Leaving the past behind by NINA BROWN Third Church of Christ Scientist, Grand Rapids The apostle Paul writes in the Bible (KJV Philippians 3:13-14) about forgetting things which are behind and looking forward, moving forward, to “…the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Many times I have been comforted in knowing that if Paul could forget the past, forget that he was Saul and had been an accessory to the death of many Christians, including consenting to the stoning death of Stephen (KJVActs 8:1), then I can forget my past. There was a time when fleshly things kept me from moving forward toward God. I did think about God and prayed as best I could, but I continued to be pulled off course regularly until, like Saul, I was ready to see the goodness already present in me. I thought about the words from Genesis 1:31 (KJV), “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” I realized that God made me and He made me good, so I couldn’t be fooled into thinking I was bad. I am now staying on a forward course more often than not, but occasionally feelings—grief that I wasted so much time neglecting my spiritual journey and guilt that I may have been an unsavory influence to others—overcome me and would shipwreck my progress if I let them. More words from Paul (Romans) help steady me: we are (I am—you are) “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…” That means I can, you can, accept the gift of grace given through Christ Jesus, the same grace that moved Jesus with compassion to heal multitudes. As an heir of grace I have a responsibility to obey the two great commandments given us by Jesus: to love the Lord thy God with all the heart, the soul and the mind and my neighbor as myself. I find I can’t obey these when my thought is filled with regret, because the regret becomes more to me than God. Along with the Scriptures, I study Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. She writes, “A mental state of self-condemnation and guilt or a faltering and doubting trust in […]
Third Church of Christ Scientist
The power of gratitude by MARCIA HUFSTADER member of Third Church of Christ, Scientist Grand Rapids Every day the news is filled with signs of anger, resentment, uncertainty and dishonesty. What is there to be grateful for, and does gratitude do any good? Sometimes it takes searching our heart, searching our inner thoughts, to feel a deep sense of gratitude, a feeling of profound thanks for all that is good. Starting with the fact that God is good and therefore can produce only good, opens up wonderful vistas. Being grateful every time we see an expression of happiness and peace will begin to replace the anger that we hear about. Understanding God’s immeasurable gifts to everyone will replace the resentment we see or feel. Knowing that God, good, is in control and perfectly governing His “image and likeness” will remove uncertainty. Recognizing that we are complete ideas of God, equipped with all that we need to fulfill our purpose, dishonesty can be wiped out. Looking for and recognizing all the good going on in day-to-day life, is an action step that brings our life into harmony with God, divine Mind. This action is a step of gratitude that results in blessings, because we are more aware of God’s presence. With these blessings we feel free of anger, and we want to help others. We have no resentment; bitterness falls away, and we feel at peace. That peaceful feeling is an action that attracts others you can help. When thoughts are filled with gratitude, there is no room for any other thoughts to abide. Yes, being grateful has wonderful results. Christ Jesus set a great example of gratitude by actively expressing thanks “before” the results were seen. So, even though things don’t look so great in the news, if we all actively give thanks right now for what we know to be true about our God-given peace, love, certainty and honesty, it will be an action step that makes a difference. “Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech.” Mary Baker Eddy writes about this idea in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Gratitude is a way of life.
What are we convincing ourselves of? by MARCIA HUFSTADER Member, Third Church of Christ, Scientist Every day we are bombarded by thoughts, opinions and advertisements that come to us through friends and all sorts of media. A firm conviction of God’s goodness and all-ness enables us to see through that haze and therefore to think clearly. For instance, there are so many reports that would try to convince parents that children are in danger from all sorts of sources. When I hear such reports, I can either go with that idea, get wound up in fear and worry, or I can stay with the fundamental truth that God, good, governs. God, divine Mind, is perfectly governing all of His children harmoniously all the time. God wouldn’t create His likeness and then not maintain it. Could God ever be absent or unavailable when God is infinite, ever-present Love? All of God’s children (which we all are) respond to His direction and can hear His voice in a way we can understand. There is an unbreakable bond between God and his idea, man. It is much more peaceful, beneficial and accurate to understand God’s protecting, governing power than to fill our thoughts with fear. This peace helps us make better decisions from day to day, and helps us to do exactly what we should be doing. No matter how many times we hear fearful reports, it doesn’t make them more real than God’s caring, loving presence. Our best protection is listening to God, being alert, and using the ideas we receive in prayer.
by MARCIA HUFSTADER member, Third Church of Christ, Scientist A few years ago I was having a tough time working with a particular group of people. We just weren’t seeing eye-to-eye and the communication was very poor. I turned to God, divine Mind, to see what I was supposed to learn from this. The lesson came while shoveling snow late one night. The snow was really heavy; it took a lot of strength time and time again to lift the snow off the driveway. After a while it occurred to me, if the snow melted it would fall right off the shovel and none of this would be a chore. I likened the snow to the load of concern I felt burdened with by not getting along with all these friends – it laid heavy in my thought and life. Melting the snow would be loving each of those individuals so much that the anger would melt and fall away. Just like snow melts with the warmth, anger can’t be in the same place as love. A couple nights later I was out shoveling again. This time I was using a shovel that had high edges. Not only did it hold more snow, but it stayed on the shovel longer. If this snow melted, it would stay on the shovel. Naturally, I then thought about getting rid of the edges in my thought so I wasn’t holding any hatred, frustration or bitterness within. I knew as I got rid of the “edges” in my thought, all those negative feelings would just fall off. I’m grateful to say the bad situation cleared up, first in my own thought, then with those involved. I’ve thought about this many times since while shoveling. It reminds me to love as purely and simply as Christ Jesus loved. His love was so pure and unconditional it healed (melted away) sickness and resolved off-the-mark thinking. It’s the love of God that melts the wrongs of the world and it starts at home.