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God IS taking care of you! And God IS taking care of me! I am excited about my life as it unfolds, oftentimes without any seeming responsibility on my part, other than to cooperate with God and let it happen. Isn’t it wonderful how when we get out of the way, we can change and grow? Oftentimes, we don’t like it at the time, but in retrospect, we see it was the best thing.
If God is your copilot – switch seats!
I have a prayer that I want to pray before we worship.
We ask God to take full charge of this experience.
Have Thy way in me, Lord. Have Thy way in me. Have Thy way in my thoughts, my actions, my feelings, and in my decisions. Have Thy way in me, Lord. Have Thy way in me.
Dear God, right now we are each open and receptive, knowing that this is a spiritual experience, in which we each are being lifted to a higher level of life. Have Your way in each of us.
And so it is. In Jesus Christ’s name … Amen.
I want to share a Bible story with you. First, we are going to review it historically and literally, and then we are going to review it spiritually. There is a lot more meaning to this story than just the general surface level. It is found in John 8:1-11 [RSV].
“They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and placing her in the midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?’ This they said to test him that they might have some charge to bring against him.
“Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
“She said, ‘No one, Lord.’
“And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.’
As we review this story literally and historically, we notice that there are three groups of characters in it: the scribes and the Pharisees (the so-called leading citizens), the adulteress, and Jesus Christ. The scribes and the Pharisees are individuals who are accustomed to condemning others. They may be “enlightened” citizens and they may be very prosperous, but they condemn what they see outside of themselves. One other thing we notice about them is that they lack compassion. Also, they are very weak men who come together to deal with what appears to be a defenseless woman. They may be popular in the eyes of men because of their positions, but in the eyes of God, they are not very popular at all. And obviously, they have unforgiving hearts.
Then there is the adulteress. This is the woman who is about to be stoned. We know according to the story that she was caught in the act of adultery. There is no mention of the man she was involved with.
She felt that because of the law, she faced certain death. Jesus Christ was brought into her life because of this dilemma.
She learned that even in hopeless situations, there is hope through the activity and the love of Jesus Christ.
The other, in our story, is Jesus Christ. Jesus faced three dilemmas. The first one being the Mosaic Law: should He allow them to stone her? Second, should He tell them to let her go? Or third, should He ignore the situation and walk away, to save His own skin?
Remember, He knelt down and began writing on the ground with his finger. There are many points of view on this particular act. I feel that he was kneeling on the ground and writing because he was praying, trying to figure out what to do; he needed to take his attention away from the appearances, the dilemma. He knew that the woman should not be stoned, so He asked God for the solution that would bring about the greatest good in this challenge.
Jesus knew that He had to find a way to not negate, but yet to spiritualize and override the Mosaic teachings in those days.
Now, let’s look at this, spiritually. The word adultery spiritually means “mixed thoughts” or errors that have their existence in the unregenerated feelings or thoughts that have not come under the dominion of God. In its literal usage, adultery meant sexual relations outside of marriage. It refers to a physical experience only, but to adulterate also means to add something other that cheapens the quality or upsets the completeness of your life, your actions, or an experience.
As we relate to other people, ARE WE relating from our highest and best? Are we beholding the best, in ourselves and others, as we relate to people?
Back then many marriages were arranged, it had absolutely nothing to do with how the person felt about the other, because this is the way it is supposed to be.
“I don’t have to like you. I’m in a relationship with you, so this is what you have to do. You promised you would be with me, so this is what you have to do.” It really has nothing much to do with how I feel about you and myself.
That can be adultery. It is cheating on expressing the love of God. If we do not behold the love of God in ourselves and that individual in your relationship, that can be adultery.
What inspired this particular woman, in this situation, was not so much her physical act, but what thoughts and feelings she was holding in her mind. I think the men in this situation represent the intellect in you and me. When the intellect is working without the heart, we get into trouble. The heart is the woman in this situation. Have you ever noticed that about yourself? Have you ever noticed that when you don’t combine the wholeness of your mind AND heart that you tend to get yourself into trouble?
What is interesting about this is that the men were trying to condemn this particular person – which means, when the intellect of you is so full of information, acting so knowledgeable, and tries to make decisions, like condemning this woman, we really are condemning ourselves. That is why the first stone is never cast.
I love the way Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” In other words, He was saying that if you want to kill this person (yourself), admit that you never made a mistake.
You will notice that they all started leaving … the eldest ones first. Those thoughts that we have held onto the longest leave first. Why should I waste a moment condemning any part of me or someone else? Even though there seem to be three characters, each one of them is in all of us. The activity takes place; the healing is within us; and the problem is outside of us. As we behold the Christ love, we each become a whole, complete person. This is good.
The Christ asked, “Where are your accusers?” When we go within, in prayer and meditation, and ask God to make us clean and whole in every way, even those thoughts and points of views I have hidden from myself, the Christ will give us the solutions. In other words, you have made mistakes before … change. Open yourself to a new life within you. Change you. You use that energy, that power, that love of Christ in you, to change yourself.
When Jesus asked where the accusers were, they were all gone. Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” The Christ never condemns. The Christ is always there with a win/win situation. If you want a win/win situation, always turn to God and you will find it.
We have all had some problems that could not have solved alone. Few have managed to get through life without going in prayer, and turning to the Christ? I have never seen anyone figure out the full good of God’s love, without turning to God. As you turn to God and allow yourself to have that experience, new things happen.
How do we go about changing our lives? We say that life changes at certain times in our lives. I tell you that we are daily changing. The greatest suffering or pain comes when we resist that change, because it is natural to change. Be renewed by the changing of your mind, the changing of your life, or the changing of your experiences.
Do not cheat on your God-given potential. The greatest sin is to live and die, and fail to really live, to cheat on our real God-given potential. Have you ever spent a moment looking back at some of the things you used to do and you realize you don’t do them anymore? Isn’t that wonderful! If you could also think back to when you made a change in direction, a change in consciousness, or a change in attitude, you would remember that you really didn’t like it, at first; it was not very comfortable. But you realized it was the best thing that could ever happen to you.
I have three steps to share with you about changing your life. We are motivated to change, not so much from what is happening outside of us (although we do describe it as such), but by something that happens inside of us. There is a Divine discontent, or an unrest. It does not have a whole lot to do with our station in life.
People from all walks of life have the same feelings. Some have PhD’s; some have businesses; some are schoolteachers. Yet, inside of each of them, they will tell you, at one time or another, there was a void, a discontent, something that was missing. And if their friends asked them why they were going to make a change, they answered, “I just have to do it.” It may not make logical sense, if it seems you have the decision made right now, but there is some type of discontent inside which says, “There is something higher, something different, something better.” You can’t deal with it with logic. You have to let go and let God.
The invitation to change takes place when there is some sort of inner unrest or incompleteness. This unrest or incompleteness could be a sign that we are adulterating our thoughts, which means that we are trying to rationalize this motivation that God has stimulated in us. We try to change the view or the prompting that God has given us.
So, the first step is that when there is a sense of unrest or discontent, generally, that is God telling you there is something better, something different, waiting for you.
The second step is rather than to fight your accusers, go within and ask for guidance. In other words, rather than acting on our first instinct which is usually to fight the feeling or the experience as the accusers were doing with this lady, be still and take time to ask for guidance. If you will notice, Jesus took time. He did not respond quickly. There are situations that take place in our lives that are so complex, that we need to be still, let go, be at peace, and not make a quick decision. Wait on the Lord for the Divine guidance and the Divine answer.
The third step, which is so powerful, do as Jesus said: “Go and sin no more.” Don’t make that mistake again. You will make mistakes in the future, but don’t make that one again. Once you are re-directed, you go forward, not backward. Sometimes we keep doing things over and over again. Sometimes we get stuck. We don’t have to get stuck.
If you experience Divine discontent, go within and ask for guidance. Once you get that guidance, go into action and go forward.
Life change is what is unfolding in us right now. I’m experiencing it, wonderfully. I am learning that if I am non-resistant to these changes and let them happen naturally, I enjoy the journey.
A young woman, 95 years of age who didn’t have much formal education, but instead had an abundance of Divine wisdom once said, “Don’t you know that if you accept it, it won’t hurt so bad?”
If we let go and let God, through the midst of change when we have this Divine discontent, this unrest, instead of labeling it, realize that you are God’s holy child and you are good. Ask for guidance and do those things you are guided to do, as quickly as possible. Don’t fight it. Then, go and sin no more. Don’t make that mistake again. Go forward and enjoy your new life. A new life is unfolding for each of us. A life of change is a certainty. Let us know that God goes ahead of us on our path of life and that we never walk alone.
Let’s relax and know that even this very second, in each of us, there is a newness of spirit that is consuming those thoughts we may adulterate by mixing something impure into them. We behold the Christ love in ourselves, and it is our mission to behold the Christ love in others. Not only are we experiencing a change in life, but others are also. We accept this and are non-resistant to this, because God is in charge of all us.
Let us pray:
Thank You, dear God, for life, for unfoldment of new life, and especially for giving us the courage and ability to accept and enthusiastically enjoy a changed life.
And so it is … In Jesus Christ’s name … Amen
God bless you!
PRAYER / MEDITATION___________________________
During our time of prayer and meditation, we open ourselves entirely to this spiritual experience. Our experience this day is one of Divinely directed change, the opportunity to change our point of view, change experiences, change what we feel about ourselves and others, through the help of God.
“We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s Will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Colossians 1:9
Rest in the silence of prayer …
Change comes to all of us, for growth brings change. Change need never frighten us. Change can be whatever we make it – a blessing or a challenge. It is always made into a blessing through God’s power.
Is some change shaking the foundation of your world as you have known it? Are the circumstances of your life turning in a different direction, making you unsure of what lies ahead?
Listen to the words God put upon the mind of the prophet Isaiah [paraphrased]:
“Thus say the Lord, remember not the former things or consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing something new. Now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
God’s promise to you is that God will be with you through any change. Sometimes we expend great energy in resisting change simply because we feel unaccustomed to it and feel accustomed to the familiar, comfortable patterns are already established in our lives.
Rest in the silence of prayer …
It is during these times that a change in the pattern, whether small or major, can seem to throw us off balance and cause us to feel confused or upset. When such an event occurs, the best course we can take is to center ourselves in God and affirm our oneness with God.
As we center ourselves in God, let us realize that change is part of God’s Divine plan for us–a plan that will help us achieve what is highest and best for us.
Rest in the silence of prayer …
Do you wish for some circumstance to be changed right now? It can be, with God’s help. It will be changed, for nothing remains forever the same. Do you wish that your life could be different? It can be with God’s help. Through God this very moment, things are changing for the better. Old limitations are falling away. New and inviting doors are opening before you.
Ask for God’s help in the silence of prayer …
Do you wish that you had more strength, more life, more vitality? You can with God’s help. You have this help right now, for you have the strengthening, sustaining, and revitalizing life of God, mighty in the midst of you. Right now you can be happy, free, strong, and well. Right now, this very moment, your life can change, and it is changing for the better.
Dear God, we are so grateful for life, as it is unfolding in our life and in our experiences. We are grateful for the courage, strength, vision and stability of mind we have to know that all things are actually working together for our highest good, even in the midst of change.
Not only do we welcome this truth for ourselves, but as we go beyond this sanctuary, we know that for all people everywhere, there is this energy of change and growth. This motivation is stimulating the minds and hearts of all Your creation, dear God. We are so grateful.
We know this for our world, and the leaders of the countries of our world. We know that this change is touching each of them, inviting them to study spiritual things and to look for peaceful ways to live together.
Change is taking place. We know this for ourselves and for our world.
In Jesus Christ’s nature, rest in the silence of prayer …
As we return to full awareness of this experience, this morning, opening ourselves as never before, allowing our fears to become still, our inhibitions and anxieties to quiet themselves, we are directed and we feel the influence of the change that our souls desire, with God’s full and active help.
We go forth now. And as we do, we remain excited for this Jesus Christ experience of change. For this we are so grateful.
And so it is … Amen.
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