Monday, July 29, 2013

Graven on the palms of my hands.

I love this image. It is in this week's Bible Lesson on Love, a synonym for God. It is in Isa 49:16.

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palm of My hands."

Isaiah is picturing a mother and her son,. the son being far away. Neither of them is literate but the mother wants some token to remind her of her child while he is away. She has a way to do that. She goes to a man who makes tattoos and has something inked onto her palm. The scripture doesn't say if it is his likeness or his name but it will never wash off and she can look at it at any time and be reminded of him. Isaiah represents God as speaking to Israel but it could certainly be applied to each of us as well. "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands."

God, divine Mind, is thinking about us, reflecting on us, constantly and continually. We are always on divine Mind, being see as His perfect and whole beloved child. We are the sons and daughters of
God, the perfect Father Mother parent. God is Love and that is where we dwell, in a tender relationship with Him/Her.

There have been times when I have written a note to myself on my palm.  It was put there to remind me of something I didn't want to forget. Now I am tempted to make a note there that God loves me so that I see that all day and remember to thank Him/Her and love God back. Keep God graven on the palm of my hand as well. See our hymn #76...In My hand thy name is graven, I will save both thine and thee.

It goes so well with this week's Golden Text....We love God because God first loved us.

And that love is as permanent as any tattoo.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Otherwise minded

As I read the Bible Lesson on Truth this morning I was watching once again for questions that show up in the text. Section Four has a powerful one - who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  Who indeed. Especially when Paul continues with this wonderful assurance.  "I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded."

Otherwise minded.

The New Living Translation says, "I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings." The Message Bible reads, "Deep down the Master has given me confidence that you will not defect."

The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, includes a wonderful definition for God. Among the synonyms given is Mind. God is Mind, the one Mind, and we reflect that Mind. There is no other. So it is not possible for us to be lead astray or to have a mind of our own. We must be like-Minded.

Despite all the suggestions and claims presented to us, we cannot be otherwise minded. We can always choose Truth and follow God obediently, trusting in His tender care and loving kindness. He loves us.

Jonah tried to be otherwise minded when called to go to Ninevah. He did not think those people so flagrantly ignoring God deserved to be saved. He was otherwise minded to head in the other direction. But one cannot ever be out of God's presence. Even when tossed overboard and ending up in the belly of a whale. Jonah reconsidered, prayed and promised to do as God directed. God speaks to the whale and Jonah is brought to shore unharmed.

Obedience can be a hard lesson if we choose instead to be otherwise minded, to listen to medical opinions, to give in to temptations that lead us down the wrong path, to ignore God. Mrs. Eddy asks that same question on page 326. She tells us, "Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way." The way that leads to health and prosperity and happiness.

Watch today and be sure you are listening to  and obeying divine Mind. Know that you cannot be otherwise minded. Don't believe false teachings. Don't defect. Obey God and great spiritual growth will follow.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The hand of the Lord was on Elijah

One of my favorite lines from this week's Bible Lesson on Truth is from I Kings.  "And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah."  That just resonates with me. Elijah had been severely tested with a confrontation. He challenged the 450 priests of Baal and soundly defeated them. Queen Jezebel threatened his life and he ran. He took refuge in a cave and stayed there until he heard God speak to him. "What doest thou here, Elijah?"  What a momentous question. You just faced down 450 and won. You are my chosen prophet and should be out leading the people. Why are you cowering in this cave?

Have you even felt like hiding from the world? Did something happen that drove you to just pull the covers over your head and want to stay in bed? How quickly Elijah seemed to lose faith, especially since he had called on God and been shown His power in such an awesome way.

What I love is this beautiful image of the hand of the Lord resting on Elijah. I have felt that. I have prayed long and hard about something and felt as if God rested His hand on my head in blessing. I have felt the arm of divine Love around my shoulders with such grace when I was grieving. I have felt the hand of the Lord firmly holding me up when I thought I was going to fall backwards down a flight of stairs. The hand of the Lord is upon us. Blessing. Comforting. Guiding. Supporting. No matter what the circumstances appear to be.

God listens to Elijah's pity party and then tells him to 'go forth' and to 'stand upon the mount'. For me that means to rouse myself, to get out of bed, to tackle whatever it is that seems so overwhelming, to obediently face the Jezebel-like though, which in truth cannot harm me. And to do it from the mount of inspiration. To uplift thought to see my oneness with God, who is right with me, His hand upon me. Who can frighten or intimidate me when I know that all the power of God is right there on my behalf?

Elijah was shown that God was not in the earthquake, wind, or fire. Nothing can shake our firm foundation, nothing can blow us over, nothing can cause us to burn with shame or embarrassment or seem to put us through some fiery trial. God is not behind any of that. God is the 'still, small voice' that whispers to our mind and heart. I AM God and you are My beloved child, under My protection, experiencing My divine plan for you.

The hand of the Lord was on Elijah and it is on me....and it is on you.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Trust your Life preserver

We live on the Principia College campus and have access to their beautiful indoor pool. Our summers are hot here in Elsah, Illinois and it is very refreshing to go take a swim. Our Katie Rose, just turned six, has not yet conquered swimming on her own so she suits up in a swim vest. When she is wearing this life preserver she cannot sink. She floats buoyantly and with complete confidence.

God's love for us is like that. It surrounds us in a loving embrace and keeps us afloat. Within that Love you simply cannot sink, become depressed or feel like you are going under. Our Bible Lesson on Life includes the definition for Abraham given in the glossary of Science and Health.

"This patriarch illustrated the purpose of Love to create trust in good, and showed the life-preserving power of spiritual understanding."

Wow. What a powerful life preserver the spiritual understanding of God as Life brings into our experience. We can trust this life preserver to hold us up effortlessly. It is God doing the preserving. Our part is to trust in His goodness and His always present love for us. Even if we feel like we have strayed into deep or dangerous waters. Especially then. God, Life, is right there keeping us safe.

This is a spiritual life preserver we wear all the time. Think about that as you go about your day and be grateful for this uplifting gift from God. He loves you every moment, has his eye on you like the perfect parent He is. You cannot be out of His reach. He is preserving your life because He is Life.

You can trust in that!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mourners, it calls you

This week's Bible Lesson opens with the Good News translation of the Beatitudes. Then the sections expand on those nine 'attitudes we should be' to be blessed. This morning I am struck by the second Beatitude...Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them!

I love all of our hymns and often turn to the ones that are based on poems by our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy. In one of those is a verse about mourners. We are assured that Love wipes our tears all away. What a beautiful picture of the Motherhood of God, holding us close and comforting us, wiping away our tears. Lifting the shade of gloom. Making radiant room to see the glories He has prepared for us right where we seem to be sorrowing or accepting loss.

Are you mourning? Is there something causing you to feel unhappy. Do you feel like you have suffered a loss? Right there and right then Love is with us to bring comfort. We never need to feel unhappy. God is never unhappy and as His expression we are always whole and complete. There cannot be anything missing or any good withheld. Nothing has been taken away or lost forever.

Spirit, God, blesses all times and under all circumstances. The sick are healed. The sorrowing are comforted. The sinner is  Our spiritual growth is assured. We can always demonstrate our power over any evil suggestions.

It is your right to express completeness and joy. Soul is joyous. You have a wonderful life with Life. If you seem to be struggling with a sense of unhappiness or loss, if you are being tempted to mourn about something, know that is not coming from divine Mind. See it for what it really is and dismiss it. You have no reason to mourn in the kingdom of heaven. If you are sad Love will wipe those tears away. If you are depressed Love will lift that shade of gloom. If you feel lost or alone Love will make radiant room for good.

Our Lesson ends with what we think of as the morning meal, when Jesus comes to the disciples by the Sea of Galilee. They had returned to fishing after the resurrection. Jesus had risen but they had not seen him for several days and were feeling lost and confused. That night they caught nothing. Fishermen without a catch. Disciples without a clear sense of direction. Jesus calls to them and tells them to cast their net on the right side. When they obey that can hardly draw it in for the multitude of fishes.

Cast your net on the right side. See the wonderful blessings waiting for you. Mourner, he calls you.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

What a week this is going to be! Our Bible Lesson on God expands on the question, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"  We are being given absolute assurances that nothing is impossible to God. Nothing is too hard for our Father Mother who loves us.

The Lesson tells the story of Nebuchadnezzsar's foolish decree, all men must worship him alone, or be cast into a fiery furnace. Three Hebrew men, captives in Babylon when that nation attacked Jerusalem, do not obey this law. They had been given an education so they could serve the king and had been serving him so well that they had been 'set over the affairs of the province of Babylon'. This led to envy and hatred against them and the jealous officials run to the king to tattle tale that the men were not bowing down to the golden image or worshipping it. In a rage, Nebuchadnezzar orders them thrown into the furnace. But to his astonishment they are not instantly incinerated but move around in the flames unharmed. And they are not alone. There is a fourth figure with them, 'like the Son of God'. When he calls them forth they are completely unharmed, the only thing that burned were the ropes that had bound them. Their clothes are not burned, their bodies and hair unburned. Not even the smell of fire clung to them. Nothing is impossible to God.

This week, should you find yourself being persecuted because you refuse to bow down to some silly material, medical, financial, or any other kind of law, rejoice knowing that no matter what appears to be threatening you, you can come through that 'fiery furnace' unharmed, without even the smell of smoke lingering. Because God is with you, always, at all times and under all circumstances.

This summer I have been creating a small garden with the 'grands'. We stood back to gaze at our little patch of baby plants and the kiddos decided that what we needed to finish it off was, not one, but two scare crows. So they donated old clothing and we built one for each of them. The thing about a scare crow is that is may look threatening but it cannot actually do any harm. It is powerless to move or act. Treat your 'enemy' as a defeated and powerless scare crow. That's what the fiery furnace appeared to be for those Hebrew men. The raging storm of jealousy and deceitful actions could not engulf them. What Mrs. Eddy refers to as 'all that is selfish, wicked, dishonest, and impure'. God is good and the source of all good. There is no other power present or operating. No matter how real the furnace seems to be, no matter how hot the flames, no matter how threatening the scare crow.

Nothing is impossible to God. No spontaneous combustion for you. No smell of smoke to insist you had ever been in danger. Trust God and rejoice in His  power. Isn't that the best thought to start your week!