Monday, December 29, 2014

The most popular Bible verse

I was interested to see a story on the internet today about the most popular Bible verse downloaded this past year. Bible App claims it was accessed over 162 million times in 2014. What was the most popular verse? What might you have chosen?

Romans 12:2.  "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

The New Living Translation says, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you  into a new person by changing the way you think."

Renew your mind. Take time to examine what you are thinking, what you are accepting as true. The subject of our Bible Lesson this week is God and each section of the Lesson expands on the Lord's Prayer and its spiritual interpretation given in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

I remember the first time I attended a Christian Science Sunday service. Almost nothing made any sense to me. They even said the Lord's Prayer differently! The congregation spoke a line together and then one of the readers at the podium gave an interpretation of that line. I was put off at first but then interested in that idea. I had been searching for a religion that honored God as I believed Him to be and this version of that prayer called Him Father-Mother. Now that was a new idea for me. And thinking of myself as His beloved offspring would require some 'renewing' of my mind.

By the way, the second most popular verse was also among Paul's letters to the recently formed Christian churches.

Philippians 4:8. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

This would also have caused me to reconsider how I was thinking about God, about myself and the world around me. It seems like the media would compete for our attention by focusing it on the sensational, the disastrous, the violent, the dishonest, the impure. Paul is turning worshippers to a new way to honor God, a Christian life that focuses on what Jesus taught and lived and asked his followers to express.

As we approach the new year, it might be revealing to take an honest look at where our mind is these days. How much have we conformed to worldly thinking and how often have we turned instead to prayer, connecting with God, the divine Mind? What do we have to gain? We can prove what God's will is for us. We can tune in to truth, justice, purity, loveliness and be grateful for good reports of healing and acts of kindness.

Renew your mind and your commitment to seeing and expressing good. I imagine there is an App for that.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Have a Mary Christmas

Who wrapped the first Christmas present? The answer is in the Bible and this week's Bible Lesson. "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes..." (Luke 2:7) That Mary was the mother of Jesus. What an amazing event, witnessed by just a few people. Mary and Joseph had taken refuge in a cave or stable, the only place available in crowded Bethlehem where so many had gathered to register and pay taxes to Caesar Augustus. It may be that no one was present when this 'gift' arrived but Joseph and Mary. But in a  nearby field, a group of shepherds were keeping watch over the flock that night and an angel comes to them with this momentous news, telling them about the birth of the holy child and where they might find him. So off they go, the first party of Christmas visitors. Later the Wise Men, following the star, would travel far to present this child with gifts worthy of a king.

Years later, grown to  manhood, Jesus travelled around teaching, preaching and healing. He was often a guest at the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Wherever the Master went, crowds followed and that house would fill to overflowing. Martha, a conscientious hostess, would scurry around providing hospitality for them all. She was upset with her sister, Mary, who did not help her. But Jesus points out that Mary has chosen to sit at his feet and listen.

Don't miss the excellent testimony in this week's Sentinel about 'A Christmas Full of Peace'. So many of us get caught up in the hustle bustle of the holiday season and forget to spend quiet time thinking about the Nativity. Did you know that was the one thing Mrs. Eddy has asked us to memorize? "It is most fitting that Christian Scientists memorize the nativity of Jesus'. (Misc 374: 17-18)  The writer of the testimony mentioned, wishing to gain a more spiritual apprehension of the nativity, studied everything Mrs. Eddy wrote about Christmas and the story of the nativity in Matthew and Luke. She stopped worrying about holiday preparations and had a healing of a physical problem.

So this year I am striving to have a 'Mary' Christmas. There is so much to appreciate in the Gospel accounts of the nativity. I want to be like those shepherds and hear the angels singing. I want to be wise and follow the light of the star. I want to present a gift of gratitude. I want to choose to stop bustling around and sit at his feet.

So I wish you all a 'Mary' Christmas and a merry Christmas.

God bless us, everyone one!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It IS a wonderful Life!

Our family really gets into the holidays. We are baking cookies, wrapping presents, trimming the tree, hanging up the stockings. And we're watching all our favorite Christmas specials. We save Polar Express for Christmas Eve, pausing the movie at the appropriate place to go fix hot chocolates with lots of whipped cream or marshmallows. But there is one special I haven't watched for years. Due to some personal challenges I just can't watch George Bailey go through all the injustices and challenges that lead him to consider taking his own life. I know it ends well when an angel shows him how many lives he touched and blessed. Despite appearances, George Bailey is the richest man in town and he has had a wonderful life.

George was allowed to step back and see how he blessed so many others. We could all benefit by taking something nice to sip and a few cookies and sitting quietly to reflect on our own lives. So much good has unfolded in my life. I love living in a three-generation household and watching several of the 'grands' growing up. They are a big part of my life. And now two more of them are at Principia College, where we live, and I get to experience rugby and chemistry through their eyes.
All three of my children are living good lives and encourage me to be with them as often as possible. An added bonus has been James helping me with the power point presentations of several Association addresses.

After a twenty five year career with children's books in 2002 transitioned to the full time Christian Science practice and that is a daily - sometimes hourly - challenge and blessing. I can' t imagine what the last 40 years would have been like without Christian Science and my participation in branch church work. No matter where we moved we found an instant church family.

One of the things that spoke to me when I first started reading Science and Health was the definition Mrs. Eddy gives for God, especially the seven synonyms. I love getting to know God better as Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love. I can never thank her enough for her devotion in writing our textbook, establishing our churches, setting up the Manual, starting the periodicals and our wonderful Christian Science Monitor.

It has indeed been a wonderful Life and given me a wonderful life and I will rejoice all through the holiday season, taking moments to be grateful. His arm truly encircles me, and mine, and all.

Step; outside on Christmas Eve and hear the angels sing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The special gift in this week's Lesson

There is a special gift in this week's Bible Lesson, Soul and Bod,y and I am very grateful to be reminded of it this morning. Students of Christian Science are familiar with the story of how our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of this divine Science, had a remarkable experience that lead to this discovery. She had been a devout student of the Bible all her life. She suffered with various ailments during her childhood and adolescence and this followed her into her adult life. It lead to studying other alternative medicine methods being used in her day. Some afforded relief but none gave her a permanent healing. Always, she returned to her Bible.

One day she was walking on an icy sidewalk and had a fall that caused severe injuries. She was taken home, her husband, a traveling dentist, was sent for, and her doctor and her friends did not expect her to survive. Even if she did the injuries would have left her a helpless invalid. She called for her Bible. Here is what happened next in her own words:

"St. Paul writes: "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." "This knowledge came to me in an hour of great need; and I give it to you as death-bed testimony to the daystar that dawned on the night of material sense. This knowledge is practical, for it wrought my immediate recovery from an injury caused by an accident, and pronounced fatal by the physicians. On the third day thereafter, I called for my Bible, and opened it to Matthew IX,2. As I read, the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I rose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed. That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence."  (Miscellaneous Writings 24)

Those verses in Matthew are in this week's Lesson which is filled with references to light and the glory of God. What a gift to be reminded of her experience and to remember that she gave the rest of her life to writing our textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and presenting that Truth to the world that all may come to know God as Good and man as made in His image and likeness. Spiritual healing is as possible now as it was in Jesus' time and when Mrs. Eddy experienced it herself and then began to heal others.

Today I will be thinking about that paralyzed man, brought by his devoted friends into the presence of the Christ. Surely the physicians of his day had pronounced his case hopeless, condemning him to that condition as long as he lived. And at that time, it was thought that such things were the result of having committed sins. How depressing! And I suspect he was pretty unhappy. He and his friends must have heard about this new teacher and preacher who was performing miracles. So he seeks out the one person who might be able to help him overcome the physical problem. Unlike the doctors who pronounced his case incurable and gave him no hope, the Master's first words are 'Son, be of good cheer."  What encouragement for any of us who seem to be struggling with a physical problem that does not yield or seems incurable or feeling hopelessly depressed. Be of good cheer, lift up that depressing thought and let go of it.  Jesus continues, "thy sins be forgiven thee."  The man was given the gift of forgiveness, and being forgiven the sentence was lifted as well.

But they were surrounded by a great multitude, among them Scribes that felt Jesus had no right to forgive sins. They certainly did not want to accept that the man could be and was forgiven. This needed to addressed and Jesus did address it. He shows them that he did indeed possess that power and he tells the man, who has not yet changed his position and moved, to rise up off that bed and go home.  Only then did the full healing happen and the man walked away healed and free.

As did Mrs. Eddy. Preserved blameless. We are all blameless in the sight of God, who forgives all our sins and mistakes. His great love lifts us out of any depressing belief that is trying to keep us from seeing and understanding our true status as sons and daughters of God, made in His image and likeness.

I consider this my first Christmas present this year and am so very grateful to be reminded of how this Bible story figures into the discovery and founding of Christian Science.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Like a sour dough starter

I have a sour dough starter going. It is almost two and half years 'old' and I freshen it twice a week, baking fresh bread once a week. The Thanksgiving Lesson is wonderful, as it is every year. This Responsive Reading contains a verse from II Corinthians that I have always loved but I looked at it in new light this morning.

Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;  (I(I Corinthians 9:10)

What a lovely and inspiring idea! God is meeting our immediate need and providing more for later.  This starter, translated into a spiritual idea, represents supply and nourishment, and 'daily bread' for me and my family and friends as well as I promise of continuous supply. I wish we had the technology for me to send you a whiff of how good it smells when it is baking. :)

I freshen the starter first, setting aside one cup to use in that day's baking, by adding water and flour to the original. This 'feeds' it and it multiplies over the next few days. So I can use the portion I set aside and make bread that day...bread for my food. But there is plenty left in the crock as it multiplies to be used again later.

One could think of our Bible Lesson that way. It gets 'used', read and studied each day, providing the right ideas and inspiration needed for that day's activities. But it has not used it all up, we are building on that to increase our spiritual understanding of God and our relationship to Him as His beloved child created in His image and likeness. Plenty more to come! It increases our righteousness, our right thinking, our Truth knowing and the fruitage of that is healing and demonstration.

The New Living Translation says: "For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you".

The Message Bible says: "This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God".

So today I will rejoice in my 'daily bread', be confident in the multiplication of good and appreciate the fruit of righteousness, my ability to know the Truth. 

Next time I bake I will consider that aroma as the sweet savor sent up to God in thanksgiving for all my blessings.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Not financial security but financial serenity

I do not think I have ever blogged twice in one day but the most extraordinary thing happened and I want to share the blessing so that others might benefit as well.

This is the time of year that I pull out the box where I have been putting items meant for Christmas giving. They accumulate over the year and then I sort them out and it is a nice start on my holiday gift giving and spreads out the budget. I have a nice start with the things I tucked away all year. But there is still a fair amount of shopping to do and I was feeling a bit concerned about how I was going to pay for it. God handed me a very special gift this morning as I opened up Simple Abundance and read the entry for today. Financial serenity.

How diligently we seem to pursue financial security. Wouldn't it be wonderful to never have to worry about money again, with the peace that we will always have all we need. As the writer points out in her entry, "Financial serenity is never having to worry about money again because you've discovered the true Source. You have access to an inexhaustible, invisible storehouse of good. We don't have to wait another moment for financial serenity. We can begin to experience it today regardless of our economic condition."  What a beautiful reminder that our Father provides all we need, at all times and under all circumstances. God is the Source of all good and He never withholds good from His beloved children.

Money is a state of mind and abundance is a state of belief. When I think how rich I am with family, friends, church, a lovely home, a happy can I ever doubt that God will provide whatever I need to be generous with others.  It's right in the Bible. II Corinthians 9:8 reads 'And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work'.  One Bible translation of that verse is 'God will generously provide you with all you need. And plenty left over to share with others.'

I have been praying about opening a savings account. I like the thought that a savings account is positive affirmation that you have more than you need at that moment. Once opened, I would add modest amounts to it. I would not have a specific goal in mind but it would be very satisfying to add a bit here and there with a few ideas of what it might be used for. Mostly travel to be with those I love.

I love the idea of having financial serenity and I'm going to cherish it daily understanding that God is the Source of it.

The Christ will call to you and lift you up

This week's Bible Lesson, Everlasting Punishment, is timely. So many people struggle with problems that seem to go on and on. There is much to be gained by studying the account of the woman with the spirit of infirmity.

That story is in Luke's gospel. Luke was a physician so his accounts of Jesus healing sickness are interesting. Luke would have been most impressed by this healing and he would have been able to question the disciples, who were present.

The unnamed woman moved around, bent over and unable to stand upright. She may have been doubled over in sorrow or actually suffering with a physical infirmity but this is how she appeared to most people. But it was not what Jesus saw. This was an unasked for cure. She did not approach him, he called to her. If you continue reading beyond what is included in this week's Lesson you see that Jesus describes her a being bound by Satan. That does not mean she had been living a sinful life, but that she was totally accepting the error or false belief of her situation.

Whatever was behind it, Jesus put his hands on her, probably on her shoulders or back, the very place where she seemed to be forced into submission, and he tells her she is loosed from this infirmity. Immediately she was made straight. In modern terms, her thinking was straightened out and she was able to stand upright for the first time in 18 years.

Have you ever felt bound by some lie or error about yourself? About your past?Did you ever indulge in impatience and perhaps say or do something unkind, and then feel guilty about it? Have you ever been out and about and been in the vicinity of someone who was sneezing or coughing, and then seemed to develop those same symptoms later? How about making a poor choice when buying something and then being stuck with a bill that you could not pay? There are many ways that 'Satan' can try to imply that we have done something for which we must be punished and that we deserve this punishment. That is a lie told by a liar.

Jesus did not delve into her past history. He saw her as the daughter of a loving Father Mother God, made in His image and likeness, never under subjection to any laws but His laws of ever present good. He just healed her by knowing the truth about her innocence and purity. And he did it in the most compassionate way so that she could see it as well. There was nothing left in her thought that needed to be punished and her sense of suffering was lifted away. There were many witnesses to this healing and those who saw her healed must have also changed their thought about her.

God does not make or cause sickness or sin. That is a false belief with  no authority behind it. It cannot enforce penalties, we do that by accepting the lies as true. How much better to turn to God and see His creation, where everything is good and pure and holy. No disease. No slipping into bad habits. No indulgence in wrong doing of any kind. No poor choices. No ill effects from contagion.

And no moping around in a 'spirit of infirmity'. Stand upright. Stand with God. Be freed.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Jesus saw him lie

I recently read an interesting interpretation of the story of Jesus and the man by the Pool of Bethesda. The writer's insight was in this phrase, :...and Jesus saw him lie".  This Pool was surrounded by porches filled with 'impotent' folk, those who were blind, halt, withered. They waited there for the waters to be stirred by an 'angel'. When that happened, the first one into the Pool would be healed of whatever disease they had. Jesus was walking by the area one day and noticed a man who had an infirmity for the past 38 years. Jesus perceived that he had been in this condition for a long time.

The account given in John's gospel says, "...and Jesus saw him lie."  This man had been lying to himself for all those years, accepting a false belief about his condition. But of all the people gathered around the Pool that day, the Master singled this man out for healing. He must have sensed that he could be awakened from that belief.

Jesus asks him if he wants to be made whole. Instead of an emphatic 'yes!' the man blames his failure to be healed on the fact that he had no to help him get to the Pool ahead of the others. I once worked with this story for someone who was having a hard time finding employment. He had called me and asked for prayerful support as he waited to be offered a job. The job 'pool' seemed to offer limited opportunities and someone always seemed to get hired ahead of him. This man was looking at his problem from the wrong perspective. We worked together to see what it was he had to give, why he was a good 'hire', how he could bring good qualities to an employer. It was not who he knew or what contacts he could provide. He soon was offered a good job.

Jesus tells the man by the pool to rise up. This is a good first step. Lift your thought out of the lie that seems to be holding you, limiting you, or labeling you. See yourself as God's beloved image and likeness with all the good that you reflect. Jesus did not offer him his arm and offer to race down to the Pool. He lead his thought away from any reliance on material aid.

He also told him to pick up his bed. Surely someone had carried him there on that bed and it was a symbol of his infirmity. Now he was perfectly capable of carrying it away with him on his own. He is also to walk. From the text it implies he had not done a lot of walking, if any, over that past 38 years. Jesus did not believe he would need some rehabilitation time to get those muscles into shape. He could instantly express complete strength and freedom. Immediately that man was made whole. Actually, his wholeness was revealed. It had always been there but he had been accepting the lie.

There is no law of God's that would impede, limit, or cause His child, His very idea, to be infirm. Quite the opposite. Principle, a synonym for God, is all about God's law of present good. uninterrupted good. Always being expressed and reflected. Sickness is not real and we can make the choice to stop listening to the lie and respond to the Christ's invitation to be whole right now. There is divine authority for this.

Reject the lie! Demonstrate the truth.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A potent trio

Early in my study of Christian Science I wondered about the order of the Bible Lesson sermon topics. Mrs. Eddy was very clear that these topics had come to her through divine revelation and she was not open to changing them. So we get these same 26 topics in this same order twice a year. I spent some time seeing how they flow naturally one into the next and how they are designed to answer our questions as we study them and apply what we are learning.

Right now we are in the middle of a powerful trio.

Are sin, disease and death real?

How beautifully they support one another.

Another thing I am appreciating in this Lesson are all the promises God made. There are many in the Responsive Reading and others scattered throughout the rest of the citations. I was watching for the ones where God is speaking that say "I will" or "I have".

I will restore the fortunes of my people
I will break the yoke from off his neck
I will burst his bonds
I am going to save you from far away
I have redeemed thee
I have called thee by thy name
I have put my spirit upon him
I will hold thine hand and will keep thee

Wonderful assurances to expand on the Golden Text...he bringeth out those which are bound with chains.

God keeps His promises for each and every one of us. We cannot be bound or enslaved by any chain of events, by anything that would attempt to separate us from God, good.  The Lesson ends with this from Science and Health: "The admission to one's self that man is God's own likeness sets man free to master that infinite idea."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What will you see today?

Wow. I looked at the Golden Text this morning and realized I had been working with 'the works of God' part. In each section I looked for 'the works' that were described. Today it was the word 'see' that just lit up the page. It gave me a whole new focus for the rest of the week. So now I can be alert to 'see' the works of God.

Come and see the works of God.  Psalms 66:5

Elijah saw God's power in response to his request to show the people the true God.
Elisha saw the chariots of fire that took Elijah to heaven.
Elisha saw there is no death with the Shunamites son.
John's disciples saw that Jesus was the true Messiah by the healing work he was doing.
Mrs. Eddy saw the truth about God and man in her discovery of Christian Science.
John saw the new heaven and the new earth he describes in Revelation.

Come and see the works of God.

Do I think those things only happened 'way back when'?  No! I know they are happened every day right now. But this is a call to 'see' those works of God today, to be aware of the good and the beauty of His creation. To be looking for them and feeling gratitude in God's presence.

This is one of God's promises...the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.  Isaiah 40:5  Everyone shall 'see' the glory of the Lord. It's right in front of us and we can 'see' it, understand it.  As in, 'oh, I see', I get it.

Come and see the works of God. This is going to be a great day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Back and forth

We were laughing as we watched our kitty go back and forth between two toys. He couldn't seem to make up his mind so he stood still and looked from one to the other. Haven't we all felt that sense of being unable to choose between two things?

This week's Bible Lesson opens with Elijah the prophet coming to address the children of Israel who were halting between two opinions. Not in the sense of suspending judgment but of vacillating between serving God and worshipping Baal. Going back and forth. He instructs them to choose. It is uncomfortable to sit astride a fence and the longer you sit there, the more uncomfortable it gets.

To those people it was not a question of which was the sole God, but which was more powerful and had the greater claim on their devotion. In Isaiah's time they would come to the point in their spiritual growth when they understood that God was the only Deity and beside Him there is no other.

My kids used to love hearing this story and picturing those prophets of Baal jumping around singing, "Baal, Baal, light the fire!"  But I wonder if it is any different for those who jump around from one medical remedy to another calling upon them to heal some physical challenge. "Excedrin, Excedrin, get rid of this headache!"  or "Cure my cold" or "help me lose weight."

There was no response to their chanting for their was nothing to hear them, nothing to respond.

Elijah takes over and he invites the people to come near. He addresses the Lord God of Abraham, and of Israel.  He prays that God will answer the call and show the people His power. And He does. In a big way, consuming the sacrifice, the wood, the stone altar, the dust and the water that had been poured on it.  The people saw and they understood. The Lord is God.  That is the reality of it.

Our Lesson on Reality invites us to 'come and see the works of God'.  It includes not only the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, but Elisha seeing Elijah taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire, and then Elisha continuing Elijah's work healing a childless woman. He later raises her child from what appears to be death.  When Jesus begins his healing ministry John, who has been imprisoned by Herod, sends some of his students to Jesus to ask him if he is the promised Messiah. Jesus responds by telling them to show John what he has been doing, healing all manner of sickness and disease. His works speak for him.

Is God working in our age? Yes. Mary Baker Eddy discovered Christian Science, or the law of God as ever present good, and she began to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease as well. She wrote it in a book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, so all may study it and practice that same method of healing.

So there is no need to go back and forth, or halt between two opinions. The promised Comforter is here and available to all.

Come and see the works of God. 

Friday, September 19, 2014


I just love to look at the questions that show up in each Bible Lesson. This week there were several and I have been pondering them all week.

 The first one, in Section One, follows the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho. He and his men of war and the  priests conquered the city without firing a shot. They laid 'open siege' to it, compassing it about for seven days before shouting at Joshua's signal. Those walls fell down flat. The question posed in Science and Health is "On which side are we fighting?"  Siege can mean a prolonged period of time. There are sometimes challenges we work on that seem to be a bit overwhelming and we wonder just how we are going to overcome those 'walls' of resistance. Here is an assurance that our 'open siege', our prolonged fervent prayers can be totally effective. Those 'walls' can fall down flat so that the way opens up to move forward successfully, to master the situation, to see a healing solution.
We have to stay alert and be sure just which side we are arguing for, the spiritual side or the material picture.

The next question was in the Fourth Section which shows our ability to deal with 'breath' issues, like allergies or lung disease. "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?"  Stop identifying with the man in Genesis Two, created from the dust of the ground, and subject to that dust. Understand man made in God's image and likeness as explained in Genesis One. We reflect God, Life, just like the reflection of the original in a mirror. God is Spirit, God is Mind so we are ideas held and maintained in Mind, spiritual not material. As for the severity of the claim, as in allergies or disease, nothing is impossible to God, Spirit. Jesus healed all manner of sickness and all manner of disease with perfect assurance and success.

A thought-provoking question shows up in Section Five. "Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?"  Gilead was a mountainous part of Palestine where balm (balsam) was found and in the same place would be found those skilled in its use. Jeremiah is speaking, anticipating the captivity and the distressed cries of the exiles. The people had lost one chance of deliverance after another, and might now despair.  Here is another 'siege' situation where persistence and faith can bring about healing. Prayer works.

The Golden Text mentions 'stumbling blocks'. Stumbling blocks are defined as an obstacle or impediment. They will appear as we move forward on our spiritual  journey but they can also be considered stepping stones, opportunities to put into practice what we are learning as we study these Bible Lessons.

I am grateful to have these questions to think about each week and even more grateful for the healing solutions that lead to spiritual growth.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Holiness and wholeness

The theme running through this week's Bible Lesson on Man is holiness. It starts in the Golden Text and appears in each section of the Bible and in the correlative passages from Science and Health. So I decided to look up the word 'holy' in the dictionary. To be holy is to be sacred, to live according to a strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; set apart for a religious purpose; deserving special respect or reverence.  I associate all of that with God and I look forward to gaining a clearer understanding of how that applies to man, each of us, me, because we are His children, made in His image and likeness. As He is holy, so must we, so must I, be holy, by reflection.

Another source is the Synonym Finder. Just look at what we are as holy children of a holy Father.
Blessed. Heaven-born. (That one wipes out any so-called birth defects or hereditary problems!) Blissful. (That means always at peace and joyous, aware of the good all around us) Devout. (One who expresses goodness and is devoted to God) Right-minded. (Having that Mind that was in Christ Jesus, we can always think and do the right thing, always hold the right concept or opinion of ourselves and others, of current events) Innocent. (One of my favorites,  not guilty of breaking any spiritual law, not accountable to any material medical law) Pure. (Without flaw eliminates any skin problems or belief of cancer) Untainted. (Free from anything that would try to attach itself to us of an impure nature, no problems with temper or hatred)

It sounds like a lot to live up to but the good news (the gospel) is that all of the above is already true about us, each one of us, by divine birthright. It is our true nature. We just have to make a practice of claiming it daily in our prayers for ourselves. It is a good thing to establish in thought at the very beginning of the day and then to bring to mind all day long as things come up to try to make us believe otherwise. God is holy, I am holy. I am whole in my holiness. Nothing unlike holiness can be a part of me or anyone else.

God, my Father Mother, is holy.
I, as His beloved child, His image and likeness, am holy. Whole
That never changes.

I'll be humming hymn 117 all day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My friend Zacchaeus

Over the years I have published four posts about Zacchaeus. Here they are if you'd like to see them.

1. Today I must be a guest in your house - 10/1/13
2. Hastening to meet the Christ - 9/28/12
3. Truth - Jesus, the leper, and Zacchaeus.
4. Shepherd thoughts, part five - 9/15/07

Zacchaeus has much to tell us and I look forward to gaining a new insight this week in our
Bible Lesson on Mind.

Funny story. I was on campus today to serve in the practitioner's office. Called over to the Science building and spoke with the geology professor who had no idea how much sand is in a cup. So I looked on the internet and found an article by a scientist who had actually calculated how much sand there is around the world at a given time. It some outrageous number, like 57, with 17 zeros after it. One handful of sand contains more than 100,000 grains, I am not teaching Sunday school this week but it would be fun to share that with kids and relate it to the reference in section one....How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I could measure them, they are more in number than the sand. (Psalms 139:17)

More in number than the sand! That is great and precious indeed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spinning straw into gold

Have you ever wished you could spin straw into gold like Rumplestiltskin did in the fairy tale? Maybe you are faced with an urgent need for supply or are faced with meeting an impossible deadline or struggling with some physical challenge that threatens your life. It is easy to see how the girl in the story got caught in a web of lies.

Trying to impress an avaricious King a miller boasted that his daughter could spin straw into gold. The King sends for her and locks her in a room filled with straw. She is to spin it into gold by the next morning or forfeit her life. A strange little man appears, and says he will perform this task if she will give him something in return. The first time he takes her bracelet. Impressed but not satisfied with the pile of gold  the King locks her in a larger room with the same demand. Again the little man comes and promises to spin the straw into gold, this time she pays him with a precious necklace that had belonged to her mother. Still wanting more gold the King locks her in the largest room in the palace. This time when the little man comes, he says he will only help her if she promises him her first born child. Desperate, she agrees. The job is done and the King is satisfied at last. He marries her and she becomes his queen. In time she has a son. Now the little man returns and demands her child. She begs so pitifully that he gives her three chances to guess his name. Helped by a peasant farm boy she learns his true name and is able to break his hold over her. He disappears forever.

There is a good message in this story. It shows clearly what happens when one starts down a path of lies. The first lie may seem to be successful but then the situation only escalates and requires bigger and bigger lies. The girl in the story believed herself to be in the power of the little man. She did not see that he spun that straw into gold he was also weaving a web of lies and deception that lead to disaster.

It reminded me of Jesus' experience in the wilderness where he had gone to pray after being baptized by God. He had heard God acknowledging him as His own beloved son. Jesus was about to be tempted by the promises of Satan, who wanted Jesus to worship him. Satan challenges Jesus to turn stones into bread. Not quite spinning straw into gold but an attempt to use his healing abilities for material gain. Jesus does not fall for this first attempt. Satan tries again, with a bigger promise. He is tempting Jesus to place his life in jeopardy so angels can come and rescue him. The miller's daughter feared for her life as well, but she simply continues to give in to the evil suggestions. Error is never satisfied, it will always try to get more. It, too, wants to be worshipped.  But it cannot really come through with its promises for there is no authority or power behind them.

What finally freed the Queen was seeing the true nature of the little man, learning his true name. Once she saw him for what he was, he disappeared. Jesus overcame the third temptation the same way. He understood his own ability to stand up to error's lies and sent him packing. Error has no choice but to give up and go away, back to nothingness. Like Rumpelstiltskin, evil wanted control over the Christ, over the first-born son of God. It failed with the Queen, it failed with Jesus.

So how do we 'spin straw into gold', how do we handle what seems like an insurmountable situation? Our Bible Lesson this week helps with this. We should begin by seeing who is in charge. "When man is governed by God, the ever-present Mind who understands all things, man knows that with God all things are possible." (S&H 180:25-27)  God is our source of supply and strength and health and He is available 'at all times and under all circumstances' to provide the answer we need.

We can continue by understanding that 'the wicked man is not the ruler of his upright neighbor'. Error or evil is never in charge, never has control over our lives and well being. Mrs. Eddy advises, "Let it be understood that success in error is defeat in Truth." (S&H 239:12-13)  When one gives in to temptation and tells that first little lie, or chooses to indulge in something that is wrong (why can't I drink one beer with my buddies, or take something that does not belong to me, or disobey my parents) that makes it all the easier to give in the next time...and the next, until there is a final accounting. Cheating becomes too easy.

We must see error for what it is, nothing masquerading as something, a liar promiseing things it cannot deliver. We must be just as clear about the allness of God, good, who loves us as His own beloved child, made in His image and likeness. Divine Love will meet every human need. Jesus proved that with the loaves and the fishes. We can demonstrate it as well 'spinning straw into gold'. Replace the useless straw or chaff and be enriched with the truth of your spiritual identity, never separated from your Father Mother God, never caught in a hopeless or helpless situation. See error's true identity, its true name, and it will lose any hold you thought it had. You are not the victim of false appetite, addiction, never at the mercy of lack, never overpowered by illness. Whatever your 'Rumplestiltskin' pretends to be, use that as an opportunity to know more about God and you will be rich beyond compare.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

No manner of hurt

No manner of hurt.

When Daniel survived his night in the lions' den, no manner of hurt was found on him. I found myself rereading that sentence. No manner of hurt. How many of us could go through such an experience and come out unscathed?

Daniel was chosen for the number one position 'because an excellent spirit was in him.' One can only assume those who conspired against him did so out of jealousy, not because he was not worthy of being in that role. He was innocent of any wrong doing. And yet he found himself condemned by the King he served so faithfully. His 'crime' was that he worshipped God faithfully, three times a day. So one could hardly blame him if he had come out of that holding a grudge.

But the next morning he greets the king, "O king, live forever."  Who would have blamed him if he had said, "O foolish king, this was all your fault." But all those excellent qualities he expressed included true forgiveness and compassion.

Daniel was not 'hurt' by the acts of others. He did not take it personally, knowing 'the control which Love held over all." His feelings were not hurt by the actions of those presidents and princes. All that happened was that Daniel continues to rely on God, Love, and his clear understanding of God's law of ever present good.

Next time I find myself in what might be a 'hurtful' situation I hope I have the courage and wisdom to stand fast and let the angel 'shut the lions' mouths.' May I see that there is nothing that can hurt me physically or emotionally or any other way. May I turn to my angel and be aware of Love's sweet control.

Mrs. Eddy writes, "The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares." (Science and Health 574)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Jesus and the leper

This week's Bible Lesson on Love includes Jesus healing a leper as told in Mark's gospel. It set me to thinking about the act of 'washing someone clean of all the impurities of the flesh.'

So many came to Jesus for healing, even this man who was suffering from the dread, incurable disease of leprosy. In those times it was thought to be a judgment from God, an outward sign of an inward sin. But the leper had faith that Jesus could heal him, if he chose to. And, moved with compassion, Jesus put forth his and touched him. That may have been the first human contact that man had for a very long time. Jesus could do so fearlessly as he knew he could not become 'unclean' by being in contact with the leper. In his eyes, there was no dread disease, only the perfect, healthy, whole image and likeness of God. The man was cleansed of the disease and whatever his sins might have been were wiped away.

We sometimes wish we could help someone we know be free of some outward sign of disease or free them from a recurring sinful behavior. Baptism is a one-time washing away of sin. At another time, when Jesus was passing through Samaria, he encountered a woman by a well. Knowing what was going on in her life, he offered her 'living water'. This was not just a one-time event, but a complete change in her life. She perceives that this man was the Messiah. She had not been seeking healing, as the leper had, but Jesus reached out to her anyway.

When we want to help someone, we need to be sure our own thought of them is as clear as his was. He did not see a man suffering from an awful disease, he did not see a woman living a sinful life style. He only saw what God sees, the perfect man. 'and this perfect view of man heals the sick'.

We should never shy away from offering that cup of cold water. Christian Science is the most precious gift we can give. Presented lovingly, that gesture is never in vain, even if it appears that they do not want to hear it. You were touched with compassion, you reached out to someone you did not know. Love is reflected in  love, in that loving outreach, that lifts thought higher. It is amazing what a little hug can do.

If thou wilt.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Praise for the cedar tree

Today's entry in Streams from the desert, a daily devotional, was very thought-provoking. The writer was describing the cedar trees of Lebanon, long prized for their strength, fragrance, and straight growth. He mentioned how the mightiest of them had withstood much wind and weather. That it offered a refuge for wildlife and sheltering shade for weary pilgrims. It rose majestically to the sky and it seemed that it would do so for many generations.

But along came the woodsman with his axe and soon the great tree has fallen and its many branches were removed. dragged to the river, It was floated downstream and delivered to a lumber yard, there to wait to be chosen. If the tree could think, it might have wondered what had happened to it and why. Along came Nehemiah, on a quest to restore the wall and its gates in Jerusalem. Just such a tree was perfect to cut into boards for the gates, strong gates that kept out evil and welcomed in good.

Do you ever feel like you have spent many years in service to church, serving on all the committees, reading the Lesson faithfully, studying to gain spiritual understanding, and then you are asked to serve on committees you would rather not, or not asked to serve at all, not elected to the Board or as a Reader? It can be frustrating when you have so much to give.

Take heart. All that spiritual growth is never wasted or in vain. God has a plan and purpose for you. You may well find great purpose in the next step, even if it seems unlikely at the time.

God is preparing the place for you that He is preparing you for.

Like the mighty cedar you are prized for your strength, your long years of caring for others, your reaching for light, your sweet personality. There may be a bigger field for you, a new territory where you are needed and where what you have to bring is going to be highly valued. You are not going to be allowed to grow in isolation. You are part of the gate, active in keeping out evil. You are the gate that welcomes a stranger to church, inviting them in for rest and comfort.

You are someone's answered prayer. Not bad, not bad at all.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Today I will be valiant

As I read the Bible Lesson on Truth, I was stopped by the word 'valiantly'. The citation is Psalm 108:13, "Through God we shall do valiantly."  It conjures up a picture of the Knights of the Round Table and Prince Valiant. Prince Valiant was known for his courage and bravery. I looked up 'valiant' in the dictionary. Possessing valor. Bravery in battle. Sometimes life can feel like a battlefield when one is struggling with a physical, financial or emotional challenge. This passage in Psalms says that with God's help, we shall do valiantly.

That lead to a search in the concordance to see if Mrs. Eddy used the idea of being valiant in her writings. It was not in Science and Health but appears in her other writings. In Miscellaneous Writings, on page 155, there's this: "While pressing meekly on, be faithful, be valiant in the Christian's warfare, and peace will crown your joy." Another passage in First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, on page 203 made me smile. "A spiritual hero is a mark for gamesters, but he is unutterably valiant, the summary of suffering here and of heaven hereafter. Our thoughts beget our actions; they make us what we are. A deep sincerity is sure of success, for God takes care of it." Let's not forget, as we are being valiant, that 'through God we do valiantly'.

When I checked in the Parallel Bible I found this in the New Living Translation: "With God's help, we will do mighty things." And The Message Bible says, "In God we'll do our very best." So we can start our day with the assurance that today we will be valiant, ready to stand up to any false belief or suggestion that we are less than the perfect idea of God's creating, that we are sick or sad or helpless or lost or alone. We can bravely deny those accusations or insinuations.

We can be valiant.

And if you need a little more inspiration, sing along with hymn 296.
Rouse ye: long the conquest waits for valor's act supreme;
Rouse ye, rest not, do the deeds that break the earthly dream.

You can do it through God's help.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Setting the table

I have walked along the beach on both coasts and along the Gulf of Mexico. Just meandering along the tide line, looking for gifts from the sea. Over the years I have put together little jars filled with sand and shells and driftwood. For one who loves to do this, it is still a surprise to find myself living in Elsah, Illinois, far from salt water and beaches. At this time of year, I often wish I could be back on those sandy shores.

This morning I was reading an entry in Simple Abundance where the author was talking about the ways one can 'set the table' to make it special any day. We love to put together a pretty table for special occasions or guests but how often do we bother to dress up the table most week nights? As it turns out, I love to decorate our house, changing things around each month, bringing out things I've collected. Right now the theme is 'by the sea'. Our dining room table is set with a sand colored table cloth. In the middle of the table is a glass bowl filled with pieces of sea glass and glass bubbles. I've scattered more along the cloth and added a few sea shells. It is simple but pretty and the family loves it. Our own personal tide line.

I like taking a few extra minutes to dress up the table, especially when we are just eating one of our standard meals. These simple settings bring a smile to those sitting down to eat and are conversation starters as we remember searching for those treasures on some family vacation. It is a fun way to express a little bit of beauty and art. I like to involve the 'grands' in some of those table decorations and it is fun to see what they do with the things I put out.

It is a reminder to me to take a moment before each meal to be grateful for all the good being expressed around me, for the beauty in everyday things. Katie Rose recently added a tall glass vase filled with those weeds that look like wheat. She had fun gathering her 'bouquet' and liked adding something to our table. So this activity is fun for all ages.

There is so much to be grateful for. We've had our financial challenges but we have never really gone hungry. I've had my spiritual challenges but I have only grown from those experiences. Today I will take a moment before each meal for silent time with God, time to tell Him how much I love Him and to thank Him for His tender constant care of me and mine.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Paul's work ethic

I noticed something in this week's Bible Lesson on Life. We go along on several of Paul's journeys as he is bringing the good news about the Messiah. Paul has made his share of enemies in his earlier zeal to seek out and destroy these new Christians, followers of Jesus. He made a whole new set of enemies as he not only joined the Christians but became one of their main spokespersons. And he was backing up his teaching and preaching with healings. No wonder God granted special miracles by the hand of Paul.

What a work ethic! It gives one pause when one reflects on one's one work ethic is sharing Christian Science. In the first example Paul is speaking with his disciples before he must continue on his journey. He talks long into the night and is only interrupted when a young man, sunk down with sleep, falls out of the balcony and is taken up dead. Paul reassures them that 'his life is in him' and that man is taken up alive and well. Does Paul rest on this 'miracle' and go take a nap? No. He continues lovingly sharing with them until day break.

On another day, once he has been arrested and is being taken by ship to Rome to stand trial, the ship is wrecked in a storm. Paul and everyone on the ship is saved. Once ashore he helps to gather fire wood and is bitten by a poisonous viper. He just shakes it off into the fire, unharmed. The natives, full aware of what has bitten him, are astounded. He is taken to the village chief's home and lovingly cared for. Does he plop down on the couch and let them wait on him? No. He heals the village chief's father of a great fever. Now does he sit back and relax? No. They bring others from all over the island who need healing...and he heals them.

What an example for us to follow! I will studying this week's Lesson with great interest and attempting to be like this great man in my own daily activities.

Friday, July 11, 2014

My godfather and my God-Father

I grew up on the East coast in a large Italian family with an even larger extended family. And we had a godfather. This man ruled over the whole clan and his word was law. He granted favors and helped those who sought his advice and resources. But it was understood that at some point he might ask a favor in return and you would grant it.

Years later I started studying Christian Science and had moved away from the East coast, visiting infrequently with my family. What I was reading in Science and Health showed me that what I really have is a God-Father, God as my Father and Mother. A loving God who has made me in His own image and likeness, as it is explained in Genesis One. This God-Father is all powerful and wise, He has infinite resources which are freely available to me. I can turn to Him for advice when I am faced with challenges be they financial, physical, or emotional. My God-Father is always accessible. It is His will to keep me happy and healthy and supplied with all I need.

What He asks in return is love for Him and all of His creation and I have been pondering all week a phrase in our Golden Text: bring an offering. The phrase if part of Psalm 96. "Give unto the Lord the glory due to his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts."  How comforting to think that my God-Father is the true Judge and law maker. I can present my case in His courts and get a fair hearing and a positive verdict.

When the challenge is physical, He will find me 'not guilty' and I can rise up innocent and free.
When the challenge is emotional, He will restore my soul, my awareness of His complete care.
When the challenge is financial, He will remind me that 'all that I have is thine'.

So this week I am looking for ways to honor Him with offerings of love, patience, being a peace maker, reaching out to others, seeing His goodness ever present, etc.. As I go through the day, I look for ways to offer up a spiritual response instead of mortal reaction. I offer Him thanks for all the beauty I see. I am grateful for the good being expressed.

My God-Father loves me and I love him right back.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Revive today

This is our second summer attempt at a small garden. Our yard is gently rolling, with few places that are flat. We also back up to a ravine so we get lots of 'visitors' who seemed to view last year's veggies and herbs as a salad bar. But gardening was a part of my 'Camp Grandma' with two 'grands' so we did our best. This year we made the garden as little larger and added more flowers.

It can get pretty warm here and we may go days without any rain. When that happens, some of the plants look pretty wilted. So we give them a nice shower with the hose and they soon perk up. I was reminded of that this morning as I studied the first section of our Bible Lesson on Sacrament. It was in Isaiah's writings where God is speaking about what He does. "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isa 57:15) I highlighted 'revive'.

The dictionary has wonderful meanings for revive:
to give renewed well being
to impart new health, vigor or spirit
the restore to use, activity
to restore vitality.

I see so many ways to pray with that idea. This was getting exciting! To my surprise, Mrs. Eddy did not use the word revive in Science and Health, but it is in some of her other writings. In a newspaper clipping included in Pulpit and Press there is this reference: "The power of Christ has been dormant in mankind for ages, " added the speaker, "and it was Mrs. Eddy's mission to revive it." Another reference is in Mrs. Eddy's article entitle 'The Way', found in Miscellaneous Writings on page 355. "Less teaching and good healing is to-day the acme of "well done;" a healing that is not guesswork, - chronic recovery ebbing and flowing, - but instantaneous cure. This demonstration of Science must be revived."

This gives me lot to think about and pray with today. We all have moments when we seem to wilt under the attack of sin, sickness, lack of supply or love, loss of well being. How soothing to know that God, divine Love, is standing by to shower us with grace, to revive our drooping faith, to restore us to health and happiness, to meet every human need. We flourish in His 'garden'.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

What does the man at the pool of Bethesda have in common with the leper who came to Jesus for healing?

As I prayed this morning I was surprised to find that I was thinking about the man at the pool of Bethesda and Jesus healing a man with leprosy. I wondered what they had in common, for both got their healing, one of a problem of 38 years standing, the other of what was considered an incurable disease.

It occurred to me that the man at the pool still had hope. He had been struggling with his physical problem for a long time, Jesus was aware of that when he saw him waiting beside the pool. Despite the many years, the tenacity of that error, he went there day after day, with the hope that today might be the day he would get his healing. In the presence of the Christ, he got his healing.

The leper, shunned by all, forced by law to keep  his distance from others, approached Jesus. He knelt before him and said, 'if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean'. He had not given up hope that even this incurable disease could be healed by the Christ. And he was healed.

In both cases Jesus viewed the men with compassion. I love what Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health about what Jesus saw when he looked at the people who came to him for healing. "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick". (S&H 476)

The kingdom of heaven is within each of us because we are God's children. Truth and Love reign in us, filling all space with good. There is no place for disease or error to take hold. There is only the substance of Spirit so there is no matter to cope with. No matter in the form of disease, no matter in the form of a body to host it, no such thought in divine Mind to even think such a thing is possible or believe in it at all. There is nothing that needs to be removed or corrected. In Science there is just the perfect man, made in the image and likeness of God. God never changes so the reflection always stays the same.

 "I am the Lord, I change not;" (Malachi 3:6). You are My child, you change not.
"The Christian Science God is universal, eternal, divine Love, which changeth not and causeth no evil, disease, nor death." (S&H 140) This is how we see God in Science, this is how we should see ourselves and others.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Excuse me, but Peter's at the door

This week's Bible Lesson includes Peter's escape from prison. He had been arrested and condemned to die. King Herod was to have him brought out and executed the next morning. The disciples had gathered and 'prayer was made without ceasing' by the members of the church.

This story is recorded in Acts, so it is Luke telling it as he must have heard it from Peter himself.

Peter was asleep, bound in chains, with guards on either side of him. They had also fallen asleep. There was no need to stay alert as the prison keepers were also on duty. But God sent an angel to Peter. The angel 'smote him on the side', and raised him up. As Peter stood up his chains fell off. The angel has him get dressed and put on his shoes. Then they leave the prison, passing through several wards to the outer gate. Pete thinks he is dreaming. The gate opens of its own accord and Peter is outside the prison. The angel leads him through several more streets and then departs.

At this point Peter is able to make his way to the house of Mary, mother of John, where many were gathered praying for Peter. The details Luke includes are so wonderful. Although it is not in this Lesson it is worth reading the rest of it. Peter knocks at the door and a damsel named Rhoda answers it. There are few places in the Bible where women are mentioned by  name. How sweet that this young girl is mentioned.

She is so excited to hear Peter's voice that she leaves him standing outside and runs to tell the others. What do the others do? Are they as excited as she is? Do they jump up and go to get Peter? No! They tell her she is mad. She continues to affirm that it was really him. Doesn't that sound authentic, a child insisting something is true to an unbelieving adult? But these people had been praying for Peter's safety and HE WAS OUTSIDE, but they didn't believe their prayers had been answered.

Meanwhile Peter keeps knocking. They open the door and are astonished! He shushes them and explains how the Lord had worked this rescue. He asks them to go tell James and he himself goes somewhere else.

How often do we pray and pray about something and then are not receptive to the answered prayer? If someone says we are healed, we tell them they are mad or mistaken. Or shush them, saying not to bother us, we are praying?  God sends his angels, His messengers, His messages, and answers our prayers.

Are you listening? Be prepared to 'go answer the door'.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

discipleship and signs following

As I study this week's Bible Lesson on Christian Science I am struck by the many references to discipleship. Have you ever wished you could have been one of Jesus' students or heard him teach or seen him heal? Have you ever wished you could have met Mrs. Eddy, heard her preach, been in one of her classes? I certainly have. But what I am discovering in my on-going study of Christian Science and the Bible is that as I strive to understand the Gospels and continue reading Science and Health consecutively...that does make me one of Jesus' disciples, one of Mrs. Eddy's students.

The Lesson brings out how the disciples were able to demonstrate and apply Jesus' teachings, follow his example, and heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Mrs. Eddy was a devoted follower of Jesus and as the Science of Christianity dawned on her thought she too began to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. She even raised Calving Frye from death, as Peter had been able to do with Dorcas. Signs following.

Both Jesus and Mrs. Eddy had such love for all mankind. They just loved unconditionally. I was just reading a passage in the new amplified We Knew Mary Baker Eddy book about how she reached out to one of her wayward students, one who was actively opposing her, and invited her to come to Pleasant View. She spent the next two days praying for their meeting. The woman did not come and therefore did not get the healing she needed but Mrs. Eddy was so willing to just love her despite the animosity.

Peter had been paying attention when Jesus raised Jairus' daughter from death. He was willing to go to those disciples who were grieving over the loss of this dear woman who had been so loving. All they wanted to do was show him all the lovely things she had made but he did not want to get caught up in their display. He put them all out, as Jesus had put out the wailing mourners. Then he kneeled down, facing away from the body. When his own thought was clear, he turned back to her and spoke to her, obviously expecting her to hear and respond. And she did. Signs following.

How many 'signs following' will we be demonstrating today? A good student will pay attention to his teacher and then put it into practice. Christian Science practice. That's what we should all be doing. With signs following.

These signs shall follow them that believe. Are we expecting that to be true today? It is what Jesus expected of his disciples and what Mrs. Eddy expected from her students. Healing. Seeing man as spiritual and perfect. With signs following.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Dash poem

Please forgive the long silence. There has been much going on over the past few months on several fronts. We are just back from a drive down to Texas to attend the Memorial service of a dear family member. This was the first time our youngest 'grands' have been close to the passing of a grand parent and part of a gathering of this nature. It was beautifully and thoughtfully arranged to accommodate several different religions, it was well attended by a variety of people, the stories shared were inspiring. He touched so many lives and is remembered with respect and love.

One speaker shared a poem I was not familiar with. I would like to get back to blogging on a regular basis and sharing this with you has prompted me to do so. You will enjoy reading it again, if you already know it, and may be inspired by it, if it is new to you, as it was to me.

The Dash
by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak at the service of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning . . . to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represented all the time that she spent alive on earth
and now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars. . .the house. . .the cash.
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard, are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough to consider what 's true and real
and always try to understand the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash might only last a while.

So when your eulogy is being read with your life's actions to rehash,
would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?

Live your dash today. But as you continue your study and application of Christian Science know that your life is with God, who created you in His image and likeness. You are the reflection of His being, the expressing of Love. Your life is eternal, without beginning or end. But as you are working out your ability to see and demonstrate this, let your 'dash' be filled with blessing and being blessed by God.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Spring cleaning or clearing out was isn't useful or beautiful

This morning I was reading an entry in Sarah Ban Breathnach's devotional, Simple Abundance. She was talking about taking time to look around your home, being grateful for it just as it is, but also asking yourself if your possessions are useful or beautiful. This time of year, when I can open the windows and let in fresh spring air and give everything a good cleaning, I take a good look at just what I have accumulated around me. This usually prompts a deep look in thought as well. What have I accumulated that should really be discarded?

The passage in Simple Abundance turned this to a more spiritual outlook as well. She writes: "There is an ancient metaphysical law that says if we desire more abundance in our lives we must create a vacuum to allow ourselves to receive the good we seek. How can more good come into our lives if there is no room for it"?  A fair question but as a student of Christian Science I can see another way to work with this, from the standpoint of God's ever-present love that is constantly pouring out good and blessings for each of His children.

Part of my daily work for myself is to take the time to pause and look around my 'house'. Mrs. Eddy gives a spiritual interpretation for 'house' as 'spiritual consciousness'. So I strive to start each day with a little bit of mental housecleaning. Have I truly let go of any false thinking from the days or weeks before or am I carrying wrong opinion about myself or others into this new day? We should expect spiritual progress as we study our Bible Lesson, read Science and Health, and appreciate the articles and testimonies in our periodicals. We should expect healing to be occurring at church and at home. We should be on the alert to see and appreciate the good happening all around us. I want the things around me to reflect who I am, what I love, and that is a direct effect of how I am thinking about God and my relationship with Him.

Today I focused on the last section of this week's Bible Lesson. What am I learning? How to turn thought into new and healthy channels. Sounds like a breath of fresh air. How, as God's beloved daughter, I am always beautiful and grand. What fun to think of myself that way. How to see each successive stage of my experience with new views of divine goodness and love. How to feel the joy of all that and go through each day with a smile. I will make it a goal to be sure I am clearing out of thought what is not useful or beautiful. I will be alert to ask myself, 'is this a useful thought, is this a beautiful thought'?

The spring flowers are fading here in Elsah but outside my sliding glass door is a small circular garden of peonies, with big round buds ready to burst out in shades of pink. I anticipate bringing some of those inside for the whole family to enjoy. They are both useful and beautiful. As are the things I am learning as I continue my study of Christian Science.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Broken cisterns or limitless good?

Once again we have a Bible Lesson filled with thought-provoking questions. Once again we are provided with answers that will promote spiritual growth.

"Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?" This is Proverbs 23:5.  Just what are we choosing to see when we look at ourselves, someone else, or a challenging situation. This first section of the Lesson continues with more questions about why a nation or its people would turn away from our Father Mother God. The answer provided is one to think about. They committed two errors; they chose to forsake God and instead built cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water. To forsake is to leave altogether, to abandon. Sounds pretty dramatic, but there are times when we choose to abandon what we know to be true about God's wonderful creation and totally accept a material, flawed creation as the reality. We do not look to Him for comfort and healing, we choose another path. Maybe we think this particular claim can't or won't yield through prayer. Maybe we have given it our best effort but there has not been improvement. You have made your request of God, but the answer does not come. This is where the cisterns come in.

Dummelow's Bible Commentary explains, "God's blessing, under the figure of fresh water as supplied by a spring or rivulet, is contrasted with the vanity of serving idols, which is as devoid of profit as is a cracked reservoir (dug to collect rain water) for that which it is intended to supply". The Prophet is cautioning the people who have turned away from God to worship idols. Have we turned away from God to worship the material body, ours or someone else's? Have we decided to depend on other sources for supply? That will not provide what we need. Trusting in matter just doesn't hold water.

So the first section speaks to me about being true to the model God has created and maintained. My spiritual identity as His perfect image and likeness. Do you still use bar soap in the shower? Pick up a bar of Dial soap to be a daily reminder; Divine Image And Likeness.

I like Mrs. Eddy's description of a sculptor, molding and chiseling thought. What model are we holding up before ourselves and have we accepted a false model? Are we doing that about someone else? That only leads to following a downward path, limiting our capabilities, accepting a bad outline. The answer lies in changing our point of view, turning our gaze in the right direction and then holding to the true model in thought so we can live a good life.

Don't waste your life trusting in broken cisterns. Whatever they seem to offer just runs out, leaks away, fails to supply or satisfy. Choose instead to rely on the ever-present goodness of God who pours out blessings all the time. See the good in yourself and others. See it because that is what God has done and He saw it as very good. That has not changed, only our focus can make it seem like it has. Adjust our focus for a clearer, truer picture. What comes into focus is worth the effort.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pondering the questions...and your own answers.

This week we are studying one of our Bible Lessons that poses a question. That prompted me to consider the other questions included as well. We are students of Christian Science and should be learning something each week. More of the truth about God and our relationship to Him should be clearer and clearer. And we should be expecting and experiencing healing. If someone asked you these questions, how would you answer them?

Question. Are sin, disease, and death real?
Answer. No. Why not? Because God never made them and He maintains His creation perfectly.

Question. What is this supposed power, which opposes itself to God? Whence cometh it? What is it the binds man with iron shackles to sin, sickness, and death?
Answer. Whatever enslaves man is opposed to the divine government. Truth makes man free.

Question. What is that in thine hand?
Answer. A rod. When God tells Moses to throw it on the ground, it appears to turn into a serpent, and Moses runs from it. But in reality it is still and always has been a rod. What he thought he saw was an illusion. The illusion of Moses lost its power to alarm him. God has lessened his fear of its reality.

Question. Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Answer. The power of Christian Science and divine Love is omnipotent. It is indeed adequate to unclasp the hold and to destroy disease, sin, and death. ( Am I claiming this every day and demonstrating it in my own life?)

Question. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servant to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Answer. Let the slave of wrong desire learn the lessons of Christian Science, and he will get the better of that desire, and ascend a degree in the scale of health, happiness, and existence. (Am I alert to 'wrong desires' and abstractions)

Question. Is it possible, then, to believe that the evils which Jesus lived to destroy are real or the offspring of the divine will?
Answer. Find a sovereign antidote for error in the life-giving power of Truth acting on human belief. (See next question)

Question. How can a Christian, having the stronger evidence of Truth which contradicts the evidence of error, think of the latter as real or true, either in the form of sickness or of sin?
Answer. All must admit that Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life," and that omnipotent Truth certainly does destroy error. (What am I admitting, letting into my life, accepting as real?)

Question. Who dares to doubt this consummate test of the power and willingness of divine Mind to hold man forever intact in his perfect state, and to govern man's entire action?
Answer. That is the question we each must answer.

This week's Lesson is like sitting in on one of Mrs. Eddy's classes. There is much to think about and many false beliefs to challenge and overcome. Don't dismiss the questions lightly. Look into your heart, see the serpent illusion as unreal, break off false shackles for yourself and those around you, find that sovereign antidote, admit Truth.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Golden image or true image and likeness

Today I am praying about golden images. Our Bible Lesson this week, on Unreality, starts each section with a reminder not to be deceived. The three Hebrew men were not deceived when the king created a gigantic golden statue and made a law that everyone had to bow down to it and worship it. They knew there is only one God and we do not bow down or worship any other. Jealous men, hoping to see them punished, reported their behavior to the king. He is furious when they still refuse to obey his ruling, even when faced with a burning fiery furnace. "When they get tossed into it, the only thing that gets destroyed are the ropes binding them. They walk around freely and the Son of God is with them.

Our world is constantly setting up 'golden images' that it expects us to bow down to and worship. If we do not stay alert, we can buy right into that mindset. Like the image of 'golden years' that claims certain things should be part of our life during those decades. We should have built up some kind of financial plan or retirement benefit. If we are not yet to that point, we should be planning for it because if we don't how ever will we maintain a good standard of living. Every magazine at the check out stand shows a 'golden image' of what a man or a woman should look like. The issue is filled with exercise plans and diet suggestions to help us have that image. How does one combat all these aggressive mental suggestions? Keep your eye and your thoughts on God. God, good, the only cause and creator. God, divine Love, who meets every human need. God, Principle, the law of ever present good.

When those men came out of that furnace, untouched by the flames, their hair was not singed, their clothing was intact, the fire had been unable to hurt them. Not even the smell of smoke remained as a reminder of the ordeal. God sent His angel and delivered them. The king, the jealous counselors, all the people, saw what happened....and what did not happen. How are your family, friends and co-workers seeing you? Are you a bright, happy person, filled with confidence, always expecting blessings for yourself and those around you? Do you look at others' experience and see them threatened, bowing down to a false god, or do you take a moment to see that they have the power and understanding to face down that picture. 

We honor the words of Genesis One where God saw everything (and everyone) that He had made and it (and they) were very good, made in His own image and likeness. We should be claiming that image and likeness daily, hourly if need be. We should never bow down to a false god. No one can make you do that so never give your consent. Lift your eyes and see what your God can do. He can deliver you from any and all false gods and silly laws. Mrs. Eddy says that 'Enslavement of any kind is not legitimate'. What God did in the fiery furnace, the lions' den, and in kings' palaces so long ago He can and will do today.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Admit or not admit, that is the question.

Our branch church recently hosted a wonderful lecture by Suzanne Riedel entitled Security and Living Without Fear. It was filled with inspiration and good examples of how to do that. One thing I took away with me was her references to 'admit'. I was reminded of it this week in our Bible Lesson on Unreality which focuses on not being deceived by what the material senses are presenting.

Admit has several meanings. Let in. Open the door to. Allow to enter. Give right of entry. Take in. Welcome. Accept. Those sound positive. Admit can also mean to permit, grant, tolerate, bear. Those sound a bit more negative and unhelpful, if not unhealthy. Admit can also be to approve of, to accept, to go along with.

In the first section of the Lesson there is this from I Corinthians beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.  That is something worth admitting. From Science and Health, page 277....If  goodness and spirituality are real, evil and materiality are unreal and cannot be the outcome of an infinite God, good.  That is also something worth admitting. It is an interesting way to look at the Lesson, watching for those citations that alert us to what we might be admitting as real or unreal. The same section another passage from Science and Health says this...."We lost the high signification of omnipotence, when after admitting that God, or good, is omnipresent and has all-power, we still believe there is another power, named evil (page 469).

There are dozens of places in her writings where Mrs. Eddy uses the words admit, admits, admitted, admittedly, and admitting. I may spend some time today looking those up and pondering what she says. During my most recent rereading of our textbook I spent extra time with the chapter, Christian
Science Practice, and on page 392 there is a reference. "Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously".

There is an interesting conversation between error and good in Unity of Good, starting on page 21. On the next page Good says, "Thou shalt not admit that error is something to know or be known, to eat or be eaten, to see or be seen, to feel or to be felt. To admit the existence of error would be to admit the truth of a lie". That is also something worth admitting.

Be alert today to what you are admitting, accepting as truth, and what you might be admitting into thought that is not true or real. "Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought" (S&H 495).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Give of your heart's rich overflow

This week's Bible Lesson on Matter includes the story of Peter and John healing the man who was born lame. How often do we come upon a scene that touches something in us. We are moved by what we are seeing. And we want to give or do something. We can always give...our prayers, our love, our attention, encouragement. Peter 'fastened his eyes' on the man. He did not look away, embarrassed for a man who had spent his whole life begging. He did not shrink from the picture, he addressed the situation. He was not overwhelmed by the great need, he responded by giving what he had, a clear understanding of that man's true identity, his completeness, his ability to rise up from a lifetime of limitation. Right where the need seemed to be, Peter offered the healing solution.

The man must have been looking around to all who entered into the temple, not really focusing on those passing by. Peter tells him to 'look on us'. He got his attention. and then he prepared thought to be receptive for the healing. Certainly that was not what the man was expecting. He just wanted some money. But Peter lifted his thought and then took him by the hand and lifted him right out of that lie.

We know how the man responded. He felt strength where there had never been strength before. He was, for the first time in his life, able to stand on his own two feet. Did he run home to share this amazing thing? No. He went with them into the temple, where he had not been able to go before, walking, leaping and praising God. Giving loud and joyous gratitude to God. I have to think Peter and John were feeling pretty happy as well.

Christian Science allows us to change any false picture because it is not us doing it, but God. He is the only cause and Creator. And all He creates and does is good. Constant unconditional love from Love. The truth of our identity as Truth is always being expressed. How wonderful to see thought stirred from a wrong concept to a change of base. Our spiritual foundation. The bedrock that cannot be shaken.

Today I will work with hymn 139. It begins...I walk with Love along the way. And in the third verse it says....give of your heart's rich overflow.

Come walk with Love today.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

what are they among so many?

Often when I am studying our weekly Bible Lesson, especially when I am going to be teaching Sunday school, I like to go through and notice the questions. They make good conversation starters and a good jumping off point for further study and prayer.

This week's lesson on Substance contains several good questions. The Responsive Reading includes the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes. A large crowd of over 5,000 people had gathered to hear Jesus teach. He asked his disciple Philip 'where shall we buy bread that these may eat'? They were far from any markets. Jesus already knew what he was going to do but he was making this demonstration so that his students would see the unlimited supply provided by divine Love. Another disciple, Andrew, asks him a question in return. A lad had offered to share his five loaves and two fish but 'what are they among so many'?

Have you ever sat down to pay your monthly bills and there seemed to be a whole  multitude accumulated? Maybe about $5,000 worth? I have. It can seem daunting, especially if you don't have that much money in your check book or savings account. You can pay some of them, perhaps five loaves and two fishes worth, but 'what is that among so many'? Faced with a tall pile of bills I just took the one off the top and gratefully wrote a check.  I took a moment to thank God that I was able to pay that one and expressed gratitude for the paycheck I was currently getting and the job that I loved. There was about 'five loaves and two fishes' worth of money left so I wrote out a few more bills and mailed them off. But 'what was that among so many'? Before I left my desk I took each one of those unpaid bills and was truly grateful for what each represented. It was right for those obligations to be met, I wanted to meet them, especially the one that was from a practitioner. I prayed until I was confident that Love would answer the need, just as it did that day Jesus fed his multitude. Later that day an unexpected check arrived in the mail and I was able to send off a few more bills. By the end of the week, all of them had been paid from different sources. And I had some left over!

Another question I am pondering comes from section two where David and his men return to the city of Ziklag to find that his enemies have attacked and taken everyone captive, including two of David's wives. David was upset and his men were angry with him because their families and property had been taken. David found encouragement when he prayed. He asks God (here's the question), "Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them?'. This is a response to a problem that yields a healing solution. God assures him that he will overtake them and will recover all. And that is exactly what happens. Do we have that same type of response when faced with a sudden situation? Pray first, take it to God. Then follow His directing. You, too, can 'recover all'.

There are several more excellent questions in this Bible Lesson and all lead to a clearer understanding of true substance and a promise that ... the goodness of God endureth continually. Or as it asks in Isaiah 14:27...The Lord of Hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What about migraines? Well, Aunt Tootsie, let me tell you about that.

Last night I gave a testimony in our church service and I'd like to share it here as well.

Christian Science came into my life when I was in my early twenties. I had not been studying it long when I knew I wanted to join The Mother Church and a local branch church. But at that time I was still holding on to some bad habits and long held beliefs. It was not hard to give up drinking alcohol as I had never done much of that. It was also fairly easy to stop smoking. Again, I had not been doing that for very long and mostly because I thought it made me seem older and sophisticated with my co-workers. But choosing to rely completely on Christian Science for my health and well being was another matter altogether.

I had been a very sickly child, often at the doctor's office for shots and prescriptions for medicine. My relatives were familiar with my missing lots of school and dealing with frequent ailments. So they were quite surprised at my new direction. And not a little worried. I was reading Science and Health and gaining so many new and wonderful insights about God and my  relationship to Him as His beloved child, made in His image and likeness, perfect as the Original I reflected. The reading room was nearby and I spent many hours studying and asking the librarians questions. They were patient and loving and met me where I was in thought. But the two most helpful avenues at that time were the Christian Science Monitor and the Wednesday evening church services.

When the Monitor arrived in our mailbox I eagerly turned to the metaphysical article that appeared daily. While Science and Health seemed difficult to grasp, these articles were written at such an accessible level that I was always inspired. I looked forward to them and cut many out to save and ponder. Nowadays I love sharing current Monitor articles with others who are new to Christian Science and/or those who want to pray about world issues.

The Wednesday evening meetings were such a revelation! Ordinary people, friends I was just getting to know, would stand up and share experiences and remarks about how they were applying the teachings of Christian Science to any and all problems or challenges. And they were getting healed! I also fell in love with the hymnal and found so many both simple and profound ideas in the hymns. I work with a different hymn every day and keep a paperback hymnal in the car.

As I would go back to family gatherings, my relatives could see how my life was being changed for the better. But they had reservations. Some of them had been able to stop drinking or smoking by one means or another so that was not so spectacular. But all of them relied on medicine and they just couldn't imagine how I could get by without it. One of my aunties, who had sat in a darkened room with me many a time in childhood, asked how I was able to bear my migraine headaches. I told her I had not had a migraine in twenty years. (If she were still around I could extend that to forty years now) I shared with her how I had worked with a Christian Science practitioner and being healed of those migraines and this was the best part. Once healed, they never returned! That impressed her.

Sometimes I forget how truly blessed I am in all the freedom I experience and express in my life. So many limitations overcome. So much spiritual progress. My life is anything but dull and it is good to understand that God is the source of all the goodness and blessings.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Elijah - maybe he should not have slain the prophets

The story of Elijah and his contest with the 450 prophets of Baal is a familiar one so I decided to look a little deeper this morning for something new. When the children of Israel were divided in their loyalty and tempted to follow Baal worship Elijah demands that they choose whether they would follow Baal or God, you cannot serve both. A contest of sorts followed and the prophets of Baal called upon their god unsuccessfully while Elijah got an impressive display of God's power. Had he left it there and gathered the people together for teaching things might have gone differently. But he chose to slaughter the 450 prophets. God had already shown His power, Elijah did not need to show his.  Queen Jezebel reacts to the insult to her religion and the death of her prophets by promising to do the same to Elijah within 24 hours and he runs for his life. How odd. He had just seen an impressive display of God's power but he seems to think God cannot, or will not, now protect him from Jezebel. It is somewhat like Peter, who stood up to those who came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and within 24 hours denies him three times.

Elijah escaped into the wilderness beyond Jezebel's reach. Exhausted and upset he sat down under a tree and gives in to despair and self condemnation. He must have felt that he deserved no help from God for his act against those 450 men. (We saw such a different way of dealing with that kind of threat in the Bible Lesson a few weeks ago when Elisha spares his enemies, treats them with kindness, and sends them home.) So there sits Elijah, just wanting to die. At this point God sends an angel to encourages him to rise up and take nourishment from the food and drink provided. He does so but then just goes back to sleep. The angel comes a second time and now Elijah begins '40 days and 40 nights' in a wilderness experience. But at least now he is moving forward and headed for Mount Horeb, a holy place. When he gets there he has stopped asking to die but chooses to live in a cave, he does not ask for forgiveness nor is he willing to take up his mantle and go back to teach the people. Now God himself comes to him. I love His question, "Elijah, what are you doing here?"

There have been times when I have felt that cave experience, just wanting to be left alone to go over and over a mistake I made. But God has not left me there either. He asks me the same question, what are you doing here? I have work for you to do. In Elijah's case He had shown him His great power, I have had some remarkable healing in my life as well. Why do we choose to give up when there is so much good God wants us to do? God tells him to come outside and watch. Then Elijah sees that God is not in the earthquake, wind, or fire, but is that still, small voice of Truth. And he is ready to return to doing what God has planned for him to do. As I was ready to learn from my experiences and trust my life to God's keeping.

That still small voice reaches us even in the darkest places and times, when we are most fearful. God is always talking to us, we must choose. Do we take retribution in our own hands? If we make a mistake do we go hide in some mental or physical cave or do we choose instead to be still and listen. God already knows what we need and He supplies it. He is always with us, even in our wilderness moments. Especially in our wilderness moments.

How grateful I am for all the wisdom and practical applications of what we study in our Bible Lessons. Even the great ones had testing times. Maybe that is part of what helped them to become great. It is what we take from that experience that lift us higher into a better and closer relationship with God. Next time I am tempted to 'slay the prophets' I will remember Elijah and choose instead to listen for the still, small voice.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Which path are you choosing to follow today?

This week's Bible Lesson on Mind is outstanding. It is just filled with encouragement and practical examples of how we can be blessed and guided as we choose what path to follow each day.

Abram unselfishlessly let Lot choose the part of the land where he would settle. God had lead them this far and Abram was completely confident that he and his family would be provided for. He chose to step aside and let God be in charge. And he found a way to resolve their situation with generous words and actions. No enmity or hard feelings on either side.

Elijah stood bravely against the 450 prophets of Baal to show the people which God was the true God. And they witnessed fire coming down from heaven in a clear demonstration of God's power. But when threatened by the queen Elijah took to his heels and ran for his life. He chose to leave the people he was supposed to teach and instead hid out in a cave. God sent angels to provide for him and then visited him Himself so that he could see God's power and hear the 'still, small voice' that assured him of his safety and usefulness. Elijah went back to the work God was preparing him to do. Elijah chose to be unselfish and return to help others know more about God's great love.

Several young men brought their paralyzed buddy to Jesus for healing. They did not doubt for a moment that Jesus was able to do this but at first it appeared that they could not get to him because of the great crowd. They chose to find another way in and their friend got his healing. Pretty unselfish behavior. The man who had been carried in walked out on his own, completely healed of the paralysis and with his sins forgiven.

Jesus is sleeping on a ship when a tempest arises and threatens the life of all those aboard. They waken him in great fear and he rebukes the wind, calming the sea. Jesus was familiar with the Psalms and understood how God leads us beside still waters. He knew how to 'be still and know that I am God' right in the midst of any threat. He chose the path of prayer with confidence. He understood God's control. He did not just save his own life, he saved everyone around him.

Near the end of the Lesson we read how Paul advised the Philippians to "look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others'. I will be looking for opportunities to be more unselfish in my daily activities. To be sure I am loving my neighbor. To keep my promise to 'watch and pray for that Mind to be in me which was also in Christ Jesus. To apply the Golden Rule.

This should be a really great week.