August 22, 2018

Subject: Joy

Golden text: Jude 1:24-25*

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.

Luke 19:1-10

[Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

21st Century Science and Health**

With due respect to advanced thinkers in all fields of study and work, here are some statements to consider:

“The materials we need to reach a new level of discourse are in our grasp; we have only to abandon outmoded approaches/disciplines to achieve an enlightening beginning for a new science.” From The Anthropology of Medicine: From Culture to Method, Third Edition.[1]

“The Starting Point of Biblical Theology: We have already observed that every scholarly endeavor inevitably is based upon presuppositions.”[2] HarperCollins Bible Dictionary.

“We physicians do not fully understand the relationship between mind, body, and that intangible element known as spirit…Medical educators have often taught that religion is an irrelevant or even detrimental factor in physical and emotional well-being. But a growing body of research has established that religious people, both young and old, often enjoy the psychological and physical benefits of a positive emotional outlook.”[3] —Harold G. Koenig, M D., Director of Duke University’s Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health.

Human reason and religion come slowly to the recognition of spiritual facts. Human belief systems continue to call upon matter to remove the error which human mind alone created.

Should all cases of fleshly disease be treated by a doctor, and the Christian Scientist use truth only in cases of hysteria, hypochondria, and hallucination? One disease is no more real than another. All disease is the result of education, and disease can carry its ill-effects no farther than mortal mind plots out. It is the human mind, not matter that supposedly feels, suffers, and enjoys. Hence decided types of acute disease are quite as ready to yield to Truth as the less distinct types and chronic forms of disease. Truth deals with the most malignant contagion with assurance.

I have demonstrated beyond doubt, that the human mind produces diseases and disorders of the flesh as certainly as it produces hysteria, and that it must relinquish all its errors, sicknesses, and sins. The evidence of divine Mind’s healing power and orderly control is to me as certain as the evidence of my own existence.

John 16:21-24

When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

21st Century Science and Health

Human beings must have trials and self-denials, as well as joys and victories, until all erroneous mindsets are killed.

Happiness is won as good has ascendency over evil and the spiritual rules the animal. The attainment of this spiritual condition improves our progeny, diminishes crime, and gives higher aims to ambition.

A badly trained ear, not appreciating harmony, thinks noisy melodrama is normal. So human perception, untrained to discern true happiness, thinks unhappiness is normal. Divine Science will correct the misperceptions and teach us life’s sweeter harmonies.

Effort spent living in the past, pursuing superficial goals, or showing off, is effort wasted.

Happiness can’t be defined by personal perceptions. The perceptions of human beings confer no lasting enjoyment. Higher enjoyments alone can satisfy our cravings. Soul has infinite resources with which to bless humankind, and happiness is more readily responded to and more secure in our keeping if found in Soul.

Act 8:4-8

Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.

21st Century Science and Health

The nature of spirituality is peaceful and blessed. To enter the realm of Spirit, our anchor of hope must be thrown past the veil of matter into the Shekinah that Jesus showed us. This advance beyond superficial thinking comes through the joys and triumphs of the righteous as well as through their sorrows and afflictions. We must leave mortal impressions of fleshly being and advance into immortal impressions of spiritual being.

Our heavenly Parent, divine Love, did not demand us to worship the personality of Jesus. The phrase “serving the Lord” doesn’t mean public worship. Serving the Lord means work, but God is not authoritarian. It is joyously essential to follow the example of the Teacher and his apostles.

The Christ is bodiless, spiritual—the holy image and likeness, dispelling the illusions of the senses; the Way, the Truth, and the Life, healing the sick and driving out evils, destroying sin, disease, and dying.

Isaiah 12:3-6

 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted.

“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be made known in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

21st Century Science and Health

I knew a person who when quite a child adopted a whole wheat and vegetarian diet to cure indigestion. For many years, he ate only bread and vegetables and drank nothing but water. His dyspepsia increasing, he decided that his diet should be more rigid. So, he ate only one meal every twenty-four hours, a meal consisting of only a thin slice of bread. His physician recommended that he should not moisten his parched throat until three hours after eating. The person passed many weary years in hunger and weakness, almost in starvation. The skill of the doctors was exhausted and they kindly informed him that death was indeed his only alternative, so he finally made up his mind to die. Then divine Science saved him and his health was restored without a reminder of the old complaint.

This person learned that suffering and disease were the self-imposed beliefs of mortals and not the facts of being. He recognized that God never decreed dis-ease—never ordained a law that fasting should be a means of health. Hence semi-starvation is not acceptable to wisdom and is equally far from Science, in which being is sustained by God, Mind. These truths opened the sufferer’s eyes, relieved his stomach, and he ate without suffering, “giving God thanks.” Disciplined by self-denial and divine Science, he never enjoyed his food as he imagined he would back in the day when he was constantly hungry.

This new-born understanding that neither food nor the stomach, without the consent of human mind, can make us suffer, brings with it another lesson, that self-indulgence, gluttony, or bulimia, are sensual illusions and can’t give satisfaction. These phantasms disappear as we better understand our spiritual existence and walk the line of a balanced life.

Denying the claims of power in matter/energy is an important step to take toward the joys of Spirit, toward human freedom and the final triumph over the body.

Even if you cling to a sense of personal joys, spiritual Love will force you to accept what best promotes your spiritual growth. Friends will betray and enemies will slander until the lesson is learned and you are exalted; for “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.”[4] I speak from experience. We are learning to lay down our fleshliness and gain spirituality by ridding our self of a mortal identity. Universal Love is the divine way.

Saints make their own heaven by engaging Life, Truth, and Love. Wrongdoers make their own hell by doing things which avoid Life, Truth, and Love. Wrongdoers are self-deceived; they believe they are happier when being slothful or negative, and this is evil aiding evil. They believe they are saints when they are hypocrites, and this is selfishness aiding selfishness. Do not be deceived by twisted human conclusions.

Following Jesus’ sayings and demonstrations, we help our self to overcome the flesh. The sordid and narrow beliefs which originate in mortals are hell. Spiritual individuals are the idea of Spirit, reflecting the presence of virtue and illuming the universe with light. Spirituality is deathless, above sin or frailty. We do not cross over into the vast forever of Life, but we coexist with God and the universe. Complete and infinite Mind ordained is heaven.

*Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

** Text from 21st Century Science and Health, 6th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.

[1] The Anthropology of Medicine: From Culture to Method, Third Edition. Edited by Lola Romanucci-Ross, Daniel E. Moerman, Laurence R. Tancredi. Copyright © 1997 by Lola Romanucci-Ross, Daniel E. Moerman, and Laurence R. Tancredi. Reproduced with permission of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., Westport, CT.

[2] HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Paul J. Achtemeier, General Editor, With the Society of Biblical Literature (HaperCollins Publishes, New York: 1996)

[3] Koenig, Harold G. The Healing Power of Faith: Science Explores Medicine’s Last Great Frontier. New York: Simon and Shuster, 1999.

[4] Quote attributed to John Flavel, (1627–1691) English Presbyterian.

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