Let God Into Your Universe – Guest Post by Mark Lawson

 

LET GOD INTO YOUR UNIVERSE

By:  Mark M. Lawson

            I sometimes remove God from my universe. Of course, I can’t really do that, but if in my heart I don’t assert God’s presence and influence in every aspect of my life, then I effectively remove him. When this occurs, it is no surprise that I have less peace and more stress. I feel that my life is out of control. Rather than “out of sight, out of mind,” it is more like “out of mind, out of sight.” That is, it seems that God, or good, is nowhere to be found.

         In her primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “In the Saxon and twenty other tongues good is the term for God. The Scriptures declare all that He made to be good, like Himself, — good in Principle and in idea. Therefore the spiritual universe is good, and reflects God as He is.” If God is All-in-all, then there can be nothing beyond illimitable divinity. In God’s all-presence, what else can be present? In the midst of God’s all-power, what else can be powerful? In the Mind that is God, what can be unknown?

            Through Isaiah, God tells us (Isa. 45:5), “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me.” As arrogant mortals sometimes do, I segment my life into different “departments”: spiritual life, work life, and family life. I regularly “permit” God to govern my spiritual life, but sometimes I forget to let Him govern other departments. When this happens, I experience more challenges, stress, and unhappiness. This happened lately.

            I started thinking of my work life in a very limited way. While God was in charge of my spiritual life, I was “in charge” of my work life. The result was that I found myself stressed by work challenges. I kept walking into the barriers of finite thinking, manifest as worry, fear, doubt, and unhappiness. I had been thinking that I was in control of a portion of my universe, when the remedy was to declare and know that God was in control of His universe (and that there was no my universe). I immediately experienced more peace, and problems resolved themselves better than I could have imagined.

         Again, in Science and Health, Eddy writes: “How empty are our conceptions of Deity! We admit theoretically that God is good, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinite, and then we try to give information to this infinite Mind.” I had been trying to handle things on my own, telling God how I wanted things done. God is not limited, but my concept of Him had been limited. When I opened my thought to know things as He knows them, declaring His presence and all-power, I experienced His control and felt His peace. My problems were then resolved.

                                               

Mr. Lawson is First Reader of Christian Science Society, Bristol, Tennessee and he may be contacted at mlawson@elliottlawson.com.

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The Practitioner’s Song – Cup of Water (Guest Post by John London)

A few months after I became a Christian Scientist in 2007, I received a call from Lora Beth, my old Unity minister. Lora Beth said that Phyllis had died and asked if I would like to travel with her to help in Phyllis’ memorial service and play a few songs on my guitar. I was reluctant to attend a memorial service, strongly believing that there is no death, and I thanked her, but made an excuse to avoid the two hour trip to Phyllis’ family’s church.

But then I awoke in the early hours of the next morning with the question on my mind, Won’t you give a cup of water in Christ’s name? I instantly knew that I should go to the service and be a spiritual presence there. The next morning, I called Lora Beth back and accepted her invitation.

At the service, I led the congregation in singing a few songs and then Lora Beth asked me if I would like to say a few words about Phyllis. In my old church I was a chaplain, and regularly made calls to members of the congregation to pray with them. Phyllis was one of those on my call list and I had regularly prayed with her for a year or so. She had had cancer and during the time we were praying together, we regularly prayed against fear and the frequent pain she was experiencing from her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and I often spoke to her of God’s love and her natural, spiritual perfection as His beloved child.

When I rose to speak at the service, I shared some of the ideas I had learned from reading and studying Christian Science—that God never gave her disease; that God only had good for her and that she was God’s perfect child, forever in His care. Her family was sitting down in the front row of the church. They were all “good Baptists” and as I shared that God never gave disease to Phyllis, but held her eternally in His Love and care, I could see in their faces the impact this beautiful Truth was having upon them; and as I have often seen since, the acknowledgement of God’s Love has a wonderful healing effect upon all people of whatever faith or religious practice.

At the reception after the service, several people came up to me and asked me to pray for them. Rather than vaguely say that I would, I asked each one, Would you like to pray right now? We held hands and bowed our heads together. I reassured each one of God’s love for them, and his promise of healing and salvation, and I spoke the Truths I’ve learned through Christian Science; and especially, I shared Mrs. Eddy’s inspired presentation of the 23rd Psalm.

That night as I gave thanks to God for my day, I was so grateful that I had been able to share a cup of water in Christ’s name; and the very next day, God gave me this wonderful song which I love to sing each time I give this testimony.

A dear Christian Science practitioner has dubbed this, “The Practitioner’s song”.

 

Here are the lyrics:

Can you find a word of kindness you can speak?
Can you find the inner strength to help the weak?
And forgiveness you can offer for their shame?
Can you give a cup of water in Christ’s name?

Can you offer them a smile as you pass by?
And encouragement to help someone to try?
Is there patience you can find within today?
Can you give a cup of water in Christ’s name?

Can you look and see the light of God that shines in every face?
Can you find the holy ground in any place?
Can you see the hand of God that’s fashioning the potter’s clay?
Can you give a cup of water in Christ’s name?

Can you find the wisdom not to speak in hurt?
Can you see beyond what circumstances were?
And when all have run is courage there to stay?
Can you give a cup of water in Christ’s name?

Can you keep your thought on God when troubles come?
Having faith for others when they’re finding none?
And see Love divine is guiding on their way?
Can you give a cup of water in Christ’s name?

Can you add some understanding to their faith?
In the midst of all confusion can you pray?
Can you see that God’s perfection’s there always?
Can you give a cup of water in Christ’s name?

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Health by Choice, NOT by Chance

 

'Choices' by kozumel

          

     A brochure I picked up recently, entitled: Health by Choice, Not by Chance, confirmed what I already know to be true – there isn’t only way path to health.   And, people are searching and exploring many avenues to find approaches that are consistently effective.

     The brochure advertised the latest research on foods that can help prevent cancer and heart disease, reverse diabetes, lower cholesterol, slow the aging clock, and increase your energy while losing weight.  It also informed me I could purchase books about foods that have healing power, plants that have medicinal value, and an encyclopedia of health & education for the family, which included natural treatments.  “Whew, if it were only that easy!”

     In this age of one-size-fits-all health care, the public is often led to believe that there is only one way to be healthy.  It includes regularly scheduled doctor visits & exams, drugs to prevent disease and/or mitigate pain and exploratory and corrective surgery to identify and address functional or organic problems.

     But the information in this brochure reminded me that increasingly many people are seeking – and finding – other paths to health. Sometimes this is complimentary with the medical approach and sometimes it is in lieu of. It seems to me that people are simply seeking better control over their health as a crucial aspect of their whole life. They quite literally want to have health by choice not by chance. And, making healthier choices about various aspects of their lives – food, exercise, natural remedies – does have health benefits.

     One approach that the brochure did not offer – but is recognized in numerous studies as a top choice – is prayer.  And, it’s an approach I’ve found very effective.  Prayer – communing with, and trusting in, God – leads me to better control over my thinking and to better choices about every aspect of my life.  I find practical guidance in passages from The Bible such as this one: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes … It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” (Prov 3:5-8)  And, I expect the results it promises – health.

     It’s great to know there isn’t only one path and that each of us has the opportunity to be healthy – by choice.

 

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The Supreme Court and the health care reform law;Justice Kagan mentions Christian Scientists

 

On March 26-28, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Court scheduled six hours of arguments—more than any case since 1966—and is expected to issue its decision in June.

On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan indicated that in her view, Christian Scientists might have a basis to challenge the individual mandate (which requires nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty):

“…of course, the theory behind, not just the government’s case, but the theory behind this law is that people are in this market right now, and they are in this market because people do get sick, and because when people get sick, we provide them with care without making them pay. And it…would be different, you know, if you were up here saying, I represent a class of Christian Scientists. Then you might be able to say, look, you know, why are they bothering me. But absent that, you’re in this market. You’re an economic actor.”

Justice Kagan’s comments give a boost to the Federal Office’s multiple efforts to resolve the inequity facing Christian Scientists under the health care reform law. Along with requesting that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) include coverage of Christian Science practitioner and nursing services in the benefits that will be offered by health insurance companies under the new law, we continue to seek a Congressional solution that would allow anyone with a “sincerely held religious belief” against purchasing the required health insurance to be exempted from that mandate.  Learn more….

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How Gratitude to God Affects Health

 

I recently discovered several studies from Neal Krause, University of Michigan, which I found to be very interesting.  So, you may find that I am going to blog about several of them in the coming months.  The purpose of this particular study,  (http://generosityresearch.nd.edu/assets/13605/gratitude_toward_god.pdf_) was to see if feeling grateful to God reduces the deleterious effects of stress on health in late life.  One result of Mr. Krause’s research determined that the effects of stress on health are reduced for older people who feel more grateful to God.  While I am sure neither age nor gender has anything to do with it, I have to say that I agree that gratitude to God does indeed affect one’s health.

When I first started attending the Christian Science church, I heard the word ‘gratitude’ used all the time, especially at Wednesday evening testimony meetings.  For me, that word was new.  I was used to saying I was thankful for my blessings, but that word ‘gratitude’ was a new expression of being thankful.  Gratitude seemed to be a deeper feeling than just being thankful.  And, many people referred to being grateful to God.  Wow!  Not just grateful for things but grateful to God.  Now, I am not saying that I am not grateful for my many blessings because I truly am.   Last week was my birthday.  Many friends and family gave me gifts.  I was really grateful for all the gifts and I am enjoying them so much.  However, most of all, I am grateful for the giver of the gift and the love and hugs I get from them year-round.  That is giving priority to the giver and not the gift.  This is what we do when we give gratitude to God for all.  In thinking about this now, after reading Mr. Krause’s study, I would like to elaborate about gratitude in a spiritual way….. Continue reading

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Prayer Opens Eyes to Good

Photo by Wootang01

 

GUEST POST BY MARK LAWSON

     In prayer, we follow the Master’s instruction (Matt. 6:33) to “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” because “these things” (health, harmony, supply, peace, joy) then will be “added” to our human experience. This is consistent with God’s instruction (Isaiah 45:11): “Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.” 

     What God knows about us is what we need to know, and this is what we strive to “seek … first.” It makes no difference what others may think about us, or what we may seem to think of ourselves. Humans may condemn us (as they did the woman “taken” in adultery, John 8:3-11), or we may condemn ourselves (as did the “prodigal son”, Luke 15:11-32). Therefore, the “listening” aspect of prayer may require “resisting,” or refusing to listen to negative reports coming from a human body, mind, business, or relationship.

     What God knows about us is expressed in the first chapter of the Bible, where God made man in His image and likeness, and “it was very good.” (Genesis 1:26, 31).This is the “truth” of our perfection (Matt 5: 48) that Jesus wanted us to “know” (John 8:32), and that he said would make us free. We are to commune with “our Father” (Matt 6:9), listen to His message, and live consistently with our prayer (1 Thess 5:17).

     Quoting St. John (1 John 4:16), Mary Baker Eddy writes in her primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, in the chapter on Prayer: “God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more? God is intelligence. Can we inform the infinite Mind of anything He does not already comprehend? … Shall we ask the divine Principle of all goodness to do His own work? His work is done, and we have only to avail ourselves of God’s rule in order to receive His blessing, which enables us to work out our own salvation.” Earlier she writes: “Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it.”

     Jesus demonstrated the “Science of being” throughout his ministry. He appealed to spiritual law for power over so-called material law, evidenced by sin, poverty, hunger, disease, and death. Through prayer, we may seek and realize the good that God has planned for us, “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.” (Luke 6:38).

 Mr. Lawson is First Reader of Christian Science Society, Bristol, Tennessee and he may be contacted at mlawson@elliottlawson.com. A web site devoted to the teachings of Christian Science is http://www.spirituality.com/, and the official web site of The First Church of Christ, Scientist is www.tfccs.com.

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Shake Your Tree!!

 

photo by wasabicube

A few days ago I did some grocery shopping.  I went to the check-out line of my favorite clerk and, as always, asked her how she was doing.   She responded with “Well, I have seen better days.  But, I have also seen worse.”  I smiled and made some more small talk but after I left the store, I really started thinking about her reply to me.  It occurred to me that in my public practice of Christian Science, I had already been praying about just this kind of thought.

That whole thought about being happy one day, sad another–sick one day, well the next–joyous one day, depressed another day–up one day, down another just doesn’t make any sense to me.  I read in the Bible how opposites cannot dwell together.  A fountain does not send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter.  And, a fruit tree can’t produce both figs and olives.  Opposites can’t come from the same source.  Sickness and health are contrary to each other.  They can’t dwell together.  Bad days can’t dwell with good days.  Man’s body is not a battleground for good and evil!

God’s goodness is available for all mankind.  If that goodness is present – and I know it is, then there is no room for its opposite.  So, if you are feeling like your tree is growing both olives and figs, maybe it’s time to shake your tree.  Get rid of the feelings of negativity and depression.  Replace them with the uplifting thoughts that come from knowing that God loves you!

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Christian Science with Lauren and Denise (guest video)

 

Lauren and Denise talk about how they use Christian Science in their lives.

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Lives Lived: Tony

Meet Tony. He used to have sinusitis and was prescribed antibiotics to address the symptoms. But he wasn’t completely healed of the condition until he learned about Christian Science.

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Jesus Bore Our Infirmities (Guest Post)

Guest Post by John London.

One of the most telling passages in the Christian Science Bible Lesson for the week October 16, 2011 on the topic of Doctrine of Atonement is this citation which tells us that Jesus Bore Our Infirmities.

Certainly our practitioners, as well as all of us who pray for others do just that, don’t we? We meet each situation and each person as Jesus did, seeing them in Science as the perfect man, and their circumstances as the kingdom of God “intact and universal”. This is bearing one another’s infirmities…

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Health and Health Care in an Angie’s List World (Guest Post)

 photo by Globetoppers

When I listen to reporters, lawmakers, tv reports, etc., it is evident that the world believes that medical care is the only worthwhile healthcare.   While it is true that some people do achieve good results with medicine, it is not the only reliable and reasonable way to be healthy.   Christian Science has something to share and give to humanity.  Christian Science is an effective way to manage one’s health and many people do rely on spiritual means to stay healthy.  It is time to change the way the world thinks about health and health care….and that is no small change!

Below, I have posted the link to the blog by Russ Gerber, Manager, Christian Science Committees on Publication, for the Christian Science church.

Health and Health Care in an Angies’s List World  –  Guest Post by Russ Gerber

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/russ-gerber/peer-to-peer-health-care_b_991352.html

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Christian Science IS Christian

 

This video (Grape Nuts and Christian Science) describes an issue many Christian Scientists face….answering the question “is Christian Science Christian?”  Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, discovered this Christian religion to “reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing.”  Christian Science IS INDEED Christian!

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Praying for the World

Explore Christian Science and praying for the world!

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No Need to Fear Contagion!

 

Photo by Carbon Arc

Tomorrow, a new movie hits the screen.  I have seen previews for this movie and I was shocked at the subject matter.  The movie is Contagion and I have to say I cannot understand why anyone would want to see such a movie!  What a scary thing it would be to pay good money to see people fighting and losing a battle against a terrible disease that is taking over their bodies and the bodies of their family and friends and killing them slowly.  The contagious disease is portrayed as being powerful and controlling the country when the exact opposite is true – God is the only power and is in control of the universe.

It seems that the radio, television, and internet are just full of predictions of epidemics or contagious diseases.  Every time one of these commercials or documentaries is seen, it has an almost hypnotic effect on people.  People become very fearful that an epidemic is very near.  These predictions always include a way to protect oneself against the epidemic.  But often the protection is not reliable, available nor effective.  Prayer, however, is always effective and is always available.  Continue reading

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The Great Attainment by John London

Photo by Martin Heigan

John London: The Great Attainment 

I thought I would share John London’s newest song this evening.  I hope it speaks to your thought, like it did to mine.   He says:  “Here’s another “Song of Remembrance”—a song intended to help us memorize an important passage from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.  This passage on the practice of Christian Science speaks of “the great attainment”—i.e., the spiritualization of our thought.  Learn the song, and you learn the passage.”  Here is the text:

SH 428:8-12
To divest thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear, — this is the great attainment by means of which we shall sweep away the false and give place to the true.

You can hear more from John London at his blog page: manoftruth.net .  He actually writes a song each week for each weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson. 

Thanks, John!!

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Health Care, Not Scare – Guest Post by Russ Gerber

 

Photo by Lip Kee

So much of what we hear and read today seems to make us  fearful.  For example, sometimes a simple tv commercial can make people believe they have a serious disease just because they have been having the symptoms being described on the commercials.  More than likely, it is just coincidence.  Christian Science doesn’t focus on symptoms but focuses on the calming promises we read in the Bible and the laws of God that govern mankind.  Many people turn naturally to prayer for their healthcare.  In the link below, Russ Gerber, Manager, Committees on Publication talks about healthcare. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/russ-gerber/scared-into-health-care_b_928834.html

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How To Rest – Guest Post by Russ Gerber

 

Photo by C R Artist

I am grateful to have had two Guest Posts by Russ Gerber, Manager, Committees on Publication, this week.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/how-to-rest-hint-step-away-from-the-blackberry/2011/08/16/gIQAsGzaJJ_blog.html 

This will give you much to think about.  Enjoy!

Debbie

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The Positive Health Results of Prayer–Russ Gerber guest post

 

photo by Taston

I know you will enjoy the post I am attaching, which was recently in the Huffington Post.  The post is by the Manager, Committees on Publication, Russ Gerber. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/russ-gerber/holy-health-care_b_911160.html

Russ Gerber is a practitioner and teacher of Christian Science and he manages media and government relations for the Christian Science Church headquartered in Boston.

Russ enjoys opportunities to talk with journalists, editors, legislators, writers, producers and the public at large about the age-old capacity of spirituality to improve and restore health, explaining why and how that is happening today.

His media experience began with and grew out of a 30-year career in radio, ranging from on-air work, to market research, to programming, to managing and consulting.

When The Christian Science Monitor expanded into radio news programming, Russ was retained as a consultant by the Church then later hired full-time to help them adapt their print content to the broadcast medium. He eventually wrote for and edited the Church’s weekly religious magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel, and launched a weekly radio program for the publication, heard on over 200 radios stations worldwide and on the web.

Today Russ and his wife Jo Ann call Boston their home, while enjoying any opportunities they have to travel throughout the world.

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Christ Demands a Change of Thought

 

photo by SomeDriftwood

Christ Demands a Change of Thought

Guest Post by:  Mark M. Lawson

 

            “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” said Christ Jesus to the accusers of the woman “taken in adultery.” (John 8). He forced the mob to consider their own “sins,” to make each contemplate his or her own shortcomings, and hopefully to find a spark of humanity that could forgive and be forgiven.

            Jesus always demanded a change of thought. He caused the angry crowd to reflect upon its hypocrisy. He told the woman to go and sin no more. Thus, all were included in this lesson. And that exemplified his mission…to change universal thought about God and man; to strive for and obtain a more spiritual sense of life. What else could Jesus have meant when he said (John 10:10), “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”? Christly-consciousness (I Cor. 2:16; Phil. 2:5) provides a life filled with what is important, real, and substantial, and this can only include what is spiritual and not material. Continue reading

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The Power of Faith on Health

 

photo by hannahclark

Last Wednesday, I was doing errands and was so surprised to see a banner-type sign in front of our local Catholic church that read:  Healing Service Tonight.  I thought about that sign all day.  I realized that while I would be attending the Wednesday Evening Testimony Meeting at the Christian Science Church and would be listening to about 30 minutes of members of the congregation telling of healings they have had in Christian Science, there would be another group gathering in Knoxville and they would be praying for healing and undoubtedly sharing their healing experiences with each other.    Then, as I was thinking about a subject for my blog today, I came across this article, below.  http://www.freep.com/article/20110731/NEWS01/107310468/Growing-research-validates-healing-power-faith

While Christian Science prayer does not include the use of medicine, as talked about in this article, it is quite refreshing to see how people’s thoughts are moving from a complete faith in medicine to include a faith in the higher power…the power of God.  Both the Old and New Testaments are filled with accounts of healing….of achieving and maintaining health….through spiritual means only.  And, even though Jesus restored health in many instances of grave illness by spiritual understanding, people still failed to grasp the divine Science involved in the healings.  Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, revealed to mankind what health is and where it can be found. Continue reading

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Is Christian Science the Same as Scientology?

 

Photo by Joe Futrelle

Today, I read an online article in the Washington Post entitled:  Is Scientology a religion? by Janet Reitman.   http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/is-scientology-a-religion/2011/07/17/gIQATEnSKI_blog.html.  As the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Tennessee, I am constantly confronted with questions like, “is Christian Science the same as Scientology?  or “do you know Tom Cruise?”  I hear questions like this so often that I sometimes start my conversations with newspaper reporters or legislators by saying “now, I know you know Christian Science is not Scientology.”  I can tell by the looks on their faces that they probably think they are one and the same.  However, the only thing alike is that the names sound similar.

In the article, Ms. Reitman states in the second paragraph that there is no God in Scientology.  Christian Scientists believe in a supreme God.  The religion, Christian Science, is based on a set of spiritual principles or laws relating to the nature of God and His creation, that can be applied to any situation with an expection of a good outcome.  Christian Science is based on the Bible and specifically the teachings and healing ministry of Christ Jesus. Continue reading

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How’s The Weather??

 

How’s the Weather?

I am sure there is not another topic more discussed on a daily basis than the weather.  And, that is true even more this Spring in Tennessee.  It seems that daily strong thunderstorms have become the norm for this area and everyone is talking about that.  I was listening to a weatherman recently and he spoke about the atmosphere being “unsettled” and that the result was the extreme weather we were experiencing.  I thought a lot about that statement and realized that the “atmosphere of thought” in the world right now appears to be unsettled.  Thoughts about things such as the economy, jobless rate, gas prices, elections, wars, etc., are unsettling to many people.  But the truth is that God has complete control over the universe.   And, if He alone controls the universe, then He alone controls the weather.  There can be nothing unsettled in God’s divine order of things.  Extreme weather conditions are not in accord with God’s management of everything.

The recent storms have possessed very strong damaging winds.  In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, page 597, she gives the spiritual and mortal mind definitions of wind: “Wind: that which indicates the might of omnipotence and the movements of God’s spiritual government, encompassing all things.  Destruction, anger, mortal passions.”   There is a story in the Bible (I Kings 19:11), when Elijah stood before the Lord upon the mount,  “a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks; …..but the Lord was not in the wind.”  God has no part in destructive winds or tornadoes. 

The storms have also included much flooding.  Deuteronomy 11:14 reads: “I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine and thine oil.”   This says to me that the rain can’t be too late, too little, too much, or blinding.  It says that the rain is for a blessing.  God has no part in flooding rains. 

My church friend, John London, and I were discussing the weather this week.  We shared ideas about  how to pray to change the unsettled atmosphere that was producing the extreme weather.  We both agreed that man’s environment was under God’s control and  God was always showering  His people with Love, not destruction. 

John London is a songwriter/singer.  After our discussions, he wrote a song about the weather.   It is at the beginning of the blog post.  I know you will enjoy it!

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Turn Toward the Father

 

"Prodigal Son leaves" by Nick in exsilio

 

 

Guest Post by Mark Lawson

                                                       Turn Toward the Father

             All of us know the Bible story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) who demanded a share of his father’s goods, and then “wasted his substance with riotous living.” It is pretty clear that the young man cherished material things above spiritual ideas.

             Human experience shows that through the media or by peer pressure, we erroneously pursue matter (in the form of money, goods, or houses) rather than spiritual ideas, which alone are substantial and real. (Heb.1:11). This leads to discontentment, anxiety, depression, and to other human maladies. In her primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “The sharp experiences of belief in the supposititious life of matter, as well as our disappointments and ceaseless woes, turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love.” Of course, Love is God, and when I turn to Him, I find spiritual answers to what appear to be material problems.

          This is repeated in the life of anyone who seeks after righteousness. Jesus declared (Matt.5:6), “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” In John (8:32), he said “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” I understand that to mean that we are not to seek God or Truth “to eat of the loaves” (John 6:26), but to seek after Truth because only what relates to God is true and real. If we seek after something else, we are not seeking Truth, we are seeking error or a mistaken view of life.

          God wants us to find and cherish what is real, and He meets us more than half way as we turn to him. In the parable of the prodigal, the young man “came to himself” (realized that he was God’s child) and decided to go to his father. The son only had to turn toward his father, and “his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” Our heavenly Father comes to us as we turn toward Him, and yearn to know the truth. In the end, we don’t make our journey alone. Like the prodigal, God runs to meet us and walks with us every step of the way.

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After The Storm……

 

Photo by ChanceofRain

Last month’s storms – the storms of 2011 – are still very fresh in my mind.  Even though it was only two weeks ago, it seems like an eternity has passed since then.  Twenty-four hours of rain and wind and hail and tornadoes left a path of destruction all over the south.  The hail on my deck was the size and shape of lemons or small potatoes!  The wind blew so hard things were broken and torn up all around my house.   Here in Knoxville, we had plenty of damage but nothing to compare to some of our neighboring counties and states….my heart goes out to all who are suffering.  My house sustained damage so now after the storm, there remains the paperwork and inspections and repair work…..all a constant reminder of the event.  Everywhere I go, the conversation seems to turn to: “how much damage do you have?” or, “do you know a good contractor?”  Last weekend, I traveled to Nashville to give a workshop and a church talk only to find that every hotel was booked, mostly with people displaced from Alabama.  My prayers are for them this week as they wait to have electricity and water restored.  Continue reading

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About Our Father’s Business

 

Photo by HatM

Guest Post by Mark Lawson

About Our Father’s Business

            Luke (2:41-52) contains the story of the twelve-year-old Jesus becoming “lost” to his parents after leaving Jerusalem and the feast of the Passover. Mary and Joseph return to Jerusalem, where, after three days, they find Jesus “in the temple,” surprising the teachers with his “understanding and answers.” Mary scolds Jesus, who seems surprised, and he reassures his mother that he is always about his “Father’s business.” It is as though Jesus could not conceive of any purpose or activity apart from God’s work or purpose, and he is amazed that anyone, especially Mary, could imagine his serving any other purpose. The Bible relates that “they understood not” what Jesus meant by his statement, but Mary “kept all these sayings in her heart.”

            Later in life, Jesus heals a cripple at Bethesda (John 5:1-19), and in the process, he angers “the Jews,” who seek “to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.” Jesus seems surprised by the furor, and he explains simply: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” In other words, God has set in motion the divine law that I must fulfill, because I am the expression of that law. The Jews seek “the more to kill him,” because he not only “breaks” the Sabbath, he claims that “God was his Father.” Again, seeming somewhat mystified by events but compelled by divine logic, Jesus says: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” Jesus has no choice but to fulfill divine law and purpose.

            Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “The divine nature was best expressed in Christ Jesus, who threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God and lifted their lives higher than their poor thought-models would allow, — thoughts which presented man as fallen, sick, sinning, and dying.” Thus, Jesus refused to let restrictive human thinking control his “work” or purpose. To the contrary, Jesus proved that each of us can demonstrate divine power to live up to our highest potential. He says (Matthew 5:48), “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

            With this same perspective, we should approach our human jobs, which we may mistakenly consider to be our “work.” Whether we make widgets on an assembly line, build houses, practice law, or teach high school students, our “work” is always to be about our Father’s business, and that includes expressing honesty, industry, compassion, grace, and other God-like qualities. If we think that our “work” is merely a human job, we miss the point of Jesus’ teaching. Our “work” is to express God, just as Jesus did. Each of us is God’s expression, and we should strive to make this real in our lives.

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He Is Risen!!

Photo by Daily Suze

I hope some of you are wondering where I have been for the past couple of weeks. Well, I have been on the road….correcting the misconceptions about Christian Science out there in the world. One of my favorite misconceptions to correct is that Christian Science does not believe in Jesus. Au contraire, dear Reader. And, I would like to take this Good Friday to blog about Jesus and his resurrection from the grave.

Easter means different things to different people. Some concentrate on the crucifixion while others focus on the resurrection. Christians believe that Christ Jesus’ resurrection proved eternal life. To some, though, this time is marked by the sadness of the last supper and betrayal by one disciple and denial by another, desertion by all, the cross, and finally the tomb. The crucifixion was the result of the world thought at the time of Jesus. The world was not ready for the spiritual blessings Jesus could contribute to mankind and they crucified him. While his crucifixion was terribly painful and humiliating, the resurrection has a glorious meaning. Jesus was able to trust in God’s loving care and was able to overcome this terrible evil. Continue reading

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Religious Freedom

Photo by Ian Sane

Even religious freedom has limits

This is an opinion piece by Tom Krattenmaker published in USA Today on March 28, 2011.

Does the religious freedom of a small, separatist faith-healing church trump the rights of its members’ children to live to adulthood? The Oregon Legislature is finally saying “no” after the headline-grabbing deaths of three children whose parents belong to the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City. These were children with treatable illnesses: pneumonia, a blood infection, kidney blockage. They received prayers, anointing, the laying on of hands — but no doctors or medicine. Even in famously tolerant Oregon, the deaths have proved to be too much for an alarmed public and its representatives. In a move that will align Oregon law with most other states, legislators are pushing ahead with a bill that would remove religious conviction as a defense against homicide charges faced by parents who shun medical care for their kids, even at death’s doorstep.

With no organized opposition stepping forward, the bill’s passage into law seems inevitable. And pass it should. But before the episode fades out of the spotlight, it’s worth pausing for a moment to learn what we can from a case that has something valuable to teach about religious rights and their inevitable limits.

What the case demonstrates, in ultrabold print, is that no conversation about religious rights is complete without equal attention to responsibilities — responsibilities to the community that all religious practitioners bear, and that the Oregon City church has failed miserably to uphold.

The moral of this story is one that runs all through American religious history, manifest in such instances as the Mormon church having to give up polygamy or fundamentalist Bob Jones University ending its ban on interracial dating on pain of losing its tax exemption. Religious freedom is not the only right at stake in the crowded public square. And a religion cannot reasonably expect the public and the law to respect its idiosyncratic ways when it fails to live up to the community’s well-considered standards — such as the idea that children should receive basic medical care when their lives are at stake. Continue reading

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Capitol Hill Day

 

Photo by Nicolas Karim

My first two years of work as the Committee on Publication for Tennessee allowed me to experience never-before-seen-or-heard-of heath care reform laws passed.  By 2014, the law requires that all Americans (with the exception of a couple of exempted groups) purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty.  (Remember, if you are covered by Medicare or Medicaid, you also are exempt from purchasing additional health insurance.) 

You might be saying to yourself, as you read the above paragraph:  “What else is there?”  And, since I am a Christian Scientist who relies on spiritual care for my health, I can speak about that.  Christian Science Practitioners provide loving spiritual support and prayer to those seeing a non-medical approach to healthcare.  Christian Science nurses provide non-medical nursing assistance to those needing it.  There are Christian Science facilities all over the world that provide non-medical care to those wishing to follow effective and reliable spiritual care.  In these facilities the Practitioners and nurses work together with the patient in prayerful support for their quick healing.

In the federal law, much progress was made that will indeed help the (medically) underinsured in the future.  It might even save money in the long run.  Like I described above, many people rely on effective spiritual, non-medical health care services for their health.  And most times, spiritual care is less costly.  Actually, one point strongly made during the health care debates was that a person could indeed keep their current system of health care if they liked it and if it worked for them.  So far, that does not apply to spiritual care because that was not provided for in the law.  Wouldn’t that be great if that part could be changed to allow the public to have choices in their healthcare decisions??  

Capitol Hill Day 2011 was on March 9th and what a wonderful experience that was!  I attended with colleagues and friends from many states.  We had very informative and helpful meetings with our lawmakers.  Health care reform is still being strongly debated on both the federal and state level.  I am going to keep talking about spiritual care to my Congressmen and Congresswomen, too.

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A Grateful Heart

 

photo by Russ Cohen

Guest Post by Mark Lawson

A Grateful Heart

Gratitude is more than the expression of thanks. True gratitude is an acknowledgement of the good in our lives. More than this, however, it is acceptance of that good.  When a waiter brings food and drink to our table, we say, “thank you.” But we are doing more than merely acknowledging the arrival of our order. We are, in fact, accepting what the waiter has provided. Once our meal has arrived, we don’t merely look at our food (although we may give thanks for the meal). To the contrary, we begin to eat, accepting what has been given to us. 

So it is with “every good gift and every perfect gift… [that] cometh down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17). Do we graciously accept what our Father-Mother God gives us on a daily basis? Are we accepting the unlimited love coming from “our Father” if we don’t express gratitude, or an acknowledgement, of the unlimited good that He provides? Continue reading

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Christian Science and Common Sense

 

When I first started my study of Christian Science, I remember my mother-in-law telling me that CS stands for Christian Science and also for Common Sense. I never forgot that.  For years now, I have had opportunities to prove that practical, common sense approach of this Science.  Enjoy this video!

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