Friday, May 27, 2016


I am always delighted when our old friend Nehemiah shows up in our Bible Lesson.

This week's topic has rather a long title: Ancient and Modern Necromancy, Alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced.  This was a hot topic during Mrs. Eddy's time and it is very applicable to the challenges we face today with world wide media and instant access - whether you want it or not - to horrific events. Basically, it is how not to be fooled. Two examples are given, Nehemiah's experience and Jesus encounter with the insane man in the tombs.

Nehemiah has gotten permission from the King to return to Jerusalem, which is lying in ruins. He sees the importance of rebuilding the walls as a defense from the surrounding peoples who want her left defenseless. It is heart breaking to read about the many peoples around the world who are faced with a similar situation today with their cities left in ruins by war.

Before taking any action Nehemiah prayers and waits for divine guidance. In each instance he knows just what he needs to do or say.

When he first arrives he doesn't tell anyone what he is doing there. This is a wise course of action as there will be instant resistance, even from some who he wants to help, and especially from those who want his project to fail. This is sound practice for us to follow as we choose to take the higher path during challengse and decide to handle it with prayer.

His enemies try everything they can think of to discourage him and turn the people against him. They plan an attack against the work. They try to distract Nehemiah and get him to stop working.  They spread malicious rumors. None of it works and the building project is finished in an incredible 52 days. Almost as incredible as getting all those citizens to willing do the hard work.

There is much to study and appreciate in Nehemiah's story and much of practical use for our own challenges. Is there a 'wall' in your experience that needs rebuilding?  A 'wall' that is malfunctioning within your body? A 'wall' that seems to be blocking your progress?

Some walls need to come tumbling down. Some walls need to be rebuilt. Whatever the situation appears to be, take a Nehemiah approach and pray first. Turn to God, trusting in His goodness, His willingness to comfort, guard and guide you.

hymn 105 - first verse:

Help to help each other, Lord,
Each other's cross to bear;
Let each his friendly aid afford,
And feel his brother's care.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Them's fighting words

That's what we used to say as kids when the neighborhood divided into teams and had mock battles.
This week's Bible Lesson is full of ammunition to use against the attempt of error or mortal mind to fool us into accepting its suggestions that there is another power than God, good, and that it can control and harm us.

Here are some of the words used in the Lesson to describe how Truth deals with lies and liars:

Exterminates = get rid of by destroying completely
Despoils = to deprive something by force
Excision = to remove
Open siege = surrounding and blockading
Render fruitless = render is to surrender or relinquish = no fruitage
Annihilate = to destroy completely

Fighting words indeed.

There are those out there who would try to fool and deceive with the intent of frightening or overpowering. A wise person is not fooled by these lies and illusions. It's so easy to see right through them when we are intimately familiar with just who and what God, good, is and understand the allness of His presence. He is God alone and there is none else, no matter how loud or how often the lies are repeated. We don't have to listen to them, much less obey them. We do not bow down to deception. We have our guard up and our eyes open.

Mesmerism and hypnotism can no power or effect on us, no matter how subtle or blatant the attempt. But we need to guard our thoughts and actions faithfully. Recognize what a liar the illusionist is and you see right through the trick.

I look forward to spending time with Nehemiah this week as he faces just such attempts as he leads the people in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. And I love the story of Jesus and the insane man running loose in the tombs.

Those took place long ago as related in the Old Testament and the New but that type of thing is still here today weaving webs meant to snare  and ensnare those who do not keep their defenses active. We have a mighty arsenal available to us from the Bible and Science and Health.

It is up to us how we use it.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

flowers and birds

The Responsive Reading in this week's Bible Lesson on Soul and Body has given me much to think about today. This new train of thought was sparked by reading the excellent metaphysical article posted by CedarSCamp. Kathy Fitzer CS always has in interesting and inspiring take on the Lesson and I love what she says about birds and flowers.

"Jesus reminds his listeners of what a great job God has done of taking care of His creation. Looking around at nature, we don't see the flowers and birds worrying about how they look, comparing themselves with others around them to see how they match up, or fearing how their needs will be met the next day. Surely God is providing for our needs just as abundantly and beautifully!".

Jesus has just pointed out that none of us can serve two masters. There are only two kinds of people, those who serve God and those who serve the world. You can't do both. A worldly person is weighed down with care (having trouble with your weight?) and fearful that his plans for the future with go awry or something he loves will be taken away or his source of income will vanish. His undivided devotion is with material things and not centered on God.

This is not to condone sitting back and just waiting for good things to happen. Jesus says that we must seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness first and foremost.

God provides for the birds without expecting them to labor on their part. Dummelow says in his Bible Commentary: "Have you ever seen beast or fowl that had a workshop? and yet they are fed without trouble of mind. He also says: "Our Lord regarded cheerfulness and joy and the absence of care and anxiety as the mark of a true Christian who puts his trust in God".

We recently put out our hummingbird feeders and refilled the rest of the feeders as well. So as I stand in the kitchen I can see lots of birds, chipmunks and squirrels in the backyard feasting. And they reward us with sweet songs. It is a reminder to me to be more joyful and appreciative as I go about my day alert to all the good God is providing. For me and for everyone else.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Beginning the study of Psalm 91

I just got back from giving an Association address in Washington DC, the fourth in four years. Each one was different and brought me much spiritual growth. I am so very grateful for this time of study and prayer. Nothing else is scheduled at this time so I was listening for what I could be doing to continue a daily focus. The answer that came was to study Psalm 91 one of the  most beloved of the Psalms.

When I begin a study in the Bible I like to get a sense of where it fits in the overall search for God. Psalms is placed just about in the middle of the Old Testament. It is a collection of 150 compositions described as prayers and praises addressed to God, not used for sanctuary worship. From The Reforming Power of the Scriptures I learned: "From the time of Moses through the tribal confederacy, the elements of this faith was transmitted orally, in the form of stories, hymns, prophetic oracles, poetry, and the wise sayings known as Proverbs. Although the art of writing had been practiced in the fertile crescent as early as 2000 BC these oral traditions weren't written down until later. The poetic psalms clearly sprang from deep feelings toward Yahweh. There were hymns of exultant praise, laments reached out to Yahweh from the depths of despair, and songs expressing the pure joy of life in Yahweh's courts.

Finally, a generation after the crucifixion of Jesus, militant Jews rallied for one last all-or-nothing effort to throw off Roman rule. The result was crushing defeat. The Temple was destroyed, never again to be rebuilt. Most Jews left Jerusalem for other lands in what has seen been called the Diaspora. Only a few stragglers remained. The only way to preserve any sense of national identity or unity in the face of these overwhelming odds was to preserve for all time the Holy Scriptures - the writings that recorded the unique love covenant between the Hebrew people and Yahweh. The Jews selected which of the many texts available  would stand in the final Hebrew Biblia, or group of 'little books.' And they arranged these books in an order approved by their Rabbis or teachers. So the Hebrew Bible, known to Christians as the Old Testament, was complete, as far as the Hebrew people were concerned.

In A Commentary on the Holy Bible edited by Dummelow, XXL is an abbreviation for The Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament. It attributes Psalm 91 to David.

Psalm 91 describes the safety of those who trust in God, and may have a special reference to the nation of Israel at a time when other nations were involved in calamity. The dangers that threatened Babylon toward the end of the exile have been suggested as a probable occasion for it.

Psalm 91 was very dear to our Leader. In 1898, Mrs. Eddy used the 91st Psalm for an address she delivered at Christian Science Hall in Concord. One of the local newspapers, People and Patriot, reported: "When the time came for Mrs. Eddy to speak, she stepped forward gracefully to the desk designed for her, and read the 91st Psalm, without using glasses. . . . She spoke extemporaneously, bringing out especially the theory of Christian Science applied to practical life, and she explained the doctrines of her faith with such simplicity, and yet with such choice language and richness of illustration, that the address was pronounced one of the most instructive and ennobling ever delivered in this city. (From the collection of The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity)

I look forward to spending quiet time with this Psalm and will study each verse, listening for inspiration and guidance for ways to make it a part of my life. I welcome any insights you might wish to share!