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for September 2008

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#620
9-7-2008
#621
9-14-2008
#622
9-21-2008
#623
9-28-2008

9-7-2008 Sunday Service of the Church Within #620
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Weekly On-Line Services Since September 29, 1996

Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

Please Freely Share any of our Church Within Services with Any and All whom you feel might Appreciate them. If you have received this Service from a friend and would like to subscribe to our Weekly On-Line Services, send an e-mail with your request to: seewithin@churchwithin.org Thank You! ...and Please Visit our Church Within Web-Site at http://www.churchwithin.org

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Humor of the Week
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In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

[Ya Gotta Love Mark Twain… ;-)]

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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
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Greetings my Beloved Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to the Church that is Within.

Ever notice how with some words their definition shifts considerably depending upon who is using the word?

The topic of today's Sunday Service, #620, is Strength…

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The Sermon
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Some think that they feel their own personal strength through the manipulation or control of everyone else around them… as if making others seem weak makes “them” appear to be strong.

Some feel that they have no personal strength whatsoever… never felt like they had any and don't feel like they probably ever will and, in all likelihood wouldn't know what they would do with it if they ever felt like they actually had any of it. Often they are prey to those who's desire it is to control and manipulate. Fear is the whip that keeps them in line and the boundaries of their captivity are defined by the degree to which they may be kept in unawareness. And Yet… frequently, great strengths of integrity and of perseverance can be observed in these people, though they are unlikely to be able to recognize it within themselves. Their resolve and determination to survive and provide for their families is often in and of itself an inspiration to…

“Some Others” who find themselves fitting neatly into neither the controlling nor the controlled categories just described… commonly become adversaries to the manipulators and advocates and defenders of they who are being manipulated and controlled.

Perhaps at one time they were of the “controlled” category and broke free of it's confines… maybe they escaped the corral of ignorance by boldly walking through the gate of knowledge and understanding. Once free, those often return to try and help others to see and go through the gate.

Perhaps again… at one time they were of the “controller” category and broke free of It's confines… maybe they somehow discovered that True and Personally Satisfying Strength is achieved through Self Control and Compassion and that controlling others was an empty and unfulfilling and terribly lonely endeavor.

Knowledge, Self-Control, Compassion, Love… these are the Test of Strength, the Evidence of Strength and the Reward of Genuine Inner Strength.

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Quotes
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(From: The Book of Runes - #19 - Disruptive Natural Forces / Elemental Power / Hail (Hagalaz)
…what operates here is not ultimately an outside force, not a situation of you-at-the-mercy-of-externals. Your own nature is creating what is happening, and you are not without power. The inner strength you have funded until now in your life is your support and guide at a time when everything you've taken for granted is being challenged.

The more severe the disruption in your life, the more significant and timely the requirements for your growth….The Universe and your own Soul are demanding that you do, indeed, grow.

(From: The Tao Te Ching - #52)
Seeing into darkness is clarity.
Knowing how to yield is strength.
Use your own light and return to the source of light.
This is called practicing eternity.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-48 Section-7)
Greatness lies not so much in possessing strength as in making a wise and divine use of such strength.

(From: Anna Freud (1895 - 1982)

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.

(From: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121 AD - 180 AD)
Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look there.

(From: Richard Byrd)
Few men during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-91 Section-6)
Do not be so slothful as to ask God to solve your difficulties, but never hesitate to ask him for wisdom and spiritual strength to guide and sustain you while you yourself resolutely and courageously attack the problems at hand.

(From: The RSV Bible - Isaiah 40:29)
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-3 Section-)5
Is courage--strength of character--desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments.

(From: Gandhi (1869 - 1948)
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

(From: Simone de Beauvoir)
It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to live and our reasons for living.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-126 Section-4)
“Lift up your eyes and behold who has created all these worlds, who brings forth their host by number and calls them all by their names. He does all these things by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power, not one fails. He gives power to the weak, and to those who are weary he increases strength. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness, for I am the Lord your God. And I will hold your right hand, saying to you, fear not, for I will help you.

(From: The RSV Bible - Isaiah 40:31)
…they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

(From: Louis Pasteur (1822 - 1895)
Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-156 Section-5)
        The measure of the spiritual capacity of the evolving soul is your faith in truth and your love for man, but the measure of your human strength of character is your ability to resist the holding of grudges and your capacity to withstand brooding in the face of deep sorrow. Defeat is the true mirror in which you may honestly view your real self.

(From: McCallister Dodds)
Real strength is not just a condition of one's muscle, but a tenderness in one's spirit.

(From: Mother Teresa (1910 - 1997)
Joy is prayer - Joy is strength - Joy is love - Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.

(From: Andre Gide (1869 - 1951)
There are admirable potentialities in every human being. Believe in your strength and your youth. Learn to repeat endlessly to yourself, 'It all depends on me.'

(From: Thomas Carlyle (1795 - 1881)
Have a purpose in life, and, having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into your work as God has given you.

(From: Dag Hammarskjold (1905 - 1961)
Life only demands from you the strength you possess. Only one feat is possible - not to have run away.

  1. (From: Ben Jonson (1572 - 1637)
He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity.

(From: Helen Keller (1880 - 1968)
Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.

(From: Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931)
Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolutions.

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        Help me in my perpetual quest for self control and strengthen my will for Compassion.

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Infinite Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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9-14-2008 Sunday Service of the Church Within #621
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Weekly On-Line Services Since September 29, 1996

Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

Please Freely Share any of our Church Within Services with Any and All whom you feel might Appreciate them. If you have received this Service from a friend and would like to subscribe to our Weekly On-Line Services, send an e-mail with your request to: seewithin@churchwithin.org Thank You! ...and Please Visit our Church Within Web-Site at http://www.churchwithin.org

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Humor of the Week
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Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
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Greetings my Beloved Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to the Church that is Within.

I hope you are all doing well in your quest to discover The Creator and achieve personal Spiritual Growth! Sometimes that quest can appear to waiver or get sidetracked, can't it?

The topic of today's Sunday Service, # 621, is Compromise…

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The Sermon
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There are few who would disagree that there are times in this material world we live in where “Compromise” is not only a handy tool, but actually a necessary compliance in regards to family or friendship matters or in negotiation leading toward peaceful group associations. OK… well that's not the kind of “Compromise” I'll be discussing today.

I will also not be discussing the definition of Compromise wherein it is referring to a Breach of Security or perhaps a damaging of function.

Now it seems to me like it has not been all that long since I have done a Sermon on the blunder of compromising one's Ideals or Values or Principles in order to attempt to appease or placate or satisfy the requirements (or variable whims) of others. We all know how Futile and Ineffective that strategy is, right? …don't we? Sure! Of Course we do! So we Sure don't need another Sermon on That aspect of Compromise at this juncture in time… so what's left then?

Well… let me furnish for you the scenario which led me to today's “topic” and another type of Compromise I discovered in the process, okay? So last night I was in the hot tub attempting to soak and massage out the aches and pains associated with an overweight, 54 year old body with hip and “rotator” issues that had earlier in the day been trying to do the same level of work that my un-compromised 35 year old body had been able to do. The hot-tub is where I do the exercises that my physical therapist gave me a couple of years ago to keep my hip from “going out” again and causing all sorts of havoc with my ability to do anything else at all that is of a physical nature (like work or play or like walking and stuff). Now the first time I had to get therapy for my hip, I stopped doing the exercises I was given shortly after it was “fixed” and working properly. Not a good idea I learned about a year later when I became crippled up with the same hip issue again during one of my landscaping projects. “Oh! So, I'm supposed to Keep doing those exercises for like… oh… pretty much indefinitely? At minimum 2-3 times a week you say?” I've been relatively consistent with my hip exercises for the past couple'a few years now and have managed to keep my hip in place without anymore expensive physical therapy so far. So that is the setting.

Just after getting into the Hot-Tub I was trying to choose between my “overall muscle relaxation” station, and the one that gets my upper shoulders and feet which is also where I do my hip exercise routine. My shoulders and rotator-cup were pretty sore, so my exercise station was in order. Now, you'd think that the wise and therefore correct inner response would be, “Oh good, I can do my exercises while I am there getting my shoulders massaged!” But going through my mind rather was… “Wouldn't it feel good to just relax and let it work on my shoulders without all the extra work of exercising?”---“…didn't exercise the last 2 times in the hot-tub and you Know it's not good to go a third without inviting more serious hip issues.”---“OK, so it would probably be fine maybe just doing half as many of the exercises this time, don't you think?” I actually started doing the half-routine when my “other voice” said, “Quit arguing, stop trying to compromise, and just do the whole thing like you know you need to.”

While in the process of doing my whole hip exercise routine I began wondering… how often does my ego---whatever feels most comfortable right now without regard for consequences---self, win the argument over my Soul---“I've learned from my experiences and think it would be better to use wisdom this time.”---self? …not just in consideration of my physical exercises, but in all situations and areas of my life? …physical, mental and Spiritual? How often do I Compromise what I know to be best, in order to appease my ego's distaste for effort or change or growth? Have you ever caught yourself in internal conversations [“We aren't arguing, we're discussing!”] with yourself and wondered, “Which part of me should be doing the Compromising here?”

When my Soul Compromises to appease my ego, it is like taking “Two Steps Backward.”
When my Soul entices my ego to Compromise toward the better way, it is like taking “Three Steps Forward.”

Does life ever feel like it is “Three steps forward and two steps backward” all the time? …like you must take five steps in order to move forward one step? Consider… it may be a slow and tiring process, but still it IS a measure of progress… Much better than “two steps backward” and “two steps backward” and “two steps backward” and well… you get the picture, right?

What if… one was to, say… get into the habit of doing the “Three Steps Forward” then “Three Steps Forward” then “Three Steps Forward” Compromises without all the intervening “two steps backward” Compromises. There certainly wouldn't be so much “ground to make up” all the time now, Would there?

“Now There's something I should think about at least once in a while.”---“Pardon me, but that's something I should think about all the time, isn't it?”---“OK then Next time, alright?”---“Better yet, how about we start right now!”---“It's going to be Hard!”---“It's going to get progressively easier as long as we do not compromise our efforts.”

Now, if you can honestly say that you don't remember ever having those kinds of conversations with yourself before, I can say without the slightest bit of doubt that…
You Will Now! <grin>

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Quotes
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(From: Author Unknown)

Many things are worse than defeat, and compromise with evil is one of them.

(From: Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982)
The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-184 Section-2 “Peter in the Courtyard”)
        Having taken the first step along the path of compromise and least resistance, there was nothing apparent to Peter but to go on with the course of conduct decided upon. It requires a great and noble character, having started out wrong, to turn about and go right. All too often one's own mind tends to justify continuance in the path of error when once it is entered upon.

(From: Author Unknown)
Peace won by the compromise of principles is a short-lived achievement.

(From: Jane Goodall)
Lasting change is a series of compromises. And compromise is all right, as long your values don't change.

(From: Janis Joplin (1943 - 1970)
Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-133 Section-7)
        The human mind does not well stand the conflict of double allegiance. It is a severe strain on the soul to undergo the experience of an effort to serve both good and evil. The supremely happy and efficiently unified mind is the one wholly dedicated to the doing of the will of the Father in heaven. Unresolved conflicts destroy unity and may terminate in mind disruption. But the survival character of a soul is not fostered by attempting to secure peace of mind at any price, by the surrender of noble aspirations, and by the compromise of spiritual ideals; rather is such peace attained by the stalwart assertion of the triumph of that which is true, and this victory is achieved in the overcoming of evil with the potent force of good.

(From: Ham 8/1/2004 – the Nashville TeaM)
Love begets tolerance, kindness, patience, forbearance, temperance, faith, gentleness of spirit and so forth. The fruits of fear are anger, hatred, prejudice, willful ignorance, intolerance, cruelty and so forth. The Master came to offer a demonstration of love, a demonstration of the power of love in physical form. Each of you, if you would follow him must also demonstrate love in physical form. Love does not bend itself to fear or to the fruits of fear. Love does not compromise with evil in any way. Love seeks only multiplication of love and fulfillment in love.

(From: Robert Fritz)
If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.

(From: Dan Millman, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior)
Moderation? It's mediocrity, fear, and confusion in disguise. It's the devil's dilemma. It's neither doing nor not doing. It's the wobbling compromise that makes no one happy. Moderation is for the bland, the apologetic, for the fence-sitters of the world afraid to take a stand. It's for those afraid to laugh or cry, for those afraid to live or die. Moderation...is lukewarm tea, the devil's own brew.

(From: Charles Knight)

Anybody who accepts mediocrity - in school, on the job, in life - is a person who compromises, and when the leader compromises, the whole organization compromises.

(From: Aaron 8/14/98 – the Spokane(?) TeaM)
…do that which you can do for yourselves. Make those decisions. Learn from your experiences. Accept responsibility for your choices. Experience the wonder of choosing joy in place of sorrow, courage in place of compromise, work in the place of idleness, faith in the place of fear.

(From: Will 8/9/92 – the Tallahassee TeaM)
All humans of the material worlds are faced with two apparently irreconcilable demands.
Those who know God and would live the life that He has made possible are faced with the competing and conflicting demands of the material world. Compromise with the material world is inevitable, yet compromise from the path of spiritual progress is impossible. You must each be mindful of the fact that you pass through this life with two minds. You are growing and when you find yourselves in compromising situations, remember that you are becoming increasingly spiritual creatures and you are using this material life experience to become progressively spiritual. It is not the other way around. You are not growing in spiritual strength to become more successful in any material sense.

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        Sometimes I ask myself, “When will I Learn?” when in fact I should be asking, “Why is it that I keep trying to insist that I will ever be at a point where I can stop learning?” Would You adjust my thoughts for me when I begin to head in the wrong direction with them? Thanks!

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Infinite Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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9-21-2008 Sunday Service of the Church Within #622
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Weekly On-Line Services Since September 29, 1996

Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

Please Freely Share any of our Church Within Services with Any and All whom you feel might Appreciate them. If you have received this Service from a friend and would like to subscribe to our Weekly On-Line Services, send an e-mail with your request to: seewithin@churchwithin.org Thank You! ...and Please Visit our Church Within Web-Site at http://www.churchwithin.org

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Humor of the Week
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Opinion is that *exercise of* the human will which helps us to make a decision without information.

(From: John Erskine (1879 - 1951)

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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
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Greetings my Beloved Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to the Church that is Within.

The Search Words for today's Sunday Service, #622, is *exercise of*…

*exercise of*? Yeah… Well… Since you're wondering (and perhaps slightly at the expense of those who indeed may Not have been wondering), I'll tell you what led up to the choice of today's “Quote Search Parameter” *exercise of*.

The reason that I have a personal respect and fascination for all of the world's religions and systems of belief is because back in 1978 (when I was 25 or so ;-), I was just about ready to abandon/dump/ditch/discard/dispose of/throw out/desert /forsake the lot of them… when I was accidentally/fortuitously/serendipitously/providentially “Found” by The Urantia Book. It is what persuaded me to respect and appreciate once again those theologies that had previously given meaning to my life (but had ultimately fallen short for me)… and to incorporate the Truths that I had learned from them so that I may gain even More meaning for the part of my life that lies ahead.

In 30 years of study I have read “The UB” from beginning to end an average of once every two years and it's been 8/9 years or so since the last. Every time I do, I get some new quantum realization that seems to make sense out of something or other that has been stubbornly eluding my grasp for so very long. Well, my life could really use a personal realization like that right now, so this year I decided to begin another Read Through.

OK, So… The other day I read a paragraph in The Urantia Book (today's first quote), that really spoke to my Soul and I wanted to use it in today's Sunday's Service, so I looked through it this morning to find “the word” from it to use for a quote search. The exercise of choice stood out for me at the moment, but I realized there were Many things in my life the *exercise of* which would make life more rewarding to myself, and to those who in some manner or other share my world with me. I decided to see if I could even find other good quotes that had the specific term---“exercise of”---in them. There were none in the Bible, or the TAO, or the Bhagavad-Gita. I couldn't find it in the vast archive of TeaM quotes I sometimes use either. Quotationspage.com though gave me a fairly adequate selection of usable quotes that contained “exercise of” in them. I was surprised and pleased about that. In the Urantia Book there were 36 times where it was used in a sentence… I chose four of them (plus the one I had started with), that I had at one time or another underlined or highlighted in my book as being significant to me when I had read them.

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Quotes
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(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-3 Section-1)
        The fluctuations of the Father's presence are not due to the changeableness of God. The Father does not retire in seclusion because he has been slighted; his affections are not alienated because of the creature's wrongdoing. Rather, having been endowed with the power of choice (concerning himself), his children, in the *exercise of* that choice, directly determine the degree and limitations of the Father's divine influence in their own hearts and souls. The Father has freely bestowed himself upon us without limit and without favor.

[I wonder why that is so hard to remember sometimes? It kind of reminded me of being really young and hiding my face with my hands and thinking my parents couldn't see me. Know what I mean?]

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-132 Section-3)
        Truth cannot be defined with words, only by living. Truth is always more than knowledge. Knowledge pertains to things observed, but truth transcends such purely material levels in that it consorts with wisdom and embraces such imponderables as human experience, even spiritual and living realities. Knowledge originates in science; wisdom, in true philosophy; truth, in the religious experience of spiritual living. Knowledge deals with facts; wisdom, with relationships; truth, with reality values.
        Man tends to crystallize science, formulate philosophy, and dogmatize truth because he is mentally lazy in adjusting to the progressive struggles of living, while he is also terribly afraid of the unknown. Natural man is slow to initiate changes in his habits of thinking and in his techniques of living.
        Revealed truth, personally discovered truth, is the supreme delight of the human soul; it is the joint creation of the material mind and the indwelling spirit. The eternal salvation of this truth-discerning and beauty-loving soul is assured by that hunger and thirst for goodness which leads this mortal to develop a singleness of purpose to do the Father's will, to find God and to become like him. There is never conflict between true knowledge and truth. There may be conflict between knowledge and human beliefs, beliefs colored with prejudice, distorted by fear, and dominated by the dread of facing new facts of material discovery or spiritual progress.
        But truth can never become man's possession without the *exercise of* faith. This is true because man's thoughts, wisdom, ethics, and ideals will never rise higher than his faith, his sublime hope. And all such true faith is predicated on profound reflection, sincere self-criticism, and uncompromising moral consciousness. Faith is the inspiration of the spiritized creative imagination.

(From: Sir Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626)
God has placed no limits to the *exercise of* the intellect he has given us, on this side of the grave.

(From: Carl Barzun)
The test and use of a man's education is that he finds pleasure in the *exercise of* his mind.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-54 Section-1)
        True liberty is the associate of genuine self-respect; false liberty is the consort of self-admiration. True liberty is the fruit of self-control; false liberty, the assumption of self-assertion. Self-control leads to altruistic service; self-admiration tends towards the exploitation of others for the selfish aggrandizement of such a mistaken individual as is willing to sacrifice righteous attainment for the sake of possessing unjust power over his fellow beings.
        Even wisdom is divine and safe only when it is cosmic in scope and spiritual in motivation.
        There is no error greater than that species of self-deception which leads intelligent beings to crave the *exercise of* power over other beings for the purpose of depriving these persons of their natural liberties. The golden rule of human fairness cries out against all such fraud, unfairness, selfishness, and unrighteousness. Only true and genuine liberty is compatible with the reign of love and the ministry of mercy.

(From: Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Melish, January 13, 1813)
An honest man can feel no pleasure in the *exercise of* power over his fellow citizens.

(From: “Jesus” - The Urantia Book - Paper-158 Section-6)
“Have not I told you that he who would be greatest in the kingdom of my Father's spiritual brotherhood must become little in his own eyes and thus become the server of his brethren? Spiritual greatness consists in an understanding love that is Godlike and not in an enjoyment of the *exercise of* material power for the exaltation of self.”

(From: Joseph Addison (1672 - 1719)
From social intercourse are derived some of the highest enjoyments of life; where there is a free interchange of sentiments the mind acquires new ideas, and by frequent *exercise of* its powers, the understanding gains fresh vigor.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-16 Section-7)
To name virtues is not to define them, but to live them is to know them. Virtue is not mere knowledge nor yet wisdom but rather the reality of progressive experience in the attainment of ascending levels of cosmic achievement. In the day-by-day life of mortal man, virtue is realized by the consistent choosing of good rather than evil, and such choosing ability is evidence of the possession of a moral nature.
        Man's choosing between good and evil is influenced, not only by the keenness of his moral nature, but also by such influences as ignorance, immaturity, and delusion. A sense of proportion is also concerned in the *exercise of* virtue because evil may be perpetrated when the lesser is chosen in the place of the greater as a result of distortion or deception.

(From: Titus Livius (59 BC - 17 AD)
Many difficulties which nature throws in our way, may be smoothed away by the *exercise of* intelligence.

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The Sermon
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Earlier I said there were “Many things in my life the *exercise of* which would make life more rewarding to myself, and to those who in some manner or other share my world with me.”

Here's a few… see if any may resonate with you as well…

The exercise of…
…Good Choice
…Wisdom.
…Self-Control.
…Caution
…Patience.
…Intelligence.
…Humility.
…Restraint.
…Compassion.
…Loving.
And let us not forget,
The exercise of Recognizing God's Presence.

OK everybody!!! Time for our Exercises! ;-)

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        I couldn't see You when I covered my eyes, could You see me?

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Infinite Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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9-28-2008 Sunday Service of the Church Within #623
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Weekly On-Line Services Since September 29, 1996

Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

Please Freely Share any of our Church Within Services with Any and All whom you feel might Appreciate them. If you have received this Service from a friend and would like to subscribe to our Weekly On-Line Services, send an e-mail with your request to: seewithin@churchwithin.org Thank You! ...and Please Visit our Church Within Web-Site at http://www.churchwithin.org

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Humor of the Week
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A cowboy, who is visiting Wyoming from Texas, walks  into a bar and orders three mugs of Bud. He sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn. When he finishes them, he  comes back to the bar and orders three more.
 
The  bartender approaches and tells the cowboy, “You know, a mug goes flat after I draw it. It would taste better if you bought one at a time.”
 
The cowboy replies, “Well, you see, I have two brothers. One is in Arizona, the other is in Colorado . When we all left our home in Texas, we promised that we'd drink this way to remember the days when we drank together. So I'm drinking one beer for each of my brothers and one for myself.”
 
The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it there.
 
The cowboy becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way. He orders three mugs and drinks them in  turn.
 
One day, he comes in and only orders two mugs. All the  regulars take notice and fall silent. When he comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, “I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your loss.”
 
The cowboy looks quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawns in his eyes and he laughs.
 
“Oh, no, everybody's just fine,”  he explains, “It's just that my wife and I joined the Baptist Church and  I had to quit drinking.”
 
“Hasn't affected my brothers though.”

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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
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Greetings my Beloved Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to the Church that is Within.

How often do you actually recognize feeling the immediate Presence of your Creator?
Always? Usually? Frequently? Sometimes? Seldom? Practically Never? Never?

The topic of today's Sunday Service, #623, is Providence…

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Quotes
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(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-12 Section-7)
        There is operative throughout all time and space and with regard to all reality of whatever nature an inexorable and impersonal law which is equivalent to the function of a cosmic providence. Mercy characterizes God's attitude of love for the individual; impartiality motivates God's attitude toward the total. The will of God does not necessarily prevail in the part--the heart of any one personality--but his will does actually rule the whole, the universe of universes.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-4 Section-1)
There is a providence of divine outworking on your world, but it is not the childish, arbitrary, and material ministry many mortals have conceived it to be. The providence of God consists in the interlocking activities of the celestial beings and the divine spirits who, in accordance with cosmic law, unceasingly labor for the honor of God and for the spiritual advancement of his universe children.
        Can you not advance in your concept of God's dealing with man to that level where you recognize that the watchword of the universe is progress? Through long ages the human race has struggled to reach its present position. Throughout all these millenniums Providence has been working out the plan of progressive evolution. The two thoughts are not opposed in practice, only in man's mistaken concepts. Divine providence is never arrayed in opposition to true human progress, either temporal or spiritual. Providence is always consistent with the unchanging and perfect nature of the supreme Lawmaker.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-118 Section-10)
        To realize providence in time, man must accomplish the task of achieving perfection. But man can even now foretaste this providence in its eternity meanings as he ponders the universe fact that all things, be they good or evil, work together for the advancement of God-knowing mortals in their quest for the Father of all.
        Providence becomes increasingly discernible as men reach upward from the material to the spiritual. The attainment of completed spiritual insight enables the ascending personality to detect harmony in what was theretofore chaos.

(From: W. H. Murray, The Scottish Himalaya Expedition 1951)
This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way."

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-149 Section-2)
        As Jesus mingled with the people, they found him entirely free from the superstitions of that day. He was free from religious prejudices; he was never intolerant. He had nothing in his heart resembling social antagonism. While he complied with the good in the religion of his fathers, he did not hesitate to disregard man-made traditions of superstition and bondage. He dared to teach that catastrophes of nature, accidents of time, and other calamitous happenings are not visitations of divine judgments or mysterious dispensations of Providence. He denounced slavish devotion to meaningless ceremonials and exposed the fallacy of materialistic worship. He boldly proclaimed man's spiritual freedom and dared to teach that mortals of the flesh are indeed and in truth sons of the living God.

(From: Tyron Edwards)
Anxiety is the rust of life, destroying its brightness and weakening its power. A childlike and abiding trust in Providence is its best preventive and remedy.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-118 Section-10)
        When men pray for providential intervention in the circumstances of life, many times the answer to their prayer is their own changed attitudes toward life. But providence is not whimsical, neither is it fantastic nor magical. It is the slow and sure emergence of the mighty sovereign of the finite universes, whose majestic presence the evolving creatures occasionally detect in their universe progressions.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-118 Section-10)
Most of what a mortal would call providential is not; his judgment of such matters is very handicapped by lack of farsighted vision into the true meanings of the circumstances of life. Much of what a mortal would call good luck might really be bad luck; the smile of fortune that bestows unearned leisure and undeserved wealth may be the greatest of human afflictions; the apparent cruelty of a perverse fate that heaps tribulation upon some suffering mortal may in reality be the tempering fire that is transmuting the soft iron of immature personality into the tempered steel of real character.
        There is a providence in the evolving universes, and it can be discovered by creatures to just the extent that they have attained capacity to perceive the purpose of the evolving universes. Complete capacity to discern universe purposes equals the evolutionary completion of the creature and may otherwise be expressed as the attainment of the Supreme within the limits of the present state of the incomplete universes.
        The love of the Father operates directly in the heart of the individual, independent of the actions or reactions of all other individuals; the relationship is personal--man and God.

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The Sermon
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In the past, I have had the tendency to perceive of Providence as being, A Gift From God, perhaps a Reward of sorts, possibly earned or even, a demonstration of Divine Justice. Now, I don't so much see those perceptions as being wrong, but rather as being a partial or inadequate depiction of Providence. I'm beginning to see Providence, not as something granted, but as something attained… reached… realized.

I'm discovering that Providence is The Way of God… the outworking of the Will of God. The more closely I am attuned to the Will of God, and walking in The Way of God, the more of Providence I am able to recognize… and the more likely I am to actually be where Providence is currently unfolding. As I actively seek and discover God's Will, I in turn am more able to perceive Providence.

When I can't discern Providence, it is not because Providence is not there… it is because I am not there.

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The Prayer
**********
Dear God,
        Help me to better recognize Your Will.

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Infinite Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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