Sunday, July 27, 2014

Notes on Romans 12:1,2

                                                             John Robert Howell

        This Bible passage reads in part (King James Version):  " not conformed to this world:  but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."

        J. B. Phillips has what seems to me an inspired translation of this passage:  "Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold you from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves toward the goal of true maturity."

        The New English Bible has in part:  "Adapt yourselves no longer to the pattern of this present world, but let your minds be remade and your whole nature thus transformed."

        A note on Romans 12: 1, 2 from the New Life Translation "Life Application Study Bible" reads in part:  "Our refusal to conform to this world's values, however, must go even deeper than just behaviour and customs; it must be firmly planted in our mind:  Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  It is possible to avoid most worldly customs and still be proud, covetous, selfish, stubborn, and arrogant.  Only when the Holy Spirit renews, reeducates, and redirects our mind are we truly transformed..."

        "The Scriptures require more than a simple and feeble acceptance of the truths they present; they require a living faith, that so incorporates their lessons into our lives that these truths become the motive-power of every act."  (pp. 196-197 Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy)


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Which Shall It Be?

        Christ...or self?  For those of us who are followers of Christ Jesus, who are confronted daily with so much that plays up the personal "I", this is a question that needs to be answered, and answered rightly.
        Which is it going to be with you and me?  Christ..or self?  The worldly man doesn't think so, but anyone who has found out what it takes to actually carry out Jesus' teachings, will know that what I say now is true:  the less there is of me, myself, the better for all concerned.

        Jesus said, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."  (John 15:8)

        Nothing blocks the needed good you and I otherwise might do, nothing interferes with the "fruits" manifested in a Christlike character the world needs so much, like too much self.  And the sooner we're delivered from it, the sooner will we be carrying out what our blessed Master required.

        Am I suggesting that putting Christ first, living to see our Father glorified, makes life terrific, with no longer any challenges?  In no way.  There will be sharp struggles.  In some ways, more than before. But our day-to-day experience becomes, because of making the bearing of fruit for God's glory, much more alive -- happier, healthier, free -- for others and ourselves.  Just the way our loving Father wants our lives to be. The blessings that await are more wonderful than one can possibly imagine.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Writers who used their talents

In the service of their King

Had so little say

In whether they wrote or not;

Thoughts began to flow,

Words were set to go.

And inspiration had to be attended to,

With singleness of heart.

Those who did this gathering

Of ideas from above,

Inhabited a universe they were in,

But all too often not of --

Men and women who dwelt apart.

You and I are richer far,*

     That these beings were, and are,

                            They way they were, and are.

(I have no doubt they're at it still.)

*"...individual good derived from God, the infinite All-in-all,
              may flow from the departed to mortals;"

(Mary Baker Eddy in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Full With Love

        A recent letter from someone in Nepal has caused me to think more about expressing the love Jesus requires of his followers.  This man who had just read some of Christ's words said that they left him feeling "full with love".  (English is not his first language.)  This was such a fresh way of putting it, I thought.

        Then this week while talking with a shop owner in town, he happened to mention one of his employees who was always thinking of her fellow workers.  He said, "She is always spreading love around here." Again, "spreading love around" was a lovely way to put it.

      Finally, just yesterday in an email from a friend he happened to speak of "unqualified love" pouring out of an acquaintance.  Yes,I  said to myself, love must be "unqualified",  expressed not only to our dear heavenly Father, but to all we encounter in our daily walk.

        Love is always revealing itself in the most wonderful ways!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Getting Rid of Pain

        The other day while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, I  happened to overhear one woman telling another about a report she had just seen in a magazine.  According to her, on any given day in North American alone, millions of people suffer with bodily pain in some degree.

        I couldn't help thinking about a remedy that is always available--one that does not involve  becoming dependent on pain-killing drugs.

        The remedy I'm talking about is the healing power of Christianity that Jesus practiced and that is explained in Christian Science.  Its teachings make practical the divine method of deliverance referred to in Christ Jesus' words "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  The study of divine Science shows us how to heal from a purely metaphysical standpoint, through following the Master's example.

        As one studies this Science with a humble, open mind, with consecration, the way of healing through spiritual means becomes clear.  It is important to realize that what one refers to as a physical condition is actually the objectification of thought.  And so as one purifies, or spiritualizes, his thinking, it naturally follows that the body becomes more harmonious.

        Because our  body is an expression of thought, the great need is for a change of mental standpoint.  Through prayer we need to gain a correct, spiritual view of man as the image of God.  In other words, we need to realize that pain and suffering are not a part of our real selfhood made in God's likeness.  The spiritual concept of man is basic, and this is why it is helpful to go back time and again to the Bible record that man is made in God's image.  Accepting the premise that God is perfect Spirit, as the Bible teaches, we realize that the creations of Spirit can only be spiritual, perfect.  And this is the reality of our being, despite appearances to the contrary.

        A person might be thinking, "But I've had this trouble for so long.  Nothing will help me." Yes, there is something.  Chronic disability and pain are not beyond the reach of Christ, Truth, as Jesus' healing work illustrates.  For example, the Gospel of Luke tells about "a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself." She was completely healed.

        Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:  "Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual,--neither in nor of matter,--and the body will then utter no complaints.  If suffering from a belief in sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well."

        The last one hundred pages of Science and Health are devoted to healings that resulted from studying this book.  Among those wonderful experiences is a healing of severe back pain.  Christian Science has lifted countless thousands out of painful physical conditions.

        As one learns that man, created in God's own image, is the perfect expression of the one divine Mind, it becomes clear that man must be spiritual and harmonious--that he cannot, in reality, be impaired in any way. He must function perfectly because he is governed by the one God.  Not matter how real it appears to be, infirmity has no true existence in God's sight, because God never made it.

        The need is not to ignore pain but to turn thought away from the view of man as material and suffering and toward the understanding that he is actually spiritual and perfect right now, untouched by pain.

         In proportion as we make this Christlike understanding the basis of our prayer, we are bringing thought into accord with Jesus' command "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."  And this results in healing.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Such Tender Love

Sitting on a bench in

The garden just now,

And watching a butterfly

Perched at the edge of

A birdbath getting a drink,

                Made me think.

I couldn't help but marvel

At God's love and care

For something so fragile.

That He does take account

Of all that He has made

We know from Jesus' words

In the Sermon on the Mount,

Where he speaks of even

The fowls of the air

Being provided for.

Reflecting on our dear Father's

Tender love for all His creatures,

How my thoughts of thanks

And praise to Him do soar.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On Defense

                                                             John Robert Howell

        I was brought up short once again by an article by Mortimer Carr (otherwise unknown to me) in the May 1946 Journal, "Protection and Defense."  Perhaps I alone have too often let my mind drop into a rut when attempting to do my duty as required in Article VIII, Sect. 6, "Alertness to Duty", in the Church Manuel.  Mrs. Eddy there demands, in fact, that each member of The Mother Church "defend  himself daily".  It was easy for me to interpret this as donning, or at least clattering around vigorously with an armor of truths daily.  Carr points out that that would be protecting, not defending, myself.

        He quotes a dictionary definition as stating:  "the inmates of a fortress are defended by its guns, protected by its walls, and guarded by sentries against surprise."  Hosing ourselves down daily with a shower of the letter isn't defending ourselves daily against aggressive mental suggestions.  I find the defintion of defend in the Students Reference Dictionary stronger than those in my desk dictionary.  It (SRD) reads, in part, for defend:  "To drive from; to thrust back; hence, to deny; to repel a demand, charge, or accusation; to oppose; to resist...To drive back a foe or danger...To secure against attacks or evil, to fortify against danger or voilence..."  One certainly doesn't do that with a feather duster of words or a sprinkling of positive thoughts.  Protection is defined, in part, from SRD:  "shelter from evil, preservation from loss, injury, or annoyance."  

        This article of the Church Manuel is much too important to handle with butterfingered notions of what the word defend means.  And Mrs. Eddy tells us that each by-law of the Church Manuel obeyed and lived will contribute to our growth in grace and worthiness to be called genuine Christian Scientists.