Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Today's Encouraging Word

Light within all living beingsImage by Unitopia via Flickr

If you attempt new things and make choices that stretch your horizons, you will embark on an exciting journey. You will begin to see the marvelous being God created you to be – a being filled with more capabilities than you ever dreamed possible. The journey begins when you gain an understanding of what potential is and how you can release it. For once you understand the wealth God gave you, to turn from consciously and conscientiously unwrapping God’s gift is to abort your potential and refuse to fulfill the purpose for which He gave you life. The knowledge of what you have failed to use to benefit yourself, your contemporaries, and the generations to follow will judge you on the great day of accountability. Potential is given to be released, not wasted.

Dr. Myles Munroe
(from Releasing Your Potential)
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Positive Prayer: Releasing Negative Imprints

Holy Spirit dove windowImage by hickory hardscrabble via Flickr

L.D. Turner

When a person first discovers the principles and the power of the various spiritual laws the Creator has put at our disposal, he or she is often filled with hope, enthusiasm, and positive motivation. This is both natural and as it should be, because these principles are blessings that God has given us and intends for us to use, especially when we need to make major life changes in general and changes that help us to grow spiritually in particular.

However, all too often this initial burst of enthusiasm is dampened when, despite applying these powerful spiritual principles correctly, the spiritual aspirant seems to obtain minimal results. This can be a frustrating experience, especially for those who are sincere spiritual seekers that want to not only improve themselves, but the world around them. Invariably, however, most of us reach this point when we consistently work with the Laws of Manifestation. Indeed, this can be a highly critical crossroads along the journey of spiritual development. More than a few dedicated seekers have thrown in the towel when this sort of experience begins to repeat itself with regularity. Believe me, I know because I have been there – done that.

What is even more tragic about this situation is the reality that this crisis can be worked through without too much difficulty. All it takes is a degree of awareness regarding the less-than-pristine nature of our subconscious mind and knowledge of the proper prayer tools to deal with it.

The Laws of Manifestation, those principles at play when we work to bring something from the spiritual world into manifestation on the physical plane, would work perfectly all the time if they operated through perfectly pure minds in a perfectly pure world. The unfortunate reality is, however, neither the minds in question nor the world in which they operate are anywhere near pure. We all have subconscious patterns of belief that operate beyond our capacity to control them, largely because we are unaware of them. These patterns of belief can sometimes sabotage our best intentions and, if we want to become more adept at applying spiritual law, we have to deal with these subconscious themes.

Although these subconscious themes can be stubborn at times, I have found that the most direct, effective, and simple method of dealing with these obstacles is through positive prayer. In essence, we apply the principles of affirmative prayer to the very things that seem to be blocking our prayers in the first place. As ironic as it may seem, I have found this to be the most consistently effective tool.

With that said, let me share with you a simple prayer that I use when I run up against the sort of thing we are discussing in this post. If you are struggling with stubborn, deeply entrenched patterns of negativity, I encourage you to give it a try. Like all affirmative prayer, the key is to generate feeling in your prayer and repeat it many times. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were your subconscious impediments and imprints. Likewise, they won’t crumble in a day, either. Here is the prayer:

Releasing Negative Imprints

Through the healing power of the God’s One True Light, I now release all negative imprints and impediments in my body, mind, will, and spirit. I release these personal delusions and they are no longer part of me, nor do they create obstacles to the perfect application of the Divine Laws of Manifestation. I am now cleansed and perfected – I am healed, healthy, happy, and whole.

By the power of the Holy Spirit and in the sacred name of Christ, so it is.


© L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Renewing the Mind: The Power of Affirmative Prayer

the Stainned Gless of depicting the Holy Spirit.Image via Wikipedia

L.D. Turner

Renewing the Mind: Conscious Cognition and Affirmative Prayer

Throughout his letters, Paul repeatedly demonstrates his understanding of the importance of dealing with our minds. The Apostle clearly recognizes that the mind is where our behaviors and actions begin and he also understands that it is in the mental realm where the enemy is most likely to launch his most diabolical attacks. It is for this reason that Paul tells his readers over and over again how important it is for the believer to renew the mind.

At Sacred Mind, clients and visitors often here phrases and terms related to dealing with the mind in general and the process of renewing the mind in particular. In our training programs on “Strategies for Renewing the Mind” and “Who We Are In Christ,” we typically explore the importance of developing what we call Conscious Cognition. Basically, conscious cognition involves assisting participants develop the ability to be acutely aware of their mental functioning. The more conscious we are about out thinking, the more equipped we are to master our minds.

“Conscious Cognition” is based on the teachings of Paul regarding the renewal of the mind, tearing down strongholds, and taking thoughts captive for Christ. The actual practice of conscious cognition involves disciplines such as positive thinking, positive imaging, positive statements, and affirmative prayer.

We have found that the most fruitful exercise for most people involves what is popularly referred to as Affirmative Prayer.

How to Form an Affirmative Prayer

1. Affirm your identity as a child of God and a new creation in Christ.
2. Affirm your positive connection with the Divine and the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.
3. Voice your desired goal in positive, affirmative words in the present tense.
4. Express your gratitude for having your desire granted by God.
5. Close prayer in Jesus’ name with a firm and joyous Amen!

After your formal prayer session, your Affirmative Prayer process continues in three important ways. First, maintain a sense of positive expectation in which you faithfully believe your prayer has already been answered. This is not wishful thinking or a “fake it til you make it” pretense. Instead, it is the faithful acknowledgement that, just as scripture promises, your blessing has already been provided on the spiritual world. This brings us to the second manner in which your Affirmative Prayer process continues. You act as if the object that you prayed for has already been obtained in the physical world. What this does is aid in the process of bringing your already granted blessing from the spiritual world down into the flesh and blood reality of your daily life.

The third way in which your Affirmative Prayer session continues involves a personalized affirmation. This type of affirmation is a short phrase, usually gleaned from Step Three in the process described above. For example, if you prayed for an increased sense of confidence and courage, your personalized affirmation might be:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; I am courageous and confident in all my endeavors.

The important point here is to repeat this shortened form of your prayer session as often as possible. It is especially important to repeat your personalized affirmation when you first arise in the morning, and just before going to sleep. Another method that has been helpful for many Christ-followers is to coordinate their affirmation with their breathing, just as when performing “breath prayers.”

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. (inhale)
I am confident and courageous in all my endeavors. (exhale)

I have found affirmative prayer to be an excellent modality of approaching our relationship with the Creator. As stated earlier, effective affirmative prayer is always based on scriptural promises. The actual process of affirmative prayer as described in the preceding paragraphs is not designed to remind God of his promises. God does not need to be reminded of anything. Criticizing the method of affirmative prayer based on the “reminding God” notion is a mistaken and futile practice.

Affirmative prayer does help remind us of our need for God, our utter dependence upon God, and of the generous blessings he has already provided for us. With these thoughts in mind, let’s look at an example of an affirmative prayer that meets the criteria laid out above.

I take possession of the reality that I am a child of the Living God and a new creation in Christ. I acknowledge that because I have been adopted into the family of the One True God, His eternal light shines in me and through me, casting His presence and His love onto a dark, hurting world. The Holy Spirit, a full one-third of my Heavenly Father lives in me, making me powerful and whole, capable of doing great things for the glory of God.

Therefore, I go forth each day with confidence and courage, meeting the challenges of life with faith and optimism, knowing that the Lord is within me, equipping me for any circumstance.

Lord, I thank you for your presence within me, beside me, above me, and in every circumstance, and I am especially grateful for your gifts of courage and confidence, the very things I requested as I approached your throne.

With love and gratitude, I pray these things in Jesus’ most holy name, the name at which every knee shall bow. Amen…

Remember also that the abbreviated form of the prayer is:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; I am courageous and confident in all my endeavors.

I have found that for both the long form and the short form, repetition is the key to success. Our bad habits of thought were formed in the exact same way as we, along with the Holy Spirit, will go about forming new habits of thinking that will move forward the process of renewing our minds. Each time we repeat our positive affirmations and our affirmative prayers, we make a little progress toward our goal. We repeat it, and we move forward a little more – and on and on it goes. The good news here is that we can soon begin to see change taking place and that change, no matter how small, is significant. When we experience the fact that change is possible; when we see through our own experience that we are actually making gains – this provides us with the ability to live in hope and optimism.

As time passes and we remain faithful in our practice, the pace of change accelerates. Our friends and associates will notice that we are somehow different. Even if they can’t put their finger on exactly what has changed, they know that for some reason you are easier to be around. Whereas before you often greeted them with a flat expression and a diverted gaze, now you approach them with a smile and look them in the eye. And guess what, my friend? This opens a door for you to share the source of the “new you.” As you continue to manifest the fact that you are, indeed, a new creation, you will have increased opportunities to share how this all came about.

Renewal of the mind, as Paul pointed out, is the key to an effective walk of faith. If you have been ignoring Paul’s insistence of cognitive renewal, why not get back to it? And if you have been avoiding this teaching, why not push yourself to get on with it? Your progress will be minimal until you place a renewed mind in the new you, the new creation.

Also, I suggest that you keep in mind the goal of all this work toward the mind’s renewal, as well as other disciplines in your program of spiritual formation. You want to get to the point where, as the Apostle, you can say with confidence the four words that best describe the state of the truly transformed Christian’s life:

Not I, but Christ…

© L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Divine Hologram: Christ's Cosmic Nature (Part Two)

Symeon_the_New_Theologian (ortodox icon)Image via Wikipedia

L.D. Turner

As thinking Christians, we all need to pause and prayerfully consider the implications of this small but powerful verse. We must reflect upon the philosophical and existential ramifications of what Christ has accomplished and how all of this plays out in our daily lives as Christians living in the 21st century. For starters, we can say, along with Paul, that it is within the body of the Cosmic Christ that we “live and move and have our being.”

During the time that Christ walked the earth, his original band of disciples enjoyed intimate closeness with the Master. During the 40 days following the Resurrection, that level of intimacy continued. There has been much debate within the church over the nature of Christ’s body following the Resurrection, but the real issue here is the fact that the disciples were able to have continuing closeness with Jesus. Now, in our time, we also can partake of that divine intimacy due to the action taken by Jesus as described in Ephesians 4:10. Christ, through interpenetrating all aspects of creation, has made himself accessible in a way that even the early disciples were not privy to. The fact is, if our spiritual eyes are open, we can see Christ everywhere.

If scripture is indeed “God-breathed” and is to be believed, then the intimacy we now have with Christ far exceeds anything those who lived before his Ascension could have ever imagined. Even more, this closeness with Christ is as close as our own heartbeat. Christ infused the entire universe with his being, turning all reality into a type of spiritual hologram. The Master penetrated everything, including you and me. When I first really grasped this reality, I mean really took hold of it (or perhaps it took hold of me) – it was like someone slapping me in the face and screaming, “Wake up.” I can safely say my life, although still far from perfect, has never been the same. In her remarkable book, The Wisdom Jesus, Cynthia Bourgeault shares the following poem, penned by the 11th century Greek Orthodox spiritual master Simeon the New Theologian:

We awaken in Christ’s body
as Christ awakens our bodies,
and my poor hand is Christ. He enters
my foot and is infinitely me.

I move my hand, and wonderfully
my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him
(for God is indivisibly
whole, seamless in his Godhood).

I move my foot, and at once
He appears in a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous? – Then
open your heart to Him.

And let yourself receive the one
who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
We wake up inside Christ’s body

Where all our body, all over,
every most hidden part of it,
is realized in joy as Him.
And he makes us utterly real.

And everything that is hurt, everything
that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably
damaged, is in him transformed

and recognized as whole, lovely,
radiant in his light.
We awaken as the Beloved
in every last part of our body.

I encourage you to spend quality time alone with these words from Simeon the New Theologian. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your spiritual eyes and grant you the same manner of vision as the poet exhibits – the kind of vision that will allow your spiritual heart to open like a flower before the sun and grant you full understanding of what holy scripture means when it says we are “in Christ.” Personally, I think our human understanding , no matter how advanced, has only scratched the surface of the true meaning of this simple phrase – in Christ. Taken in context with Ephesians 4:10, the ramifications are mind-boggling.

What we can say with certainty is the theme discussed above – that of deep intimacy with Christ in the new, vivified cosmic hologram. Through his final act of self-emptying love (Greek kenosis), Christ has filled the entire universe with his character, his being, and his selfless love. We also have been filled with that same character, that same being, that same love. Just as we live in Christ, Christ lives in us. Again, our comprehension of these mysteries is minimal but fortunately, we don’t have to understand it all to reap its benefits. Through faith we partake of this divine hologram, or as Peter tells us, the divine nature.
Our intimacy with Christ remains as deep and as profound as always. Cynthia Bourgeault explains:

.....our whole universe is profoundly permeated with the presence of Christ. He surrounds, fills, holds together from top to bottom this human sphere in which we dwell. The entire cosmos has become his body, so to speak, and the blood flowing through it is his love…..mystical visionaries have tended to claim that this “pan-cosmic” saturation of his being into the deepest marrow of this created world was the cosmic cornerstone turned in his passage through death. Without in any way denying or overriding the conditions of this earth plane, he has interpenetrated them fully, infused them with his own interior spaciousness, and invited us all into the invisible but profoundly coherent energetic field so that we may live as one body – the “Mystical Body of Christ,” as it’s known in Christian tradition – manifesting the Kingdom of Heaven here and now. Jesus in his ascended state is not farther removed from human beings but more intimately connected with them. He is the integral ground, the ambient wholeness within which our contingent human lives are always rooted and from which we are always receiving the help we need to keep moving ahead on the difficult walk we have to walk here. When the eye of our own heart is open and aligned with this field of perception, we recognize whom we’re walking with.

… be continued

(c) L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Today's Encouraging Word

God's GraceImage by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

The more you connect with Spirit, follow inner divine guidance, and surrender to divine will, the more grace becomes potent in your life. In harmony with your true purpose, your desires attune to divine desires. Your heart beats with the heart of God. Your body becomes an instrument for God’s symphony to play. Your breath is the breath of the Almighty. Your life is divine life…..When you connect with God and become a vehicle of Spirit, then you see the world through the eyes of Spirit. You hear the voice of God. Your hands do the work of God. You walk in God’s footsteps. Your heart opens to God’s holy presence. Your mind attunes to God’s mind.

Susan Shumsky
(from Miracle Prayer)

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Today's Encouraging Word via Wikipedia

A man does not commence to truly live until he finds an immovable center within himself on which to regulate his life, and from which to draw his peace. If he trusts to that which fluctuates, he also will fluctuate; if he leans upon that which may be withdrawn he will fall and be bruised; if he looks for satisfaction in perishable accumulations he will starve for happiness in the midst of plenty…Be contented that others shall manage or mismanage their own little kingdom, and see to it that you reign strongly over your own. Your entire well-being and the well-being of the whole world lies there. You have a conscience, follow it; you have a mind, clarify it; you have a judgment, use and improve it; you have a will, employ and strengthen it; you have knowledge, increase it; there is a light within your soul, watch it, tend it, encourage it, shield it from the winds of passion, and help it to burn with a steadier and ever steadier radiance. Leave the world and come back to yourself. Think as a man, live as a man. Be rich in yourself, be complete in yourself. Find the abiding center within you and obey it.

James Allen
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Scriptural Reflections: Psalm 131

Psalms of Queen Jadwiga in three languages (La...Image via Wikipedia

L.D. Turner

I have always had a marked tendency to over-complicate things – to over-think situations, ideas, and other things that most folks might not give a second thought. I, on the other hand, might give them a third thought, a fourth, and on and on ad infinitum.

I supposed like most things in life, this has been a both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, by refusing to take certain things at face value, I have been able to see past the surface level of those things and gain a deeper, more transformational insight. I have also been able to avoid getting involved in some things that were best left alone.
On the darker side of this complicating tendency, I have ruminated and worried over issues that, in the overall scheme of things, were profoundly insignificant. This has led to a great deal of wasted time and unnecessary anxiety. On more than one occasion, it has led to disagreements that could have easily been avoided.

I am much better with all this nowadays and I can say without reservation that the practice that has helped most with this defect of character has been spending time in the Sacred Silence. By slowing down and practicing sitting quietly in the presence I have somehow learned to let go of unnecessary complications and ruminations. In addition, I have gained more peace and serenity.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have my bad days. I don’t always go around manifesting the countenance of Mahatma Gandhi or the quiet compassion of Mother Theresa. On some days I more resemble a trance channel for Yosemite Sam. Still, this practice of engaging the Sacred Silence has had a marked healing quality in my life.

If you are a person with a similar tendency to over-complicate simple things, I suggest that you prayerfully reflect on the words of Psalm 131:

O Lord, I am not proud;

I have no haughty looks.

I do not occupy myself with great matters, or with things that are too
hard for me.

But I still my soul and make it quiet, like a weaned child upon its mother’s breast;

My soul is quieted within me.

The psalmist has captured the essence of the power and the benefits of engaging Sacred Silence. A child that is weaned is a child that is no longer hungry but instead, is satisfied and content. Author Cynthia Bourgeault describes such a child and how this image reflects the final stages of the process of Lectio Divina:

A weaned child on its mother’s lap is no longer hungry; filled to satisfaction, it merely rests and allows digestion to take place. In exactly the same way, at this stage of lectio you suspend all mental and emotional activity and simply “rest” in the fullness of the feast. The digestive work goes on beneath the level of your conscious mind.

Being able to quietly and with trust, rest in the Sacred Silence is a skill that comes over time with disciplined practice. At least that is how it has played out in my life. With my marked tendency to over-think even the simplest issue, it is easy to understand how difficult it was for me to maintain the patience and presence of mind to be still before the Lord. With the help of the Holy Spirit, however, I was able to make progress and behold, over the years I have become much better at this most necessary of spiritual disciplines.

© L.D. Turner 2010/ All Rights Reserved
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Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Divine Hologram: Christ's Cosmic Nature (Part One)

Klejniki - Church of Ascension of Jesus Christ...Image via Wikipedia

L.D. Turner

From time to time a passage of scripture, sometimes a single verse, will seem to leap of the page of my Bible filled with fresh meaning and personal application. I am sure this is a fairly common experience among those who take the time to form a more intimate relationship with scripture. In my own experience, it is as if the Bible is less paper and ink and more like a living organism.

I suspect I should not find this surprising. In the beginning, God breathed into Adam and he became a living being.
He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils and the man became a living person. (Genesis 2:7).

Later on, in 2 Timothy 3:16 Paul tells us that all scripture is “inspired” or “God-breathed.” Is it any wonder that the Bible has a tendency to become a living being when it is read with reverence, wonder, and in the Spirit.

Recently, one verse of scripture has been churning around in my mind and heart with regularity. It is one of those seemingly minor verses that we often tend to gloss over rather than spend time ruminating on. But recently, while reading Ephesians, this little verse got my attention and kept it. Like a speed bump in a parking lot, it slowed me down. In Ephesians 4:10 Paul, speaking of Christ says:

And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself. (NLT)

In this passage, Paul is making a statement that is actually quite profound. What he is saying is that after Christ left his heavenly abode, he descended to earth and once his mission down here was finished, he not only returned to heaven, but ascended higher than the heavens. And according to Paul, once Christ did this something was radically different in the entire universe. Everything in the universe, from the greatest galaxy to the smallest quark, was filled with Christ. Pause and let that sink in for a few moments.

What this means is that after Jesus’ earthly mission ended, everything changed. In some metaphysical manner that is beyond human understanding, every aspect of the universe was filled with a new vivifying, animating potential – and this potential was Christ in his cosmic incarnation. After the ascension of Christ, the very fabric of the universe and everything in it was altered. I am the first to admit that I don’t understand the physics of what took place, but it is helpful for me to think of it in terms of what in scripture is called the “Transfiguration.” Just as Christ’s body was altered in some fundamental way that night on the mountain as three of his disciples looked on, with his ascension the entire universe underwent a type of transfiguration.

In some new and life-giving way, humankind, after Christ, began to live in a renewed and participatory universe that is both alive and purposeful. By infusing himself into all things, Christ also infused all things with his life and his purpose.

It is usually right after saying such things that writers will now have to pause and waste time and words telling readers that he or she is not talking about pantheism. I am not going to waste much space doing that because anyone with half a brain can deduce that I am not speaking of pantheism here. If I had said, “All things are Christ,” that would be pantheistic. I am not even saying “all things are in Christ.” What I am saying is that “Christ is in all things.” If you disagree with that statement, don’t argue with me – argue with scripture because that is what it plainly says in Ephesians 4:10. This is not New Age metaphysics or mumbo jumbo. It is a fundamental biblical principle. be continued.....

(c) L.D. Turner 2010/ All Rights Reserved
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