Thursday, May 21, 2015

Which superstructure are you claiming?

Our Bible Lesson this week, Soul and Body, has much to say about the temple of the living God, that's us. I noticed the word 'superstructure' is used twice in the first section so I looked it up in the dictionary. A superstructure rises from a firm foundation. Mrs. Eddy expands that to be a firm foundation of Truth. Putting that together with the idea of each of us being the temple of the living God I see wonderful applications.

Since we are standing on a firm foundation of Truth, the truth about the allness and goodness of God and His creation, that handles any claim of foot problems or inability to stand on one's own two feet, physically or metaphorically. In essence, error doesn't have a leg to stand on!

The temple has not only a firm foundation but a strong and perfect inner structure, similar to the way a skeleton supports the physical body. This support removes any suggestions of spinal problems or weak bones. Man is upright, pure and free.

Now I am going back over the rest of the Lesson for other references to temple. This week's Christian Science Sentinel includes the Bible Lens, a pull-out section explaining Bible verses. I found this particularly relevant to this morning's search. It says that the people of Paul's world believed that for the gods to be with them the temples dedicated to those gods had to be kept clean and polished. So viewing myself as the temple of God I should be sure my thoughts are clean and pure. You polish a surface if dust has been allowed to settle on, or it has gotten tarnished in some way and you use a soft cloth. That is a hint that I should not allow my 'temple' to get dusty or tarnished with  neglect. When I 'clean up my act' I can do so with a gentle clearing away of old thinking but I should work at it until the beautiful shine is restored.

This is going to be fun.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Don't be afraid of giants

Today I am thinking about the story of Caleb. After leaving the slavery of Egypt behind, Moses and his followers reached the border of the Promised Land. Moses sends scouts ahead to spy out the land and its citizens. Among those sent were Joshua and Caleb. They found a place brimming with milk and honey and mighty citizens. Only Joshua and Caleb advised Moses that they should trust God and move forward. They were outvoted and spent the next forty years wandering around in the desert.

Remember after hundreds of years of slavery they are now suddenly free to worship God but they must put aside and outgrow the gods of Egypt and that life style. They are given the 10 Commandments and time to make them the basis for their new life. Joshua and Caleb made the most of that time and 40 years later were strong and healthy.

What I am pondering today is Caleb's reaction during that first mission. He was not afraid of 'giants'. His people were barely out of slavery and certainly not trained in the art of war. They had no army to protect or defend the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. How could they expect to defeat the people of the Promised Land who were healthy, strong, and well trained in warfare? But he did not doubt God's direction. He was undeterred by what appeared to be a superior force awaiting him.'
I'd like to always have that kind of courage and conviction. I'd like to understand God to be the source of my strength, as I face challenges. Like the garden area of this house we recently moved into. It was neglected for years and the weeds are formidable. Giants, in fact. It seemed like more than I could handle. But as I prayed on how to move forward, I found that I could work on one section at a time and clear it. And the next day I suffered no ill effects for that effort. My strength came from God. And I rejoiced in the time spent outdoors, anticipating what I will be able to plant, and how beautiful this back garden is going to be.

"God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis". (S&H 258)  I can see this passage in a whole new light as I move forward with this garden project.

Thanks Caleb. I find I am not so afraid of 'giants' either.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Have you opened your gift today?

I love to give gifts. I love to receive gifts. It is such fun to not only find the right present for someone, but also to wrap it in pretty or funny paper and add a big bow. I love to savor opening a gift. The 'grands' are content to leave it in the bag the store provided and that's fine too.

Are you aware, and anticipating, your gift from God today? What a wonderful way to start your morning, knowing that God has thoughtfully provided you with a gift, and usually more than one! How do I know that?

It's in the Bible.

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind".
(II Timothy 1:7)  There's three gifts right there.

Are you thirsty, thirsting for more spiritual understanding?

"...every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is a gift of God".
(Ecclesiastes 3:13)

"Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."
(John 4:10)

Do you need saving?
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God".
Ephesians 2:8)

How about supply?
"A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: withersoever it turneth, it prospereth".
(Proverbs 17:8)

From this week's Bible Lesson.
"The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace".
(Psalms 29:11)

And in our hymnal:
"Thou hast the gift of God - dominion over all" (Hymn 382)

There are many more. Look for them in the Bible and be sure and open your gifts today.

The thank you card

When one receives a gift it is customary to send a thank you note. How can we thank our dear Father Mother God for all these amazing gifts? All He asks is for us to be aware that those gifts are ready and waiting to be opened and enjoyed. But I always make sure to pause a moment and tell Him.

Wow! I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened Your gift!
Your gift put a big smile on my face.
I appreciate You  more than words can say, my special friend.
Your gift exceeding my expectations!

"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift". (II Corinthians 9:15)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Jonah thinking

Jonah. Jonah. Seems he has a few things to  learn.

First, he gets a personnel message from God with an assignment. Jonah doesn't want to go to Nineveh. Those people are bad and don't deserve redemption in his opinion. So Jonah books passage on a ship headed in the other direction and heads for Tarshish. So at this point Jonah seems to think he can get away, be out of God's presence, go somewhere where God is not. Mistake number one.

Things don't turn out very well. He ends up getting tossed overboard when his shipmates cast lots and Jonah admits he was running away from God. But not only is God present, He has sent a whale to the rescue. They were too far from land for Jonah to have swum to shore, there was nothing for him to cling on to for a long float to safety. Instead, he ends up in the belly of the whale. But he is safe and now has some time to rethink his decision.

Now he turns to God and prays for forgiveness. He realizes, and fully expects, that God will hear him, even in the fishes belly. God does. Jonah is vomited up onto dry land, given the same assignment, and this time he goes to Nineveh. That great city would have taken Jonah three days to cross so off he goes. A day into his walk, he proclaims to all the citizens that God is going to overthrow them in 40 days. Word gets to the king, who believes this prophecy. He immediately calls for a fast for all the people and animals, a time for them to cry unto God and change their ways. God hears them and they are saved.

Our Bible Lesson does not go any further but there is more to the story. Jonah is greatly annoyed at their redemption and goes out of town to pout. He tells God he'd rather die now. God speaks to him there. God provides a vine with a gourd to give Jonah shade. Then He puts in a worm and the gourd withers. Jonah is angrier than ever. God reasons with him. Jonah felt badly for the gourd and wished it spared, could he not feel that same pity for the sixcore thousand people in Nineveh that had been spared?

What I am thinking about is Jonah's original false belief that there was a place he could hide from God. When we know we should be doing something and chose not to do the right thing, do we sometimes wish we could do the same? But there is no spot where God is not present, where good is not constantly blessing us. God is so much bigger than that.

Have we ever judged someone we know or someone we see on the news and refuse to handle that wrong thought? Maybe we even condemn them and feel they don't deserve to be spared or pardoned, that there is no way they would change their behavior? Jonah-like thinking. Not good.

If that happens, it is wise to recognize our error and change our thinking. I'd rather think of myself as safely floating in an ark than inside the belly of a whale, but no matter how my thoughts might stray into error, God will not let me drown. I do love whales.

Error must always yield to Truth in our thinking or anyone else's. Our own spiritual growth and progress depends on understanding that and mending our ways. Jonah needed the lesson as much as those Ninevites.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

He did it for the Mother

Mother's Day is this weekend. On the radio this morning they were talking about the top 5 gifts to give and the top 5 gifts not to give. Jesus wins hand's down.

This week's Bible Lesson includes the story of Jesus encountering a funeral procession as he and a crowd of followers approached the city of Nain. Earlier Jesus had raised a little girl from death. Her father had travelled to find Jesus and beg him to come to them. That child had loving, concerned parents. As a large party of professional mourners were already busy moaning and wailing when they got there, one can assume that family was well off. Later, Jesus would raise Lazarus from his tomb. This was a young man he knew and loved, as he also loved the sisters. They were surrounded by family and friends.

But this funeral procession, though made up of a crowd, was different. The mother was widowed so there was no husband. This had been her only son, so she was going to be alone and unprotected, with no income. The other instances where Jesus raised someone from the dead did not leave the mother, already in deep mourning, in such dire straits.

One wonders if he was so moved with compassion because he knew what his own mother would soon face. She was not alone, he had brothers although Joseph had died, and a circle of friends, many of them disciples, there is no denying the agony she would endure when he was arrested, beaten, and crucified. The unspeakable experience of seeing him on the cross. She had other sons but this was not only her first born, but one born in extraordinary circumstances.

That may or may not have been on his mind, but he stopped the procession, restored the boy to life, and presented him to his mother. There must have been a great comfort in doing that.

So how timely that it is in our Lesson this week. A gift to Mother's everywhere.