“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
A few weeks ago, our senior pastor, Rev. In Jin Moon, spoke about surrendering our fears to God. She focused on four points of fear which can incapacitate and almost paralyze us.
Here are the four fears:
Fear of change, choice, failure, and loneliness.
We are all very familiar with these fears. Someone said that fear stands for: false evidence appearing real. It is often our perception of a certain situation which induces fear. In our journey of life we discover that we are here to grow, to explore our potential. Every generation is faced with opposing traditions and new ideas; in the process we have created a rich history. Many a man has discovered at one point in live that there are no shortcuts in life. Once we learn the rules of life it can be a game but we still have to play it. It is in the action that we can overcome our fears, gain confidence and develop our potential. We make decisions about who we are, what we believe, and what we are capable of. When we can accept ourselves with all of our shortcomings, including our fears, we can take responsibility for who we become.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear it-self - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt - 32nd American President (1882-1924)
Rev. Moon encouraged us as parents and leaders, to look for the good, the ideal, and the right things and make a list of suggestions of those to our children, and those we are responsible for. All too often we point out what’s wrong and what they can’t or shouldn’t do, rather what to do instead. Again, with God all things are possible. By trusting and believing in our children we can give them the confidence to face their fears.
"All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed, Second it is violently opposed, Third it is accepted as being self-evident." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher, (1788-1860)
Fear of Change
It is the function of the subconscious mind to keep us safe and secure. Any time we try something new, something different, we first have to deal with the resistance and the warnings of our internal recordings. By the time we are 6 years old, we have been “programmed” by our parents, families and other sources “to be a certain way,” based on our cultural, societal, religious, and/or family background. Watch what happens when you go against the grain of any of their standards, rules or traditions. It doesn’t matter if it is science, medicine, or a new way to do the dishes, you will get grief from your supervisors, parents or friends. You will hear: we never did it that way, or it can’t be done; nobody ever has achieved that, or you can’t do that to us after all we have done for you. Change will always meet with resistance first. After a while people get used to it and then it becomes a new habit.
“If you want to make enemies, try to change something.” ~ Woodrow T. Wilson – 28th American President of the United States (1856-1924)
Fear of Choice
Choice is our God-given right. It is that right that every human being has, knowing it or not. You can feel like a victim or a victor. It is a matter of decision. We all feel insecure or doubtful at times. That’s where our choice comes in; we must believe that God is there with us in all circumstances. Which leads us to the other fear – fear of failure. Even if we make the wrong choice, with faith in God, it can become a stepping stone and a learning experience. Good decisions can only come from experience. The wisdom we gather becomes the cornerstone to growth and progress. Once we learn the lesson, we can move on.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ~ Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search For Meaning (1905-1997)
Fear of Failure
A while ago, I wrote an article on Failing Forward. Because of the fear of failing, we get paralyzed to make decisions. No choice, no matter how “wrong” is a failure, if we make it with the right heart. In other words, if we not only decide with our mind, but with a heart of gratitude and attendance to our heavenly parent, every decision can be “failing us forward.”
“If you want to succeed, you have to live with more failure.” ~ Og Mandino, American author and philosopher, 1926-1996
Fear of Loneliness
Some of us might be extremely shy, and therefore not intermingle easily. I always told myself, nobody is going to knock on my door, to get me to come out. By being proactive, loneliness becomes a choice. Some people have a heavy emotional baggage which prevents them to reach out. Again, with God on our side, there is help. Often, solitude with God will strengthen our faith.
No man is an island, we all need somebody. With three little words, we can get the assistance we need: I need help. With some humility and faith, we can get over the fear of loneliness. There are counselors, friends, and other professionals who can liberate us from the turmoil of being alone.
“Language … has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.” ~ Paul Tillich, German born American Theologian and Philosopher (1886-1965)
So it is with all fears. We need to bring the fear from our heads to our hearts. With feelings of love from our Heavenly Father, we can dissolve all fears. We just need to look for good instead of terror, feeling love instead of fear, and feel the gratitude which can transform our lives. By surrendering our fears to God, we may still feel some anxiety at times, but by that time we have new habits of praying, and asking for help to “face” the fears and they will melt away.
This time of the year, you may encounter a cold and or a stuffy nose. Living in South Western Ohio, you may have sinus trouble all year around. Let me suggest nasal irrigation or sinus flushing. As Dr. Ben Kim's newsletter suggests, it is even a good practice on a regular base to cleanse the nasal passages. Just like brushing our teeth at night Dr. Kim instructs us to rinse the naval cavity as well.
It is as easy as cupping your hand and filling it with warm tab water. Take your nose close to your hand and suck some water up into your nostrils. Leave it there as long as possible, and then let it run out into the sink. Blow your nose into a tissue. This will help remove any dust and extra mucus from your sinus passages. You can repeat this procedure a few times until your sinuses feel clean.
This is especially helpful in the winter when we have the heat on in the house and more dust may be in the air.
When an infection is present you may want to add 1 tsp. of sea salt to 1 cup of warm water and flush with that. You can also buy a neti pot and let the water flow through your nostrils. The saline solution will help with the infection. Below is a link to a video which shows how to do this procedure.
"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."
~ John 15:13
With so many commemorative days on our calendars, it is only fair to set aside a day to celebrate LOVE. We are all seeking love because it is part of our purpose of life.
All Kinds of Love
There are basically three types of love: love of parents (vertical), love of brothers and sister (horizontal), and children’s love (vertical). And then there is romantic love (horizontal), the love between spouses, lovers, and friends.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4
When I was researching the history of Valentine’s Day I came across some interesting stories. Some are historical, some are more legendary, but one of them intrigued me.
One legend tells of a priest named Valentine who lived in the 3rd century A.D. He was jailed because he married young people against the wishes of the Roman Emperor Claudius II. While the ruler was gathering large armies of young men to fight conquering battles in Northern Europe and Asia, he decided to outlaw marriage in the country. It was his idea that the single men could be more focused on fighting the war rather than their romantic pursues. Everyone was opposed to this decree but didn’t dare to protest against the mighty Emperor. Priest Valentine did not agree with these orders either, and continued to marry young couples in secret. That went on for a while, but finally his doing was discovered. He was thrown in jail for his defiance and ordered to be put to death.
While waiting for his sentence, he befriended the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. The daughter was blind, and her father had heard that Valentine had performed miracles. The daughter was very kind and visited often. They became good friends and may have even fallen in love. Just before Valentine’s execution she experienced a healing and regained her eyesight. Asterius was so grateful for the gift of sight for his daughter that he spoke highly to the Emperor about Valentine. Claudius may have pardoned him was is not for the priest’s efforts to defend his faith and even trying to convert the ruler. He left a letter with the guards, signed “From Your Valentine.” The day of the execution was February 14, 269 A.D. and ever since, people have remembered him as the saint of love.
Tradition of Valentine’s Cards
The holiday evolved over the centuries. By the 18th century, it became popular in England to make cards and send small gifts to loved ones. By 1850, a woman named Esther Howland, started printing and selling Valentine cards on a larger scale.
According to the card industry, 25% of all cards are sent on Valentine’s Day, second only to Christmas cards.
What about Cupid?
In Roman mythology, Cupid is the god of desire, affection and erotic love. He was the son of Mercury and Venus. Nobody knows when the boy with the bow and arrow (representing desire and the emotion of love) first entered into the Valentine’s tradition. Cupid has long played a role in the celebrations of love and lovers. There is even a story where Cupid was befriending Psyche who was a mortal, while Cupid was the son of Gods. His mother Venus was jealous of the beauty of Psyche and ordered her son to punish the mortal. But the mischievous Cupid fell in love with Psyche and married her.
As with many ancient stories they kind of take a life of their own. I hope that I could shine some light on the origin of Valentine’s Day. It amazes me that the sacrificial deed of an otherwise unknown priest, could develop such a following over the years. It must be the power of that kind of unconditional love which is so attractive to all of us.
This week I came across a piece of news which inspired me. The week from February 7th to 14th is set aside as National Marriage Week in several countries around the world. National Marriage Week is the brainchild of Richard Kane who started it in the United Kingdom in 1996. It is now spread to the Czech Republic, Hungry, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Australia.
Nobody can deny that today our marriages are in trouble. We are looking at a divorce rate of 50% with the United States heading the world statistics.
I learned that whatever we focus on will manifest. We have to asked ourselves: what is the purpose of marriage? People marry for many different reasons like legal, social, emotional, economical, spiritual and/or religious purposes. Historically, romantic love was not emphasized. Could that be a reason so many marriages fail today?
Marriage is part of the sacraments. According to the dictionary it is a rite, a covenant, an oath of allegiance, a grace and a blessing. The sacraments are deeply rooted in the Judeo-Christian traditions. They are derived from the idea that there is one God who wants to express himself into humans in the form of his male-female nature (Gen: 1:27-28). It goes along with the purpose of life which is that God created man and woman as his substantial objects in order to experience love and joy from them.
"Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."
~ Gen 2:24
Leaving our fathers and mothers is only natural when we grow up. It is not a final separation but a letting go in order to start a new stage of life. It is my firm conviction that today as much as throughout history that the purpose of marriage is to procreate the lineage of God. It takes only seconds to conceive a child, 9 months for the baby to mature to the point that it can live in this physical world. Then it takes another 18+ years for the child to grow and develop into a healthy, well-balanced adult. During that time, both boys and girls need the guidance, encouragement and love of both parents; a mother and a father, or someone who can take equivalent responsibility for the youngster. Children learn through example, watching and emulating their elders, it is just the way we are made.
Role of Churches and Religious Institutions
Marriage works, it makes people happier, live longer, and build more economic security. Children with married parents perform better in school. I believe it is the responsibility of the religious institutions to educate young people about marriage, relationships, raising children, creating a well-balanced home. With the focus on living for the other person, the husband living for his wife and his children, the wife living for her husband and her children, and the children honoring their parents, love will grow in that family. People who fall in love can easily fall out of love. With a focus on a higher purpose than themselves, love will embrace that family, because that’s the way God has set it up. The family is the school of love and only within the realm of the family can all the relationships mature.
Happiness is a State of Mind
I want clarify here a point which is very crucial of a good marriage. If we are looking for the other person to make us happy, or the beautiful house we live in or the great vacations we can take because of our social status, we will be ultimately disappointed. I learned that happiness is a state of mind. We decide to be happy and can share that happiness with our partner or in our family. Have you ever noticed that some people are “naturally happy?” It is an attitude to be happy and attitudes can be learned like any skill.
The Three Great Blessings
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (KJV)
~ Gen.: 1:28
Within this blessing, God created man and woman to grow to maturity, then to have children and upon building the family, have dominion over all of creation. This is the central part of the teachings of the Unification Church, founded by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.
He has been controversial ever since he started to speak publicly. He just turned 91 and together with his wife has been setting unprecedented records of international marriage ceremonies with hundreds and thousands in attendance.
Gender Characteristics versus Gender Roles
Men are generally more aggressive, assertive, bold, courageous, decisive, dominant, independent, physically strong, and vigorous.
Women are generally more affectionate, beautiful, caring, dependent, empathetic, gentle, graceful, nurturing, patient, sensitive, soft, and submissive.
Obviously, some of these characteristics are not exclusive to either men or women. Through the marriage, by becoming “one flesh,” each of the partners adopts each others characteristics. Both men and women need to incorporate most these characteristics into their personalities.
Additionally, each man represents cosmic masculinity or divine masculine love. Every woman represents cosmic femininity or divine female love. Through their physiological differences they are complementing and fulfill each other completely because God created it that way.
I congratulate National Marriage Week to shine light on the age-old institution of marriage and support them in their efforts to revive it to the point where it is suitable for today's young poeple. With some encouragement and spiritual guidance our young people will continue the traditions of creating healthy and happy families.