Thursday, August 30, 2012

forgetful hearer...or doer of the work?

I had every intention of reading right through the Bible Lesson this morning but ended up spending quite a bit of time with the above question.  It is in the Responsive Reading and comes from the first chapter of the book of James. The author is talking about God. This is how Dummelow comments on verse 17. "God is the source of good, and of good only. Every good gift and every perfect boon come from Him, who is the creator of the sun, moon, and stars. But, while they change and vary, and as they revolve, are sometimes in shadow, He is always the same. Our Lesson goes on to verses 23-25 which speaks to the followers of God. Hearing without doing is useless. A mere hearer is like a man who glances at his natural face in a mirror and then goes away and at once forgets what he looks like. But the person who practices as well as hears gazes into the perfect reflection of himself as God's image and likeness.

It is good to read the Lesson regularly. It is important to study it and ponder it as well. But do we set it aside once we have and go about our day without applying what we are learning? Are we striving to live it daily? Are we becoming 'forgetful hearers' and not 'doers'?

One of the daily duties our Leader Mary Baker Eddy assigns us it  found in the Manual on page 42. It is entitled Alertness to Duty. To be obedient to it we are to be alert to pay attention and not be made to forget or neglect our duty. We are not to be mislead into being 'forgetful hearers' only.

It might be something to consider - jotting down something that stood out to you as you read the Lesson that day and carry it with you or put it on your phone or Ipod or whatever you keep handy. How many times a day do you glance at that device? Think how many times you could be reminded not to be a 'forgetful hearer'. Give it a try.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Leave those false landmarks behind!

I am so grateful for an image that came to mind this morning as I studied this week's Bible Lesson on Man. It was sparked by an idea in MyBibleLesson, which I subscribed to mostly to support this good tool for young students. This may have been worth the cost of this month's subscription just on its own!

There are two Bible stories in the lesson; the man sick of the palsy, the woman with the issue of blood. There is also a citation from Science and Health that refers to landmarks. (324:2-4). Here is the citation - "Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear, - this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony." It was this idea of leaving false landmarks behind, along with an illustration from MyBibleLesson that started me thinking.

Imagine yourself driving down the interstate. As you go you come up on various exits. These are the landmarks I will be watching for in the Lesson and in my experience today. Applying that to the story of the man who was sick of the palsy, I picture him as a young man being  helped by his friends who love him enough to overcome the huge crowd and get him next to the Master. They certainly had faith that he could be healed. We don't know what he had done that got him into that paralyzed state but it must have been pretty sinful. He seems to definitely taken that 'exit' that lead to this problem. Now Jesus is assuring him that his sins are forgiven. Maybe he had not even thought that was possible. He can choose to continue down that road or he can get back on the highway of righteousness (right thinking and acting) and move on with his life. Remember, he had not been able to move. He responds by rising up (spiritually as well as physically), takes up that very mat he had been restricted to, and best of all, goes home. He is now free to go home, forgiven. Can you not imagine how joyful that must have been! 'Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear'.

In the other story it is a physial challenge a woman has been dealing with, an issue blood for 12 years that she has been unable to cure despite all the exits she has tried and all the money she has spent. She turns down the road that leads to Jesus. What wonderful things she must have heard about his healings. She is so determined to get near him that she breaks a Jewish law prohibiting her from coming in contact with others in her condition. But she will not let that stop her and she gets her healing. Before she go on her way rejoicing, the Master calls her to him. It might not be in her best interest to believe that the healing came from touching his person. What would happen next time she needed healing and he was not around? So he makes sure she knows that is was her faith that made her whole and now she can go in peace, never fearing that the condition could return. Imagine how she walked away with 'gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear'!

So that is what I will be doing today, watching my thinking and actions so that I do not take a wrong exit and go down the road of impatience, identifying myself incorrectly, trusting in the material instead of the spiritual, ignoring opportunities to do something nice for someone else. As I make an effort with my daily progress I will heed Mrs. Eddy's admonition: "What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds." (4:3-5)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

moments of happiness

This morning I am feeling grateful for moments of happiness. Last night I arrived a few minutes early to pray for our church testimony meeting and think about the blessings that had come my way that day.  I spent the morning serving in the practitioner's office on campus here at Principia College, my first scheduled day, and I was deeply grateful to find myself there. All those prayers to see that I would someday have a public office again and not only was that prayer answered but the office is on a college campus.

As my heart filled with gratitude the international students who had arrived at the beginniing of the week and the students who had come early for the sports camps began to file in. And more and more of them came until they had completely filled the first eight rows of the church. They were from countries all around the world and neighborhoods all across the country. What a sight. And what a sound when we stood to sing the first hymn "I am walking in the light of the Lord". How I wish you could have been there to hear their testimonies. Very humbling.

Today family and friends arrive from Texas, driving up to bring Samantha who will be a sophomore at Principia high school. How we look forwared to supporting her experience first hand. She truly is a delight and we all love her. They stay  here (eight house guests) for three days before heading home. Our lovely house will expand nicely to fit them all in, something else to be grateful for.

Yesterday I began the day humming "A glorious day is dawning" and I can see that every day is glorious as good continues to unfold.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

praying for the Olypians

I just love what Mrs. Eddy writes on page 199 of Science and Health: "The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible."  It takes on new meaning when applied to what all the athletes are striving to do.

A few instances of poor sportmanship have cropped up and I am countering that with a citation from the Bible Lesson on Spirit: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." That is from Psalm 51.

There have been more instances of good support and sincere congratulations from athletes. Not only within individual countries but with competers. I have also loved seeing how certain athletes have stepped up to be leaders when their teammates needed that.

Our Wednesday night service featured readings to support the Olympics and the olympians. The time set aside for testimonies was very special.

Let's all continue to pray to see harmony and peace in London as we watch these fine people strive for personal excellence without limits.