Friday, July 30, 2010


Do you have a daily devotional buddy? Someone who shares an uplifting thought? Do you spend a few moments with the Bible every day? Some time ago I became familiar with devotionals, books put together with daily entries of inspiring thoughts, often Bible based. I keep a few devotionals near my desk. Here are some entries for July 30 to show you how it works.

Simple Abundance. This was the first devotional I actually read everyday for a year. The entry for today talks about habits. Nothing dies harder that a bad habit. If you are honest with yourself you know this is not good for you but what you are indulging in meets some need. Even if they are not life-threatening, like smoking, they certainly are not life-enhancing. As you chose to turn to God or pick up the Bible on a regular basis you will be able to overcome and replace those bad habits with precious time. When you can treat yourself more kindly, it will spiral out to include others as well.

Streams in the Desert. This one was written in 1925 by Mrs. Charles Cowman during her years of missionary work in Japan and China. It truly shows you God message for each day. Today's entry is all about that cup of cold water in Matt 10:42. As we pass through this world any good work, any kindness or service you can render, do it now. Do not neglect or defer these random acts. It includes a poem that says it isn't what you do but what you leave undone. A tender work unspoken, the email you might have written, the flowers you might have sent. Was there a stone you could have moved out of a friend's way? Did you pause long enough to listen to someone needing a friendly ear? It's not the things you do, it is what you leave undone. Give what you have.

Browze in the aisle where devotionals are kept at any bookstore or at your local library. Look devotionals up on the internet. There are so many to choose from. They will help you become comfortable with those few moments a day with God. My church provides a weekly Bible lesson. Studying it over the last 40 years has helped me become familiar with the Bible. It has lead me to my healing practice. Do you own a Bible? Where do you keep it? Prop it up on the kitchen counter open to a different place each day. If a particular book of the Bible resonates with you, you can purchase it on its own. Put it in your purse or brief case or glove compartment. When you are stuck in a line or in traffic pull it out. See how others pray. That devotional thought might be exactly what you need at some point that day.

What are you devoted to?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beloved Psalm 23

This week's Bible Lesson about God as Love includes many references to Him as the Good Shepherd. When I was a child I struggled with our family's religion, not willing to accept God as punishing or unforgiving. I always knew He was like the Good Shepherd, even before I read the Bible. Imagine my delight when I found Psalm 23. As an adult, I once studied this remarkable psalm, written by David who was a shepherd in his youth, for an entire year. It continues to be an inspiration for me and the place to turn for healing.

Here it is in the third section of our lesson paired with one of my other favorite Bible passages, also found in Psalms: 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble'. (Ps 46:1) If you wonder how Mrs. Eddy came to use Love as one of the names for God, the answer is also in this lesson. It is I John 4:8... God is Love.

When you think about love, you can see that there is no fear in love. Nothing to be afraid of, nothing to harm or threaten. No painful condition or circumstance. Just imagine perfect Love and see yourself surrounded and embraced by it. Anything you are fearing just melts away. That same chapter of I John also says that "there is no fear in love, but perfect lvoe casteth out fear'.

One of my favorite moments that happened while I was reading Science and Health was when I got to page 578 and found Mrs. Eddy's spiritual interpretation of this beloved Psalm 23. She used the synonym Love in place of the Lord and it just opens up the deeper meaning. It shows why there is nothing to dread, and describes just how divine Love cares for us as a Good Shepherd cares for His flock. If you have our hymnal, look at hymn 304. It is poem written by Mrs. Eddy about the Shepherd's love.

So no matter what you are dealing with today, be not afraid. Go get your Bible and spend a few minutes with your Shepherd. Keep this Psalm close to you and use it throughout the day. Dwell in the house of divine Love.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Everyone who strays will be brought back to the fold

Yesterday I wrote about King David's experience with Bathsheba. Our Bible Lesson continues on to expand on this concept that we can be straying or lost sheep. When a sheep strays away from their flock, they become disoriented and distressed. There is a feeling of hopelessness and fear. They call out to be found but do not respond when the shepherd calls to them. They don't know how to return so the Shepherd goes to them. For many, this is when we are calling out to God for help, "please come and find me".

Our Father, the Good Shepherd, seeks and finds those who think they have become separated from Him. Here is that promise in His own words; "I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick".

Everyone who believes they have strayed will be brought back into the fold. Because in truth there is no where else we can ever be. We are His precious children and He is always present. Our relationship is never severed. Even if we think it has been by our own actions or choices.

Jesus used a parable to explain this relationship to his listeners. Many of them were shepherds and understood what he meant. He asks them who among them who had the care of 100 sheep, if he lost one, would not leave the 99 and go search for the missing sheep. He would search until he found it, and when he did, he would not punish that sheep, he would carry it upon his shoulders, rejoicing and comforting it. And when they got home he would tell everyone to rejoice with him because he had found that which had been lost.

God loves you like that. All the time. Under every circumstance. Unconditionally. God is more than a loving God, He is Love itself. And you are the object of that Love.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Every problem in the human experience can be healed through Love.

As we continue to study the Bible lessons, we are learning about the seven synonyms Mrs. Eddy has given us for God. This week it is God as Love. It starts right off with God's promises to each of us that He will remove fear, restore health, and care for us as a shepherd cares for his flock.

We read about King David, who has wandered into sin. He sees Bathsheba washing herself one night and instead of handling those lustful feelings, he indulges them. When she tells him that she is pregnant, he tries to cover their adultery with another sin, he arranges for her husband to be killed in battle. All this 'displeases' God who sends the prophet Nathan to snap David out of this behavior. David, awakened from his sinful ways, deeply repents his actions, asking God's forgiveness. He asks to be 'washed throughly', repeated cleansing to restore his purity. He asks for a new heart and a new spirit. He is truly and deeply repentent. This story shows how divine Love reforms those who think they have committed unforgiveable sins. David is restored in his purity and goodness. The child they conceived did not survive, but they have a second son, Solomon the wise, who will go on to build the Temple of Jerusalem. David is remembered for all his good qualities and it is from his descendants that the Messiah will come.

There's so much more in this lesson that I will continue on tomorrow with the wonderful news that eveyone who has strayed will be lovingly brought back by the shepherd.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

checking your net

This week's Bible lesson on God as Truth includes one of Jesus' parables, one that does not come up often. It is short but I believe I will be working with it all week. Found in Matthew13:47, 48 it reads: the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

I envision that net as all the things that 'swim' into my experience over the course of a day. This week, I am taking time each evening to examine this net and see what kind of things have happened and how I have reacted to them. I want to be sure I am grateful for every evidence of good and be just as alert to recognize and cast out the bad.

This lesson also gives us four distinct qualities that we should be expressing: honesty, unselfishness, love, and meekness. So in thinking over my day, gathering in the good and getting rid of the bad, I ask myself if I was expressing those qualities today. Can I see how I chose to be honest or see someone else as honest? Did I choose to be unselfish in some situation? Was I being loving with others? Did I express meekness in placing my trust in God and His ablility to take care of things so that I did not push my own human will?

Bad things may have gotten caught up in my 'net' but I do not have to hold on to them. It is important to let those things go rather than continue to ruminate over them and build up a sense of resentment that leads to anger and retaliation. How many times can we actually forgive and forget? Takes practice...and honesty...and unselfishness...and love...and meekness. This is no small challenge but I want to check my 'net' every day and see myself doing a good job with the catch. I want to be a good steward over my life. I'm sure you do as well.

Check your net.

Friday, July 16, 2010

drop those rocks

This morning I am really studying an article in this week's Christian Science Sentinel. It points our how unresolved issues of the past have only the weight we give them. It's not much fun to struggle uphill if you are carrying rocks in your backpack. Our path in life can seem like a difficult uphill climb. Those 'rocks' might be nagging financial demands, claims of heredity, health problems, uncomfortable personal decisions, etc.. Why continue to lug them around?

In the New Testament, Jesus came upon a man by the Pool of Bethesda. He had lain there for 38 years, always blaming lack of help for his inability to get to the pool for healing after an angel had stirred the water. Before we laugh at him, we should be aware of how many times we do the same thing, blame others for our own failings. Complain that someone else always gets there first or gets offered the job. When Jesus asks him if he wants to be made whole, he just remains focused on the predicament and doesn't answer the question. Jesus heals him anyway.

Are you feeling burdened, weighed down by thoughts of fear, jealousy, resentment? Are you resisiting the invitation from the Christ, the uplifting promises from God? Does your path to healing seemed blocked or are you ready for some true spiritual progress? Mrs. Eddy writes; "Let us set aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us".

I love the ocean and have collected sea shells for many years. I do not own a chambered nautilus, although it is my favorite of all. The nautilus seals off each chamber as it grows. But before it does, it clears out any debris, anything that might add weight. The chambers give it bouyancy. It has freedom and manuverability to travel through the ocean. No rocks to slow it down or impede progress. Not a bad role model.

As you pray about your day, take time to drop those rocks.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Elijah Moments

This week's Bible lesson is about God as Life. Most of the sections feature the prophet Elijah. I love those stories and am familiar with them but I decided to try to look at them in a new light this week.

I have been working on a daily gratitude list that is spiritually based. So in my daily notebook I have added a section that begins I am grateful that... Here are my entries based on studying Elijah's experiences.

I am grateful that it wasn't that Elijah showed off, it was that God showed up. This is prompted by Elijah's contest with the 450 prophets of Baal. That story is in I Kings 17.

I am grateful that right where lack appeared to be there was abundance when Elijah meets up with the widowed woman. He did not end the drought, their needs were supplied despite it. The unfailing barrel of flour provided bread without the process of growing and grinding wheat.

I am grateful that Elijah knew that Life is not at the mercy of illness when he restored the widow's son.

Mrs. Eddy defines Elijah in our glossary as 'spiritual evidence opposed to material sense'. I will try to follow his example in the challenges around me.