Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Witnesses and records

I am so grateful for a Bible passage in this week's Lesson on Reality. The passage is from Job and it reads, "Behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high".  The Message Bible interprets this as, "There must be Someone in heaven who knows the truth about me, in highest heaven, some Attorney who can clear my name."

We sometimes struggle with challenges and that can be more difficult when others are aware of it and watching us. They might even add to the problem by saying things like, your mother had that same thing, or that runs in our family. We need to watch our own thinking so that we don't become false witnesses about some physical or emotional or financial claim. This Bible passage is a reminder of who is always watching us and just what He is seeing. God made each of us in His own image and likeness and just like the reflection in the mirror, what is true about the original is all that can be true about God. God is always knowing the truth about His perfect creation. He made all that is made and pronounced it good. So if it is not good, it is not of God, and has no foundation in Truth.

When we were growing up our mom kept a medical record where she recorded all those childhood diseases. This was our record. But God, who did not create or cause disease, does not have any such record for me or anyone else. There is a very aggressive commercial running on tv that insists that if you had one of those childhood diseases you are carrying something in your body that can cause problems now. That is a false claim and a unfounded suggestion and we don't have to accept it as infallible or allow it to grow into a reality in our experience. Why not? Because the only witness to our being is God and the record of our true identity is in heaven.

We would not be swayed by false witnesses to some crime. We should not be swayed by some false witnesses about us or anyone else. Deny it because you know what is really true about you and them. There is Someone who knows all about you and can clear any false record or accusation. The Psalmist says, "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." God's law of ever present good operating in your life. God is omnipotent, all powerful, so there is no other power 'out there' causing illness, distress, or lack. Contradict those false witnesses.

No matter how many people insisted the earth was flat, it never was. Eventually people grew into the knowlege of what was true and they let go of that false belief. No one I know is afraid of falling off the edge of the world. Many persistent errors will also be shown to be false and people will stop believing in those as well.

Everyone needs to know God and understand that He knows them and loves them, keeps them well and whole, protects them from harm, unfolds beauty and goodness for them. That is the reality.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The 10th leper

This week's Bible Lesson includes the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers. This is a familiar one so I took some time this morning to research it a bit for fresh insight. One of my favorite sources for information about Jesus' healing works is the Miracles of Jesus by R. C. Trench. As many times as I have used that book, it never fails to show me something new.

For example, I did not realize that this encounter took place on Jesus' last journey to keep the passover in Jerusalem. It adds significance to the healed leper being a Samaritan. As Jesus and his disciples made this long walk to Jerusalem he chose to take the direct route which led through Samaria where the people were hostile to the pilgrims.

As they entered a certain village they are met by ten lepers. This is recorded in Luke's gospel. Luke was a physcian as well as an historian and he took special notice of physical healings. These poor outcasts were not just Jews for a Samaritan is among them. Leprosy was considered to be the outward symbol of great sin, so great that it meant a separation from God as well as man. There were laws about lepers and they were required to distance themselves from contact with anyone. Yet they held out some hope for a cure for this supposedly uncurable disease for they called out to Jesus for mercy. Those with leprosy often lost their voice so it required some effort for them to speak upl.

Jesus responds. He does not call them to him but tells them to go show themselves to the priests. The must obey before there is any evidence that the healing has occured. They were to show their faith before the physical symptoms disappeared. They must see that it was not the priests who would effect the healing, but the priests would witness to it and declare them clean to all. The priests were not expected to heal, only to pronounce their cleanness.

The men started on their way and may have gotten partway there before the physical picture changed. Enough of a distance to make it an effort to turn back, but the Samaritan made that effort. He went back to express his gratitude. Even Jesus was surprised that the others did not for asked where are the nine. This Samaritan shows qualities not unlike the Good Samaritan in the parable Jesus taught his disciples.  And for this he is granted a second blessing, thy faith hath made thee whole. Whole, all things restored that had appeared to rot away, even his voice so that he could thank Jesus in a loud voice.

Perhaps this showed that the Gentiles were not to be excluded from the kingdom of God. Just as those who do not practice Christian Science are not excluded from its blessings. The ungrateful ones were endangering themselves. It is best to be among the faithful. Even if we feel we are suffering the effects of some sin, our true sinless nature is all that is apparent to the Christ. And that correct view of man healed then...and heals now.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A new view of Matt 4:20

The practitioner's in this area were recently alerted to some conversation among students about 420. 420 refers to pot (the drug) and April 20 is supposedly the pot solidarity day. If you're curious about this 420 there are over 169,000,000 hits on Google.

We had a similar situation about this time last year at our high school in Texas. As I prayed about that challenge I was lead to  Matt 4:20 (as another way to think of 420) and it reads, "and they straightway left their nets and followed him in the way". That reference concerns the disciples as they left their fishing nets and followed Jesus as their spiritual teacher. But I prayed with those same words in a different way.  I prayed to see that those students could not become ensnared in the net that would try to trap them into using drugs. They could not be falsely attracted by the empty promises of using drugs. They could instead turn from that and choose to follow the Christ and his teachings.

Doesn't that fit well with our Golden Text in this week's Bible Lesson! "Thou art my portion, O Lord:...I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way."  The Message Bible translates that as 'I honor everything You tell me, I despise every deceitful detour'. That is a very clear description of turning to drug use. A deceitful detour.

Mrs. Eddy ends an article about our newspaper with this: A great work already has been done, and a greater work yet remains to be done....If we can aid in abating suffering and diminishing sin, we shall have accomplished much; but if we can bring to the general thought this great fact that drugs do not, cannot, produce health and harmony, since "in Him (Mind) we live, and move, and have our being," we shall have done more. (Misc 7:25)

Your thoughts and your prayers on this subject would be welcome.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why did he walk on the sea?

This week's Bible Lesson on Substance includes a section from the gospel of John where Jesus walked over a stormy sea. Since this is in John's gospel, we can assume this is an eye witness account of what happened. He does not include Peter stepping out of the boat.I believe Peter did that but John's gospel is about the most spiritual ideas and perhaps he saw what Jesus was doing differently. Jesus had addressed a large crowd of believers who wanted to make him king. He refused, and sent them away, including the disciples who agreed with the crowd. He was the Messiah in their eyes and the Messiah was to lead them as a mighty warrior and king. Jesus needed time alone to pray so he sent them on ahead by boat.

So what does he decide to do? We already know from the end of the experience that he could have just transported himself to the other side. No boat needed. But instead he goes for a walk...on the water...in the midst of a great storm. The disciples see him. Now he has done some amazing things prior to this, healing the blind and the dumb and the lame, feeding a multitude from a few loaves and fishes, raising the dead to life. But those happened to other people. Here he comes, doing what no one has ever done, walking on water. They did not know how to explain this so thought he was a ghost or spirit. They might have wondered if that meant their own death was eminent. But he tells them not to be afraid and they most willingly received him onto the boat. As if the walking on the sea was not enough to astound professional fishermen, they now find themselves instantly at the land where they had so fruitlessly been trying to go.  The spiritual significance is huge.

Mrs. Eddy refers to 'with God nothing shall be impossible'. What would have been the most impossible thing those fishermen might have imagined? Walking on water and instant transportation. Jesus showed that it was not impossible. What is the most impossible thing you can imagine in your own experience? Is it overcoming some huge debt, resolving some unforgivable action, finding something you thought was gone forever, healing some supposedly incurable disease? Nothing is impossible to God. God, who knows that supply is infinite, Love forgives every debt, Mind knows where everything is, God never created disease. The Christ can show you this.

The most thought provoking sentence in this section of the Lesson, to me, is this, "Divest yourself of the thought that there can be substance in matter, and the movements and transitions now possible for mortal mind will be found equally possible for the body."  Wow. Things I have dreamed of doing, things I would imagine happening, healings, that I see in thought can occur right in my human experience. Mrs. Eddy would have us resolve (re-solve) things into thoughts. Whose thoughts? God, divine Minds, thoughts. Replace the objects of material sense (what I experience with the five material senses) with spiritual ideas.

Quite a bit to think about today. I don't plan to walk on water today but I believe it is would be possible if that was what I neede to do because God would arrange it. More importantly, I would gain a clearer understanding of the Christ and how it works in my life. Well worth studying.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Go thy way .... it is healed

On to Section Five for deeper study this morning. I remember the last time I worked with this story of Jesus healing the nobleman's son. It is here again in this week's Bible lesson about man, a lesson that has seven sections, each focusing on a different synonym for God. This section is about Life.

The nobleman had journeyed from his home in Capernaum to where Jesus was in Galilee. His son was at the point of death. At another time a father will come searching for Jesus when his only daughter lies at the point of death. In this story the father pleads with Jesus to come and heal his son. He believes Jesus can heal this but he wants him to come with him to do it. Jesus' answer is to say 'Go thy way, thy son liveth'.  And with that word given with authority and power, the man believed him and started home. The next day, he is met by his servants who have come to find him with good news. The boy lives! When the father questions when this change began to take place, they tell him that the day before the fever had completely left him. Instantaneous healing! And the father knew then that it was at the moment Jesus had spoken.

Mrs. Eddy points out something interesting. "Jesus never asked if disease were acute or chronic, and he never recommended drugs, never prayed to know if God were willing that a man should live. He understood man, whose Life is God, to be immortal, and knew that man has not two lives, one to be destroyed and the other to be made indestructible." (S&H 369:16-22)  In this Bible account there is not mention of Jesus asking the father how bad this illness was, if that child had always had a tendency to it, or could he describe the symptoms. He did not give the man a prescription to go get filled, he did not kneel in prayer and ask God if He were willing to let this boy live. He just knew, right then and there, that the boy did not have two lives, one that could be lost and one that could be healed. He had one Life and that is God. He was already perfect and whole just as God had made him. He had never been exposed to anything that could endanger that Life. It had never been true about him because it had never been true about God. Jesus did not need to be physcially present for the healing to take place. It already had.

When we turn to God in an hour of need, when we seek out the healing power of the Christ, whether it is with our own prayers or with the support of a Christian Science practitioner, can we respond to the word spoken with authority that tells us to 'go our way, the problem is healed'? That father did not continue to plead with Jesus, he accepted his answer. He 'went on his way' because expected the healing. He might not have believed in instananeous healing but he was given proof of that the next day. Not only did he believe, but his whole household also believed.

"Faith should enlarge its borders and strengthen its base by resting on Spirit instead of matter." (S&H 429:6-7)  The daily study and appplication of Christian Science does that for us. Enlarge the borders of your understanding. Strengthen the basis of your thinking. And be willing to 'go your way' confident of healing.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

He suffered not the devils to speak

I am always so grateful, and awestruck, when something new appears in a familiar Bible passage. There is more to learn as we take the time and make the effort to work with our Bible lesson every day.

This morning I read the whole lesson on Man, loving all the references to 'perfect' and 'perfection' and making a note of where each of the synoyms Mrs. Eddy has given us for God has a special place in each of the seven sections. Today I am working with Section 4.

This section features God as Principle, the law of ever present good. It starts with ideas from Psalms 19....the law of the Lord is perfect....the testimony of the Lord is sure....the statutes of the Lord are right. Words that relate to law and Principle. Jesus had come to Galilee and many followed him there to listen to his teachings. That evening, when the heat of the day had passed, the people of that city gathered at the door of the house where Jesus was staying. They brought many who were sick and those who seemed possessed of devils. Jesus healed those that were sick and cast out the devils. This is the part that moved me today.

When he cast out the devils he suffered them not to speak.  There have been times when I have felt in need of Christian Science treatment, specific prayer by a Christian Science practitioner to support me while I worked through a claim or challenge. Over the years I have had many healings on my own as well. What I like about this passage....he suffereth not the devils to speak....is that Jesus commanded those suggesters of illness to be silent. He cast them out, removed them from the person's thought and body and they were not going to speak to them again.

What a comforting thought! When we have turned to the Christ for help and gotten our healing there can be no relapse or return of the claim. Christ proved it had no basis in truth. God has not created it or caused it. It had no authority. It certainly did not have a voice that could demand to be heard or whisper 'I'm back' or 'I'm still here'. Error is nothing and it only has what reality we give it. Once you see an illusion for what it is, you cannot be fooled again. Principle, the law of ever present good, over rules anything that claims to be unlike good.

And it gives us the power and dominion to 'suffer not the devils to speak'.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Don't hit the wrong 'accept' button

This week's Bible lesson includes the story of Jesus raising the widow's son. As he is approaching the city of Nain surrounded by much people who were listening to his teaching, a funeral procession is leaving the city. Jesus must have been having an 'on the mount' moment for he did not hesitate to stop this procession. In loving compassion he tells the mother not to cry and he raises her son. Now both groups join together and go into the city as a celebratory parade. He has brought about a complete reversal from mourning to rejoicing, from death to life.

What has inspired me is a passage from Science and Health that is paired with this story. "By universal consent, mortal belief has constituted itself a law to bind mortlas to sickness, sin, and death." (S&H 229:15-16)  It was that phrase, 'universal consent', that got me thinking. How often are we swayed by public opinion about something? How often do we give our consent to a claim or suggestion of error being present because some so-called law of matter or medicine says it is?

When I recently made a reservation to rent a condo for a few days, the agent sent me a form to read, a contract for the days I would be using the property. At the end, I was to click on the 'accept' button. I read it carefully and appreciated all the details protecting the owner as well as me, the renter. So I was happy to hit the 'accept' button. But when I recently had symptoms appear of coughing and a runny nose, I was not at all willing to 'accept' that! The media was broadcasting warnings of illness in our area and blaming it on the cold and wet weather with dire predictions for health. No, I do not have to 'accept' any such thing. This week's lesson also included this, "In infinite Life and Love there is no sickness, sin, nor death, and the Scriptures declare that we live, move, and have our being in the infinite God." (S&H 381:17-19)  Now that's an 'accept' button I can use! Within a short time all the symptoms were gone.

I will be praying with our hymn 204 today and appreciating it's message....during the battle the victory claim. Jesus showed us the way, Mrs. Eddy gave us Science and Health, and the Christ walks with us at all times and under all circumstances.