01.10.2021

The Game of Life and How to Play It

Sunday, January 10, 2021
Featuring: Rev. Lori Fleming

Click HERE to download this transcript.

Rev. Lori Fleming: Hello; I'm Lori Fleming, the pastoral care minister here at Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center. Welcome to our online service! We hope with the message and meditation and music that you are uplifted as you watch us.

And now I invite you to join me in a time of prayer and meditation.

 

MEDITATION
Rev. Lori Fleming:
I invite you to close your outer eyes, to take in a deep, cleansing breath and release it slowly. Turning your awareness within. Take in another mindful breath. Begin to focus your awareness into your heart space: into that quiet, still, place within where we are one with the Divine. Into that place where there's the peace that passes understanding. No matter what's going on in the outer world, we know that, when we go within, we experience God's deep and abiding peace.

In this precious moment, we are one with Spirit. We feel this upwelling of God's love within: loving ourselves and loving each other. Knowing that each and every one of us has been created with sacred worth. That, no matter what we look like, no matter what we believe, each and every one is an important part of the whole. And without one of us, the whole would be diminished. Our different colors make up the tapestry of life: each and every one important for the greater good of the whole.

So we send blessings out to each and every human being on this planet. God, fill our hearts with love. Allow us to experience new and greater levels of peace within our own hearts, within our own lives. Peace within our own families and our communities. Peace in the world now.

And so we take just a few moments to move more deeply into the silence, where we feel the peace that passes understanding within.

SILENCE

And so, sweet Spirit, we come in gratitude for these amazing lives that we have the pleasure of living. For each and every good thing that we experience now and in the future. We know, God, all our good comes from you. Thank you for all of the blessings! Thank you, God; thank you, God; thank you, God! And it is so. Amen.

 

SOLO
Alexandra Ncube sings “Don’t Rain on My Parade”

Don't tell me not to live
Just sit and putter
Life's candy and the sun's
A ball of butter
Don't bring around a cloud
To rain on my parade

Don't tell me not to fly
I've simply got to
If someone takes a spill
It's me and not you
Who told you you're allowed
To rain on my parade!

I'll march my band out
I'll beat my drum
And if I'm fanned out
Your turn at bat, sir
At guess I didn't make it
Hat, sir, I guess I didn't make it!

But whether I'm the rose
Of sheer perfection
A freckle on the nose
Of life's complexion
The cinder or the shiny apple of its eye

I gotta fly once
I gotta try once
Only can die once, right, sir?

Oh, life is juicy
Juicy, and you'll see
I gotta have my bite, sir!

Get ready for me, love
'Cause I'm a "comer"
I simply gotta march
My heart's a drummer
Don't bring around a cloud
To rain on my parade!

I'm gonna live and live now
Get what I want, I know how
One roll for the whole shebang
One throw, that bell will go clang
Eye on the target, and wham
One shot, one gun shot, and bam

Hey, Mr. Arnstein, here I am!

I'll march my band out
I’ll beat my drum
And if I'm fanned out
Your turn at bat, sir
I guess I didn’t make it
Hat, sir, at least I didn’t fake it

Get ready for me, love
'Cause I'm a "comer"
I simply gotta march
My heart's a drummer
Nobody, no, nobody
Is gonna rain on my parade!

 

MESSAGE
Rev. Lori Fleming: My talk is entitled, "The Game of Life and How to Play It," based on a book by that title by Florence Scovell Shinn, which was written in 1925. She was born in 1871, and she's an artist, a book illustrator. And she's a New Thought spiritual teacher and metaphysical writer. She has amazing little anecdotes in her books describing the spiritual truths that she's teaching. She writes, "The invisible forces are ever working for man and woman, who is always 'pulling the strings' him or herself, though he or she does not know it. Owing to the vibratory power of words, whatever man or woman voices, he or she begins to attract."

She tells a story about one week before Easter. When she was walking back and forth to work, she passed in front of a florist shop. And in the florist's window -- it was all decorated for Easter -- and there were these beautiful rose trees. And as she walked by, she really wished she'd have a rose tree herself. So she visualized someone bringing the rose tree to her door, and her accepting a beautiful rose tree. The next day someone did send her a rose tree: a friend of hers! So she called her friend to thank her for the rose tree, and the friend said, "I didn't send you a rose tree; I sent you Easter lilies!" Evidently, the florist made an error and mixed up the order. But Shinn had clearly wanted a rose tree, not Easter lilies. She had admired them in the window and she'd even imagined receiving one. So did the florist make an error? Or was the florist, on some level, listening to his or her own intuition? Shinn writes that the florist had mixed up the order and sent her a rose tree, because she had started the Law in Action, and now she has a rose tree.

Shinn says every desire -- uttered or unexpressed -- is a demand. And then, we're often startled by having a wish suddenly fulfilled. The late Dr. Wayne Dyer said it this way: "We believe in miracles, we ask for miracles, and then we're surprised when we get one! Don't you believe you can receive what you ask for?"

In Matthew Chapter 7, Verse 7, Jesus says: "Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it will be opened unto you." Nothing stands between us and every desire of our hearts, except doubt and fear. When we begin to wish for what we want without worrying, every single desire will be instantly met. But wen we worry, it's like putting the brakes on in our car: we stop our good from coming to us. This is a scientific principle.

In Matthew Chapter 8, Verse 36, Jesus says, "Why are you fearful, oh ye of little faith?” We must substitute fear with faith. Fear is only inverted faith: faith in evil, rather than good.

The object of the game of life is to see our good clearly, and eliminate any mental picture of anything that's less than good. Then we replace the old mental picture with exactly what we want: we visualize what it looks like; how good it feels to have it; to taste it; to touch it; to smell it ... exactly like we want it. And then we ask for "this or something better."

Because our minds are like a faithful servant: giving us exactly what we're thinking about. So if you're thinking fearful thoughts, expect situations that bring more fear. And if you're thinking peaceful thoughts, expect situations to be more peaceful. We can change the conditions of our lives by changing our words, our thoughts and our actions. That's the spiritual principle!

Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." We can speak our world into existence, as long as we have faith in our words. If we ask for success, but prepare for failure, we'll get the situation we prayed for.

Shinn has an example in her book about a man who asked her to speak the word for him to have a large debt to be paid. And she prayed that the debt would be paid completely. Unfortunately, the debt did not get paid, because the man spent all his time planning what he would say to the person that he owed money to when he told him he couldn't pay back the debt. This neutralized the prayer that Shinn spoke. What would have happened if he would have imagined himself joyously paying his debt? What if he had visualized handing the money to the person that he owed it to, thanking him for trusting him? For making the loan with him? That's a whole different energy, isn't it?

We must prepare for what we ask for, even if we haven't seen the slightest sight of it yet. We must not prepare for what we're afraid will happen if we don't get what we ask for. That's negative prayer! And since we get what we ask for, we must be really careful with the words that we use when we're asking for something.

In the Old Testament, in the Book of 2 Kings, there are three kings who are in the desert, and they don't have any water for themselves and their horses and their men. So they go to the prophet Elisha. And Elisha tells them, "Thus sayeth the Lord. You shall not see wind; neither shall you see rain. Yet, make this valley full of ditches." What the prophet Elisha is saying is that we must prepare for the things we're asking for, even if there's not the slightest sign of them yet. If the kings wanted water, they needed to dig ditches to hold the water when it began to rain.

This is how we prepare for the things we're asking for: Having the faith to dig a ditch in the desert -- even if there's no rain in sight. That is true faith that creates miracles!

Shinn writes about a woman who is looking for an apartment in New York City, when apartments were very rare. There was a shortage. And all her friends felt sorry for her, and they advised her to put her furniture in storage and just stay in a hotel. She told them: "Don't worry about me; I'm a superwoman manifester!" I like that! "I'm a superwoman manifester, and I will get a great apartment!" She prayed, "Infinite Spirit, open the way for the right apartment" -- simple, direct words of exactly what she wanted. She recognized that there's a supply for every demand. Her prayer was unconditioned... meaning she didn't put conditions on her request, like how big the apartment would be, what it would cost, where it was. Just "the right apartment." She was working on the spiritual plane; she knew that God would work out the details of finding her the exact apartment that was perfect for her.

So she wanted to buy some new blankets for her new place... and she thought, "Well, maybe I shouldn't buy the blankets, because if I don't get the apartment, I won't have a place for them." She immediately recognized her error of thinking and, instead, she said to herself, "I'll dig my ditches by buying the blankets." That's an act of faith! So she began to prepare for the apartment by buying blankets, acting as if she already had the apartment. She immediately found an apartment in a miraculous way, and it was given to her, even though there were 200 applicants who had already applied for it.

Buying the blankets was like digging the ditches: expecting rain in the desert. It was a true act of faith. And, eventually, ditches were dug by the three kings, and they were filled to overflowing when the rain came. This is the game of life, and that's how to play it!

It isn't always easy to have the faith to do this kind of preparation. Many times, negative thoughts served up from our unconscious thoughts like, "That doesn't make sense! Why would dig a ditch in the desert when there's no rain?" I have thoughts like that all the time when I'm up to something big! It's that reptilian part in the back of my brain that's designed to keep me safe. That, when I want to do something new or fun or different, it says, "Wait! Wait! Danger! Danger!" But I know I don't have to keep having those thoughts; I know I can create a high statement of truth or affirmation that challenges all the old beliefs in my subconscious, and helps me cancel out all my doubts.

One way to do this is affirm and give thanks for the good we've already received; that's why practicing gratitude is so important! Gratitude is a spiritual practice that brings more good into our lives. Being grateful for what we already have sets up a vibration that attracts more good into our lives. If we're always thinking about what we don't have, don't be surprised to start losing what we do have. Whatever we think about is what we're creating!

Remember last week, when I was talking about the children of Israel in the wilderness with Moses and his brother, Aaron? They were promised all the land they could see in the Promised Land. And this is true for us today! We can have all the land that is within our mental vision. If you cannot imagine achieving your goal, you never will! If you can't see yourself receiving that diploma, or sitting through a job interview and getting a really great job that you're really well paid... If you can't imagine yourself finding a perfect partner or enjoying perfect health... If you can't visualize it first, it may never happen!

Every great work -- every great accomplishment -- has been brought into manifestation by holding a vision. And before we achieve that vision, there may be many apparent failures and discouragements; that's just part of the process. And when that happens, be gentle with yourself. Most of us don't succeed the first time we try something new. I certainly don't! But if we don't try, nothing ever happens! My mother must have said that to me a million times! And then we don't try, and we get stuck in a rut. And everybody knows that a rut is a grave with the ends kicked out!

So we hold the vision anyway: with faith, believing our desires will be achieved. As the Israelites finally entered the Promised Land, they were afraid to go in, because they believed the land was filled with giants that made them look like tiny, little grasshoppers. Has there ever been a time when you were up to something big and, just before you accomplished it, you started to doubt yourself? I certainly have had that happen to me. You didn't think you were smart enough or that you were rich enough, or beautiful enough, or that you had the energy to do it. Almost everyone experiences this at some time! But those of us who know the spiritual law: we rejoice! We keep the faith! We hold the vision and give thanks for everything we've already received, even before we receive. This sets up a mental and physical energy that attracts our good to us more quickly.

The late Dr. Wayne Dyer calls this "end thinking": visualizing exactly what we want. Where we want to be. See it; feel it; taste it; smell it; touch it, so that we can go towards our vision. We don't have to know the next step; God will work out the details! We have one of our chaplains, and she says, "Why worry? God's got this!" Why worry? God's got this, indeed! We just have to listen to our intuition and take that next step.

When we doubt, it's good to have a friend that can hold the vision for us. They may not be as close to the situation as we are, so they won't experience the same doubts that we're experiencing. And they can hold a clear vision for us. And that's how prayer works!

Someone once said, "No person can fail if one person sees him or her as successful." This is the power of vision! Many of us can attribute many of our successes to that spouse or friend or brother or sister or parent who held the vision for us without wavering. But sometimes we give our power away. Many times it's with the words that we speak.

Shinn uses an example where a man always said, "I always miss the streetcar. It invariably pulls out just as I arrived." No wonder he missed the streetcar; that's what he was asking for! But his daughter, on the other hand, her affirmation was: "I always catch the streetcar! It's sure to come just as I get there!" Each one of them was creating their own world view by their words. The man: the world where he always missed the street car. The other, the girl, the daughter: the world view that she always made the street car. Both were using the same principle; both were proven right! One was getting negative results; the other was getting positive results.

Some people carry a rabbit's foot for good luck. Now, it's not really good luck for the rabbit! But we need to understand that our superstitions help create our world view. Shinn uses an example of two businessmen who had a business that had done very well for a while, but there had been some economic changes, and they weren't doing as well. So, instead of creating an affirmation for success -- and looking to God as the source of their prosperity -- they both bought a little lucky monkey trinket promising to bring them good luck. They went to Shinn for help, and she advised them to put away the lucky monkeys and call on the laws of forgiveness, because we have the power to forgive or neutralize our own mistakes. They threw away the lucky monkey, and everything began to get better!

Now, that doesn't mean we have to get rid of all the lucky objects we have in our house. Rather, we recognize there's only one power: God. And the object gives us the expectancy of what we're wanting. Shinn met a woman who was in deep despair. They were walking across the street, and all of a sudden the woman leaned down, and she picked up a horse shoe. She was immediately filled with joy and hope, because horse shoes are supposed to bring good luck. She said God had sent her the horse shoe in order for her to keep up her courage so she could face all the challenges she was going through.

So what's the difference between the lucky monkeys and the lucky horse shoe? The businessmen were depending on the lucky monkeys to prosper them. The woman recognized God as the power behind the horse shoe. Subtle difference! Especially if we put a lot of stock on symbols and superstitions! There's a saying that bad things come in threes. Well, bad things come in ones and fives and elevens, also. And throughout this last year, bad things have come in multiples of hundreds. And so have good things! The difference is: What are we looking for? What are we noticing? Missing the streetcar all the time? Or catching the streetcar all the time?

Words contain great vibratory power. And whatever we speak aloud, we begin to attract. Shinn tells of a story of a friend who called her up to talk. And all she wanted to talk about was her illness, her lack of prosperity, her failures and her losses. And every time she talked to Shinn, she tried to get Shinn to come over and have a good old-fashioned chat, to which Shinn said, "No thank you; I've had enough old-fashioned chats. They're too expensive! I will have a new-fashioned chat, and we can talk about what we want, not what we don't want. And I can hold that desire for you."

Why would she say it was too expensive? Because she didn't want to spend any time on negative thinking. There's a book entitled, "You Can Not Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought." The ultimate cost of negativity is just too much when we can use the same time and energy to create good in our lives.

So I have a question for you! Are diseases psychosomatic? Shinn writes about a woman who had a terrible, incurable skin disease. She was a performer on the stage, and she was afraid she'd have to give up her profession and her livelihood if the condition didn't improve. Well, she got a good job -- a good role on the stage -- and on opening night she was a huge hit. All the critics said how great she was! The next morning when she went in for rehearsal, they dismissed her. They dismissed her because there was a man on the cast who was jealous of her. Well, she was immediately filled with hatred and resentment that this man could do this to her. But she knew spiritual principle, and she called out "Oh, God, please don't let me hate this man!" That's a big step! She went into the silence, and she worked on forgiveness for hours. She soon came to a very deep silence, and was at peace with the man and the whole world. She continued this forgiveness work for two more nights. And on the third day, when she woke up, she was completely healed of her skin disease.

Sometimes the thing that's the worst thing that can happen to us is really a blessing in disguise. So I ask you again: Is disease psychosomatic? In asking for love or good will and forgiveness for herself, she fulfilled the law to love unconditionally. And her incurable disease completely disappeared. Every dis-ease is caused by a mind not at ease. Because as within, so without. Any inharmony in the interior indicates there's mental inharmony. Our only enemies are within ourselves.

Pogo, the cartoon character, says, "We have met the enemy, and it is us." Our work is an inner work: to bless ourselves and everyone. To do as Jesus taught: "Peace on earth and good will towards all men and all women." Because anyone we bless loses the power to harm us. Jesus said, "But I say unto you: love your enemies. Bless them that curse you. Do good to them that hate you. And pray for them which spitefully use you and persecute you." That's a tall order! But it's certainly needed in this day and age. When someone deliberately gets you fired, can you do that? Can you bless them? But we've all heard stories of people who bless and forgive their enemies

Last week on TV there was a story of a woman whose son was murdered by another young man. And the young man went to prison. And after a while, she tried to contact the man in prison. And, at first, he wouldn't talk to her or see her. Finally, he relented, and for years she went to visit him. And when he was finally released -- after he'd paid his debt to society -- she helped him get started in the world again. That's unconditional love and forgiveness!

Forgiveness is a practice that brings us closer to our own God-self. Shinn picked up a book one morning and read, "Look with wonder at that which is before you." Oh, that makes me feel so good when I say it! "Look with wonder at that which is before you!" She repeated it over and over all morning, and at noon a large sum of money was given to her that she had been desiring for a certain purpose. When we use affirmations like this, make sure it feels really good to say it: that it makes you joyful. That you can believe it will happen... and it will!

What if we started using that affirmation every time we heard about all of the craziness that's going on in the world today? "Look with wonder at that which is before you!" Looking with wonder opens the possibility for new insight: new ways of thinking and doing things.

Shinn created an affirmation that she shared with many people. And it had much success. It's got a really nice ring to it! "I have a wonderful work, in a wonderful way; I give wonderful service, for wonderful pay!" Makes me happy to say it; I feel like I should be singing it! Maybe we could get Craig to write some music for it! We each deserve to be well paid for our services. And if we give wonderful service, we can be sure we will be well paid.

A businessman Shinn knew took the affirmation and changed it slightly. He said, "I have a wonderful business, in a wonderful way; and I give wonderful service, for wonderful pay!" He started affirming that, and that afternoon he made a $41,000 deal. Now remember: this book was written in 1925. $41,000 is a good amount of money today; it was a ton of money back then!

So what are you creating in your world through the power of your words? Just looking at our lives will tell us if we're creating missing the streetcar or catching the streetcar! If we owe money, trust Spirit to provide for you now. Make your words so clear that you cannot possibly be misunderstood! Believe that whatever you ask for will come to you easily and gracefully! Because it's God's great pleasure to give you the kingdom. And that's the game of life and how to play it!

 

OFFERING
Rev. Lori Fleming:
It’s that time in our service to give of our gifts and our tithes and our offerings. Thank you so much for sending in your checks and donating online; you’ve been keeping our wonderful work going through this past crazy year!

Our offering blessing is: “Divine love, through me, blesses and multiplies all that I have, all that I give, and all that I receive.” And so we say thank you, Mother/Father God, for these gifts, these tithes and these offerings. We know they are given in love, they are received in love, and that they move through this ministry with the energy of divine love out into the world as good. And that each giver is blessed – heaped up, pressed down and overflowing – for that is the Law. And so it is. Thank you, God! Amen.

 

CLOSING
Rev. Lori Fleming: Well, we’re so grateful that you could be with us online here. We are blessing you! We hope to back in person sometime soon! We don’t know when that will be, but we hope that you have a wonderful week. And now will you join me in listening as the choir sings the Peace Song?

Choir sings Peace Song:
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me!
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be!

With God as Creator
Family all are we!
Let us walk with each other
In perfect harmony!

Let peace begin with me;
Let this be the moment now!
With every breath I take
Let this be my joyous vow:
To take each moment and live each moment
In peace eternally!

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me!

 

Rev. Lori Fleming: And now will you affirm our Prayer for Protection with me?

The light of God surrounds us;
The love of Gold enfolds us;
The power of God protects us;
The presence of God watches over us.
Wherever we are, God is. And all is well!

Have a blessed day!

Copyright 2020 Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center/Rev. Lori Fleming

Location and Contact Information

Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center

1500 E Greenway Pkwy
Phoenix, AZ 85022
Phone: (602) 978-3200

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