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YOU HAVE ENDURING GOOD - THE ONLY SUBSTANCE TO WANT, NEED, OR HAVE!

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Monday, March 12th, 2007

YOU HAVE ENDURING GOOD - THE ONLY SUBSTANCE TO WANT, NEED, OR HAVE!
Lesson Application Ideas on the Subject of "SUBSTANCE"
Weekly Bible Lesson - March 12-18
Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, C.S. of St. Louis, MO

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 (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! EACH WEDNESDAY: CHECK www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/  FOR A FREE FRENCH TRANSLATION of this weekly "met" offered by Pascal Bujard of Switzerland.

God is good and God is all. All that God makes is good and God makes all.  So, if something is substantial, it is incapable of discord or decay.  It lasts!  Only spiritual ideas last.  Nothing else is worth having or worth keeping.  Mortal mind would try to get us to substitute matter for Spirit or mind for Mind.   No way!   Value that which is good and ONLY good!   You'll never be disappointed, and true substance can't be abused.
 
Golden Text: If the earth is full of God's goodness, all is Good and there is no lack - of anything!   "Earth is drenched in God's affectionate satisfaction."  (The Message)
 
Responsive Reading: Giving to Glorify God's Abundant Good
David would have loved to build a temple to the God he so adored.  That job fell to Solomon, but David was the "development guy."  He raised funds.  As we consider our building projects -- a new home, a new facility for a worthy cause, church or home repairs, we can learn a lot from David's approach.  David's emphasis was on glorifying God -- the source of all good!   He knew that we can never add to what God has already done.  Dummelow says that David recognized that "the building of the Temple could only manifest his and his people's devotion and gratitude for the goodness which had bestowed such wealth upon them." (v.10)  All good is from God.  Notice again the foundational statement for the last line of the Lord's Prayer (v. 11)   As we correctly identify God as the infinite source of all good, we lose the sense that we have to get out there, compete for, and scrape together limited resources.  We realize that all things are given to us of  God - to express God!   Gratitude, praise, and recognition of an infinite Source enable us to see that source expressed in enduring abundance!
 
Section I:  What does substance look like? The substance of Spirit LASTS!
In order to comprehend substance, we must acknowledge that ONLY God- - Spirit, Mind, Soul - is substance or has substance. (S-1, 2 &5)  Solomon's proverb refers to God as "wisdom." Mrs. Eddy uses the term Mind.  Either way, look at all that Wisdom/Mind is and gives - understanding, strength, righteous leading, and abundant riches. (B-1) True substance (true riches) can be measured by how enduring it is. Notice the contrast between God as a rock (B-2), offering enduring strength, shade and safety, and illusive dust, which blows away.  Dust has nothing to do with God.  To be substantial, something must be eternal - indestructible.  The dust man of Genesis 2 can hardly be considered substantial or capable of showing forth God's praise. (B-4)  Elihu, in ministering to Job, presents the man made of Spirit and given life by Spirit (the breath of God), as truly substantial. (B-5)  Remembering that Spirit is Mind, what form must the substance of Mind take?  Mind thinks!   So substance must be in the form of thought.  The thoughts of God are reflected in (seen as) the spiritual universe, including man.  The sun is seen in the shine that goes out from it.  And God is revealed in the shine that goes out from Mind/Spirit.  Although mortal, material man SEEMS substantial to his way of thinking, this is a mistaken view - a dusty view, which cannot reveal reality.  There's nothing shiny about dust.  Only that which reflects (shines forth) the eternal substance of Spirit (Mind) is lasting. (S-3)  Thoughts can't be destroyed, but things can be.  Thus, God-thoughts are substantial and very real; dusty matter-thoughts, objectified as things, end in destruction. (S-4)   Praise God by acknowledging his eternal works to be all that is substantial! (B-3)
 
Section II: Seek God's goodness. It lasts forever and is ALL there is!
You are so very precious to God. (B-2)  You are God's work. God not only knows you, God made you.  God made all that IS! God is ever-present and the only power.  Everything God made is good and beautiful, and lasts forever.  There is nothing else! (B-8-11)  Run the test on what you think you see or what you think you value. Is it good -- always good?   Is it possible for the good to disappear or be mixed with, or result in, bad?  Given the fact that God made all things and made them good, how dare we think that we can have some sort of substance or mind other than God -- Life, Truth, Love, Spirit, Mind. (S-7)   Follow the logic spelled out in Science and Health.  Mind creates ideas.  Ideas express intelligence . Sometimes we get hung up on trying to understand what "matter" is.  Think of matter as that which does NOT express intelligence, and thus that which God (Mind) could not have created, and so is not. (S-8)  The general belief is that we think with a brain. But, that just can't be true.  A brain is a limited, material concept -- Mind's counterfeit.  I remember, as a teen-ager, picturing a brain in a jar in a laboratory.  No way could that brain think!   And, so, if a brain could stop thinking, I reasoned, it was never able to think!  The same is true of any kind of supposed substance that is capable of discord and decay.  If something can deteriorate, it has never been substantial.  Measure whether or not something is substantial (and worth treasuring) by whether or not it could be the product "of the infinite, perfect, and eternal All."  Basically, in order for something to be substantial, it has to be GOOD.  If it isn't good, you shouldn't honor it, fear it, or respond to it because it can neither attract nor harm you. (S-10)  The spiritual universe is good. (S-11)  Be diligent, seeking only the precious substance of divine goodness!
 
Section III: The blessing doesn't come in the form of STUFF!
Jacob and Esau were all about getting the "stuff."  But, in the end, the "stuff" didn't satisfy either of them and a deeper lesson regarding blessings and substance had to be learned.  Although this story (especially as you read the whole thing) can be viewed from many perspectives, I've been interested in thinking about what it has to do with the theme I've picked up on in this lesson of substance being that which endures and is only good.  Esau was to be blessed because he happened to be born first, and was his human father's favorite. Jacob was apparently fresh out of luck because he was born second and wasn't "manly" enough for his father. How often people today are tempted to blame their lot in life on birth order or the relationship they had with their parents growing up. Aren't we still tempted to believe that we sometimes need to resort to deception in order to get what we think we have a "right" to, or need in order to be successful? Look at the conflicts in our world. How many of them are about competition or dominance in one form or another? Competition includes someone always being the winner and someone being the loser - and doing whatever is necessary to assure winning! Well, it looked like Jacob pulled it off. He fooled his father and got the blessing. But where did it get him? He was forced to leave home, live in a foreign land, and jump through hoops for Laban in order to get what he had worked to earn. He and his mother never again got to see each other. Deception did not lead to the substance of enduring good! It never does.
 
Jacob had to learn that his Father (God) had a greater blessing prepared for him -- a blessing available to all, but needing to be recognized and claimed.  Jacob heard God invite him home and he obeyed.  That's the first step to reformation - not being afraid to admit a mistake and return to a "higher" place.  It took courage on Jacob's part. It takes courage on our part.  An inner wrestling is usually a component of a change for the better.  Jacob's enduring blessing was received the night that Jacob was forced to come face to face with God and entertain the angels (God's thoughts).  And not only was Jacob blessed, but all involved were blessed.  Jacob's name - Jacob's nature - was changed that night.  The name Jacob meant the Supplanter, the Overreacher - necessitating taking from someone else in order to get enough of "the stuff."   Israel, on the other hand, meant "Perseverer with God."  Remember, Jacob wouldn't let his adversary (his challenger) go until he had been blessed.  Certainly this quality of perseverance went on to be expressed by Israel's son, Joseph, and the generations to come. The blessing had been promised to Abraham and his seed.  The blessing is there for all who are obedient to God's covenant.  This is the blessing of enduring good.  But, when a blessing is grabbed at, like something that can be lost - that can blow away like dust -, it is always at risk of being lost. In the end, neither Jacob nor Esau suffered in the "material goods" area.  But, it was only because of Jacob coming face to face with God (as Moses later did) that the lasting blessing of harmony ensued.  We don't know what changed Esau's perspective, but is it possible that the change in Jacob's consciousness was enough to bring about the transformation for both brothers?   Draw your own conclusions as to why this story was included in this lesson on Substance.   Keep going deeper with it, and more and more lessons can be learned.  The last citation in Science and Health (S-18) certainly sums it up well.  Material wealth that has to be gotten can change hands or be lost.  Without a spiritual basis, it is unreliable, to say the least.  But true substance is from God and is reflected by God's creation.  The inherent goodness of man doesn't have to be earned, nor can it be destroyed.  Good lasts and is available.   It isn't parceled out sparingly to a few. It just needs to be accepted by all.
 
Section IV: Faith - truly enduring
How often do you doubt that "the sun will come up tomorrow"?  You don't, because you have faith in the principle that makes it happen.  It is something consistent in your life.  No matter how dark the night gets, you know that another day (a new beginning) WILL come.  Faith works the same way.  Taking a look at other Bible translations of Hebrews 11 (B-20) helps get a better sense of faith as substance.  And although Eugene Peterson's The Message is a paraphrase, it offers a refreshing view.  He says, "The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.   It's our handle on what we can't see."  It was the woman's faith in Christ (perhaps fed by her loss of faith in what the doctors could do for her) that healed her of a twelve-year affliction. (B-19)   She didn't understand the Truth that healed her, but her faith in Jesus' works allowed her thought to yield to this Truth and thus for her body to respond.  Faith is a quality of thought.   It is the true substance (or lasting good) that can't be destroyed.  Faith sees through discord to glimpse enduring harmony (like seeing through the temporary darkness to see the enduring dawn.)  Jesus looked through the temporary sense of disease and saw the health that was always there, the eternal effect of the only cause - God. (S-22)   Mrs. Eddy teaches us to embrace our body in our thought (S-23) - that is, to love our body as innocent, to include it as part of our thought, to come to believe in and seek to further, defend, and support it.  (Definitions of embrace from Webster's Unabridged)  We can't embrace matter in thought - things and ideas don't mix.   So, we have to change our whole concept of ourselves.  We're not hunks of matter, but we are spiritual and eternal ideas (S-24) - substantial ideas incapable of discord and decay. (S-20)  Mind governs the body - Mind with a capital M!   So, rather than having faith in what we see as body, we need to have faith in Mind.  And that faith gives us "a handle" on enduring health.  Even if we can't see it at the moment, we know it is ours! Just like the sun that we can't see in the middle of the night, but KNOW that we will!  Truth destroys the error of belief. (S-26) REFUSE to give up your faith in that Truth!  Faith endures - it is substantial - and allows you to see the immortal man that exists forever - manifest here and now in a healthy body!
 
Section V: Spirit reveals the nothingness of matter
It is tempting, if we don't start from the right perspective, to believe that sometimes we just don't have enough faith to see through the overwhelming material evidence.  But, that only happens if we are looking at things from a material perspective - mistakenly believing that our "blessing" comes from a limited source, or that we have to go out and get it, rather than accept what has already been given.  If we accept Spirit as the basis of all Life - the goodness that fills the earth - we recognize thought as the expression of Mind.  We recognize that we must walk (or think) according to Spirit, rather than according to flesh. (B-21)  And then we see that everything worth believing comes through revelation - as Jacob's "Israel nature" was revealed to him.  The Spirit that we each reflect reveals the truth to each of us - in a way that we can understand! (B-22)  Although it contradicts the testimony of the senses to accept Sprit as substance (and that's where faith comes in) we MUST accept that flesh and Spirit are as opposite to one another as Truth and error, light and darkness.  Light doesn't go through darkness in order to be seen; truth doesn't go through error; and Spirit doesn't go through matter. (S-28)  Spirit is all there is - and it is very real, very substantial. (S-30)  I find it helpful to realize that Spirit and Mind are synonymous (see the Scientific Statement of Being - S-29 has only part of it).  I can understand the indestructible nature of an idea that I hold in thought.  No one can come in and tamper with my idea.  And then when I realize that all enduring ideas are really the ideas of Mind - Spirit -, I can see how truly substantial spiritual ideas are. If we accept our identity as the offspring of Spirit - the idea of Mind - we see that Life is living us.  We can rebel against the thought of being tossed about by the whims of material belief because we are NEVER the offspring of (never spring into being because of) matter!  (S-27)  Matter is limited and limiting.  Spirit is forever free.  What do you choose as substance?  Where's your faith?

Camp Director's Note:The above sharing is the latest in a 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 citations referenced (i.e. B1 and S28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "met" (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible (B1-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S1-30) The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. 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.)  Spirituality is your innate estate that connects you moment by moment with God.  (See S&H 258:30) Christ is the gift of light that Jesus gave.  This Christ light of spiritual understanding comes with and reveals infinite blessings. So, have fun unwrapping and cherishing your very special, spiritual gift(s)!  Then, wherever you are, share them with all as big blessings that make the Infinite difference!
 
Enjoy!
Warren Huff, Camp Director     director@cedarscamps.org     (636) 394-6162
CedarS Camps Office (where you can now mail requests or support till the office moves back to camp in May)
1314 Parkview Valley
Manchester, MO 63011

The 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 giving contributions 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. Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving  for more about how you can provide support online or to get information or discuss privately how to make a special gift to help perpetuate CedarS work.
You can also just mail your tax-deductible support to:
The CedarS Camps, Inc.
1314 Parkview Valley
Manchester, MO 63011

To print a formatted and printer-friendly version of this week's Met just go to: http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/met.asp or your e-mail address can be added per your request by our staff at CedarS.  For additional support, or if you have any concerns, please send e-mail to: director@cedarscamps.org.

Another new, visually-oriented and very helpful resource for study of the weekly Bible Lesson is being produced by The Christian Science Publishing Society and can be found at: myBibleLesson.com.  What a great auxiliary to lesson study-- maybe even reading beyond citation markers using the handsome new student books now sold in Reading Rooms! MyBibleLesson contains word definitions, Bible background, timelines and translations, plus many healing ideas to use.  Why not check out this effort to help bring to life each beloved Bible lesson in order to bless the youthful thinker and Sunday School student (and teacher) in us all! or copy and paste this link into your browser.
 
You can receive or stop your free subscription to this weekly newsletter in your email box by Sunday or Monday of each week by subscribing - or unsubscribing --at www.cedarscamps.org/myCedars.
 
 
 

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