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Jesus said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” The Son of God came to relieve our sufferings and we heaped upon His innocent brow mockeries instead of a crown. Every time I try to understand the spirit of true forgiveness, the scenario of a parent forgiving the criminal that killed their child comes to mind. It would be so easy to forgive the criminal knowing they would face some kind of penalty, and you didn’t have to extend forgiveness to its final act–reconciliation. How many of us would take the criminal into our homes as the child we lost and love them as our own? The lesson alluded to this ethereal quality of forgiveness that doesn’t seem to be within our moral grasp. In those final moments of Jesus’ life though the clouds veiled his naked, slain body, the face of God was distinct. The unspeakable power of love itself shook the earth. This is the same power that Jesus has bestowed upon those who profess to know Him. Therefore, true forgiveness is a characteristic of divinity, which cannot be separated from love’s resolution.

The story of Calvary causes me to reflect on the despondency of our existence void of faith, love, and forgiveness. Everything that we could ever hope for in this life, or the next, stems from the grace found in a second chance. At Calvary, every citizen of earth was given a second chance. No one can ever understand the power of forgiveness until it is given to them and they accept it wholeheartedly. That indescribable feeling of receiving forgiveness and the feeling of guilt are antagonistic to one another. Forgiveness increases our capacity to love, and guilt could lead to hate and resentment of one’s self. Therefore, forgiveness allows us to save the other individual from self-hate. Self-hate is one of the most awful, destructive foes causing irrevocable damage of the human spirit.

Someone once said the greatest desire of any human is to be loved. When you are truly loved there is a genuine acceptance that cannot be disturbed by any circumstance. The path is not easy for either party, but forgiveness followed by reconciliation will always be the result when love is present. I don’t believe forgiveness could ever be the wrong thing to do. It may take time, but it will eventually benefit everyone involved in the situation.

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The beginning of Genesis chapter 4 depicts a situation in which there is a discrepancy in the sacrificial offering made by Cain and Abel. The Lord accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s. Cain was angered and rose up and killed Abel. Now when Cain had done this the Lord asked,  “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). Nothing can be more revealing than a question. I believe there are parallels between these two stories that cannot go unnoticed when reviewing the nature of questions having analogous tones. Questions may lead to discoveries or cause greater perplexity of those who ask, and some questions are more insightful than others. This dialogue about the law of love did not begin with Jesus and the lawyer or even with God and Cain. These arguments originated in the Great Controversy and the concepts form the foundation of God’s law and our relationship with Him.   “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29) and “Am I my brother’s keeper?” are of the same quality.

Cain, the Levite, and Priest all presented sacrifices to the Lord (figuratively and literally). Yet these sacrifices were unacceptable coming from unclean and uncircumcised hearts. Hosea 6:6 provides a better explanation: “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Scripture condemns the spirit of all three men. The Samaritan acted out of mercy and against political/social pressures of his day. He knew compassion and mercy, which was probably rooted in a past experience that allowed him to empathize. I agree with the lawyer when he admits the most unlikely candidate fulfilled the law of love, best. The parable suggests the Samaritan knew God. He certainly had a greater chance of obtaining eternal life than those who justify their selfish, sinful nature. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5).

I think Jesus was attempting to change our perspective of love. This may sound strange, but love is NOT [always] a two-way street and has no contingencies. Love just is, as God is. Therefore, God is love. Jesus’ parable sought the question, “Whose neighbor am I and how can I spread divine love?” Just as God held Cain responsible for Abel’s death, so we are held responsible for others—even their spiritual vitality to a certain point. Our love is not whole until it reflects what God has personally done for us and we are not individually whole until we give this love away. A physician’s motto is to make man whole. But how is that possible if love is removed from our awareness, healing practices, hospitals, attitudes, and schedules? Issues such as health disparities that haunt our profession are only symptoms of this deficit.

In summary, the story of Cain and Abel illustrates the significance of sacrifice. The Samaritan showed us we must give time to compassion and mercy. We must ask the question everyday, “Who can I be a neighbor to today?” because we are our brothers’ keeper.

The Sabbath is the foundation of my week. For me, the Sabbath serves as a reference point for all of the other days. Sabbath seems to anchor my schedule and weekly responsibilities so that my productivity is increased and my efficiency is strengthened by the blissful hope of a day of rest. My appreciation and understanding of the Sabbath has not always been (and is still not) complete, but life experiences teach the most valuable lessons. Even the most independent of individuals will realize the scarcity of time, and one person cannot do everything.

The lesson brings up a powerful interpretation of Sabbath rest from the Jewish perspective. Sabbath symbolized the most foreign yet wonderful gift to a slave—rest. For centuries the Israelites had been enslaved in Egypt without deliverance from their harsh labors. But once God revealed His law on Mount Sinai, it became clear that He was attempting to re-fashion the paradigm of former slaves. Furthermore, He was seeking to instill compassion in their characters so they would also remember the Sabbath as an extension of God’s mercy to them. Sabbath-keepers of today should remember this. Reflecting on the Creator allows us to recognize our unblemished value in the sight of heaven, and to avoid the degradation of others.

“In six days God made heaven and earth…(Exodus 20:9, 10)” and on the seventh day, He rested from this work. I always like to think that He rested because He was so pleased with His Creation and excited about the new companionship of Adam and Eve. When I think of the Sabbath in these terms it becomes a privilege to observe/celebrate this day because it was mankind’s birthday gift from God. He put the whole universe “on hold” to confer recognition of the relationship he established with us. We should be mutually overjoyed to do the same. After all, “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

 

“The capacity for ‘afterlife’ is not a property of humanity, but is a divine gift, divinely enacted…we are not rescued from the cosmos in resurrection, but transformed with it in new creation.” I do not believe in a dualistic existence (soul and body separation) outside of the divinely actuated privilege, enkindled by the plan of redemption that we are to be like Christ and thus reconciled to God. Our existence is constituted by three entities: mind, body, and soul. Because we are apart of the cosmos our being hinges on those natural laws established by the Creator, and so life cannot be sustained outside of the aforementioned components without supernatural intervention. However, this restoring intervention can be considered apart of the natural order because it’s in harmony with the law of Love, which ultimately governs the universe. Furthermore, this relates to the notion of free will in that Love cannot abound where free will does not subsist. I believe God will judge based on how much “access” we had to free will because in the case of the brain tumor and schizophrenia, these conditions hindered the patients from making choices coherently. Sinful acts can be correlated to human helplessness. Therefore, a Christian becomes victorious over sin beginning with loathing his/her own condition to the point of surrendering their total existence to the power of God through faith in Christ.

Religious conversion is one of spiritual transformation when one becomes acutely aware of himself or herself in relation to God. For example, religious conversion involves a change in purpose. A purpose may be distinct from person to person, but they all should lead to a character patterned after the divine similitude. This is the definitive goal of our life here on earth, and one must have an encounter with God before a true conversion takes place. Conversion affects an individual’s commitments, attitudes, and daily practices. The whole person is a new creature in whom thoughts, words, and actions are all in harmony with each other and most importantly – the will of God. Also, it is crucial to note that though you cannot have conversion without repentance, repentance does not always lead to conversion.

Resurrection encompasses re-embodiment into new immortal bodies fitted for eternal life. We do not know exact what we will be like, but we know it will differ slightly than what we’ve known here on earth. Our physicality will be changed “in a twinkling of an eye.” Because the wages of sin is death, we have no capacity for resurrection or an existence transformation so everything to be experienced in the resurrection is a divine gift.

Because my views echo Monoism, I would advocate whole person care and try to integrate its principles in my service as a healthcare professional. I believe mind, body, and soul were created to be inextricable. When God breathed into man’s nostrils he became a living soul and reflected the image of God. Sin marred the divine image in humanity in mind, body, and soul of which any disturbance would be physiologically and cosmically inseparable. Therefore, all ailments/conditions should be treated in respect to this ideology so that if the body is sick, the mind or soul does not impede a rapid recovery.

 

New Thought-Ancient Teaching wisdom serves to explain “metaphysical beliefs concerning the effects of positive thinking, the law of attraction, healing, life force, creative visualization, and personal power. It’s a cocktail movement meshing principles of transcendentalism (Emersonianism), spiritism, evolutionism, and Hinduism. Generally, this movement focuses on the intuitive power of positive attitudes and its benefits within a community of people striving to reach the same spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being. Such inclusivity allows a broad spectrum of different people to connect on a more philosophic level than a spiritual level.

The Agape International Spiritual Center, founded by Michael Bernard Beckwith, is one of these communities that embodies the principles of the New Thought-Ancient wisdom. Here people not only learn their purpose but become it. This is based on realizing that our existence is an expression of God’s love, even an emanation of His own Being. Through practices like meditation, spiritual study, and prayer a spiritual evolution is begun. The individual works toward better understanding their oneness with God and helping others along their journey. By practicing these truths we become more and more conscious of our place on this earth (our purpose) as vessels of God’s light and love.

Learn more by visiting Agapelive.com and checkout this link:

Melody of the Deaf

there’s a base at the bottom of my throat.

i swallow hard

because it must know me

to understand me so.

rhythm looking in my eyes

but i kiss blindly only to feel its presence.

and when i finally come to

i believe i’ve been heard.

I decided to share one of my poems about music because I thought it was appropriate with it being Grammy weekend. It describes the soulful and [arguably] physiological effect music has on me and how I believe listening to it allows the hearer and the music artist to exchange… There’s a definite emotional connection which cannot be denied. Every time I play a record of Lauryn Hill or Maxwell I better understand why there has been so much controversy within different denominations over how God should be worshipped and people ministered to through music. Music can leave you absolutely spellbound.

Heaven On Fire

All Is Fair…?

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Democracy has two sides. The first we saw in November 2008 right here in the US. The other side would be Egypt in its present state of affairs. Every government (no matter the type) fears people, and the degree of fear correlates with the freedoms and rights of that country. Power has always and will always rest with “people” whether they know or not. People kill great men and women. People setup and tear down unstoppable regimes. People facilitate genocide. People love. People hate. People vote. But there’s one thing “people” miss altogether and that is the power of unity. An idea that no other form of authority has been able to use so effectively as religious entities. Thus, I surmise Egypt will be relatively safe until people agree…on what to pray about.

What It Means to Coexist

By definition, to coexist means to exist in mutual tolerance despite different ideologies or interests. But whether any of us like it or not, we have no choice but to coexist – the other alternative being genocide, which, if all terrorists in the world were consolidated in one place, would lose its depth of atrocity. How true tolerance is attained and to what degree of mutual tolerance is enough seems more confounding than how we’ve all managed to coexist thus far without nuclear climax.

The truth is coexistence IS existence. It’s an unrecognized misnomer that turns the mirror into an object of hate; a suicide into life eternal. Though no one needs to be suicidal to understand how the heinous becomes plausible. And suddenly we are tolerating only to prepare for the opportunity to dominate. It’s a ticking time bomb not measured in seconds but casualties. I presume the next one may be the world’s conscience…