Monday, November 30, 2009


I am so looking forward to studying this week's Bible Lesson on God the only Cause and Creator. Imagine what your day will be like if you see everything that happens as caused by divine Love, as created by divine Mind, including yourself. God is wonderful and awesome, not just a loving God but Love itself, not just a living presence but Life itself, the Truth behind all of His creation. The Lesson begins with the keynote to 'come and see' the works of God. Come. See. The first thing I thought of was Jesus telling Peter to 'come' when he walked on water. Peter stepped out of the boat and as long as he kept his eyes on the Master, he could 'see' the power that controls the wind and the waves. Come. See.

The Responsive Reading begins to expand on those commands. The very first word is 'behold'. I always watch for that word. When it begins a sentence. it is much like that command to 'come and see', it means something connected to the activity of God is about to be revealed. We are to pay special attention. Isaiah describes what almost sounds like a parade. His reward is with Him and His works before Him. Everyone that He has created is there moving before Him and everything that He has created moves in accord with Him. How amazing it would be to go witness such a parade. It is possible for us to do this, in fact, we should be thinking of God and His creation that way. We are part of the parade.

Isaiah continues on to say 'lift up your eyes on high'. Now, I live with my teenage grandson and there is much 'lifting up of the eyes' in the sense of rolling his eyes when reminded about chores or questioned about school grades. This is not what Isaiah is telling us to do. Look up not down. If you find yourself with your head hanging down in exhaustion or despair, lift it up instead. Lift your thought and 'behold'. God's wonders are all around you at all times and under all circumstances. You are always in the presence of divine Love and surrounded by the protection of divine Principle. Isaiah understood that because God is strong in power not one of us can fail. For we are His exact image and likeness, just like the reflection in the mirror. That is what is true about us. That is how He created us and His creation does not change or decay or fall or run out of money or ideas.

I work and pray with our hymnal every day. Today it will be with hymn 246. I'll keep that open on my desk and refer to it all day long. It is based on this verse from Isaiah. If you are struggling with finances or worried about giving your loved ones a happy Christmas, look at the second line: He who depends on Thee, ne'er is forspent. Are you feeling a bit 'forspent'? God is the source of your supply. If He can't run out of something, than you can't either. Come and See what He has available for you. It may come in the form of an idea or it may mean some unexpected supply appears.

This week remind yourself several times a day to 'come and see'. What you are turning to and looking for is the good works of God. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Joyful noises

If a friend or family member was to describe your day-to-day conversation, would they say that you make 'joyful noises'? That is what we are instructed to do in the Bible. Our Thanksgiving Bible Lesson begins with that keynote from Psalms 147:7. Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving.

Think about it. What is your casual conversation like? What sort of comments do you tend to make? Be alert to slipping into negative thoughts that get expressed in negative comments. It is so easy to start being critical of others. Uncorrected, those thoughts lead to critical statements. Is that really how you want to describe God's children? Is that really how you want to be seen as a child of God?

Take time today to make 'joyful noises', sing some praise to God for His ever-present goodness, rejoice in His creation. Make the conscious decision to eliminate anything that is not a 'joyful noise'. After all, since God is everywhere at all times we are always in His presence. As divine Mind, He is all-knowing and all-seeing. What He is always knowing about you and how He is always seeing you is as His very own image and likeness. Let's be sure we appreciate what that means and live up to it. Let's look for it in others.

Do you have a favorite hymn or a favorite song that is playing with a Christian theme? Hum that song or hymn today and think about what the words are saying. We are only a few days from celebrating Thanksgiving. How much thanks have you been giving?

"Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto Thee do we give thanks." (Ps 75;1) I am going to look for more moments to be giving thanks to Our Father. It will sweeten this whole week and give special meaning to Thanksgiving Day.

Make a 'joyful noise' today.

Friday, November 20, 2009

words of wisdom about giving

Section Four of the Thanksgiving Bible lesson has such words of wisdom in relation to giving. Our holiday season is filled with opportunities to give. Along with that is the ability to be a gracious reciever of others gifts. Those may take the form of presents or it may be an offer of a meal or a ride or a favor. Someone may offer to add to your meal with something they can bring. Be sure you are ready to recieve graciusly as you are also graciusly preparing to give.

Mrs. Eddy writes: "Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us." When we feel the impulse to give, in accordance with expressing our nature as the child of divine Love, this impulse cannot cost us anything in time, or energy, or peace. When we are 'about our Father's business' we are sustained and maintained by divine Love in this work. It is an unlabored sharing. There are times to be wise and not overextend ourselves physically or financially, but when that seems wisdom, it is not withholding. If we hold on to what we have, with a sense of limitation, then we fear to spend because we are not trusting God to replenish us. Watch that thought and correct it. Don't limit God.

We need to be aware of the needs of those around us and be willing to help. That help comes in so many forms, money only being one of them. We are blessed when we see our brother's need and supply it. We always feel good when this happens. Mrs. Eddy says it nicely, "The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother's need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another's good." A moment of your time can turn someone's day and attitude around.

One thing you can share is your understanding of God's goodness and allness. The greatest gift is to help someone who is struggling to see that God is a very present help in trouble, ready and able to heal and save and provide. I hope you are experiencing this in your own life and willing to tell someone else about it. It can change a life. It changed mine and I will be eternally grateful that Christian Science found me and has enriched me in so many ways.

Freely ye have recieved, freely give.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

II Cor 9:7,8

This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. It was beautifully translated so I will give you first the King James wording as it appears in the Thanksgiving Bible Lesson. "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all suficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."

That is so lovely but listen to this from the New Living Translation....You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully." And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others."

Here is the version given in The Message Bible. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more that just ready to do what needs to be done.

This is such a powerful statement as we move past Thanksgiving and into Christmas. My favorite Christmas story, besides the one told in the Gospels, is Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. What an amazing story of redemption. It is never too late to change your thinking and your life, to make amends for things you have said or done...or not said or done. We can give in so many ways besides just presents. And God will provide us with the means to do that. We can pray to see that divine Love showers us with good, more than enough to meet our own need, so that we can show compassion to others. Be a giver who delights in the giving. And recognize the source of this as God.

Monday, November 16, 2009

More than a verbal expression of thanks

I'm back from my week visiting with my Matthew in California. This morning I am studying the third section of the Thanksgiving Lesson and loving what Mrs. Eddy has to say about how we show our gratitude. She writes: "Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech."

Many times we are grateful for something someone has done. We might take a moment to say thank you. How much better to not only do that but to show how we feel by being a better person, by smiling first, by quietly doing those dishes or taking out the trash, by reading that child a story yet again, by cuddling our pets. We can show our gratitude for the good that has come our way, even if we are not feeling very blessed. In fact, that is the very time to express gratitude for God's goodness and constant care, just when we are being fooled into thinking it is missing. Jesus gave thanks before he raised Lazarus because he already knew his Father was going to take care of it. Whatever challenge is facing you today, find the grace to be grateful right where impatience or negative thinking seems to be.

Thanksgiving is just weeks away. Be thinking of what you have to be grateful for this year. Some families go around the table before the meal and each one who wishes can share something they are grateful for. What would you say?

You never know just who is aware of your actions and inspired by them. And if no one seems to notice, rest assured, God, divine Love, notices.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rain in due season...reaching to the sowing time

Moving on to section three in the Thanksgiving Bible Lesson we read about God's promise to the children of Israel. He has lead them safely through the Red Sea, away from the slavery in Egypt, and reminds them of their part of the bargain. We are to 'walk in His statutes and keep His commandments'. We are to live a good life, loving God and loving our neighbor. We are to obey the Commandments.

In return, God says He will give us rain 'in due season', the 'land shall yield her increase', and the trees will 'yield their fruit.' So if you are not a farmer what does that have to do with everyday life? To me, seasonal rain means that what I need will appear when I need it, in the right time and in the right way. My life can be on an even keel without times of flood or drought, times of too much activity or too many unpaid bills, times when the supply seems to dry up or I am without inspiration or right activity.

The promise continues on with more good news. He says that 'your threshing shall reach unto the vintage and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time.' The wheat harvest will last you right up to the time the grapes are ready and what you harvest from that will last you right up until the you sow the next crop. Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest and that will overlap with the season for planting grain. No gaps, no shortages, no lack. All you need all year round. He promises that you shall 'eat your bread to the full.' This is being satisfied and reminds me of a phrase from one of Mrs. Eddy's poems: 'who doth His will, His likeness still, is satisfied.'

The promise ends with the assurance that you will 'dwell in your land safely.' That is no small thing in this day and age. It is a promise of security, the very best homeland security, because you are living in His kingdom. This promise is to all mankind, in every city, in every village all around the world.

I will surely be praying with these ideas today. They are reasons to feel grateful for all the good God, divine Love, is providing. They are promises and His promises are kept.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

So who were Graham and Cutter?

I have this really great book called "Mrs. Eddy Mentioned Them". Every once in a while a name comes up in Science and Health and it is a good idea to research why she felt she use them as a reference. In the Thanksgiving Bible Lesson there is such a reference in the second section which is all about food and diet.

Mrs. Eddy writes; "Did Jesus understand the economy of man less than Graham and Cutter?" So who was Graham? Sylvester Graham worked as a farm hand and a clerk and taught school. He studied at Amherst for the ministry and was connected with the Pennsylvania Temperence Society and lectured on temperance. In time, he gave his whole attention to lecturing and included diet among his topics. Emerson dubbed him the 'poet of bran bread and pumpkins'. Graham introduced Graham bread, made of unsifted wheat flour, into general use. Today we all eat Graham crackers (most commonly with Hershey bars and marshmellows). But in their early days they were considered a health food.

Dr. Ephriam Cutter began his practice of medicine in Massachusetts. He took both his B.A. and M.A. degrees at Yale but went to Harvard for his medical training. Oliver Wendall Holmes was one of his teachers. He was enthusiastic about his profession and through many articles published in medical magazines he exerted a wide influence. His inventive mind enabled him to suggest improvements for the microscope. His writings on the bearing of food upon health were widely read in Mrs. Eddy's day.

All of this medical opinion is countered with Jesus' approach to 'take no thought for what you eat or drink'. My favorite thought about this comes from page 388 in the textbook where Mrs. Eddy says "If mortals think food disturbs the harmonious functions of mind and body, either the food or this thought must be dispensed with, for the penalty is coupled with the belief." Brilliant. I would hope anyone concerned about dieting or weight issues would take this wisdom to heart and study Christian Science. It is time for us to demonstrate our dominion, our God-given dominion, over food. That is not saying we need to stop eating or enjoying food, it just means that we need to see clearly that we can not be penalized by food. We control our bodies, not the other way around.

I love this section of the lesson and look forward to more indepth study of the remaining two sections the rest of this week.

So who were Graham and Cutter?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You are not a sheep without a shepherd

Staying with the second section of the Thanksgiving Bible Lesson, I was struck this morning by the wonderfulness of Mark 6:34 which reads "And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things." I think I will make that my phone message today.

You are never helpless or hopeless or alone. Your Shepherd is beside you (see hymn 148) and caring for you in every way all day long. I studied the 23rd Psalm for a year and turn to it often in my own spiritual journey. This is what drew me to Christian Science, because it is the way I see God and have seen Him all my life. The religion I was raised in presented a punishing God, a God far removed from me, a God who could get angry at me. The first time I read Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy I cried when I came across her spiritual interpretation of this Psalm. It was exactly what I believed about Him. Divine Love.

A Good Shepherd is constantly thinking about his sheep. He prepares a day that meets their every need. He leads them to good pastures filled with tasty clover, a safe place where they can rest after the long walk into the hills. He sees that they have fresh water. He sings to them or plays music to soothe and calm. He watches over them and gently brings back those who stray. He protects them from enemies and danger. He leads them back to the fold in the evening, checking each one for any scratches or irritations, rubbing in pure olive oil. Then they get that cup of water before bedtime.

We are His sheep and He is caring for us just like that each and every day. We are never without His tender ministrations and guidance. You are being treated with compassion. God has given you dominion over all things. His law enforces this. Rejoice in your status as a treasured and valued member of His flock. Don't ever choose to identify yourself any other way.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stop fussing

This morning I concentrated on the second section of the Thanksgiving Bible Lesson and nearly missed something important. When we come to a familiar passage it is easy to just zoom through it. If I catch myself doing that, I stop and go back, praying with humility, "Father, help me to remain teachable. I know You are giving me grace for today and I want to be watching and praying for it." The passage is from Luke 12. Jesus is preaching and teaching. He has already told them to 'have no fear' about things that could harm the body. In this passage, Luke 12:22, he goes on: "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall it eat, nor about the body what ye shall put on." I didn't at first see an immediate application in my life but as I took a moment to think about his words and what is going on around me, it did.

The Message Bible translates this as 'be not anxious about your everyday life. Don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtime or if the clothes in your closet are fashionable.' If I am honest with myself I have moments when I am tempted to be anxious about my everyday life. Will I have the finances to meet the needs of that day? Will there be enough to allow gifts to the ones I love this holiday season? Am I worried that I will eat more goodies than I should and put on a few pounds? Am I giving up my dominion over the fish of the sea and the fowl of the air as I savor my tuna steaks or chicken parmesan?

I am leaving on Saturday for a one week visit with Matt and Emily in California. I am so grateful that this long anticipated visit is finally going to happen. It is just not ok to go so long without being with them. And yet, I pulled out my suitcase and started to worry about what clothes I would take. How will I look to them? Everything I own is an old and trusted friend but my wardrobe is hardly fashionable. I don't want to be what Charles Schultz would call a 'fuss budget'. So I am taking the Master's words to heart and will challenge all those negative thoughts as often as they come up. I will counter them with confidence instead of anxiety. I know I can trust my Father to give me grace for today and every day. What others will see is my love for Him shining all through me and divine Love enveloping all of us.

It will be interesting to see how many times I remind myself to 'stop fussing' and take that moment instead to be with God and feel His goodness. That is a much better thing to 'take thought' about.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Eat what is set before you

As I continued studying the Thanksgiving Bible Lesson this morning, I was stuck by a Biblical reference to food and feasts. It is found in I Corinthians, a letter Paul wrote to the church he founded in Corinth. Paul is instructing them about the limits within which a Christian lifestyle should be lived, to encourage them to consider not merely whether a thing is permissable, but whether it is helpful to others, as well as ourselves. He was giving practical guidelines for the dangers of joining in what might be a sacrificial, idolatrous feast. Most of us won't be invited to one of those, but we might find ourselves in an atmosphere somewhat different than we might have provided if the 'feast' was in our home.

He writes: "If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no questions for conscience sake." He goes on to caution that if they were told that anything being served had been originally part of an offering to an idol, they should abstain from that. He clarifies that this attitude of making a conscious choice about what you eat or drink, or how you choose to behave yourself, should be done to honor God, and in a way that does not give offense.

Mary Baker Eddy addresses this beautifully in our Church Manual in what is called The Rule for Motives and Acts. We are not impelled in our motives or acts by animosity or mere personal attraction. We do not react with disgust or indignation to what others choose to believe nor should we consent to eating or drinking something just because someone we admire or care about makes such a choice. This Rule ends with a reminder to watch and pray daily to be delivered from judging or condemning, or being influenced erroniously. Sound advice from both Paul and Mrs. Eddy as we move into the holiday season.

Neither of them prohibited joining in festive occasions. Both offered sound advice on how to handle yourself in those situations in a manner that does not cause offense or lead to wrong decisions. That is a good guideline for not overeating. Mrs. Eddy says, "If mortals think that food disturbs the harmonious functions of mind and body, either the food or this thought must be dispensed with, for the penalty is couple with the belief." Hmmm. The most important thing is to examine your thoughts and be sure that whatever decisions you make are in line with your highest sense of right and that everywhere you go, whoever you are with, your behavior honor's God and good.

Jesus was often invited to be a guest at feasts. He went and ate what was served him. He answered questions, using the occasion to tell them more about God. He healed. See Luke 10: 8,9.

I am looking forward to this holiday season and all the blessings it will bring. And some turkey.