Today God Is My Only Goal

ACIM Workbook Lesson 256 – for Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Affirmation:  “God is the only goal I have today.”

“And so, our Father, would we come to You in Your appointed way.  We have no goal except to hear Your Voice, and find the way Your sacred Word has pointed out to us.  (WB422)”

Reflections:

This affirmation and prayer, in a capsule, are most precisely how I view A Course in Miracles.

We must follow guidance, because we do not have the prescience to know all past, present, and future factors that affect our reality (a paraphrase from the Manual).  When I follow guidance, my day goes well.  When I get off the track, being willful, then my day goes downhill (and fast).  We must be flexible enough, as I have said previously in this blog, to turn on a dime.  We must start the day over again, metaphorically, when we have gotten off track.

This is the only sane way to live.  It gives the blessings which ACIM promises to us.  It is the greatest piece of wisdom, in my estimation, that ACIM offers.

The means of following guidance is through our relationships, especially a particular relationship to a “brother” who, once in our life, stays in it.  There may be more than one of these relationships in a lifetime, but generally they are few (a Manual tenet).

Finding God (who was never lost, but we turned away) is our greatest need.  Until we do this, we flounder, though He has never abandoned us, and He can help even when we think He is hiding from us.

Some of our brothers and sisters go throughout life without a spiritual experience.  I once had a close friend who said, “I didn’t choose not to believe.”  And she was on a constant search.  Finally, just before her death, after counseling, she found the peace that she had sought.

Surely there are many in our circle who are in similar straits.  We would reach out to them to the extent that they are ready.  They probably would not welcome proselytizing.  We would turn them off.  The most we can offer is to live our lives so that our friends who are searching can wonder, and ask, in their own way, for what we have found.  Then we are freed to talk.  What we say will find a receptive audience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for allowing me to find a sense of being “saved” at an early age.  I did not know then how much would be offered me in this lifetime.  Thank You for the many blessings that knowing You has brought to me.  Forgive me in the moments–past, present, and possibly future–when I turn away.  I know that You have never abandoned me.  It is I who is fallible.

Help me not to judge, not to attack, and not to make plans against contingencies to come.  Jesus has given these three facets of our lives as the danger points.  May I bypass danger today.  And may I know that life can only be lived one day at a time, and tomorrow must I pray the same prayer.

When You are not my sole goal, then let me realize that I am thinking amiss.  When my goal is solely for You, then all lesser desires and loves fall into place easily.  You would not leave me alone, but You do want me to reach inwardly to You above all else.  Then and only then is my welfare assured.  Thank You.

Amen.

How to Handle the Future

ACIM Workbook Lesson 214 – for Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me.”

“I place the future in the Hands of God.  (WB394)”

Reflections:

This passage emphasizes one of the three actions that are cautions:  don’t attack; don’t judge; and don’t make plans against contingencies to come (a Text tenet).  The latter is the important one when we place the future in the Hands of God.  We do not need to make plans, in most cases, but we don’t often realize this.  It seems to our minds that the prohibitions about attacks and judgment are somehow different from the planning that we all do as a matter of course.  Of course, realistically, some day-to-day, and even long-range plans are needed to keep us on course.  This is just common sense.  But Jesus is talking here about the many plans that we make that try to protect us from the acts in the future over which we have little or no control, and from which we are trying to protect ourselves.

We do not need to protect ourselves inordinately.  We do wear warm clothing in the winter, and we try to eat well, but most of our planning is not about this.  It is about the attempt to predict what our brothers and sisters might do that would harm us.  Alternately, it is about what we ourselves might do if we don’t remember all the mistakes that we have made in the past, mistakes that we don’t want to repeat because they brought hurt.

We do not need such mental gyrations.  God is our protector, and the Holy Spirit as our Communicator from God is here to give us the guidance that we need as we need it.  This latter point, “as we need it,” is important.  The Holy Spirit does not run ahead to tomorrow.  He is like Jesus’s words in the New Testament, “Take no thought for the morrow.”  So A Course in Miracles shows itself once again to be a continuation of Jesus’s earlier message (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

So, to live well, it is best to leave the future to God.  We will be guided very specifically (a Manual tenet).  We will be told all that we need to do (also a tenet).  We need, therefore, to be careful for nothing.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would place the future in Your hands.  I would not run about today trying to make everything suited to my little personal needs.  This is such a petty way to live, and, moreover, it contradicts Your indication that we are to let the Holy Spirit guide us.

May today be a good day.  May I not make plans against contingencies to come, meaning those pesky problems that I anticipate but rarely see to fruition.  May I also not attack nor judge.  These three tendencies separate me from You, which is the last thing that I want.

Amen.

Planning

“Yet planning is not often recognized as a defense.  (ACIM, WB254)”

Affirmation:  “May I not be tempted to ‘plan’ today.”

Reflections:

We are great planners in this world.  Our careers almost demand it of us.  Yet living in a spiritual sense does not emphasize planning.  We are told in A Course in Miracles that we will be told when and how to plan, when the need arises.  But we are not to look for those times, for they are far fewer than most of us realize.

We are meant to lean on God, to lean on His mercy in this troubled world–indeed, in our troubled lives.  We may even have been told to “Go to God,” when we are tangled up.  (I was once told that by a close friend.)

A Course in Miracles would have us to turn to the Holy Spirit for our guidance through life.  Indeed, the Holy Spirit is seen in Christianity as one part of the Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Unfortunately, we often make our decisions ourselves, and then turn inward for guidance.  And, as ACIM says, the guidance that we hear may not coincide with what we have already decided, and so we are confounded.

Today let us vow to make no plans without first asking for guidance.  God is the All, and His essence is also a part of our inwardness.  Turn inward with confidence that the answer found there will be sufficient, without the planning that would only confuse our future acts.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You that today, at least, I have been diligent in listening to the Holy Spirit for my guidance.  Help me to do so consistently, day after day after day.  Help me to learn how the Holy Spirit and Christ-consciousness coincide.  I am teachable, dear Lord.

May I resist the troubling desire to plan in advance, because I realize that such planning can often even be counterproductive.  May I hear your Word to know when planning is needed, and, perhaps even more, when planning is not needed.

Amen.

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Day 140:

Only salvation can be said to cure.

Temptation

“God’s gifts can rarely be received directly.  Even the most advanced of God’s teachers will give way to temptation in this world.  (M58)”

Affirmation:  “May I not give way to temptation today.”

Reflections:

Even the most advanced of God’s teachers is still fallible.  We won’t get it right all the time.  We will succumb to temptations in this world, and that includes especially the tendency to feel anger and then to attack.  In addition, we will judge ourselves and others.  And we will make contingency plans against uncertainties to come.  These three actions are all ways in which temptations take us away from God.  And we will fall on our face in our dealings with our brothers and sisters.

Leaving temptation behind is an ongoing pathway.  We will never, perhaps, be free of temptations in this world, but the times that they intrude upon our lives will lessen as we live closer to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

God gives us gifts, though we may not recognize them when they come.  One might not recognize a miracle at high noon, if our thoughts are solely on our own desires and wishes.  We may study the Course, and as we do, we will do better in this world.  Our power will come to us as we let guidance lead the Way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I not give way to temptation, though You say that I will be likely to do so from time to time.  May I not give way to temptation today.

Thank You for your support always.  May I avoid anger and attack today.  May I be good to my brothers and sisters.  When I hear guidance, let me be steadfast to hold it close to me.

Amen.