Beliefnet
Everyday Spirituality

Some people are power hungry. They will even use religion to assert their power over others. For example, the Bible has been abused to assert power over women.

History shows that power hungry people do not give up their power. It must be wrested from those those who have it. Women had to fight for voting rights and are still fighting.

When it comes to mental and physical health, we must wrestle with beliefs that hold power over us.

So, I took time to read the Bible and wrest false powers grafted into the Bible to assert control over people.

#1 false belief is that the Bible is the final word of God to be taken literally, whereas in Job 38: 1-4 we read where God pointedly questioned the belief that human beings have a final understanding, “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.”

#2 false belief is that religious officials have authority and expertise. But in Proverbs we all are reminded to be humble in our understanding. We read, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”

#3 powerless belief is that we follow words instead of the palpable Christ. We read in Matthew 8:22-26, “And Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.’ 23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing.’ 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”

We can wrestle and beat those thoughts and beliefs that try to control and limit us. We can experience the living Christ-spirit that blesses us with inspiration, wellbeing and joy.

Quoting from science & religion to God:

“Soul has infinite resources with which to bless us.”

 

Valentine’s Day is the second busiest holiday for restaurants, after Mother’s Day. The optimist in me sees happy couples lingering in the candlelight of love. The realist in me sees people eating. Love may make life worthwhile, but we eat food to survive.

And, the farmer in me knows that food doesn’t come from the grocery store.

Let’s take a quick look at fruit.

Fruit trees are planted. The trees require 5–8-years of growth before a commercial crop is produced. All the while, the trees and soil require care. Then, to harvest successfully, the fruit must be picked at a specific time of maturity, before being taken out of the field to be washed, packaged, and shipped to grocery stores.

Furthermore, if we expect to eat fruit in the winter, the produce is preserved either by means of canning or freezing.

Basically, a colossal amount of work, time, and thought goes into food availability. The elements of weather and the market are accounted for. And it’s the same for love.

When needing, or even wanting, love, I remind myself there is more to it than romance and eating chocolate. Many attributes and elements are involved.

To find elements associated with love, I plodded through the Bible and read this verse from Galatians, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

In other words, I read, don’t try to cultivate only love. The fruit of Spirit isn’t only love, but love, joy, peace, patience, yadda yadda.

Seemed acceptable. I couldn’t argue with the fact that the attributes on that list were things that I, well, like to experience. So, they all must be important.

However, I got a bit stymied by the word “Spirit.” I mean come on, what is Spirit? It’s unseen, indescribable, immeasurable, pretty complicated.

Added to the complication is bad timing. Just like on the farm, if fruit was picked before it ripened, it was sour. And, if we waited too long to pick, the fruit was rotten.

Sour or rotten love, is the pits.

Screeeeeech, that is where I applied the mental brakes to stop myself from going in circles around only love.

I broadened my diet, so to speak. I made, and still make, efforts to eat up joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

For example, while negotiating today’s societal culture of women working outside the home and men working inside the home, I exercised faithfulness and stayed married after telling my husband, “Please don’t ever wash my blouse in the same laundry load with the mudroom rugs ever again. Stuff doesn’t just come out of the machine, clean. The mud from the rugs got in my blouse and ruined it.”

Okay, I confess to selective memory and probably told my husband, “Start helping around the house better or we’re getting a divorce,” but we’re still happily together after 33-years.

As for the element of patience, this is very interesting.

For certain: I am not a source of patience.

And because of my bossy gene, I can’t help but admit that the source of my husband’s patience with me must be infinite.

The source of patience must be unending, why not call it Spirit.

I may not be able to see or measure Spirit, but I can know Spirit. I can know Spirit as source. The fruit source. Said in another way, when I stop believing and acting as though other people, or I, am a source of love, I’m in line to reap success in love.

We can reap success in love because love isn’t dependent on dinner or a personal relationship. Love is internalized along with peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, all of which we can get our teeth into this Valentine’s Day, or now.

 

Bio: Cheryl Petersen lives in Delhi. Her books are: “from science & religion to God,” and, “Zen Kitty: and other meows, available on Amazon.com

In my corner of northeastern United States, political turmoil is evident. In quick-time, the media and public conversations can get a bit heavy.

To lighten my mind, I took a few steps: I educated myself, prayed, and became a bit more aware.

To educate myself, I read the book titled, The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the right to Liberty, by author, Timothy Sandefur. The book was interesting. Sandefur made an argument against interpreting the Constitution without referencing the Declaration of Independence.

With the Declaration of Independence in hand, it is surmised that judges can more correctly interpret the Constitution, especially this sentence from the Declaration: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The book clarified the need for government, not to assume they are in office to grant Americans rights as if they are privileges, but to secure the rights that are already ours.

To pray, I looked at these ideas and had to be honest. When it comes to the adage that “all men are created equal,” I know humanity has yet to manifest that equality in government, in the workplace, or in the home. I also know it’s difficult to act on our rights to life, liberty and health.

But I could grasp the significance of placing my hope, not in governmental officials, but in the Constitution, in the Declaration, and in other writings that point us to higher ideals.

I then realized that instead of placing my hope in the actual writings, I can place my hope in the government of God, in the management of thoughts in line with higher ideals.

I read from Isaiah: 9: 6-7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.

My personal increased education and prayer has led me to practice upholding honesty, justice, and peace. This has shown itself in not arguing politics with people who are set in their ways. I can move on in equanimity and express my thoughts in receptive atmospheres. I don’t need to add to polarization, but to our right to reason and be controlled by thoughts of higher ideals.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV