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Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“God the Preserver of Man

December 14, 2014

Prepared by: Kathy Fitzer of Lake Saint Louis, MO and Park City, UT
kathyfitzer@gmail.com              314-323-4083

[Bracketed italics added by CedarS Director, Warren, whos grateful for the wonderful recent gifts to our Matching Funds! Thanks!! To help us reach our goals just
click to give to “Maintenance Musts” ($3.75k to go) or Adopt the Herd! (~$41.9k to go)
 
Plus, CedarS Giving Tree gives $1+ ways for all Met-getters to say Thanks!]

The dictionary tells us that to preserve is to “maintain (something) in its original or existing state,” “maintain or keep alive,” and “keep safe from harm or injury.”  The story of Joseph may offer the quintessential (best) example of God’s preservation of His children… ALL of His children.  As the story unfolds in this week’s Lesson, we see that through every difficult moment God was with Joseph.  And God was also with each one involved.  Along the way, lives were transformed, and strength and humility learned.  But, there is no evidence that God passed judgment before extending His impartial, saving grace.  The love of Love cleanses and preserves all, and this tender grace is felt as thought is opened and trust in God is increased.   Jesus went on to teach and demonstrate more about the preserving power of Love that eliminates fear and brings healing.  All of God’s creation is safe!  The claims of evil have no power!

Golden Text:  There can be no circumstance—no condition—that extends beyond the embrace of divine Love.  Nothing can be more pure or more enduring than the love of Love itself.  Love knows nothing but love.  And being ever-present, it provides a safe harbor for all!

Responsive Reading:  The people of Israel were going through a difficult period of captivity when the prophet Isaiah shared God’s message with them.  No need to despair or be afraid.  Right there in the fire, or when it seemed they would drown in the waves of trouble, God’s assurance was that the Almighty was with them.  The promise was not that they (we) would not face trying times, but that right in the middle of them, they were (we are) safe.  God refers to His people as sons and daughters and speaks to their captors with authority.  Nothing can withstand the freeing power of divine Love.  This promise must be true today, as well.  We can expect to see all mankind freed from war, poverty, disease—captivity of any sort.  The key is to bear witness to the oneness and “only-ness” of God as savior.  Refuse to fear or accept anything else!  God is God (the omnipotence and omnipresence of good) and there is none else!  We must hold to that fact in the face of all contradictory evidence.  Surely we will be delivered!

Section 1:  Love preserves and keeps Her children safe
It has been argued that Joseph may have “deserved” at least some of what his brothers dished out to him. (B-3) He apparently was favored by their father and treated with kid gloves.  And it’s hard for any child not to sometimes flaunt that kind of special treatmentIt is sometimes argued today that kids (and adults) who are mistreated—even bullied—by their peers have done something (or had an attitude) that deserves the treatment they receive—at least to some extent.  That way of thinking could even be applied to interracial tensions between citizens and police.  But, God—the Father and Mother of us all—surely doesn’t see His children in terms of victim or perpetrator, innocent or guilty.  To God, ALL of His children are innocent and ALL worthy of preservation from evil.  Joseph, after being thrown into the pit by his brothers and then was lifted out and sold as a slave in Egypt, would ultimately bless entire nations.  But, at the time could Joseph or his brothers have any idea of the long-range impact? Clearly not.  Any more than we can imagine how events in our lives will impact us and others.  But, we can learn from the story of Joseph that Love never forsakes us—or others—and refuse to stay stuck in the pit of despair.  We can’t know what Joseph was thinking during all of this, but we do know that apparently Potiphar recognized the presence of God with him and responded to that with affection and trust (B-4).  The saving power of God’s love is not always apparent from our limited perspective.  But, as we trust God step by step, it becomes clear.  And, so, as we face trials—or learn of trials others are facing—we can rely on the fact that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (S-2)  And, no matter what evidence the material senses are presenting to the contrary, we need to admit (i.e. acknowledge) “the facts of divine Science.” (S-4)  Those facts of reality let us know that “God is on the field, although He seems invisible.” (Hymn 86)

Section 2: The preserving effect of integrity
The Hebrew word, tom, translated integrity, connotes completeness and innocence.  The modern dictionary speaks of integrity as “the state of being whole and undivided” and also the “quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”  As used in Ps. 25, “preserve” means to guard, protect, or keep. (B-5)  So, knowing our completeness and maintaining a sense of moral uprightness is our protection.  Maintaining control over carnal passions is a protection.  At first glance, it certainly looked like the moral stand Joseph took didn’t pay off for him at all.  He got thrown into prison because Potiphar’s wife’s story was believed over Joseph’s.  That pattern is too often repeated today!  Doing the right things doesn’t always seem to pay off.  But this “pattern” also repeats itself, and it is what we need to focus on… “the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love.  And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden.” (B-6, NLT) Joseph was being taken care of, and we will always be, too.  No matter how bleak things seem to be, we don’t need to fold under the pressure of evil, but can “overcome evil with good.”  As we maintain our moral uprightness (always following our highest sense of right and knowing ourselves as complete and innocent, as God knows us) “God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil.”  What a wonderful promise follows that statement, “Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you.” [S-10, More apps in P.S. #1]  No matter what kind of adversity we face (related to work, family, supply, health, personal relations) we must “rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good.”  We have to know that good is the law.  We’re not resisting based on our own will, but the will of God.  God enables us to “be firm in [our] understanding that the divine Mind governs, and that in Science man reflects God’s government.” (S-9)  In Science—in the reality of Truth that cannot be interrupted—man is always sustained and maintained by God, Good.  [With Joseph’s taking a stand for his highest sense of right in this section,] it would be a great time to take a look at a letter Mrs. Eddy wrote to her students on Sept. 30, 1895 that beautifully describes the “Man of Integrity” (which of course refers to men and women, boys and girls.)  It’s on pages 147-148 of Miscellaneous Writings.  We all have the courage to stand fast in uprightness without ever falling into the trap of harboring a feeling of superiority over another.  Just love and compassion—seeing ourselves and others as God sees!  Doing good does have its rewards—even if not immediately apparent.

Section 3: The preserving effect of understanding and discretion, i.e. wisdom
As used in Proverbs 2, “preserve” comes from the original Hebrew, meaning “to hedge about (as with thorns), guard, protect.  Ancient civilizations used to surround their cities with thorny bushes to keep wild animals and other intruders out. (B-7)  Just think… we are hedged about with God’s love, impenetrable by any “enemy.”  Joseph had been in prison for two years before Pharaoh became aware of, and had a need for, Joseph’s wisdom and ability to discern thought as revealed through dreams.  Evidence of God’s protection doesn’t always appear as we would expect it to, yet it’s always there.  Although we don’t read about it in this Lesson, we know that before Joseph offered an answer to Pharaoh that would ultimately save Egypt—as well as the surrounding area and his own family—from the coming famine, he had patiently done his best to use his talents while still in prison.  If he hadn’t been in prison, would he have been exposed to the dreams of other prisoners, which eventually led him to be noticed by Pharaoh?  Our prison might appear as a difficult work environment, or unhappy family circumstances, an unfair teacher, or a physical problem that doesn’t seem to be yielding.  But, as we are confident that God’s love has not forsaken us, and as we maintain our high standards, doing our best regardless of the circumstances, Love will either reveal a change in circumstances or lift us out of them—and bring blessing in the process.  This is what happened in the case of Joseph, and look at all the blessings that followed. (B-8)  How was Joseph able to discern the meaning of Pharaoh’s dream?  Mary Baker Eddy offers this explanation:  “It is the prerogative of the ever-present, divine Mind, and of thought which is in rapport with this Mind, to know the past, the present, and the future.” (S-11)  So, the key is to acknowledge Mind as all-knowing and be in rapport (harmonious relationship—at-one) with that Mind which is the only true Mind!  What we need to know will be revealed as we trust the law of God.  “Error of any kind cannot hide from the law of God.” (S-14)  Rather, all error must yield to this law!  We need to expect that!!

Section 4:  God’s law of adjustment preserves the whole family of man
Put in charge of Egypt’s food supply by Pharaoh, Joseph was able to store up enough food during the years of plenty to supply Egypt and the surrounding areas during the years of famine.  I enjoy thinking about this as a good model for the wisdom of maintaining a modern-day savings plan.  God always supplies our needs… but in different ways. Many years later, when being led out of Egypt through the wilderness, the children of Israel’s hunger would be satisfied by the provision of daily manna.  But, this time these same people (the children of Jacob, whose name had been changed to Israel as he was fleeing from Laban and returning to his brother Esau) were led into Egypt as a result of careful planning by their brother Joseph (B-9, B-10 & B-11).  To me, this shows that Love provides in many different ways… but always provides.  Our job is to be in rapport with this Love—this Mind—and respond to its leading.  The other lovely lesson is to see how Joseph’s family was blessed, despite their treatment of their brother many years before.  No matter how severe the “evil” seems, good can always come out of it.  Sometimes it’s just a lot harder to see it!  I think the key lies in really understanding that there is ONE Mind—ONE God—ONE Father.  Then we see not only that we are all brothers and sisters, but also that this brotherhood consists of Love and Truth.  Understanding this gives us hope when schisms in a family, a community, or between nations arise. (S-20)  It gives us courage to remain loving, even when love isn’t being returned.  And, such difficulties bring us even closer to God until we feel Love’s support (S-19).  Jesus understood “the foundation of fellowship, in which one mind is not at war with another, but all have one Spirit, God, one intelligent source.”  [Jesus illustrated the mental might that wins without a fight and that raised him from crucifixion when he healed the cut-off ear of one of his captors in the garden of Gethsemane.  Mary Baker Eddy defines his healing Gethsemane-mindset in part as “love meeting no response, but still remaining love.” (S&H 586:24)]  Our job is to “let this Mind be in [us,] which was also in Christ Jesus.” (S-21)  Joseph certainly did!

Section 5:  The love of Christ preserves (leads, protects, and heals) all—in all times
Wasn’t it the Christ (the living Truth coming to the human consciousness) that led Joseph to save Egypt, as well as his family?  Christ knows no time barriers—“the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” (B-13)  The coming of Christ Jesus revealed the fullness of this Christ to those of his time, and all who have come after have been able to learn of it through his teaching.  To me, one of the keys to Jesus’ teachings and works was the compassion with which he viewed all those that crossed his path—and beyond.  As he tended to the lost sheep, he simply shared (taught) (B-14).  Not everyone was ready to receive what he had to offer, but that didn’t stop him from reaching out, assuring those who listened of their great value to God (B-15).  And, from the beginning of his ministry, Jesus healed!  Healing is the natural outcome of this Love.  What a beautiful example of a receptive heart is seen in Peter’s mother-in-law.  She was healed immediately by the Christly touch of Love and responded—showing her love by ministering to Jesus and the others that were in Peter’s house. (B-17)  The Science and Health portion of this section explains in greater detail how Jesus utilized the Christ power to heal.  The theme of the power of Love to destroy fear and unclasp the supposed hold of error is certainly a strong one (S-27).  And isn’t it a wonderful reminder that we don’t ever need to think that we have to (or even can) suffer for expressing love… as Peter’s mother-in-law demonstrated.  “God never punishes man for doing right, for honest labor, or for deeds of kindness, though they expose him to fatigue, cold, heat, contagion.” (S-25)  Of course that would be the design of Love.  And, it is a powerful way for those of us who understand (or even simply accept) this concept to support, not just ourselves or those we know and love, but the unselfed efforts of health-care workers around the globe—including those dealing with the claims of Ebola.  Let’s let our love for our fellow man push us to learn even more about what Jesus taught us about Love, and practice it with every thought and deed!

Section 6:  Nothing to fear!  Love preserves all of creation always!
The Bible in this section brings us back to the Responsive Reading… no need to fear, and the assurance that protection is ever at hand—as God’s children—no matter where we find ourselves coming and going (B-20).  Why don’t we have to be afraid?  Because we are hedged about by Love and fear is left on the outside.  “There is no fear in Love.”  And, if fear does somehow find temporary lodging in thought, we can immediately call on perfect Love to cast it out—throw it right out of the kingdom because it has no place there! (B-18)  It’s just like flushing a glass with water cleanses it of all dirt.  I love how the Bible tells us that it is our heritage (our special possession) to condemn and defeat anything that comes to us that is not from God (B-19).  That is so very empowering!!!  We will face trials and difficulties—we will face the “enemy.”  But, starting with the understanding that we’re fighting an already “defeated foe” because “no power can withstand divine Love”, we can go forward with confidence rather than cower in fear  (S-31).  Our textbook tells us what to do when the going gets tough… respond with a stronger faith and purer love (S-29).  The key is to realize that the faith and love aren’t things we have to dredge up from within ourselves.  They are reflected qualities.  God has made us strong through an understanding that qualities such as joy, good, life, health are attributes of God—of Soul, Life and Love.  As such, they cannot be reversed (S-30).  We are the beloved children of the almighty God, hedged about and kept safe and protected by divine Love.  Let’s refuse to let go of that standard, so that nothing can make us afraid.  Victory is assured!


[P.S. #1: Application ideas from citation S-10 (571:16):
 
Know "Ability & Opportunity are coordinate ideas" & "Rise to the Occasion"
by Warren Huff, originally in a Met posted in 2002

What occasions or opportunities are demanding your best in these coming days & holidays?
1. Hard assignments, unbelievable work load and killer deadlines?
2. Important tests or essays?
3. A big game, presentation or performance?
4. Group Leadership role(s)?
5. An important date or social event?
6. A sticky situation where taking a moral or ethical stand is needed?
7. A challenging relationship that keeps testing your patience, equanimity and integrity?

Whatever opportunities you face, you can meet them as their master by obeying this powerful two-word command.
"Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil."
Science & Health, 571:16

Your only job is to know yourself as God knows you — as an ever-perfect expression of "infinity, freedom, harmony and boundless bliss." (See S&H 481:3)  Totally accept and simply express each of these elements of your divine identity to eradicate their illegitimate opposites. Without a body-based sense of self, you will be open for God to eliminate from your experience: all of matter's debilitating drag of limited energy, funds, intelligence, speed, inspiration; all its sapping slavery of restrictions (injuries, red tape tie-ups); all its regular rub of inharmonious relationships and its constant cloud of frustration and unhappiness. All gone! Never part of you or of those you love.

This week, "your assignment, should you choose to accept it," will be to simply do your part, know yourself spiritually, and watch God do Her part, to supply you with all the wisdom and occasions where victories are wanted. You may also enjoy highlighting in each lesson all of God's jobs in one color and all of yours in another like a friend Christine Irby Williams does.

Another friend shed new light on our focus passage (S&H 571:16) with this one-line insight:
"ABILITY (the wisdom) and OPPORTUNITY (the occasion) are coordinate ideas."

By accepting this divine law and knowing yourself spiritually, you will never have ability without being given opportunity to express it. (No unneeded bench-sitting!)  And, you'll also never be given opportunities (like the 7 listed above) without having the God-given abilities to rise to the occasion!  Enjoy your week of divinely unlimited ability and opportunity!]


The 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. However, 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.  Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/ for more about how you can provide even monthly support online.  Or you can always call the Huffs at 636-394-6162 get information or discuss privately how to transfer securities or other assets to help support and perpetuate CedarS work.]


 [You can also reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by
PHONE at 636-394-6162
or MAIL your tax-deductible support to our 501C3 organization
(Our not-for-profit, Federal Identification Number is #440-66-3883):

The CedarS Camps, Inc. 
1314 Parkview Valley Drive
Ballwin, MO 63011

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

[LETTING 3 SPECIAL NEEDS BE KNOWNSignificant funding is still needed soon for these special opportunities:
1. Over 100 needed items are featured on CedarS Giving Tree that could fit the budget of every grateful Met-recipient and camper. You can choose for yourself $1-and-up ways to give to support CedarS needs.  Click here to see 2 young alumni tell their reasons to give.

2. "Maintenance Musts" Matching Opportunity!  Generous donors who are aware of the ongoing maintenance need to have CedarS facilities measure up to its mission will MATCH donations for “Maintenance Musts” given by year-end! ($3.9k needed to reach $25k goal)

“Adopt the Herd” Matching Opportunity! Generous donors, aware of the ongoing need to care for CedarS herd, will match donations for our horse program! ($41.9k needed to reach $50k goal)]


[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 Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/ ]

[Additional Director's Note: You can sign up to have these application ideas emailed to you free – by Monday each week in English; or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION: in German, thanks to Manfred and Jeanette; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio, or in Portuguese, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil.  A voluntary French translation by Rodger Glokpor, a Christian Scientist from Togo (West Africa) has been contributed in the past.  Thank you, Rodger and all translators! Go to http://www.cedarscamps.org/and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for a free translation into these languages.  This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 14-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in emails to follow.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "Mets "and Sunday School ideas are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way serve as a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and in a variety of useful formats as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-26) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-32). The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist.  The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one.  We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.]

 

 

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