Image by hickory hardscrabble via FlickrMost of us are blessed with grace filled moments in which we recognize that all of the blessings of our lives are not because of anything that we have done to deserve them (who has kept us among the living and has not let our feet slip). All of the marvelous works in our life and in the world are because of the nature of God (his name). When we realize that God has taken care of every detail—from our conception, to the beating of our hearts, to the way the brain processes information—we cannot help but give praise. There is so much around us that we cannot explain or replicate with human understanding. All of these gifts give us clues to the character of God.
Spirit working in and through us leads us to eternal life. But it is important to remember that the spiritual path is a difficult one. Every step along the way we are being asked to change and grow. Any creature that is not prodded (by discomfort) has a predisposition towards a state of rest. Human beings are no exception. Our minds cling desperately to things that we think we know. Let the rebellious not exalt themselves, so that they do not create any lasting states of mind. We cannot control what thoughts enter our consciousness, but we have complete control over which ones we allow to linger.
Tests are not to punish us but to guide us back to God (you have tried us as silver is tried). God is Law. Just as if you try to break a law of nature you may create an unwanted consequence (i.e., jumping off of a building and falling to the ground), if you break the laws of Being you will create unwanted tests. These tests begin as gentle reminders but become more difficult, the more reticent we are. If we look to the heart of the matter, the tests are more about us testing God than God testing us. We do not believe that God can and will take care of all of our needs and wants only our happiness, so we get in the way by trying to do things our own way. Over time we are able to broaden and deepen our faith in God (you brought us out to a spacious place).
We can only enter God’s house (spiritual consciousness), after we have released our attachment to our beliefs (burnt offerings). Rams, bulls and goats represent beliefs on the worldly plane that must be sacrificed, in order that new spiritual ones can replace them. When we enter God’s house with burnt offerings, we are coming empty. Fire has a cleansing and purifying effect, and leaves only ashes that can be easily swept away. Spirit requires us to leave our baggage behind and step forward into a new consciousness.
All those who approach prayer and praise with reverence (fear of God), will stir up the presence of Spirit within (he was extolled with my tongue). If there is any habit remaining that shuts God out of the mind (iniquity), our prayers cannot be answered. This is not because God does not listen, but because we can only receive that which we understand and accept. But when we make our request from a place of knowing, we receive all that we truly need. The blessing of God is that God never turns away steadfast love and mercy from any who authentically seek.
And so it is! Amen!