Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reflections on Light

Fall leaves flutter about in cool breeze,
Care-free birds dart in and out of hedges,
A neighbor mows his lawn in the distance,
Probably for the last time this year,
The lady across the street gathers
A last bouquet of  beautiful roses.
Of all the autumn delights that confront me
As I sit here on stone garden bench,
It's setting-sun rays that get me most --
Light shines on forest floor,
Light plays on trunks of trees,
Light glints off rusting-wire fence
A farmer put up long before we moved in.

But there's a thought much higher
Than enchanting light of earth --
It's something Christ Jesus once said:
"I am the light of the world:  he that
Followeth after me shall not walk in darkness,
But shall have the light of life."
               (John 8:12)

The beauty of this light
Can never fade to black.
It's presence and its power
Followers of His can never lack.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Eternal Now

                              "God's being is infinity, freedom,

                                harmony, and boundless bliss"*

                                a book points out.

                                And so is that

                                       of His reflection,


                                           You and me.


                  *Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
                                by Mary Baker Eddy
                                     (page 481)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dear servants of Jesus Christ

Dear servants of Jesus Christ,

You do well to remember this:

Tough times are going to come

To all who carry His banner.

Opposition to your endeavors

May nearly overwhelm,

Discouragement may drop

Like a concrete block.

But this is a fact sacrosanct --

Our Master's ministering angels,

Of which there are legion,

Hover about us day and night

And outnumber far and far outdo

Whatever the devil's helpers try to do.

Christ will always be victorious.

You and I can count on this.

More, Christ-following empowers.

Life becomes simpler, happier,

Much more blessedly free

Of those things that clog our path,

Just the way our heavenly Father

Wants it to  be.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Two Poems by John Robert Howell

(John is my husband, and though his Bible website, biblenoteskjvcs, is under John R. Howell, he publishes his other writing under his full name)

                                             What is healing like?

What is healing like?

Not one exactly mirrors any other.

It may be the overspreading of a sense of Love,

A sudden, unexpected emergence into light,

The illumination of a long-obscure passage,

The appearance of a star to guide our weary way.

Or from some bed of pain and fear

We might see a numinous mountain stream,

Turn over an intriguing stone or two

In its clear, invigorating waters,

And find before us a polished agate.

                                                     Head and Heart

                                When head and heart do not agree,
                                          You're flying on one wing.
                                Cold doctrine isn't the only plea.
                                          Love has a warmer ring.

                               Exacting truths, unblessed by Love
                                        Chill when they should chafe.
                              The letter mildly urged by shove
                                       Still lacks the Spirit's grace.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Preventing ill health

No one need feel helpless when symptoms of disease appear, just doing nothing while they develop into bodily discomfort or incapacity.  Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, points out something we can do to maintain sound health.  She writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:  "Stand porter at the door of thought.  Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.  When the condition is present which you say induces disease, whether it  be air, exercise, heredity, contagion, or accident, then perform your office as porter and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears.  Exclude from mortal mind the offending errors; then the body cannot suffer from them."  (page 392)

Christian Science, in accord with the Bible, teaches that God is the only genuine casue, the sole creator of the universe, including man, and that the true nature of creation is spiritual, wholly good, expressing God's nature.  From the standpoint of absolue truth, all cause and effect are spiritual, and all is the perfect handiwork of God, divine Spirit.

Christ Jesus emphasized the effect of what we entertain in thought.  He said: "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man..."Those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart."  (Matthew 15:11, 18)

When one learns that thought affects every aspect of his life, he sees the necessity of replacing fearful, sickly thoughts with spiritual truths that uplift, transform, and keep one whole.  He sees the importance of conforming to the Christly standard Jesus established for all mankind.  No matter what others may be falsely believing about sickness and disease, we don't  have to abjectly surrender our peace and harmony.  We can instead exercise our God-given power over suffering.

Because you and I are actually the reflection of infinite, harmonious Spirit, and we include only those qualities Spirit imparts--peace, joy, health, dominion--the suffering and fear that may seem so real have no genuine power over us.  They are misconceptions, false beliefs, not actual, God-created conditions.  And being misconceptions, they can be corrected with the truth of man's inseparable relationship to God, of his uninterrupted well-being as God's reflection.  This truth heals.

Mrs. Eddy writes in the book I referred to above:  "Instruct the sick that they are not helpless victims, for if they will only accept Truth, they can resist disease and ward it off, as positively as they can the temptation to sin."  She continues further along:  "The fact that Truth overcomes both disease and sin reassures depressed hope.  It imparts a healthy stimulus to the body, and regulates the system.  It increases or diminishes the action, as the case may require, better than any drug, alterative, or tonic."  (page 420)

Thousand of people today are experiencing regeneration and the healing power of Truth, of almighty God.  They are successfully warding off pain and disability--proving them to be untrue.  Empowered with the Christly understanding of Truth, any one can demonstrate the fact that ill health can be prevented.

 Keeping thoughts of disease out of our thinking can not only ward off ill health;  whenwhat we may have been suffering from leaves our consciousness, we experience the wonderful freedom of divine healing.

My mother found this out when she was new student of Christian Science.  She had been a Methodist, an ardent church worker, one who was seeking a better understanding of God.  But she was saddled with several physical problems, which a kind neighbor had noticed as she tried to care for my brother and me, only 3 and 4 years old.  One day this lady brought Science and Health to her, and said that many people were being healed by just reading and pondering the statements of truth in the book.  Well, mother started reading and wasn't all the way through when a condition kind doctors had tried for years to alleviate just disappeared.  Her joy was unbounded, as you can imagine.

But the healing I'm writing about concerned a troubling skin condition that made everyday activities, especially housework, a trial.  It had been with her since teenage years.  She attended a Christian Science lecture where the speaker made clear that disease was only a mental phenomenon, that God had never man it, that it was therefore unreal, powerless.  So illumined was mother's thinking, as she walked back down the aisle of that church after the talk, the clarity of what the lecturer has said caused her to exclaim to herself:  why, I don't have to suffer with this a moment longer!  God didn't make this disease.  It has never been real, never been a part of me."

She told me later that the skin condition started clearing up right then, and within a few days, there was no evidence of it at all.  And she added, "I could feel to some extent what those lepers must have felt that were healed by Jesus."

Yes, indeed, when thoughts of ill health are replaced with God's healing truths, one cannot help but experience Christ-healing.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Poem - (Betty Gillingham)

(Betty is a longtime friend, a Journal listed Christian Science practitioner, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee)

A Cure for the Blues

Nothing cures depression
I have found
like thanking God
for everything around.

When news or who-knows-what
begins to get me down,
I thank Him and my joy
starts to rebound.

And before I know it,
by expressing gratitude,
I find very soon
a whole new attitude.

Giving way to thanks giving
makes the day much brighter;
it lifts mental darkness,
makes the step much lighter.

And more -- doing this
is infectious I have found.
It can  help get someone
else's chin up off the ground.

No wonder Jesus commended
the leper -- that only one
who came back to give God credit
for all that He had done.

So, whenever I'm tempted
to feel a trifle blue,
I'll thank our loving Father,
which is only His due.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

From a former US Marine

(This is an excerpt from Frank L. Pryor's book, "WW11 Remembrances - 2009.  Frank is a close friend of my family's and was on Iwo Jima when that world-famous flag was raised.  He lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee)

While I as serving with the armed forces I endeavored daily to study the Lesson-Sermon in the Christian Science Quarterly, as well as to read as much as I could from the Christian Science periodicals for which I subscribed.  That subscription gave me the joy of receiving mail from my homeland, which was comforting and helping.  It was my privilege to help conduct informal Christian Science church services in our camp in Hawaii for about ten months.

I attribute the wonderful way in which I was protected in combat to my study of and diligent devotion to the teachings of Christian Science and the prayers of relatives and friends.  On the second day of the battle of Iwo Jima, as the DUKW, a land and water vehicle, on which I was riding reached the shore it overturned in the rough water.  While I was under the water "the scientific statement of being" (Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy, p. 468) came to my thought.  I was not afraid, because I had been thinking of God's protecting power.  The huge wave partially righted the vehicle while I was between it and the beach.  The next wave smashed the DUKW against the shore right where I had been;  two buddies had lifted me out of way just in time.

All during the twenty-three days in which I fought with the United States Marines to take the island I continued to work metaphysically, as we are taught in Christian Science, both for my artillery section and myself, and none of us was injured.  The 91st Psalm was a constant comfort to me during that experience.  I am grateful for the many ways in which I was protected and blessed during the nearly two years I was in the South Pacific theater of war.

For the many blessings our family has received since we began the study of Christian Science, I am truly grateful.

Guest Bible Scholar - John R. Howell

(John is my husband and we live in Farragut, TN - USA with our 2 dogs, 2 cats, enumerable wild birds, and assorted woodland creatures)

"Cast out demons" (Matthew 10:8, ASB)

My last entry concluded with a brief riff on the words surrounding the cross and crown seal which graces the cover of all the writings of Mary Baker Eddy and their concordances.  The familiarity of lifelong Christian Scientists with this seal has certainly not bred contempt, but I wonder if Scientists really strive to fully understand and live its message.  It is also significant that Mrs. Eddy chose the wording of the American Standard Bible for these words from Matthew 10:8 though they only differ in one word from the KJV, the word "demons" for the KJV's "devils".

Why would Mrs. Eddy make this change if it were not significant?  The word "demon" does not occur anywhere in the KJV, so the Greek terms "damonizomai" (verb) and "daimonion" (noun) are translated the same as "diabolos", i.e. as "devil" or "devils".  According to Strong's the former means "to be demon possessed" and the latter "demon, (pagan) god".  When the Greek is "diabolos" (devil, Satan), such as in Matthew 4:1-11, the KJV properly reads "devil", but in verses such as Mark 16:17 in the "Probation After Death" lesson, the term should be "demon".  This discussion may seem like the runaway woolgathering of someone with a whole shelf of translations and no good games or movies on the telly, but there is an important point here.  It was certainly meaningful enough that Mrs. Eddy did not use the KJV rendering of "devils".

The underlying point of this distinction seems to be that there are false beliefs, unrealities, to be destroyed and those to be cast out, and we need to know which is which and what it means to cast out and what it means to destroy.  It might be a good idea for most of us to maintain in consciousness a bouncer who grabs all intruding evil thoughts b the scruff of their necks and throws them out--throws, not politely shows them the door.

Twice in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mary Baker Eddy quotes from 1 John 3:8:  "For this purose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."  The first time, page 5, she even italicizes the word "works".  My faint understanding of these commands is that false thoughts are demons which may result in the works of the devil.  One we destroy and the other we cast out, and rather than embarrass myself with more verbiage on the subject, I direct readers to the definitive work on this and a passel of other metaphysical subjects, "Science and Health."

Clarity of thought on this matter is doubtless essential if we are to avoid falling prey to some degree to either the devil, Satan, or to demons, however old fashioned such a notion may seem.  Dummelow has interesting notes on diabolical possession and Satan in his commentary on Matthew 4.  One sentence on Old Nick reads:  "He goes about the world like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and never ceases from his insidious attempts to detach mankind from their allegiance to their Creator."

The "Oxford Companion to the Bible" has  fairly thorough-thorough enough for me at any rate-discussion of "demons".  The Hebrew (OT) demon is quite woolly and not particularly relevant to the more unified Christian (NT) concept.  "Now demons are viewed as evil by nature, since they are obedient servants of Satan who is the ultimate adversary of God."  (Oxford Companion) Christ Jesus' authority to cast out demons was first demonstrated in Matthew 4:1-11, when he "overcame Satan's most persuasive offers...This victory qualified him to begin evicting demons from their human homes (Matt.4:24."

The "Oxford Companion to the Bible" continues later in the same article:  "Evil spirits continued to resist the power of the Holy Spirit, but faith continued to bring liberation.  As a result, a more or  less standard attitude toward demons emerged:  1.  Their primary activity lies in blinding and paralyzing human beings, who become captives of Satan.  2.  Demons are forces external to human beings, yet their power also depends on internal forces operating at subsconscious levels.  3.  This conjunction of demonic and human wills creates a captivity..."

Note to my readers

As this website reaches far and wide, with readers in distant lands, I am planning as of now to open it up to more guest authors and poets. Different guest authors have appeared over the past 4 years from time to time, but with a website up and running, why not let still more make use of it, is my thought. 

So many of my friends are not only wonderful thinkers and writers, but most important to me, have a deep love for God and for all that He is doing in their lives today.  And they have the ability to express their thoughts and experiences in a way that are sure to bring blessings to you.  Thank you for your faithfulness to this site, and the comments you share with me.

Have the loveliest day!

How will people know?

We may have love for Christ
in our inmost thoughts,
yearn to let this out,
feel sometimes we'd like to shout,
"I am His" --
but we keep it in.
How then will people know?
Shall we get a tee shirt
with JESUS blazoned on the front,
as I saw one day at the mall?
Shall we get a tatoo saying we do?
Shall we walk barefoot over hot coals
to prove our devotion?
Not for me the way to go,
nor I suspect for you.

There is no mystery
as to how we're to
let the world see
where our allegiance lies.
Our Master makes it clear
in these very words:
"By this shall all men know
that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one for another."

So, there it is.
Not always easy to do,
you say, and I agree.
Oh, how I do.
Nevertheless, can you recall
standing in desperate need of
Christly compassion yourself?
I can.  Many times.
Then how can you and I
withhold what so many
are hungering for,
though they may know it not.
They're God's children,
and respond to the same
saving Love that we do,
do they not?

To live and love as the most
loving man on earth did,
is the way to let our
light not be hid.
Those who need what God
alone can give
will feel the fire of our
desire to bless
and be attracted thereto,
bringing good to them and us,
and truly glorious,
honour to our beloved Lord.