Sunday, October 28, 2012

The wind is in His fists

This thought just came to me as I looked at the forecast for us in the eastern part of the USA.  It's from Proverbs 30:4 and the correct phrase goes like this..."he gathereth the wind in his fists."  This gave me comfort as even where we are in East Tennessee may well be affected by the winds from Hurricane Sandy, causing widespread damage and power outages.

I recalled one time when we lived in the Boston area when a terrific storm came up.  The windows were rattling unnervingly that night and the near-hurricane-force winds were wildly shipping the towering trees surrounding our house.  My husband was away on business, and I had never experienced wind so fierce.  "What am I going to do?" was my main thought.  "What if a tree crashes on our house?"  This was not thinking that was bringing me much calm.

So, I began praying in earnest as I had learned in Christian Science when other challenges threatened to overwhelm.  This description of wind from the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy came to thought.  "That which indicates the might of omnipotence and the movements of God's spiritual government, encompassing all things"  (p. 597).

It was so reassuring to realize that God was encompassing, surrounding all things, that all was under His powerful control.  The fear left.  I really felt God's presence, and it was wonderful.  The next morning revealed that there was no damage whatever in our yard or our neighbors' yards except for a few dead branches that had to be cleaned up later.

Many passages throughout the Bible reveal God as the ever-present, tender guardian of all.  And Jesus, who was ever conscious of God's unfailing care for His children, said, "He that sent me is with me:  the Father hath not left me alone" (John 8:29).  Nor does the Father ever leave you or me alone and unprotected.  The Father's comforting and potent love is always at hand anytime we need His incomparable help.

In truth, we are not helpless victims of violence from weather.  As the man of God's creating, each of us is governed by God, the divine Mind, the only real source of power and activity.  When we realize this fact with the conviction that comes of spiritual understanding--of having  felt His help before--we can come through fierce conditions without fear or harm.  "The history of Christianity furnishes sublime proofs of the supporting influence and protecting ower bestowed on man by His heavenly Father, omnipotent Mind, who gives man faith and understanding whereby to defend  himself, not only from temptation, but from bodily suffering" (Science and Health, p. 387).

We can be safe, whatever the wind may do.  When weather threatens our well-being, we can meet it through an understanding of our oneness with God.  As Paul wrote:  "I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"  (Romans 8:38,39).

A spiritual understanding of this is extremely practical, and it's accessible to anyone reading this right now.  You can begin now to discern and put into practice those spiritual truths of God and man that will enable you to pass through storms with calmness and confidence that your safety under God's government is sure.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Words that last

Most writers I suppose would like to think that their words will be, if not like those of Shakespeare, as least somewhat long-lasting.  But there are words that will be, that will be around as long as time is.

These words are those of Christ Jesus, who once said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."  And they have not, as Mary Baker Eddy says in one of her books.  They are as timely and potent and life-giving today as when they were first spoken.

Recently we saw a documentary about Mahatma Gandhi when someting the narrator said jumped out at me.  Gandhi, he said, would tell his fellow Hindus "unless you study reverentially all the teachings of Jesus, your life will be incomplete."  And he added, "Gandhi loved Jesus."

So powerful are our Master's teachings, I couldn't help thinking about the lives of those Indians who were transformed as something Jesus said took root in their thoughts and hearts.  This was the case with Felix Mendelssohn, composer of glorious music, who happened to pick up a New Testament one day and was forever changed by a statement of Christ's.  Although brought up as a Jew, Mendelssohn at once converted to Christianity.

My life would certainly be incomplete without God's Word.  More than this, life would lack joy and peace, and a sense of divine power with which to overcome difficulties that arise.  How have Jesus' words impacted my life for good, you may wonder?  How have these sublime saysings not had an influence for good.

I could fill a book with real-life examples, but let me give just this one.  I was working at an international daily newspaper.  My desk was right across from a woman who was a long-time employee in the newsroom.  In fact, she was secretary to the Editor and wielded a lot of clout.  For some reason, she took a dislike to me and over time, began to make my life miserable.  Things became so bad, I dreaded going to work each day.

Finally, I reached out to a friend who was experienced in helping people with their problems.  After a lengthy recital of the wrongs being done to me (I thought), I paused to hear this Christian Science practitioner and teacher ask, "Do you really want to be free?"  This was quite unexpected, but I said, "Of course I do."  "Then you will have to love this lady", my friend said.  "There is no other way."  Shocked was a mild word to describe what I was feeling.  Didn't you hear what I said? I wanted to say.  Clearly, I was in the right, and it was my co-worker who needed to change.

However, after I hung up the phone, what this woman said began to take hold.  It was plain that if I wanted to be obedient to Christ's commands, I would have to tackle this the right way.  To say that this seemed insurmountable was an understatement.  And I recall one afternoon while waiting for a commuter train out to the suburbs, I was walking up and down that platform in tears, so hard did it seem to get over my resentment of the fellow worker.  "I can't do this", I said to God.  "Ask me to love anyone but her."  Eventually, however, Christ got the victory, and by the time my co-worker retired, we were very good friends, someone I was going to miss a lot.

Our Master spoke words that will last.  And so will we -- eternally -- as we live by what He said.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guest Column - John Wellsman


With the reports of an earthquake occurring in Maine recently I was reminded of the following incident:

At 7:42 on Oct. l, 1987 my wife and I were just waking up on the 9th floor of the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, CA when the 5.9 magnitude "Whittier" earthquake hit.  We had just arrived the day before from the East Coast and this was our first full day in CA so at first we weren't quite sure what was happening.

The first quite human reaction was, "We've got to get out of here!"  That was followed quickly by the realization of where we were and that there was no real possibility of "getting out of there."  Humanly, as they say, we were "along for the ride."

As a lifelong student of Christian Science, the next thoughts were to turn to God as we had learned to do in any time of need.  With the passage of years, I cannot recall exactly my line of thought or what specific angel thoughts came to me.  However I do know my inital fears were almost immediately replaced with the sense of God's ever-present loving care and that we were entirely safe in that ever-presence.  Looking back on the expreience, II Kings 19:11 was and is certainly applicable, "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord.  And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and srong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:"

Although the trembling and shaking continued for what seemed to us a goodly length of time, there was no damage to the hotel, nothing fell from walls, no windows broken, no collapse of anything in the Disneyland park and no injuries in the immediate area.  It seems that there were on or two minor "aftershocks" but that was all.  We were of course extremely grateful for this evidence of God's loving care and protection.

Thus it was with some interest that I observed after breakfast that the courtyard of the hotel was crowded with people rushing towards the lobby and checkout area.  Everyone was carrying or dragging their luggage.  It looked almost like a grade B movie scene where people have thrown things into their suitcases and slammed the lids leaving various items of clothing hanging out the edges.  I actually saw a number of suitcases with clothing protruding.  Since the earthquake was obviously over, at first I could not understand what was the occasion of this obvious panic.

Suddenly it occurred to me that whenever anyone has an emergency encounter be it in an airplane, car, train or boat, when that situation is over and they are on the ground -- "terra firma" as it is cometimes called, many people will get down on their knees and actually kiss the ground in gratitude for their deliverance.  Why?  No matter what or where one is humanly, we have all been taught that the one thing that is safe and secure, that we can always count on, is the earth itself.   major earthquake (and if anyone questions whether the Whittier quake was "major" they need only Google "Whittier earthquake CA" to see accounts of the incident) quite literally shatters that notion and when one realizes the earth isn't as secure as they thought, it can cause extreme fear.  These people were thus in full panic mode, their preconceptions of safety utterly shattered.

My wife and I through our study of Christian Science had come to base our understanding of being on God.  We had come to see Him as the divine Principle of all real being.  Webster defines the word principle in part as : "ground or foundation."  We had come to acknowledge God as the real ground or foundation of our being.  This understanding could never be destroyed or taken from us. (Yes, I resisted the temptation to say this understanding could never be "shaken").  Thus we were able to accomplish the tasks we had come to California for and to thoroughly enjoy the remainder of our visit.  We are indeed graeful for the insights and understanding we have gained from the study of Christian Science.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Male Chauvinist Piglets

Was thinking about something today
I read in The New York Times,
written by Nicholas Kristoff
that has made me want
to have my say,
as to the atrocious way
in which too many women
in the this world of ours
are being dealt with.
Will not go there,
enough to raise one's hair.
But bear with me
while I comment on
Christian men who
should know better,
and this is treating women
with such disrespect as though
they're worse than second class.
(One can't help observing
 things when out and about.)
Do many women invite such?
They do.  It's true, they do --
But it's those who deserve better
I wish to help.
And if this poem affects
a few men out there
who may need to read this,
and encourages them to
stop and think, and ask,
would I like to be treated like this,
it has done what I intend it do.
The answer to these
unconsciounable wrongs
is not hid --
treat women as Jesus did.

With the Master's shining
example in plain view,
no professed follower can say,
I don't know what to do.

God's Overriding Will

In the Old Testament,*
Daniel says confidently,
that God's will prevails;
that nothing prevents Him
having what He wants done, done.
These words speak to me:
I for sure am one
so glad that this is so.
Many the times I think
I've made up my mind
to not do what I should,
depriving some of mankind
of some needed good
(at least a bit),
and lo and behold, I get
turned completely around,
and end up doing it!
Thinking I was doing right,
He intervened and put
that notion to flight.
Not being willful,
I just wasn't skillful
in seeing the whole picture.

When we pray, "Thy will be done",
and mean what we say,
it's good to know that
God always gets His way.
His will does trump ours,
and aren't we glad it does --
our Father who knows best,
our Father so glorious.

*Daniel 4:35

"...he doeth according to his will
in the army of heaven,
and among the inhabitants
of the earth:
and none can stay his hand
or say unto him,
What doest thou?"

Monday, October 8, 2012

What is God to me?

What is God to me?
I'm happy to have this blog
through which to say.

He is my:
Father,  Defender, Deliverer,
Instructor, Provider, Restorer of
peace and health, joy and rest,
Sender of mercies without end,
of all my friends the Best,
with me night and day,
in every conceivable way,
Maker of beauty that
takes my breath away,
an infallible Guide,
Who never turns aside
Who never lets me down,
Whose help is all around,
The Creator who loves
His creatures great and small,
Who never lets them fall
from His tender care,
My Mind and very being
without Whom I would  not be,
my heavenly, loving Parent
who loves me totally.
Do you wonder I feel so blessed?

Oh, I could go on and on,
but all this and more
is what makes my gratitude
to Him this morning soar.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Guest Poem - Raymond Sutherland

(Raymond is the author of "Life's Tapestry - A Selection of Original Poems", 2008 and he lives in Aberdeen, Scotland.  He has given me permission to use this poem on my blog, though he is not an adherent of my religion.)

A Strange Rededication

Daylight had begun to fade
And definition blurred a bit
But yet the day was far from done
An hour or so still left of it
It seemed that time unwound for me beneath that sky
He presence...God
The Reason Why

I saw them then...the "V" shaped geese
Live arrow-dots in silhouette
Drove...strove to reach the feeding grounds
Beyond the bay
And cotton clouds wisp-white against a darkening blue
Held me in sway
God's Holy Spirit, moved on me in some strange way
And in this vast cathedral I was stirred to pray

My witnesses were old stone dykes...some curious
What they thought of my antics...well...God only...
So there amongst the heather and the loch's green rim
A great place for reflection when the spirit's dim
I shouted..."Jesus Lives!...Lord...fill me to the brim!"
And dedicated even again
My life to Him

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Power of Jesus' Words

Someone has said, if you want
to feel a life-changing force,
put into practice what
Christ Jesus said to do.
This I have found to be true,
as, no doubt, have many of you.
These sayings, merely read,
are sublimely glorious.
But the power that comes to one,
when they are literally done!
Not that our Master's commands
are always easy to do,
as no one knows probably
better than I and you,
who may have walked the floor,
even shed a tear or two, thinking
"I want to obey what Jesus taught,
but this thing I just cannot do."
Yet, keeping on in the fight,
realizing if we put things off,
we'd delay with God being right;
we persevered and won our way.

Our Master's words --
we cannot go higher,
possessed as they are
of heavenly fire.

As encouragement to one
who is to Christ brand new
let me say this to you:
begin living as a child of God ought,
actually doing what Jesus taught,
and you will see your life
transformed in ways you
can at this point not see.
Such is the power that comes
from taking Jesus seriously.