Monday, February 25, 2008

Don't put down the chalk!

I was just blown away by an example given in a recent Sentinel article by Betty Jenks. I just have to share it with you. She wrote about a story she heard years before that helped her face a lingering illness. It concerned a college professor on his first day with a new batch of freshmen students in a calculus class. He wrote a fairly advanced problem on the blackboard and wondered if anyone could solve it. One student eagerly raised his hand and went to the blackboard with confidence to show his stuff. He hadn't gone very far before the professor chided him by saying, "No, no, you are way off right from the start." The dejected young man put down the chalk and returned to his seat.

Another student came forward and began exactly the same way. This time the professor raised his voice and sarcastically asked, "Is anyone listening when I speak?" A third student volunteered, went to the blackboard and began the same way. The professor was fed up by now and in utter despair threw his book down on the desk. However, the student now at the blackboard ignored him, continued until she solved the problem, and sat down. The teacher said, "Perfect. Thank you." Well, now the other two complained that the student's solution was exactly what they were going to do!

Here's the punch line. The professor responded, "This will be the most important lesson you will ever learn - it's not enough to know something, you have to know that you know it." He then went on, "Why did you stop simply because I suggested you were wrong? Fear? Doubt? Confusion? Or were you so impressed with me that if I said something, you decided it must be true?"

Don't be influenced to believe in suffering or lack or frustration. Don't put down the chalk! Know the Truth and that Truth will make you free. God is good and He made all. That means all He made is good. God made you. You are His idea. What does that make you? Good and whole and complete and happy and healthy. Know this.

Be at peace.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mind - Living water or broken cistern

Jeremiah pointed out to the people of his day their great fault. Actually two things. The text has God wondering just what He has done (or not done) 'what iniquity' they found in Him that caused them to turn to other gods. Iniquity is defined as injustice. What injustice has they found in Him. Have you ever felt that God failed you, or simply did not give you something you had earnestly prayed for? Have you ever felt life was unfair?

Those people were the children of Israel, known throughout the Biblical world as those who believed in one God. That was the first of the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses. So what happened? Jeremiah had been mourning his people's sins. Elijah and Elisha, prophets before him, had spoken only to the Hebrews. Jeremiah is speaking to all of us. He tells his hearers the grossness of their conduct in deserting Jeremiah, and urges repentance - a change of thought.

God's blessing is shown as fresh water supplied by a spring. It is contrasted with the vanity of serving idols, which is as devoid of profit as a cracked resevoir.

How often we are distressed when we stop leaning on the sustaining Infinite and put our faith in material sources, places where we have set aside funds. Without understanding the true source of supply, a continually refreshed living source, we can find our funds draining out, suddenly being needed for an emergency, and no matter how hard we try to build up that reserve, it keeps dwindling. Another thing to consider is that the cistern is made of clay, the dust of the ground. Putting our reliance there, even worshipping it more than God, puts us squarely in the second account of creation, man made from the dust of the ground and cursed to toil for a living.

Take some time to appreciate the infinitely flowing ideas of good. The living water God provides for us. Be careful not to rely on broken cisterns.

Be at peace.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Working with the synonyms

Two ideas are really helping me today. They are from this week's Bible lesson about God as Mind. The first is part of a verse from Isaiah 45 "I am the Lord and there is none else". I prayed with that substituing the synonyms Mrs. Eddy gives in her defintion of God (S&H 587) and used I AM as God gave His name to Moses.
I AM Principle and there is none other laws but Mind.
I AM Mind and there is none other consciousness or awareness.
I AM Soul and there is none other senses, nothing but joy and peace.
I AM Spirit and there is none other reality or identity, no other substance.
I AM Life and there is none else...nothing but vitality and strength and unlimited ability.
I AM Truth and there is none else...nothing ut honesty and integrity.
I AM Love and there is none else...nothing but pure affection, kindness, caring.

The second idea is similar. It comes from Mrs. Eddy and says in part "...evil can have no place, where all space is filled with God". I substituted whatever it is that needs healing for the word 'evil'. So lack can have no place in our human experience, because that space is already filled by God. I had several nice things happen yesterday that showed me this lovely truth about supply. Disease can have no place. Right where that 'space' seems to be crying out as a cavity or a shadow on a lung, right there and right then that space is already filled by God. Fear can have no place. In a moment of doubt or uncertainty, we can instead experience confidence and trust because at all times and under all circumstances God fills that space for us. Loss can have no place, no matter what form it tries to take. You cannot have problems remembering. God, Mind, is never absent so there is no absent-mindedness. There are no gaps in good.

Love knows you, is conscious of you, in all your perfection and wonderfulness. Trust God a little more each day to meet your daily needs. There is nothing else.

Be at peace.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Soul - supply for the multitudes

The Christian Science Publishing Society brought out a book of poems years ago, poems that had been printed in the periodicals. One that I loved was about Jesus feeding the multitude and I looked it up again as that story is in this week's Bible lesson. Here is how it begins:

Although local planners failed to put a line in the municipal budget for
"multitudes, feeding of",
Jesus and a quite ordinary Hollywood Bowl-sized crowd
from the neighborhood
saw Mind take form in substance, humanly perceived
that cool evening in a desert place.

Another verse says:
Things haven't changed much in two thousand years:
The ratio of prophets to the general population is about the same;
The hunger is just as great;
The Mind-source is just as near.

This poem challenges us to ask "who is my multitude - and where"? It's everyone we encounter in our daily walk, it's everywhere we find ourselves. It's the challenge to understand that as we choose to be more Christlike, freely living that understanding of the ever presence and allness of divine Love, we see that there is enough...enough to meet our own needs...and even for multitudes.

There they were, in a desert place, having spent the day watching Jesus heal all manner of sickness and disease, listening to him teach about God and His love for mankind. Evening had come and he had not sent them home. His disciples, seeing that the day was winding down and that the people would be thinking about dinner, suggested that Jesus should tell them to go to the nearby villages and buy food. His answer was simple...they don't need to leave, you give them something to eat. I can just hear one of them (might have been Peter?) saying, "Here's the thing, we took up a collection and all we got was five loaves and two fish". They had tried to meet the need with a human solution. I'm sure Jesus smiled at this effort. Surely, we have done the same things when faced with the need to come up with a big amount when the need seemed great, turned to human sources and come up short. He just told them "bring them hither to me".

I love how this unfolds. First, he directs the disciples to organzie everyone by having them sit down on the grass. This must have given them a sense of expectation, something was about to happen. Jesus accepted the gift someone had so freely given from what would have been their own little supply of food. (We sometimes have only a 'widow's mite' to put in the collection, but that money was all we had, and we gave it to church) He took the gift and looked up to heaven. Surely, he was praying, cultivating that state of awareness that acknowledges the allness of good. He blessed it, grateful for what it represented, and knowing the unlimited supply available from a loving Father for His children. What happened next is awesome. Jesus did not try to divide that humble meal, he multiplied it, handing pieces to the disciples. Then the disciples handed it to the multitude. And continued distributing pieces until all were filled. And it didn't stop there. He instructed them to gather up the remaining fragments. It amounted to 12 baskets, filled to the brim. That multitude numbered 5,000 men along with women and children.

Mrs. Eddy tells us Soul has infinite resources. We need only turn to Soul, God, to partake. Think of how that crowd must have rejoiced, how much joy they felt. I'm sure when they did go home they told everyone what had happened and what they had been listening to and witnessing that day. That must have rippled out as others sought this new understanding of a loving God. This section of the lesson ends with this: "In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all, as Jesus showed with the loaves and fishes, - Spirit, not matter, being the source of supply".

If you find yourself faced with a multitude today, set things up with an expectancy of good, take what you have to work with, look up and be grateful, and then multiply. The ideas will flow easily, the answers will come, the supply will be more than sufficient to the moment. Divine Love will meet your need and you in turn will pass it along. Go to, multitude feeder.

Be at peace.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Right When, Right Then

I just finished reading a wonderful article by this title and have been praying with that concept. Here are some of the ideas that I will be working with today.

Right when some error claims to be present,
Right then I can know the ever-presence of God, good.
Right when material or medical laws appear to be operating against me,
Right then Principle, God's laws, are in effect supporting my identity as His child.
Right when mortal mind suggests confusion is present, that I am unable to know or understand
Right then immortal Mind is all-knowing and so am I by reflection as His image and likeness.
Right when the serpent tells me my vision or hearing is impaired, my feelings hurt,
Right then Soul shows me that all my spiritual faculties are indestructible and perfect.
Right when I am tempted to feel lack or limitation or think poorly of myself,
Right then Spirit is supplying all my needs because I reflect all true substance.
Right when I feel depressed or tired or frustrated,
Right then I can feel the vitality, freshness and vigor of Life expressing itself for me.
Right when there appears to be dishonesty or lies
Right then Truth is already present erasing any such things.
Right when there appears to be hatred, animosity, inharmony,
Right then divine Love is seeing all its ideas as loved, loving and lovable.

Try this with the challenges that come your way today. Right when something presents itself as a problem, right then know that the answer is present to meet the need. Mrs. Eddy says "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need". It is God's will for you to feel His grace. He watches over you all day and sings to you at night.

The Bible lesson on Soul this week is all about rejoicing in His love, expressing joy for your life and its many blessings. Your wilderness can suddenly blossom with promise and beauty, streams of good can suddently appear in your desert. Right when. Right then. On page 60 of Science and Health we are told "Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily available and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul".

Be at peace.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Soul -

A hello and thanks to an anonymous commenter. You posed a thoughtful question and when I answered you at length, the computer did not allow me to contact you. Sorry about that. The question was about Mrs. Eddy's use of certain synonyms grouped together when referring to the trinity. She certainly did pray long and hard about what words she chose and used. I would never presume to second guess anything she wrote. Her place as Discoverer and Founder and Leader is established. I love all seven synonyms and use them often in my work and prayers as a practitioner, for myself and for patients. They expand my understanding of God and my relationship to Him. How fortunate we are to study them twice a year, always with a fresh insight of their meaning.

This week we are reading about Soul with an emphasis on joy and rejoicing. Our wilderness experiences can actually be a time of refining our thoughts and seeing our prayers result in growth and fruition. Here in Texas, at this time of the year, our backyard looks a bit like a wilderness. But there is much going on below the surface. Soon our lovely wildflowers will appear in waves of color. Beautiful and seemingly effortless. Often they grow where there is little else. The seeds disperse by the wind or wildlife. Whole fields of blue bonnets present a vivid picture of abundance.

It is at times like that when one makes a joyful noise unto God. We rejoice in this visible sign of the infinite ideas of divine Mind filling His creation. Have you every really looked at a wildflower? Such loving detail. And these are just humble plants that last for a few weeks and then disappear. How much more are we treasured as Love's own children! Our Father Mother cares for us tenderly, protects us constantly, guides us unfailingly. Makes our wilderness bloom. Shows us streams in the desert. Creates us to dwell in peacable homes and green pastures. He is our God and we are His beloved ideas. That is the covenant or agreement between us.

Studying God as Soul brings harmony and calm and poise. It helps us embrace the blessings being showered on us so we can stop worrying about making things happen on our own. Yet there are times we feel so depressed and disturbed. The Psalmist asks "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?" The remedy is "hope in God". He watches us with loving kindness all day. At night, we can turn to hymns for comfort.

Today be alert and watchful for the joys of Soul as they flow all around you.

Be at peace.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Soul - Hospitality

Continuing with the weekly study of the Bible lesson, we get to God as Soul. I usually think of Soul as representing the spiritual faculties , such as true vision, acute hearing, feeling and emotion. But this lesson brings out something new for me. It shows what a recent Sentinel article referred to as 'gracious hospitality'. God's loving provision for each of His ideas. Understanding this and applying in my own life brings a sense of joy, the feeling of something wonderful to rejoice about.

There are such images! A wilderness blossoming with colorful flowers. A refreshing stream appearing in a desert. The garden of the Lord. And there I am, resting in 'green pastures'. The first section shows how God feels about us: "I will plant them in this land assuredly, with my whole heart and with my whole soul'.

So this week we will read about guest and hospitality, seen in a spiritual light. God's loving provision, all day and all night. Infinite resources. Freedom from discomfort or fear. We will see how Elijah was the guest of a woman who appreciated his spirituality. He in turn restores her son to life through prayer. We will see how Jesus provided hospitality for a multitude who had gathered in the wilderness to hear him speak. We will hear from Paul, anticipating a trip to Spain. And the lesson winds up with describing the kingdom of heaven.

Should be a great week!

Be at peace.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Spirit - Babel and babble

We continue working with the synonyms for God, this week focusing on Spirit. I thought at first that it was strange to include the story of Babel. But deeper study has brought out some insights. This account is an ancient Hebrew explanation of the diversity of human language, as well as the dispersion of the human race. It takes place in Babylon, represented as the original center of human civilization after the Flood. The city contained some of the most remarkable achievements in buildings but the Jews found them repugnant, being associated with idolatry. Their erection was regarded as rebellious against God. In the story, God confounds the language of those who attempted to build a tower that would reach Heaven itself. In another section of this lesson we read how this incident was reversed by the gift of Pentecost.

There was no stone available in that part of the world so the blocks were made from the dust of the ground mixed with other materials. That brings to mind the two accounts of creation given in the beginning of Genesis. These people were building with the dirt and without a firm foundation.

The building stopped when the workers could not understand one another. Eventually they chose to leave that place. Haven't we known times like that in our branch churches or within our families? Somehow, no matter what is said or how it is said, there is disagreement. Individuals just cannot seem to understand the other's point of view. When it cannot be worked out, they leave, go elsewhere.

I remember the first time I tried to read Science and Health. It was like a whole new language and the ideas were opposite to what I believed about God and myself at that time. Discouraged, I was tempted to just quit. But something in the book, something in the church services, something about the Christian Scientists I was meeting called to me. I was willing to keep at it because I wanted what they had. Healings came later.

Don't give up. Ask questions. Listen quietly for God's words. It will begin to make sense. You will experience healing, even some you weren't expecting. The babble will drop away and what remains is the 'still, small voice' of Truth. Assuring you that you are loved by Love itself.

Be at peace.