STEP ONE: LOOKING WITHIN
The very first step you must take is to firmly believe, no matter who has told you otherwise, that "The Kingdom of God is within you!" To deny this belief, is to deny Jesus, Himself, for these were Jesus's own words. (See Luke 17:21)
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Back to the Kingdom of God. This kingdom is not a place to be experienced solely after you die, nor should you be waiting for it to unfold around you. This Kingdom needs to be developed within each and every one of us! Your primary focus should be on your own soul's development, which brings us to Step Two:
DEVELOPING AND MANIFESTING GOD'S KINGDOM
INTO THE PHYSICAL REALM
Being the Spiritual beings we (all) are, manifesting God's Kingdom is our primary purpose in life! It's about time we realize it and begin assuming responsibility for our own soul-development!
We need to develop all the latent divine qualities within us. They are there, believe me, within our hearts and souls.
We are creatures of habit, developing certain behaviors by repetitive thoughts and deeds. Some habits we form are restrictive and even stifling.....they stunt our own spiritual-growth as well as others'. These are the ones we not only need to be aware of, but need to work on!
No matter how trivial, an adverse thought manifested into the physical realm (through deed) harms the whole process! Therefore, we need to be aware of every thought we have!
Gossip and backbiting are very bad habits, yet they are so prevalent! What do you do when someone "runs down" another person to you? Do you join right in without even thinking this kind of behavior is harming you? Do you enjoy reading the newspapers and magazines that do the same? If so, and you don't want to change such habits, then please don't expect to grow spiritually nor expect the world to change. Remember, we are all in this together! You, like Jesus did so many years ago, can set the example of how to be!
Jesus was the epitomy of love! You can be too! You need to be no cause, in any way, shape, form, or fashion, of pain to anyone! You need to embrace kindness, gentleness, patience, wisdom, generosity, truthfulness, honesty, and the like, rather then the cold, capitalistic, characteristics of corporate America! This world does not have to be a dog-eat-dog world! Nor should it be! But it will remain as such until the majority of all the people on earth decide to change things! All of us, of all faith-systems, are in this together!
TAKING BABY STEPS
Make it a daily habit to look for ways to help other people or to make them smile. Don't withhold praise. What you give out, good or bad, you'll get back, sometimes multiplied. Be a joy to be around by becoming a joyous or loving person. Be dependable, reliable, honest, and giving.....slow to anger (acquiring patience, tolerance, emotional maturity, and wisdom).....be gentle, kind, caring, humble, sensitive, honest, and conscientious. Be a friend to all, and an enemy to none. Learn to listen rather then talk, become a shoulder to cry on and a source of inspiration.
The more you can lessen your hold on material wealth to embrace the spiritual, the more you will grow spiritually. Materialism tends to divert our attention and give us temporary joys, only masking the hunger inside. And so we seek more and more of the material/physical, yet the hunger still remains.
Our physical life, here, is not that long, so why waste one moment of it? This doesn't mean you have to give away all your possessions and live a life of poverty. Only the degree of emotional attachment to the physical/material needs to be addressed. After all, we are designed to enjoy life in every aspect!
As you grow spiritually more mature, you will discover how painless sacrifice is, in fact, if it is painful, then the result is being forced and becomes futile because it is not from the heart.
If something is not from the heart, then it is not spiritual! Everything you do, should be from the heart! This includes your occupation and all the things you do in your spare time. This includes feeling obligated and obligating others. Give something because you want to, not because you have to! Whenever you give someone something material, like a greeting card, you are obligating them to give something material back to you. This is what capitalism depends on and exploits to the highest degree. This is why Christmas and Easter have become so commerialized. The true meanings are almost lost! We teach children to receive material gifts rather then give spiritual ones. And if we continue with this mode of thinking, things will never change, here, in America!
Teach your children the true meaning of Christmas and how the spirit of helping others should continue on all year.....not just at Christmas time. Look at your little world from above, as if you were an angel taking inventory for God......what kind of report would that angel have to relay about your little world?
Are you so influenced by others that you follow along blindly like a sheep in the middle of a flock? Not knowing where you are, or where you are going, you just follow the others? Then wonder why you are so unhappy, stressed-out, unfulfilled, frustrated, etc. etc. etc.
You're either a follower or a leader. If you are as a sheep then at least check-out your shepherd. Is he/she leading you to where you really want to go? Is he good for you? Does he bring out the best in you? Is he/she helping you spiritually? If you are a Christian, is he teaching you what Jesus taught?
Jesus spoke of one fold. What do you think He meant by that? And why has the House of Christianity been divided into so many facets? What did He say about a House divided? Why do we eagerly segregate ourselves from the whole? Where, or what IS the whole?
Consider once the social groups of animals. Compare them to man's and you will see the very same behaviors. It is quite natural for us to gather in various groups and to label everything as well. But, remember this, in the animal kingdom, groups develop marked territorities that they will fight to the death over. Has man not also done the same? Do we have to remain in the animal kingdom forever? Are we not detesting war moreso and moreso? Are we not desiring to seek global peace through peaceful means? Why are there yet so many rebelling against the "new world order"? Why don't they see what we see? Why don't they hear what we hear? Don't they have the same eyes, ears, hearts, and souls? What are THEY lacking?
You should be feeling quite proud of yourself right now, knowing that you have something within that they don't, yet at the same time feeling badly for them.
You, who understand this, are a spiritual being, they are not. You have the desire to move forward and upward......up the Spiritual Stairway, now, while you are yet living, knowing that this is the time to do it, not after the opportunities are gone. You fully understand the Parable of the Sower and how it applies to all of us (past, present, and future). You are one of the lucky seeds that have sprouted. There are those who cannot see Light for one reason or another. There are those starving for nourishment and not getting it. There are those, as weeds, which need to be plucked, before they choke-out the life of this planet!
We must also pluck things like nuclear energy and develop safer products. Are we not capable? Even of baby steps?
Click Here to read a very inspirational short-story!
GIVE TO YOURSELF TOO
Make sure you get plenty of sleep every day otherwise you will be irritable from the start, and prone to illnesses as the immune system needs adequate rest. Likewise, be sure you are properly nourished. Seek moderation in all things. Take daily inventory of your spiritual progress, keep a Spiritual Journal (click here for a free online Spiritual Journal), and above all, enjoy this journey you are on! Seek "quality-time" with yourself too, be it ten minutes a day. There is more to life then raising children and working!
Love needs to radiate just as much from your heart as it does mine and everyone else's. I can not control your heart or anyone else's, I can only control mine! I choose to grow in God's love and become "One" with "Him"! There is nothing I want more...except to see this same desire in more and more people! May this Network of Love assist in this matter! We need to put an end to all violence, intolerance, and terroism! Only through love, the Spiritual kind, will these things be eradicated from our precious Earth! America needs to lead the rest of the world for we are a nation of all other nations.
Click Here to sign the World Peace Declaration
Created by Light Shift 2000.
AMERICA = UNIVERSAL ONENESS and CHRISTIANITY = UNIVERSAL ONENESS
Hopefully, not too far into the future our diverse nationalities will be so mixed that we will think of ourselves solely as Americans (not needing any other prefix). Likewise, Christians will not only desire to unite the House of Christianity, but will see the whole world as one fold.
How can Christianity unite the world if it is divided itself? Who has caused all this division-man or God? Are you (unknowingly) participating in this destructive process? Wouldn't you rather be a unifying force? If so, then the next time you are asked "What religion are you?" just say: "Christian".
And when asked "What Nationality are you?" no matter what color your skin is, or whatever ethnic background you have, with pride, say "I'm an American". Any American born in this country (or having acquired citizenship) is of this country no matter where his/her ancestors came from. To prefix the name "American" is the inability to see the United States as a country equal to other countries. How can you be born in more then one country? Either you are an American or of some other country. America is a nation of all other nations living as one people, which makes us even greater then other countries! How more prouder we should feel when we say, "I'm an American!" (Having written this the year before the Sept. 11th attacks, it means even more now!)
FREEING YOURSELF OF GUILT: A MAJOR STEP
Did you ever stop and think how many guilt-trips have been put upon you from first, your parents, then your teachers, then your society, peers, girlfriends/boyfriends, husbands/wives, Corporate America, and even your church? Some of these are, of course, necessary so that we learn right from wrong. But when we are kept from thinking for ourselves then the guilt-trips become harmful. Consider how religions have tried (unsuccessfully) to stifle the great scientific minds of the past as well as everyone else who dared to question their belief-system. Would Jesus have done this? Would He have ever waged war against another group of people for any reason? Would He even consider waging war? Shouldn't all spiritual leaders be peacemakers?
Would Jesus approve of today's
leaders? Would He approve of today's many sects of Christianity, or would He invite you away from all that to embrace His down-to-earth simple teachings with a one-on-one relationship with God? Would He try to free you of unnecessary guilt so that your spirit is able to soar? How can you open your mind to allow your spirit to soar if you are literally weighed down with so much guilt? You are the Captain of your own ship (your body, mind, and soul) and you determine just where you are going. If your destination doesn't matter to you, then why have you even set sail? Why are you even here? Is your life worth nothing at all? Why continue to let others incessantly influence your life? Never, ever be afraid to question your beliefs, your parents beliefs, your clery/minister's beliefs, even the pope's. All religious leaders, just like all scientists, should welcome questions because theories are not facts. Most religious beliefs are theories (someone's opinions) which are not always correct. Even some of Jesus's own disciples were imperfect and strayed away from what Jesus said and taught to embrace their own ideas. This is why I keep saying to follow Jesus only!
Jesus's disciples were needed at the time to spread the teachings of Jesus (not their own). I feel they have let Him down royally!!!! The House of Christianity couldn't be any more divided then it is! Alot of Christians don't even call them themselves Christians anymore, but rather, another man's token name. How we have been led astray!!!!!
Here's another example of how we are not following Jesus: Jesus tried to rid us of as many unnecessary guilt-trips as possible. He said religious ceremonies and rituals weren't necessary to worship God. And He explained the true meaning of the Sabbath day. He said the Sabbath day was made for us (to rest) and not the other way around! And so why are there all these ceremonies, rituals, customs, and Sunday/Sabbath Day services? Would you feel guilty if you no longer attended a church? Again, I must ask you, who are you listening to? Jesus, or some other man? Are you glorifying another man and calling yourself a Christian? A Christian is a follower of Christ (Jesus)! Are you really following Jesus?????
CHURCH vs. STATE
Only a thoroughly materialistic/capitalistic person would desire to separate church from state. Religion, being a way of life, can not be successfully separated at all! But because there are so many (man-made) factions of Christianity, and a few other major religions besides Christianity, one group of people cannot be honored (by the State) over another. The government, can however, and it does, express the universal truths all religions believe in........such as "In God We Trust"...and the moral codes of behavior........such as not stealing, killing, raping, etc.
Our American gov't, thank God, is not just capitalistic. If it were, we'd be in very deep trouble, for the government is of the people. Who among us does not believe in love? We are born dependent on love. Therefore, we are born dependent on God! For God is love! That's where love comes from........God's World!!!!!