June 17, 2020

bible study imageSubject: Assurance

Golden text: Psalms 84:5-7*

And how blessed all those in whom you live, whose lives become roads you travel; They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks, discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain! God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!

I Kings 18:1-8, 20-24, 26-39

1-2 A long time passed. Then God’s word came to Elijah. The drought was now in its third year. The message: “Go and present yourself to Ahab; I’m about to make it rain on the country.” Elijah set out to present himself to Ahab. The drought in Samaria at the time was most severe. 3-4 Ahab called for Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. Obadiah feared God—he was very devout. Earlier, when Jezebel had tried to kill off all the prophets of God, Obadiah had hidden away a hundred of them in two caves, fifty in a cave, and then supplied them with food and water. 5-6 Ahab ordered Obadiah, “Go through the country; locate every spring and every stream. Let’s see if we can find enough grass to keep our horses and mules from dying.” So they divided the country between them for the search—Ahab went one way, Obadiah the other. Obadiah went his way and suddenly there he was—Elijah! Obadiah fell on his knees, bowing in reverence, and exclaimed, “Is it really you—my master Elijah?” “Yes,” said Elijah, “the real me. Now go and tell your boss, ‘I’ve seen Elijah.’”

20 So Ahab summoned everyone in Israel, particularly the prophets, to Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah challenged the people: “How long are you going to sit on the fence? If God is the real God, follow him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!” Nobody said a word; nobody made a move. 22-24 Then Elijah said, “I’m the only prophet of God left in Israel; and there are 450 prophets of Baal. Let the Baal prophets bring up two oxen; let them pick one, butcher it, and lay it out on an altar on firewood—but don’t ignite it. I’ll take the other ox, cut it up, and lay it on the wood. But neither will I light the fire. Then you pray to your gods and I’ll pray to God. The god who answers with fire will prove to be, in fact, God.” All the people agreed: “A good plan—do it!”

26 So they took the ox he had given them, prepared it for the altar, then prayed to Baal. They prayed all morning long, “O Baal, answer us!” But nothing happened—not so much as a whisper of breeze. Desperate, they jumped and stomped on the altar they had made. 27-28 By noon, Elijah had started making fun of them, taunting, “Call a little louder—he is a god, after all. Maybe he’s off meditating somewhere or other, or maybe he’s gotten involved in a project, or maybe he’s on vacation. You don’t suppose he’s overslept, do you, and needs to be waked up?” They prayed louder and louder, cutting themselves with swords and knives—a ritual common to them—until they were covered with blood. 29 This went on until well past noon. They used every religious trick and strategy they knew to make something happen on the altar, but nothing happened—not so much as a whisper, not a flicker of response. 30-35 Then Elijah told the people, “Enough of that—it’s my turn. Gather around.” And they gathered. He then put the altar back together for by now it was in ruins. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes of Jacob, the same Jacob to whom God had said, “From now on your name is Israel.” He built the stones into the altar in honor of God. Then Elijah dug a fairly wide trench around the altar. He laid firewood on the altar, cut up the ox, put it on the wood, and said, “Fill four buckets with water and drench both the ox and the firewood.” Then he said, “Do it again,” and they did it. Then he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. The altar was drenched and the trench was filled with water. 36-37 When it was time for the sacrifice to be offered, Elijah the prophet came up and prayed, “O God, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make it known right now that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I’m doing what I’m doing under your orders. Answer me, God; O answer me and reveal to this people that you are God, the true God, and that you are giving these people another chance at repentance.” 38 Immediately the fire of God fell and burned up the offering, the wood, the stones, the dirt, and even the water in the trench. 39 All the people saw it happen and fell on their faces in awed worship, exclaiming, “God is the true God! God is the true God!”

21st Century Science and Health**

In a world where sin and sensuality scramble to rise in the ranks of power, it is wise earnestly to consider whether we are being influenced by the human mind or the divine Mind. Beware of ingenious human-made devices that merely claim to equal the work of wisdom. What the prophets of the Lord did, the worshippers of Baal failed to do (e.g. I Kings 18:16–40).

Only Science can explain the incredible good and evil elements that keep surfacing. Human beings must find protection in Truth in order to escape the errors of today. Nothing is more antagonistic to divine Science than a blind belief without understanding, for such belief hides Truth and builds on error.

Strangely enough, we ask for physical theories to support spiritual and eternal truths when the two are so antagonistic that the human thought must become spiritualized before the spiritual fact is attained. The material existence affords no evidence of spiritual being or immortality. Sin, sickness, and death do not prove the immortality of person. Discord can never establish the facts of harmony. Matter is not the threshold of Spirit.

The scientific manifestation of power is from the divine nature and is not supernatural, since Science is an explanation of nature. The belief that the universe and people are governed in general by physical laws, but occasionally Spirit sets aside these laws, belittles omnipotent wisdom and gives to matter the precedence over Spirit.

Truth and error seem to be in conflict. The contention of truth and error is only the mental conflict between the evidence of the spiritual perceptions and the testimony of the human imprints. Through faith in, and the understanding of divine Love, the battle between Spirit and flesh will settle all questions.

Superstition and understanding can never unite. When the final physical and moral effects of divine Science are fully understood, the conflict between truth and error, understanding and belief, spiritual sense and physical sense, will cease and lasting harmony will prevail, as was predicted by the prophets and introduced by Jesus. During the conflict, the lightning and thunderbolts of error burst and flash but the clouds will clear and the tumult will die away in the distance, for the raindrops of divinity to refresh the earth.

There are many proofs of the illusion of physical sense. For example, when driving on the highway, the paved road ahead sometimes appears to have water on it. The barometer points to fair weather during drenching rain and under murky clouds. What about the body? Physical senses tell us the body is solid, but the body isn’t solid. Cosmic rays, neutrinos, radio and TV waves are zinging through the body as if it is transparent. The examples of illusive, unreliable appearances could go on. Life teaches us to correct what physical senses and human imprints claim as fact.

To physical sense, a cut jugular vein takes away life; but to spiritual sense and in Science, Life goes on unchanged. Existence is eternal. Temporal life is a false sense of being.

Human-made theories make the same mistake regarding Soul and body that René Descartes[1] made regarding the brain as a complex fixed machine. Adherents of Descartes theories culminates in localizationism, the belief in a hard-wired brain in which each mental function has a strict location. However, modern brain science is showing, “[Brain] plasticity is a normal phenomenon, and brain maps are constantly changing.”[2] Moreover, Christian Science is showing that mind is not subject to the brain or matter, and that soul is not in the body. The order of Science can’t be reversed by human theories that assign to matter the power and prerogative of Spirit, a mix-up that cause people to become weak and pitiful creatures. Scientific blunders can’t affect the harmony of being.

Matthew 5:43-47

[Jesus said] “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

21st Century Science and Health

Through divine Science, religion and medicine are inspired with a more God-like nature and essence. Science gives new strength to faith and understanding, and thoughts intelligently acquaint themselves with God.

We are inundated with feelings and the false consciousness that life exists in the material body, yet we remember that in reality God is our Life and consciousness. We look at human events and timidly realize the day will come when we say, “I find no pleasure in them.”[3]

How does the heavenly conviction of spiritual existence come about? How is a conviction so antagonistic to the testimony of the physical senses experienced?  According to Paul, it is “the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.”[4] Neale Donald Walsch, author of The New Revelations: A Conversation with God wrote, “Divine inspiration is the birthright of every human being.”[5] The divine law of Life and Love unfolds the demonstrable facts that matter, also known as human mind, possesses neither sensation nor life; that human experiences show the falsity of all temporal things; and that spiritual desires establish the truth that the only sufferer is human mind. Divine Mind can’t suffer.

Remove the error in thought and you destroy its effects. A person’s gaze, fastened fearlessly on a ferocious beast, often causes the beast to retreat in terror. By meeting hateful prejudice with fearless love, Martin Luther King, Jr.[6] sent hate to its own defeat. These occurrences represent the power of Truth over error. Exercise the power of intelligence to displace unintelligent behavior. The application of spiritual intelligence can also cause threatening situations to self-destruct. The cure of matter does not come from within itself. Remember: hypnotism, surgeries, and medicines can counteract one another or create bad reactions. The antagonistic reactions are similar to one animal infuriating another by looking it in the eye and both fighting for nothing.

Disease is not an intelligence to defy the administration of Mind or to overthrow Mind and take the government into its own hands. Sickness is not a God-given, nor a self-constituted material power, which shrewdly competes with and finally conquers Mind. God never supplied matter with power to disable Life or to numb harmony with a long and cold night of misery. Such a power, without the divine permission, is inconceivable. If such an unbelievable power could be divinely directed, it would show less wisdom than we usually find in human governments.

If disease can attack and control the body without the consent of humans, sin can do the same, for both are errors announced as partners in the beginning. The Christian Scientist finds only effects, where the ordinary physician looks for causes. The real jurisdiction of the world is in Mind, Spirit, controlling every effect and recognizing all causation as established in divine Mind.

Truth spares all that is true. If evil is real, Truth must make it so, but error, not Truth, is the author of the unreal. The unreal vanishes, while all that is real is eternal. The apostle says that the mission of the divine idea, called Christ, is to “destroy the works of the devil.”[7] Truth wipes out falsity and error, for light and darkness can’t dwell together. Light extinguishes the darkness— there is “no night there.”[8] To Truth there is no error, all is Truth.

*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

[1] René Descartes, (1596–1650) French mathematician, scientist and philosopher.

[2] The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science Norman Doidge, M.D. (Viking Penguin Books, New York, 2007)

[3] Ec. 12:1

[4] Eph. 3:7

[5] Walsch, Neale Donald. The New Revelations: A Conversation with God. New York: Atria Books, 2002.

[6]Luther King Jr., Martin (1929–1968) American Civil Rights Leader.

[7] I John 3:8 (NASB)

[8] Rev. 21:25, 22:5

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