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 life....how 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."