09/20/2020 2 Corinthians 10:7 Look at the obvious facts. Those who say they belong to Christ must recognize that we belong to Christ as much as they do. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After setting up the tent, then enjoying a good meal and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night, and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see." Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars." "What does that tell you?" Holmes asked. Watson pondered for a minute. "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?" Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke. "Watson, you idiot. Somebody has stolen our tent!" When our daughter Rebecca was about 13, I once told her to put on a coat because it was so cold, and she responded by saying "Duh, Dad!" It was such an obvious statement that it was unnecessary to be said at all. But sometimes the obvious escapes our attention. Yet, at the same time, sometimes behind the obvious is a whole lot more that goes unnoticed or unsaid. When we say something like, “Put on your coat; it is cold outside,” what we really are saying is, “I love you, and I want no ill to come upon you.” We don’t speak those words out loud, but that is implicit in our obvious statement. The Bible does this, doesn’t it? We are reading along and then we are told in Proverbs 12:17, “An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies.” If we take this out of context, our first reaction is, “Duh!” It is not our business to put words into God’s mouth, but it is Spirit’s business to put Gods meaning into our hearts. Instead of registering the obviousness of that verse, we look at the context and discern that what we are being given is the choice between being truthful or false. Here are six Spirituals "Duhs"; things so obvious that sometimes we miss them or have forgotten them but are still very important. Number One: To learn to ride a bike, we must get on and pedal. This is so simple to understand. If you want to learn to run, you practice running. There is a cause and effect relationship. For me to have learned to sing, I had to study and practice. Some people are "natural" singers, true. But they sing, none-the-less. And almost without exception, in order to improve a certain skill, we must do more of it, with a focused and relaxed mind and body. The same is true in our spiritual unfoldment. We must set aside time to pray and meditate so that we can know God within the stillness, silence, and quiet of our hearts and minds. For some of us, it is difficult to allow for contemplative time. My self, included. Perhaps it's because it seems so inactive, like we are not really doing anything. After all, isn’t the only way to accomplish anything is by doing something? To learn to ride a bicycle we must ride a bicycle. Activity seems to breed productivity. But isn’t sitting still an activity? We are doing something, and perhaps prayer and meditation are the most powerful times of productivity. At times, more can be accomplished in a few minutes of stillness than by hours of meaningless motion. Number two: Standing is a constant balancing act. Ask any 12-month-old. Finding our balance is an absolute necessity in life, unless we want to spend most of our time sitting or lying down. We learn the skill of walking and standing, so that we can get around in life. Even those with disabilities find ways of getting around. We have learned how much to tip forward or backward to remain upright while standing or walking. Yet some of us still have not found the balance in other areas of our lives. Imbalance always exhibits itself in rather dramatic ways. If we have an imbalance in eating, it shows itself as severe overweight or underweight. If we have hormonal imbalances, they are reflected by mood swings. Emotional imbalances can be demonstrated by depression and severe and rapid emotional changes. Spiritual imbalance can be exhibited by lack of peace or a constant feeling of longing and searching; or, on the other end of the spiritual spectrum, a feeling of superiority or self-righteousness. We want to achieve balance in all areas of our lives, as well as spiritually. If we are not praying and meditating daily, we will begin to exhibit an imbalance. On the other hand, if we spend all our waking moments in prayer and meditation, when do we allow God to express through us? There must be balance. Number Three: When we plant pumpkin seeds, don’t be surprised if pumpkins grow. This is so completely stupid, that any seven-year-old would say "duh!" Yet we tend to overlook the obvious. Some of us avoid going out in public and socializing, and then we wonder why we don't have many friends. Some of us hoard our money and are surprised that we are in a constant state of lack. Some of us think disparaging things about others and are always questioning why others treat us with little consideration. We show no respect for other people's choices and are disgruntled when the world treats us with disrespect. Well...duh! The Golden Rule clearly states, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." The key to understanding this rule is to follow it...regardless of whether anyone else does or not. The respectful treatment of a particular individual, however, is no guarantee that the individual will treat us respectfully. The law is unfailing. What we send out to the Universe, we will receive in return. We reap what we sow. If we want more money, then we must thankfully give more to the entities that provide us spiritual nourishment. If we really need love or companionship, then we give more of ourselves to others, and volunteer for organizations that benefit people. If we want friends, we can reach out past our comfort zone and show friendship to others. It does not mean that the specific person we show friendship towards will return the feelings. But the Universe will receive our unconditional friendship message and will send us the right and perfect friends. This is a simple, time-tested spiritual rule based in the Bible. We Sow what we want to reap, and then wait. Sowing is done through thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions. Change our thoughts and we begin to change our personal universe. It usually will not happen overnight, but slowly, at the rate our consciousness grows. Decide what it is that we want to have, and begin immediately to give that, think that, and act that. Number Four: Don't pick your scab, it might get infected and leave a scar. We've been told this hundreds of times by our mothers. Yet I have a couple of spots on my shins and knees where I have little scars from scabs that I'd picked off. If we just let these injuries heal by themselves, and not constantly be picking at them, they usually heal cleanly with no sign of ever having been there. When we feel injury or disharmony in our lives, the secret to healing is not constantly thinking about them. Worrying and imaging them are the mental equivalents of picking at them. We call this non-resistance. Resist not evil. Don't pick your scab. When harmful things are done to us, instead of perseverating over it, we fill our mind with positive God thoughts. When we allow our negative, retaliatory and judgmental thoughts to take over, we fester emotionally and spiritually, and possibly even exhibit physical ailments as this disharmony invades our entire being. Be non-resistant. As mighty as the huge redwood is, its death is almost always as a result of the wind blowing it over. Yet the tiny blade of grass, bends in that same wind, unharmed.
One Sunday after church, a congregant asked the Pastor, “If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one book, any book in the world, which book would it be, and why?" As a minister, he thought the answer to his inquiry was very apparent. “If I could only have one book, I would want the Bible because it would help give me spiritual strength in getting through the challenge of being stranded on a desert island.” The Pastor believed that his answer had a great deal of merit. Especially since it was Sunday morning and they had just completed church services. Expecting him to reinforce his answer, the minister asked the congregant, “If you were stranded on that island, which book would you want?” With a smile on his face, he said, "If it were me, I would want a book entitled, 'How to Build a Boat.'” Occasionally, in our efforts to do or say the right thing, we can overlook the obvious. In answering prayer, we cooperate with God in making events happen. If God had sent us a book on how to build a boat, we would have been disappointed because we were praying for a Bible. God sends us what we need, not what we want. Sometimes we have to look beyond the holy or we will miss the obvious. Trust in God to know best. Trust that the solution is forthcoming and think no more about it. As many times as those conflicts again surface, persist in replacing the doubts and fears with positive God-filled thoughts. Continue thinking in this manner until the negative is gone. The healings will occur. Number Five: When given something, say "Thank You." Most of us have been taught this and try to teach our children this lesson in etiquette. As important as expressing the words of thanks is to feel the gratitude. Sometimes we need to practice being grateful. It's easy to feel gratitude for all the wonderful things we have. More difficult is feeling and expressing thanks for challenges, obstacles, and trials, which appear as lesson for growth and are intended to strengthen us or enlighten us. In fact, our most rapid spiritual growth occurs as we face and overcome our challenges. Try to give thanks to God for the tough blessings as well as the easy blessings. Lastly, Number Six: Anything important requires our attention and maintenance. This should be a no-brainer. Owning a car requires maintenance. A home, a guitar, golf clubs, no matter what it is – if it is important to us, it requires our attention. Our health, our education, our sense of self, every relationship. They require attention. It seems so obvious, but we forget to be kind to our spouse, our children, and friends. We forget to be respectful, appreciative, and accepting of who they are. We fail to make ourselves available to them emotionally. This is true of our spouses, children, relatives, coworkers, pets, and God. Our relationship with God requires attention; it requires maintenance. This is so obvious and deserving of a big, “Duh.” But we forget this at times. We avoid thinking of Christ, recognizing and acknowledging Spirit as part of our lives. We perpetuate a weak relationship with God because we simply don’t do what’s necessary to maintain the relationship. We see to it that our car has an oil change. Why not take some time in prayer? It is my prayer that when someone points out something blatantly obvious to us, that we can see beyond the obvious statement to the sometimes-hidden meaning behind the words. Do not always assume it is a negative meaning in their words or attempts to control or belittle. There are times when we simply cannot speak what is truly on our hearts, and we stumble as we express ourselves. Regardless of their intended message, we will be more enlightened as we open our hearts and minds with non-resistance. It is my prayer that we learn to recognize the spiritually obvious truths that we are currently missing in our lives and say a silent "Duh", and a “Thank You God”, then get on with attuning our thoughts to Christ and applying the obvious to our lives. Our consciousness will soon be serving as a guiding beacon for those around us, not because of what we say or do, but because of what we have become: a steward, an open vessel through which God can express His Truth, Love, and Light into Creation.