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In trouble? God’s got you covered!

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, December 4th, 2017

[In trouble? God’s got you covered!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“God the Preserver of Man”
for the week ending December 10, 2017

by Rick Stewart, CS Dresden, Germany
rickstewartcs@aol.com +49 351 312 4736

Are you in trouble? Right now? Then this week’s Bible Lesson is just for you, and for me, and for all!

When I was a kid it seemed I was often in some kind of trouble. Not all of the time of course. I went to Sunday School, my brother and I often had perfect school attendance, we were on the honor roll, we were county champions in the spelling bee, we had many healings in Christian Science! But, I also dealt with a temptation to lie. I loved to build fires, even when I was not supposed to, and sometimes in dangerous places. In the third grade I snuck out of the house with my best friend in the middle of the night! Guess what, when we got back we found my mom waiting for us. We were really “in trouble!” We were only in the third grade. I even remember one of my favorite books was, “Double Trouble for Rupert!” Sometimes it seemed like it was triple trouble for Ricky!

All of the challenges for my parents did not end there; there were other times I was “in trouble.” Thank goodness I had a mom and dad who did not give up on me, or my brothers and sister. And then as the facts show in this Bible Lesson, we have a heavenly Father-Mother who never gives up on us.

Even though the Book of Job declares Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1)—does that mean we have to live in constant trouble? Not necessarily. There may be another option. It has to do with discovering who we really are or helping others, maybe our own children, to discover their true identity. The option, discovering that we are God’s children after all and as the very first citation in the Lesson states, “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.” (B1 | Deuteronomy 33:12)

As I have lived with this lesson the last few days, I have been reminded of so many examples of feeling like the “beloved of the Lord”. It was so much fun cherishing and loving each idea presented in the lesson. Listening to see its practicality. Yearning to feel its comfort and healing. And then as so often happens, God gave me a sign, a token, just this morning. My wife and I had just delivered our daughter, Martha, to kindergarten. As I drove away I looked up in the morning sky. There was a pair of beautiful swans flying overhead. I thought of the Bible Citation quoted above, “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.” (B1 | Deuteronomy 33:12)

You may have seen pictures of baby swans or other birds safely sheltered between the shoulders of mama or papa. Here is an actual scholarly paper that documents [with pictures] this behavior in several bird species.

http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1031&context=biosciornithology

This Biblical image of God caring for us in this way has always inspired me. It does not mean that God is covered in feathers, right? It is an image of how God shelters us. What this Lesson adds to the equation for me, is that even when we may have done something wrong, or are in trouble or in jeopardy, or maybe even fallen from the nest, we can count on God to save us.

Maybe that is why I love this lesson so much! The Golden Text states it succinctly,

Golden Text Psalms 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

If you have ever been in trouble—or feel like you are always in trouble of some kind—do not worry; there is hope for us all, because God is “a very present help in trouble.”

The Responsive Reading is from Psalms 91 and 121. Here we are presented with powerful images of God giving us refuge, protecting us, and preserving us. As I have studied these long-beloved verses, a simple idea came to me. Whereas in the past I have thought that as I sought refuge in God, He would protect me. I began to think of the truths in these Psalms as statements of fact concerning God’s relation to His creation. This is true for me. This is true for all of God’s children. This is how God preserves and protects all creation. So that these truths actually became a basis for prayer for all creation, for earth, its creatures, and even the entire universe. Section 1 brings this out clearly.

Section 1: All creation is sheltered in God’s lovingkindness.

As citation B3 states “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” (Psalm 36:6, 7 and W’s PS#2)

Science and Health affirms, “God is the Life, or intelligence, which forms and preserves the individuality and identity of animals as well as of men.” (S2 | 550:5–7)

As we think of our world at this time there are many threats to the environment and to endangered species through poaching, illegal timber harvesting, and habitat loss. As we apply ourselves as metaphysicians, prayer warriors in helping resolve these issues, I think this section is especially applicable. Affirming God’s presence as preserving and protecting His creation.

I was reminded of a time when I was living on a large ranch, miles from civilization, and with the task of helping to reduce the poaching going on.

I was the only permanent resident on the ranch, my nearest neighbor a mile or two away and an ongoing problem of illegal hunting. I had also been warned by a former police officer of drug traffickers having used the ranch’s airstrip in the past. They had been seen carrying automatic weapons. But I am glad to say that I did have a secret weapon to rely on—the understanding application of Biblical truths through Christian Science. I was at that time in the healing practice of Christian Science.

It was Thanksgiving week. On Monday I had guests at my cabin for a day of horseback riding. They had just returned from their ride and the horses were still hitched up at the back of my cabin. As we stood and talked two shots from a high-powered rifle rang out. It sounded very close, so my brother, Gary, and I swung up into the saddle and raced in the direction of the shots. We were both armed with pistols, but we were also both armed with Christian Science. We arrived within minutes of the shots and heard someone escaping over a nearby fence. We found a doe and two small wild hogs that the poacher had left behind.

On the way I had been thinking that unprincipled action could not succeed, or come to fruition. We came upon a doe and two young wild hogs that had been shot. I was not happy about that, but I was grateful we had stopped the poacher from making away with his spoils. My prayers that week intensified.

I alerted the Wildlife officer assigned to our area. He said he would be available at a moment’s notice. That had been a Monday. The following Friday, the day after Thanksgiving I was alerted by a friend on the adjoining property that he had seen two armed men heading into our ranch. I called the Wildlife officer and let him know and he promised to come right out.

Then an idea came to me. I invited my father and my nephew on a tractor ride back into the area where the poachers had been spotted. We spoke loudly, made sure we could be easily seen and then loudly drove back out to that area of woods. All the time my dad and I talked about Principle’s presence and operation and that evil actions had absolutely no protection or power. My hope was that the poachers would now think the coast was clear for their getaway.

While we were making this tractor ride, the Wildlife officer and the friend that had reported the poachers set up an ambush. In about 30 minutes after we came out with the tractor two poachers came walking out of the woods carrying a deer with them. They walked right into the arms of the Wildlife officer. They were arrested and charged with armed trespass, a felony offense that meant they could not own weapons again. The immediate effect was that the plague of poaching that had been going on stopped.

Psalms 21:10, “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come night thy dwelling.” (Responsive Reading)

Our prayers are never limited in distance or geography! Our prayerful affirmations and consecrated metaphysical treatment can be felt around the globe. We can affirm that God indeed is present and active. As it says in citation S2 “God is the Life, or intelligence, which forms and preserves the individuality and identity of animals as well as of men.” (550:5–7)

Section 2: Rahab assisted the final step into the Promised Land!

Now this is a Bible story that was brand new to me. A beautiful example of a courageous action that blessed Joshua and the Children of Israel. The story is of Rahab, an innkeeper, whose actions saved the lives of two of Joshua’s men that were to gather reconnaissance for the Children of Israel’s passage into Jericho and into the Promised Land.

Rahab is referred to as Rahab the harlot. There are other Bible references that may imply she was simply an inn keeper, but she provided invaluable service to Joshua and his followers. It seems her house was built into the outer wall of Jericho. The two spies for Joshua came into her house and when the King of Jericho’s soldiers came looking for them, she successfully hid them on her roof under flax stalks. They were able to escape as she lowered them down with a red rope made from the flax. For this help she had elicited the promise that she and her family would be spared as Joshua invaded Jericho.

We are told that Joshua’s campaign was successful largely due to Rahab’s efforts. She and her family traveled with Joshua and lived in Israel afterwards. It seems she married one of the spies, Salman. She was the mother of Boaz who eventually married Ruth. Ruth had a son, Obed. Obed had a son, Jesse. And Jesse was the father of David, the Goliath slayer, Psalm writer, musician, future King. Brave actions, individual actions, unselfed actions certainly can have long-standing consequences in preserving and protecting individuals and important plans. For me it was another example that someone in trouble—and perhaps even in the midst of troubling activities—can serve as a part of preserving God’s plans.

The links below tell more about Rahab. One is from Bible Gateway, “All the women of the Bible.” And the other from Wikipedia’s article about Rahab. And finally an article by Dr. Anthony Fendo, a Biblical Archaeologist, who wrote an article, “Was Rahab really a harlot?”

https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/Rahab

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rahab

https://www.baslibrary.org/biblical-archaeology-review/39/5/5

Section 3: The Christ healing disease and destroying fear, “a shelter from the heat,

How powerful to read of Jesus’ healing of Peter’s mother-in-law and so many other healings in citation B14 “And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:” (Matthew 8:14–16 and W’s PS#3)

This section equips us not just to work for ourselves in handling fevers and disease, but also to reflect the spirit in our prayers of “His arm encircles me, and mine and all”. This line comes from Mary Baker Eddy’s poem, “Mother’s Evening Prayer.” [Hymn 207] The unselfed Love that frees from fear and disease can lift our prayers to handle the effects of war, claims of disease and epidemics in far away regions or right at home, and also can establish our immunity and exemption from all disease and danger. But always remember to let that unselfed Love embrace all…

O GENTLE PRESENCE
Poem by Mary Baker Eddy


“O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.”

“Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
His arm encircles me and mine, and all.”

“O make me glad for every scalding tear,
For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain!
Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear
No ill, since God is good, and loss is gain.”

“Beneath the shadow of His mighty wing;
In that sweet secret of the narrow way,
Seeking and finding, with the angels sing:
“Lo, I am with you alway,” – watch and pray.”

“No snare, no fowler, pestilence or pain;
No night drops down upon the troubled breast,
When heaven’s after-smile earth’s teardrops gain,
And mother finds her home and heavenly rest.”

Concerns expressed during World Cup and Olympic Games in Brazil reminded me of a healing when I lived for two months in Brazil in 1985. Shortly after arriving I found myself bitten during the night by a great number of mosquitoes. The result seemed to be a feverish, nightmare-laden night. I wrestled, tossed and turned, and only found peace when I finally began to affirm that Love was the motivation for my being there in Brazil. I was there to learn Portuguese for a future lecture tour. As I finally began to claim the spiritual nature of my journey and my subsequent exemption, the symptoms were suddenly gone, never to return. I remember claiming that I was in the secret place of the Most High and that, just like Daniel in the lion’s den must have known that he was not “meat,” I could know I was not blood. I was the spiritual idea of God’s creating. And that proved to be my refuge. I enjoyed a total of three months in Brazil that were some of the dearest times of my life. With only the greatest of peaceful, happy, and healing memories.

Section 4: Man is indeed indestructible!

What a powerful protection to know that the Lord will deliver us even in trouble.

As in citation B18 states “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.” (Psalm 34:19, 20 and W’s PS#4)

On page 402 of Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Man is indestructible and eternal… In Science, no breakage nor dislocation can really occur. You say that accidents, injuries, and disease kill man, but this is not true. The life of man is Mind. The material body manifests only what mortal mind believes, whether it be a broken bone, disease, or sin.” (S16)

What a remarkable and powerful declaration, the indestructibility of God’s man!

My mom shared an experience she had where the above statement held in thought reversed immediately the seeming dislocation of a shoulder. She was working in our carport in Leesburg, Florida. In a small laundry room she was doing the laundry with a wringer washer. As she worked my brother Scott came up and grabbed one of the pieces of clothes as it passed through the ringers. He held on and his arm was pulled into the wringer. The result seemed to be a complete dislocation of his shoulder. Mom remembered and repeated the statement from above, “In Science, no breakage nor dislocation can really occur.”

The very moment she declared that statement Scott’s arm popped right back into place. And there were no after effects whatsoever.

How many of us have proved in our own lives the power and truth of this statement from Science and Health, “Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God’s unerring direction and thus bring out harmony. Under divine Providence there can be no accidents, since there is no room for imperfection in perfection.” (S18 | 424:5–11)

Section 5: No separation even in the midst of trouble.

I often remind myself that the accounts we read in the Bible are of individuals, real people, that learned the practical understanding of God and His Christ as sufficient to keep them safe. And certainly the Apostle Paul proved that no circumstance or condition could remove him from God’s care. In this section he tells us of being beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked three times, and adrift in the ocean. (B21)

He testifies that we “may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble.”

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (B20 | II Corinthians 1:1, 3, 4)

Paul speaks of having “been in the deep.” (B21, II Cor. 11:25) That reminds me of the wonderful healing and protection my brother Scott had just one year ago. I do not know how deep Orange Lake is near our home in Marion County, Florida, but I know you can’t stand up, the bottom is weedy and mucky, and some of the biggest gators in Florida can be found there. And that beloved lake is exactly where Scott was fishing all alone. He had cranked up his outboard motor on his 15-foot fishing boat and was ready to head further out into the lake. At one point his outboard suddenly turned to the side and resulted in throwing Scott out of the boat. He had no life preserver on. The boat then continued to run at full speed in a tight circle around Scott. The thought came to Scott that he could grab the rope that was hanging from the bow and stop the boat. That was not such a good idea. Then as he grabbed for the rope, the boat ran over Scott, cutting and breaking his arm. The situation seemed dire. In the moment the accident seemed to happen Scott thought of a line from the article, “God’s Law of Adjustment” by Adam H. Dickey.

“If a man were drowning in mid-ocean with apparently no help at hand, there is a law of God which, when rightly appealed to, would bring about his rescue.”

https://journal.christianscience.com/issues/1916/1/33-10/god-s-law-of-adjustment

At the immediate moment when Scott thought of that statement from Mr. Dickey’s article, he looked out to the middle of the lake and spotted another fishing boat running at full speed in Scott’s direction. In a matter of minutes Scott was safe and sound, out of the water, and in the boat of “Mr. Maddox.” There was no waiting, there was no delay, Scott’s deliverance was instant. And for Scott, Mr. and Mrs. Maddox were nothing short of angels.

Section 6: “a very present help in trouble.”

We read earlier about Rahab and what a contribution she made to the success of the Children of Israel’s entrance into the Promised Land. So it does seem rather appropriate that we have the following citation in the last section. It is from Rahab’s future daughter-in-law, Ruth.

“The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” (B6 25, Ruth 2:12)

Citation B26 assures us “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” (Hebrews 4:9)

Correlative passages from Science and Health round-out our reassurance:

“Security for the claims of harmonious and eternal being is found only in divine Science.” (S25, 232:7)

“The highest and sweetest rest, even from a human standpoint, is in holy work.“ (S26, 519:28)

“Step by step will those who trust Him find that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (S27, 444:10)

Some of you may have heard of the February 13, 1945 bombing during World War II of my adopted hometown of Dresden. Not only was it a devastating bombing raid, but the bombs created a terrible firestorm that destroyed much of the city. Several of the members of our Christian Science church here in Dresden were present during this bombing. One of those members, Monike Naumann, shared with me her experience that night. As the bombing was going on she and her family were caught in the open. Monike, her mother, her father, and her grandmother were trying to move to safety. They were all students of Christian Science. She described that the bombs fell and seemed like the shape of a flower as they spead out in all directions. As the family moved and prayed they would take refuge behind walls when the bombs were near. That plan had worked well until a bomb fell and her father had not been able to get to cover. They all prayed earnestly and this one bomb was completely unique. All of its explosive force and flames went in the opposite direction. Monike told me, “It was just as if a giant hand was held up and shielded us. My father was fine.”

When they finally reached their home they found that the building was destroyed. But their basement was intact. As they sorted through the debris they found their beloved family collection of Meissen porcelain was completely untouched. They were all in awe. And then Monike’s father said, “From now on we will eat every meal on our best china. We will not wait for special occasions. We will remember the miracle we have seen and that we have been saved by God.”

She said that from that day, every day was a holy day for her family.


After Giving Tuesday, we are SO VERY grateful to report. . .

Participation Goal Met!

By the end of Giving Tuesday, we reached the goal of 500 donors to earn a $10,000 challenge gift. In the days that followed we surpassed that goals by a couple hundred! Several campers even contributed their hard-earned babysitting and lawn-mowing earnings. Wow!

Maintenance Musts Match Met

Thanks to you, we have now met our $25k Maintenance Must Matching Grant challenge (hooray!) with $28,377 in designated maintenance gifts. This $53,337 is a great start toward the $400k it will cost to complete all needed camp maintenance by summer. (More info)

Adopt the Herd Matching Fund

You helped raise $20,550 for the Riding Program, which will be doubled through the Adopt the Herd Matching Fund, for a total of $41,100 to help feed and care for CedarS wonderful horses. We still have approximately $44.5k to raise to take advantage of the full $65k Adopt the Herd match. (More info )

Many other Blessings:

Thank you for helping to raise camperships, replenish needed items, pray for today's youth, and launch our fundraising for summer 2018. Especially helpful are your much-needed MONTHLY gifts, past and ongoing, that can be started and adjusted as you wish at: www.cedarscamps.org/giving ] All of your gifts add up to big blessings in the lives of today's Sunday School students!

With gratitude and love,

Warren, Gay, Holly & your CedarS Family

P.S. If you haven't yet had a chance to give, we still have many needs, big and small, that you can help meet by clicking HERE.

[You can also reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by
PHONE at 417-532-6699 or 636-394-6162

or MAIL your tax-deductible support to our 501-C-3 organization
(Our not-for-profit, Federal Identification Number is #440-66-3883):

The CedarS Camps, Inc.
1314 Parkview Valley Drive
Ballwin, MO 63011

[THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS FOR YOUR ONGOING, GENEROUS and NEEDED SUPPORT OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!]

[CedarS weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. However, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support.

[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp! YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) athttp://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/

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