UNITY OF VANCOUVER
 3814 FRANKLIN ST. VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON 98660 360-696-0996

What Do I Believe?
 Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
  April 3, 2022

 All Rights Reserved

 



 
MEDITATION

I invite you to close your eyes and prepare to meet God in the silence of prayer. Hold firmly to the expectation that you will receive Divine Guidance when you seek God in absolute faith knowing you will find God. Release outer concerns, turn within and move into the inner Sanctuary of your own being. Move into the center of stillness and peace within you. Choose to let God take charge of your life. God is always within you as well as all around you. You live, move and have your being in God. You are eternally one with the Creator and Source, the Mother and Father from which all things come. As Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. You live in me and I will live in you.”

There is only one Presence one Power and each one of us is an outpouring of God into visible expression. God breathes out of Itself and you are created. You are sustained in every way at the level of your own awareness of your connection to the one and your willingness to consciously tap into it through meditation and prayer. Feel your openness to God as Source of all and affirm:  
“I am open and receptive to increased God energy flowing to me right now that I will form into useable good in my life by the thoughts I hold.”

As you identify with the one Presence and Power, rather than identifying yourself solely with the material world as just a human being, you draw more of the spiritual pattern that is God’s perfection directly to and through your Christ Self which then reforms the manifestation of your physical self in the image and likeness of God. You have everything you need within you to create Heaven on Earth.

As you identify with your Christ Nature in the Silence of prayer let yourself become an expression of unconditional love by accepting that everyone is a spiritual being created and sustained by spiritual energy. Feel your heightened awareness of God’s presence freely moving through you and radiating streams of light, life and love to all. In you minds eye, see God’s light and love touching family members and friends and then continuing to flow on in streams of light to all people throughout the world who need to feel a greater sense of connection to God as peace. See God fulfilling the world’s need for love and healing in all forms. See God as divine light enfolding and unifying all nations until nothing but light united by love exists between all life and all life knows, there is only God.

Now it’s time for us to return our awareness to this time and this place. Gently bring your awareness to the point behind your eyes and let glimmers of light begin to gently come in. Father/Mother God, we give thanks for this great awareness.  In the name and the presence and the power of the living Christ.  Amen.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?

The title of today’s lesson is:
“What do you believe?” This question is meant to stimulate your mental processes. The late Reverend Peter Marshall is credited with praying the shortest prayer by a Chaplain to the opening session of the United States Senate. He said: “O God, help us to stand for something or we will fall for anything.  Amen.”  When we take a stand for something, it’s because we have a solid belief in whatever it is.
In the Revised Standard Version of the Bible there are over 90 references to beliefs and our belief system.  For example: From the
Gospel of Mark, “Ask in prayer believing that you shall receive it.” “All things are possible to him who believes.” And “Do not fear; only believe.” In the Gospel of John “Whoever believes in him may have eternal life”  And from the Gospel of Luke: “Only believe and she shall be well.”

With 90+ references to beliefs in the four Gospels, it is obvious that Jesus thought and taught that our belief system is important so we need to review what we really believe from time to time and let go of beliefs that keep us entombed in bondage. We want to identify and let go of any limited beliefs that prevent us from more fully expression our true nature. I invite you to begin today’s self-exploration by asking yourself three questions.
  1. What do I believe?
2. Am I willing to take what I now believe and put it in writing and sign it?  Unity’s co-founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore did this in the form of a Covenant. Are you willing to do that?

3.  Am I willing to declare my beliefs in the presence of others?

If you don’t do this exercise consciously, then you end up doing it unconsciously. You don’t have to write it down or declare it to others because
“What you believe in out-pictures in your life as your life.” Looking at your life is like looking in the mirror. What you see out there is what you really believe. What are you doing in your life? How are you living.? What are you experiencing? Is it what you really believe in? It is or you would change, wouldn’t you?

Some people resist change. They say they believe in sticking to tradition. “We’ve always done it that way.” They are living their parents, ancestors’ and other peoples’ beliefs rather than forming their own. Unity teaches,
“The past only exists in our minds. Looking backward is an illusion containing many fantasies of unreality.” Now I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with the past, good, bad or indifferent “What we’ve been has helped make us who and what we are today. Give thanks for the lessons of the past, both painful and wonderful.” But it seems that many people have a tendency to walk backwards in life. They know where they’ve been but can’t see where they are or where they’re going. These people are emotionally chained to feelings of regret, guilt and the memories of the injustices done to them. What are you remembering? A scripture guidance is Philippians: 3 where Paul said,“Forgetting those things which are behind. I reach forth toward those things which are before and press onward toward the mark of the high calling of God.” He’s saying that we can get out of the habit of looking backward by reaching out in mind to a higher state of consciousness. Don’t fear, resent, or resist the past. Just let it go and move forward to the “mark of the high calling of God.”

Do you remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah? It’s in Genesis 19. I’m going to paraphrase it a bit to refresh it in your memory. “Two angels were sent to Sodom in the evening. Lot was sitting at the gate. When he saw them he rose to meet them and bowed himself before the angels and said, “My Lords, I pray to you, come to your servant’s house and spend the night.  You may then rise up early and go on your way.  And they said, “No we’ll spend the night in the street.” Lot knew what was going on in the city of Sodom, so he encouraged the angels to come in and spend the night with him. But before they had a chance to lie down, all the men of the city of Sodom came storming to the door and tried to break it down saying, “Give us those two men and let us come to know them.”  Now that Biblical language means that they were talking about raping these two angels.
Lot pleaded with them to go away. And they were just about to break the door in when the angels blinded the men at the door and said to Lot, 
“Bring your Son-in-laws, your Daughters and your wife and let’s get out of here, because God is going to destroy this evil place.” So Lot went out and said to his son-in-laws and daughters, “Get up and get out of this place with me for the Lord is about to destroy the city.”  But they all thought he was joking.  Isn’t that the way it is with us sometimes when we get a message from God? “God, you must be joking!”  Do what? Do that, Not me.”

But the angel said again to them,
Flee for your life and do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Flee to the mountains lest you be consumed.” And Lot said to them, “I’d much rather go to that smaller city, the one with the tiny hill, rather than to the mountains you’re pointing out.” The angels knew that Lot deserved this favor so they said, “Ok, you can do that, but go at once and do not look back.” Then the Lord rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed those cities and all the inhabitants and even what grew in the ground.  But Lot’s wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt. Metaphysically, Sodom and Gomorrah represent the conscious and subconscious part of our life when we’re demoralized and living in negative states of mind which are averse to Spirit and immersed in sense consciousness. In other words, we’re living a life that we aren’t very proud of and something we don’t want anyone to know the details of. Lot and his family were warned by God to get out of these states of mind; to leave Sodom and Gomorrah, but Lot hesitated. On the human level, it’s a natural thing to do. We don’t want to change and leave that level of consciousness because it’s comfortable. Eventually though, we wear out, obey God and leave. When we do leave these negative states of mind that we call ‘sins and mistakes’ then all of this becomes part of our past ignorance that’s destroyed every time we leave it behind.

But Lot’s wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt. Literally this means she had a stroke and became paralyzed. When you’re paralyzed, you can’t move forward or backward.  You’re stuck right where you are. And sometimes our emotional nature, which is represented by Lot’s wife, can’t resist looking back at past ignorance and negativity. Every time we do, we get caught up in that negativity again because we recall some unhappy past memory about a perceived past mistake and it turns into regret and guilt. If we’re ever going to live peacefully we must let the past go and move forward with no regrets. We must move to the mountains, described in the story, which are really higher states of consciousness.
The message of the story is: No matter what the problem, the solution is always to reach for higher states of consciousness. Do this and where old opportunities have faded away, new ones will appear and they’ll just keep coming into your life in Divine Order when they are for your higher good.

This story holds a message of encouragement that can be part of your own belief system,  if you accept it.
Do you believe that the future will be better for you than today?  Or do you think that where you are right now is the best that life has to offer? Life is meant to get better and better. People can tell you what they think and what they think you should believe, but only you can decide what you believe.  No one can force you to believe anything.  No one can believe for you.  Belief is an inside  job and it is yours and yours alone.

Here are four very specific life experiences to ask yourself about and use to test the quality of your personal belief system.

1. Do you believe that there is a person, man or woman, who will bring you personal peace?

2. Do you believe that there is a job or position where you can fulfill your human potential?
3. Do you believe that there is a book, which explains everything?

4. Do you believe that there is a place where you can totally feel completely at home?

These four things are illusions. They are false expectations. They sound wonderful, but they’re not real. Belief in them is usually grounded in some sort of fear.
And what is fear?  Fear is a feeling of being separated from God which we often label as some need or form of good that we want out of life. The Truth Jesus taught is that we are never separated from God and therefore we are never separated from our good. This is a belief that will never fail you during the good times and the not so good times. It stands the test of time and circumstance and is the Truth that sets you free. If you really believe that you are one with God, then you have nothing to fear, right?  Being at one with God equals the absence of fear and the presence of love.  But don’t worry:  if you have fear or doubts, there is a way to overcome them. As Paul said, “Press on toward the mark of the high calling of God.” This means: reach out toward a higher state of consciousness. Like in the story of Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah go toward the high mountains; toward higher states of consciousness.” Throughout the Bible we are told that this is what we must do in order to work with God in our spiritual unfolding. Ultimately we must believe God is living in us as us and through us. We must believe in God and believe in our own ability to live from the Christ Mind. Do you believe in God? Do you believe all things are possible in your life when you let God be God through you? Do you believe in that  with God as your partner, you can do whatever you set your mind to do?

We can work more closely with God when we practice 3 basic Unity principles.

1. Practice the Silence.  Our thoughts are prayers and we are always praying.  Everyday pray and meditate by acknowledging the One Presence and One Power, God the Good and In the Silence you will receive guidance and inspiration to assist you on your life journey.

2. Practice unconditional love.  Every day make a conscious effort to express love and this includes expressing love toward people you don’t like, agree with of get along with.

3. Practice your faith. Turn over any concern that you have to God. Do this and you will live in a state of constant Grace that erases all memory of a painful past so that you have nothing to remember except going forward and living to express God as love, light and all good.

I want to close with you a statement by
Myrtle Fillmore that had a huge impact in changing the way I live my life.

She said,
“It is surely not good judgment and wisdom to keep a thing year after year which brings no appreciable returns and which does not cause the Soul to grow and expand and radiate as ever-renewing health and youth. It is foolishness to devote oneself so wholly to a given line of action that one’s own consciousness is neglected so that one fails to learn and to keep in health and strength and how to bring forth the things needed for daily comfort and peace of mind. It is not always best for one to continue doing that which he likes to do, or that for which he has been trained, or for that for which he is even best paid. We need to round out, to develop the rest of our faculties and powers to do, that which brings us close to humanity and that which increases what the world needs most.

This is what she believed. I leave you with the question: 
What do you believe?
God bless you.

UNITY OF VANCOUVER                     “WHAT DO I BELIEVE? Self-exploration handout”

3814 Franklin St.                                                                                   Reverend Bernadette Voorhees   VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON 98660                                                                                     April 3, 2022

Phone:  360-696-0996                                                                                              All Rights Reserved

Self-exploration handout

Review your beliefs and let go of conditioned beliefs that limit and prevent you from living from the level of your Christ Self. Begin by asking yourself the following questions and writing down your answers.

1. What do I believe?

2.  Am I willing to take what I now believe, put it in writing and sign it as my Credo?

3.  Am I willing to declare my beliefs in the presence of others? What I believe out-pictures in my life as my life. My outer life is a mirror of my inner life. Jesus said, “Thoughts are like seeds.” What thought seeds am I planting and reaping?

4. How am I living? What am I currently experiencing? Is what I am experiencing what I really believe and want my life to be? If not, who do I blame? What can I change?

5. Do I resist change and/or believe in sticking to tradition? Am I living my parents, ancestors’ or other peoples’ beliefs? Jesus called this living by second hand light.

6. Charles Fillmore said,
“The past only exists in our minds. Looking backward is an illusion containing fantasies of unreality. There is nothing wrong with the past. Our past experiences helped make us who we are today. Give thanks for all the lessons of the past, painful and wonderful and keep moving forward.” People who believe “I am only human,” have a tendency to walk backwards in life. They know where they’ve been but can’t see where they are or where they’re going. Some people are emotionally chained to feelings of regret, guilt, shame, blame and the memories of the injustices done to them. Ask yourself: “What do I choose to dwell on and remember?” Is my mind and heart dwelling in the physical (earth) or in the Kingdom of Heaven and God.” The Law of Mind Action is: Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.”

7. In
Philippians 3, Paul wrote, “Forgetting those things which are behind. I reach forth toward those things which are before and press onward toward the mark of the high calling of God.” Do I make the necessary inner effort to get myself out of the emotional Ego habit of looking backward like Lot’s wife? Do I lift my awareness in the present moment to the Christ mind within me? In times of trouble do I take time to center myself in God through affirmative prayer and meditation and choose to see things differently by seeing things rightly? As Joseph told his brothers (thoughts), “You meant it for evil, God meant it for good.”

8. How do I react when I get a challenging message from God? Do I say, “God, you must be joking!” Do that? Not me.” Do I resist God’s push for my forward progression to a greater good or say,
“Yes God. Here I am Lord, take and use me.”

9. Do I believe that where I am today is the best life (God) has to offer me or that the best of my life is over? Do I believe things will only get worse or only get better?
Additional Thoughts and Questions to aide your exploration

Do I believe. . .

God (the universe) is always expanding.

God is expanding Its expression through me to the extent that I am willing.

God can only do for me what God can do through me.

. Am I living and making my life choices as a willing and enthusiastic participant in God’s plan for peace and prosperity on Earth as it is in Heaven?

1. Do I believe there is a person, man or woman, who will bring me personal peace?

2. Do I believe there is a job or position where I can fulfill my human potential?

3. Do I believe there is a book, which will explain everything to me?

4. Do I believe there’s a place where I will feel completely safe and at home?

We have been conditioned to believe these 4 ideas. These false expectations are planted in our minds from the cradle by the power brokers of the world who judge themselves as smarter and more worthy of possessing all the wealth and power. This is consciously done to keep us feeling powerless, hopeless and controllable by them. Jesus challenged the Conventional Wisdom of his day taught by such power brokers and he paid the ultimate price usually extracted by them for speaking Truth to power. As they beat him and took his physical life, Jesus spoke Truth to power saying,
“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Anyone or any religion that promotes anger, fear, retribution or war is not the religion of Jesus. Anyone or any religion that teaches real prosperity for YOU can only be found and experienced in the ‘next life’ is not teaching the first century teachings of Jesus Christ who said,
“The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. It is here, right now and available to you and to everyone free from God, if you believe.” If ‘you believe’ means that no one can take it from you. It also means that no one can give it to you but you. You have what you have in your life by right of consciousness.

Jesus challenged the power brokers of his culture. They believed that He had committed the ultimate ‘sin’ by challenging their powerful status quo by trying to return hope, power, prosperity and abundant life to all of the children of God they had disenfranchised and turned into outcasts from their social order, saying they were not worthy to be called “Jewish.” They labeled those unable to pay both the Roman Tax and Temple Tax as ‘sinners,’ expelled them from their society and persecuted them.

The question is:
What do I believe? Do I believe that God is the only presence and power? Do I believe that I am one with God. Do I act on my belief? If not,  what or who do I fear?  If God is for me, what or who is working against me? Am I willing to explore my conditioned beliefs? Am I willing to “Know the Truth that sets me free?”

Below are my musings on what i believe about the 3 unity principles i shared in this lesson at this moment of my spiritual journey.
I invite you to explore these ideas as I did. It will help you to evolve your own Credo.

1.
PRACTICE RESTING IN THE SILENCE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD. Our thoughts are prayers and so we are always praying. Our thoughts are the bridge between the invisible world of Spirit (unformed God energy) and the visible world of form. The practice of affirmative prayer aligns our human mind with Christ Mind or God Mind which is also within us. Begin everyday by acknowledging: “There is only one presence and one power in the universe and in my life, God the good omnipotent.” Fear is just a signal or reminder that in the moment you are centered in Ego and focusing your identity solely in matter and the physical realm of being. You are acting as a one dimensional being and trying to solve a problem from the same level of mind that creates problems in the first place. “Lift your eyes to the mountains from whence cometh your help.” Demand always precedes supply. This scripture is a simple statement of the process by which God moves from the invisible realm of Spirit to become visible as your useable good in the earthy realm of form.

Jesus said,
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all else will be added unto you.”  Spirit creates matter. Matter does not create Spirit. Jesus also said, “Do not store up the treasures of your heart in that which molds, rots and deteriorates.” You are “created in the image and likeness of God.” You are not striving to become more spiritual. You are already as spiritual as you will ever be because you are eternally one with God. Jesus came to remind humanity of this Truth. We are not worms of the dust and sinners as the powerful elitists so often tells us that we are. We are beloved children of God and thus individualized expressions of God and joint heirs in Christ.

2.
PRACTICE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. MAKE A CONSCIOUS EFFORT TO EXPRESS ONLY LOVE AND LIGHT. Don’t wait for others to do it first. This is about the quality of your life and how you can transform your life right now. To paraphrase Jesus, “Express love and light toward people you like and also to those you don’t like, don’t get along with and who don’t agree with you and aren’t like you. Forgiving isn’t  trying to set things right or letting another off the hook. Forgiveness is seeing things right by knowing despite appearances, there is only God and everything works together for good for those who believe.” Lack of forgiveness is a human level way of denying God’s presence in a person and situation. There is no lack of God. To seeing lack and believing lack is stronger than God is a form of spiritual blindness or spiritual ignorance. Unforgiveness is a mental block. It exists only on the Ego level of mind. It will keep God energy from freely flowing through you just as a cloud can block the radiance of the sun in one place and not another. Forgiveness isn’t something you give to another person. It is something you give to yourself.

3.
PRACTICE YOUR FAITH. LIVE THE TRUTH THAT YOU KNOW RIGHT NOW. The Bible reveals to us that humanity is capable of moving in consciousness from instinctual consciousness to Christ or Ascension Conscious, one step at a time. Instinctual consciousness believes that we are only powerless human beings. On this level of mind we live in fear, compete for stuff with others, dwell on the past, withhold love, hold onto anger and seek vengeance believing in “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Christ or Ascension Consciousness knows there is only One Presence and One Power through personal experience. These two realms of mind exist within us at all times. But the Bible also reveals to us that Mind is Pivotal. It can choose to look backward and choose to live in the past like Lot’s wife or look forward and choose to move toward the Promised Land. This pivotal point with each of us is often called ‘Conscious Awareness.’ Our choices not only reveal what we truly believe is true about ourselves and God in the present moment but how much of that truth we are willing and able to put into practice in our lives.

When Peter asked Jesus if he had to forgive someone 7 times, Jesus told him
“No, I tell you that you must forgive 70 times 7.” Metaphysically this means as many times as it takes to constantly choose to see that there is only God and that our right relationship with God is a relationship of oneness. Jesus summed up this up by saying, “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.”

In His sermon on the Mount Jesus told his listeners,
“Do these things.”

I believe this is what our co-founder Myrtle Fillmore was reflecting on when she said,
“It is surely not good judgment and wisdom to keep a thing year after year which brings no appreciable returns and which does not cause the Soul to grow, expand and radiate as ever-renewing health and youth. It is foolishness to devote oneself so wholly to a given line of action that one’s own consciousness is neglected so that one fails to learn and to keep in health and strength and how to bring forth the things needed for daily comfort and peace of mind. It is not always best for one to continue doing that which he likes to do, or that for which he has been trained, or for that for which he is even best paid.  We need to round out, to develop the rest of our faculties and powers to do, that which brings us close to humanity and that which increases what the world needs most.” This is what she believed and the beliefs that fueled her spiritual journey.

I invite you to reflect on your beliefs today. Use the handout to explore the question:
“What do I believe?”

Actively explore your beliefs and discover that you are not the same person that you were last year, yesterday or even this morning. Do you habitually look forward and press on or backward like Lot’s wife and turn into a pillar of salt.

You are one with God right now. Right now you have the power within you to choose to upgrade your beliefs about yourself and God. Begin to live your life as a fearless, spiritual being, living in a spiritual universe, governed by spiritual laws and fulfilling a spiritual purpose of bringing the Kingdom of God to Earth as it is in Heaven.

The question
“What do I believe?” will ultimately determine
the outcomes that define your life.
 


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