Do you feel holy? Do you feel you have nothing to fear? Do you trust in God?

The thoughts you think can make God's mind and your mind one mind. There really is no gray area. You are either: A. Happy and you feel good, forgive people, see the good in them and trust in God, or B. Unhappy, don't feel great and thankful, see others' errors, are unforgiving and are on guard and fearful.

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You have the choice. Also, I think the "A" way of thinking is the method that God planned for us to think. The "B" way is definitely distancing ourselves from God. You are saying to yourself and to every cell in your body, "In God, I do NOT trust!" The "A" way of thinking allows you to live life to its fullest. The "B" way of thinking is stifling and puts roadblocks on life's vast, unlimited possibilities.

I appreciate how God explains his method of thinking in Deuteronomy 30:1-10 which is entitled, Prosperity After Turning to the Lord. Cutting to the chase, the verse explains that you will prosper when you turn to your Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. Deuteronomy 30:11-19 is entitled, The Offer of Life or Death. Now I begin to smile as I read God's humorous words. Here is my paraphrased translation: What I command is NOT too difficult or beyond your reach. As God elaborates, I'm almost laughing out loud and can visualize him like a stand-up comedian with a bit of a funny grin on his face, pleading to us: "Look, people, I'm not asking you to jump hurdles, you already have this in your heart... how much easier could I make it for you to obey?" He even asks us to "See" and qualifies his message: "I've given you two choices — life and prosperity or death and destruction. Then he gives us the correct choice to choose and tells us to not even wait to decide. "Choose now! Choose life," he says. He gave us brains but wants to make it perfectly clear the simple thing we need to do to be prosperous and happy: Choose life!

OK, by now you're saying: "Yes, Rev. Ellin, what God proposes is simple but it is not easy."

And I will agree with you because I'm a non-perfect human being and have to work on my choices moment to moment. Most of us grew up learning through family, education, leaders, environment, etc., about how to survive. We spent years protecting ourselves so we could keep ourselves out of harm's way. When we were threatened, our modus operandi was to attack back. I'm not asking you to practice all-or-nothing thinking and to not protect yourself. I'm asking you to be more mindful of your feelings ... moment by moment. You are either with God or you are not with God.

Here is how you can easily determine if you are not with God. You don't feel good. You may be worried or fearful. You may have carried resentment for so many years you have forgotten the circumstances. You may be believing a lie that was seen through the eyes and mind of the 6-year-old that you were then. Most of our sickness is mind-produced. Thinking that you are a victim and have no choices will eventually make you ill. Many illnesses that we label as "aging" are really pent-up negative beliefs.

Here's how you can easily determine if you are with God. When you are with God, you are feeling good. You are thinking with God's mind. You are happy! Remember all of the times when you were happy. List the adjectives of how you felt. Remember when your family gave you a birthday party? You felt loved. Feel God's unending, unconditional love for you. Be mindful of how beautiful nature is. Touch a plant called Lamb's Ear and understand why it got its name. Really use your senses to see the feast of colors and shapes God has made available for our joy and enlightenment. Touch all of the many textures and smell the many free perfumes in the air for our delight. When you see an ugly dump, not even one iota of your feeling bad is going to change that ugly dump and make it pretty. Begin to really live in God's world not the world that man made.

Since the United States presidential election, so many people have expressed their fears verbally and through social media. Think of the dump example mentioned above. Not one thimble of fear is going to help the United States or others. Unfortunately, your fear can influence others to be fearful. But trusting in God, walking with God, listening to God's guidance will give you confidence that all will be well.

Start by helping all those you are able to help in your immediate area. Smile, feel good, be happy, that will help everyone who sees you. When they smile back, the world will be full of smiles. Try it. It works for me. I haven't gotten a smirk back yet. Carroll County is a fantastic place to start, too. People are more friendly and lovable than you might think.

The Rev. Ellin M. Dize is executive director of nonprofit NRS Inc. and facilitates A Course in Miracles spiritual discussion group at St. Paul's UCC. She can be contacted at NRSsolutions@yahoo.com.

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