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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Rev-Bates shares Wisdom of Paramahansa Yogananda on Christ Consciousness

Saturday, September 22, 2018

JOY Is the Motivation

         JOY Is one of the greatest gifts we can share with each other.  Many times we overlook the opportunities to give of this wonderful gift and so we lose the opportunity to have It returned to us.  JOY Is an attribute of God that Is resident within each of us.  When we receive It and when we share It with others, we can feel it, we can even feel it move through us physically.  We know that whatever we give to anyone, we give to ourselves.  So as we take every possible opportunity to give as much JOY out to the world, the more JOY will be returned to us.

                 Imagine your Life filled with JOY.......... real JOY..... not the smiling face that we put on to cover up a heart filled with sorrow and disappointment or the smile that camouflages a mind heavy with troubles and concern. 
JOY frees the mind to accept new ideas.  JOY frees the soul to give and accept Love freely and easily.  JOY stimulates the imagination to go beyond the Life we have lived to a Life filled with richness and vitality.  But to do so, we must let go of our ego, let go of our timidity, our reserved-ness and truly let It SPRING FORTH FROM WITHIN US!

JOY has healing power.  As we allow ourselves to fully experience the JOY within, It heals our mind, It heals our heart and It heals our soul of the baggage that we drag with us from the past into the present.  "The JOY of the Lord Is upon me."  This beautiful passage from the scriptures tells us emphatically that JOY Is of G-d.  We must recognize It, we must pray for It, we must strive to embrace It in our daily lives, in our relationships with others and in all things that concern us and those we love.

JOY!  JOY!  JOY!  It is the motivating power for all desire.  Whatever it is that we want, desire, wish for or pray for, JOY Is at the heart of it!  A new car brings us greater JOY, a new home brings us greater JOY, a wonderful, loving relationship brings us JOY!  JOY Is the motivation behind all desires for Good.  "THERE IS GOOD FOR ME AND I OUGHT TO HAVE IT," this Is the thought of Truth that leads us to G-d, to move us to increase our spiritual awareness.  This thought creates in us dissatisfaction with the mundane, with a Life rife with struggle and fear.  This thought is with us at all times but often we will repress it, refuse to allow it.  It can even begin to evoke fear within our minds, fear that what we have is all we can have,  fear that what we have experienced in the past is pretty much what we will experience in the future.  But this Is not the Truth if we are willing to increase our Consciousness of JOY.

                 It takes strength to create JOY, especially when the conditions and circumstances of our lives are frustrating to us. 
But we must unite with that Divine Fire within us or we become an isolated spark.  We are strong only when we are united with gift of G-d; Joy, Love, Happiness, Harmony, Peace, Light.  As soon as our consciousness is detached from the spiritual Good, we can no longer draw from that inexhaustible reservoir of eternal existence, so we become exhausted - joy-less, as though there is nothing to fall back on.

                 Life Is one perfect Wholeness.  The Universe is One.  G-d Is One. 
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO FEEL SEPARATED FROM THE SPIRIT WITHOUT FEELING LOST AND IN WANT.  This is why Jesus said he could do nothing of himself, but could work only as the currents of divinity ran through his personal mentality.  That subtle something which runs through all things and which we call G-d, that energy without which nothing can be energized, that Life without which nothing can live, that Power without which nothing can move, and that Spirit without which nothing can be - IS G-D - THE JOY OF G-D energizing our thoughts, our mind, our soul and our physical body.  It is only as we live in conscious union with the Spirit, and consciously let It work through us and as us, can we really live.

Pray for JOY - declare JOY as manifest in every area of your Life.  Feel the JOY in every experience that you are having knowing that no matter what is going on, the energy of JOY will propel you into your highest and greatest Good.  SHARE THE JOY WITHIN YOU WITH EVERYONE AT EVERY POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY!  GIVE JOY FROM THAT INFINITE SOURCE OF JOY WITHIN YOU AND IT WILL RETURN TO YOU MULTIPLIED ABUNDANTLY!  I GUARANTEE IT!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

MONEY (that's what I want)

          Never let it be said of money that it is good or bad ... for to say such things is nonsense ... it is neither, only thinking makes it so.  In scripture we are cautioned not to seek money but to seek God ... and the reasoning is perfect ... God is more abundant than any amount of money we can imagine.

            Millions of people buy Lottery tickets thinking that money is going to buy them all that they want ... and this will make them happy ... until, of course, they realize that money cannot buy you peace, love, health and confidence ... it can only buy you things.  And the truth is, money can also diminish our peace, love, health, confidence and happiness ... for many people who receive great amounts of money live in fear that they will lose it or that the people around them are there only because of their money.  People can be very clever when it comes to money and God ... most feel very uncomfortable with praying for money.  Now, I am not referring to people who are struggling with debts or financial challenges ... their desire for money is of a totally different nature ... it is not so much money that they are seeking, but a solution.

    "Thine own is seeking after thee, therefore cease thou from seeking after it" ... this great statement of Truth applies to money just as much as it does to any other thing.  Money has only the power that we give it ... and our seeking after it instills within us a feeling of lack ... and this feeling of lack is the power that keeps us in lack ... it is just that simple.

          "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all things shall be added unto you" ... this is Principle and it works precisely for everyone who remains steadfast to It.  The kingdom of God is the kingdom of Good ... and "the kingdom of heaven is within you" ... happiness, joy, peace, harmony, love and confidence ... seek to "be" in tune with these things and all things shall be added unto you.  It is this seeking the Good that attracts people and opportunities to us.  When we are happy we can think more clearly ... when we are at peace with our life, we make decisions with clarity rather than from fear or worry ... it is the seeking to embody these things that opens our mind to ideas that prosper us so that we may gain greater confidence as we see the evidence of things in our experience.  But ... for many of us ... we must temporarily look through appearances that seem to be against us ... we must move through debt and unemployment ... and for some of us, strong feelings of helplessness and powerlessne ss.  But ... look through them and move through them we must ... else we may find ourselves walking through the valley of death ... filled with self-pity.  And I do not mean a physical death ... but a death to hope, trust and faith ... within ourselves ... and for many of us, this can become a long-term experience.

Am I teaching a Pollyanna philosophy when I state that we are to look through the appearances of the conditions and circumstances in our lives to that which is beyond only in faith?  Absolutely not!  Why?  Because millions of people have practiced this same method ... the practice of the Love of God, or the Good ... rather than the love of money ... and have been prospered more abundantly than they ever could have imagined possible.  And what one man/woman can do ... every man and woman can do ... and that is the Truth.

              EVERYTHING in our experience is a reflection of our beliefs.  God is belief and belief is Law.  The spiritual genius, Jesus, was not the first to declare, "it is done unto you as you believe (Law) as it was written five centuries before Him in the Bhagavad-Gita.  It is a "change-less, Universal Law" ... we may not always be conscious of it, just as we may not always be conscious of the Presence of God ... but it is ever-present and always working.  Our beliefs affect our health, our career, our relationships, our self-esteem and our money.

             Our beliefs, being the Law of our Life, determine the measure of happiness, joy, abundance, love and success that we are to experience.  The more money we desire to have, the greater must be our "belief" in our ability to choose and initiate ideas that will prosper us.  God will never do anything for us that It cannot do through us ... so, we must first "choose" the measure of financial abundance that we want to experience ... and then, we must "initiate" the "choice" in our mind.  We cannot demonstrate financial abundance, if we believe that we will always struggle or have to deal with "money challenges" in some form or another.  I often have people tell me that they have demonstrated prosperity and then "boom" ... some financial demand is made on them that takes them by surprise and they are back to struggling with finances again.  This is often the result when we do not "pay attention" to our money.  We would never consider not feeding our body every day ... but often, people will not feed their mind with ideas of prosperity and plenty of money daily until their bank accounts have wasted away.

               Several years ago, a minister stood up in her church and
said, "we don't need money all we need is God."   This can be a fatal mistake to our prosperity ... and it was to this church.  God is not separate from money ... money is as much a part of God as health, happiness, love and joy ... and lack of money can affect all these in a negative way.  Our beliefs about money can destroy our happiness, our relationships and even our health ... "lack" is no "respecter of specificity" ... our belief in "lack" may demonstrate lack of money, lack of health, lack of relationships, lack of success ... and may do all of them at the same time if our belief in lack is energized with deep conviction.  By allowing ourselves to remain in a struggle with money ... we may sabotage our career, our relationships and even our health.  The belief in "lack" can be subtle in its movement throughout our life's experiences.

                How do we overcome a belief in lack?  We do it by following and mastering the greatest lesson given to the world regarding prosperity ... by the Master Mind Jesus.  He said, "he who has little, will have even less, and he who has much, will have even more still."  In other words, if we allow our mind to dwell on our little or lack ... we will continue to experience lack and may even lose the little that we have.  Why?  Because we are thinking outside of the Law ... the Law is BELIEVE ... anyone can believe in what they see ... but the Law of Belief makes the demand on us to BELIEVE BEFORE WE SEE.  This is why Jesus said, "look up, not down" ... if we look up to infinity ... then we initiate an action in "mind" that realizes there is more than the eye can see ... in all things ... including money.

              A few years back sometime in 2012, there were news stories galore about Televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch (Both Paul and Jan Crouch are now deceased) were accused of misappropriating its 'charitable assets' toward a $50 million jet, 13 mansions and a $100,000-mobile home for Mrs. Crouch's dogs.  Anyone who ever watched the programs presented by Paul and Jan Crouch should not have been surprised that they enjoyed “bling” (for those not familiar with the word it refers to expensive, ostentatious clothing and jewelry, or the wearing of them) … and people kept donating money to them.  Why?  Because they inspired people … yes, they did.  People believed if Paul and Jan could live such luxurious lifestyles then perhaps they could too with enough faith.  Was it faith in G-d or faith in Paul and Jan?  We don’t know and I would venture to say that most of the people in their audience probably didn’t really know either.

               And of course there were those who called them “evil” because of their luxurious and sometimes hilarious presentations but the “money is the root of all evil” silliness is a belief that is no longer valid for most people.  Most of us want money … more and more money … an ever-increasing amount of money … because most of us can find all manner of “good” things to do with money.  People who resent other people having money or think that other people have it and they don’t will never truly enjoy the happiness brought forth from a prosperity consciousness.  It is a great joy to give to others and to share our wealth with good causes and good people.  It is a great joy to leave the struggle for money and the worry about debts behind us.  Who doesn’t want that which is better or of a higher quality?  Who doesn’t want the best of medical care if it is needed?  Who doesn’t want to invest in someone who is deserving of our help?  Money opens up our world and broadens our experience of life.  If money is what you want … then consciously choose it.  If money is what you want … then use your intelligence to deny any idea or belief that you cannot have it.  If money is what you want, then open your mind to the ideas that will prosper you and act on them.  If money is what you want … put it in your mind that you have it!  No one can read your mind or your thoughts or your imagination ... build your wealth to the level of prosperity that you desire in your mind ... as within, so without.

Keep the faith!
Rev Bates

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Does God Love You?

I came across an article this week written by one of the mega-church pastors that said what people want to know is that “God loves them.  God forgives them.” … and in so many words, then they can go on with their lives.  My initial response was “forgives them” for what?  Are there that many people who think they need to be forgiven for something that they fill the pews of mega-churches across the country?  And to the question as to whether G-d loves them or not, it is simple enough to know; do you love yourself?  If you do, then G-d loves you too.  If people go around thinking that they are a bad person or a person who does bad things, then they need to clear up their consciousness by making amends to the people and things they can and change their ways and in this they will find forgiveness.  There is no god that can forgive us as only we can “give up” those things that create a negative idea about ourselves in our mind.

              I have often see the bumper-sticker “Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven” and it always makes me laugh but a little sad as well.  For people to think that it takes someone outside of their own consciousness; i.e. G-d or Jesus, or whomever, to forgive us is foolishness.  We are in the image of G-d.  G-d is not in the image of mankind.  We are Spirit, Life and Intelligence.  We have the intelligence to know when we need to “correct” something in our lives.  All that is necessary is the choice to do so and the conviction to see it through until old negative habits are displaced by a renewed enlightenment.

               The other thing I have noticed that has increased tremendously over the past few years are the number of Christians who state that they are being persecuted.  Not in Saudi Arabia or Iran or Muslim dominated countries, but here in the United States.  Few of these people take the time to stop and realize that the only religion that has National recognition of their holy days in America is Christianity.  Every non-Security government agency shuts down on Christmas no matter what day it falls on.  As do all businesses.  The Stock Exchanges are closed on Good Friday.  No other religion is given this same recognition in the U.S.  And this isn’t based on history as the first settlers in America did not celebrate Christmas.  It is through religious political power.  Christians should be glad that we have a Santa Claus and an Easter Bunny hiding Easter Eggs, because without these I am certain that Christmas and Easter would have faded tremendously in popularity decades ago.  And the political power of the religious organizations would have diminished tremendously along with it.

              But, for now, religion is still the main beat of the drum and so people who really fail to evolve in their spiritual awareness continue to attract massive numbers of followers … and wealth.  Joel Osteen is a very likeable guy and a sincere one and to most people he is a cut-above the typical Evangelical-type pastor.  But even his messages are filled with the “god out there somewhere” theology:  From Joel Osteen’s message “It’s All Good
”:  Are you going through a difficulty today and wondering if God is there? Life is full of things we don’t like or understand. But God won’t allow a difficulty unless He’s going to somehow use it for our good. In this encouraging message, Joel is going to show you how to trust God in all things! You see, God can see the big picture for our lives. He promises in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord.” Not some things, but all things. That means the pain, the loss, when a dream doesn’t work out, when a loved one betrays us, even in in our darkest hour, God has a plan. You’ll learn how to pray bold prayers and stay focused. No man controls your destiny; God does!”

The Truth is, we control our own destiny and it would be a capricious god that would dominate us and take away our freedom of choice.  There is no such god.  Our difficulties are not of G-d’s making but our own momentary lapses of using our intelligence to not realize the consequences of what we say or do.  Osteen is correct that Life is full of things that we don’t like or understand but his mistake is in teaching that G-d allows or disallows something to happen in our experiences.  An illustration of this would be that G-d is a Puppet Master and we are mere puppets.  Everything that happens to us is based on our choosing; what we believe, what we think, what we say and what we do.  All of these involve personal choice.

            For many people, what they think goes not further than the imposed ideas and beliefs they appropriate from others.  And for many these imposed ideas and beliefs come from their friends and religious affiliations.  The New York Times has an article titled “Friendship’s Dark Side: ‘We Need A Common Enemy” written and researched by Natalie Angier.  Here is an excerpt from the article: “…. researchers who explore the deep nature of friendship admit the bond can have its thorns, bruise spots and pesticide traces.

        Take the new evidence that people choose friends who resemble themselves, right down to the moment-to-moment pattern of blood flow in the brain. The tendency toward homophily, toward flocking together with birds of your inner and outer feather, gives rise to a harmonious sense of belonging and shared purpose, to easy laughter and volumes of subtext mutually, wordlessly, joyfully understood.
          But homophily, researchers said, is also the basis of tribalism, xenophobia and racism, the urge to “otherize” those who differ from you and your beloved friends in one or more ways.”

            Interesting article.  It reminds me of another article I read several weeks ago regarding a poll of people who attend church and the number one reason they said they attended church was to “socialize with like-minded people.”  It wasn’t for the love of G-d or to worship G-d, although that was the second most popular response, but to be around people like them.  It reminded me of when I visited my family in Missouri and my mother and I went to a Christian Church, fairly large for small town Mexico, Missouri and there were no people of color in the church audience.  The next Sunday I went to a Baptist Church with a Black congregation and was asked to speak at the podium as at the time I was in ministerial training with Dr. O. C. Smith in Los Angeles and the Pastor of the church was so impressed by this that he wanted me to speak.  It took only a minute or two for the audience to respond to my words and it was one of the best times of my life.  I was so impressed that the Pastor was willing to let someone who he knew was “different” speak to his congregation.  This is not the norm in most churches.

           This wanting to be around people who look like us and think like us has been true throughout history.  In primitive times this created tribal patterns.  Artists realized this when they began to create paintings of religious figures like Jesus, Moses and other biblical persons.  The same is true of those who created paintings of Buddha, Krishna and others.  This attracted those who maintained this “tribal” consciousness.  Mega churches are a reflection of this “tribal” consciousness and have been very successful in attracting those who desire being surrounding by others like them.  This has caused some Western Christians to see Jesus with blonde hair and blue eyes.  At some level they know this is not true but perception is not always based on reality. 

           A friend of mine sent me a video that provides a humorous,
but truthful, illustration of this:
           Finally, does G-d love you?  Yes, just as much as you do!

And so it is!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Jesus, not forgotten

            It is wonderful timing that Good Friday, Passover and Easter coincide this year.  This is not always the case and in some years they are several days apart.  The reason I feel it is wonderful is that we can celebrate the courage, conviction and faith of the Master Mind Jesus and all those who gifted us, along with Moses, with a reason to celebrate Passover throughout all of these holidays.  Jesus was Jewish and lived his entire life as a Jew and so he observed Passover and that is a given. As someone who has read Hugh Schonfield’s “The Passover Plot”, Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus” and Reza Aslan’s “Zealot:  The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth”, I am still in awe of the consciousness of the Master Mind Jesus that he is still commanding attention, controversy and worship.  I am not religious and so I have no imposition upon me as to what or what not to believe about his life.  In fact, I recently reiterated to a long-time friend that I respect the “positive elements” of all religions.
           The Resurrection celebrated on Easter Sunday gives rise to that within each of us who desire to resurrect some aspect of our life to that which brings us peace; our health, our relationships, our finances, success, and so forth.  It is not necessary that we follow a religion in order to benefit from the time spent in sacred silence supporting our inner desire for resurrection of our happiness and peace.

              The amazingly wonderful Dr. Domenic Polifrone gifted us with this spiritual affirmation for Easter and Passover:
I AM the Resurrection and the Life. Halleluiah!
Resurrection to me is enjoying richness and abundance of a new life. As I open my life to the continual flow of Divine ideas they spring forth from within. These ideas come from God, and God is Good all the time. Knowing this to be the truth, I am strong and resilient. Right now I open my spiritual vision to see Divine order. I give thanks for the opportunities available to me.
I AM the Resurrection and the Life. Halleluiah!
In the book of Exodus 3:14 God said “I am that I am” and this infallible truth has sustained millions through the ages.  With patience and confidence, I commit to feeling grounded and secure in Him and in every decision that I make. Now, I have time to fully align with Spirit's guidance and direction. Gratitude fills me as my blessings come to mind. I am like a seed, ready to yield more love, health and prosperity. “In the glorious splendor of your majesty and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”  Psalm 145:5
I AM the Resurrection and the Life. Halleluiah!I share my joy by expressing it in all that I do or say. Divine ideas and solutions now come forth with ease. Each one of us is the victorious expression of God as we march forward in this triumphant resurrection. I give thanks for this rich demonstration that is taking place in my life right now. Matt 6:17 “Let your light shine before men that they might see your good works and give thanks to your Father that is in Heaven.”
I AM the Resurrection and the Life. Halleluiah!
and so it is.

              I am going to share with you, with commentary, “The Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes” which is the heart and soul of the Master Mind Jesus’ teachings:
Matthew Chapter 5 King James Version Bible (KJV) And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. [they shall be comforted as they accept the Truth that we are of G-d and in G-d and our Spirit is eternal; death is a transition to New Life] Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. [the meek are teachable and shall gain the enlightenment; something that those who are arrogant or with their minds closed shall never experience] Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. [it never matters what others say about us; right thinking or righteous maintained in our mind shall provide us with the consciousness that knows that the only thing that is important is what we think of ourselves] 13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. [He is referring to the Ten Commandments which are spiritual laws that keep mankind civilized and in tune with "do unto others as you would have others do unto you''; He is not referring to the cultural laws that were created by mankind] 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. [in other words, our mind will be filled with such misery and injustice that we will feel like we are in hell] 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. [don't argue or get into confrontations with people; be willing to hold your tongue and walk away when necessary; remember all that matters is what you believe within your mind; there are people who will use us unmercifully if we let ourselves get into their drama] 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. 27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. [our mind rules our life so what we think and feel is an actual experience for us] 29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. [He is telling us to cast out of our mind anything that holds our attention to that which is negative or hateful and begin to see the good in life and in the world in which we live] 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. [don't hold onto things that cause you to feel guilt or shame; forgive your self and loose the hell caused by anxiety and depression that can lead to drug addiction or alcohol addiction or worse] 31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. [in the era that He gave this teaching men could just throw their wives out of the house without any means of support or housing or ability to fend for themselves; and He is speaking also about those who would take advantage of these desperate women; this has nothing to do with modern day divorce with Community Property laws, palimony and alimony for both men and women] 33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. [I was on a jury review once and a man told the judge that he couldn't swear on the Bible and he couldn't judge because he was a Christian; this is not true according to the teachings of Jesus where we "judge with righteous judgment" based on facts and we say yea or nay without offering our "opinions" and judge the facts alone] 38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [this is not a passive teaching but a commonsense one; revenge in our mind poisons our body and mind; we should look at each situation in a different way and try to come to a solution for all involved] 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. [this is a hard teaching for many people but He is telling us that if we keep faith with G-d we can give without fear of loss] 43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? [this teaching is just as relevant today; we may not have enemies but far too many of us have people that we don't love because religion and politics have made us very tribal; we love those who look like us, believe like us, etc. but there is nothing spiritual about this state of mind] 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” [know that we are all a work in progress and don't sweat the small stuff]
            I am sure most of you have determined that not all that is included in this Sermon is positive and lovely.  Let us not forget the era in which it was written (AD 80-AD 90).  This was almost 100 years after the physical death of the Master Mind Jesus.  Do we know if these words were the actual words used by the Master Mind Jesus?  No.  But, we do know that these words are consistent with the teachings of both the Jewish and Christian faiths during that period of time.  If we allow ourselves to focus on those words which speak to the eternal and changeless Truth that G-d Is Love then we shall be more the better for them.

Keep the faith!
Henry Lee Bates
(Reverend Dr.)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

thoughts and prayers ... The Way to a Wonderful Life

                    If someone has not heard a politician utter the words "thoughts and prayers" then they have probably have no interest in news.  The phase has become the mantra for those in leadership positions in our country to deflect from their lack of action on anything that might resemble a solution especially to the ever-growing problem of guns in America.  Amazingly enough every time there is a domestic terrorist attack in America gun sales increase.  More guns that become available to those who can obtain them legally and those who burglarize homes and businesses to obtain them.  To purchase a gun legally in many states in the U.S. is easier than getting a driver's license and someone not legally at the age to purchase alcoholic beverages can legally buy a gun.  There is a graphic spreading across the Internet and Social Media of an Australian church sign which reads:  "WHEN WILL THEY LOVE THEIR KIDS MORE THAN THEIR GUNS" ... it is a startling indictment of the culture of America.

                      I have often wondered why the phrase "thoughts and prayers" became so often used.  My conclusion, and mind you this is just my opinion, is that those who use the phrase foolishly believe it lets them off the hook for coming up with intelligent solutions or taking action in some way.  It is like saying I have feelings about these people who are being murdered even though I don't do anything that might prevent future murders.  It is almost like saying "this is God's responsibility and not mine."  In other words, we are offering prayers to the Big Guy In The Sky God to do something so we don't have to.  It is in reality a form of blasphemy.

         As the American Mystic Ernest Holmes
writes: "Spirit responds to us by corresponding to our states of thought. We enter into Spirit in such degree as we comprehend It. It enters into us through correspondence in such degree as we comprehend It. Prayer, communion with Spirit, and meditation or contemplation are for the purpose of unifying our minds with the Universal Mind, opening up the avenues of our thought to a greater influx."  In other words, our prayers should be that the Intelligence which is G-d will bring into our mind the right solution, the right action to take, and the courage and integrity to follow through.  It seems our government leaders are mostly all ignorant of this.  The Infinite has endowed us with intelligence but it is up to us to choose to use this intelligence and to choose to take intelligent action to solve the issues of our world.

          These words from the Master Mind Jesus found in the Gospel of Matthew 18:2-6 should give the government leaders of America who tell us how Christian they are something to consider: 
And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
           "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to be harmed, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."

             The American President, Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and the NRA funded Marco Rubio need to decide, which do you love more? ... the money you receive from the NRA or our children?  The Intelligence that created these men will guide them to the right decision, if they let It.

Keep the Faith!

Henry Lee Bates
(Reverend Dr.)