WHO CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD?
Ask yourself as we close these thirty one days, what difference does it make when you read this passage, if you know how to access the Presence of God’s love within or not? Think of the consequences. How many people read it and never get it because they do not know the simple movement of soul power? Without this understanding and practice, they will stumble during difficult times. We have a choice to go through these times either in the Presence or out. Which would you do?
Some people think spirituality is taking time to pray, or going on a retreat and being among spiritual people. That is only the practice of spirituality. Real spirituality is not seen in the beauty of things, but in the darkness. It is a time when all around you is going to hell and you are able to stay in the grace. It is when you come off a retreat feeling full of the Spirit. When you get home you find the water heater has broken and all your new rugs are ruined. If you can stay in the Presence during the next few days, you are having a spiritual moment.
When we are in the head, we think events create our feelings. We think, how can you stay in the Presence, when you are undergoing tribulation, stress, persecution, famine, nakedness or the sword? We think the reason I am upset is, because of I am going through these events. The truth is, we do not have to feel distressed every time we face tribulation. It is possible to be in God’s Peace when under persecution. It takes knowledge of how to do it and a lot of practice doing it.
As you think about going up against a difficult time, what difference does it make if you are out of the Presence, than when you are in? Spell it out. As you wonder how it is feels to be in one or the other position, realize how using soul power brings the dynamics of the movement into reality. You not only experience the power of the soul, but in the end you actually experience being the soul. You are a peaceful, loving, joyful and wise person. This is your true self.
As you reflect on these thirty one days, review your ratings from the start to now. Have you found times when you could “swagger” internally. Not in a proud way, but in a joyful, loving, carefree manner? If this has been helpful for you, my suggestion is do it again, Go over the lessons. Seek not a new teaching, but a deeper one. The more familiar you become with practicing soul power, the more you will discover what is already there but is still unknown.
Give your soul a final grade. On a basis of 1-10, how do you rate the power of your soul to move you from head, to heart, to focus on the Presence within? ___