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Stretch your understanding of God every day!

Julie Ward, C.S.B.
Posted Sunday, December 26th, 2004

(Editor's Note: The following background information and application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for this week are offered primarily to help CedarS campers and staff see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the C.S. Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp. If more information or the text of this Lesson is desired, please see the Director's Note at the end. The citations referenced in the "met" (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. These two books are the ordained pastor of The Christian Science Church. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. Other reference books are fully noted at the end.)

Stretch your understanding of God every day!
Application Ideas on "God" (Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson for 12/27/04 through 1/2/05) by Julie Ward, C.S. (Westwood, Massachusetts).

Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Eternity is God's measurement of Soul-filled years." (599:1) What better way to celebrate the New Year than with a new understanding of God, and of His new covenant with His beloved children! Here's a New Year's resolution that you might want to consider: to stretch your understanding of God every day. This lesson helps us to see more of God's qualities in action. 

GOLDEN TEXT - Our headline: "His compassions fail not." He never runs out of love, patience, gentleness, mercy. As you read the lesson, watch for compassion and the words relating to it, and then note the examples of compassion in action. The New English Bible translates these verses, "The Lord's true love is surely not spent, nor has his compassion failed; they are new every morning, so great is his constancy."

RESPONSIVE READING - Look for the qualities of God in this reading and see how perfectly balanced they are. Tenderness, compassion, and mercy are supported by justice, judgment, and truth. We are "the people that know the joyful sound," the people who walk "in the light of thy countenance," and we must rejoice in that every day. (Ps. 89:14-16)  

SECTION I - Obedience to God helps us to know Him.
The first four sections begin with a reminder of God's perfect compassion. This section establishes the covenant between God and His people: We are to keep His statutes and commandments, and He will love us, bless us, multiply us. This week, let's look at the Ten Commandments as directives that allow us to understand better the nature of God. For instance, when we have no other gods before Him, we recognize God's omnipotence and omnipresence. When we refuse to worship a graven image, we turn more to the nature of God as infinite Spirit. When w e refuse to take His name in vain, we understand that God is not abstract or obscure, but a very present and practical help. Work your way through the commandments and think of how each one helps you to "draw nigh to God."

Isn't it wonderful to realize that "Truth, Life, and Love are the only legitimate and eternal demands on man"? (SH 3) It seems as if there are so very many demands on us, but matter has no right to demand our time, our thought, our attention. And if Truth, Life, and Love are the "spiritual lawgivers," their laws are self-enforcing. Within every spiritual law, there is built-in obedience. It's sort of like mathematics. 2+2 doesn't have to try very hard to become 4, and 2+2 can't decide that they would rather equal 5. The more we understand and love these laws, the more we will find ourselves "rejoicing in the affluence of our God," (SH 4) - rejoicing in the full, free flow of His qualities in all that we experience. Mrs. Eddy paraphrases Ecc. 12:13, "Love God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole of man in His image and likeness." (SH 5) Isn't it wonderful to consider that our love of God and our obedience to His laws is all there is to us - it's our only substance. The Amplified Bible says it this way: "Fear God - know that He is, revere and worship Him - and keep His commandments; for this is the whole of man [ the full original purpose of his creation, the object of God's providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun], and the whole duty for every man."

SECTION II - The new covenant - not just law, but Love itself.  
In this section, the questions arise, What is my concept of God? What is my relationship to Him? Again we're reminded that the Lord is "full of compassion," and that "The Lord is good to all." (B 5) His love is impartial, universal, unconditional. The new covenant described in this section is unbreakable, because it's a law written in our hearts, in our "inward parts." God promises that "they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them." (B 6) Knowing God - and loving Him - is the most natural thing in all the world for us. It's not the prerogative of the privileged few. And God goes even farther in proclaiming His love to us. He says that we will be betrothed to Him, and that we will call Him "Ishi," which means, "My Husband." (B7) Isn't that filled with tenderness? The New English Bible translates verses 19-20, "I will betroth you to myself forever, betroth you in lawful wedlock with unfailing devotion and love; I will betroth you to myself to have and to hold, and you shall know the Lord."

We are as close to God as the drop of water is close to the ocean. We know Him as perfectly as the ray of light knows the sun. Why? Because we are one with Him. We live and move and have our being in Him. How could we NOT know Him? And the more completely we recognize God as boundless Love, the more naturally we'll love one another, and find ourselves united "as one Father and His universal family, held in the gospel of Love." (SH 9) What closer family ties could we possibly have?

SECTION III - God hears our prayers.
No prayer to God is ever in vain! Hannah proved this when she prayed for a son. Her prayer was answered, and she recognized that this was a clear expression of God's love, a love that she had to return by dedicating her son to the Lord. What is your deepest desire? Are you willing to trust it to God? Are you willing to let Him mould and exalt it BEFORE it takes form in words and in deeds? (SH 11) Look at the qualities of prayer that Mrs. Eddy spotlights here: honest, silent, humble, hungry for righteousness, FERVENT. (from the Latin to boil or to glow). Are we on fire when we pray, or is our prayer a casual request for comfort in matter? Let's ask ourselves often Mrs. Eddy's question, "Are we benefited by praying?" (SH 13) And let's be sure that our answer is an unqualified, "YES!"  

SECTION IV - God does not tempt His dear children.
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness (Check out the definition of wilderness in S&H 597:16), he answered with authority, "Get thee behind me, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." (B 13) When we're tempted by doubt, discouragement, fear, pain, or sickness, we can find our safety in the same answer - "I only serve the Lord." Steadfast obedience, abiding in God's law, will save us every time. Mrs. Eddy promises us, "Step by step will those who trust Him find that 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.'" (SH 16) We can follow Jesus today by holding ourselves superior to sin and to sickness, never fearing them. Let's decide today, "I will not be afraid of sin or sickness. I will not doubt God's government or distrust His omnipotent care." Let's plant ourselves firmly on the Evangelist's statement, "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made." (SH 20)

SECTION V - Will you be a healer?  
Jesus told his disciples that "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." (B 16) Sometimes we pray that He will send forth labourers, but we hope that we're not among them. We think that healing is just great for other folks, but we don't qualify. Yet Jesus said clearly, " He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." (B17) For more on this, you might want to explore Mrs. Eddy's book Miscellaneous Writings 192:10-196:27. Each one of us is called by God to follow Jesus in his works as well as his words. We're not alone in this, hoping against hope that we can actually heal ourselves and others. Paul says, "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." (B 19) The very God who calls you to heal WILL DO IT. Have you noticed how often the word "faithful" comes up in the lesson this week? In many of the verses, the word is translated "constant" or "utterly trustworthy."

Let's claim the promise this week, "God will heal the sick through man, whenever man is governed by God." (SH 22) Then let's go about the business of recognizing that we are governed by God alone at all times. And how do we heal? "By the truthful arguments you employ, and especially by the spirit of Truth and Love which you entertain, you will heal the sick." (SH 24) Yes, you will!

SECTION VI - His kingdom is forever!
God's allness is no secret. It continues through all generations. It is revealed to all nations and peoples.. And we are ALL His people. He cannot be limited by time or by space. His promises stand. In the book of Revelation, the covenant is repeated: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." (B 23) Our job is to keep on "attaining diviner conceptions" day in and day out. (SH 28) Then we'll demonstrate Mrs. Eddy's words, "Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present." (Science and Health 16:31)

 

Camp Director's Note: The above sharing is the latest in a long series of CedarS Bible Lesson "mets" (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  This document is intended to initiate further study as well as to encourage the application of ideas found in the Weekly Bible Lessons as printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms.* Originally sent JUST to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "mets" are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson in the books. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one. We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of these ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.)  

*
P.S.  If you don't have the textbooks at hand, you can read this week's Bible lesson (and surrounding text too) online by clicking here.

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