Jesus: Rich Man, Poor Man?
Poverty And Christianity
Often Christ is portrayed as the spiritual champion of the poor; and while no one would argue that he was indeed the apostle of the down-trodden, the bereaft, the lonely, and the deprived, there is wide and gaping difference between a state of deprivation, regardless of what it is one might be temporarily deprived of, and that of abject poverty with no hope of recovery or restitution. Yet whole religious orders, not to mention the countless thousands who have the notion that poverty, or "to be poor" as many often say it with their mouths slightly down-turned in an expression of great piety and humility, is indeed a noble, honorable, and as some strangely think, even enviable state of circumstances --- as if "Being Poor" were a badge of great spiritual distinction, to be worn proudly. But is that the actual message Christ intended to convey; after all, there is a big difference between one who can have everything and anything they might want, in a miraculous instant like Jesus could ( should he so chose to supernaturally manifest it), who obviously, therefore, saw no need in having an abundance necessarily of anything. The following verse will , I think, make clear the true position Jesus took in the debate between poverty and an abundance of physical possessions
When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing?
Certainly no one --- if they are at all compassionate and cognizant of the massive poverty that exists in the world, not only the world at large, but also right here in the United States --- is going to argue with the fact that it should be our responsibility to do whatever we can to alleviate and change the situation. Indeed, if you have any compassion at all in your heart, the you have to be ever aware of those who, for whatever reason, are less fortunate around you. No, my concern is not with those who unfortunately suffer from the extremes of this ancient worldly affliction, but rather with those who believe that it is spiritually appropriate to seek out to live in this condition because they believe that by doing so they are rightly following the example and teachings of Christ, when the truth of the matter is that by doing so they are only serving to perpetrate but one more mistaken and distorted interpretation and rendering of the true teachings of the Master, Jesus. Of course, at the other extreme of this mis-rendering of the true message of the gospels on poverty are those new styled Christians that we see so much of today on television, those that practice what is popularly called, "Prosperity Christianity." They even have there own television network, the Christian Broadcasting Network, that takes in literally millions of dollars each month in donations from their most ardent and dedicated followers.
This article is "a work in progress, and therefore, unfinished.
GOD -CONTACT ,
The Secret Of True Prayer
D.C. Edwards And Rev. R.W.Hudgins
Regardless of your religion, whether you are a Christian, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Hindu, or whatever, unless you are practicing daily some form of, what can only be called, GOD-CONTACT when you pray, that is, some sort of meaningful and emotional, spiritual connection that induces in your mind a heightened state of consciousness, an invoked awareness, if you will, of the living, immediate, and dynamic presence of the Spirit of God--- if only as a momentary encounter --- then you are not praying in the truest sense of the term's ancient and original meaning. Prayer is connecting and communicating with God. It is NEVER a "Request Line" to The Supply Warehouse Of Heaven as so many in modern Christianity have come to think of the activity of prayer. True prayer does not operate in this manner, and the fact that so many Christians pray this way, thinking of prayer as if God were indeed a "24/7 Request Line" for all their needs and wants, explains perhaps more than anything else, why so many Christians experience only frustration and disappointment in their prayer life.
Let me make this one point very clear: God is not a source of anything but His Grace, which is the veritable power of God in action; and once His Grace is invoked and felt through a state of true prayer, it begins to flow down this inner conduit that has been created and
opened through the ancient spiritual practice of true prayer.
You will know almost immediately if you were successful in making this all-important supernatural contact, because if you have truly invoked a state of true prayer, there will be some tangible, outer display, some change or response in your life in the form of " signs following."( Mark 16:20) Some event or circumstance in your life will have suddenly changed for the better.
Let me repeat this point again, lest I be misunderstood: Successful contact with the Spirit of God during prayer is ALWAYS followed by a corresponding response in the physical world of space and time. This is a spiritual law that is as solid, certain, and dependable as any other spiritual or physical law in the universe. When you flip a light switch "On" in your home, then because of the laws governing electrical circuitry and conductivity, you expect the lights to come on, that is of course, unless there is a problem somewhere in the electrical connection. True prayer is no different. When you practice true prayer --- assuming, of course, you are practicing it according to the correct, ancient instructions as they are given in the New Testament --- you expect your prayer to be answered or responded to; if there is not a response, then there is a problem in your connection, which would indicate the process you used to make that connection is somehow flawed or incorrect. There can be no equivocation here on this point: Either your prayer method works, or it does not work. The determining factor for this is based entirely on the results you are getting: Either you have "signs following" in the events and circumstances of your life, or you do not --- there are no states in-between! Successful contact with the Spirit of God is always followed by a corresponding release of Grace into the events and circumstances of human life.
Once you have learned how to properly make this direct connection to the Spirit of God, you can be certain of one thing: It is no longer you, and you alone, who performs the actions that you initiate during the course of your daily life, but in effect, it is the power of God who now goes before you, perfecting all that is given you to do, bringing all that confronts you into a state of perfection, harmony, peace, and balance. This is prayer as it was meant to be.
First and foremost it must be clearly understood that prayer in its true form is the establishment of an "Open Line" to the presence of the Spirit of God. Contrary to the way most people have learned to practice prayer, man does not talk to God during true prayer, but rather God talks to man. Once established, this connection becomes a communication and channeling line for the downloading and transference of, not only just information and knowledge that is necessary for our well-being, happiness, and physical prosperity, but also, and perhaps most important of all, it is the spiritual pipeline that leads from the infinite well of God's Spirit wherein continually flows, upward and outward, as from a supernal, spiritual fountain, the force and might of God, which is the pure essence of God's Divine Grace. Through the activity of true prayer, initiated in the quite stillness of a meditative state of mind, no human words need ever be spoken. It is now God's time to speak. It is always through silence and stillness that this divine connection is made. This is the correct form that our prayer should take if we are to be assured that we have made this necessary, all-important divine connection. It is in this way --- and this way alone --- that man has access to this divine substance called, Grace, the supernatural power of God.
Divine Grace is a force so mighty that when it is truly tapped through the orifice of human consciousness, which is silently opened during the quiescent quiet that indicates we are truly in a state of true, meditative- prayer, begins to flow into and over every human circumstance and dilemma that life can throw at you, changing and altering as it flows every negative circumstance of your human endeavors into the perfection of absolute harmony and balance.
As you will come to understand and learn from first-hand experience as you begin to put into practice the ancient secrets of true prayer that this book will teach you, God's Grace is simply another, more correct name for the supernatural power and might of God. Grace is the supernatural substance and power that poured forth through Jesus when he "cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth," and Lazarus rose from the dead. (Jhn 11:43) Grace is the power of God in action, which when invoked and released into human events and circumstances, changes those circumstances, perfecting as it moves into and upon our lives, everything into its highest state of absolute balance and harmony:
When you learn to pray in close observance of the ancient, spiritual laws that govern the activity of true prayer, just as those laws have been revealed to us in the New Testament, then this supernatural force of Grace begins to move into your life and into all the circumstances and events that comprise your life. Once you are successful in making this inner connection with God during your prayer, it is as if suddenly you were imbued with and surrounded by an invisible, supernatural cloud; this is the supernatural cloud of divine Grace, which can only be invoked through the activity of true prayer. From that very moment on, when this happens, then,... when you act, when you move, when you decree a thing, it is no longer just you, and you alone, who performs these actions, but rather it is as if God himself now goes before you with His divine hand on top of your hand.
Learning how to invoke the supernatural activity of true prayer begins with simply learning to "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) When you become still, thus creating a "listening" state of mind, you automatically begin to induce within your own consciousness, a heightened state of awareness that is true "meditative-prayer." In order to achieve this state of heightened consciousness, all that is necessary for you to do is to simply assume a mental position as if you were attentatively awaiting for God to speak.Truly, achieving this relaxed, listening attitude within your own consciousness is basically all there is to establishing a state of true prayer. Now, in the beginning, whether you actually hear the voice of God in your ears, or in your mind--- or no voice at all --- is unimportant. The only important thing is the "listening" position that you assume within the stillness and quiet that you begin to establish within your own mind. This is basically all there is to the practice true prayer (meditative-prayer). It has nothing at all to do with asking God for anything ---not even asking for His Grace. Grace will automatically begin to flow into your life --- once you have made this all-important divine connection to the Spirit of God that even now, at this moment, pulses within you. And you can only make this connection through attaining this quiet, meditative, and still state of mind. It is important from this moment on that you completely change your concept of what true prayer is. From now on out, you should always think of prayer as "listening" rather than "asking." Always remember, prayer is where you come to God, looking NOT for God to do something for you, but rather only to receive a sufficient issue of His Divine Grace through your consciousness touching --- if only for a moment--- His Divine Consciousness. Grace will follow with "signs following" as proof of your divine contact.
When this happens to you, as you learn to make this incredible special connection during your meditative-prayer, you will know first-hand exactly what the prophet Isaiah meant when he said," I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight." (Isa 45:2) It is the presence of His Grace in your life that fulfills all of your needs, cures all of your diseases, and makes all of your "crooked places straight."
Now, this is not to say that there is NEVER a time when we should not speak directly to God, but those times should be reserved only for "thanksgiving," appreciation, an expression of love, and praise. Truly, sometimes we can become so overcome and inflamed with our own appreciation and love for God that literally nothing will do except for that love, praise, and thanksgiving to pour forth in words. But predominately it should be understood that true prayer is a silent, listening business, done and performed in stillness and quiet.
Too frequently, in sermons and on television we hear references to God's divine Grace, as if it were something that was automatically due every Christian, just simply because they are Christians, much in the way we expect and take it for granted that we will get Social Security when we turn sixty-five, but the truth of the matter is, that in today's modern world, even in our so-called Christian world, there is little evidence of the activity of divine Grace. The explanation for this is clear: the great majority of modern Christianity has lost , not only its connection and link to its original, ancient source of spiritual power, the power that allowed the Apostles, and their followers as well, to demonstrate "miracles, signs, and wonders," but also the ancient, authoritative teaching on just how one is to connect with Divine Grace of God through true prayer. True, meditative prayer is a lost spiritual art, a supernatural science, known and practiced by the Apostles and their followers, as evidenced by the many "miracles and wonders" in the New Testament, but long since forgotten, replaced by the modern Church with dogmas, in-effective rituals, and mistaken spiritual concepts and teachings.
Mistakenly I think, Christians often think of God's Grace as some sort of soft and gentle force that comes only to little old ladies who have faithfully attended church for their whole lifetime, along with a few mystics and Saints, as well as the truly innocent and blameless who are without sin --- those, as they say, who are as pure as the driven snow. If you will but stop and think about it,though, other than the mystics and little old ladies, that would have to be a pretty short line of recipients by anyone's measurement. I don't think I've ever met anyone who would qualify for that last heading --- do you?
The truth is that Grace, in spite of its gentle associations and soft sound, is a high, spiritual voltage of the supernatural force and might of God, the force that supernaturally interacts with and influences human events and circumstances. By the original, primordial decree of universal law, when all the laws of the universe were first established, both the physical laws of our human, space-time continuum, as well as the spiritual laws of the overriding spiritual universe out of which all comes, God established this pathway as the sole route by which the force and power of his Spirit enters and interacts with man and his world. As you will come to understand, God does not operate by caprice, nor by coincidence, but only through this invisible conduit that exists between His Divine Consciousness, which it the creative medium and matrix of all that is, both the seen and the unseen, and the consciousness of man; therefore, this is the ONLY path capable of bringing the power and might of God into the human world of physical events and circumstances. Contrary to what many (preachers, theologians, and otherwise) might have you believe, there is simply no other route or provision established within the framework and laws of the universe that brings the supernatural activity of God into the human world of space and time. God cannot be induced, begged, or cajoled into doing anything that He is not already doing. God does not grant favors based on tithing, good deeds or anything else. God works only within the confines of the laws and spiritual operating principles He established from the foundation of the world. And the only way you can reach God, and as a consequence, His power (Grace) is by staying within, and playing-by, these same God-established laws and principles.
Consciousness is the pure, invisible, all-pervading substance out of which everything that exists, in both the spiritual as well as the physical world, was created. It is through this invisible pathway and conduit, existing in consciousness, that God's Grace can flow unimpeded into our lives --- once that conduit has been opened through the activity of true prayer (meditative-prayer). Once this state of true prayer is truly achieved, Grace flows into our life in direct proportion to the intensity of our awareness of our connection by way of this invisible conduit to the presence and Spirit of God. When we have this special, invisible connection, it is reflected in the experiences of harmony, balance, and an abundance that become ever more noticeable in the form of "signs following" in our life experiences, and it is this which proves, not only to yourself, but also to all that might be present, that indeed God's power is real and always available --- once we know and learn to practice and invoke this power (Grace) through the activity of true, meditative prayer.
When we do not have this special connection, then not only just our physical body, but our day to day experiences in the form of events and circumstances, quickly degenerate and break down, leaving only chaos, disharmony, illness, and unhappiness, along with a host of other negative realities. Considering that very few individuals throughout the entire world know and practice this ancient Christian secret, is it any wonder that so many experience life as only a hopeless and hapless state of constant misery, unhappiness, and deprivation? As time, experience, and an ever greater and greater use of this connecting spiritual pathway, through prayer and meditation, will prove to you, it is the only route whereby we, as well as the the events and circumstances that comprise our day to day life, can be immersed-in and connected-to the the Spirit of God.
. The amount of God's Grace that can flow into your life is determined wholly on the invisible strength that you have established with this inner, spiritual pathway that exists within your own consciousness. The size and spiritual strength of this supernatural pathway to God is determined strictly by the amount of inner, spiritual work we chose to do to increase its spiritual," load-bearing" capability, that is, the number of times each day that we strive to access and use this special connection through the practice and activity of true prayer. And while it is true that everyone, believer and non-believer alike, is born with a certain amount of this spiritual pathway already established and in place, to one degree or another, within their individual consciousness, in most humans at least, it exists only as a spiritually thin, tenuous connection, barely, capable of carrying just enough spiritual life-force to support and guarantee the continuity and life of the individual during the course of his or her lifetime.
Whether this connecting pathway is enlarged or not during one's lifetime, whether one accesses and taps its even greater, spiritual uses and possibilities, is something that depends entirely on the individual and the amount of inner fervor , zeal,and desire for greater and greater spiritual knowledge and understanding that he or she is willing to work for through invoking often the spiritual activity of true prayer.
To put it quite simply, the more you use it, the larger, the more complete this supernatural connection becomes, thus the more of God's presence and Grace that can flow into your life. Spiritual understanding, through not only reading and studying spiritual books such as the Bible, but also through the personal and inner revelations that occur spontaneously as you devote yourself throughout your day and night to having regular sessions of meditative-prayer wherein you connect directly to the presence and Spirit of God, is what determines the amount of Grace that will come into your life experience.
Truly it can be said that how well you have established this pathway and connection to the presence of God's Spirit within your consciousness is what determines the degree and level of one's overall, total, spiritual development. It--- more than anything else--- determines just how spiritual you really are becoming. It may come as a surprise to many, but the practice of religion, that is, merely the following of dogmas, rituals, and prayers prayed collectively in a group, as most churches do( where everyone can see who is praying) is NOT real Christianity at all, but rather merely practicing a worldly, man-made religion, for the New Testament clearly and unequivocally states:
*"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."(Matt 6:5)
Praying from this standpoint and in this manner, as all of us at one time or another in our lives have done (if we have ever attended a modern Christian church service), is not praying in accordance with the exact instructions for prayer, as those instructions are given in the New Testament; therefore, those prayers cannot possibly be effective, because they are not supported by a true spiritual connection to God's Spirit. Any sort of prayer prayed openly in a church, or anywhere else for that matter, does not have the infusion of the necessary spiritual force which comes from this inner connection and pathway, established by the individual, when in the privacy, silence, and stillness of his own consciousness, he makes his or her special connection to the divine presence and Spirit of God. This, and this alone, is the practice of true prayer; this is prayer as the Apostles themselves once prayed it.
Public prayers, the kind that are so openly and obviously prayed in churches and by preachers and tele-evangelist, because they are an overt violation of the spiritual laws governing prayer as those laws were laid out and given by Jesus, lack the necessary spiritual authority, and therefore fail because they simply cannot connect with the power of God's Grace, which can only be released when the proper laws governing prayer are observed and followed. This is just plain old common, spiritual sense. You cannot violate a spiritual law and expect any substantive results to follow any more than you would expect to violate a physical law, such as the law of gravity. In other words you would not jump off of a ten story building and not expect to be injured; only an idiot or an insane person would think he could so blatantly violate the law of gravity and get away without being hurt. Yet, you can go to almost any modern, mainstream Christian church on any Sunday and see the laws of prayer blatantly violated --- in spite of the New Testament's admonition and instructions to the contrary. It simply makes no sense at all--- by any stretch of the imagination. The way that most Christians have learned to practice prayer is so clearly and obviously wrong that it makes one wonder just how many other erroneous teachings and practices exist within modern Christian teaching?
Understanding the laws of prayer, as Jesus revealed them in the New Testament, explains why Jesus, time and again, clearly separated himself from others when he was about to pray. He did this in order to be in accordance with the correct spiritual laws governing prayer. Notice in the following verses, taken from the New Testament, how in each case, Jesus went to great lengths in order to insure that he was away from the others and alone when he prayed:
"And hew went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed..." (Matt 26:39)
"He went away again the second time, and prayed..."(Matt 26:42)
"And he left them, and went away again, and prayed..." (Matt 26:44)
"...he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed..." (Mark 1:35)
"And he went forward a little...and prayed..." (Mark 14:35)
"And again he went away, and prayed..." (Mark 14:39)
"And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed." (Luke 5:16)
"And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, ...and prayed." (Luke 22:41)
These are but a few of the passages in the New Testament that make it very clear that Jesus went to great lengths to observe, what has come to be called by many mystics as, The Spiritual Law Of Secrecy, which is a spiritual law that is absolutely necessary to observe if we are really serious about having our prayers answered.
To put it directly, a prayer prayed in public, or while others are near enough to you to where they can either observe your praying or hear you praying, cannot make the necessary connection via the conduit to God that is established within the secrecy and silence of your own consciousness. Only in privacy, secrecy, stillness, and silence can the necessary special connection to the Spirit of God be made. And a prayer that fails to make this all-important, divine connection might as well be a prayer not prayed at all, because unless the all-important GOD-CONTACT is made and established at the outset of your prayer, then there is no spiritual authority behind its activity, and it is bound to fail. Since all spiritual authority comes from the source of all authority and power in the universe, the only authentic POWER that truly exists in both the seen and the unseen universe, which is the spiritual presence of the Spirit of God, unless that Presence is somehow contacted, if only for a nanosecond in time, then no power flows out to insure the manifestation of the prayer. We must never forget that the Spirit and Presence of God is the source of all POWER, whatever the appearance of its physical or spiritual manifestation in the physical world might otherwise be. God-Power is the only power; there are no exceptions.
Yet in spite of the obviousness of the clear reiteration of this law of secrecy when praying, as it is related and documented in the New Testament, millions upon countless millions of prayers are prayed daily by Christians without the person who is praying, first making sure that they have truly achieved,--- in secrecy and silence --- this direct contact with the power and presence of God. People continue to pray openly and publicly in the churches every Sunday of the year, and at other times as well, never once believing themselves to be violating one of the very elementary and fundamental laws of effective prayer. Is it any wonder that so many Christians claim that a lack of response to their prayers is their the number one complaint and challenge to their faith. They simply do not understand and comprehend that their prayers are not answered because "they ask amiss." (Jam 4:3)
THIS IS THE END OF CHAPTER ONE