February 5, 2020

bible study imageSubject: Love

Golden text: I John 3:18*

 My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.

James 1:2-17 

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

5-8 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

9-11 When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.

12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

13-15 Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.

16-18 So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.

21st Century Science and Health**

Tradition, education, and fashion form the illusive standards of human beings.

The counsel of Love recognizes and respects only the divine control of Spirit, of which Soul is our master and human mindsets have no place.

The tribal Yahweh was a man-projected God, liable to wrath, repentance, and human moodiness. The Christian Science God is unchanging, universal, eternal, divine Love, a God who does not cause evil, disease or death. In the beginning, God created children in God’s image; but human beings would procreate man and woman, and make God in their own mortal image. It’s depressing when Scripture is flip-flopped. What is the god of a human, but a human magnified?

A reversal of Scripture shows the distinction between theological and ritualistic religion. The truth preached by Jesus was more than just talk and robotic behavior. A life of spirituality is requisite. Few understand or adhere to Jesus’ divine precepts for living and healing. Why? We don’t emulate Jesus, because we don’t want to set aside personal agendas, human beliefs, habits, and learned information.

We should hesitate to say that Yahweh sins or suffers. If sin and suffering are realities of being, how is the reality of love and life sustained? The belief which unites opposites such as sickness and health is not far removed from infidelity. To believe the holy contacts the unholy, calling both the offspring of spirit, virtually declares God to be good in one instance and evil in another. God has not one element of self-destruction.

Clergy, chaplains, and spiritual leaders who observe the world should advance the standard of Truth. They should inspire listeners to love grappling new right ideas and broaden their views. Love of spirituality, rather than love of popularity, should stimulate work and progress.

The demands of the affections will never be satisfied if you pursue a sexy, rich, or sanctimonious partner, so make sure to engage with wisdom, sincerity, and open-mindedness. Spiritual happiness lasts because it is constantly poured forth from Truth and Love. Genuine happiness is shared because it can’t exist alone.

The ideas in 21st Century Science and Health offer an extension of universal truths to achieve your personal, career, and spiritual goals today. This is a step beyond simply developing complicated coping skills. You can learn the techniques and tools of the world’s most influential people to overcome confusion, pain, depression, stress, and so on.

People in the past, and in the future, have and will find answers. Even now, we are finding answers. We are discovering meaning and purpose in life. And, it’s all connected. These answers help us make tangible progress in relationships, family, society, religion, science, and health care.

Setting the stage for stronger connections, this book is a revision of a book written in the 19th century by Mary Baker Eddy. It discusses a spiritual approach to progress that blessed thousands of people during Eddy’s time on earth. It discusses a Mind-healing system practical now, especially when iterated in contemporary language.

Every effort was made to keep the original meaning intact. Mrs. Eddy wrote that revisions are requisite and she herself revised Science and Health from 1875 until her death in 1910. I followed her pattern as a bridge between faith languages. First person references made in this textbook, indicate Mary Baker Eddy speaking.

The read, 21st Century Science and Health, includes updated language and references relevant today. Text revisions address current societal issues, plus advancements made in the fields of religion and science. Modern Bibles are quoted.

God is dignified and known as infinite Mind, Soul, Spirit, Love, Truth, Life, Principle. We are dignified and known as images of God, inseparable from Life. We are not alone.

I John 3: 1-3

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.

2-3 But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.

21st Century Science and Health

If God made people both good and evil, then they must remain so. What can improve God’s work? An error in the premise must appear in the conclusion. To have one God and to experience the power of Spirit, you must love God and spiritual good, supremely.

Human thought is startled at the strong claims of Science and doubts the supremacy of good, Truth. Why aren’t we startled at the vigorous claims of evil? Why don’t we doubt negativism or depression? Why do we think it natural, almost necessary, to love that which works against life, truth, and love? Why do we imagine lack to be pervasive, or good absent? Truth should not seem as surprising and unnatural as error, and error should not seem as real as truth. Sickness should not seem as real as health. There is no error in Science, and our lives must be influenced by reality to agree with God, the divine Principle of all being.

Why not be conscious of unchanging divine Love rather than human love?

An exhaustible mind manifests all sorts of anomalies and riddles, proving the mind-in-matter theory to be the antipode of inexhaustible divine Mind. Who has found human mind sufficient to satisfy the demands of lack and anguish? Our desires and aspirations ache to be fulfilled and we only feel rewarded when we stop limiting infinite Mind to finite resources. Infinite Mind can’t lose its character as inexhaustible Love, eternal Life, omnipotent Truth.

It would require an infinite form to contain infinite Mind, indeed the phrase infinite form is an oxymoron. Finite human beings can’t be the image and likeness of the infinite God, no matter how sophisticated flesh appears, it still will disappear. A mortal conception of God can’t embrace the glories of limitless, bodiless Life and Love. It’s no wonder we crave something better, higher, and holier than is afforded by the belief in a physical creator and creation. The insufficiency of a limited creation proves its falsity.

Our being is more than a material shell with a mind stuck inside. Spirituality is more than a soul trying to escape a human experience. We reflect infinity and this reflection is the true idea of God.

Spiritual selfhood is being expressed infinitely, broadening and ascending from a boundless basis. Mind manifests all that exists in the infinitude of Truth. The only way we know our true self is to know God properly.

Progress removes restraints. The finite must yield to the infinite. Advancing to a higher plane of action, consciousness moves from the limited sense to the unlimited, from the scholastic to the inspirational, and from the mortal to the immortal. All things are created spiritually. Mind, not isolatable energy, is the creator. Love, the divine Principle, is Father-Mother of the universe and us.

We are properly self-governed only when we are guided rightly and governed by our Maker, divine Truth and Love.

Affirm that the spiritual lawgivers, Truth, Life, and Love, are the only legitimate and eternal demands on us.

God will take care of us as we travel a trajectory unfolding new views of divine goodness and love.

What are the realities of being? Spirit and its formations. In other words, physical forms are not realities of being, but are incorrect or undeveloped views of reality which disappear as Spirit comes into view. Jesus overcame sickness and death and proved they were forms of error. Spiritual living and blessedness are the only evidences by which we can recognize true existence and feel the unspeakable peace which comes from an all-engaging spiritual love.

The approach of divine Science is to recognize the spiritual identity of people and to see and understand God’s creation―all the glories of earth and heaven and its inhabitants.

The universe of Spirit is peopled with spiritual beings and its government is divine Science. We each are the offspring of the highest qualities of Mind. We understand spiritual existence in proportion to our understanding of Truth and Love. Humans must gravitate Godward. Humans will become more humane as their desires and aims grow spiritual. As sin and mortality are discarded, humanity catches the broader interpretations of being and secures a lasting sense of the infinite.

This scientific sense of being, turning from personal views to Spirit, by no means suggests we are obsessed with Deity or we lose our identity. A scientific sense of being reveals a clearer distinct individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive and inclusive love, and a more permanent peace.

*Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

**Text from 21st Century Science and Health can’t be reproduced in part or as a whole without the written permission of Healing Science Today

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