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[Gratefully Receive Spirit’s Ever-Present Gifts – and Ever-Fresh Fruits!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Spirit"
for February 3rd to February 9th, 2020

Prepared by Christie C. Hanzlik, CS Boulder, CO
ccern@mac.comchristiecs.com

INTRODUCTION

Spirit is the source of all inspiration. Spirit inspires, illumines, and enlightens. Without Spirit, we’d have no zip or zest. But Spirit is ever-present, so we all have an ample supply of zip, zest, vim and vigor. Spirit gives us pizazz and joy and sparkles. Spirit also offers comfort and peace. Spirit’s gifts are eternal and everlasting.

This week’s Lesson describes the many gifts we get from Spirit. The Golden Text [and citation B3] remind us that wisdom is one of Spirit’s gifts: ". . . it is the spirit of Almighty God that comes to us and gives us wisdom.” The Responsive Reading continues with a list of gifts:

• [Spirit] giveth power to the faint
• [Spirit] increaseth strength
• [Spirit] will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground
• [Spirit] will pour my [inspiration] upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring

Spirit is the only source of power and strength, and God says that we get these gifts, ". . . Not by [human] might, nor by [human] power, but by my spirit [my inspiration], saith the Lord of hosts.”

SECTION 1 — Spirit’s inspiration transcends materialistic logic

The first section of the Lesson describes again the long list of Spirit’s gifts as we learn from the book of Isaiah.

Spirit/God is described as the creator and the source of all breath…
• he that created the heavens, and stretched them out;
• he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it;
• he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: (B1)

God/Spirit creates and also cares for the creation, and promises to
• [call] thee in righteousness,
• hold thine hand
• keep thee,
• give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
• open the blind eyes,
• bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. (B1, B7)

What a list of gifts! Perhaps the greatest gift is knowing that we are not separate from Spirit. God is Spirit. And we are spirit-ual. We come from Spirit. We are of Spirit. Spirit inspires us, and we are Spirit’s inspiration. And Spirit says of us, “thou art mine.” (B2) Everything we know, and everything we are, is from Spirit…."the inspiration of the Almighty giveth [us] understanding.” (B3)

Years ago, during Christian Science class instruction, I became puzzled by some of the logical steps in Mary Baker Eddy’s writing. I agreed with her conclusions, but sometimes it seemed as if she made leaps in her logical proofs. I am so very grateful that my Christian Science teacher knew that when I raised this question in class, I was NOT arguing with MBE’s revelation, but rather seeking to understand it more clearly. I had been trying to understand through philosophical, or “materialistic logic.” (SH 120:19) I soon realized that materialistic logic is inadequate to explain Spirit. There is an inspired logic to divine metaphysics that goes beyond mere materialistic logic. Just like words are inadequate to explain “indescribable moments of awe”, materialistic logic is also limited to explain indescribable moments of inspiration. For example, materialistic knowledge would start from the set premise that the universe began at a certain moment, that time and space are measurable, that life is limited, etc.

Materialistic knowledge does not necessarily allow for complete renewal and freshness. Materialistic (limited) logic suggests that we must each pass through “material conditions prior to reaching intelligence.” In contrast, Spirit-based logic asserts that inspiration lifts us up and out of the bounds of limitation such that we can instantly be filled with the full understanding of being (what we are). Both the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s writings came through inspiration [from Spirit] and need inspiration [listening to Spirit] to be understood. (S3)

When we are inspired, all kinds of restrictions instantly fall away. Perhaps we could call Spirit-based logic "inspirational logic” or “divine reasoning.” It allows for mental restrictions to fall away instantly. Consider the inspirational logic in these paragraphs: "The Scriptures imply that God is All-in-all. From this it follows that nothing possesses reality nor existence except the divine Mind and His ideas. The Scriptures also declare that God is Spirit. Therefore in Spirit all is harmony, and there can be no discord; all is Life, and there is no death. Everything in God's universe expresses Him…Hence all is Spirit and spiritual.”( S1+) As we grasp the inspired-logic of these paragraphs, we will experience newness and healing.

Inspiration is rarely a step-by-step linear and logical sequence, but rather inspiration can reach us from all angles, and lift us beyond what we already know. Inspiration can be defined as “that which comes from Spirit.” Inspiration cannot always be described with words or logical sequences. Inspiration is “beautiful, good, and pure”—and it fills us up full…even when we cannot describe it with words. [S4]

SECTION 2: Inspired beyond words!

The first section listed Spirit’s gifts and the power of true inspiration. For me, the second section emphasizes the fact that it is often difficult to describe the inspiration of Spirit with words, but that there are also moments in which it is extremely tangible. We all have moments of inspiration that are difficult to explain. It’s very difficult, for example, to tell a friend about a beautiful sunset…we can try to describe it, but at some point we usually admit that it was indescribably beautiful. And yet, this doesn’t mean that our inspirational moments aren’t concrete and palpable. We do have moments when we “beareth witness” and see Spirit’s presence clearly. (B4)

This section illustrates the tangibility of Spirit with the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed–nego and the fiery furnace. While many inspiring lessons come from this story, the part of it that best connects to this week’s lesson for me, is the description of “the form of the fourth,” who was seen in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed–nego.

“The form of the fourth” represented the Christ-presence keeping the three men safe, and everyone was able to see it clearly. They said, "the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” This description defies human logic, and so needs inspiration [listening to Spirit] to understand it. The princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors were seeing visual proof of the Christ-presence comforting the three men. Christ is our awareness of Spirit’s presence, and in this story, the Christ awareness and presence was so palpable that all could see it take “the form of the fourth.”

We can all feel Christ’s presence clearly…and we often feel Christ’s presence most when we seem to be in a metaphorical furnace. In other words, we seem to feel Christ’s comfort most tangibly when we need it most. Here’s a poem about “the form of the fourth” in which the author applies the inspiration of this story to her own experience:

"…the form of the fourth"
Daniel 3:25
By Elaine Waller Hunter
From the July 11, 1983 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
This fiery furnace,
Fueled by lies of dissatisfaction, covetousness, pain, fear,
Has lost its power to alarm me.
Like those three Hebrew men—Shadrach, Meshach,
And Abednego—
I now know I am not alone.
"The form of the fourth" is with me, too—
The Son of God, the Christ, the healing Truth.
Midst odorless smoke, unsingeing fire, ephemeral ash of envy,
I see myself as servant of the most high God,
Feel only the warmth of His cleansing love,
Not fearsome heat of fire.

With consciousness embraced by Christ,
I emerge: perception purified, identity unconsumed,
Entire.
Like the three, I find release, purpose, health, peace.
No longer coveting another's role,
I rejoice to know that everyone can find herself/himself—
Whole.

Nebachadnezzar tried to limit and control the three Hebrew men's inspired devotion by having them thrown into the fiery furnace. He tried to "hold Spirit [inspiration] in the grasp of matter [limitation]." (S5) But it didn’t work. As this story illustrates, Truth and Love always win. (S5) “The finite (limited) must yield to the infinite." (S6) You cannot destroy the inspiration of Spirit.

Mary Baker Eddy describes the holy inspiration—the “form of the fourth”—present in the fiery furnace: "Holy inspiration has created states of mind which have been able to nullify the action of the flames, as in the Bible case of the three young Hebrew captives, cast into the Babylonian furnace; while an opposite mental state might produce spontaneous combustion.” (S7)

It is impossible to separate Spirit and Spirit’s creation (us). The fiery furnace couldn’t separate the three Hebrews from Life/Spirit, and, likewise, we cannot ever ever ever be separated from God. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, "The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science; and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history.” (S8) There’s no “lapse from nor return to harmony” because we are constantly within the harmony of ever-present Spirit. We are safe in the atmosphere of Spirit; regardless of how hot the furnace seems to get, all it can ever be burned away is what had been binding and restricting us! [I also love that the smell of smoke—or any lingering effects or reminders of potentially stressful challenges – have been ruled out by the perpetually pure presence of the atmosphere of Spirit.]

SECTION 3 — "Christ is the divine idea of God,” the inspiration of Spirit.

Section 3 begins with a simple prayer we can say as we’re seeking inspiration—"Hear me speedily, O Lord: Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.” (B6) This prayer is a wonderful wake-up prayer…maybe we should all post it on our bathroom mirrors as a daily reminder this week. For Christ Jesus, this prayer was answered in the form of Spirit’s constant inspiration. When he returned to Nazareth and went to the synagogue, he opened the book of the prophet Esaias, and read this promise: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free and that the time of the Lord ’s favor has come.” (B7, NLT and earlier in B1)

With this inspiration, Jesus was able to teach and demonstrate the truth of being, which is the truth of what we are. (S11) He not only spoke about Spirit and Spirit’s inspiration, he demonstrated Christ—the awareness of Spirit—and "proved that Christ is the divine idea of God — the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, revealing the divine Principle, Love, and leading into all truth." (S12)

The Christ animated Jesus; it gave him life and inspiration. (S13) Jesus didn’t teach that he was Spirit, but rather that he was inspired by Spirit. (S14) We can all possess the Christ, the inspiration that comes from a constant awareness of the ever-presence of Spirit. (S15) As we are more and more aware of the ever-presence of Spirit, we are following Jesus’ example.

SECTION 4: “The “gift of God” (B9) — the inspiration of Christ – is the “living waters"

Section 4 deepens our understanding of Spirit’s free-flowing inspiration with the story of Christ Jesus at the well, telling the Samaritan woman she could have “the gift of God … living waters.” (B9) The “living waters” are the flowing inspiration of Christ, the awareness of the ever-presence of Spirit. The inspiration symbolized by “living waters” is more than mere words, more than logical expositions. The “living waters” inspire and comfort with truth and love. (B9) As Mary Baker Eddy explains, "Whatever inspires with wisdom, Truth, or Love — be it song, sermon, or Science — blesses the human family with crumbs of comfort from Christ's table, feeding the hungry and giving living waters to the thirsty.” (S17) It is significant that Jesus, a Jew, offered the “living waters” to a Samaritan woman because it demonstrates that he knew the “living waters” are for all of us, not just a select few. We can all drink freely from Spirit’s living waters.

SECTION 5: The power of Spirit over the flesh

In the fifth section, we find the story of Christ Jesus healing the woman who had been bowed over for eighteen years with “a spirit of infirmity.” To me, the phrase “spirit of infirmity” is similar to what Christian Scientists refer to as false suggestions…the opposite of inspiration. Jesus calls the woman to him and tells her she is “loosed” from the infirmity. He lays his hands on her, and she was immediately healed and gives thanks. (B12)

Jesus demonstrated the “power of Spirit over the flesh.” (S21) Mary Baker Eddy explains that we can, like Jesus, “hold our ground” against false suggestion — “the spirit of infirmity” and we "will win." (S25) This is possible because our being (what we are) is "sustained by Spirit, not by [limited flesh] …” (S24)

We do not have to be super strong to overturn false suggestions. Christ does the overturning. Spirit sustains. Our role is to effortlessly "reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.” A reflection does not struggle. A reflection cannot be less than perfect— than what it is reflecting. A reflection of Spirit is [stress-free and] effortlessly inspired.

SECTION 6 — Not just words, Inspiration brings demonstration—fresh “fruits of the Spirit!” (S29)

Section 6 opens with an excerpt from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in which he explains that he didn’t come to them with great speech or wisdom, but rather “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” (B13) Paul’s mission was about sharing the power of Christ—the awareness of infinite Spirit. Christ cannot be explained with “great speech” (mere words) or “wisdom” (materialistic logic), but needs inspiration to be shared and to be understood. Spirit inspires. Paul and others who let the Christ shine through them, are inspired messengers. Paul was a transparency, letting the Christ-light shine through him, demonstrating Spirit and power. (B13)

As we are inspired by Spirit, we can be alert about putting this new wine (inspiration) into old bottles (tired, unsuccessful approaches and stale traditions). Tired beliefs cannot hold fresh inspiration. New inspiration should be put into new bottles (fresh concepts). This newness is all a part of healing…healing renews us, and doesn’t leave us the same. As we gain inspiration, we are letting go of tired beliefs, and letting ourselves be re-newed, re-freshed, re-invigorated. God says, “behold, I make all things new”! (Rev 21:5) In effect, as we experience genuine healing, we’re made new. It’s as if we’ve become a new wineskin, ready for fresh inspiration.

Mary Baker Eddy (MBE) explains, "Divine Science does not put new wine into old bottles, [unlimited] Soul into [limited expression], nor the infinite into the finite. Our false views of [limited, tired patterns] perish as we grasp the facts of Spirit. The old belief must be cast out or the new idea will be spilled, and the inspiration, which is to change our standpoint, will be lost.” (S27) Accepting new inspiration also means letting go of limiting views. We can all aim to let go of limiting views, and thus accept new inspiration. As MBE tells us, “If our hopes and affections are [of Spirit], they come from above, not from beneath, and they bear as of old the [everlastingly fresh] fruits of the Spirit.” (S29) We are all ready to accept Spirit’s ever-present gifts.


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Mine precious GEMs from this Bible Lesson meant for you and yours! .[For more than two decades Warren Huff has enjoyed freely offering Christianly scientific application ideas from insights shared by Bible scholar Cobbey Crisler, poet Ken Cooper and others.] Blessings are "bound to abound" to all whenever we daily invite the application of priceless, inspiring gems from God's Word to "enrich the affections of all mankind and govern them" ("Daily Prayer," Church Manual, Mary Baker Eddy).


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With ever-new, heartfelt gratitude and love,
Warren, Holly, Gay, snd your whole CedarS Family

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We continue to book 2020 VIDEO SHOW VISITS to homes & Sunday Schools across the US and the world: Please let us know if you feel that a sharing in your area of CedarS new video and program possibilities by Warren or Holly and/or CedarS new Ambassadors, Larry Patterson Jr. and/or Emma Dixon would be both welcomed and worthwhile! Thanks for emailing director@cedarscamps.org or calling 636-394-6162 to discuss options and details!

A FULL CEDARS 2020 BROCHURE HAS BEEN MAILED! You'll see in it and on our website inspiring new CedarS programs for all! Plus, NEW DISCOUNTS for NEW CAMPERS as well as for THREE-or-more CAMPERS per family —plus (as needed) full campership and travel funding ASSISTANCE EVEN FOR INTERNATIONAL CAMPERS! Enrollment options ARE posted on CedarS website and in our updated enrollment and staff hiring systems!

YOU could come work to help bring a child, grandchildren or Sunday School student(s) to experience the blessings of CedarS for themselves and for yourself!!

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