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Fulfill Your Duty to God by Living in Obedience to His Law!

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Fulfill Your Duty to God by Living in Obedience to His Law!
Application ideas for the 10-section, Christian Science Bible Lesson: "God"
For the week of December 29-January 4, 2009
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S.
of Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week and Possible Sunday School Topics that follow are offered primarily to help CEDARS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! You can sign up to have them emailed to you free -- in English by Monday or Tuesday each week, or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French from Pascal or in Spanish from Ana. (We no longer have a translator available for German.) JUST SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters

Have you ever made a deal or an agreement with someone?  In order for the deal to work, both sides need to fulfill their end of the bargain.  In the Golden Text, the children of Israel are reminded of their agreement or covenant with God.  God will continue to fulfill His end of the bargain-protect and care for them-as long as they fulfill their end of the bargain-be obedient to His Laws.

This Lesson focuses on God's Law known as the Ten Commandments.  Since they are part of the "first lessons" taught in Sunday School, we probably have them memorized, but when was the last time you really thought about them?  When was the last time you consciously prayed to follow them?

Jesus was the ensample for what it means to follow the Commandments.  He knew that obeying the Commandments meant everlasting life.  In the Responsive Reading one of the Pharisees asked Jesus, "which is the great commandment in the law?"  Even though it says he was being tempted here, scholars feel that it was a legitimate question debated regularly in Jewish schools.  Jesus' reply linked the complete devotion to the one God with love for fellow man.  He may not have been the first to do so, but he was the prototype for putting these two great laws into practice.  Dummelow writes they were "the primal laws of his every action."  Jesus "redefined what the love of God was-how it manifested itself, and who a man's neighbor is" (The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible).  Jesus said he didn't come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.  He did so, not by merely following prophecy as a prescribed course for his life, but by actually obeying the laws of God.  He also demanded that his followers strictly obey the Commandments.  He said to break the least of them was tantamount to breaking the whole law.

Jesus broadened the scope of the Commandments beyond ritual observance-from the ceremonial to the moral.  Dummelow sums up Jesus' practice of the Commandments noting that Jesus made "them apply not only to the outward act, but to the inner spirit and motive, and to change them from mere negative commands to abstain from certain sins to positive obligations, which are never exhausted and involve a perpetual advance in holiness where mere abstention from evil acts implies moral stagnation."  Let's use this Lesson as an opportunity to fulfill the Law in our lives too.

Section 1: You Shall Have One God
Although the concept of One God began in Jewish tradition, we need to remember that the Children of Israel were surrounded by polytheistic cultures and needed constant reminders to serve God alone.  God had spoken to Moses "out of the midst of the fire" (B1).  There was no form, only a voice.  It was a spiritual event and therefore, no images of God were permitted. Irrespective of what was going on around them, the Children of Israel were commanded to serve no other gods (B2).  This is the lynchpin of Hebrew theology.  We might think that following this Commandment was easy for them, but it wasn't.  As a people, they were unique, and it was a new concept.  It took a concerted effort to stay the course as witnessed in the psalmist's prayer (B3).  Go back to the Bible and read the entire Psalm.  Have you ever prayed to follow God in this way?  If so, how often?  If not, why not?  I've found that if we really pray for something from the depths of the heart, our prayer is answered.  Maybe we don't pray as fervently as we should, because we really don't want to fulfill our end of the bargain.  Think about it.

The First Commandment is Mrs. Eddy's "favorite text" (S1).  She writes, "It demonstrates Christian Science."  If the Israelites had challenges in serving one God, so do we.  Have you ever imagined what it would be like to have "no mind but God"?  What would our lives be like if we really had no other intelligence, substance, truth, or love, but the spiritual? (S2).  The second "chief command" is to love our neighbors as ourselves.  The Jews originally considered neighbors to be only their fellow Jews.  Jesus expanded that to include everyone-enemies and all.  To truly follow these commands is to emulate the life of Jesus.  It requires having the Mind of Christ.  Just try consciously praying to obey each Commandment specifically each morning and to have the Mind of Christ.  You'll find that it changes the complexion of your entire day.

Section 2: You Shall Not Worship Materiality
As mentioned above, God revealed Himself spiritually to His people.  The First Commandment stresses God's singularity and the second stresses His incorporeality.  The Second Commandment (B4) forbids the worship of any external form.  Idol worship was common in those days, but Israel was to have no part in it.  The God of Israel is unique and His worship is not to resemble any other form of tribal worship.  "God is known through his action; thus what expresses his whole and indivisible character defies material representation" (Interpreter's).  Israel was not to partake in heathen ways nor give any weight to astrological or astronomical signs (B5).  Heathen rituals were ridiculous.  A decked-out carved log had no power to do anything.  The heathen gods were "job specific."  One took care of crops, another of fertility, and so on.  The God of Israel was a "one man show."  He made everything and was responsible for every aspect of maintaining His creation.

Idolatry is defined as, "1. The worship of idols, images, or anything made by hands, or which is not God. ... 2. Excessive attachment or veneration for anything, or that which borders on adoration" (The Student's Reference Dictionary).  Idolatry can also include the worship of the heavens, demons, angels, animals, or men, and an idol can be "any thing on which we set our affections; that to which we indulge an excessive and sinful attachment (Ibid.).  Thinking about these definitions, are there any idols that we are tempted to worship today?  Mrs. Eddy writes, "the supposed existence of more than one mind was the basic error of idolatry" (S4).  She goes on to say that this error brings a loss of spiritual power and the awareness of God's universal presence.  Christian Science disallows any possibility of other gods or creators (S5).  There's an awful lot clamoring for our attention and affections in modern life.  Do you pray to be free from all idol worship?

Section 3:  You Shall Keep Free from Profanity
The Third Commandment (B6) instructs us not to use God's name for any frivolous or malicious purpose.  Originally it applied to breaking any promise sealed by an oath to God, and includes any insincere use of His name.  In some religions the petitioner is constantly calling upon God to do the petitioner's bidding (as in ‘please destroy my enemies'), thus trivializing His name.  But God is to be obeyed not controlled (Interpreter's).  His name shall not be profaned (B7); that is, to wound or begin as if by opening a wedge, to pollute, or stain (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible).  Careless use of language and of God's name is like a wedge opening thought to further sin.  Understanding God's name--His nature--is a monumental task requiring constant vigilance.  The Abingdon Bible Commentary states, "His greatness is beyond the goal of human speech...praise goes from generation to generation because it never reaches adequate expression, and it's beyond human comprehension."

Do you honor or profane God's name?  Do you recognize that He is the only Ego? (S7).  Do you see that mortals cannot usurp God's creative power?  Our Leader calls upon us to logically consider the fact that God is first--chronologically, potentially, and eternally (S8).  And then she challenges us to give that "holy name" the glory honor, dominion, and power it is due.

Section 4:  You Shall Rest in Remembrance of God's Completeness
The Fourth Commandment (B9) urges observance of the Sabbath as a day of rest.  Many cultures have instituted a day of rest.  For Christian Scientists, the Commandment also calls into remembrance that on the seventh day, God's work was finished.  So we could think of it as a time to stop human activity to remember that God's work is always complete.

While most consider the Sabbath as an enforcement of "rest," we shouldn't forget that the Commandment also implies six days of "work."  Our Leader writes, "God rests in action" (S9).  She found that doing holy work does not wear us out (S10).  Relying on human ways and means can definitely be an exhausting endeavor.  But remembering the Sabbath, realizing that God's work is done and that, in fact, it is always God doing the work, we can find ourselves continually refreshed.

Section 5:  You Shall Honor Your Duty to Others
What does it mean to honor your father and mother?  It could be that the Fifth Commandment (B10) was originally addressed to the adult members of the community to remind them to take care of their aging parents.  Also, in tribal and polygamous societies mothers depended on their sons to care for them more than on their husbands (Interpreter's).  But it was also a way of encouraging discipline in the family, which in turn became the foundation for discipline in society as a whole.  Ephesians points out that the Fifth Commandment comes with a promise (B11).  The Israelites did not have a fully developed sense of an afterlife, so it was important for them to have rewards in the present world (Dummelow).  The Commandment also calls upon parents to be reasonable in their expectations and discipline of their children

Science and Health stresses the parental obligation to raise children with tenderness while instilling a love for what is good (S12, 13).  Children should be taught to obey the moral and spiritual law so they can use those laws for their own protection.  This Commandment implies proper nurturing and education for the young, mutual respect for the middle-aged, and an obligation to care for the elderly.  All in all, it promotes tenderness, generosity, unselfishness, respect, and order in the family and in society.  How are you obeying this Commandment?  Do you think its meaning changes as one grows into maturity?

Section 6:  You Shall Not Entertain Murderous Thoughts
Love for God necessarily leads to love for man.  The Bible tells us, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin" (B12).  This does not mean however that we do not need to make a conscious effort to be free of sin.  The Lord's Prayer includes the phrase "deliver us from evil."  Often, it seems that when we utter those words, the emphasis is on the evil "out there."  But how often do we pray to be delivered from the evils within?  The man "born of God" needs to prove it.  Love for man is the test of those who claim love for God, and Love is proved through action not words.  Out of hatred comes the impulse to kill.  Do we ever pray to be delivered from hatred?  Hatred takes many forms including self-righteousness and criticism.  As mentioned before, Jesus elevated the Commandments from the ceremonial to the moral.

The recognition of man's oneness with God supports love for others.  Believing we're separate from God instigates conflict with others (S14).  God is the giver of life and nothing can take it away.  Taking a life would only be attempted by one who believes he is apart from God.  While it is doubtful that anyone reading this Lesson has contemplated murder, we are all tempted with hatred or at least have had ill feelings toward someone.  Mrs. Eddy states the spiritual facts that God never produces evil and therefore that man cannot stray into evil (S15).  Keeping free from murderous thoughts not only protects us, but it also protects the whole world.

Section 7:  You Shall Remain Pure
Out of context, Habakkuk's claim that God is "of purer eyes than to behold evil" (B14) seems to be a declaration of truth.  But in fact, he was questioning how God could allow the evil going on in his time to continue unchecked.  Moral corruption was running rampant, and those whom were thought to be deliverers from evil were worse than their predecessors.  Jesus demanded complete moral transformation from the inside out (B16).  As hatred opens the door to murder, lust opens the door to adultery.

Our Leader felt that the Seventh Commandment was just as important as the Sixth (S17) because it requires purity of thought to see God (S18).  Jesus taught us not to desire what we should not have.  Although popular culture sees no harm in sensual fantasy, we do need to watch the quality of our thought (S19).  To be healers, we need to take the Commandment seriously.  Mrs. Eddy's teachings agree with an observation found in Abingdon's: "Impurity is one of the great evils against which the followers of Christ must make truceless war.  Purity is an equal obligation on men and women, married and unmarried."  To adulterate something is to corrupt it with a foreign substance.  To be free from adultery is not limited to sensualism.  We need to keep our love free from selfishness, our good deeds free from pride, and our motives pure and true.  Imagine what a difference it would make if all our thoughts and acts were free from adultery.  Now try praying to be free from adultery and put that prayer into practice.

Section 8:  You Shall Not Take Good Things from Others
Thou shalt not steal (B18) is the Eighth Commandment.  Although few of us could be considered thieves, how often have we stolen someone else's joy, or peace, or confidence from them?  Do we pray to be delivered from this tendency?  Zacchaeus cheated people (B19).  When he felt the influence of the healing Christ he immediately pledged to make restitution.  The last five Commandments seem to apply progressively to a wider and wider audience.  There are more adulterers, than murderers and even more thieves, liars, and people who covet.  Each of these infractions is against the whole of society, and each is equally harmful to the individual committing them.

Quite often the evildoer believes his actions will benefit him irrespective of the harm they cause others.  Theft is no exception (S21).  But divine Love corrects these errors.  It really behooves us to overcome these evils preemptively, because there is no way to avoid paying the penalty for sin (S22).  As the Christ brought repentance to Zacchaeus, it destroys all belief in sin (S23).  Zacchaeus was eager to catch a glimpse of the Christ and willing to change his evil ways.  How eager are we?  Try praying specifically to be delivered from stealing and see what a difference it will make in your day.

Section 9: You Shall Not Believe the Lies of the Senses
How often do you lie?  OK, probably not much.  How often do you entertain anything less than the truth about yourself and others?  For most of us the answer to the second question would be different from the first.  Believing a lie isn't much better than telling one.  And any time we accept something other than the truth, we are accepting a lie.  The Ninth Commandment (B20) forbids all lying or slander.  Lies can pierce like a sword (B21), and large or small, lies disrupt harmony.  Jesus taught us that the truth makes us free (B22).  He never believed lies, nor did he tell them.  He spoke the truth to every lie he came across and in doing so he vanquished his foes (B23)

Truth brings healing (S24), and we get to the truth by rejecting lies (S25).  The biggest liar is corporeal sense, and as such, everything that comes to us through the corporeal senses is suspect (S26).  The evidence of the senses is the reverse of what God has made (S27).  Obedience to the Ninth Commandment will keep us on the side of Truth.  How much happier and healthier would your life be if you rejected every lie that came your way?  There's only one way to find out.  Start telling and believing only the truth right now.

Section 10:  You Shall Be Satisfied with What God Gives You
While the other Commandments draw attention to worship, speech, and action, the Tenth Commandment (B24) speaks directly to our innermost thoughts.  It goes beyond the reach of human law to the desires of one's heart.  It forbids covetousness and the cheating, violence, and oppression that stem from it.  Obeying the Tenth Commandment would eliminate jealousy, envy, treachery, and a multitude of other sins based on a belief that life is unfair.

Mrs. Eddy's insistence that there is only one Mind (S28) is the answer to a host of human woes.  Love is impartial (S29), so we never have to pine for something someone else has.  All good is always ours.  Next time you are tempted to be jealous, or envious, or feel that someone else took your place on the team, or your job, or whatever-instead of feeling bad about it, pray to be free of covetousness.  All your bad feelings will be washed away, and you'll find nothing but completeness (S30).

Obeying these Commandments-consciously remembering to practice them each day-will change our lives and our world.  It will bring us closer to God.  We will find the kingdom of heaven right here, right now.
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Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 8-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "mets" (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. (To keep the flow of the practitioner's ideas intact and to allow for more selective printing the "Possible Sunday School Topics" come on a following page or subsequent email.) This weekly offering is intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and 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, application 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. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and new angles on daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. 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 the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.
Enjoy!
Warren Huff, Camp Director, director@cedarscamps.org (636) 394-6162

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Have your Happiest New Year Yet! Thanks to a Lesson and Possible Sunday School Topics substantial enough to return to often! Application ideas and questions from Sunday School teacher, Warren Huff, for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "God" for the week of Dec. 29, 2008 - Jan. 4, 2009

TMCYouth recently invited Sunday School teachers from all over the world to submit short video clips with ideas for applying the Bible Lesson that would be especially engaging for 14-18 year old Sunday School students. I videotaped some application ideas for the 4th Commandment (4th Section) with 5 high school students from the Creve Coeur, Missouri Sunday School. You can view this clip and other fun ones on the "God" lesson (and the "Sacrament" lesson) at http://tmcyouth.com/lesson/

Golden Text: When did you last consciously prayed to more nearly keep each of the Ten Commandments in their deeper meanings? Here are ways to look at them which may inspire us to "do and (to) teach them" to students with varied learning styles. (Matt 5:19)
A. The "Top Ten Ways to be Free" (or Top Ten Laws of Liberation)
-- Bible Scholar Barry Huff said in a 2007 TMCYouth podcast on the Ten Commandments for Sunday School: "obeying the commandments is ... a way to show gratitude for the freedom God has already given us and to continue to experience this freedom in our relationships with God and with each other. These top ten ways to be free are introduced by a verse that I used to always skip over, until I learned that it is traditionally identified in Judaism as the first commandment. Right before "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," God declares, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery" (Ex. 20:2, NRSV). THIS is the first commandment in Judaism, establishing all the commandments that follow as laws not of limitation but of liberation. In Jewish tradition, the second commandment is "You shall have no other gods. You shall not make graven images." But first and foremost is the recognition that these laws are foundations for freedom, gifts from the God who led you from bondage under Pharaoh to bonding with God." To hear this podcast in full go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/downloads/audio/huff-commandments-00.mp3  Q. From what bondage or limits do you want to be permanently free? How often do you seek to really bond with God in order to be led out of bondage into freedom?

B. "Ten lawyers brilliantly defending our dominion" "An article in The Christian Science Journal describes the 10 Commandments as lawyers brilliantly defending our dominion, liberating us from bondage." (Barry's podcast, ibid.) Q. Would a good defense attorney admit the guilt of his client? Be an attorney for your own case of innocence. Gladly keep each commandment.

C. "Like laws of aerodynamics ... (that) enable us to soar" "Pilots don't see the laws of aerodynamics as confining. Instead, understanding them enables us to soar." (ibid.) Has misunderstanding any of the Commandments caused you or a friend to "crash land?"

D. "A lifejacket, not a straightjacket." "The 10 Commandments. ... are a lifejacket, not a straightjacket." (Barry's podcast, ibid.) Q. Does any Commandment feel like a straightjacket to you? Q. If so, which one(s)? How can you turn each into a lifejacket for you?

E. Like warning signs of thin spots on a frozen lake. "The Ten Commandments have been compared to signs on a frozen lake, pointing out spots where the ice is thin. God is saying to these people who have just been freed from slavery that you can ice-skate on the whole lake of freedom except for these ten areas of thin ice which will abruptly end your freedom skate." (Barry's podcast, ibid.) Q. Which warning signs/commandments do your friends choose to ignore? Q. How can you help them without coming off as "holier than thou?" Q. Do you have an obligation to warn them of the danger? (A. Science & Health p. 571:12 & 452:10)

F. The Ten Commandments as Architectural Specifications created by God to guarantee the ongoing perfection of His masterwork, you and me. These construction standards of "the great Architect," like all architectural specs, fall into ten sections or categories. Far from being "Ten Restrictions" on your liberty, they are more like Ten Guarantees to your lasting freedom and perfection. They're not merely "10 Suggestions." As specs, the 10 Commandments are a key part of your contract that must be totally upheld. Review them separately at the end of this posting.

G. The Top Ten Laws of Healing: Jesus said that he cast out devils, not by Beelzebub, but by "the finger of God." (Luke 11:20) Bible Scholar Cobbey Crisler pointed out that "the finger of God" was what wrote The Ten Commandments (Ex. 31:20). What a great hint Jesus gave us about the healing power of obeying the 10 Commandments! No wonder that Mary Baker Eddy writes that "Obedience to these commandments is indispensable to health, happiness, and length of days." ~ Miscellaneous Writings p. 67 Q. What problem(s) would you like to see healed ASAP this year? Q. Can you find in the lesson or CedarS application ideas a way to better keep each of God's laws (commandments) that will heal bring about healing by "the finger of God"?

Responsive Reading - Jesus' summary of the Ten Commandments
Craig Ghislin says in CEDARS Lesson application ideas ("Met") this week: "In the Responsive Reading one of the Pharisees asked Jesus, "which is the great commandment in the law?" ... Jesus "redefined what the love of God was-how it manifested itself, and who a man's neighbor is" (The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible)."

Barry Huff says in his 1st Commandment podcast: "The first few commandments appear to talk only about loving God and the rest of the commandments only about loving our neighbor. Yet, by joining these commandments together, the Ten Commandments teach us that these two types of love are connected. As John Robinson states, "Whether one has ‘known' God is tested by one question only, ‘How deeply have you loved?" (61). Our relationships with each other are grounded in our covenant with God. We can't truly love our neighbor until we see our neighbor as a child of the God who is Love (Barclay 2)." To hear this podcast in full go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/downloads/audio/huff-commandments-01.mp3 Who is your neighbor and how are you to love him? (See Luke 10:30-35)

Section 1 - the 1st of "The Top Ten Ways to be Free"- Have One God:
Barry Huff says in his 1st Commandment podcast: "don't go around worshipping other gods, because what they "offer as freedom always turns out to be slavery" (Eller 16-17). Martin Luther defined god as "that to which your heart clings." This commandment encourages us to ask ourselves, "What is our heart and thought clinging to the most?," and to make a change if the answer is not God. What are we relying on for our happiness, health, intelligence and safety? The first commandment urges us not to put something in place of God that isn't up for the job, because if we do we're setting ourselves up for disappointment." To hear this podcast in full go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/downloads/audio/huff-commandments-01.mp3 Q. Is what you are thinking about most up to the job of being God? Q. Will it free you from slavery? Q. Or will it turn out to enslave you?

Craig Ghislin says in CedarS Lesson "Met": Q. "Have you ever imagined what it would be like to have "no mind but God"? What would our lives be like if we really had no other intelligence, substance, truth, or love, but the spiritual? (S2). ... To truly follow these commands ... requires having the Mind of Christ. Just try consciously praying to obey each Commandment specifically each morning and to have the Mind of Christ. You'll find that it changes the complexion of your entire day."
Q. How did consciously praying to obey each Commandment change your day?

Section 2 - Don't Worship Materiality
Craig Ghislin says in CEDARS Lesson "Met": "Idol worship was common ..., but Israel was to have no part in it. ... Idolatry is defined as, "1. The worship of idols, images, or anything made by hands, or which is not God. ... 2. Excessive attachment or veneration for anything, or that which borders on adoration" (The Student's Reference Dictionary). ... Q. Thinking about these definitions, what idols are we tempted to worship today?" (A. How about TV shows & stars; the body, its shape & feelings; the latest technological gadgets and games; sporting events and star athletes; rock, country or rap stars; substances to make you well, sociable, high, sleepy, thin, bulky... ?) "There's an awful lot clamoring for our attention and affections in modern life. Q. Do you pray to be free from all idol worship?"

Barry Huff says in his 2nd Commandment podcast: "The children of Israel definitely needed this commandment, because as Moses was on his way to deliver it to them, they were busy worshipping a golden calf, the symbol of the Canaanite fertility god, Baal. (Langton, 9/20/01). Talk about a holy cow! Moses ... found the Children of Israel worshipping the graven image ... and he responded by becoming the first person to break the commandments. He smashed them to pieces.

"While most of us aren't tempted to run out and carve a statue of God to worship, the ideas underlying this commandment are powerfully relevant today. This commandment warns us not to make and worship a symbol rather than the real deal, not to let our prayer and worship become so stagnant and routine that they fail to do honor to God's sovereign majesty, not to view ourselves as creators or to worship created objects rather than the Creator, not to water down our relationship with God in an attempt to make it easy, and not to place too much weight on anything, however good, if it is not God. It encourages us to let God use us to serve God's will rather than trying to use God to serve our will, and most importantly it encourages us to live up to our identity as the image of God." To hear this podcast in full go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/downloads/audio/huff-commandments-02.mp3
Q. Are you ready to have as a New Year's Resolution to live up to your identity as a child of God, the Most High? A. That's really High DEFinition! You ARE ready for it and the best resolutions possible to problems that arise! Q. Coming into this New Year have you allowed your prayers and ways of worship to become stagnant, routine, graven? If so, ask yourself: am I trying to use God to serve my ends instead of serving God by letting Him use me to serve His will?

Section 3 - Keep Free from Profanity, Emptiness and Frustration
Barry Huff says in his 3rd Commandment podcast: "The root meaning of the word translated as "in vain" is "to be empty" (Childs 410). So, if we say "God is Love" as if these were just empty words and do not believe it or act like it, we're taking God's name in vain. If we pray to God without full-force faith in God's healing power and presence, we're taking God's name in vain. ... Jesus actively obeys this commandment when he prays, "Hallowed be thy name." The Hebrew name for the God of Israel, Yhwh, is likely a form of the verb meaning "to be." Just think about that for a moment. God is a verb! So this commandment urges us to stand in awe of the active nature, character, presence, and power of God." To hear this podcast in full go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/downloads/audio/huff-commandments-03.mp3
Q. Do you honor God's name or profane it? Q. Do you recognize God as the only Ego? (S7). Are you alert to consistently defend your prayers to know they are effective, never "in vain"?

Section 4 - Rest by Giving Loving Attention to Your Completeness in God
In CedarS Lesson "Met" for this section Craig Ghislin writes: "Our Leader writes, "God rests in action" (S9). She found that doing holy work does not wear us out (S10). Relying on human ways and means can definitely be an exhausting endeavor. But remembering the Sabbath, realizing that God's work is done and that, in fact, it is always God doing the work; we can find ourselves continually refreshed."
How often do you feel worn out and driven by your work, homework or household chores? Read on.

Barry Huff says in his podcast for the 4th Commandment: "So the sabbath ... lifts the burden of heavy workloads and deadlines off our shoulders by reminding us that we are not the creators; we are the image of the Creator who rests in the completeness of creation. As my dad always says, "There's nothing more stress free than a reflection." Or, as one of my professors puts it, God is not a "workaholic," so we don't have to be either (Brueggemann NIB 845-6). The Sabbath encourages us to approach life "as a trusted gift [instead of] a frantic achievement" (Brueggemann "Preaching to Exiles" 8). Also, it reminds us that true independence comes from recognizing our dependence on God.

"Jesus' actions encourage us to see the Sabbath ... as an opportunity moment by moment to rely on and worship God, rest and rejoice in the completeness of creation, and act in ways that bring liberation and healing. The renowned Jewish scholar, Abraham Heschel, describes the sabbath as "not a date but an atmosphere" in which "the appearance of all things [has] somehow changed" (Heschel 219). So the sabbath can be seen as a state of consciousness, and when our thoughts are focused on God each of our moments can be sabbath moments free from stress and filled with balance, rest, healing, and joy." To hear this podcast in full go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/downloads/audio/huff-commandments-04.mp3
Do you accept running fuel & stress-free as the ultimate "High-Bred" that you are? (The Child of God, the Most High!)
To hear about the highest hybrid of Christ's restful yoke click my video clip at http://tmcyouth.com/lesson/

Section 5 - Honor Your Duties to Your Parents and other God-placed Authorities
(John 19:10-11)
Barry Huff says in his podcast for the 5th Commandment: "I was surprised to learn the original meaning of this commandment. It was not invented by Moses to get his kids to clean their rooms. Instead, it was likely addressed to adults, commanding them to take care of and respect their retirement age parents. This commandment is the only one with a promise, and its promise makes sense knowing its original purpose. It promises, "your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you" (NRSV).

"Since God is described in the Old Testament as both Father and Mother, this commandment can also be seen as urging us to honor God even when we think we have everything under control. In fact, the Hebrew verb translated in this commandment as "honor" can also mean "give weight to" and "glorify," and it's often used to describe the reverence with which we should treat God (BDB; cf. Childs 418-419 and Brueggemann 847). To hear this podcast in full go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/downloads/audio/huff-commandments-05.mp3
Q. Even when everything looks under control do you obey this aspect of the 5th Commandment by always giving God the honor, like Jesus did when he said: "I of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30); and "Why callest thou me good?" (Matt. 19:17)

In CedarS Lesson "Met" for this section Craig Ghislin writes: "Science and Health stresses the parental obligation to raise children with tenderness while instilling a love for what is good (S12, 13). Children should be taught to obey the moral and spiritual law so they can use those laws for their own protection. This Commandment implies proper nurturing and education for the young, mutual respect for the middle-aged, and an obligation to care for the elderly. All in all, it promotes tenderness, generosity, unselfishness, respect, and order in the family and in society. (Q.) How are you obeying this Commandment? Do you think its meaning changes as one grows into maturity?"

Section 6 - Don't Entertain Angry or Murderous Thoughts
Barry Huff says in his podcast for the 6th Commandment: "This commandment was a huge step forward from the ancient custom, because the commandment says that you can't take justice into your own hands; capital punishment can only be administered through the community's court system. Jesus took this commandment even further by saying that it isn't enough not to kill our enemies, we must actively love them." To hear this podcast in full go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/downloads/audio/huff-commandments-06-08.mp3

In CedarS Lesson "Met" for this section Craig Ghislin writes: "The Lord's Prayer includes the phrase "deliver us from evil." Often, it seems that when we utter those words, the emphasis is on the evil "out there." But how often do we pray to be delivered from the evils within? The man "born of God" needs to prove it. ... Love is proved through action not words. Out of hatred comes the impulse to kill. Q. Do we ever pray to be delivered from hatred or anger? Hatred takes many forms including self-righteousness and criticism. As mentioned before, Jesus elevated the Commandments from the ceremonial to the moral.

"The recognition of man's oneness with God supports love for others. Believing we're separate from God instigates conflict with others (S14). God is the giver of life and nothing can take it away. Taking a life would only be attempted by one who believes he is apart from God. While it is doubtful that anyone reading this Lesson has contemplated murder, we are all tempted with hatred or at least have had ill feelings toward someone. Mrs. Eddy states the spiritual facts that God never produces evil and therefore that man cannot stray into evil (S15). Keeping free from [angry and] murderous thoughts not only protects us, but it protects the whole world." What makes you angry? Are you willing to make a consistent effort to "chill" by repeating "There's nothing in this world getting angry about!"?

Section 7: Remain Pure
Barry Huff says in his 7th Commandment podcast: "Jesus applied the meanings of the 6th and 7th commandments to our thoughts and motives when he said in the Sermon on the Mount that thou shalt not kill means don't even be angry and thou shalt not commit adultery means don't even look at someone with lust. Mary Baker Eddy shows the vital importance of the seventh commandment when she writes in her chapter on Marriage in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "The commandment, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,' is no less imperative than the one, ‘Thou shalt not kill.'" (S&H 56, S18) To hear this podcast in full go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/downloads/audio/huff-commandments-06-08.mp3

In CedarS Lesson "Met" for this section Craig Ghislin writes: "Jesus taught us not to desire what we should not have. Although popular culture sees no harm in sensual fantasy, we do need to watch the quality of our thought (S19). To be healers, we need to take the Commandment seriously. Mrs. Eddy's teachings agree with an observation found in Abingdon's: "Impurity is one of the great evils against which the followers of Christ must make truceless war. Purity is an equal obligation on men and women, married and unmarried." To adulterate something is to corrupt it with a foreign substance. To be free from adultery is not limited to sensualism. We need to keep our love free from selfishness, our good deeds free from pride, and our motives pure and true. Imagine what a difference it would make if all our thoughts and acts were free from adultery. Now try praying to be free from adultery and put that prayer into practice." Q. How can you consistently see through the mesmerism of body worship and fantasies? Q. Are you willing to find satisfaction in things of the Spirit by reminding yourself that: "In God I have everything I need and I know it"?

Section 8: Don't Take Good from Others
Barry Huff says in his podcast for the 8th Commandment: "the eighth commandment ... challenges ... addiction to alcohol, drugs, pornography, or gambling which rob individuals of their freedom. The brevity of this commandment allows it to address not only the theft of property but also these other forms of theft, and things like stealing other people's joy or ideas. As the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, ‘Oh how we turn up our noses at those who commit the obvious sins like stealing... How often do we fail to see that so many times we do things just as bad? We may not rob a bank. How many times have we robbed our brothers and sisters of their good names by malicious gossip?' (Anderson 283). The ninth commandment also deals with this form of theft. But before we leave the eighth commandment, in the spirit of this commandment, all of the Bible resources that I found helpful ... and that I quoted" in this PSST are listed at the end. To hear this podcast in full go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/downloads/audio/huff-commandments-06-08.mp3

In CedarS Lesson "Met" for this section Craig Ghislin writes: "Although few of us could be considered thieves, how often have we stolen someone else's joy, or peace, or confidence from them? Do we pray to be delivered from this tendency? Zacchaeus cheated people (B19). ... Zacchaeus was eager to catch a glimpse of the Christ and willing to change his evil ways. How eager are we? Try praying specifically to be delivered from stealing and see what a difference it will make in your day.

Section 9: Don't Believe or Tell the Lies of the Senses
In CedarS Lesson "Met" for this section Craig Ghislin writes: "How often do you lie? OK, probably not much. How often do you entertain anything less than the truth about yourself and others? For most of us the answer to the second question would be different from the first. Believing a lie isn't much better than telling one. And any time we accept something other than the truth, we are accepting a lie. The 9th Commandment (B20) forbids all lying or slander. Lies can pierce like a sword (B21), and large or small, lies disrupt harmony. Jesus taught us that the truth makes us free (B22). He never believed lies, nor did he tell them. He spoke the truth to every lie he came across and in doing so he vanquished his foes (B23) ... How much happier and healthier would your life be if you rejected every lie that came your way? There's only one way to find out. Start telling and believing only the truth right now."

Barry Huff says in his 9th Commandment podcast: "While this commandment's ancient focus was legal testimony, its contemporary relevance doesn't stop there. It encourages us to stop gossiping about others. And it encourages us to bear true witness to the identity of everyone we encounter by seeing them as the image of God. As Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health, "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick" (S&H 476).

Now that's bearing true witness! That quote and this commandment were a huge help to me in one of my classes at school. ... I hated going to that class because I felt that the teacher was unfair and that I wasn't learning anything important. Finally it hit me that I wasn't getting anywhere being discouraged about my grade, so instead of focusing on my grade, I began to focus on God's grace. What I mean by that is, I tried to find something I could love about the teacher and the class by seeing them as God sees them. In the words of a U2 song, "Grace finds goodness in everything." I remembered the quote from Science and Health about Jesus beholding the perfect man, and I decided that I'd try to bear true witness to the identity of this teacher as the child of God. Each day I looked for something that I could appreciate in the teacher and in the class, and soon gratitude overcame my discouragement. Due to a simple change in my outlook, in what I was bearing witness to, a class that I hated became a class I looked forward to every day and a teacher that I had thought was unfair became one of my favorite teachers. By the end of the term, my grade in the class had changed from a C to an A, but by that point the grade was no longer the big deal. I was having a great time in the class. [Have you experienced a similar situation that seemed unfair? Did you have to see someone rightly?]

Jesus took this commandment to an even deeper level when he said, "the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me." What an awesome example to let one's actions do the witnessing, to let one's walking do the talking. ... Whether it be in the classroom or courtroom, in the news or in an e-mail, in a TV ad or on the phone, this commandment invites us to bear true witness through our actions, thoughts, and words to the identity of each individual as the child of God." To hear this podcast in full go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/downloads/audio/huff-commandments-09.mp3

Section 10: Be Satisfied with What God Gives You
Barry Huff says in his podcast for the 10th Commandment: "while the previous commandments focused on specific actions, the final commandment dives deeper and addresses our thoughts, feelings, and motives. ... The opening words of the 23rd Psalm help us obey this commandment. They declare, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." Or as the new translation from the Jewish Publication Society puts it, "The Lord is my Shepherd. I lack nothing." Not only does this psalm counter the constant desire for more material things that dominates our society, it also reveals that there is no need to covet because God provides everyone with everything they need. This psalm calls us to pray, live, and act in such a way that all people in the world can echo the psalmist's words, "I lack nothing." As Mary Baker Eddy proclaims in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." The tenth commandment could be interpreted as saying, Don't be jealous of what your neighbor has, because you'll miss seeing the good that God is giving you. Gratitude conquers coveting." Q. Are you willing to be like a Tibetan (who outlives his neighbors by about 20-40 years) by having the mindset to rejoice in everyone's good? Can you consistently say "Thank You God, That's Mine Too!"( T.M.T.)? (You'll see that this T.M.T. is more powerful than T.N.T.!)

 

"Instead of being imprisoned by a desire for materiality, we can be empowered by a desire for Spirit. As the beatitudes reveal, the desire that brings true satisfaction is the hungering and thirsting after righteousness. The first and final commandments are directly related, because when we worship God alone, then we are not worshipping or desiring our neighbor's or friend's possessions.

 

"God didn't just speak these words to ancient Israelites millennia ago. He speaks these commandments to us today." To hear this podcast in full go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/downloads/audio/huff-commandments-10.mp3

In CedarS Lesson "Met" for this section Craig Ghislin writes: "Obeying the Tenth Commandment would eliminate jealousy, envy, treachery, and a multitude of other sins based on a belief that life is unfair.
[Q. Do you ever feel like a victim of an unfair distribution of good?]

"Mrs. Eddy's insistence that there is only one Mind (S28) is the answer to a host of human woes. Love is impartial (S29), so we never have to pine for something someone else has. All good is always ours. Next time you are tempted to be jealous, or envious, or feel that someone else took your place on the team, or your job, or whatever-instead of feeling bad about it, pray to be free of covetousness. All your bad feelings will be washed away, and you'll find nothing but completeness (S30).

"Obeying these Commandments-consciously remembering to practice them each day-will change our lives and our world. It will bring us closer to God. We will find the kingdom of heaven right here, right now."

 Preliminary Recommended Resources
Barclay, William. The Ten Commandments. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,
1998.
The chapters in this book were originally articles in the British Weekly that aimed to make scholarship about the Ten Commandments understandable for a non-academic audience.

Brueggemann, Walter. "Exodus 20:1-17, The Ten Commandments." Edited by Leander
E. Keck et al. Vol. 1, The New Interpreter's Bible, 839-853. Nashville:
Abingdon Press, 1994.

The fifteen pages about the Ten Commandments in this commentary do a superb job both of providing an overview of contemporary scholarship on the Ten Commandments and of reflecting on the relevance of the commandments to our lives.

Eller, Vernard. The MAD Morality or the Ten Commandments Revisited. Nashville:
Abingdon, 1970.

This edgy book on the Ten Commandments combines the PG-13, subversive comic strips of MAD magazine with the refreshing biblical scholarship of Professor Vernard Eller.

Advanced Recommended Resources
Childs, Brevard S. The Book of Exodus. The Old Testament Library. Philadelphia:
Westminster Press, 1974.

This Exodus commentary contains detailed analysis of each commandment.

Additional Resources
Bono. "Grace." All That You Can't Leave Behind. U2, Interscope Records, 2000. CD.

Brueggemann, Walter. "Preaching to Exiles." Cadences of Home. Louisville:
Westminster/John Knox Press, 1997.

Cassuto, U. A Commentary on the Book of Exodus. Jerusalem: Magness Press, 1967.

Eddy, Mary Baker. Miscellaneous Writings. Boston: The First Church of Christ,
Scientist, 1924.

Eddy, Mary Baker. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Boston: The Writings
of Mary Baker Eddy, 1934.

Langton, Chris. "Bible and Christian Ethics." Class lectures, Fall 2001, Principia
College, Elsah, IL.

Odegaard, Rebecca. "Ten Good Lawyers." Christian Science Journal 120.4
(April 2002): 31-33.

Robinson, John. Honest to God. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1963.

The Bible. New Revised Standard Version.

The Bible. Today's English Version.

Dear CedarS "Met" readers and Sunday School friends,

Here's a New Year's, new take on the Ten Commandments. With our Bible lesson on "God" featuring the Commandments, you might enjoy seeing them as God's building specs. Hourly look for new ways to live up to these specs of your highest identity as "God's building." When you use these new insights, you will be the Happiest New You in your Happiest New Year yet! You'll treasure this gift that money can't buy - a Highest-Definition, Totally-Valued You-or an H.D.T.V. You! You can reply "YES!" to a frequent question on TV these days: "Are you ready for HDTV?" You ARE ready to obtain and retain a new, higher view of yourself that will transform your character and actions and help you carry out your best New Year Resolutions.

"You are God's building!" (I Cor. 3:9)
Insights from Warren Huff, Missouri Registered Architect

Since a Master Architect and Builder has built you, you must be a masterpiece! As "the noblest work of God," (Hymn 51) you are designed to function flawlessly in every detail in the carrying out of Love's unique and perfect plan for you! In preparing for my architectural registration exam, it came to me that the Ten Commandments were like Architectural Specifications created by God to guarantee the ongoing perfection of His masterwork, you and me. Like all architectural specs these divine Specifications or construction standards fall into ten categories or sections, and were written by "the great Architect" using "shall" and "shall not" language. Far from being "the Ten Restrictions" on your liberty, they are more like the Ten Guarantees to your lasting freedom and perfection. And they are not merely "Ten Suggestions." As specs, the Ten Commandments are a key part of your contract agreement that define the "high-def" you. They must be totally followed and upheld.

Spec #1--General Conditions: "Spirit, the great architect," (S&H 68:5) starts with "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Spirit) as the one precondition that governs all other conditions. With a prevalence of body worship these days, one applicable adaptation of this commandment might be: "You should worship and focus thought on no other "Bods" (your own or another's) before me and your embodiment of unselfed Love." Are you willing to live up to your contract and spiritual identity as upheld by your divine "builder and maker" (Heb. 11:10)?

Spec #2--Selective Removals: Our Creator rules out of you and me all obsessions, addictions, false dependencies and weaknesses. To be rid of these and a false sense of lack that would make us dwell on graven, media images, we must treat them as unwelcome impostors and impositions. Declare that, "As God's image and masterpiece, I have everything I need and I know it!" Are you willing to allow the removal of what must go to make room for the best?

Spec #3-Concrete: He that "set the foundations of the world" has established your foundation and superstructure with all the divinely natural ingredients you need to withstand every worldly pressure and tension. Built on the Rock of Christ's example, you will not fall for or cave into peer pressure. Reinforced with (re-bars of) humility and flexibility, you never get bent out of shape and are naturally immune to tension and its headaches. Your 3rd Commandment Spec, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain," might translate, "You shall not (be able to) take God's nature in vain, or without positive, CONCRETE results!" Are you willing to continuously affirm the solid, quick efficacy of Christian Science treatment?

Spec #4-Masonry: When your life feels burdened and things seem to be in pieces or falling to pieces--fragmentary and incomplete--remember your high goals and that your Mindful Mason has already used an "ever-faithful mortar" that will invariably keep each building block of your experience in place as part of a cohesive and finished whole. Commandment Spec #4, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," reminds us to find rest by keeping our undivided attention on the Genesis 1 record of a complete creation that is "very good." Will you pledge to always see and rest in the big picture of completeness--to begin with the end in Mind?

Spec #5--Structural Steel and Metals: Ever feel unstructured? Overloaded? Living in a structure (body) that's sagging and ready to collapse? Dishonoring authority in its many God-given forms brings about such weak conditions. You will always find stability, direction, renewed strength and longevity as you "honor your [human & divine) father and mother, (and all right manifestations of authority) that thy days may be long." Exodus 20 Are you willing to find strength by acknowledging the role of proper authority and structure in your experience?

Spec #6--Carpentry: Our Master/Carpenter Jesus prepared for his remarkable healing ministry by seeing that all events, including all human relationships, were "fitly framed together" by a divine plan and hand. Jesus proposed stopping murder by healing the attitudes that led to it. (See Matt 5:25-26) Even worse than a wood butcher, a "would butcher," makes fun of those around him lest they would draw attention away from him. Beware of the prevalent trend of seemingly innocent humor that features labeling and ridiculing others. It is a subtle form of disobedience to "Thou shalt not kill" that really injures the bully more than the bullied. Are you ready to stop the futility of anger and of tearing others down?

Spec #7--Thermal & Moisture Protection: No one wants to be homeless or to live in a home that leaks like a sieve and that fluctuates uncontrollably between being bitterly cold and horribly hot. Yet, that's what it's like to be "absent from the Lord" and "at home in the body" (II Cor 5:6) with its gnawing incompleteness and inner lack called lust. We can insulate ourselves from the hot flashes of lust and the cold disappointments of self-contempt and broken promises by daily reveling in God's view of true manhood and womanhood. Jesus taught that living with lust in your heart is what leads to adulterous actions. (Matt 5: 27-28) "Tempted in all things like we are," Jesus showed us how to deal with temptations in Matt 4:3-11. In the face of temptation "that original man, Jesus" didn't reinvent new ways to refute them, but instead quoted scriptural references that negated each temptation to "lie with me." (Gen. 39:7,12) Come to class with at least one citation per week memorized so you too can "throw the book" at any lie, even when you don't have physical books with you. What's your memorized verse this week? Are you applying the truths you know to establish an insulated firmament without lust or leaks?

Spec #8--Windows & Doors: (The "Eyes, Nose and Throat" of a building.) Taking what does not belong to you by divine reflection, such as taking a cold, is breaking this commandment or Spec. Such stealing of what doesn't belong to you, is like living in a home without the security and comfort of windows and doors. Have fun properly sealing up ways that your sense of God's allness would leave you. Then, "stand porter at the door of thought" (S&H 392:24) and admit only what truly belongs to you. Are you ready to accept the security and sufficiency of your divine identity and stop trying to steal what doesn't belong to you?

Spec #9--Finishes:
Bearing false witness and gossiping about others is like baring your floors and walls and living in an unfinished shell of your home without either the refinement of coverings over the exposed structure of the walls and ceiling or the comfort of a covering over the bare subfloor. An atmosphere where others are cut down will always feel bare and unrefined, never homey. Are you ready for earth's "finishing school" for your character that will always bear true, spiritual witness to those around you and to all of creation?


Spec #10--Specialties: Coveting the specialties of others (like their college options, SATs, grades, honors, cars, homes, friends) is actually arguing for your lack of them. This hurts instead of helps you as in the Bible stories of Hagar mocking Sarah and Saul seeking to hurt David. Instead, use the dynamite idea of "TYG! TMT!" ("Thank You God! That's Mine Too!") A disposition to rejoice in the good of others as if happened to you is an awesome attitude that causes Tibetans to outlive others by 20-50 years. Are you ready to rejoice in all of the good specialties of others as advance proofs that such good is universally available to be demonstrated in your experience as well? Having this guileless attitude that sincerely delights in another's good will always results in blessings all around.

"Fitly framed together*" with divine Love and "founded on the divine rock**" of Christ,
Warren

*Ephesians 2:21
**Science and Health 297:27


 

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