September 7, 2022

Subject: Joy

Golden text: John 16:24, NIV, copyright by Biblica

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

Genesis 31:1-3, 17-18, 22-29, 36, 43-44, 53-55

Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been.

Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

17 Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, 18 and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

22 On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 Taking his relatives with him, he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”

25 Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You’ve deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. 27 Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps? 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing. 29 I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’

36 Jacob was angry and took Laban to task. “What is my crime?” he asked Laban. “How have I wronged you that you hunt me down?

43 Laban answered Jacob, “The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne? 44 Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us.”

So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac. 54 He offered a sacrifice there in the hill country and invited his relatives to a meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night there.

55 Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.

21st Century Science and Health, copyright by Cheryl Petersen

As human thought changes from one stage to another, from conscious pain to painlessness, from sorrow to joy, from fear to hope, and from faith to understanding, the visible manifestation will at last be self-governed by Soul. Reflecting God’s control, you are no longer controlled by physical sense or mind.

For a single moment, become conscious that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual—neither in nor of that which is measurable—and the body will stop complaining. Depression is turned into joy and sickness is turned into wellness when the body is controlled by spiritual Life, Truth, and Love.

The mistake of thinking that either fasting or feasting makes us better morally or physically is one of the fruits of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” concerning which God said, “you must not eat from.”[1] Human mind forms all conditions of the human body and controls the organs, bones, genes, cells, blood, etc., as directly as the determination or will moves the hand to lift a glass of water.

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.” Though 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.

“The Lord disciplines those he loves.”[2] A person who refuses obedience to God is chastened by Love, and individuals who know and obey God will run up against the hostility of envy.

Sensual treasures are stored “where moth and rust destroy.”[3] Mortality is their doom. Sin breaks in and steals them away, carrying off their superficial joys. The sensualist’s feelings are as imaginary, capricious, and unreal as their pleasures. Deceit, jealousy, hypocrisy, selfish ambition, hate, revenge, and so forth, steal away the treasures of Truth. Stripped of its coverings, what a mocking spectacle is sin!

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.

Luke 6:17-24

 [Jesus] went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

20 Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
    for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you
    and reject your name as evil,
        because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

21st Century Science and Health

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

Would life without friends be empty? Then the time will come when you will feel alone, without sympathy, but this vacuum is filled with divine Love. 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.

If a career as great and good as that of Jesus could not avoid a felon’s fate, then students of Truth must endure without complaining. Rejoice, and enter into companionship with Christ through the triumphal arc of Truth and Love.

The effect of this Science is to adapt the human mind to an improved attitude from which it may yield to the peace and order of divine Mind.

Experiments support the fact that mind governs the body, not in one instance but in every instance. The indestructible faculties of Spirit exist without the conditions of matter and without the false beliefs of a mortal existence.

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. It is essential to follow the example of the Teacher and his apostles.

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.

Every prick of conscience, every twinge of agony, every effort to reform, every improved attitude and undertaking will help us understand Jesus’ atonement and promote its usefulness.

Evil is conspicuously broadcast today, showing off itself in consumerism, materialism, and sensualism. Evil is struggling against the advancing spiritual era. The world may lack spirituality, and people may not be able to keep a promise or make a home happy, but human minds are demanding spiritual understanding and reformed attitudes.

As with any reform, a transition period will be felt. Transition periods are often unsettling and undesirable, however, why buck the trend when the reform compels us to find permanence and peace in a more spiritual devotion?

Truth will ultimately compel us all to exchange the pleasures and pains of fleshly sensations for the joys of Soul.

Now and forever, we joyfully acknowledge God’s supremacy, omnipotence, and omnipresence.


[1] Gen. 2:17

[2] Heb. 12:6

[3] Matt. 6:19, 20; Luke 12:33

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

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