Thank you for another best summer yet!

CLICK THIS LINK TO HEAR CRAIG READ HIS MET. THEN, SCROLL TO AND CLICK ON THE BLACK-BAR LISTEN BUTTON. 

PRACTICE TURNING TO GOD WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART.
METAPHYSICAL APPLICATION IDEAS FOR THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE QUARTERLY BIBLE LESSON ON:

“LOVE”
JANUARY 24—30, 2022

BY CRAIG L. GHISLIN, C.S.  GODFREY, IL
CRAIG.GHISLINCS@ICLOUD.COM / (630) 830-8683; CELL/TEXT (630) 234-3987


“HOW PRECIOUS IS YOUR LOVINGKINDNESS, O GOD” SO READS THE OPENING LINE OF THE GOLDEN TEXT, (PSALM 36:7). TO DAVID, GOD’S LOVINGKINDNESS WAS THE MOST PRECIOUS THING IMAGINABLE. THEOLOGIAN ALBERT BARNES (1798-1870) WRITES OF GOD’S LOVE FOR US, “HERE OUR HOPE BEGINS; AND TO THIS ATTRIBUTE OF THE ALMIGHTY, WHEN WE HAVE LEARNED ALL ELSE THAT WE CAN LEARN ABOUT GOD, THE SOUL TURNS WITH EVER NEW DELIGHT.”

WHEN I THINK OF DELIGHT, I CAN’T HELP BUT HAVE THE IMAGE OF A YOUNG BABY OR A CHILD BURSTING WITH EXPECTANCY, JOY, AND WONDER AT EVERY NEW DISCOVERY. CHILDREN ENGAGE THE WORLD WITH EVERYTHING THEY’VE GOT. THEY LOVE, TRUST, AND PLAY WITH THEIR WHOLE BEING. BUT AS CHILDREN GROW OLDER SOME OF THEIR DELIGHT BEGINS TO SUBSIDE AS FAMILIARITY WITH THEIR SURROUNDING SETTLES IN. AS PEOPLE MATURE, THE CARES OF THE WORLD SEEP IN AND DAMPEN THEIR ENTHUSIASM. SOMETIMES DISAPPOINTMENTS CAUSE US TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO THE PROBLEMS AND DIFFICULTIES THAN TO THE OPPORTUNITIES AND POSSIBILITIES.

NOT SO FOR THE PSALMIST. TRUE, HE FACES A LARGE SHARE OF CHALLENGES AND DISAPPOINTMENTS, BUT AS WE SEE IN THE RESPONSIVE READING, THE PSALMIST NOT ONLY RETAINS, BUT PRACTICES THAT WONDER AND DELIGHT ALONG WITH UNWAVERING TRUST IN GOD’S LOVINGKINDNESSES. HE FOCUSES ON GRACE, COMPASSION, AND THE FULL EXPECTANCY THAT GOD WILL PRESERVE THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.

HE ISN’T SHY ABOUT IT EITHER. HE OPENLY DECLARES GOD’S FAITHFULNESS AND LOVINGKINDNESS TO ALL WHO WILL LISTEN. HE PRAYS FOR AND ENCOURAGES HIS LISTENERS TO MAGNIFY THE LORD. JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564) ELUCIDATES PSALM 40:16. HE WRITES, “IF ANY INDIVIDUAL WOULD DEPEND WHOLLY UPON GOD, AND DESIRE TO BE SAVED BY HIS GRACE, HE MUST RENOUNCE EVERY VAIN HOPE, AND EMPLOY ALL HIS THOUGHTS TOWARDS THE RECEPTION OF HIS STRENGTH.”

 IN PSALM 69:13 DAVID MENTIONS PRAYING IN “AN ACCEPTABLE TIME.” THAT MIGHT SOUND ODD. IS THERE EVER AN UNACCEPTABLE TIME TO PRAY? BARNES EXPLAINS, “WHILE OTHERS MOCKED, HE CONTINUED TO PRAY, AND THE LORD HEARD HIM. NO TIME FOR PRAYER CAN BE MORE ‘ACCEPTABLE’ TO GOD THAN WHEN OTHERS ARE REPROACHING US BECAUSE WE ARE HIS [GOD’S] FRIENDS.”

THE PSALMIST’S AIM IS SIMPLE. HE EXPECTS GOD TO ANSWER THE PRAYERS OF THOSE WHO SEEK HIM. AND HE WILL PRAISE GOD’S NAME, CONTINUALLY MAGNIFYING HIM WITH SONGS OF THANKSGIVING. THEN HE OFFERS US THIS PROMISE: “THE HUMBLE SHALL SEE THIS AND BE GLAD: AND YOUR HEART SHALL LIVE THAT SEEK GOD” (PS. 69:32).


SECTION 1: PRAISE GOD WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART

AS DAVID DOES, JOHN, IS FULLY INVESTED IN THE RECOGNITION OF GOD AS LOVE (CITATION B1—I JOHN 4:16 . SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF ALL CHRISTIANS, HE ASSURES THEM THAT THIS GIVES THEIR LIVES A DEEPER DIMENSION AND EQUIPS THEM TO MAINTAIN A BUOYANT OUTLOOK DESPITE THE CHALLENGES FACING THEM.

ALBERT BARNES EXPLAINS THE UPLIFT ACCOMPANYING THIS UNDERSTANDING THAT GOD IS LOVE:

WHAT TRIALS MAY WE NOT BEAR, IF WE FEEL ASSURED OF THAT! WHAT DARK CLOUD THAT SEEMS TO HANG OVER OUR WAY, AND TO INVOLVE ALL THINGS IN GLOOM, WILL NOT BE BRIGHT, IF FROM THE DEPTHS OF OUR SOULS WE CAN ALWAYS SAY, “GOD IS LOVE!” …LOVE WOULD REMOVE ALL THE CORRUPT PASSIONS, THE CRIMES, THE JEALOUSIES, THE WARS ON THE EARTH, AND WOULD DIFFUSE AROUND THE GLOBE THE BLISS OF HEAVEN. IF A MAN, THEREFORE, IS ACTUATED BY THIS, HE HAS THE SPIRIT OF THE HEAVENLY WORLD REIGNING IN HIS SOUL, AND LIVES IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF LOVE.

BIBLE CITATIONS 2 AND 3 PROVIDE EXAMPLES OF HOW THE PSALMIST PRACTICES PRAISE. FIRST OF ALL, HE PRAISES GOD WITH HIS “WHOLE HEART” (CIT. B2—PS. 111:1-4). THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A MINUTE. ARE WE PRAISING GOD WITH OUR “WHOLE HEART”? WHAT MIGHT PRAISE WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? THE PSALMIST’S PRAISE INCLUDES A SWEEPING INVENTORY OF GOD’S GREATNESS, HONOR, GLORY, RIGHTEOUSNESS, GRACE, AND COMPASSION. HE RECOGNIZES THAT GOD MADE ALL THAT WAS MADE, AND THAT GOD’S COMMAND STANDS FAST.

“FOR HE SPAKE, AND IT WAS DONE” (CIT. B3—PS. 33:5, 6, 9). BARNES WRITES OF THIS VERSE, “NOTHING MORE SUBLIME CAN BE CONCEIVED THAN THE LANGUAGE THUS EMPLOYED IN THE SCRIPTURES IN DESCRIBING THAT WORK. NO MORE ELEVATED CONCEPTION CAN ENTER THE HUMAN MIND THAN THAT WHICH IS IMPLIED WHEN IT IS SAID, GOD “SPOKE” AND ALL THIS VAST AND WONDERFUL UNIVERSE ROSE INTO BEING.

THE PROPHET ISAIAH, DECLARES GOD’S PRIMACY, AND THE FINALITY OF HIS BEING. GOD IS FIRST AND LAST, AND THERE IS NO OTHER (CIT. B4—ISAIAH 44:6 I AM, 24 I AM).

MARY BAKER EDDY, THE DISCOVERER AND FOUNDER OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE, AND THE AUTHOR OF SCIENCE AND HEALTH WITH KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES STATES SUCCINCTLY, “GOD IS LOVE. CAN WE ASK HIM TO BE MORE? (CITATION S1—SH 2:23 TO ?) THROUGHOUT THE TEXTBOOK SHE ECHOES THE BIBLICAL TEACHING OF GOD’S ALLNESS. THERE IS NO OTHER CAUSE AND NO OTHER CREATOR. EVERYTHING THAT IS MADE IS DIVINE REFLECTION (CIT. S2—SH 331:11 (ONLY), 16-22).

AS UNDERSTOOD IN CHRISTIAN SCIENCE, CREATION IS COMPLETE, AND GOD LOVINGLY CARES FOR ALL THAT IS MADE (CIT. S3—SH 519:3-11). A KEY POINT IN CHRISTIAN SCIENCE IS THAT GOD IS NOT WITHIN CREATION. INFINITE DIVINE LOVE CAN’T BE CONFINED WITHIN FINITE FORMS, NOR BOUND BY LIMITED MORTAL CONCEPTS (CIT. S4—SH 256:13). NOR DOES GOD CREATE FINITE FORMS. AS THE TEXTBOOK STATES, “THIS CREATION CONSISTS OF THE UNFOLDING OF SPIRITUAL IDEAS, AND THEIR IDENTITIES, WHICH ARE EMBRACED IN THE INFINITE MIND AND FOREVER REFLECTED” (CIT. S5—SH 502:29-3).

WHILE MUCH OF THIS LESSON EMPHASIZES THE NEED FOR MAN TO PRAISE GOD AND BELIEVE WITH HIS WHOLE HEART, IT LIKEWISE REMINDS US THAT THE FULNESS, GLORY, AND MAJESTY OF INFINITE LOVE FILL ALL SPACE. “THAT,” AS THE TEXTBOOK DECLARES, “IS ENOUGH!” (CIT. S6—520:3-5).


SECTION 2: LOOKING AT THE DARK SIDE?

AS MUCH AS THE BIBLE AND SCIENCE AND HEALTH TEACH THAT THE FULLNESS AND INFINITE CARE OF DIVINE LOVE ARE ENOUGH, IT DOESN’T ALWAYS FEEL THAT WAY WHEN FACING A CHALLENGE. WE MUST RECOGNIZE THAT THE PSALMIST’S WRITINGS AREN’T ONE-DIMENSIONAL. AS WHOLE-HEARTED AS HIS PRAISE IS, LIKE ALL OF US, HE OCCASIONALLY GOT SWEPT UP IN ANGUISH TOO. AS BARNES COMMENTS, SOMETIMES, “WE FIND A MELANCHOLY SATISFACTION IN BEING MISERABLE, AND IN MAKING OURSELVES MORE UNHAPPY, AS IF WE HAD BEEN WRONGED, AND AS IF THERE WERE A KIND OF VIRTUE IN DEJECTION AND GLOOM—IN “REFUSING…TO BE COMFORTED.”

IN BIBLE CITATION 5, DAVID ISN’T JUST A LITTLE IN THE DUMPS. TO BE “DISQUIETED” MEANS TO “MOAN, ROAR,” OR EVEN GROWL LIKE A BEAR! HAVE YOU EVER FELT LIKE THAT? I HAVE. BUT DAVID DOESN’T LEAVE IT THERE. DESPITE HIS GLOOMY OUTLOOK, HE REMAINS DETERMINED TO TURN TO GOD FOR HELP, EVEN IN THE DARKEST TIMES. HE WRITES, “IN THE NIGHT HIS SONG SHALL BE WITH ME, AND MY PRAYER UNTO THE GOD OF MY LIFE” (CIT. B5—PS. 43:5, 8 THE). HE CHIDES THE HEBREWS FOR DOUBTING GOD AND ASKING, “CAN GOD FURNISH A TABLE IN THE WILDERNESS?” (CIT. B6—PS. 78:19 CAN). ISAIAH ASSURES US GOD CERTAINLY CAN FURNISH US WITH EVERYTHING WE NEED, LIKENING GOD’S LOVING CARE TO THE DEEP AFFECTION WITH WHICH THE SHEPHERD CARES FOR THE LAMBS OF THE FLOCK (CIT. B7—ISA. 40:11).

A PRACTICAL EXAMPLE OF THIS CARE IS FOUND IN THE STORY OF ELIJAH AND THE WIDOW WOMAN AT ZAREPHATH (CIT. B8—I KINGS 17:1, 8-16). THE WIDOW WAS CLOSE TO THE END OF HER ROPE WHEN ELIJAH ASKS HER FOR WATER AND BREAD. SHE TELLS HIM ALL SHE HAS IS A HANDFUL OF MEAL AND A LITTLE OIL. SHE WAS PLANNING TO COOK IT FOR HER AND HER SON. ELIJAH SEEMS TO PAY NO ATTENTION AND TELLS HER TO BE UNAFRAID TO FIX HIM A CAKE FIRST. HIS REQUEST WAS BASED ON THE TRUST HE PLACED IN THE WORD OF GOD THAT TOLD HIM, “THE BARREL OF MEAL SHALL NOT WASTE, NEITHER SHALL THE CRUISE OF OIL FAIL, UNTIL THE LORD SENDETH RAIN UPON THE EARTH.” THE WOMAN MAY HAVE BEEN PUZZLED BY HIS REQUEST. BUT SHE MUST HAVE DETECTED A RING OF AUTHORITY, AUTHENTICITY, AND HOPE IN HIS DECLARATION, BECAUSE SHE OBEYED, AND ELIJAH’S WORDS PROVED TRUE. COMMENTATORS ESTIMATE THAT THERE WASN’T ONLY ENOUGH FOR ELIJAH AND THE WOMAN’S LAST MEAL, BUT THAT THE SUPPLY LASTED POSSIBLY UP TO TWO FULL YEARS.

IF YOU WERE IN THE WIDOW’S SITUATION, HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO THE PROPHET’S REQUEST? MORE THAN A QUAINT BIBLICAL MIRACLE, THIS SITUATION IS REAL FOR MANY PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TODAY. IF YOU ARE FACING THE NEED FOR SUPPLY OF ANY KIND, YOU CAN KNOW THAT GOD, DIVINE LOVE ITSELF, IS STILL PRESENT RIGHT NOW READY TO “MEET EVERY HUMAN NEED” INCLUDING YOURS (CIT. S7—SH 494:10-11, 15 (ONLY)). WHAT WE MIGHT CALL A “MIRACLE” IS NORMAL AND NATURAL FOR DIVINE LOVE.

HUMANS TEND TO THINK OF GOD IN HUMAN TERMS, BUT SCIENCE AND HEALTH POINTS OUT THAT THINKING OF GOD AS IF HE WERE A HUMAN PERSON PREVENTS US FROM REACHING THAT POINT OF COMPLETE FAITH AND TRUST IN HIM (CIT. S8—SH 13:20-24). IF GOD THOUGHT AS HUMANS DO, HE WOULD BE CAPABLE OF CHANGING HIS MIND, FORGETTING ABOUT US, AND PERHAPS EVEN LOSING CONTROL OF THINGS. BUT GOD ISN’T A SUPER-HUMAN BEING IN THE ETHER SOMEWHERE. GOD ISN’T EVEN A “HE” OR A “SHE” THOUGH WE USE THOSE TERMS. GOD IS, LIFE, TRUTH, LOVE (CIT. S9—SH 330:19-20). OUR TEXTBOOK EXPLAINS THAT AS OUR SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING OF GOD ADVANCES, OUR OLD WAY OF PERCEIVING GOD IN A LIMITED, PERSONAL WAY YIELDS TO UNDERSTANDING GOD AND MAN AS “THE INFINITE PRINCIPLE AND INFINITE IDEA…HELD IN THE GOSPEL OF LOVE.” (CIT. S10—SH 576:26-4).


SECTION 3: BEGINNING AGAIN

AS WE’VE SEEN, DAVID DIDN’T HIDE HIS EMOTIONS. HE POURED HIS WHOLE HEART INTO PRAISE AS WELL AS INTO HIS LAMENTATIONS. CITATION 9 IN THE BIBLE (PS. 51:1 (TO ;), 10, 12) IS AN EXAMPLE OF DAVID’S GREAT REMORSE OVER HIS OWN SIN. BARNES TELLS US:

THIS IS THE UTTERANCE OF A FULL HEART; A HEART CRUSHED AND BROKEN BY THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF SIN…HIS SIN WAS SO GREAT, HIS OFFENCE WAS SO AGGRAVATED, THAT HE COULD HAVE NO HOPE BUT IN A BEING OF INFINITE COMPASSION, AND HE FELT THAT THE NEED OF MERCY IN HIS CASE COULD BE MEASURED AND COVERED “ONLY” BY THAT INFINITE COMPASSION.

WHEN DAVID ASKS GOD TO CREATE A CLEAN HEART IN HIM, HE ISN’T REQUESTING A MINOR, OR EVEN A MAJOR MAKEOVER. HE WANTS A COMPLETELY NEW BEGINNING. THE WORD “CREATE” USED HERE IS THE SAME WORD USED IN GENESIS. IT MEANS, “CAUSING SOMETHING TO EXIST WHERE NOTHING DID BEFORE” (BARNES).

AS DAVID WAS FULL OF WHOLE-HEARTED FAITH, AND WHOLE-HEARTED REPENTANCE; AND ELIJAH HAD FULL FAITH IN GOD’S WORD, THE LEPER IN THIS STORY FROM MARK WAS UTTERLY IN EARNEST IN HIS PLEA TO JESUS (CIT. B10—MARK 1:14, JESUS, 15 (TO :), 40-42). HE FELL TO HIS KNEES IN ABSOLUTE HUMILITY, AND HE HAD FULL EXPECTATION THAT JESUS COULD HEAL HIM. JESUS, IN TURN, WAS FILLED WITH COMPASSION, AND BROKE SOCIAL CONVENTION BY TOUCHING ONE WHO WAS AN “UNTOUCHABLE.” HE PROVED THE UNLIMITED POWER OF INFINITE LOVE, AND THE LEPROSY WAS HEALED IMMEDIATELY. ONE OF THE BIGGEST HESITATIONS PEOPLE HAVE WHEN PUTTING THEIR COMPLETE FAITH IN GOD, IS THEIR FEAR THAT THEIR PLEA MIGHT GO UNANSWERED. JESUS EASES OUR MINDS ABOUT THAT. HE SAYS, “FEAR NOT, LITTLE FLOCK; FOR IT IS YOUR FATHER’S GOOD PLEASURE TO GIVE YOU THE KINGDOM” (CIT. B11—LUKE 12:32).

SCIENCE AND HEALTH REMINDS US THAT GOD ISN’T A CORPOREAL PERSONALITY. GOD IS “UNIVERSAL, ETERNAL DIVINE LOVE, WHICH CHANGETH NOT AND CAUSETH NO EVIL, DISEASE, NOR DEATH” (CIT. S11—SH 140:25-27). NO NEED TO HESITATE THERE! IN DISCUSSING JESUS’ TOUCHING THE LEPER, SOME COMMENTATORS HAVE MENTIONED THAT ONLY THE PUREST LOVE COULD SEE BEYOND SUCH AN UGLY DISEASE AS LEPROSY. BUT DID JESUS SEE LEPROSY, OR ANY DISEASE, DEATH, OR SIN? MARY BAKER EDDY TELLS US THAT “JESUS BEHELD IN SCIENCE THE PERFECT MAN, WHERE SINNING MORTAL MAN APPEARS TO MORTALS” (CIT. S12—SH 476:28-5). GOD DOESN’T SEE DISEASE, AND SEEING FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE, JESUS DIDN’T SEE IT EITHER. HE ONLY SAW WHAT GOD SAW. THIS WAS THE CHRIST IN ACTION (CIT. S13—SH 332:19).

MARY BAKER EDDY REALIZED THAT WHEN JESUS HEALED, HE WAS ACTING THROUGH HIS UNDERSTANDING OF SPIRITUAL LAW. HE NEVER QUESTIONED IT. HE TRUSTED IT SO THOROUGHLY THAT HE TAUGHT THAT ALL OF US COULD UTILIZE THIS SPIRITUAL LAW TOO. NOW TRUSTING THIS LAW ISN’T MERELY AN INTELLECTUAL EXERCISE. JESUS’ HEALING POWER WAS GROUNDED IN LOVE. THE DISCOVERER OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE TAUGHT THAT, IF IN OUR HEALING WORK WE GET OURSELVES OUT OF THE WAY, AND TOTALLY YIELD TO ALLOW THE POWER OF LOVE TO BEAR WITNESS TO THE TRUTH, HEALING WILL BE INSTANTANEOUS (CIT. S15—SH 411:10, 27-32).

SHE GOES ON TO REMIND US TO BEGIN OUR TREATMENT BY ALLAYING FEAR. SHE TELLS US TO “SILENTLY REASSURE” THE PATIENT “AS TO THEIR EXEMPTION FROM DISEASE AND DANGER.” THIS IS THE AIM. WE DON’T ALWAYS WORK TO THE POINT WHERE WE COMPLETELY OPERATE IN THE REALM OF LOVE, BUT WE CAN DO IT IF WE PRACTICE. MARY BAKER EDDY HAD FULL FAITH THAT EVERYONE WOULD EVENTUALLY BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND AND DEMONSTRATE THIS HEALING POWER (CIT. S16—SH 144:27)


SECTION 4: FULL REPENTANCE, FULL FORGIVENESS

THIS SECTION BEGINS AGAIN WITH THE PSALMIST BEING “ALL IN:” PRAISING GOD WITH “ALL” HIS HEART AND PROMISING TO GLORIFY GOD “FOREVERMORE” WITHOUT A SHRED OF HESITANCY (CIT. B12—PS. 86:12,15 THOU). WHY? BECAUSE HE IS SURE THAT GOD IS “FULL OF COMPASSION” FOR HIS CHILDREN, AND “PLENTEOUS IN MERCY.” PAUL TOO, HAVING BEEN SAVED HIMSELF, HAS ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE IN JESUS’ MISSION TO SAVE SINNERS (CIT. B13—I TIM. 1:15 (TO ;)).

ONE OF THE MOST WELL-KNOWN EXAMPLES OF GOD’S FORGIVENESS IS FOUND IN LUKE 7 (CIT. B14—LUKE 7:37-44 (TO ?), 47 HER (TO :), 50).  IT’S A STORY OF A WOMAN—KNOWN TO BE A SINNER—COMING INTO THE HOME OF A PHARISEE NAMED SIMON, INTENDING TO WASH JESUS’ FEET. GIVEN THE RELIGIOUS AND SOCIAL PROTOCOL OF THE TIME, THIS WOMAN WAS WAY OUT OF BOUNDS. BUT SHE WAS FULLY INVESTED IN WHAT SHE WAS DOING. SHE DIDN’T LET WHAT SIMON MIGHT BE THINKING STOP HER FROM POURING HER AFFECTION OUT ON JESUS. HER LOVE FOR JESUS WAS AUGMENTED BY HER DEEP HUMILITY AND REPENTANCE. SHE WAS WILLING TO DO A FULL TURNABOUT IN HER LIFE, AND AS ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN FORGIVEN MUCH KNOWS, THIS OFTEN BRINGS FORTH TEARS. AFTER USING THOSE TEARS TO WASH JESUS’ FEET, SHE DRIED THEM WITH HER HAIR AND ANOINTED HIS FEET WITH OINTMENT. IT HAS BEEN NOTED THAT IF SHE WERE—AS MANY SUPPOSE—A PROSTITUTE, HER HAIR WOULD HAVE BEEN WELL TAKEN CARE OF, AND A PRECIOUS “ORNAMENT AND PRIDE” TO HER; SO, USING IT TO WIPE JESUS’ FEET SIGNIFIED DEEP HUMILITY.

AS WITH THE LEPER IN THE PREVIOUS SECTION, JESUS RESPONDED TO THE WOMAN WITH THE FULLNESS OF LOVE, COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS. SIMON, ON THE OTHER HAND, BEING ARROGANT AND JUDGMENTAL WAS CHASTISED FOR HIS SCARCITY OF LOVE AND LACK OF REPENTANCE.

THIS STORY HOLDS SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE FOR CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS. THE AUTHOR OF SCIENCE AND HEALTH OPENS HER CHAPTER ON “CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTICE” WITH THIS STORY, AS A CAUTIONARY TALE FOR US. SHE FIRST CONTRASTS JESUS’ LOVING REGARD AGAINST SIMON’S ARROGANT JUDGMENT: JESUS REGARDED THE WOMAN AS A VALUED INDIVIDUAL. HE RECOGNIZED HER COURAGE IN APPROACHING HIM AND THE HUMILITY IN HER REPENTANCE. SIMON SAW HER AS NOTHING BUT AN “OBJECT” DISRUPTING HIS EVENING PLANS—AS A NUISANCE TO BE DEALT WITH—NOT A PERSON AT ALL. BUT THEN AS THE EXPLANATION CONTINUES, THE AUTHOR TAKES A DIFFERENT APPROACH BY ALSO CONTRASTING SIMON’S BEHAVIOR WITH THAT OF THE WOMAN (CIT. S19—SH 363:1-10, 15-26, 31-3). OUR TEXTBOOK STATES:

IF CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS ARE LIKE SIMON, THEN IT MUST BE SAID OF THEM ALSO THAT THEY LOVE LITTLE.

ON THE OTHER HAND, DO THEY SHOW THEIR REGARD FOR TRUTH, OR CHRIST, BY THEIR GENUINE REPENTANCE, BY THEIR BROKEN HEARTS, EXPRESSED BY MEEKNESS AND HUMAN AFFECTION AS DID THIS WOMAN? (CIT. S20—SH 364:8-10, 22-28).

ALL OF THIS SPEAKS TO MOTIVE AND THE LEVEL OF OUR SINCERITY. MANY PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO HEAL, BUT NOT SO MANY ARE WILLING TO DO THE WORK IT TAKES TO GET THERE. ALSO, NOTICE THAT IT’S NOT THEOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE, OR POSITION THAT EQUIPS ONE TO HEAL—BUT MEEKNESS, REPENTANCE, AND AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF HOW MUCH THERE IS TO CORRECT IN OUR OWN CONSCIOUSNESS. TO REACH OUR PATIENT THROUGH DIVINE LOVE, WE NEED FIRST, TO WIN OUR OWN PARDON THROUGH OUR AFFECTION FOR OTHERS, AND FOR THE CHRIST AS WELL (CIT. S21—SH 365:15, 31).

WE’RE TOLD THAT OUR TRUE INCENTIVE IN HEALING AND TEACHING MUST BE LOVE FOR GOD AND MAN (CIT. S22—SH 454:17-18). AN INCENTIVE IS THAT WHICH PROMPTS US TO ACTION. AS WE’RE ENCOURAGED TO LOVE WITH OUR WHOLE HEART, WE ALSO NEED TO KEEP OUR MOTIVES HONEST AND PURE.


SECTION 5: LOVE CAN’T BE STOPPED

WHEN OUR MOTIVES ARE PURE, NOTHING CAN STAND IN THE WAY AS WE PUT THE TRUTHS WE PROFESS INTO ACTION. IT’S INTERESTING THAT THE FULL CONFIDENCE OF GOD’S MIGHT AND POWER TO SUSTAIN US THROUGH OUR MISSION MENTIONED BY ZEPHANIAH (CIT. B15—ZEPH. 3:17) INCLUDES THIS MEANING: “HE IN HIS LOVE SHALL MAKE NO MENTION OF PAST SINS; HE SHALL NOT BRING THEM UP AGAINST THEE, SHALL NOT UPBRAID THEE, YEA, SHALL NOT REMEMBER THEM” (BARNES). THE DISCIPLES WEREN’T “ANGELS.” THEY WERE WORKING PEOPLE LIKE ALL OF US. THEY MADE MISTAKES AND BAD DECISIONS, AND THEY DIDN’T ALWAYS FOLLOW THEIR MASTER’S DIRECTIONS. BUT AS THIS VERSE SHOWS, THAT DOESN’T STOP GOD FROM LOVING THEM, AND SUPPORTING THEIR MISSION. REMEMBER, GOD IS ON OUR SIDE!

THERE’S A LOT OF “LAYING ON OF HANDS” GOING ON IN THIS SECTION. AS WE’VE SEEN IN PREVIOUS SECTIONS, LAYING ON OF HANDS CAN SYMBOLIZE GREAT AFFECTION, AND SPIRITUAL POWER. THE APOSTLES LAID THEIR HANDS ON THE SICK, AND THEY WERE HEALED. BUT HERE, THE AUTHORITIES ARE PUTTING THEIR “HANDS” ON THE DISCIPLES IN ORDER TO INHIBIT THE HEALING WORK. HOWEVER, THE DISCIPLES ARE WORKING WITH LOVE, AND IN RECOGNITION OF GOD’S ALMIGHTY POWER. NOTHING COULD STOP THIS LOVE FROM BEING EXPRESSED AND DEMONSTRATED. EVEN WHEN IN PRISON, THE ANGEL OF THE LORD COMES TO THEM AND OPENS THE PRISON DOORS, TELLING THEM TO GO BACK TO THE TEMPLE AND CONTINUE THEIR WORK (CIT. B16—ACTS 5:12 (TO ;), 16-20).

SCIENCE AND HEALTH PROMOTES ABSOLUTE FAITH IN GOD’S OMNIPOTENCE. GOD ISN’T THE BIGGEST POWER, GOD IS THE ONLY POWER, AND THERE IS NONE ELSE (CIT. S23—SH 14-15, 25 (ONLY)). THE POWER OF DIVINE LOVE IS “INDEED ADEQUATE” TO BREAK THE GRIP OF SIN, DISEASE, AND DEATH (CIT. S24— SH 412:13). THE DISCIPLES MAY HAVE FELT THE THREAT OF THE SADDUCEES’ SHOW OF POWER, BUT THEY WERE MORE IMPRESSED WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT DIVINE LOVE SUSTAINED THEM AND THEIR MISSION (CIT. S25—SH 530:5-6). THE SHOW OF FORCE IS NOT POWER. LOVE ALONE HAS POWER. THIS POWER FREES US FROM EVERY CLAIM THAT WOULD OPPRESS US, WHETHER IT’S A VIRUS, A STUBBORN SIN, THE THREAT OF DEATH, OR ANY OTHER SO-CALLED POWER THAT CLAIMS AUTHORITY OVER US. “NO POWER CAN WITHSTAND DIVINE LOVE” (CIT. S27— SH 224:29-31 (TO 2ND .)). A CAREFULLY CRAFTED ARGUMENT, A BRILLIANT REBUTTAL, A WONDER DRUG, OR AN ARMED OPPOSITION HAS NO POWER TO FREE US. THE ONLY TRUE LIBERATOR IS LOVE (CIT. S28— SH 225:21).


SECTION 6: DELIGHT IN GOD’S WILL 

IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS DISCUSSION OF THE LESSON, WE CONSIDERED THE WONDER AND UNBOUNDED JOY CHILDREN HAVE AS THEY DISCOVER THE WORLD. HERE IN THE LAST SECTION, WE HAVE THE PSALMIST ONCE AGAIN, DELIGHTING IN GOD’S LAW, WHICH RESIDES DEEP IN HIS HEART (CIT. B18—PS. 40:8, 11 LET).

HE ASKS GOD TO KEEP HIM AS “THE APPLE OF THE EYE” (CIT. B19—PS. 17:8). BARNES TELLS US THIS PHRASE COMES FROM A HEBREW WORD MEANING LITERALLY, “A LITTLE MAN,” AND REFERS TO THE APPLE OR PUPIL OF THE EYE, “IN WHICH, AS IN A MIRROR, A PERSON SEES HIS OWN IMAGE REFLECTED IN MINIATURE.” SO, IN ESSENCE, THE PSALMIST IS ASKING GOD TO SUSTAIN HIM AS HIS REFLECTION. FINALLY, THE PSALMIST MAKES IT PLAIN THAT NOBODY IS LEFT OUT OF GOD’S LOVE. HE IS GOOD TO ALL, AND IN RETURN, ALL HIS WORKS PRAISE HIM (CIT. B20—PS. 145:9,10).

 

THE CLOSING CITATIONS FROM SCIENCE AND HEALTH ARE ALL VERY BRIEF AND SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. THEY ECHO AND AFFIRM THAT THE WAY IN CHRISTIAN SCIENCE IS “UNIVERSAL LOVE” (CIT. S29—SH 266:18 UNIVERSAL) NOTHING ELSE EXISTS (S30—SH 340:12), AND EVERYTHING IN CREATION REFLECTS IT (CIT. S31: SH 518:21).  THROUGHOUT THE LESSON WE’VE SEEN MULTIPLE EXAMPLES OF HOW THE PSALMIST, THE PROPHETS, CHRIST JESUS, THE DISCIPLES, AND THOSE IN NEED APPROACH GOD WITH THEIR WHOLE HEART. TO KNOW THE WORDS, AND FOLLOW THE RULES ARE ONLY A BEGINNING. THE CLOSING CITATION IN THIS LESSON READS, “THE VITAL PART, THE HEART AND SOUL OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE, IS LOVE” (CIT. S32—SH 113:5-6). WITHOUT A HEART AND SOUL A THING IS LIFELESS. WITHOUT LOVE, IT’S ALL JUST WORDS. SO, LET’S ALLOW THE DELIGHT OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD TO INVIGORATE OUR PRACTICE. LET’S APPROACH GOD WITH A WHOLE HEART.


CLICK HERE FOR MORE APPLICATION IDEAS & BIBLE-BASED GEMS FROM COBBEY CRISLER & OTHERS! [THIS IS ONLY PARTIALLY COMPLETED, BUT HOPEFULLY WILL BE FINISHED AND EMAILED EARLY IN THE WEEK.]


KEN COOPER’S INSIGHTFUL POETIC PRELUDE” BRINGS TO LIFE
BIBLE
EXAMPLES OF THE SCIENCE OF CHRIST “AFLAME WITH DIVINE LOVE!”

PDF COPIES ARE AVAILABLE UNDER DOWNLOADS IN THE ONLINE VERSION OF  THIS MET.


HUMBLE, HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU HUNDREDS OF DONORS WHO HELPED US MEET BOTH OUR
$75,000 WATERSLIDE RENOVATION GOAL
AND OUR $150,000 OPERATIONS GOAL TO FEED OUR HERD,
MAINTAIN A CAMPSITE IN KEEPING WITH OUR MISSION, AWARD CAMPERSHIPS…
(MORE IS ALWAYS GREATLY APPRECIATED TO HELP MEET ALL OF THE ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS NEEDED IN THESE AREAS!) 


LASTLY WE ARE FOREVER BEYOND GRATEFUL FOR A MULTI-YEAR ENDOWMENT MATCHING GRANT!  WE’RE OVER HALFWAY TO OUR MATCH AND MAKING STEADY PLANNED GIVING PROGRESS.  THANK YOU FOR HELPING US SHARE A LOVE OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE AND ITS PRACTICAL APPLICATION WITH GENERATIONS TO COME.

TO DISCUSS HOW TO JOIN ME AND MANY OTHERS IN PLAYING A VITAL, ONGOING ROLE IN OUR WORK, FEEL FREE TO CALL OR TEXT ME (WARREN HUFF) AT 314-378-2574 WITH YOUR PLEDGE OR INTENT TO GIVE A PLANNED GIFT, A REQUIRED IRA DISTRIBUTION OR AN ENDOWMENT GIFT (WHICH WILL BE MATCHED!). YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT IS NEEDED TO HELP US “LOVE INTO VIEW” CONTINUED, LASTING BLESSINGS AND LEGACIES OF LOVE EACH YEAR.  WITH HEARTFELT GRATITUDE FOR, AND TO, ALL YOU GREATLY NEEDED AND PRECIOUS SUPPORTERS WHO CONTINUE TO HELP CEDARS EACH YEAR IN GIVING LIFELONG, DIFFERENCE-MAKING BLESSINGS TO HUNDREDS OF FAMILIES AND THOUSANDS OF INDIVIDUALS ALL ACROSS THE U.S. AND THE WORLD.

 

American Camp Association

MAIN OFFICE
(November - May)
410 Sovereign Court #8
Ballwin, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162

CAMP OFFICE
(Memorial Day Weekend - October)
19772 Sugar Dr.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-6699

Support our mission!

CedarS Camps

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