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The Way to a Wonderful Life, Sunday, November 25, 2012 

        I believe that each and every one of us have within us the potential to increase our spiritual awareness a thousand fold, if not more.  And I believe that the reason we don't do so is because we live in a world where persistence and commitment have been replaced with impatience and a lax reliance on faith.  When we read that "there is a power within you" this is the truth.  This statement is directed to the infinite capacity for faith that is inherent within us.  And when this faith is in tune with the Divine force that corresponds with intelligence, we experience this power within us as the truth of us.

        In the early years of building the successful magazine, Guideposts, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and the Board of Directors believed that the magazine could not survive without an infusion of cash.  I am including the telling of this Board Meeting because I believe that when we see the Law (Principle) and Love (creative ideas) at work in a true-to-life experience, it gives us a greater sense of spiritual awareness and confidence in our ability to stir of the spirit of faith within us so that we can believe in our prayer and the answer to it.

       This is taken from Dr. Norman Vincent Peale's book, "You Can If You Think You  Can": 
"The directors' thought processes seemed frozen; no ideas were forthcoming.  We had invited a woman to this meeting who was not a member of the Board but we included her for the very practical reason that on a previous occasion she had contributed twenty-five hundred dollars [$2,500.00 in 1973 had the same buying power as $13,274.82 in 2012] to our magazine and we figured, hopefully, that lighting might strike twice in the same place. ... But, fully aware of our intent, and being of a sagacious and forthright mind, she said, "I must put you people out of your misery.  I am not going to give you another nickel."  Well, instead of putting us out of our misery, this remark only plunged us more deeply into it. ... "But," she quickly added, "while I will not give you any more cash I will give you something of far greater value than money."  At the moment, faced with a stack of bills, we could not imagine anything more important than money.  "I will give you a creative and dynamic idea," she said, "and with this idea you can secure all the resources needed to carry on." ... She began then to examine the situation, asking how many subscribers were needed to establish the magazine on a sound basis.  I did not know for sure, but picked the figure of a hundred thousand out of the air.  Since we had forty thousand we needed that extra sixty thousand people for our circulation list if we were to succeed.  ... "All right," said our amazing friend, "let's face the situation.  We are in a condition of lack.  We lack everything:  money, subscribers, equipment, imagination, ideas.  Now just why do we lack?"  she demanded.  And she supplied the answer to her own question.  "We lack for the reason that we have constantly been thinking in terms of lack, so therefore we have created a condition of lack."  Astonishing as this appraisal was, we could scarcely argue with it for obviously we did lack, nor could we deny that we had been thinking lack. ... "O.K., what can we do about it?" I asked.  ... "Do about it?" she snorted, "Do about it?  Why, stand up to those defeating lack thoughts like men!  And tell them to get out of your minds." ... "Now, look," I objected, "you can't do that.  If you mount a frontal attack on an unhealthy thought pattern instead of exorcising those thoughts, you only tend to drive them more deeply into consciousness.  Besides,"  I ended lamely, "we don't control our thoughts; our thoughts control us."  ... Was I to learn something!  In fact, what then happened revolutionized my own thought attitudes. ... I shall never forget the disgust with which the lady regarded me.  "I'm amazed," she declared, "at such a weak, willy-nilly reaction.  Don't you remember what the great Plato said?" ... Well, frankly I hadn't the slightest idea what the great Plato said.  But not wanting to reveal my ignorance, I asked brightly, "To which of the many familiar quotations of Plato do you refer?" ... "I refer," she shot back, "to the one you never heard."  I shall never forget hearing this astonishing woman quote what she said Plato said:  "Take charge of your thoughts.  You can do what you will with them." ... And that is true for a fact, as I began to see.  We are not meant to be worms crawling defeated in the presence of a difficult situation.  We are men, women, children of God with minds for thinking.  We can indeed take charge of our thoughts and do what we will with them.  And that is what happened in this instance. ... "How do we go about it?" I inquired. ... "Spend fifteen minutes right now," she admonished, "flushing out those lack thoughts."  Presently she declared, "All right, your minds are empty, which I must admit didn't take very long.  But the mind will not perpetually remain empty.  And  those lack thoughts are hanging around waiting for the chance to creep back into your minds where for so long they have been hospitably entertained.  So we must keep them displaced by filling the mind with dynamic prosperity thoughts.  ... "I want you to look out there in your creative imagination and see or image a hundred thousand people reading our magazine and," she added, business-wise, "who have paid for their subscriptions." ... I responded, appearing to look out into the distance, "Frankly, they look mighty dim to me." ... Then I happened to look into the woman's eyes - big, black, snapping eyes - and as I did so a phrase crossed my mind:  "The exalted look of the believer."  And in her eyes I "saw" mirrored those hundred thousand subscribers.  Becoming excited, I leaped to my feet.  "I see them, I see them," I shouted. ... "Ah, isn't that great," she exclaimed.  "Now that we see them we have them." ... Startled, I asked, "What's that?" ... "Oh, yes," she said firmly, "now that we can image them we, in effect, have them." ... Then, surprisingly, she demanded, "Now let us thank God that He has given us a hundred thousand subscribers."  In her prayer she did not ask God for anything; she thanked Him for everything.  She also repeated a Bible statement:  "Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."  Well, I became so stimulated that I could hardly wait for her to stop praying, and then I leaped to my feet and looked down at where that stack of bills had been - and there they still were.  ... I guess in my exuberance I thought the Lord would come down in some sweet chariot and take all those bills away.  But that isn't the way He works.  When He wants to change a situation it is not done in some magical way.  He changes people, and changed people change situations.  And that is precisely what happened. ... Our directors became unfrozen, terrifically motivated, and they began to throw ideas rapidly onto the table.  Of course, ninety percent of them were no good, but ten percent were, and with those the magazine began to move.  Today, Guideposts subscribers number well over two and a quarter million." <>

      Now, most of us can identify with this in several different ways; it inspires us, it removes fragments of doubt in our mind, and we are motivated to put these ideas into practice for ourselves.  But, first, we must make up our mind in a definite way what we want to achieve.  As Dr. Peale cautions in his book, formulate a goal; not a fuzzy, vague goal, but one that is sharp, clearly defined and specific - very specific.  And then we are to pray in an affirmative way about the goal to be sure it is right for us, for if it isn't right for us ... which means if there is a doubt in our mind about it being right for us ... then it is wrong ... and wrong doesn't ever turn out right.  I suggest that we spend fifteen minutes each day clearing our mind and really getting "into the spirit" of realizing this goal in our mind until we can see ourselves vividly doing, being or having it, now.

     And as Dr. Peale writes,
"never, never, never give up" - keep it going, going, going - know that you can if you think you can ... tell yourself this every day of your life until you believe it completely in your heart, your mind and your soul .. and never think of failing.  You don't need to.


Keep the faith!
. Henry Bates

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