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Experience Everlasting Love!

Christie Hanzlik, C.S., Boulder, CO
Posted Monday, April 24th, 2017

[Experience the Joy of Everlasting Love! Be Washed Clean, Freed, Embraced!]

Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson:
“Everlasting Punishment”
April 23, 2017


By Christie C. Hanzlik, C.S., Boulder, Colorado
ccern@mac.com / 720.331.9356


Introduction

Many people are tempted to believe that they are separate from God/Love. The term for believing that we are or can be separate from God is “sin.” Sin is the belief of separation from divine Love; a sinner is someone who is believed to be separate from divine Love; sinful acts are actions that mesmerize individuals into feeling separate from Love; sinning is being mesmerized to think we are separate from Love; sinful moral depravity or moral idiocy is willfully, knowingly or ignorantly attempting to reject or separate from Divine Love; and everlasting punishment, or “hell,” is the belief that we could so drastically separate ourselves from Divine Love that we could never again feel Love’s presence.

Countering the false belief in sin is the truth of ever-present and infinite Love. We cannot actually separate from Divine Love. God, Love, is in every place, in every moment. Infinite Love fills all space. We cannot leave God’s all-loving presence even if we try to. Salvation is the comfort that comes from realizing that we cannot separate ourselves from the love of God. We cannot sin. But we do need to be alert to beliefs and actions that seem to mesmerize us into believing we can be separate from God.

Sinlessness is being free from the belief of separation from Love and perfection. Christ (our awareness of our connection to Love) is what frees us from the belief of separation and frees us from sin. Christ Jesus is our way shower who leads the way to discovering our own sinlessness.


Golden Text and Responsive Reading

In this week’s lesson, we see over and over that our inseparable connection to Love corrects the lie of everlasting punishment. Put simply, the lesson teaches that our connection to Love reminds us that we cannot be separate from Love. The Golden Text and Responsive Reading are full of analogies for various ways that our connection to God/Love corrects the false belief that we are sinners:

The Lord is my shepherd … The Shepherd always cares for the flock.
He restoreth my soul … He makes sure I know I’m good
The Lord is my light and my salvation … Love’s light is our source & fills us full.
The Lord’s hand is not shortened … Love’s hand reaches us all
The Lord’s ear is not heavy … Love always listens to our needs
We may roar like bears (complain) … Love still loves us when we complain
We may mourn sore like doves (grieve) … Love comforts us when we mourn

We may sometimes believe we are separate from God and in the dark, but we can “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.…the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory."


Section 1: What God can’t do


We usually hear about all of the wonderful ways that God blesses us. But the first section points out things that God cannot do…

· God cannot see evil. (B1, S1, S2)
· God cannot leave us in “hell” or see us as corrupted. (B2)
· God cannot make sin [separation] and is “not the author of mortal discords.” (S3)
· “God is as incapable of producing sin [separation], sickness, and death as He is of experiencing these errors.” (S4)

And the section also explains the things that God does:

· God never leaves us: “If I make my bed in hell [the belief in permanent separation from good], behold, thou art there.” (B3)
· God leads us and cares for us forever: “The Lord is my shepherd; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (B4, B6)


Section 2: The design of Love is to reform the [belief that we can be separate from Love]…

Section two shows us that “The design of Love is to reform the sinner.” (S7) In other words, it is the design of Love to show us we cannot be separated from good. No matter how badly we mess up, Divine Love is still present with us, comforting us and reminding us of our goodness.

The Bible verses in the second section draw wisdom from the experience of the children of Israel, who felt like sinners and believed they “perverted their way” and had “forgotten the Lord.” The real story is that the Lord continually forgave them and healed their “backslidings.” (B1) And then later, their descendants believed they sinned by serving false gods, but the prophet Samuel reminds them that God always cares for them: “For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people.” (B7)

In other words, no matter how badly we mess up—our sins can be bright scarlet—Love still forgives and washes us clean. (B8)

We all must ultimately learn of Love’s constant flow of comfort, and we must at some point stop feeling like we’re constantly straying and coming back. (S8, S9, S10)

I find peace thinking about the children of Israel, who seemed to be very self-critical, but, now, on “the shore of time” are examples of good. It’s clear to me that their sins—belief of separation—was overcome as their innate purity and persistence triumphed. I, for one, don’t think of them as sinners, but rather as God’s children. Isn’t that our journey too as our false belief of separation “disappear(s) on the shore of time” as the stupid waves of “sin, sorrow, and death” turn out to be utterly powerless? (S9)

What do we do when we feel we’re corrupted, separate from good? “The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love.” (S10, S11) Here’s a link to a Daily Lift on the “flood-tides of Love” in case you want an illustration of how this works: http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=00F9CMNU

The flood-tides of Love wash us clean, ensuring that there is no everlasting punishment.


Section 3 “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me….”

The third section opens by describing the false view of God as being high in the heavens above us, who are far down below. (B9, B10) This false concept challenges many people, making them feel weak and forsaken. (B11) It can make us feel like Paul, who complained that he couldn’t do the things he knew were good, and was drawn to do the things he knew were wrong. He wanted so desperately to be free from this mental struggle. And, ultimately, he found his freedom through Jesus Christ—the way of Truth and Love. (B12)

“Hell” is a horrible state of thought in which someone believes they are utterly separate from good and beyond redemption. Mary Baker Eddy defines hell as “mortal belief; error; lust; remorse; hatred; revenge; sin; sickness; death; suffering and self-destruction; self-imposed agony; effects of sin; that which ‘worketh abomination or maketh a lie.’” (S12)

The state of “hell” that some folks feel as they seem to swing back and forth between doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing, feels like constant backsliding. Sometimes these are challenges like procrastination, gossiping, judgmental-ism, or self-righteousness. Addiction, unnatural sexual attractions, pornography, gluttony, and lying are other examples of difficult struggles that seem to mesmerize folks away from doing what they know to be good and right. These acts all seem to promise satisfaction, but can only offer temporary reward before they result in even less satisfaction.

Even though we intellectually know what is right—“for the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do”—temptation to do the wrong thing seems to pull and tug at us until we feel like the “wretched man” described in Romans. Feeling tugged and pulled by impure actions can make progress toward understanding our true identity feel slow, like 40-years-in-the-wilderness slow. But there is hope. As we strive and make “vigorous efforts” to become free from false patterns, we inevitably feel the precious love of Christ—our awareness of God’s presence—and find the ultimate freedom from the mesmeric allure of empty and unsatisfying acts. (S13)

We cannot find freedom from sensual temptations through human will, berating ourselves, or layering on guilt. God did not create guilt. We find freedom from things that try to separate us from Love by learning more about our inseparable connection to Love. And it is Christ that makes us realize our connection because Christ is our awareness of our connection to Love. Jesus, our example of sinless man, was so completely aware of his connection to Love that he gets the special title of Christ Jesus, but each of us has the pure Christ within us. We all have an innate awareness of Love’s presence.

Mary Baker Eddy writes about our inseparable connection, the inseparable link, to Love: “The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from [belief of separation] and lose sight of [ourselves as separate from Love] to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship [eternal connection]. (S15)

It is comforting to know that “The good man finally can overcome his fear of [separation].” (S16)

You may enjoy reading how I found release from an addiction as I re-defined myself and more clearly understood my inseparable relationship to Love: https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/al24cerxys?s=s

We know our healing from sin (the belief of separation) is complete when we cannot even imagine being tempted again. Just like the Children of Israel, once they reached the Promised Land, they did not try to return to slavery. As the “floodtides of Love” flush us clean of the belief of impurities, we are restored. The “floodtides of Love”…”restoreth my soul.” (S10, GT, B4, S6)

We are not pendulums swinging between right and wrong. We are drawn to Love. We are not made to suffer everlasting punishment. We are made to enjoy everlasting Love.


Section 4: “All [belief of separation] is insanity in different degrees” (SH 407)

The fourth section tells the story of Jesus finding the man in the mountains, who lived among the tombs, crying and cutting himself with stones. This man’s self-destruction and self-imposed agony were clear symptoms that he suffered from a belief of separation from Divine Love. His “belief of separation” was the sin, and Jesus corrected this as he refused to see this man as disconnected from Truth, Mind, Principle, Love.

Jesus beheld in Science the perfect and sane man where [separated and insane] man appeared to those who accepted that we can be separate from Love. (SH 476)

At first, the man rejects Christ; he rejects becoming aware of his connection to Love—“What have I to do with thee, Jesus...torment me not.” But Christ Jesus made the separation between this man and the belief of hell plaguing him. Jesus asked the name of the disease "perhaps so that the man could see it for himself.” Jesus made the false belief obvious and distinct from the man’s identity so that he could make the separation clear. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “The Scripture seems to import that Jesus caused the evil to be self-seen and so destroyed.” As Jesus made the separation by separating the false belief from the man, he command the false belief—“come out of the man”—and thus sent the hellish beliefs—legion—into the pigs and over the cliff. The hell-ish beliefs never were this man’s identity, but were false beliefs trying to ingrain themselves and mesmerize everyone into believing that the man was separate from Love and forsaken and imprisoned in a form of hell. Jesus clearly saw the man as pure and separate from the false beliefs and at-one with infinite Love. Jesus’ right understanding of the man “restored his soul.” (B15, B16, S18, GT)

When we’re struggling with tempting mental chatter that isn’t from Love, we can reject it as not a part of us, make the separation, and send the chatter over a cliff.


Section 5: We cannot separate from God even if we try

The example of sin healed in the fifth section is different from that in the third and fourth sections. In the third section, the Children of Israel struggle as they doubt and waver, feeling pulled back and forth like pendulums, but ultimately discover their at-one-ment with Love. They are searching the whole time and their struggle is rewarded. In the fourth section, the man suffering from the belief of deranged self-destruction resists healing, but ultimately sees the dis-ease as separate from him and is willing to let it go. The fifth section’s story of the Saul-to-Paul transformation is different because Saul had a strong sense of self-righteousness that he was right while he was on the road to Damascus. Saul was not struggling or searching to find a deeper awareness of Love. Self-righteousness seemed to govern his thought.

Saul was “breathing out threatenings and slaughter” and did not seem in the least bit repentant about having Christians killed. (B17) From what we know, he felt entirely self-justified to persecute Christians. From his perspective, he was right and did not need saving.

But Love arrested his thought. Divine Love would not let him take another step in the wrong direction. On the road to Damascus, a light shined all around him, and Christ Jesus’ voice asks, Saul, “Why are you kicking against the pricks?” This question was an analogy to a farmer directing oxen with a stick…farmers used the sticks in a somewhat gentle way, but when the oxen resisted or kicked against the sharp sticks, their legs were “pricked.” As long as the oxen followed instructions, the sticks didn’t hurt them. But when they kicked it drove the sticks in deep. So, Jesus was asking Paul in a colloquial way, “why are you going against the way of Love, hurting yourself, and making life more difficult for others?” (B17)

The intense light of Christ got Saul’s attention. Mary Baker Eddy, who has delightfully beautiful prose about love and good deeds, uses strong words to rebuke sin. This paragraph from her first address to the Mother Church in Boston in 1895 reminds me of how we might perceive Saul’s need for reformation: “The deluded sense must first be shown its falsity through a knowledge of evil as evil, so-called. Without a sense of one’s oft-repeated violations of divine law, the individual may become morally blind, and this deplorable mental state is moral idiocy. The lack of seeing one’s deformed mentality, and of repentance therefor, deep, never to be repented of, is retarding, and in certain morbid instances stopping, the growth of Christian Scientists [as it stopped Saul’s growth]. Without a knowledge of his sins, and repentance so severe that it destroys them, no person is or can be a Christian Scientist.” (Mis 107:29) This “deplorable state of moral idiocy” is where Saul was before his conversion.

The bright light of Christ exposed Saul’s moral blindness, and this blindness, now experienced more literally by Paul, was subsequently healed by the tenderness of his Christian brother, Ananias.

Saul’s sin—belief of separation from Love—had to be exposed before it could be healed. But once Saul went through a “repentance so severe” that it destroyed his sins, he became Paul and gained the true vision of Christ.

Mary Baker Eddy describes Saul’s conversion: “Saul of Tarsus beheld the way — the Christ, or Truth — only when his uncertain sense of right yielded to a spiritual sense, which is always right. Then the man was changed. Thought assumed a nobler outlook, and his life became more spiritual. He learned the wrong that he had done in persecuting Christians, whose religion he had not understood, and in humility he took the new name of Paul. He beheld for the first time the true idea of Love, and learned a lesson in divine Science.” (S25)

Before the conversion, evil seemed to be Saul’s highest conception of right. But then his grasp on good became stronger. (S26)

Once Paul was transformed, he no longer needed to suffer the sins [false belief of separation] of Saul. We don’t continue to be punished for sin after we have thoroughly let it go. And we are not punished for the sins of others. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God's own way, and let human justice pattern the divine.” (S27)

We are not punished for the sins [belief of separation] of others, nor are we punished for our own belief of separation once we accept infinite Love’s embrace. There is no everlasting punishment.


Section 6: “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (B20)

The final section reminds us that we are in the atmosphere of Love divine, and we cannot get outside of the love of God. The imagery from the Bible in this section is comforting. Each of these statements is full of God’s love for us:

· The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. (B18)
· Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (B19)
· bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: (B19)
· Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. (B20)

Love is the power that corrects the belief of separation from God. So, it makes sense that our lesson concludes with these beautiful ideas about everlasting Love.

In a talk on Christian Science, Chet Manchester, CSB, mentioned that as he was feeding his baby chicks and saw them squabbling over the food he offered, the thought came to him, something like, “If they only knew how much I loved them, they wouldn’t fight with each other. I will give them this food and so much more.” And then he reasoned that this is also how our divine Father feels about us: if we only knew how much God loves us, we wouldn’t squabble, we would feel safe and never feel even the teensiest bit separated or outside of His care. Knowing more about our Father’s love for us frees us from the belief of sin.

The revelations about Love that Mary Baker Eddy wrote for us are not mere pretty words. Her strong statements about Love are the cure for sin.

· Love, redolent with unselfishness, bathes all in beauty and light. (S29)
· The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares. (S30)
· This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death. The perfect man — governed by God, his perfect Principle — is sinless and eternal. (S31)

The perfect man—that’s us!—cannot be separated from Love and cannot experience everlasting punishment. We are all embraced by everlasting Love.


[Warren’s (W’s) PS#1—Cobbey Crisler on Mark 5:1-15 (B16)
“In Mark Chapter 5, Verse 1, we have the very strange incident in the country of the Gadarenes. … Gergesa is. Right on the shore and located, at least according to recent findings, at the only spot on the Sea of Galilee where the event could ever have happened anyway. The only spot where the sea-place approaches the shore…

“Verse 2. “Coming out of the ship.” He’s over in Gentile territory, by the way. This is not Jewish territory. It’s on the Eastern side. It’s where the Decapolis cities are, the confederacy of Greek cities. Today the Golan Heights is part of the region.

“Verse 3. “He runs into a man who is living in the tombs.” Interestingly enough, there are rock formations right smack at the point where the Heights approach the sea, where you would say they have the appearance of tombs. “This man had not the strong man bound.” We see the strong man is really mentality, not anatomy.

Verse 3. You and I may have seen some of the pumping-iron movies, and we begin to think anatomy is the strong man. Hardly. Here we have a man of above-average muscular development, but mentally so out of sorts with what is normal. This man has exceeded certain human limitations and “he is able to break iron fetters, chains.”

Verse 4. “Nobody could control him.”

Verse 5. This shows mentality unleashed, undisciplined, and filled with a dualism. He would even attempt to oppose God, or in some cases imitate or ape God. This man’s dwelling is at both extremes. Night and day are extremes. Mountains and tombs are extremes.

Of course, you and I don’t recognize this mental effect, do we? Or do we commute between our mountains and our tombs? Are we in the pits? We know of manic depression, sure. But what about the mountains? Do we have our moments of altitudinous thinking, as well? Really inspired thinking? There we are, buying round trips daily on the mountain-to-tomb local. We get off on occasion somewhere in between. This man had taken it too.

You can see what happens when the carnal mind can no longer take the extremes. The dual personality splits. The kingdom becomes divided against itself. That is being illustrated here.

And the drug effect. Look at the drug effect, the mountains and tombs where these highs and lows flourish. Uppers and downers where one gets captured by the whole necessity for this. It becomes something so addictive, that in order to feel high or low, we need chemical inducement. So, this is not an outdated, outmoded, human problem. This kind of insanity is everywhere attempting to rule human thinking, including within ourselves. Jesus knew this. He was in a Gentile territory. It’s even out of the Jewish context. Therefore, it has a universality about it.

Verse 7. The man with the unclean spirit knows the presence of the cure. Notice the great resistance to the cure that we see illustrated here. “What have I to do with thee, Jesus?” How often is that statement repeated in varying degrees by every single person on this globe? Everyone who has ever heard of the Christ message? Even those claiming to be followers. “What have I to do with thee?”

When we compromise ourselves, or when we lower our standards under pressure, is it not the equivalent of saying, “What do I have to do with thee, Jesus?” Do we resent the role model he represents to thought? “Don’t torment me.”

Verse 8. We’ve got three different treatments here. One, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit.”The word for man is anthropu, which is the root of anthropological. It is not so much a specific man as man in general. It’s a generic term for man. “Come out of manhood, unclean spirit.” He’s talking about impurity. Impurity doesn’t belong within God’s definition of manhood. There’s momentum, again, being applied. Is there a healing? No.

Verse 9. So, the second, “He asked him, ‘What is thy name?’” Jesus is trying to pinpoint or identify the problem. And we find out, it’s very difficult to pinpoint because it’s “Legion.” Remember, when the remedy id oneness or monism, you already know what the problem is. The problem is always the opposite of the remedy. So, you have this multiplicity of problems and psychological reasons for why we’re in the fix we are. “Fix,” as sometimes applied to drugs.

“My name is Legion.” That’s a definition of impurity, by the way, “legion.” Purity is an unmixed state. So, we know what we’re dealing with. Remember one of the Beatitudes mentioned Matthew 5:8, it’s “the pure in heart that see God.”

So, purity is what we need as our “anchor of the soul” as Hebrews 6:19 says. Remember, that later Jesus calls upon “legions of angels,” (Matthew 26:53). Also, “Michael and his angels,” Revelation 12:7, are fighting “the dragon and his angels.”

So, we actually have this conflict here of thoughts. This is a confused mentality. Obviously, it’s chaotic thinking. It has no discipline at all. It’s no “first the blade, then the ear, and then the full grain,” Mark 4:28. That orderly sense of discipline in thought. It has lost all connection or link to possible discipline.

The third treatment given by Jesus in this individual case is one that actually has aroused a great deal of compassion for the swine among its readers. It would not seem to be part of Jesus’ normal procedure to wipe out a herd like this to make a spiritual point. But there is indeed a spiritual point here. One that has to do with the definition of manhood. Remember, Legion is the problem and oneness is the remedy.

Does man’s thinking, as you and I define it, contain a swinish element or nature? What is capable of being agitated by erroneous mental influence? Can manhood be ever defined as calm and free in his thought, when he has elements within his thought, that still victimize him rather than see him as the victor? Perhaps, we are being told here, through this illustration and event, that one of the “no’s” we are to be saying mentally is to the swinish nature that has attached itself to our identity and called itself “Legion.” Perhaps we are subjected to many influences, a legion of influences, instead of God alone the One on the throne.

We know that human nature does commute between the mountains and the tombs. The swine are said, in Luke’s 8:32 version of this, to be nibbling on the mountains. Symbolically does the swinish nature nibble at our altitudinous and highest moments? There is a violence to this self-destruction that occurs at the only spot on the Sea of Galilee where it is possible. If nothing else, we certainly can conclude that swinish nature had no built-in defense to such mental invasions.

Verse 15. Yet manhood can be freed from such influence. For this man, now “clothed and in this right mind” no longer is under subjection to legion. If his right mind is in this sense of oneness, the other mental state obviously was wrong. What expressed that mental state is self-destroyed.

Before this incident, we might have concluded that man had no defense against such mental incursions. Therefore our mental hospitals are destined to be filled. But rather, we discover that man can separate himself out of swinish influences and still stand as a man. Yes, and stand humanly with a humanhood that has been purified. One that is no longer influenceable by the legion of attackers that would claim our mentality as its own in its attempt to possess our thinking without any rights of ownership.

When this incident begins to come to a close, we find that we can even see the sequence of things. Remember Mark 4:28, “first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn.” There’s more behind this blade. (That’s even the definition of animal later.)

Right now, as with everything else, we have the worldview upside down. You and I have been told that we are descendants of the animal kingdom. If that’s the wrong point of view, then the remedy is the opposite. Notice, animals and their natures belong to mankind, and can be found in the definition of man, rather than man finding himself in the definition of the animal.

That’s something we haven’t seriously considered in our twentieth century. Back in the first century, the notion that mankind may have descended from animals was considered absurd. But over time, the evolutionary theory suggested an entirely different kind of origin. This was the result of darkened and dualistic thinking. The mind that defines itself as coming from the animal realm, rather than the realm of the divine, becomes animal in concept. But divine revelation can clean us up. God defines man in a concept of holiness rather than unholiness. We need just to breathe in the Holy Spirit and take into thought what is holy.

I once heard a talk by Geith Plimmer. He recalled a biblical incident where, with such a compassion behind his expressed words, he discussed a dear man who was possessed. And he rejoiced with that idea of possession being used, because it showed that it didn’t really belong to him. He was possessed. The remedy he suggested was to dispossess. To dispossess is the remedy to possession.

Verse 19. How he loved those most glorious words humanly expressing love, “Go home to thy friends.” Here’s a man that had lived in the mountains and the tombs. How long has he had anyone whom he could call a friend? Where is his home? You see what Jesus is now defining as home and friends.

“Tell them.” Notice, he doesn’t tell him not to say anything. This is in a Gentile territory where he encourages the Word to go to other Gentiles. “Go home to thy friends.” Mr. Plimmer pointed out that here, when we first met him, he was a man that could be defined as completely irresponsible. Jesus not only heals him, but he restores the dignity of manhood, as he did in every healing. It was part of the healing. He also gave him responsibility. “Go home to thy friends and tell them.” He was one of the first Gentile disciples, if you could use that word, that took Christianity into that territory. What a prime responsibility for someone who couldn’t account for his actions not very long before! Even before Paul, this man went to the Gentiles.

Is there any record of what he did? There is none past this. But it’s interesting that when the Temple in Jerusalem fell to the Romans in A.D. 70, the Christians, having an advance awareness that this was happening, moved in Pella, part of the Decapolis area. A lot of preparation had been done.”
What Mark Recorded, by B. Cobbey Crisler]

[W’s PS#2—CC on Acts 9:1-20 (B17)—Paul’s conversion & healing via Ananias
“Acts, Chapter 9, introduces us to a prominent character in the history of Christianity. Although we have referred to him earlier, through his persecutions of the early Christians. But here we find that “Saul, breathing out threatenings and slaughter,” and you can appreciate that the Elizabethan terminology here hides some of the impact of some of the real meaning. (Acts 9:1 paraphrased) … Saul had received authority from the temple to persecute Christians – to find wherever they were, all the way to Damarcus and bring them back bound to Jerusalem.
Notice in Acts 9, verse 2, the earliest form of reference to Christianity is “of this way.” If he found any “of this way,” literally in Greek, “of the way.” And this is the first descriptive title for Christianity.
“Saul is quite equal in his treatment of men and women. He brings both bound into Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:2, paraphrased) …
But, “on his way, near Damascus, something happens to Saul. He has a vision, and a great light shines about him.” (Acts 9:3, paraphrased) … Chapter 9, is the first version, by Luke, the author of the book of Acts of Saul’s’ experience on the road. It’s told in the third person; however, later in the Book of Acts, we have in the 22nd Chapter and in the 26th Chapter, Paul, himself, in defending his record and his career, refers to this extraordinary experience on the road to Damascus…
Now, let’s focus on the incident as recorded in Acts, Chapter 9, noticing that the vision that is vouchsafed Paul is to an unbeliever. And it’s occurring outside Palestine, almost as if to emphasize the universality of the Christian mission, taking it already outside of Jerusalem.
The light that falls upon Saul may be as much a light within as without. Whatever it was, it leaves him blind, almost as if by contrast to what he has known before in his life.
“A voice is heard saying to Paul, ‘Why persecutest thou me?’” (Acts 9:4, paraphrased) …The question is then, “Who art thou, Lord?” … The answer, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” …Now, there is a significant point because Jesus is certainly not present physically. He had long since disappeared in the ascension. … And yet, this voice to Paul certainly implies that a persecution of the church is equivalent to persecution of its founder, as if the message and messenger are inseparable. The voice of Jesus continues, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” (Acts 9:5, paraphrased) … What basically do you think Jesus is telling Paul here? Who is it hurting when Paul is persecuting the church? It’s hurting him, isn’t it? Paul himself.
Well, “trembling and astonished, his response is ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’” And his instructions are “to go into the city, and it will be told him what he must do.” (Acts 9:6, paraphrased) …
When “Saul rises from the earth, he is blind, and they must lead him into Damascus.” (Acts 22:8, paraphrased) … Saul has plenty of time to think about what has hit him. “For three days he cannot see, and during that long period, he doesn’t eat or drink.” (Acts 22:9, paraphrased)
At this point, “a vision occurs to a disciple named Ananias, who is located at Damascus.” (Acts 9:10, paraphrased)
“Ananias is told to go and meet Saul and to heal him.” (Acts 9:11-12, paraphrased) … Now if you were Ananias, you’d think that you would be extremely eager to meet the one who had a warrant to arrest anyone who named the name of Christ and had the authority to take them back to Jerusalem.
Well, Ananias was no more eager than we would have been. In Acts 9, verse13, you can see that “he actually records what they knew in Damascus already about Saul’s reputation, how much evil he had done to the saints at Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:13, paraphrased) “And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. (Acts 9:14)
But the message to Ananias gives us what Saul’s appointed mission will now be. “He is a chosen vessel.” Chosen to do what? Alright, (he is chosen) “to bear my name before the Gentiles.” (Acts 9:15, paraphrased)
We have seen Philip bring the gospel to the Samaritans, but here Saul is set apart, specifically, as being the one who will carry Christianity around the known globe. And this, as we know, he does, in less than a generation.

When Ananias meets him, speaks with him, in Acts 9, verse 17, “from Saul’s eyes fall scales – his past outlook dropping away completely. And he was seeing things from an entirely new point of view.”… “and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. (Acts 9:17-19, paraphrased)
“It is not very long before Saul is actively engaged in preaching “the way.” (Acts 9:20, paraphrased) Notice in Acts 9, verse 20, where we are told “he straightway preached Christ, or the Messiah, in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” … You can imagine what those who heard him must have thought since they already had been well acquainted with Saul’s reputation earlier. Here was “the key persecutor of Christianity now preaching in the name of Jesus.” (See Acts 9:21, paraphrased)
After the Master What? – The Book of Acts” by B. Cobbey Crisler

**You can buy your own transcripts and audio recordings of most of Cobbey’s 28 talks at a new website: www.crislerlibrary.co.uk Please email your order or inquiry to office@crislerlibrary.co.uk, or directly to Janet Crisler, at janetcrisler7@gmail.com]


[TOP NEEDS OF THE WEEK: (Tractor's mowing! Horses being trained! Double THANKS!!)
1) $15k for needed Bible Lands Park (BLP) upgrades: $7.5k for BLP shade structure to replace by 20-yr old “Tabernacle (tent) in the Wilderness”; and, $7.5k for pavers on “Paul’s Trail” so BLP visitors and Cable Skiers can hourly “Walk in the Way of the Word”.
2) $2k for a key repair (in $50 increments) to replace (recently discovered) deteriorating subfloor and tile in a large Settlers House bathroom. (Hopefully matched!)

3) $3k for grass around our new Sports Center before camp (in $50 sections). Volunteers welcome and coming on remaining April weekends to lay sod 14 feet out from the wrap-around porch where construction was just done. (Too late for seed to become lawn before our Memorial Weekend Grand Opening! –Hopefully matched!)


Thanks to earlier outpourings of love and support, CedarS is doing other needed Maintenance work before our 56th season, our "adopted" herd of horses are also being well cared for, AND a growing stream of campership applications are being granted. However, we still need donations of about $100,000 more to grant the campership requests that traditionally come during this season. We also need $13.2k to meet our $50k match for Adopt the Herd! (CedarS Adopt the Herd matching fund opportunity goes through the end of our fiscal year, 9-30-17.) Thank each of you grateful for this service and our work, way beyond words and whinnies, for your much-needed MONTHLY gifts, past and ongoing, able to be given at: www.cedarscamps.org/giving ]

[You can also reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime to discuss current credit card and equity gifts as well as planned giving at our winter home/office by PHONE at 636-394-6162

or MAIL your tax-deductible support to our 501-C-3 organization
(Our not-for-profit, Federal Identification Number is #440-66-3883):

The CedarS Camps Office
1314 Parkview Valley Drive
Ballwin, MO 63011

[THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS FOR YOUR ONGOING, GENEROUS and NEEDED SUPPORT OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!]

[CedarS weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. But, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support.

[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp! YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share.]

Metaphysical

This is the day the Lord hath made! - ... examples in the third, fourth, and fifth sections...
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