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Astrology And The Western World

(category: Spirituality, Word count: 569)
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Western world is waking up to the concept of using Astrology to improve their lives. It is perceived to be more materialistic than the Eastern world. People in the advanced economies of the world give more importance to the tangible things in life rather than the intangible ones. Eastern countries like India and China, on the other hand, give more importance to intangible things in life like love, affection, emotions etc. This difference is clearly evident if we see the lifestyle of a Western or an Eastern person. For example, for an average Indian, life is not imaginable without the concept of God. The Western countries, on the other hand, are full of Atheists and Agnostics. The Western mind has always been inquisitive and believes only on exact sciences. For them, a theory is not acceptable unless proved by scientific experiments. Well, that is quite normal. But still there are a few things which cannot be proved by scientific experiments. There is a point after which "science" has to give way, and the concept of "God" takes over. In spite of advancements in science, the scientists still are not able to give life to a person who is dead. They also cannot explain a simple thing like electricity. There are many mysteries for which there are no scientific explanations available. But they do exist. So, it is not entirely possible to always rely on science. Therefore, issues on divine intervention cannot be ruled out. On the other hand, the eastern philosophy relies too much on the esoteric phenomena. This creates a clash with the western phenomenon. There has to be a combination of the eastern and western philosophies so that a proper balance is maintained. The good news is that we are at a time when Eastern world is beginning to accept the western philosophy and vice versa. Eastern world is trying to have a more materialistic viewpoint on life and the western world is beginning to open up to the possibility of using once esoteric phenomena such as Yoga and Meditation.

Of late, astrology is one of the disciplines which have caught the imagination of the western countries. Because of their fast-paced and sometimes unhealthy lifestyles, the people from the advanced countries tend to fall prey to fatigue and depression more often. There are many cases of teenage pregnancies, and drug abuse. These factors have made life quite insecure in these countries. So, a proven discipline like Astrology is gaining popularity there. Astrology promises to provide its users with information about one's future. Astrologers can also offer remedial measures to any fault in life due to planetary motions. The zodiac sign of an individual can say a lot about him or her. This allows men and women to understand the opposite sex better.

Reading and analyzing the daily horoscopes have become a regular activity for many westerners now-a-days. They are fascinated by the impact of astrology on one's daily life. For them, it is amazing to know that our lives can be influenced by the motion of planets millions of miles away. Astrology can be effectively used to enhance key areas of one's life like love, money, career etc. Astrology may be used to resolve problems concerning money, bad luck, love, or any other large or small grievances. Thousands of successful users will vouch for the effectiveness of Astrology in problem solving.

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The Landscape Of The Soul

(category: Spirituality, Word count: 455)
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Through the years, we accumulate a series of experiences. Our tendency is to evaluate and simply reflect on what we have been through and what we have learned. This inward site into what we can no longer see with our eyes allows us to see through them through our soul.

The landscape of the soul creates a movement and a synchronistic pattern between our heart and our mind through the inner visions of our soul. When the heart and imagination join forces to look back or look forward, we are deepening our awareness of who we really are. This deepening of who we really are is our soul.

It has been said that "our hearts will not rest until we rest in thee." This is our journey in life. It is our journey home. It is the journey into the spacial quality of existence that brought us into this world. It is the journey of what is leading us through this life. And, it is the journey back to where it all began.

One could say that the infant and the elderly are more soul than body. As you and I develop our personality and ego, we begin to think we are somebody. Ram Dass calls this "somebody training." We begin to think we are real and act on this appearance of being as we move into adulthood. When we mature, we go back into what Ram Dass has called "nobody training."

We spend a great deal of time learning to develop independence from infancy only to lose it again as we die. It is the journey from innocence to grace. The human expression is a journey with many ups and downs. What keeps us on tract and often sane in an insane world is the "landscape of the soul." The landscape of the soul gives us strength to do the impossible and give us hope when there is none.

Even though all parts of the self needs to be embraced with scrutiny and unconditional love, there is something inside us perfecting our true nature. Our authentic self knows we are growing through life and simply going through life at the same time. This delicate balance between these two forces of nature enables us to stay on our path. It is the path a knowing who we are through the various experiences and expressions of our life. Insodoing, we learn to trust in our soul and find direction there when direction in life is not present.

Samuel Oliver, author of, "What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living"

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History Of Astrology

(category: Spirituality, Word count: 855)
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Astrology is a type of divination based upon the idea that information about the future or about a person's personality can be discovered through the examination of heavenly bodies such as stars, planets, the moon, comets etc. Astrology means the study that assumes and attempts to interpret the influence of heavenly bodies on human affairs. American Heritage Dictionary defines Astrology as the study of the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs. The practice of astrology was prevalent in the ancient times too. Some of the well-known civilizations of the world used this field extensively. For example, the ancient Chinese civilization, the Egyptian civilization, the ancient Indian civilization, etc all practiced astrology at some point or the other. Arabs too practiced Astrology before the advent of Islam. The ancient Babylonians were probably the first to use Astrology. After that this science moved to countries like China and India. Greek astronomer Ptolemy was the first ever person to write a book on Astrology. He codified the sun sign astrology that we know today. Ptolemy tried to predict the positions of celestial bodies relative to each other and the earth through knowledge of their orbital motions. During his time, astrology was a part of astronomy. Later, astronomy became an exact science and Astrology remained a part of Theology. Planetary observation is the basis of Astrology.

History of Astrology is an important part of civilization and goes back to the early days of the human race. Apart from being centers of learning in medicine, Baghdad and Damascus were also known as centers of astrology and astronomy. Arabs were pioneers in astronomy before the advent of Islam. The Babylonians were the first to name the days of the week after the Sun, Moon, and planets. They were also the first to set out the twelve houses of the horoscope. Egypt was one of the most important places in the development of astrology. It is thought that some of the astrological signs of the zodiac originated in Egypt. Astrology was practiced even in the Vedic times in India. Astrology is one of the six disciplines of vedanga. The Hindus believe that human fortune or misfortune in life is due to karma, and karma is believed to be influenced by the movements of the planets. Among the Hindus, Brahmins are considered to be the best authorities on astrology. In Modern India too, astrology is extensively used to determine the future and improve life. Astrology is studied and practiced by many in India. It is regarded as vital in Indian culture. It is used to make decisions about marriage, starting of new business, and moving into a new house etc. Ancient Hindu Scriptures too gives a lot of importance to the various aspects of planetary motions and its effects on humans. Chinese astrology stresses on the five elements, metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. Even the zodiac signs used by them are also different from other forms of astrology. China was isolated from the western for a long time. That is why Chinese astrology was unknown to the western world. As Chinese astrology developed independently, a lot of difference can be seen between the western concepts of astrology and the Chinese version. But the Chinese and Indian astrologers were in touch every now and then. Therefore, these two schools have a few things in common. In spite of the geographical isolation, there are a few surprising similarities between the western and the Chinese thoughts on astrology. It can only be termed as a coincidence. Even though the science of astrology was started and developed in the east, the west was never without its share of astrology. Recently, the trend of reading the daily horoscopes have caught up the western world. Suddenly, the western world has woken up to the possibility of knowing and improving their future with the use of astrology. More and more westerners have started to believe in the possibility of getting affected by the powerful planets and stars. Western scholars have included the subject of astrology in their research. Astrology was never scrutinized and researched ever before the way it has been done over the last few years. The astrologers in India claim that it is a scientific method to predict the future. They still club this field of study within the parameters of Hinduism. They say they can prove that astrological predictions are indeed scientific. Hindus almost unanimously believe in astrological predictions. In fact, religious Hindus cannot imagine life without Astrology. More and more Indians have started to build their houses according to the principles of Vastu Shashtra. This ancient Indian tradition is also governed by astrological implications. Hindus believe that the overall prosperity and benefits of the occupants is dependant on the Vastu principles while building the house. Feng shui is one of the ancient Chinese practice of placement and arrangement of space to achieve harmony with the environment. It is also an off shoot of Chinese Astrology. This again is said to be scientific in nature.

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Finding G D In The Details

(category: Spirituality, Word count: 1585)
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Have you ever been excited about an idea, a project, or a goal, so excited that you felt like you could reach out and touch it - only to find that when you try to bring it into actuality the whole thing breaks down?

It's a common experience. In it's pure ungrounded form, in your imagination, the vision can look vastly inspiring and easy to achieve. But when you try to bring it into reality, manifest it in all the myriad and fragmented details of your life, more often than not you find that there are lots of obstacles along the way.

This is the stage that, as the saying goes, separates the men from the boys. The easiest thing to do at this point is to give up, to stay with your old habitual ways of being that may not be ultimately fulfilling but are, at least, comfortably familiar.

But, if you make up your mind to stay the course, to work through the obstacles and manifest your vision no matter what it takes, you will find at the end that you have not only altered your circumstances, but you've grown hugely in the process.

Light-Darkness-Light: A Core Principle of Creation

If you've ever had this experience, you have unwittingly stumbled upon one of the core spiritual secrets of Creation. Life is designed in such a way that our deepest and most powerful growth occurs not as a smooth upward process, but in a three-fold pattern of vision-breakdown-transformation, or light-darkness-light.

At the beginning of the process the light of your vision shines powerfully and clearly - but in an external way, without taking account the myriad details through which that light must be manifested. It's there, inspiring you, but it's not really yours, nor does it do anything to affect the world around you.

Bringing your vision into actuality means that the light has to be contained in "vessels". It must be expressed not only in your mind, but in the physical details of time and space - your relationships, habits, and environment. The problem is that at this stage, these vessels are often too small and immature to contain the light of the new reality you want to create.

When this is the case, things don't work out the way you want them to. In fact, sometimes they actually get worse.

As you attempt to create new ways of being or implement new endeavors, your relationships may get even more difficult, your environment more disorderly, your schedule more stressful or your emotional state more overwhelmed. As often occurs when we attempt something challenging, you might experience fear, resistance, confusion, or disappointment. And inevitably, you will get in touch with things about yourself that you would have probably preferred not to see.

The Choice: To Give Up or to Grow Up

Once this happens, you have a choice. You can give up, leaving all those parts of yourself and your life (the vessels) the way they were when you started, your light unexpressed, and you with yet one more failure under your belt.

Or, you can continue to move forward, taking a good hard look at what's in the way and making the effort, within those myriad details of time and space, to correct, remove or transform it. This stage can be challenging, even intensely so, and it often requires grounded and persistent effort to get through to the end. It means taking a good hard look at yourself and your life, working to expand your abilities, improve your relationships or your character, and build your inner strength and courage.

If you are willing to do this, chances are high that you will succeed over time in making your vision a reality, although this is never certain. What is certain, however, is that you will have grown as a human being - the reason the obstacles were there in the first place.

In fact, this growth, this process of expanding beyond your own boundaries, of interacting with the G-d-given circumstances of your life in such a way that your infinite soul expresses more and more of itself through the "vessel" of your finite physical body, is the purpose behind your very existence here on earth.

Moses and the Shattering

The story of the giving of the Torah - specifically, of how Moses received the two tablets of the Ten Commandments - embodies this principle.

Altogether, Moses spent 120 days and nights on Mount Sinai in intimate discourse with G-d. During the first 40 days he was divested from all of his physical needs, and taught the secrets of Torah by the Creator. At the end of this period he descended from Mount Sinai with the first set of tablets on which were engraved the Ten Commandments. This first set was of heavenly sapphire and the words were engraved in the stone in a miraculous manner by G-d Himself.

When Moses brought these tablets down from the mountain he was confronted by the sight and sound of the Jewish people celebrating over the Golden Calf. In response, he smashed the tablets on the ground, shattering them to pieces.

After punishing the ringleaders, he once again ascended the mountain for another 40 days and prayed for G-d's forgiveness for the people.

Then, during the final 40 days, Moses received the Torah once again. But this time he did so as a human being, in a body, through hard work and struggle. Rather than G-d carving the new tablets, Moses had to carve them himself, on stone that came not from heaven, but from the ground. This time, although G-d once again provided the light, Moses had to create the vessels.

Lights in Vessels

At first glance this episode looks like a tragic disappointment. But oddly, after Moses smashed the first tablets, G-d complimented him.

Why? Because from the inner plane of reality these events were an absolutely necessary part of the Divine template for Creation. The stage of "shattering" is an intrinsic part of the process of the transformation of our world - and us. It is through this process that we create a "dira b'tachtonim", a dwelling place for G-d in the myriad physical details of time and space.

In order for the Torah - G-d's infinite Wisdom and Will - to be truly and fully received by the world, the world must be a vessel for that infinity. And in order for that to happen, the Torah had to be given from above, shattered, and ultimately reacquired and contained in vessels from below - in the three-fold process of light-darkness-light.

Although the second tablets were acquired with far more effort, much less fanfare, and were, on the surface, on a much lower level, in actual fact they had to potential to be much higher. With this second set of tablets were included the potential for all of the depth and breadth of Torah that would be uncovered throughout the generations by the study and wisdom of the Jewish people themselves. Divine wisdom would thus flow not only from above to below, but from below to above.

It is not every day that we receive the Ten Commandments. Most often our challenges are much more personal and specific than that. But that doesn't mean that they are not holy. In fact, making the personal details of your personal life a dwelling place for the Divine is the whole point of living in the first place.

So, whether you are aiming to experience more love, connection and generosity, more meaning in your work and life, more balance, peace, harmony and joy, or a deeper connection to your purpose, there is no need to be discouraged by the fact that it can sometimes get hard along the way.

Man and G-d: Partners in Creation

Unlike all other creatures, including the highest of spiritual beings, only man has the potential to be a partner to G-d. Only man is created in G-d's image, complete with free choice. Only man can sin, and only man can repent - meaning, to use his distance from G-d to become even closer, greater and holier than he would have been without it. True repentance has nothing to do with self-hatred, with putting oneself down. On the contrary, it comes from self-love, from a recognition of who you actually are and what your life can actually be.

That's why the word for repentance in Hebrew is teshuva, ‘return', because true teshuva puts us in touch with our own essence and brings us closer to G-d.

The power of teshuva is our contribution to Creation. It was acquired through the act of Adam and Eve when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, bringing exile, struggle, suffering and death to themselves and all of humanity. This cycle will continue until the vessels through which we experience life - our minds, hearts, actions and the world around us - have matured enough to be able to encompass the infinite light of G-d.

At that point we, through our own efforts, we will have found G-d in the details, where He was hiding all along, waiting with infinite patience to be revealed. And in doing so, we will have caused the very darkness to shine.

*Since the Torah forbids the erasing of G-d's name, it's customary to avoid writing it out in full.

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Let S Synchronize Watches

(category: Spirituality, Word count: 1454)
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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

"On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves."

Isaiah 62:6

Recently I was given an opportunity through which the Lord reminded me about aspects of intercessory prayer which I had forgotten. Perhaps you have been in the place I was and can identify. I admit I am a slow learner when it comes to spiritual matters and need repeated instruction to get it to "sink in."

My spirit was unsettled about a sister in Christ and I was prompted to pray for her. Nothing appeared to be wrong. I was not notified of any pressing need for prayer. In fact, the thoughts that came to my mind were those such as, "there's nothing wrong", "there are plenty of 'real' things to pray about, so don't go looking for problems where there are none", and mainly, "it's probably just your imagination".

Whenever someone comes to mind in this way, I usually get past these objections by rationalizing, "Well, it never hurts to pray for someone-for protection, for peace, or the like." To the Lord's credit, He has taught me, in the midst of thoughts like these, to go ahead and pray anyway. Sometimes He even causes me to realize that the voice I hear telling me not to be concerned may not be my own feelings but could be from another source-one who would like for me not to pray.

After thinking and praying awhile as I was prompted to do, there was a still stronger feeling which led me to ask my wife Chris to join me in praying. After at first doubting there was any special need for intercession, my spirit got so adamant about prayer that I could not help but tell her-even amidst my doubts-and we prayed together.

Later that same day, my "need to know" if there actually was a need led me to call and inquire. When we talked, there was a prayer need expressed, but there was also the report that everything was generally fine. Was I disappointed that my call to intercessory prayer had no apparent need to meet? Not in the least. To the contrary, I was elated to hear everything was okay. I felt blessed by the Lord for being faithful to what I perceived was His call. I was happy that my friend had not been taken through anything like what I was so vaguely sensing. And, as I have said, a little extra prayer for someone is a good thing no matter what their circumstances. Besides, there was the prayer request which I would not have known about without my call.

Then my friend said something which she probably didn't realize would take me further into a spiritual study. She suggested that my prompting to pray could have been to prevent something that would have occurred without it. In other words, my prayer might have been proactive instead of reactive. I use those particular words because they come from the place her comments unknowingly sent me: to a book, The Beginner's Guide to Intercession by Dutch Sheets, which I was led to pick up again. When I did, I opened the book immediately to a chapter titled Proactive Intercession.

The author writes, "Too often we're reactionary where Satan is concerned. The results? You guessed it: breaks, bruises, separations, and various other spiritual casualties. We must learn to be proactive in our intercession, not waiting for Satan's attacks and then reacting, but proactively praying against the stealing, killing, and destroying of the 'thief' (see Jn 10:10)."

He includes the scripture reference from Isaiah, with which I began above and describes this concept of prayer as "watchman intercession."

Sheets continues, "Two New Testament Scriptures also mention the watching aspect of intercession. The first is Ephesians 6:18: 'With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints' The King James Version uses the word 'watching' for the phrase 'be on the alert.'"

"The second verse", he continues, "is 1 Peter 5:8, 'Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour' Again, other translations use the word 'watchful.' The context of both verses is spiritual warfare. Each mentions our adversary and challenges us to alertness or watchfulness, both for ourselves and for our brothers and sisters in Christ."

In writing about how we often see times for intercessory prayer he says, "Too often Christians have interpreted these verses as only reactive-in other words, waiting for the attack and then going into damage control. While intercession can certainly release God's redemption into destructive situations, God is offering us much more than 'look-out blocks' and damage control. He desires to warn us in advance of Satan's attacks, so that we can pray for others and build the boundaries of protection we spoke of in chapter seven. This is watchman intercession."

His use of the term "building boundaries" refers to this section from a previous chapter: "In the context of intercessory prayer, paga is the establishing of boundaries or walls of protection and the marking of a territory as one's own, declaring, 'I will not permit intruders or interlopers.' I love Psalm 91:1-4 from The Message: "You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow, say this: 'God you're my refuge. I trust in you and I'm safe!' That's right-he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you-under them you're perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm."

Then Sheets writes, "Wow, what a promise!"

Sheets recognizes that we cannot say that all our difficulties and troubles come directly from our enemy. He writes, "I do not mean to imply that every negative thing that happens to people is a direct result of Satan. I realize that our own carelessness, the carelessness of others, the curse of sin on our fallen world, and other causes all result in accidents, disease, and other destructive events. I believe there is protection from both satanic attacks and otherwise-caused adversity to be found through watchman intercession."

The essence of what the Lord told me is this: Contrary to what Cain said when he was asked where Abel was, we ARE our brother's (and sister's) keeper. As Sheets points out the words "preserve" and "maintain" are related translations of "keep."

He says, "We can be keepers today. We can preserve lives, destinies, health, ministries, and more through our intercession. When warnings are heard and acted upon, the interloping serpent is kept from our gardens. Security is maintained."

Finally, there is this prayer at the end of the chapter:

"Father, I accept your assignment in my life to keep the serpent out of my garden. His schemes will not succeed against my home and my family. I stand now as a door-keeper for my children [or whatever your garden may be], and I say no compromise will come into their lives. No attempt to harm them will succeed. I claim Your promise that they will be taught by You and great will be their peace. I ask You to establish them in righteousness and to keep them far from oppression and fear (Is 54:13,14). Holy Spirit, as I listen to You, help me to be sensitive to Your voice. Alert me to Satan's schemes and plans. Don't allow the serpent to take advantage of my family in any way. Thank you, Father, for these things. I ask them in Jesus' name. Amen."

What a privilege we have as brothers and sisters in Jesus, as part of the body of Christ, to lift each other up in prayer. How gracious it is of Him to get our attention when another is in difficulty of any magnitude to prompt us to pray for them. You can stand in the gap for me and I can do the same for you.

Heavenly Father, there is so much for me to learn and review in order to live the abundant life-the life in all its fullness that Your gave us through Jesus. But the first thing to which I must give attention is in the words preceding that gift. I must be aware that there is a thief whose purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. I must watch for myself, my family, and for my brothers and sisters in Christ.

And that is what I've learned in "school" this past week.

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The Spiritual Feng Shui

(category: Spirituality, Word count: 115)
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Feng Shui (pronounced "fung shway") is an ancient Chinese art whose name translates from the Chinese as "wind and water." Feng Shui is a lyrical phrase that poetically evokes the heart of this ancient practice.

Wind and water are, first and foremost, natural elements (two of the five elements that comprise all of nature). Wind is the earth's breath, and water is the invigorating lifeblood of everything that exists on our planet.

Both wind and water have tremendous energy that drives Feng Shui's practices and techniques to fill your life with positive energies. Feng Shui, at its very core is a means of arranging the basic elements of life

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Three Keys To Good Health

(category: Spirituality, Word count: 615)
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When we pray, as Jesus taught us, we are to come to God, "Our Father," as a little child. Through Jesus' redemption on the cross, He bought us back from the paradise of intimacy with Him lost by Adam, restored our communication with God, and made us co-inheritors of the Kingdom of God! Therefore, we can access the Father in the Name of Jesus and ask "our" Daddy anything we want, and He will give it to us! (John 15) Our Daddy is full of promises for all of us to live an abundant, healthy life. He cares for you as He cares for me.

One thought that comes to mind: if He loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you, then how much should we love one another? He IS Love! He wants you to walk and talk with Him as you would with your best friend. He is a jealous God. He loves it when you come to Him with all your problems and issues. After all, He is the only one who can!

Three Promises to take to heart are:

"...attend to my words; incline your ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart. ..They are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh." Proverbs 4: 18-22),

"faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17), and

" prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers." (3 John 2).

Read, Listen, and Do

Health does not just come by wishing or hoping for it. The Bible is truth. Isn't it wonderful to know we have someone we can rely on! The First Commandment tells us to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might! I still vividly recall the day I first learned that in Grade 6. I remember thinking how impossible it would be to love someone you do not know and cannot see! But He "read' those thoughts I had so long ago and quietly, gradually brought me to the point where I not only found Him and learned about Him, but came to know and love Him intimately. And, that was by first inviting Jesus Christ to be Lord over my life. He teaches that when you know Him, you also know the Father (Mat. 14:7,9).

It is important to read the Bible, meditate on it, and honor God by doing what it tells you to do. This is not an overnight quick-fix. Learning the Word, listening to anointed teachings, and asking the Holy Spirit to guide and instruct you in all things is the way to come to know and love God. When the words are allowed to sink deeply into your heart daily then, according to Proverbs 4:23: "the issues of life" will literally flow out of you. In other words, the Word will become such an integral part of you that when you are confronted with disaster of any kind, the Holy Spirit will bring to your memory Healing Scriptures to speak into that situation. Verses pertaining to peace, healing, or whatever that situation requires will burst out of you and healing will follow - according to your faith.

The wonderful thing about faith is that it grows! One day you may have a sore throat and see it healed miraculously before your eyes! Guess what. The next time you have a bigger problem, or someone asks you to pray for their sore throat, you will find your faith is there to meet the challenge!

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Tarot How Often Should You Have A Reading

(category: Spirituality, Word count: 529)
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One of my FAQs is, "How often should I have a Tarot Card reading?" There is no general answer. It depends on your purpose - what type of reading you are having and the way you are using it. If you are looking for some indication about what is happening in general in the future, then you could have a reading every six months or so, or perhaps every year.

This kind of reading tends to involve a bigger "spread" or "layout" as Tarot readings are called, with more cards in it. This allows a broader view of trends that may be coming into play around you. It usually tells a reader whether you are in a time of change or of relative stability - whether new stuff is going to happen or things remain very similar to how they are now. You don't need this kind of reading very frequently. It's "big picture" stuff and tends to change slowly.

If you are looking at one issue at a time, such as if you are going to get a new job soon, you can ask that question with a smaller kind of layout. A few cards or a Celtic Cross will be fine and will tell you what the possibilities are in that situation. The reading might tell you if you need to add to your skills and head off in a new career direction or search more thoroughly for a job than you are currently doing. If you asked about moving house it might say that moving would be disruptive at this time. The Tarot is always more than just "Yes" or "No". Usually it gives you some advice or insight as well.

With a reading based on one specific topic you can ask whenever you like as long as the topics are different. It's no good asking the same thing many times, because the answers just become confusing and often merely reflect how you are feeling that day. I always try to discourage people from becoming dependent on divination. Asking the same question again and again, trying to "nag" the cards into telling you what you want to hear is not healthy. Sometimes life doesn't give us what we want and we have to accept that and get on with things as best we can.

It's better not to ask trivial questions. I have found that the Tarot works best when you've thought out your question carefully and put it in a sensible manner. When you have an answer to a question, then it's a good idea to go away and reflect on it and see how that answer can help you with your problem. That is one of the strengths of the Tarot - guidance. It can help us to see solutions for ourselves.

By using the Tarot wisely, it becomes like talking to a good friend. The answers often open up new ways of looking at our lives that can help us bring out the best for ourselves in the future. Like all good friends it responds best if you take notice of the answers it gives.

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Useful Lie Number One

(category: Spirituality, Word count: 721)
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What are useful lies? They are not necessarily lies, but beliefs that benefit us, yet cannot be proven. You don't even need to believe them in the traditional sense. You can use them as "operating principles." Calling them lies refers top the fact that we essentially pretend to believe what we have no real evidence for. It is time for an example from the true events of the day.

Useful Lie Nuber One - Everything Happens For Reason

This morning I was on the highway by four thirty, heading out of Canon City to climb Mount Yale. It is important to start early, in order to be off the summit before the afternoon thunderstorms move in. As I was approaching Salida, I saw a scattering of rocks on the road, which had fallen during the night, and it was too late to avoid them.

The front driver's side tire was immediately punctured by a rock and was losing its air. I pulled off the highway and took a look. It was completely flat. I opened the trunk, and the first thing I noticed was that everything was wet. Apparently the trunk had been leaking when it rained. Then I saw that the bolt holding the jack in place was rusted. I tried turning the nut with no luck. I took the crowbar and pounded on it, but it wouldn't budge.

For a break, I moved everything into the car, so I could get at the spare tire under the trunk carpet. The wing-nut holding it in place was also rusted solidly in place, and couldn't be pounded free. It must be a test of my ingenuity, and a chance to practice my creative problem solving skills, I decided (useful lies?). I tried using a rock, managing only to crush my finger. This was an opportunity to dance around, and practice my profanity.

I remembered that in a box of miscellaneous tools in the trunk there was a small hacksaw, with a four-inch blade. Kicking and stepping on the jack had only bent the metal brackets, so I decided to saw through the bolt. The saw broke. I was able to fix it, and I made it through the bolt, but when I took the jack out, it wouldn't work. It was all rusted up. I found some oil in the trunk and dripped it on the threads of the jack, then pounded on it with the crowbar. It moved, and I was finally able to use it.

I washed in the river, enjoyed the rising sun, then started on the much thicker bolt holding the spare tire in place. of course the saw broke, I fixed it, the saw jammed, I started over, and eventually, the tire was free. I wiped off the slime that was growing on it. Soon I had the other tire off, the spare on, and was listening to it leak air. It wenjt flat. Good thing I had a bicycle tire pump. Mission accomplished, no problem.

I arrived at the tire shop in Salida at seven. It opened at eight. I waited the hour, then discovered that the tire was beyond hope, got a new tire put on, and... it was too late to go climb the mountain. It also was raining. It would have been an awful day to be up high on a rocky peak. Perhaps I even would have been seriously hurt had it not been for that flat tire.

Do I believe that? No, I don't even believe that everything happens for a reason. I don't have to, you see. Acting as if that's the way life works is enough. I could have been discouraged, pissed off, or in an otherwise unproductive state. Instead I acted as though things really do happen for a reason.

What does this do for you? It changes your perspective. It gets you thinking about what good comes from a "bad" situation. I was having fun trying to figure out how to change that tire, and I avoided a cold wet hike. Then I came home and I wrote this article, which might even bring new traffic to my web site. In other words, I made a good thing out of a bad thing. That is what useful lies can do for you.

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