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Follow the Map--Live According to the Plan of God--Live Life to the Fullest!

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Monday, January 11th, 2010

Follow the Map--Live According to the Plan of God--Live Life to the Fullest!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Weekly Bible Lesson for Jan. 11-17, 2010 -- Subject: Life  --  Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, C.S., of St. Louis, MO  [italicized comments in brackets by Warren Huff]

[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. SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]

Is living life to the fullest about accumulating "stuff," or pushing an agenda, or worrying about how everything is going to get done, or struggling to get through a difficult situation? OR is living a full life really about striving to live in accord with God's Word--and, thus receiving God's gift of abundant, eternal life unfolding naturally according to the design of Life itself. This week's lesson can be seen as an instruction manual, teaching us about how to live Life in accord with the wisdom that comes from God.
 
Golden Text: Jesus responded with this verse in Deuteronomy (our Golden Text) when the devil tempted him in the wilderness to make bread out of stones.  Jesus knew he could trust God with ALL his needs. The Children of Israel had been forced to learn the same thing when they were hungry and God fed them with manna. But, they didn't yet understand the full significance of life truly being of God alone. Are we REALLY trusting that everything enduring in life comes directly from God? As Mrs. Eddy writes in her article on Angels, "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies.  Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment." (Misc. 307: 1-5)  Are we willing to expand our expectations to include the unexpected?
 
Responsive Reading:  Of course we're not seeking Christ because of the "loaves"--are we???? It's interesting that Jesus' words indicate that he welcomed those who sought him because they "saw the miracles." What's the difference? For one thing, a loaf of bread, like the manna of the Old Testament, is still perishable food. It is a temporary solution. When Jesus describes himself as the "bread of life" he is offering something that totally supersedes the temporal. He is speaking of the eternal Word of God, the enduring Principle of the Logos, the Christ--that feeds our consciousness continually, meets EVERY human need in miraculous (divinely natural) ways, and--most importantly--reveals eternal Life. He knew that those truly ready to follow him (those ready to receive his message) would see beyond the physical to the enduring Christ--and would gobble up and be fed by his teachings. In fact, after this discourse, many did turn away from him.   But, those who were willing to follow (including modern disciples) discover that his teachings map out the way to everlasting Life--or "perpetual Life" (Strong's).
 
Section 1: Be guided and inspired by the Scriptures--Then, celebrate!
Many of us have a GPS system in our cars these days.  We've learned to follow the little voice in the box that tells us each turn to take as we're trying to find our way. Taking advantage of the system eases the fear of getting lost. The voice of God speaks through the Scriptures, and is even more dependable than the best Global Positioning System. Mrs. Eddy calls the Bible the chart of life (S-4) and the first tenet of Christian Science is, "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." (S-2)  Going to the Bible for direction--and really working to understand God's message--is how we find our way in the journey called life. II Timothy says "ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God." We don't pick and choose the "good parts." We FIND the good in ALL the parts! "Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another--showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way." (B-1 The Message)   After Nehemiah led the people of Jerusalem to repair the walls of the city, Ezra, a scribe--or expert in the law, gathered the people together and very deliberately taught them the law of Moses. The people listened all day to Ezra reading and explaining the law until they understood it. And when they DID understand, the people celebrated! (B-3) We need to remember that prayer and study and diligently working to understand the law of God is FUN! The Word of the Bible is INSPIRED. We just have to dig beneath the surface enough to find the message that stirs us to feel God's presence and see His activity.   To inspire is to "inhale; breathe in." So, take a deep breath of Spirit and watch how the Bible's message can transform your being.
 
Section 2: You are God's story--Yield to God's order and stability and be happy!
We are God's story. (B-5) God orders our lives. Rather than thinking we are being bounced around like a pendulum, we need to recognize God's sense of order in all things and determine to "be joyful and to do good." (B-6 English Standard Version) The psalmist compares those that recognize God's supreme government to trees planted in the Temple courts, thriving and bearing fruit. (B-8) So when we're feeling overwhelmed or pulled in a thousand directions, we need to give ourselves totally over to God, stop outlining how we think things need to be done and let God order our day--one step at a time. We don't need more time--mortal measurements and limits. (S-7) We're not steadily declining and heading toward death. We are God's never-ending story--each one unique and priceless. As we accept this position, we eagerly discover what good is coming with each turn of the page. ["In this place of happy grace it's easy to turn, turn, turn a new page." This is one of my favorite verses of a new song about CedarS written by Desiree Goyette that you can hear her sing by clicking here and on the link in red letters.]  And, we change our perspective from death (limitation) to life. We must "shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight." (S-6) Your story is unlimited! You're never too old or too young! Break out of your shell--your worldly view whereby you judge everything according to the testimony of the senses. As you look beyond the limited perspective, and trust God's continuous government of you--His precious child--you learn to "fix your gaze on the realities supernal" (supremely good reality) and you break out of your shell! A baby bird is happy in his shell (with everything he needs to support him right there) until he outgrows that shell. Then, pecking his way out, he eventually discovers flight. That changes his perspective on everything! Don't be satisfied to live in the shell of limited mortal belief. (S-8)  Grow your way out and experience the fullness of God's story that He has written with you as the star!  Watch the limitations of time and sense disappear, and measure time and progress by the good that is unfolding! (S-9)  Count every LITTLE step of progress. They add up quickly in the realm of eternity--timeless/limitless Soul-filled years! (S-10)
 
Section 3:  Inherit perpetual life--Follow Christ--Trade in a material view for Spirit!
Eternal life doesn't mean life (as we know it, with its ups and downs) extending forever in time. It is a promise of living in the consciousness of perpetual good--harmony--independent of time and limitations. It is a promise worth pursuing!! Is there a tendency for any of us to be like the rich man who came to Jesus asking how he could inherit eternal life--how he could possess perpetual life as a right that couldn't be taken away--but who didn't like the answer? There certainly remains the world view that wealth is an indication of success. As MyBibleLesson points out... "Most Jewish people at this time believed that wealth was a sign of God's special favor, and that poverty was God's punishment for sins." Jesus turned this upside down (as he did with so many views.) First, Jesus pointed out that God is the ONLY source of good. Then, he let the man know that simply following the letter of the law (keeping the commandments) wasn't enough. He had to surrender his heart to God--recognize that there is NOTHING more important or more reliable than God's Word.  Perhaps Jesus realized that the man couldn't hold on to his riches without believing they were the source of his well-being or happiness, or without being distracted by having to take care of his physical stuff. Jesus and his disciples always had their needs met, but the disciples were willing to leave their familiar comforts and follow Jesus. (B-11) What do we have to give up? It's not always things. It may be a preconception of what defines us. It may be things like, "I'm just too easily distracted to keep my attention on Christ all the time--that would be boring anyway; My work is so demanding--I don't have time for church; I have too much homework or practice takes too much time for me to devote more attention to learning about God; I'm not spiritually-minded enough; I'm just too slow; I'm afraid to give up my material comforts." As Mrs. Eddy says, we must "set aside even the most cherished beliefs and practices, to leave all for Christ." (S-11)  Forget all those excuses! The promise of eternal life--dwelling consistently in the consciousness of harmony--is one worthy of pursuit. But, it takes work and dedication of thought, supreme love of the Unseen Giver of Good, and going against the current of general belief--to achieve. It requires letting "understanding change[s] the standpoints of life and intelligence from a material to a spiritual basis." (S-14)  We don't have to give up anything substantial--just trade in a limited material view for an unlimited, spiritual one! Money isn't the problem; it is our view of it--and the subtlety of the demands money can make on us. There is no evidence that Jesus always made the giving up of worldly possessions a condition for discipleship. (Interpreter's Bible, Vol. 8, p. 314)  But, anything that would put up a barrier to wholehearted devotion to "the kingdom business" has to go!
 
Section 4: Cast out demons!
"The Bible contains the recipe for all healing." (S-16)  As we follow Jesus' example, and speak with "authority and power" to anything trying to "hitch a ride" and call itself our nature--or the nature of another--we'll be able to cast out demons like he did. (B-13) This doesn't just apply to the suggestions of insanity. We don't want to accept anything that isn't clearly of God--isn't completely good.  Maybe it calls itself temper or laziness or human perfectionism or lack of mental acuity or loss of memory. Maybe it calls itself pride or depression or attention deficit. Maybe it calls itself a scary disease with a scary name or a chronic hereditary condition. If it has an element of mortality--if it limits you--it is NOT YOURS (not anyone's) and can be cast out with the authority of Christ, Truth! Mrs. Eddy explains what is required to heal as Jesus healed. We must "live above corporeal sense and correct it." We must choose what we admit as real--claims of good or claims of evil? Where we place our dependence-- [where we lean, to link with Cedars 2010 theme] --determines our experience - "our health, our longevity, and our Christianity." (S-21)   It's interesting to think about what "our Christianity" means. Doesn't it really mean how closely we're following the example of Christ Jesus? Thus, it includes the requirement to look at the world from the perspective of Spirit, not matter--fully recognizing "the Life divine, revealing spiritual understanding and the consciousness of man's dominion over the whole earth." (S-20)  God reveals himself through Christ. As we speak to error with authority, we find the Christ, Truth, revealed.
 
Section 5:  The perpetuity of good--Life everlasting.
The Scriptures show us that good is continuous. (B-15)  Even though Jesus was gone, the Life-giving power of Christ was uninterrupted. As Ezra had reintroduced the Hebrews to God's law long before Jesus, Paul taught those unacquainted with this law after Jesus. And Paul demonstrated the power of the Word through healing. His understanding of Life enabled him to raise the fallen Eutychus to a full sense of life. (B-17) And, Paul later wrote to the citizens of Rome the need to learn from past teachings and urged the citizens of Ephesus to wake up from the deep sleep of material living to see Christ's light revealing the fullness of Life ever present with them! (B-15 & B-18) That is what we need to do so that we can LIVE! God is Life and Life is real. Life is all there is!  Life is not in matter. Death (like sin and disease) is an ILLUSION to be seen through--a false belief to be given up. (S-22 & S-23) Just as Paul confidently went to Eutychus and assured those around him that his life was in him, we must look at every suggestion of discord and lack with the conviction that "nothing can interfere with the harmony of being nor end the existence of man in Science." (S-25) The key is to maintain a scientific view--and never be dissuaded by the testimony of the physical senses. The reality of being has been demonstrated throughout history. Let's all agree to hold this position: "No evidence before the material senses can close my eyes to the scientific proof that God, good, is supreme." (Misc. 277: 23-24) This leads to the unfolding of perpetual life--perpetual good--in our experience.
 
Section 6:  Write God's law on your heart--Let Him write your story!
Paul acknowledged that the Corinthians were living witnesses to God's law--which he had introduced to them. (B-20) The Corinthians were living evidence of Jeremiah's promise of the new covenant that would be established with men: "After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Jer. 31:33) It is only by LIVING the Life that is God that we are fully obedient to His law. It's one thing to know the words and intellectually accept the teachings of the Bible, of Christ Jesus, and Christian Science. But, to be a true Christian, we have to daily live what we're learning. (S-28) The only way to really live is to constantly walk away from the accepted beliefs of the material world--be separate from them.  Then, you're free to discover the treasure of spiritual freedom. (S-29) Think about it as if you're climbing up a mountain and leaving the ground fog behind. If you've lived in the fog all your life, this limited view seems normal. But, once you've glimpsed the clearer view, you never want to go back. Why spend your life dragging around the heavy baggage of material limits and fear when you can let it all go and let unlimited, unburdened, perpetual Life shine through you? How? The Bible teaches Love to be the basic ingredient. Refuse to practice (or see yourself as the victim of) aggression, oppression, or pride of power. (S-29) [We must renounce or "turn, turn, turn" away from them, as Desiree Goyette sings in our new CedarS song.] We are responsible for our own experience. No one else and nothing else (including your body) can deprive you of the power that God (through His Holy Spirit and His Christ) has given you to demonstrate your dominion! The last citation of the lesson asks some interesting questions. And then it promises that as you live the life that approaches the supreme good, and as you demonstrate (practice) the healing power of Truth and Love, you WILL grow, and you'll experience the glorious presence of God. (S-30) Stay focused on God's law--as explained in the Bible and Science and Health. Make obedience to this law a priority. Trust your life to God, and you will see His story unfold before your eyes--as your life--better than you could ever write it yourself. It doesn't mean that everything will always be smooth--but you can be sure that, as you set your eyes on the "treasure" and walk in that direction, you'll find good! (S-29) The Bible is the chart of Life, but as Molly King wrote in her March 23, 2009 Christian Science Sentinel article (reprinted in part in this week's MyBibleLesson), "the map isn't any good if you don't look at it."  God is showing you the way of Life. Follow! Let His law be written in your heart!

[This weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff who were blessed this summer at CEDARS--as well as to thousands of CEDARS alumni, families and friends who request it, or who find it weekly on our website.  But, current and planned gifts are much-needed to cover the costs of running this service and of providing camperships for such inspirational opportunities.  Your support is always tax-deductible and welcomed--but this year and month your help has been especially needed and appreciated! Two ongoing needs are to raise significant dollars to underwrite camperships and to care for our large herd of horses. "Adopt the Herd" donations will be matched!
To make a tax-deductible donation-which may be better tax-wise for you to post-date for 2009:
1) Write a check payable to CedarS Camps and mail it to the office: 1314 Parkview Valley, Manchester, MO 63011; or
2) Call Warren or Gay Huff at (636) 394-6162
to charge your gift using a Visa or Mastercard or to discuss short-term or long-term gift of securities or property that you are considering; or
3)
CLICK HERE RIGHT AWAY TO SUPPORT CEDARS WORK with an online gift using PayPal.com, which can be funded using a Visa or Mastercard account.]

[Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 9-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

P.S.S.T.-Check out Paul's Facebook posting and let them guide yours!See P.S.S.T.-Section 6
Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Life" for Jan. 17, 2010
 
[P.S.S.T. - Golden Text] - Ask students to write down what they think are the words coming out of the mouth of God regarding themselves, regarding their brothers and sisters, regarding any individual on this planet. Perhaps this could be a starter..."This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased". (Matt 3:17)
 
[P.S.S.T. - Responsive Reading] - Share a favorite bread recipe with your students. Examine the ingredients, inspect the reason for each ingredient, and especially yeast. What are the qualities/properties of yeast? What is the result when using yeast or any leavening agent? Define leaven. What daily leaven is available to every Christian Scientist to raise or elevate thought? The Daily Lesson Sermon. Consider going to the lesson each day with a question and hear the words that "proceedeth" out of the mouth of God. Use this week's lesson as an example.
 
[P.S.S.T. - Section 1] -Which came first, the Bible, or Science and Health? The Bible is the basis for S & H. What is Tenet #1? What does it mean to be inspired? Where does inspiration come from? It requires honest, heartfelt,  eager listening. A favorite teacher of mine regularly reminded the class that God gave us two ears and one mouth, so that we should listen twice as much as we speak. Look at the Bible story in citation B-3 and ask students to list the aspects of listening in this story? Where is wisdom to be found? Or, how does one become wise?
 
[P.S.S.T. - Section 2] -What is the result of finding wisdom? See B-9; look for the three s's: stability, strength, salvation. Do these come over a period of time or can they come in an instant when thought is open to inspiration. Does one need more time? See S & H 595: 17. Or does one need more inspiration or living in the spirit? See definition of Spirit S & H 594: 19. See S-9 for a hint.
 
[P.S.S.T. - Section 3] - What are the guides in this section to have a blessed, rich, eternal life? List them from the Bible story in B-11 and B-12. What is required of us? See Micah 6: 8. Who did design man, you? What was used for this design? You can stand on that, or it becomes your stand point, the point of understanding on which you can stand when making decisions or taking steps of any kind. Your life is not framed by material heredity or DNA. See the scientific counterfact for the counterfeit DNA or links in a material design or hereditary chain, in S-15. What is the chain of scientific being -- which includes you? By the way, DNA can also mean "Does Not Apply". No material or physical heredity applies to you, your brothers and sisters or any other person on this planet.
 
[P.S.S.T. - Section 4] -Speaking of recipes; where is the recipe for all healing contained? S-16. Look to S & H in this section for statements or ingredients for a life: i.e., "In infinite Life and Love there is no sickness, sin nor death...", "In divine Science, man is the true image of God." "Jesus....never gave drugs...".
 
[P.S.S.T. - Section 5] -Why is a study of the scriptures an important recipe for our lives? See B-15. See the story in B-17.  If the friends were not a "little" comforted what were they comforted? Much, a lot, mucho! Think about your best friend--[him or her-fill in the blank, with gender inclusivity intended to follow]. If this happened to ______  as what happened to Eutychus, what would you want to happen for/to ______  ? How could you best help ______  awaken to the truth of ______'s  being, ______ ‘s relationship with God? See the counterfact statement in S-25 to the counterfeit claim of death.
 
[P.S.S.T. - Section 6] - Since the Scriptures are the recipe for life, it is no wonder that Gospel means Good News. Paul's epistles or letters are full of the Good News as guidance for the churches he established and visited frequently via his letters. Ask students to look to Paul's letters and make a list of the names of the churches he established. See if you can pinpoint these locations on a map. These letters are like Paul's Facebook posting or tweets to his friends. Look to them as indicators of the tone we should use when im"ing", tweeting, or writing on our friends' walls. Like Paul's writings, which we are reading some 2,000 years later, what do we want others to see in the future from our written text message of today? Are our texts of today recipes for others to follow? Paraphrase S-30 to read, "Ask yourself, do my text messages approach the supreme good and demonstrate what I know of the healing power (recipe) of Truth and Love?

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