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“Trust God’s wisdom to govern you — and the whole universe!”
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on:

“Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force?”
for December 11th through December 17th, 2023

by Kathy Fitzer of Lake St. Louis, MO
kathyfitzer@gmail.com


INTRODUCTION

As I studied this week’s Bible Lesson, I was struck by the theme of wisdom.  I enjoyed seeing how much more reliable divine wisdom is than human wisdom, even when (or perhaps especially when), it runs counter to common human logic.  Perhaps other messages will pop out to you!  That’s the wonderful thing about these Bible Lessons …. whatever our need may be in a particular week, the answers are there for us, speaking directly to each of us.


The GOLDEN TEXT warns us to be alert to what we value. The Worldwide English Bible translates Paul’s words as, “Do not be fooled.  … The things that look wise to the people of this world look foolish to God.” Several translations translate the admonition to “let no man deceive himself” as, “Don’t fool yourselves”.  We can be confident we’re on the right track as we listen for — and follow — God’s directing!

It’s tempting to rather mindlessly go along with what others are thinking or saying about things.  Things tend to trend, and it’s easy to “jump on the band wagon,” as well as to compare our lives with the lives of others.  Fashion, diet and exercise plans, pop-stars, even patterns of speech and social causes that are “popular” one day may soon be “out of style”. It’s hard to keep up! It’s tempting to make decisions based on what others are doing and thinking or what is “in”.   But, that can lead to a lot of ups and downs.  If God were human (which, of course, He’s not) I can imagine Him laughing at the folly of human changeableness.  On the other hand, as we listen for, and respond to God’s wisdom, we can trust that the choices we make in our lives will remain true to the values that are consistent with God’s values.  Those always bless!


It seems to me that the RESPONSIVE READING is addressing, at least to some degree, the dangers of human intellectualism.  The Bible Lens quotes a Bible authority as saying that “Paul’s rhetorical questions mock the educated elite …”. Remember that Paul is addressing relatively new followers of Christ.  From the standpoint of common human wisdom, the idea seemed foolish that salvation should come as a result of Jesus being crucified (a punishment generally reserved for common criminals).  And, yet, that is what Paul was preaching.

Verse 21 states “For God in his wisdom made it impossible for people to know him by means of their own wisdom.”  God can’t be understood through human wisdom. Human logic can’t explain why Jesus needed to be crucified in order for his mission and his Sonship to be fully understood.  As my New Living Translation Study Bible explains, “What the unbelieving world considers foolish and weak — Christ and the message of the cross — is in reality wiser and stronger than anything the world has to offer.  It … overcomes all the powers of evil that oppose human beings” (I Cor. 1:25).

The Corinthians placed great importance on human intellect, but Paul is trying to tell them here that we can’t get to know God through human intellect or human reasoning.  God reveals Himself through the Holy Ghost.  God has given all of us a spirit of understanding.  We can trust that and go directly to our Father/Mother for understanding.  Certainly, we are often helped by the insights others share of what they have learned about God.  But, we have to be careful that we don’t accept anything just because someone else has said it.

Mary Baker Eddy told her students to follow her only so far as she followed Christ.  It seems to me that is similar to what Paul was telling the Corinthians — and that we would be well to follow, as well.  It is enough to trust the wisdom of God — found in our study of the Bible and Science and Health — to guide us in all we do.

Something I’ve thought a lot about is how to balance human wisdom and divine wisdom.  I’m thinking of such things as how much and what kind of exercise we do, and why?  What do we eat, and why? Do we buy insurance? Do we avoid medical or dental assistance because we are confident that relying on God is the best option, or because we fear the alternative?  It seems to me that the key is checking our motives.

We can feel confident that our steps are rightly directed if we are humble enough to truly listen for God’s voice in every decision we make (big or little) and follow, even if it seems counter to popular opinion. God is forever speaking to us — and loving us!  “We have received the Spirit sent by God, so that we may know all that God has given us” (I Corinthians 2:12).


SECTION 1: ACCEPT GOD’S SPIRITUAL CREATION AS THE ONLY CREATION

 Regardless of how the material senses perceive things, the fact is that everything that was made was made by God, Spirit.  As the gospel of John reveals, “without him was not any thing made that was made” (citation B2, John 1:3-5). What God didn’t make wasn’t actually ever made. That includes the chaos, disease, destruction, and limitation that seem to be constantly in our faces.  Why are we so plagued by darkness and doubt — all the bad stuff?

We read in Science and Health, citation 5, “Darkness and doubt encompass thought, so long as it bases creation on materiality” (cit. S5, 551:24-26).  Human thought has accepted the inverted view of a material (limited) creation.  Human wisdom says that our world is made up of good and bad.  As long as we accept that, it will be our experience. Divine wisdom says there is only good.

For me, then, the question becomes … so how do we see God’s creation?  How do we tune-in to the reports of divine Wisdom?  First step … we have to make room for the possibility and make a mental shift.  Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Inspired thought relinquishes a material, sensual, and mortal theory of the universe, and adopts the spiritual and immortal” (cit. S6, 547:25).  But, it’s not a matter of humanly willing that change.

When we can’t quite make out something we’re looking at or trying to read, it usually helps to bring in more light.  And that’s exactly what God does for us.  He sheds light on consciousness by revealing His eternal Wisdom.

Daniel had demonstrated that God “revealeth the deep and secret things” when he was able to reveal and  interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream where others had failed.  As I read, [God] “knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him” it occurred to me that because God is all light, he can’t know darkness. But he does know what has been covered up in darkened thought (cit. B1, Daniel 2: 20, 22).  Without darkness, there is nothing to hide that which needs revealing.

When looking for a lost object — or for inspiration — it’s helpful to realize that God’s light is always shining. So, darkness and material creation are nothing but a fraud.  To find answers, we need to steadfastly and expectantly insist on the fact that light is all there is.  We live fully and completely in God’s illumined spiritual universe.


SECTION 2: HUMBLY TURN TO GOD RATHER THAN TO PERSON TO FIND WISDOM

In 586 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and the First Temple, and took many captured Jews to Babylon. While in exile, Daniel had interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The story of Daniel in this section takes place after Nebuchadnezzar is dead. The setting is a feast (or a drunken orgy) hosted by his son, Belshazzar, in 538 B.C. Pagan gods were being honored with wine served from sacred vessels that had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem during the exile. The vessels serve as a symbol of the subordinate status of the Jews throughout their exile, and the total lack of respect the Babylonians had for their God.

During the feast, a hand is seen writing a message on the wall near the lamp stand.  Frightened and confused, Belshazzar calls in his wisemen (enchanters, astrologers, and fortune tellers), and promises great rewards, including promotions, to anyone who could interpret the writing.  When all of these men fail, the Queen Mother (thought to have been Nebuchadnezzar’s wife) recommends  that Belshazzar consult with Daniel.

Daniel, of course, trusts God to reveal the answer.  He reminds Belshazzar of what had happened to his father when he started acting as if he was God.  Nebuchadnezzar had been exiled with the animals until his heart was humbled and he “learned that the most High God has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals, and sets over it whomever he will”.  In verse 22, Daniel reminds Belshazzar that he must not have learned from his father’s experience because he again has “exalted [himself] against the Lord of heaven” (Daniel 5:20-22 NRSV).  Then Daniel interprets the writing, telling Belshazzar that his reign was being scrutinized and it has been found that he does not measure up to God’s demand for righteousness and mercy.  As a result, Babylon would be divided and defeated by the Medes and Persians. Some believe the invasion happened that very night (cit. B4, Daniel 5:1,3,5,7,8,10,11,12,13,17-19,22,23,26-28).

The Psalmist summed up the moral of this story well, “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help” (cit. B5, Psalm 146:3).  How often do we trust our own intellect or the intellect of others to guide us?  We need to remember that the right answer will come from God every time, as we humbly turn to Him for guidance, refuse to outline how something is supposed to happen, and respond even when the answer (the wisdom) we get from God sounds like foolishness from a human perspective.

I gave some thought to the relevance of this story to our own lives. To me, the reason the wise men failed is because they were depending on their personal abilities to solve the mystery, and Daniel was listening to God, trusting that an answer would be revealed.

I’m always struck by testimonies I hear of people being in seemingly impossible situations, and yet an answer comes as they humbly turn to God.  I had a small example when I was in college.  Please forgive me if you’ve heard me share this before.  I was studying for a zoology final exam.  We had to memorize many scientific names and I was making no progress at all, even though I had studied diligently.  As I was walking through a common area of my dorm, some women were gathered singing hymns.  Hymn 66 was being sung as I walked up.  The first verse reads “From these Thy children gathered in Thy name, From hearts made whole, from lips redeemed from woe, Thy praise, O Father, shall forever flow.  Alleluia! Alleluia!”  And each of the next three verses ends with “Alleluia! Alleluia!”

I suddenly had this amazing realization that God knew all things and would never want me to fail. My job was to praise God and trust that I would have the answers when I needed them.  And I did.  I confidently walked into that exam and effortlessly wrote down every scientific name.  I don’t think I could have told anyone the answers before or after the test, but I had them when I needed them.

To me, another application of this story is that regardless of how unfair things appear, God’s wisdom will prevail and make adjustments.  We need to patiently trust that.  As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “All the evidence of physical sense and all the knowledge obtained from physical sense must yield to Science, to the immortal truth of all things” (cit. S12, 493:6). It must!


 SECTION 3:  TRUST DIVINE WISDOM — EVEN WHEN IT SEEMS HUMANLY FOOLISH

 This section introduces Jesus, who Mary Baker Eddy describes as “the most scientific man that ever trod the globe.” She goes on to say that “he plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause” (cit. S13, 313:23-26).  A perfect example of that was when Jesus (–after teaching the people gathered on the shore–) told Simon Peter to take his fishing boat out into the deep water and let down the nets.  Simon objected because everyone knows that if fish aren’t around in the morning (which they hadn’t been), they certainly aren’t going to hang around to be caught later in the day.  And, yet, a “great multitude of fishes” were indeed caught (cit. B9, Luke 5:1, 3-6).

What struck me as I read this account was that by this time Simon had left his fishing career to follow Jesus, heard Jesus preach, and seen him heal. But, he still didn’t understand, as Jesus did, that with God all things are possible.  Jesus had demonstrated that fact over and over.  It comes to me that we are (at least I am) often equally guilty of judging according to human wisdom — or commonly accepted logic — rather than accepting and trusting the divine wisdom that says that harmony and abundance are the law, and nothing is beyond that law!

We read in Science and Health that [Jesus] was “inseparable from Christ, the Messiah, — the divine idea of God outside the flesh.” And “this enabled Jesus to demonstrate his control over matter” (cit. S14, 482:20-23).  That Christ — that divine message from God to man — is as active today as it was in Jesus’ time.  We, too, can feel our oneness with this divine idea.  When you hear a message that doesn’t go along with common human logic, but has come to you after you have reached out to God for an answer — or even if you haven’t reached out — trust it!  Plunge beneath the surface and allow the impossible to be accepted as possible!


SECTION 4:  CLAIMING OUR ONENESS WITH THE DIVINE PRINCIPLE BRINGS HEALING

 We read in Science and Health, “Our Master taught no mere theory, doctrine, or belief.  It was the divine Principle of all real being which he taught and practised” (cit. S20, 26:28-30).

It seems to me that Jesus knew (and felt so at-one-with) this divine Principle, or unchanging and ever-present law of good, and that he was so conscious of  God’s omnipresence and omnipotence, that it was impossible for disease or discord to have any presence in his consciousness.  And, so it was natural for everyone in his presence — or upon whom his thoughts rested — to be healed by that Principle which he demonstrated.  It’s like everyone who is standing in a particular place on the lawn will feel the same warmth of the sun or wetness of the rain.  The sun and rain don’t discriminate.  They are just there, and all those present are equally benefited.

I love the numerous accounts in the Bible of Jesus healing the multitudes, one of which was in this section of the Lesson (cit. B10, Matthew 15:29-31). It appears that even though they brought those needing help to Jesus, we’re told that they only “glorified the God of Israel” after seeing the healings. Would they have believed if they hadn’t witnessed the healing? In the same section we have Jesus being called to heal an individual case.

We’re told a nobleman’s son was sick.  The nobleman was probably a royal official in Herod Antipas’ court.  Ironically, Herod Antipas was the son of the Herod who was king of the Jews when Jesus was born, and had tried to find him to kill him.  Flash forward, and we have this nobleman coming to Jesus, begging him to come to his house to heal his son.  Apparently he had heard of the healing work being performed by Jesus, and had also heard that Jesus was close by.  In this case, rather than going to see the boy, Jesus asks the Nobleman to believe before seeing “signs and wonders”.  And, the nobleman did believe.  His trust was so complete that he no longer felt the need for Jesus to come to his house, and  apparently spent the night before traveling the 20 or so miles home the next day.  Notice that the servant said that the fever had broken “yesterday” — at the same time that Jesus had said, “Thy son liveth” (cit. B11, John 4:46-53).

Wouldn’t it be good if we didn’t need signs and wonders to have complete faith?  And, if we came and sat at Christ’s feet (hungry to learn) just for the sake of drawing closer to God and seeing divine Principle more clearly — rather than for the purpose of finding relief from a specific ailment?  The healing would still come, but it would be the “thing added” rather than the “thing” we were most seeking. What if we applied Jesus’ understanding of the universal and unbiased healing effect of divine Principle to our prayers for ourselves, others, and the world?  When we know so clearly that there is no disease, no famine, no war, no division, no homelessness, etc. in God’s universe, governed by divine Principle — and that this universe is all there is — expressions of harmony must be magnified and seen.  Healing must come.


SECTION 5:  BANISH SICKNESS BECAUSE ITS SOURCE IS NOT IN GOD

 This section tells of Paul healing Publius’ father.  Publius was the ruler of the island where Paul was shipwrecked on his way to be tried in Rome.  You’ll likely remember the experience Paul had on the island when a poisonous snake came out of the logs Paul was putting on the fire and bit Paul’s hand.  Paul shook the snake off into the fire and felt no ill-effect.  Lots of people witnessed this healing which proved God’s wisdom to be superior to man’s wisdom.  And, it must have made people appreciate the authority of Paul’s God.  Clearly, Paul understood the divine Principle that was God, just as Jesus had.  And the Holy Ghost with which he was filled had the same healing effect — for himself and for others.

In the Glossary of Science and Health Holy Ghost is defined as “Divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 588:7).  Christian Science teaches us to heal as Jesus and Paul healed as we embody this Holy Ghost or Comforter.  And the textbook of Christian Science (Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures) gives many specific instructions to help us learn to heal with that same kind of conviction.  This section has several of those instructions.  We are told to, “banish sickness as an outlaw, and abide by the rule of perpetual harmony, — God’s law (cit. S28, 381:21-24, 27-28).  We’re told to “dispute the testimony of the material senses with divine Science” when “the first symptoms of disease appear”.  In that way we won’t fall into the trap of letting any “claim of sin or of sickness to grow upon the thought.”  Mary Baker Eddy goes on to say, “Dismiss it with an abiding conviction that it is illegitimate, because you know that God is no more the author of sickness than He is of sin.” And, we are to “Rise in the conscious strength of the spirit of Truth to overthrow the plea of mortal mind, alias matter, arrayed against the supremacy of Spirit” (cit. S29, 390:12-13, 20, 32-2).

I have had many healings — of cold and flu symptoms, as well as of strained muscles — as I have taken this kind of stand.  I know many, like me, refer to pages 390-395 in Science and Health as the fighting pages because they include so many strong statements such as these.  But, it is important to realize why we can argue so strongly.  It’s not a matter of willing a discordant situation to go away.  Rather, it’s acknowledging the might of divine Principle and the onliness of God’s presence and power that eliminates the possibility of any other power or presence.  With that possibility eradicated in thought, we are able to witness the harmony that has always been.  That is perceiving the action of divine Wisdom reversing the limitations and folly of human wisdom.


SECTION 6:  CHRIST GIVES US AN UNDERSTANDING OF DIVINE WISDOM SO THAT WE CAN KNOW OUR ONENESS WITH TRUTH

 This section has two Bible citations.  Each one makes an important point in terms of embodying the conviction that Jesus and Paul demonstrated of the power of divine Principle to heal.  The first (citation 17) establishes that all things were made by the wisdom and understanding of God (cit. B17, Proverbs 3:19,20).  There is only one creation, and it is all good, because God is good.  The second, (citation 18) establishes that the “Son of God”, or Christ, has come to human consciousness and has given us “an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true” (cit. B18, I John 5:20).  Jesus was the Son of God.  He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God and man are one.  It was this understanding of his oneness with God that gave him the authority to, as Mary Baker Eddy puts it, “demonstrate the one Mind which makes and governs man and the universe” (cit. S31, 539:27-30).

Although we generally judge human progress and the passing of time by days and years (passing seasons), we should judge by the progress made in our spiritual understanding.  The last citation of this week’s lesson tells us, “the periods of spiritual ascension are the days and seasons of Mind’s creation, in which beauty, sublimity, purity, and holiness — yea, the divine nature — appear in man and the universe never to disappear” (cit. S32, 509:16, 24).  We should expect improvement in the human experience to be seen (for ourselves and our world) as we grow in our understanding of God’s universe and stop judging according to what the physical senses report.  As we hold to the goodness of all that divine Wisdom knows and does and provides, that which human wisdom tries to present will seem foolish to us.  And knowing good to be the fact in the face of what seems like overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that goodness will be seen to be absolutely true, and every other report will be swallowed up and disappear — as darkness disappears in the presence of light.

Circling back to the Golden Text and Responsive Reading … don’t be deceived!  The trickery of mortal sense can’t fool us when we know that we “have received the Spirit sent by God” and so are able to know all that God has given us — which is good and only good!


GOOD NEWS! Thru year end gifts will still be MATCHED up to:

  • another $50,000 to complete needed facility RENOVATIONS for CedarS JR. LEADERSHIP’s upcoming 50th summer!
  • another $50,000 needed to support CedarS OPERATIONS excellence, horse program & needed GIVING TREE items

We hope you’ll enjoy a 3-minute video made to inspire donations from “Giving Tuesday” thru year-end with our vision for the JL 50th Project and for CedarS as a whole at these links:
Learn More about the JL 50th Project

Give to the Junior Leadership Renovation Fund

Donate to the Giving Tree


 GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas (from Cobbey Crisler & others) will be emailed later this week.  You can always check for in-progress GEMs before then at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you’ve  SUBSCRIBED here for this free, inspirational offering.


Also later in the week, look for Ken Cooper’s
”POETIC POSTLUDE”
contributions related to this Bible Lesson.


SAVE THE DATE – DECEMBER 17
for CedarS Christmas Hymn sings
at 2:00pm AND 7:00pm Central:

We’ll be playing our Christmas program twice to better accommodate our world-wide family. Come for one or both! CedarS staff will read the Christmas story from the Bible, and over a dozen musicians will share Christmas-themed hymns. The prelude will begin 15 minutes before the start time.

Zoom Link:
·     Join here with one click (password embedded).

·     Meeting ID: 276 331 031
·     Password: 736307

·     Please see details below to join by phone.

Join by Phone (you’ll need the Meeting ID and Password):
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Meeting ID: 276 331 031

Password: 736307

Find international call-in numbers: https://zoom.us/u/aeJGz7aKei

Please share this invitation with anybody who could be blessed by this healing activity. All are welcome!

With love,
The CedarS Team

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