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TMC Youth published my answer to this question.

Click on the title below to read it:

How can I heal a chronic issue once and for all?

Giving up lent for lent

Most of Christendom sets aside 40 days for “penitence, reflection and fasting” with a focus on Jesus’ sacrifice and suffering. Many believe this should be a time to be somber, melancholy and maybe a bit guilt-ridden because Jesus suffered so much for us. This is considered a proper preparation time for Easter—to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This is quite a contrast to my understanding of Christian Science. Lent is a post-Biblical concept. The word or tradition does not appear anywhere in the New Testament. And while redemption, prayer and devotion to God are all vital to our spiritual progress, I have found nothing in the New Testament that tells us we should feel sad or guilty about what Jesus endured.

I would rather rejoice and express gratitude for what our Master did and then strive to follow his example every day. Have you ever noticed how many Christians seem to dwell far more on Jesus’ suffering instead of on his resurrection? In fact, most movies about Jesus tend to stop at the point where he dies on the cross and at best only give a passing nod to the resurrection.

Once again Christian Science takes us in a different direction. Rather than ritualizing the Last Supper, it asks us to remember a different meal. Mary Baker Eddy who discovered Christian Science wrote this:

What a contrast between our Lord’s last supper and his last spiritual breakfast with his disciples in the bright morning hours at the joyful meeting on the shore of the Galilean Sea!

­This spiritual meeting with our Lord in the dawn of a new light is the morning meal which Christian Scientists commemorate. They bow before Christ, Truth, to receive more of his reappearing and silently to commune with the divine Principle, Love.

This is not just about participating in a church ritual. It also applies to how we solve our personal problems.

Do we tend to focus too much on our own “Last Suppers” and “crucifixions”? Are we dwelling too much on how dark and gloomy our own lives are and how much suffering we have to endure? Some believe that the way to get from point A to point B is to concentrate only on point A and all its problems. Christian Science teaches us to look at where we are headed—point B—and declare God’s perfect guidance for us right now, despite how bad it looks. In fact, I’m convinced Christ Jesus healed this way!

This is not mere positive thinking or ignoring the problem. It is a full trust and understanding of God as the source of all good and how His unconditional love for us brings healing and regeneration.

Yes, much has to be sacrificed for us to grow spiritually, but once you realize how much you gain from God, you cease to see sacrifices and instead see only blessings. When that happens, healing takes place—the understanding of divine Love that changes and transforms our lives in practical ways.

So at this season and throughout the year, let’s spend our time remembering how our Master triumphed over death and joyfully anticipate our own resurrections from worldliness to Godliness!

new podcast

Click on the title below to listen:

You deserve to be healed

For the first week, you don’t have to subscribe to JSH online.  Just use this URL:

http://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/20mlxlom83e?s=e

(After that I’m happy to email a copy.  Just let me know.)

I often hear the word “personal” used in various ways—both negative and positive. Some use the term in the effort to be more socially friendly. Others use it to describe ego and pride at work. Actually, some think “being personal” at any level is all about ego and pride. I don’t think it’s all that black and white.

For me, though, there’s another broader aspect to this whole personal/impersonal thing that has a far deeper impact on our spiritual growth.

It all comes down to giving God the ultimate credit for everything we do and not trying to possess His truth for ourselves. This is a choice we face every day. One way glorifies God. The other becomes personal.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean:

  • Sometimes friends, patients and/or pupils call me to ask if they can use something I said or wrote and then ask if they should give me the credit for using it. Confidentiality or legalities not withstanding, I tell them “Sure! Go ahead and use it and be sure NOT to give me the attribution. Make it your own!”
  • In my practice there are times when I see, through prayer, a particular truth that is needed for the person’s healing. In several cases I really hammered these specific truths over and over again. Eventually the patient got it, but they had no recollection that I had said it. Annoying? Hardly! That’s because the truth came from God directly to them. That’s what I was praying for!
  • There have been some times in my prayers for myself when I’ve been led to read something that I had written. (I know this has happened with several of my colleague authors too.) In each case it was as if I didn’t write the words at all. In a way, it was “personal” after all because it was His Truth speaking directly to me, His child.

In each of these examples it is about acknowledging God as the one and only creator, Mind, intelligence and wisdom, the source for every inspiration that appears to be mine. If I don’t give God the credit for it all, then I am guilty of personally thinking something comes from me rather than God. And that comes at the expense of my continued spiritual growth and progress.

Religious people may give lip service to giving God the credit. They may protest that they just inadvertently forget to mention Him. But it’s hard to hide a life that points inward to self-accomplishment rather than upward to a divine acknowledgement. This is where the “impersonal” or God-glorification comes in.

Is this a big deal?

Well, let me put it this way. Christian Science in the 21st century will rise or fall based on its efficacy in public healing. That which detracts or opposes this healing goal will subtly suggest person over message, human counsel above prayerful guidance and charisma instead of divine Love’s touch.

In this way, being impersonal is an effort to reject the false influence of personality and only accept the omnipotence of divine Mind. It is the only real power you know, and therefore, the only healer!

I know, it’s a strange concept. Who would ever want a disease—physical or mental? And yet, diseases do take on more of an appeal than you might think. Here are some examples:

  • Sometimes having a certain disease can represent a kind of social connection. It’s like you’ve joined a club—gaining friends with the same challenges in life. Even while suffering, some find comfort in endlessly sharing the details of their diseases with others.
  • I’ve known of those who come to feel that a disease gives them a break from work and other responsibilities. It can feel like a badge of honor that seeks to gather sympathy and attention from others. It can even become an excuse for self-pity, selfishness, or self-indulgence.
  • And then there are cases, where some are relieved to discover that the disease they have is less serious than the one they thought they had. And so, they are grateful for a lesser diagnosis even if the prognosis is for life.

Giving into any of these temptations results in a kind of mental enslavement to the disease. And for that reason we need to be fully alert and watchful.

Christian Science enables us to stand up to disease and reject its so-called allure. It gives us the only real comfort there is—God’s everlasting, tender love.

The discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes about this:

The press unwittingly sends forth many sorrows and diseases among the human family. It does this by giving names to diseases and by printing long descriptions which mirror images of disease distinctly in thought. A new name for an ailment affects people like a Parisian name for a novel garment. Every one hastens to get it.

Later on she says:

Instead of blind and calm submission to the incipient or advanced stages of disease, rise in rebellion against them. Banish the belief that you can possibly entertain a single intruding pain which cannot be ruled out by the might of Mind, and in this way you can prevent the development of pain in the body. No law of God hinders this result.

Let’s be sure you don’t become snared by the influence of this allure!

So when others tell you about their symptoms and how common they are, don’t just nod your head in agreement. Challenge this within your own thought. Begin praying before you respond. And then help them!

If you begin to show signs or symptoms of a disease, declare that it cannot attach itself to you in anyway. And that you are exempt from it because God made you so. The symptom is not yours. You belong to God, not your problems!

Some seasonal or contagious diseases come with a kind of bodily itinerary—a course to run. Make sure you’re challenging this. The only itinerary you should ever tolerate is a trip to your mental trashcan. And be sure you keep putting each belief in it!

Disease is never something to endure, an unavoidable hassle of life or a socially-shared event. God has given you freedom from it in all situations and under all conditions. And you can begin to overcome its purported influence by listening to the right voice—His divine voice—lifting you, purifying you, healing you.

Keep shining!

Have you ever thought of the nativity in a larger context than the birth of a special baby on a dark night two thousand years ago?  In addition to the traditional Christmas story, I like to think of it as the light of the eternal Christ shining to the receptive thought.  Herod’s attempt to kill the babe could be characterized by the materialism and atheism of today.  The Shepherds and Wisemen could be seen as those who are quietly watching, praying and willing to follow a diviner path in their life.

I’m not the first one to think of this.  It seems to me that Mary Baker Eddy presents this in the first paragraph of her book, Science and Health.

To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings. The wakeful shepherd beholds the first faint morning beams, ere cometh the full radiance of a risen day. So shone the pale star to the prophet-shepherds; yet it traversed the night, and came where, in cradled obscurity, lay the Bethlehem babe, the human herald of Christ, Truth, who would make plain to benighted understanding the way of salvation through Christ Jesus, till across a night of error should dawn the morning beams and shine the guiding star of being. The Wisemen were led to behold and to follow this daystar of divine Science, lighting the way to eternal harmony.

None of us can ever take the place of Christ Jesus.  He stands alone as the one and only Christ.  However, to those of us who are working to watch, pray and follow him, we have the opportunity to shine that same Christly light to the world around us.

While those receptive to this light will embrace it, not everyone is attracted to it.  Just like in Jesus’ day there are those who are so entrenched in materialism that they actively oppose your efforts to shine.  And there are those who are so used to the darkness of worldly thinking that the light of Christ is painful to them, and they turn away from it.

When this happens it has helped me to remember those who have gone before me like the apostle Paul, the disciple Peter and the founder of Christian Science Mary Baker Eddy.  Instead of becoming discouraged they continued to shine their light, choosing to focus on those with receptive hearts and not give up on those who reject it.

In the same book as above, Eddy wrote:  “If your endeavors are beset by fearful odds, and you receive no present reward, go not back to error, nor become a sluggard in the race.  When the smoke of battle clears away, you will discern the good you have done, and receive according to your deserving.”

Sometimes the smoke doesn’t clear away for a while!  It may take time for others to digest what you say and consider it.  In some situations my words have been ignored or rejected and I later found out they had a real significant impact for good.

So if you get discouraged in your efforts to heal, it’s good to remember that we often have no idea how much good we are doing and how many people out there are basking in the Christ light you shined on them.  What better reason is there to keep shining?!

Many years ago when I took my first, high-profile, official job with church headquarters, my father-in-law (also a Christian Science practitioner and teacher) gave me one piece of advice.  He said:  “Strive to be God-pleasing more than people-pleasing.”

He knew at that point in my life, that I was hoping (more than I should) to prove myself to those around me.  Their opinions mattered to me and I wanted to fit in and be accepted by them.

It wasn’t something I changed overnight, but I learned great lessons.  I pondered Jesus’ demand that we give greater importance to following God over friends and family.  And quotes like this from Mary Baker Eddy:  “In a world of sin and sensuality hastening to a greater development of power, it is wise earnestly to consider whether it is the human mind or the divine Mind which is influencing one.”

The desire to fit in probably applies to us more than we realize.  Few of us don’t have a desire to fit in with our family, friends and colleagues.  And we have to watch that others’ opinions don’t matter more than God’s direction in our life.

The world around us is always attempting to influence us erroneously.  And I have found that it comes at the expense of spiritual growth and demonstration.

And here are just a couple of examples of how this happens:

  • Social occasions where everyone is drinking.
  • Group sessions for pregnancy and parenting that include psychological counseling and therapy.
  • Sports events where beer drinking and profanity pervade the entire atmosphere.
  • Movies and TV shows that glamourize lewd and immoral behavior.
  • “Water cooler” conversations at work with everyone laughing at jokes that are sexist, sexual, racial or profane.
  • Dinner conversations where age issues, physical ailments or diseases are endlessly rehashed.

If you are faced with this kind of social pressure, it might be helpful to remember this fact:

You can’t change the world around you by blending in with it!  In other words, the only way to effectively help and heal is to stand out from others!

Some may object and say, “It takes too much courage to stand out.  It’s just easier to fit in.”  Others might say “You’re asking me to lose the respect of my friends and colleagues.”

Well, it is true that standing out will change your life style and may even affect your friendships.  But think about it.  Being a real friend is not just about receiving from them.  It is giving to them!  And the best means of giving to them is from the dominion of your own spirituality.  And that can’t happen if you are giving in to their way of living.

By putting God first, you realize that He is the most important relationship in your life and that makes Him responsible for every other relationship in your life!  And that results in better friendships!

The fact is, fitting into the world separates you from God.  Standing out from it and standing with God gives you dominion over it.  And that will never leave you alone because others will so desperately need what you will be sharing!

 

 

 

 

 

Many Christian Scientists are familiar with this citation:

The mortal mind through which Truth appears most vividly is that one which has lost much materiality — much error — in order to become a better transparency for Truth.  (S&H page 295)

I’ve always loved this statement.  The Bible literally begins its first chapter with a declaration that each of us reflect God as His image and likeness.  In other words, we take the light God gives us.

This is a foundational point in Christian Science.  We are His children, not created in sin, not throw-a-ways, not flawed or broken, but loved by Him for who we really are!

For these reasons, though, I’ve also seen how important it is to know I’m a one-way transparency.  What I mean is that I’m not here to take what the world shows me and reflect that!  I’m here to only take what God gives me to share that with others.

Worldliness or what the Apostle Paul called, the carnal mind, seems to be a light shining to us.  But it’s not really light.  It is darkness masquerading as light.

This darkness is the craving for position, money, sensuality, possessions and power over others.  Many crave it.  Being completely honest, who of us have not been tempted by at least some of these?  Or, don’t some of us feel oppressed by those who have fulfilled their worldly desires?

Spirituality is not just attained by the effort to be more holy, or closer to God.  It also has to be accompanied by turning away from the allure and oppression of this world and its materiality–a world that has a greater influence on us than we realize.

In a season that is known for the Christ light of unselfed giving and loving, let’s make sure we know which light we are reflecting—which light is shining through us.

There are lots of Christmas lights right now, but I like to think of that one star’s light shining above Bethlehem.  It tells me that there is only one light I can look to—only one light I can let through me.  And it is the only light that will free me from the influence of this world and enable me to do God’s will.  It is the only light I can give to others that will truly lift up their lives, bring real progress and actual healing to them.

(adapted from a blog originally posted November 2013)

It’s a simple concept—thanking and glorifying God.

At the end of the Lord’s prayer, Christ Jesus tells us we should acknowledge that the kingdom, the power and even the glory is God’s.  Quoting the Apostle Paul, the Church Manual, regarding testimonies in churches, says they should be for “glorifying God in your body, and in your spirit…”  Mary Baker Eddy called this the “pinnacle of praise.”

But are we really doing this?  Is our gratitude primarily to God or to people or circumstances?  Is our motive in prayer and for healing to actually glorify Him?  During this week of Thanksgiving–a time which has been increasingly secularized–I’ve been really pondering this topic.  And I have to say that all of us, me included, can do a better job of thanking and glorifying God.

Don’t we all too often think about our own needs or the needs of others we are praying for?  It’s understandable that when you’re unhappy or suffering, you just want it to all go away.  Some even work for their own spiritual growth so they can be healthy, wealthy and happy in life.  They might even think of Christian Science as a “self-help religion.”

However, Christian Science was never designed to be a self-centered religion.  It is God-centered.  It was never intended to be used like a pill—to simply get relief, calm or enlightenment.  Other religions and philosophies may do this, but not Christian Science.

God is not only essential to healing in Christian Science, but to really be effective, glorifying, praising and understanding Him has to be something we put first not last on the priority list.

Think about this the next time you’re praying for yourself or someone else.  Think about this the next time you’re reading in church, serving in the Reading Room, Sunday School or testifying in church.  Ask yourself:  Is God front and center in my thought and remarks, or is He a footnote or left out entirely?

Actually, when I first pondered this, I was amazed to discover how often God was minimized or just forgotten.  By our constant heartfelt praise to God–giving Him the glory–we will strengthen our own efficacy as a healer, as well as reminding others where healing actually comes from!

When I was working for several years at the healing practice, I was deep into Bible study–writing manuscripts for teaching children and studying various commentaries and translations on the Bible.  One Sunday I brought many of my books into Sunday School.  Laying them all out on the table in front of my middle school class I carefully explained the benefit of each book.  And then I asked, “Which one do you like the best?”

Without much hesitation, one rather quiet student reached past all the books I’d placed on the table and held up the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health.

I sat there a bit stunned.  I realized this student had just taught me an important lesson.

Then I remembered the full title of our textbook – “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.”  And that morning it was like the title had become “Science and Health THE Key to the Scriptures” – the most important book on the Bible I could ever study!

I recalled the many Bible lessons I had gained from its study.  Instead of scholastic facts, intellectual ponderings, dates and timelines, these were lessons related specifically to the practice of Christian Science.  Here are just a few:

  • The connection between Jesus’ resurrection and ours. (Page 34)
  • What Jacob was really wrestling when the angel showed up.  (Page 308)
  • The full impact of obedience to Moses’ first commandment. (Page 340)
  • The real meaning behind the story of the prostitute washing Jesus’ feet. (Page 364)
  • The purpose behind the two creation stories in Genesis. (Page 501)

I continue to value various resources in my Bible study today.  But ultimately, only a study of Science and Health will reveal the science of the Bible that teaches us to become more effective and consistent healers.  The author, Mary Baker Eddy, referred to it as the “final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing.”  It makes sense to me that a “final revelation” would also have to be the best education when it comes to theology, metaphysics and the Bible.

I don’t remember the name of that Sunday School child many years ago, but I’m so grateful to him for reminding me how my textbook in Christian Science should always be my first commentary, translation and resource for the Bible.

 

Life is worth living

This daily lift was just broadcast today.

Life is worth living

Do you recall the time when Christ Jesus overthrew the money changers’ tables?  Currency exchanging was required in order to purchase an animal to be sacrificed.  In my estimation it was in essence a money-making scheme by the temple Rabbis’.  They got a cut from the exchange process.

For me, though, the real meaning of this event is how Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, applied this to today’s churches.  She wrote:  “As in Jesus’ time, so to-day, tyranny and pride need to be whipped out of the temple, and humility and divine Science to be welcomed in. The strong cords of scientific demonstration, as twisted and wielded by Jesus, are still needed to purge the temples of their vain traffic in worldly worship and to make them meet dwelling-places for the Most High.”

This has been extremely helpful to me in church matters, especially where the “vain traffic” of discord and secularism seem prevalent.  Eddy identifies “tyranny and pride” as the two beliefs that have to be whipped out of the church. When human ego gets involved it often includes efforts to strong arm, to manipulate or to politically lobby others.  And this needs to be purified out of ourselves as well as others!

Next, we need to welcome in “humility and divine Science.”  Real humility means honestly seeking out God’s will, not our own.  And we have to be sure that we are representing actual Christian Science instead of our own traditional and cultural views about it.

But I think the real force in the above statement is the whip.  Mrs. Eddy calls it “scientific demonstration.”  In other words, healing is what purges the temple.

Back in Jesus’ time, Pharisees were the leading opposition to the Christ.  They were steeped in tradition and ritual, while being content with the mere appearance of spirituality.  In other words, they were hypocrites.

Of course, this isn’t about specific church members; none of us are Pharisees.  It is an impersonal belief that tries to carry each of us away from being the Christian disciple we should be.  So let’s be alert to any pharisaical mentality that emphasizes some “church issue” while forgetting and neglecting the most important factor—healing.

And just like 2000 years ago, our increased efforts to heal will bring out more opposition from the carnal mind, but continued healing will also nullify that opposition, bless the receptive thought and strengthen our church as nothing else can.

Ask the right question!

  • How do I get rid of this physical problem?
  • How do I find a wife or husband?
  • How do I get a better job?
  • How do I best serve my church?

These are questions I hear all the time.  But maybe there’s a deeper question to ask.

There is a commonality in all these questions.  And it’s all about God and you.  Jesus’ two greatest commandments were in essence: to love God and to love others.  And the greatest expression of love for others is to bless and heal them.

We sometimes forget these commandments in the face of the daily issues we encounter.  However, they are fundamental to each issue!

Christian Science discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy, once sent a letter to a devoted follower asking him to “have no other ambition or aim” than healing.  In that letter she called being a healer “the highest position attainable.”  In her published writings she said that “nothing can substitute this demonstration.”

In my experience, the motive to heal is getting at the heart of each question.  And boiling it all down to that one motive has had an undeniable impact for good for me and others!

For instance, instead of asking those initial questions, you might try questions like these:

  • Am I just trying to fix a body or am I really striving to be a better healer?
  • Am I just hoping somebody will love me, or am I trusting God with my life while unselfishly working to bring healing to others?
  • Am I just looking for a job or is the real work about becoming a better healer?
  • Am I just doing “church work,” or am I praying to see each activity in my church as an opportunity to heal publicly?

The key here is being honest with your own answers. That means being really humble and receptive to God.

It can make all the difference between a life of repeated failures to a life that progressively leads upward and outward.

 

Touching the coffin

This week many Christian Scientists have been focusing on Jesus’ raising from the dead of the widow’s son in the village of Nain.  (Luke chapter 7)  When Jesus walked into this village the first thing he saw was a funeral procession.  He first had compassion on the widow, who not only lost her husband but her only son.  Next, Jesus tenderly told her not to cry.  He then went up to the coffin, touched it and they all stood still.

I’ve often thought about his touching the coffin.  Under Jewish rabbinical law, any contact with the dead would make a person “unclean.”  Such a person would not be fit to be in the presence of other Jews.  Jesus would have been well aware of this law, but deliberately broke it that day.

The effect was immediate.  The funeral procession stopped.  Christ Jesus interrupted this solemn tradition and startled them.  To me Jesus was really breaking the mesmeric procession of mortal thinking.  It’s interesting that right after this he raised the son and the whole village acknowledged his healing.

Mortal thought is mesmeric.  It gets us to dwell on sickness and death and this becomes a kind of mental procession.

How do we stop it and break the mesmerism?  We do it by touching the coffins of today.  In other words, breaking the entrenched material laws around us.

We are not here to just go with the flow when it comes to life.  We have to lift it up.  For instance, if world thought says you have a sickness, it might further suggest that it could lead to something more serious or cause other problems.  If we follow this mental procession it will always be a depressing downward path filled with fear and worry.  This process is, by its very nature, disease inducing!

The need is to stop that whole thought process.  Knowing, as Jesus did, that God is the only Cause and power governing us, this should startle us to stop trying to “suit the general drift of thought.”  (Science and Health page x)

Jesus taught us that the worship of God is all about standing out from the crowd.  In a way, you could say that any real healing in Christian Science first involves breaking a mortal mesmeric thought.

So, let’s be willing to touch that coffin—to startle mortal mind in ourselves and others and reverse that worldly influence.  It may be the only way that leads to the next step—healing.

Free of the past!

This 2 minute message I recorded was just recently published:

Free of the past!

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