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Find Inspiration in the One Spirit

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Find Inspiration in the One Spirit
CedarS Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
Spirit for the week of
January 31-February 6, 2011
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn, Illinois
 
[Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week, and the Possible Sunday School Topics that will 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 thanks to Pascal, in German thanks to Helga or in Spanish thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio. YOU CAN SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]
 
Often when the Scriptures use the word SPIRIT, they mean breath, or wind.  As used in the Golden Text, Spirit means inspiration. The prophet foresees a time when all flesh shall have an abundance of inspiration without measure.  If we think about inspiration in terms of breath, we can see that inspiration is always new. We don't inhale the same air over and over again. Each breath is fresh. In the same way, our spiritual inspiration is always new too. It's the influence of God, Spirit in our consciousness. This inspiration is what motivated the prophets of old, giving them authority to "set forth divine truth without any mixture of error...the communication of the divine will to the understanding by suggestions of the mind, which leave no room to doubt the reality of their supernatural origin" (Student's Reference Dictionary).
 
Responsive Reading
Jesus was constantly inspired, and everything he did was motivated by the Holy Spirit. After Jesus' ascension, the Holy Spirit continued to influence and inspire the actions of the disciples.  Jesus promised that the disciples would "receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come..."  The disciples occasionally had glimpses of this power, but on the day of Pentecost, it came with full force. They say that even though there was probably no actual "wind," there was a rushing noise like a mighty tempest. The pre-condition for this event was that the disciples were all together and of one mind. Collectively, they had, to some degree, relinquished a personal sense of a consciousness apart from God, and they had what amounted to a super-charged, collective "ah-ha moment."  Peter explained it as the fulfillment of Joel's prophesy that in the "last days" the spirit would be poured out upon all flesh. The "Last days" didn't mean to them the end of the world. It meant the time of the Messiah. They expected a long and fulfilling reign of Messianic peace. In early times, there was an occasional prophet who showed up throughout history, but in the times of the Messiah everyone would have access to, and be filled with, the spirit. And it doesn't come in a trickle either-it's poured out-gushing and overflowing.
 
Section 1: The Authority and Omnipotence of Spirit
 
This week's Lesson explores the coming of the Spirit to human consciousness-individually and collectively-as well as its healing effect. The coming of the Holy Spirit isn't confined to the Bible or the history books. It's possible right now for all of us. The words found in Isaiah (B1) aren't reserved just for the prophets of old. Christ Jesus also uttered them when opening his own ministry and so may all who open their hearts to the divine influence. The emergence of every shoot from seed, and the blooming of every bud is the result of God's power. Spirit is the impetus behind all spiritual growth as well. Do you feel that power behind you? We often fear for our future, because we believe ourselves to be apart from God, alone against a competitive, and sometimes, ruthless world. But take the time to realize that our calling and purpose are not originated in worldly circumstances. God causes us to hear His voice and there is none other (B2). God isn't remote. God fills heaven and earth (B3).
 
Mary Baker Eddy didn't conceive of man as removed from God and God as some remote, mystical being who needs to be begged. God isn't a limited, magnified mortal. God is infinite Spirit-"the only intelligence of the universe, including man" (S1).  Only good comes from God (S2). Worldly belief divides Spirit into spirits, but since God is one, there is only one Spirit (S3). Only Spirit is capable of filling all space. But if Spirit is really all, that means there is no matter, so Spirit doesn't fill material space. Everything Spirit made is also spiritual (S4). That is a distinction made in Christian Science that other religions do not make.  It really makes a difference too. Mrs. Eddy says that "when we realize that Life is Spirit, never in nor of matter" (S5) our entire outlook will change. We will neither have nor need any other consciousness.
 
Contemplate that idea.  How does it change your outlook on life?
 
Section 2: The Call to Worship in Spirit
 
How do you worship? What do you worship? Even though the Children of Israel admitted there was only one God, they were constantly tempted to worship idols. Asa was faced with the task of reforming the way a whole nation worshiped (B4). He couldn't do that on his own. He gained courage from Azariah, knowing that the spirit of God was supporting his purpose. His efforts blessed everyone. Not only was he bringing two camps of thought together, but those of neighboring countries also came to enjoy this freedom of worship. The people willingly served God with "all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire." How might we rededicate ourselves to God?
 
Christ Jesus reiterated the importance of worshipping God in sincerity (B5). Rather than performing external rites and ceremonies, we are to glorify God from within, and our acts will be representative of our inner devotion. This inner devotion is not confined to particular locations either. Spiritual worship can take place anywhere and wherever the honest, humble heart is open to God. Moses called upon Israel to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and might (B6). Their love for God must be without reservation and complete. Theologian Albert Barnes points out, "The "heart" is mentioned as the seat of the understanding; the "soul" as the center of will and personality; the "might" as representing the outgoings and energies of all the vital powers." Can we say we love God like that?
 
Our Leader asks the same of us now, that Moses did then (S6). She calls this high aim "the El Dorado of Christianity." Only this El Dorado isn't mythical: It's real. As we spiritualize our worship, our spiritual understanding increases (S7). We can't understand Spirit if we're focusing on matter. How can we make our worship more spiritual? In a letter to one of her students, Mrs. Eddy, cautioning the movement from focusing too much on building huge churches once asked, "Are you striving to make the most possible of matter which you admit is unreal or are you striving to make most of Spirit which you admit is all & there is none beside Spirit"? (Letter to Archibald McLellan, Archives, L07169).
 
Section 3: One Spirit; Not spirits
 
Spiritualism and mysticism always seem to draw an audience. Today, supernatural stories are often popular topics of entertainment on TV, in magazines, and in movies. Some say it's because we have an inherent need to look beyond ourselves to explain the unexplainable. In biblical times, the Jews were also drawn to diviners and mediums rather than to God for answers to hard questions. Isaiah and other prophets called them to task for this superstitious practice (B7). It wasn't unusual for other nations to do this but the Children of Israel knew that they were suppose to look to God first. It's almost comical to believe that a person here could communicate with the dead and bring us back messages. Peeping and muttering literally meant, "speaking from the belly." Scholars have equated this with the modern trick of ventriloquism. In other words, it's all just an illusion. It should be noted though, that the Israelites weren't looking to familiar spirits for entertainment.  Interpreter's Commentary tells us the people were in a panic-that they were so distressed about their situation that they were willing to turn against their king and their God in hopes of finding a solution.
 
There are some today who may be tempted to take this path, but our Leader assures us "There is but one Spirit" (S8). She masterfully dismantles the supposition that carnal beings turn into "spirits" after death and return to either haunt or help the living (S10). Ultimately, this also dismantles the belief of praying to saints. We can pray directly to God. God doesn't need a material mouthpiece or a so-called dead spirit to communicate. There are no such things. God speaks only through "immortal sense" (S11).
 
Section 4: Spiritual Understanding Lights the Way
 
There are some theologians who suppose the firmament (B9) to represent the contrast of the immensity of atmosphere and space with the smallness of earth and that this symbolizes the infinite distance between man and God. Yet the lights in the firmament are for the benefit of earth and man-to shine for us, and to brighten our path. True enough, that without the sun, moon, and stars, it would be very difficult to navigate. As Job and his misguided helpers flounder in old theology, Elihu claims that he is moved to speak by the inspiration of Spirit (B10). Spiritual understanding always cuts through the layers of material theories.
 
Science and Health defines the firmament as "the line of demarcation between the real and unreal" (S12). It is true that we cannot really know or learn anything from unenlightened material thinking. Just as one cannot look to so-called spirits for reliable direction, one cannot gain any understanding delving into the darkness of material belief. As we rely on heavenly illumination to light our way on earth, we gain true understanding only through the Spirit. This exalted spiritual apprehension brings us peace and harmony (S13).
 
Section 5: The Spirit Reveals All Things
 
Have you ever faced a task that just seemed impossible? Once King Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by a dream, but he couldn't remember the dream itself (B12). He turned to his advisers-a collection of magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers-to tell him not just the meaning, but the content of the dream. They were stumped. Whatever methods they used to foretell events up to that point, they were in no way adequate to fulfill this request. To make it worse, the king threatened them with execution if they failed him. There's no way of knowing if Daniel was aware of God's promise to pour out His spirit upon all flesh (B11) thus, enabling man to have full knowledge of the mysteries of God's law, and to prophesy. But Daniel turned whole-heartedly to God for the answer. The answer came to Daniel, and their lives were saved. Interestingly, the dream foretold the destruction of all earthly kingdoms and systems and the eventual reign of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
 
Today, there are an awful lot of predictions using various methods of our time. Most of these methods rely on evidence collected through material observation. After analyzing the data, a hypothesis is formed. But can material methods really give us an accurate picture of what the future holds? The only truly reliable source of intelligence is God (S14). Mrs. Eddy says the ancients mistook "fact, for fiction" and that they predicted the future "from a groundwork of corporeality and human belief" (S15). Mrs. Eddy felt that anyone who was "sufficiently advanced in Science" would be able to accurately "foresee and foretell events which concern the universal welfare." In other words, we all have the potential to be prophets. But in order to do so, we have to start with God-not material evidence (S16). Have you ever thought of yourself as a prophet? If faced with difficult challenges in your community, family, personal life, or church, you too, can start with God and foresee an inspired solution.
 
Section 6: Healing Is Proof of Inspiration
 
Christ Jesus was fully endowed with the Holy Spirit. He was appointed and anointed by God (B13, 14). Jesus' healing works were the proof of that anointing. The power of the Holy Ghost was with him wherever he went. John the Baptist, sitting in prison may have begun to wonder if Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Jesus answered the question with healing. It is noted that he healed many infirmities and that he also cast out evil spirits, (B15). This indicates that even those who appeared to be influenced by forces beyond their control were no match for the divine authority of the Holy Spirit.
 
Mrs. Eddy saw that there are no such things as evil spirits. There is a trailer for a new movie about demonic possession that ends with the ominous warning "You can only defeat it when you believe in it." What a pile of rubbish! Our textbook explains that it is only through disbelief in evil that we destroy it. Jesus had no belief in any evil spirits. He cast them out through the power of the one Spirit, God (S18). Jesus embodied this Spirit-he saw it as his only identity-and it animated his every act (S19). Do you sometimes feel like John? Do you question whether or not the healing power of Christian Science is all that we claim for it? The only answer is given in healing proof. Healing was the proof of Jesus' Messiahship, and is the only proof we have of the legitimacy of Christian Science. Our Leader tells us that we are under direct orders to make such proof (S20). The facts are the facts. There is only one Spirit, and healing is the demonstration of the divine power. Embrace it. Claim it. Live it.
 
Section 7: Gratitude Opens the Windows of Inspiration
 
If we find ourselves in doubt about the healing power of God, perhaps it's because we aren't fully acknowledging the healing work that is taking place. If we magnify our deficiencies we may inadvertently use our failings as proof that the system could be faulty. But it's not the system. The Scriptures urge us to magnify our successes. Even when in a wasteland, Jerusalem is called upon to break forth into singing (B16). The Children of Israel needed constant reminders of God's healing and protective power. The image of baring one's arm is taken from warriors preparing for battle. Their strike was swift and decisive. God is ready to bare His arm for us at all times. We need to acknowledge it and remember the evidence of healing we have already experienced. Let's not withhold any gratitude, but bring it all in and see if the "windows of heaven" won't open wide and pour down blessings (B17). There's a lot of pouring in this Lesson. The Spirit doesn't just drizzle. It flows freely. Normally, vows unto the Lord were made privately, but the psalmist promises to acknowledge God publicly (B18). Barnes writes, "Indeed, nothing is more proper than public thanks for a restoration from sickness..."
 
The Apostle Paul was one of the archetypes for public declarations of God's healing power. He boldly proclaimed, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (B19), and he openly thanks God for all blessings (B21).
 
Christians know deep in their hearts that God is the supplier of every need (S21). Mrs. Eddy wasn't hesitant to declare it. She had full faith in the healing power of Spirit, demonstrated it, and gave thanks for it. Bringing our tithes into the storehouse is bringing our gratitude to the forefront. Our textbook tells us point blank, that if we expect to receive more, we have to acknowledge the good we already have (B24). Are you sitting back accepting all the negative press, and allowing your faith to shrink into oblivion? Remember, "the Lord hath bared his holy arm" for you. Break forth into singing and rejoice in the healings you've witnessed. Even if you don't think you've witnessed anything, rejoice in the healing that others have experienced. What blesses one blesses all, and someone else's healing means it's possible for you too.
 
Section 8: An Inspiring View
 
As noted earlier, "the last days" (B21) do not refer to the end of the world, but to the times of the Messiah. This period of Messianic dominion would be forever, and of the increase of his government there would be no end. Once again, there is reference to the Holy Spirit being poured out-shed on us in abundance. Wesley says, "it means that he will bestow large measures of spiritual influences. As the Spirit renews and sanctifies people, so to pour out the Spirit is to grant freely his influences to renew and sanctify the soul." The signs and wonders referred to don't necessarily mean calamities, but the destruction of evil through healing. In our times, too much emphasis is put on the Apocalypse signifying doom and the cataclysmic end of the world, but the Revelation means that the things that were covered will be revealed. It's the dawn of inspiration showing us the truth of God's creation. Thus, the glorious and eternal reign of Christ will come to light (B23). Nobody is left out of this spiritual awakening; everyone is invited to come and "take of the water of life freely" (B24).
 
The Revelation wasn't a product of John's thinking nor a prognostication based on material observation. It came through the power of the Spirit. He was just like the rest of us, but he saw beyond what the human eye can see (S26). He was inspired. He was infused with the Spirit. It enabled him to let go of the material view and see things from an entirely spiritual standpoint (S27). John's view was real. As we realize the truth and omnipotence of Spirit, we too, will share that vision. Our Leader urges us to learn these truths for ourselves (S29). She also implies that eventually we will see it, and we will live in the kingdom of heaven. We are all prophets as we allow only the Spirit to define our existence and direct out actions. These are the times of the Messiah. The Spirit is ready to pour out. We can't get the Spirit through magic, mysticism, spiritualism, material observation, or prognostication. We need only prove our unity with the Spirit through healing, and gratefully acknowledge every step of progress, in order to receive more. Then the Spirit and the bride will welcome us into heavenly kingdom. So let the Spirit inspire you and enjoy the view!

             [Please help CedarS keep a 50th season New Year's resolution to reach out to all the "un-camped" students enrolled in Christian Science Sunday Schools across the world.  In the United States they apparently outnumber Sunday School students who attend 1 of the 6 camps for Christian Scientists in North America by more than 2 to 1. Experience shows that "CS-camped" children who are given the laboratory experience of putting their training from their homes and Sunday Schools into joyous practice in a "24-7" Christian-Science-laboratory experience at camp want to continue to make Christian Science their own. Therefore, please tell all the "un-camped" families you know about our work; and if possible let us know about them and their email and/or other contact information. We will gladly send them--and you--a DVD, plus show host info for over 40 CedarS shows being scheduled and everything needed to help get "un-camped" students to camp -- from info on our programs for all ages; to session dates and rates; to online enrollment info; to transportation;  to financial aid forms; and more as needed.]
 [CEDARS weekly "Mets" or Metaphysical Newsletters are provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CEDARS--as well as to thousands of CEDARS alumni, families, Sunday School teachers and friends who request it, or who find it weekly on our website or through CS Directory. But, current and planned gifts are needed: to cover the costs of running this "free" service; to provide camperships to make inspirational opportunities possible for deserving youth; and to help our facilities keep pace with our mission.]
Thanks to a matching pledge, if CedarS can raise $50,000 by next summer for our "Adopt the Herd" Riding Fund, a donor will match those gifts to cover the needs of feeding, shoeing and caring for our large and cherished herd of horses!  OF COURSE, donations are always needed and welcome for camperships -especially for the "uncamped"--because without campers there would be no camp!  Funds are also being gratefully realized and spent to complete parts of CedarS Bible Lands Park (BLP) including our new Mediterranean Sea!  We're happy to share more details if you wish to help these divine ideas come to fruition!] 

[However it comes, your support is always very welcome and tax-deductible --but during the economic downturn, your generous, unrestricted gifts have been--and continue to be--more needed and appreciated than ever!  You can give charitable gifts to our 501C-3 tax-exempt, charitable organization in many ways.
1)     Thanks in advance for GIVING ONLINE! Just click here to use a credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover card) or a virtual check to make monthly and one-time donations to CedarS' Camperships, "Maintenance Musts", "Mets", Bible Lands Park, "Mediterranean Sea", Unrestricted or Endowment Funds.  Our international supporters can give to CedarS via PayPal using built-in currency exchange rates by filling in an amount under International Donors and clicking on the "Donate Online" button.
2)     Checks are also great and especially appreciated on a monthly basis! Please make them payable to "CedarS Camps" and mail them to: CedarS Camps Office, 1314 Parkview Valley, Ballwin, MO 63011;
3)     Please call Warren or Gay Huff at (636) 394-6162 to discuss gifts of IRAs, stocks, other securities or property you are considering giving in order to help underwrite CedarS spiritual growth and progress.
4)     CedarS can almost always use late-model mini-vans, Suburbans and trucks, with lower mileage, in good condition, either 4-wheel or 2-wheel drive. Please email office@cedarscamps.org or call 636-394-6162 to discuss your vehicle, its transfer and tax-deductible gift acknowledgement.  Letting this need be known recently brought about a donation of a wonderful, late-model Suburban from Minnesota!
5) Many friends and churches have already made a profound impact on CedarS past, present and future by choosing to fund ongoing legacies of love and support. Tax-saving strategies for planned gifts and enabling wording for bequests, life income gifts, and beneficiary designations can be set up by CedarS Trustee Emeritus Bill Merritt who is a planned giving professional.]

 [Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 10-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 "Possible Sunday School Topics" come in a subsequent email.) These weekly offerings are 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 (and angels) 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.]
 
[You can click on the pdf symbol (at the right of the webpage) to download a pdf version of CedarS Lesson mets for easier reading and printing from mobile devices.]

[Enjoy!    Warren Huff, Executive Director   director@cedarscamps.org]

[P.S.S.T.-Let the Spirit move you and "friend" you!]
Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux, St. Louis, MO
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Spirit"   forFebruary 6, 2011
 
P.S.S.T. Golden Text and Responsive Reading -
Read the Pentecost story aloud. Help students define the word Pentecost both in its modern version as a Christian festival celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter commemorating the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples and the Hebrew word, also known as Shavuot, commemorating God's giving the Ten Commandments to Moses.
 
Who was in that room? What was the result once the Holy Ghost had descended on them? Why do you think others heard the disciples in the hearers' own languages? Did they have something in common? What?
 
P.S.S.T. - Sections 1, 3, 4, 7, and 8 - Using the Bible and Science & Health  for Sections 1, 3, 4, 7, and 8 create a Facebook page. For younger students create a poster - maybe use butcher paper and crayons. Ask them to use the synonym of Spirit for God. Create a screen name, create a profile. Who would God, Spirit be in a relationship with? What picture would God, Spirit post on the Facebook page? What would God, Spirit write on the Facebook wall? Who would Spirit, God friend? Who would seek to friend Spirit, God? Ask them to write an exchange between God, Spirit and Spirit's friends. How many friend requests would God, Spirit accept? Why? Who would God, Spirit unfriend? Why?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 2 - Help students understand the names mentioned in the Bible portion of this section: Azariah, Oded, Asa, Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim. Ask students to draw one of these names out of a hat and using a Bible Dictionary, an online dictionary, or the book, Who's Who in the Bible, or the printout of "My Bible Lesson" link these names to see how they were in relationship with each other. What was the oath taken in B-4 and what was the result?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 5 - Here is an opportunity to role play the story of Daniel in this section, B-12. How did Daniel, as a prophet, gain his foresight? S-15. Can you be a prophet? Have any students experienced knowing of something or knowing that something was right for them before it happened?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 6 - Ask students to create a text message of no more than 15 words to express what is in this section. Example: "Server dude turns sad 2 glad; good done, evil not, called, hello! Follow on, rejoicing!" I am sure they will do better than this.
 

BONUS FOR FEB. 2, 2011
Happy Groundhog Day! (On and after February 2nd!)
(Ideas for redemption when healing has been delayed)
From Warren Huff, CedarS Executive Director (speaking as Punxsutawney Phil)
 
With today's big Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, PA, as reported in yesterday's online Christian Science Monitor, you may want to join me in thinking about some of the fun and potentially healing lessons in the movie, "Groundhog Day." Those who seem to wake up day after day to the same nightmarish conditions, no matter how hard they pray, need despair no longer!  It is just time to "Look in the Right Mirror" ("call the mirror divine Science" S&H 515:29) as Marta Greenwood reminds us in today's "Daily Lift".   In the movie, "Groundhog Day", no matter what he does, actor Bill Murray wakes up, day after day, trapped in the same scenario of circumstances that seem beyond his control.  When so-called involuntary conditions seem "socked in" like fog, this weatherman character does not have the mirror of Christian Science to "see as God sees"-but eventually loving his out of a losing loop is definitely a spiritual solution.  
 
Ultimately Bill Murray demonstrates two divine laws that initially seem to be blatantly broken and ineffective: 1) The 3rd commandment that could be read as this heavenly promise: "As God's reflection, 'Thou shalt not (be able to) take God's name (nature) in vain';" (or to no avail) and 2) the divine law that "There is no involuntary action." (Science & Health187:22 by Mary Baker Eddy)
In "Groundhog Day," Bill Murray is so frustrated by what seem like such a hopeless, repetitious situation that he attempts suicide -- many times over and in different ways-- only to find that suicide is no solution since that the same problems, the same "aggressive, mental suggestion"(s) (Manual 42:6) repeat themselves the following day.  Finally, he rebels against the feeling of frustration and involuntary helplessness by making a conscious, voluntary decision that he can be happy and spread happiness and seek constant self-improvement, even if his prospects and conditions never seem to improve.  The result of this joyous, selfless, voluntary action, in rebellion against his involuntary situation breaks the dead-lock and produces daily progressive joy and good deeds.  He consciously decides--no matter what-- to take on God's name, or nature, and to love his way out of the nightmare; and that spiritual activity is not done in vain.
 
Similarly, Joseph refuses to be discouraged whenever he is thrown into the pits! (See Genesis 37-39 as will be celebrated this coming summer in CedarS Musical Theater Camp's production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat")  First, comes the pit of the slavery that Joseph is sold into because of the jealousy of his brothers. Do you ever seem to be an apparent slave to anything or anyone, due to circumstances beyond your control?  To mope over this seeming condition as a reality is to affirm your enslavement and so argue against your own case for freedom and happiness. Instead, keep affirming your freedom and strive to glimpse in advance the pure joy of your God-ordained liberty. This settled, inner joy allows Joseph to give excellent service to his master and earns him a promotion.  But Joseph is again torpedoed unjustly, this time sentenced to prison by the false accusation of an unrequited lover.  Again, he refuses to be discouraged, but finds joy in servicing as he is able to serve and in "blooming where he was planted."  And, thanks to God's plan of salvation and network of "grace that makes beauty out of everything," (U2 song called "Grace.") Joseph is able to interpret Pharoah's dream and to save his whole region as well as his own family from starvation with the grain he is led to stockpile and to ration.
 
And, speaking of grain, remember the lessons that lowly oysters teach us about what to do with irritating grains of sand or grit. They apply layer upon layer of secretion (the secret ingredient of divine Love) on the irritant and so produce beautiful pearls. Our finest gems, the "pearl(s) of great price," are due to properly treating long time irritations.  (As Forest Gump might say, "Grit happens. Make Pearls!")
 
Although most of the healings I've had or witnessed have been quick, the Groundhog or pearl-type usually produce more character transformation and spiritual growth. As Mrs. Eddy's New Year's Verse for the Big Children ends: "In the way Thou hast, Be it slow or fast, Up to Thee." (Poems, 69:12)
God's will for you is always good, always health and wholeness, so don't despair! Let your smile return right away! Cultivate and rejoice not only in your divine (self) image and likeness, but also in a selfless interest in others, in ice-carving, piano playing, jewel-making, dream-interpreting or whatever other wonderful ways you are led to uniquely give of your inner beauty, talents and love.
 
And always remember, God loves you infinity, and so do I!
Punxsutawney (filled-up) Phil
 
PS Remember too that no matter whether I (Phil) see my own shadow or not today, YOU will never see your own shadow or be fearful, as long as you face the sun (Son)!  Spring is always be just around the corner when "hope springs eternal ..."
 

Metaphysical

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