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Thank God in advance for guiding all the comings and goings in our lives and every event of our careers. (Unity of Good, 3:28)

Dan Carnesciali C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, June 8th, 2009

Thank God in advance for guiding all the comings and goings in our lives and "every event of our careers." (Unity of Good, 3:28)
CedarS "Met" Application Ideas on the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "God the Preserver of Man" for June 14, 2009
by Dan Carnesciali, CS, of St. Louis, MO


Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week and the 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 each week, or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French from Pascal or in Spanish from Ana. JUST SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters

We're going to reflect on how great our God is. Truly He is great. He saves. His wings cover us and shield us from harm. He watches over us and protects us. He uncovers evil and destroys it. This week, watch out for the words save, salvation, restore, free, freedom, guarded and deliver. And, look for opportunities to yield, to witness God's saving power, to be a peacemaker and to "love more for every hate." Read this week's Bible lesson, digest it, live it and be transformed.

Golden Text:
As you head to camp or vacation, or off to work, remember that, "The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever." (New Living Translation-NLT) What doesn't infinite Mind know? He knows before you do what you need and He guards you from harm. Witness the action of God. Witness what He is doing right where the activity of evil seems to be going on.

Responsive Reading:
Is it important to think about God correctly? Yes, of course. But it is better to consider how He knows you. God's thoughts, His knowing of you, is what constitutes you and keeps you in perfect health and mind. God's thoughts form you. God doesn't just give you health. God is your health. Turn your focus away from how you think of God and to how God thinks and embraces you. What if you have made a mess of life? Does God say, "Now you've done it, I'm out of here until you figure things out?" (Psalms often deal with this type of struggle and feeling. That's why so many people connect so well with the Psalms.) No, God keeps being all-powerful Mind, knowing who you are and how you are, continually pouring out blessings on you. If life seems dark, it's not your thought. And, it's not true. Mind knows no mistakes. Therefore, suffering from mistakes is what? Yes, a mistake, an illusion. God is able to reach you, turn you around, lift you up and deliver you out of any situation. Love is there for you, powerfully shining in light. He delivers you "out of all trouble."

Section 1- Challenge Indifference
The prophet Jeremiah warned the people to give up false gods and worship God. Jeremiah's message was very unpopular, so he repeated this message at great personal risk.  Maybe we can hear his friends asking him why he had to live so boldly. Why couldn't he just be normal? That wouldn't work for Jeremiah. It's been said that you can think that Christian Science is about "using God" to fix problems, or you can view it as God using you. Jeremiah lived enthusiastically. Do you see the word "theo" hidden in the word enthusiastic?  Theo means god and "en" means in, so enthusiastic literally means God within.   Here it means to live with great eagerness, passion and devotion to God. Jeremiah's passion for letting God use him made him an unstoppable force for good. He couldn't live an indifferent life. No, Jeremiah loved Life. From experience he declared that God is always near, filling heaven and earth. (B1) (B2) Perhaps Ole Jeremiah's message is an outdated message relevant only to people who lived thousands of years ago. Sometimes hatred of good comes as "I'm too cool to love God, talk about God." I overheard one Sunday School student whisper to another, "I'm not going to be a Christian Scientists when I grow up, it's too much work." That wasn't his thought, was it? Notice how the first three citations in Science and Health share discoveries about the presence and infinite nature of God. God is unlimited; He fills all space. (S1)   There is no place where God is not. (S2) You know, if God fills all space, then God's opposite evil can't fill that space too. (S3) "We bury the sense of infinitude, when we admit that, although God is infinite, evil has a place in this infinity, for evil can have no place, where all space is filled with God." (S3)  We lose infinity when we admit that there is something in addition to God's allness, which is able to destroy and disrupt God's kingdom.
Think about if you were writing Psalms 121. Notice how many times in this passage that God is doing something. Made earth, doesn't allow stumbles (foot to be moved), keeps Israel safe, day and night. He acts as a keeper. (A keeper guards, preserves, protects and watches.) He shields from us from harm. He takes care of our soul. (B3) Yes, taking care of our eternal salvation is part of His job description too. Mary Baker Eddy says, "The emphatic purpose of Christian Science is the healing of sin;" (Rud 2:26) "Step by step will those who trust Him find that ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.'" (S6) It's surprising how easy it can be to overlook God, like taking a friend for granted. Today, see how many ways you can acknowledge the preserving activity of God. If it's raining and there is a roof over your head, that's evidence of God's preserving power. If you have shoes, God is keeping your feet from harm.

Section 2- Jew or Christian?
The author of I Peter felt we all have a calling. "Are you called to be a speaker? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ. All glory and power belong to him forever and ever." (B4 NLT)  Saul, who became Paul, was called to be an apostle. What's an apostle? It literally means "one who is sent out." It also means a messenger, witness, or follower sent out to spread the Gospel (good news of Christ Jesus). You too are called for a holy purpose, to a great Cause. Your purpose is not to use or apply Christian Science to solve problems. That's too easy to neglect, too random. Your calling is to live Christian Science, to bring every thing you do into the activity of Christ. Christ is the true idea of God and man, the activity of good, destroying evil, connecting one with God. The more you think about it, Christ is the true you, always about your Father's business. (B5) As you can see, some Jews were very hateful about the apostles preaching the message of Christ Jesus. Paul and Barnabas were sent out to be missionaries (apostles). They went right into the synagogues and preached the Gospel. That's bold! Some Jews who didn't appreciate this stirred up the crowd against them and kicked them out of the region. This would discourage a normal person. Mistreatment made Paul want to be even bolder. (B6) Opposition to God is not "their thought" or "your thought." Realizing this often dissolves struggle. (S7) What can we learn from Paul's life? One thing is when God gives you a mission, He equips you for that mission. He preserves you and provides for your success. When you encounter opposition you can turn away from your purpose or you can become even bolder. God is equal to emergencies.

Section 3 - "See You Later" [or never again] Dangerous Inheritances
Heredity is a mixed bag. Humanly, it's a good deal when you are good looking, a good athlete or smart like someone else. But, when it causes you to be prone to substance abuse, anger, depression or being overweight then it doesn't sound like a good deal, does it? Like good luck and bad luck, it's a package deal. Human heredity is not a law - it's a trick. It is superstition packaged as though it were God's law. Through association of fearful thoughts and connection with past evil it's portrayed as inescapable. But it's not. The Bible makes it clear that God never authorized heredity. He preserves (keeps) you safe and well, whole and healthy. Divine heritage is the law. Put your trust in "goodly heritage" without any reservation. The Message puts B8 verses 5 and 6 this way, "My choice is you, GOD, first and only. And now I find I'm your choice! You set me up with a house and yard. And then you made me your heir!"
Paul proved that heredity is not factual when he healed a man who was disabled in Lystra. (There was no synagogue in Lystra, so Paul and Barnabas were preaching in the market when they came across the disabled man.) (MyBibleLesson) Paul looked at the man intensely for a while, perhaps striving to perceive only what God saw of the man. He called out to the man, and commanded him with spiritual authority to stand up. When Paul spoke to the man to stand up, Paul was calling on thought (body) to respond to the demand of Spirit to be healthy and active. (B9) The body is actually thought or the direct outcome of thought, so it is quite natural that it responds directly and promptly to thought. (See S&H 400:20) The problem is not in the body, but in thought. Having said that, don't think the problem is in your thought. (If the postman put a neighbor's bill in your mailbox, should you write a check and pay it?) Christian Scientists do not ignore heredity; with authority we refuse to take it on as if it were real. We destroy it with God's law. Prayer, acknowledging the law of God, denies heredity. It preserves you from all evil. (S15)  Notice that the marginal heading for the S16 is "Half-way success." Mary Baker Eddy pointed out that disappointing results come from half-hearted attempts. The Bible calls you to love God with all your heart. So, adore God without reservation and be entirely free of fear. Be completely free of anxiety. (S16) Divine Truth heals with "actual spiritual law." (S17) God is saving (preserving) you. Healing is possible. You have the right to think and act with authority and power, realizing that it is Truth speaking and working through you.

Section 4- Unjust Sentences
One day as Paul and his travelling companion Silas were heading to the synagogue, they were followed by a demon-possessed slave girl who had the power to tell people's future through witchcraft. She followed them for days and incessantly announced that Paul and Silas were servants of God. One day, Paul had had enough of this. He turned and spoke to the spirit, the belief of evil possessing someone, and demanded in the name (in the manner of, with the authority of) Jesus Christ to come out of her. Almost immediately the slave girl was healed. Sometimes, it is great just to be still, not affirming or denying for just a few moments. These moments of communion relax us and spur us on to wholehearted acknowledgments of God.
After Paul and Silas healed the slave girl of fortunetelling, her owners got mad that they couldn't use her to make money anymore. They grabbed Paul and Silas and took them to the local authorities (judges) and complained that these two were stirring up trouble. Paul and Silas were stripped and savagely beaten by the mob. (That part isn't in the Lesson.)  Things got still worse. After they were beaten, they were thrown into jail. Paul and Silas sang hymns of gratitude and praise to God so loudly that the other prisoners could hear them. They weren't afraid of others knowing that they loved God and believed that He would save them. The Bible says that an earthquake shook the prison so hard that the doors opened and the chains fell off. (B11) Don't be troubled when things seem to be going badly [and are "all shook up"]. (B12) Be strong. Be courageous and God will strengthen you. (B13)  Even though all the evidence was that Paul was in a bad fix and that things were getting worse and worse, he knew that God was preserving (saving) him and would totally deliver him. (B14) In the face of severe opposition, Paul refused to give up his cause. In fact, the opposition encouraged him that he was following Jesus. In II Cor 12:10, he said, "I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size-abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become." (The Message) "Slavery is not the legitimate state of man. God made man free ... citizens of the world, accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free! This is your divine right." (S21) Suffering is not your natural state. God knows that. Your natural state is your current, perfect state.

Section 5- Saved By Love
It's worth reading a few chapters of Acts to find out the details of this journey that is in the Lesson. Here is a brief summary. Saul, later Paul, was born a Roman citizen. He was a very scholarly Jew, who was a Pharisee. Pharisees were very, very conservative. They believed in a literal, strict interpretation of the Jewish law. Saul went from synagogue to synagogue punishing Christians (having them beaten), hoping they would turn away from Jesus' teachings. As you know, one day he was transformed and his name became Paul. In Latin, the name means, "small." One day in Jerusalem, Paul was falsely accused of disturbing the peace. Paul felt it was his destiny to go to Rome and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After he spent two years in a prison of the local Roman governor, he said, "I appeal to Caesar." The local governor replied, "You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!" Paul was put on a ship bound for Rome. He knew that voyage was going to have problems and they should not set sail, so he warned the Roman centurion (commander) named Julius in charge of him. This was the action of God the Preserver. At times God warns us not to go to a certain place, or to immediately leave a place. It's important that we are obedient. Well, the ship encountered a storm that lasted for two weeks. Paul encouraged the men to eat, that they would need strength. Here is Paul, a prisoner acting as a leader and expressing God the Preserver. It's worthwhile reading the whole story; there is a lot of interesting detail about the voyage. Paul told them that they would lose the ship, but that they shouldn't be afraid; they should be happy about their safety. Again and again, God the Preserver gave Paul messages to communicate to save the prisoners and the crew. He became aware of some of the sailors trying to abandon the ship and save themselves by escaping in a lifeboat. Leaning on God, Paul heard that the ship would be split in two. Standard procedure was to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them escaping. (Interesting sense of law, huh?) The centurion probably sensed there was something special about Paul. He gave the order that the prisoners should not be harmed. Here again is the action of God's saving power. Also, this prevented the sailors from committing murder, saving them from guilt. All 276 of the prisoners and their guards escaped safely. (B16) "Step by step will those who trust Him find that ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.'" (S&H 444:10) God knows how to keep you safe. He will guide you. You don't need to know just how God will do it. Doing so would deny the law of Love. Truly, "Nothing can interfere with the harmony of being nor end the existence of man in Science." (S26) And, "No power can withstand (the power of) divine Love." (S&H 224:31)

Section 6- Blessed Fruit

Here we have a last glimpse of Paul in Acts. Even imprisonment in Rome didn't discourage him. He continued to boldly share his faith in God, conversion, that Jesus was the Son of God while under house arrest in Rome while chained to a guard. According to the Bible, he continues this for two years. (B18) Read the whole story of Paul's arrest in Jerusalem and journey to Rome in the JB Phillips translation at http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CP05Acts21.htm. There is no accurate record, but tradition has it that Paul was tried and sentenced to death in Rome around 62-67 AD. (http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=aa74) "Some scholars believe that the author (of I Timothy) was Paul and that date of writing about 60-62 AD (during Paul's house arrest); others maintain that the Pastoral Epistles were not written by Paul and came at a much later date, during the second century." (An Outline of the Bible, Landis)

All things are possible to God.  God is Love, so She will deliver you, Her perfect child, from all evil.  Always be on guard - when you start or finish praying - for feelings that question whether God is able to deliver you. Doubt often comes because you see yourself as a creator. When you think you are a creator, there is pressure, fear of missed deadlines, lack of time, intelligence or desire to complete worthwhile goals. When God is the only Cause and Creator, working through you, the possibilities are endless. That's why God is worthy of praise. Praising God is actually fun and natural. (B19) Think of what would be missing if God was not the Preserver, Saver or Deliverer of man. Man would be and feel vulnerable to evil. He would be subject (a slave) to evil. He would be subject to circumstances, with no hope.  Jesus proved that we can overcome obstacles, even our own fear. We are conquerors. Therefore, sickness, lack, joblessness, homelessness, addiction are subject to us (Christ acting through us). How about a Hallelujah! We are saved, cured, whole, healed now. That is the law of God. We are good and inseparable from good. The kingdom of heaven is within us. (B20 & S28) Are you leaning on God the Preserver today? Love has healed you. Let nothing, even yourself, tell you any differently. (S29)

This weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff we hope to bless again this summer at CEDARS--as well as to CEDARS alumni, families and friends who request it, or find it on our website. But, current and planned gifts are much-needed to help cover the costs of running this service and of providing camperships.
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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 in a 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 and background as well as new angles on the daily applicability of 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. B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "met" (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S-1 thru S-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

Possible Sunday School Topics by CedarS Counseling Staff
for the lesson: "God The Preserver of Man"

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T.] - Golden Text:
What is the blessed assurance given in the Golden Text? To whom is it given? For how long is it given? How long is evermore? Why does God preserve you, and all mankind? Why does God need you?

P.S.S.T. - Responsive Reading:  What does God know about you? Make a list from the RR. Can you ever be outside of God? Is there an "outside of God"? Have students memorize these beautiful passages in Psalms 139:7-11. The little ones might memorize this: "There is no spot where God is not."

P.S.S.T. - Section 1:  We are allowed in to hear God's side of a conversation. What is God saying? Even though Jeremiah recorded this conversation, to whom is God speaking? Now look to the other side of the conversation in the B3 (Psalms 121:1-7). Substitute "thy" and "thee" for "my" and "me". What is the assurance given in S5 (444:10)?

P.S.S.T. - Section 2:  There is also a conversation in this section. See if you can identify the one-word-verb in B5 that gives us a hint as to Paul's life work after he was changed from Saul to Paul., ("called")  You might relate the story of the calling and conversation to those who might not know of Saul/Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus. The second conversation in this section sounds like a talk, lecture, or preaching. To whom is Paul speaking? What did he say to them? How do you feel upon hearing them today? Would you act as the Jewish leaders did? What did Paul and Barnabas do? What is the message to us in B6 (Acts 13:51)? "...they shook off the dust of their feet..." See also S11 (323:9) as an indicator of how we should act when someone else doesn't understand us, "...we pause, - wait on God."

P.S.S.T. - Section 3:  Here is another biblical conversation. Who is speaking, who is listening? What was the result? How did this happen? See S14 (178:22). Define heredity. Define heritage. What is your divine heritage? You are the child of God, a divine idea, possessing the protection of the one who created you. See S16 (167:22) about how we should act based on this inheritance.

P.S.S.T. - Section 4:  Here is another conversation on one of Paul's journeys. Who is speaking? What did this woman recognize, even when "possessed"? What are divination and soothsaying? Why were her masters upset with Paul for healing the woman? What did they do? This is a good story for either telling in the student's own words or for acting out. Would you consider what happened to Paul and Silas in the jail as a miracle or as natural? What is the conversation from God in B14 (Psalms 32:7)? See its correlation in S21 (227:14-19). Who got freed in this section? Make a list of things from which you would like to be freed, then have you conversation with God about your divine rights, your rights because of your divine heritage and divine inheritance.

P.S.S.T. - Section 5:  Are there any situations you could be in where God would not assist you? What are the blessed assurances in this section? See B19 and B20. Look to S&H in this section for the "doctrine of Christian Science". What does it say about your benefits as an idea of divine Love? Memorize S29 (vii:1-2). Count your blessings. Make a list of those things for which you are grateful today. Right now!

P.S.S.T. - Section 6:  List several bible characters and share how God delivered them. For example:  David from Goliath, Moses and the children of Israel from the Red Sea, Daniel from the lion's den, Joseph from the pit, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego from the fire, Jesus from the grave.

How could this be? Paul tells us how in this section, see the B20, basically there is no separation from God. What is the doctrine of Christian Science found in S28? What is the result that is produced by Principle? Harmony. Now abide in confidence with that.

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