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Golden text: Proverbs 10:3 The Message, Copyright by Eugene Peterson
God won’t starve an honest soul, but he frustrates the appetites of the wicked.
[Jesus said,] “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.
16-18 “When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well.
19-21 “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
22-23 “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a musty cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!
24 “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.
25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
21st Century Science and Health, Copyright by Cheryl Petersen
The human mind must struggle to correctly interpret the discomfort that Jesus inspired and the spiritual blessings that might flow from such discomfort.
Jesus was no ascetic. He did not fast as John the Baptist’s disciples; yet there never lived a man so far removed from appetites and fixations. Jesus admonished sinners straightforwardly without flinching, because he was their friend; hence the cup he drank.
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.
Food has less power to help or to hurt us after our thought has transformed to the spiritual. Without the consent of human mind, food and the stomach can’t make you suffer. It is human deception to believe you must eat if you feel hungry. It is another deception to believe purging food will help you stay thin. As for the person mentioned above, taking less thought about what he ought to eat or drink, and consulting the stomach less and God more about the best way to live, he recovered strength and flesh rapidly. All those years, he had been kept alive but wasn’t living. After dropping drugs and his routine of severe dieting, he gave his attention to spiritual health, acted on mental improvement, and was well.
Appetite and disease reside in human mind, not in matter or genes.
Scientifically speaking, there is no human mind out of which to make incomplete beliefs proceeding from illusion. This misnamed mind is not an entity. What we call matter is only a false sense of substance, since its substance has no sensitivity. The one Mind contains no human opinions. All that is real is included in spiritual Mind.
II Corinthians 4:14-18
Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!
16-18 So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
II Corinthians 5:1-5
For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.
21st Century Science and Health
Every day makes its demands upon us for better proofs rather than verbal claims of Christian power. These proofs replace sin, sickness, and death with the power of Spirit, as Jesus destroyed them. This is an element of progress and progress is the law of God whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfill.
Belief involves theories of material hearing, sight, touch, taste, and smell termed the five senses. And what follows this train of belief? Appetites, passions, sin, sickness, and death.
Mortal passions and appetites must end in pain. They are “of few days and full of trouble.” Their temporal joys cheat us. Emotionalism and cravings belittle their satisfactions and surround their achievements with thorns.
Morbid cravings are loathsome. Normal control is gained through divine strength and understanding.
Mortal mind accepts the erroneous, material conception of life and joy, but the true idea is gained from the immortal side. Humanity may ask: What on earth do we gain through this toil, struggle, and sorrow? We gain by giving up our belief in perishable life and happiness. We gain when false beliefs return to dust and the immortal is reached.
As people lose satisfaction in error and idle thinking, they find satisfaction in Soul-sense.
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
15-16 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.
17-19 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.
20-21 But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.
21st Century Science and Health
As the individual ideal of Truth, Christ Jesus came to help us unlearn false teachings and destructive behaviors.
Evidence of progress and of spiritualization can definitely be seen in the world. People are realizing the power of mind. We are learning to question drug systems and surgical procedures. We are pursuing less obtrusive drugs, alternative health care treatments, responsible eating, consistent exercise, and homeopathy. The substance of medicine is being transferred from matter to mind.
The effort to unlearn false perceptions includes forfeiting those views completely. Then error will be submissive to Truth. The divine method of becoming responsible for every thought and action involves unwinding our snarls and learning from experience how to divide between the human and the spiritual.
Drugs, ointments, and narcotics are reckless substitutes for the dignity and potency of divine Mind and its effective healing power. It is pitiful to tempt human beings with addictive prescriptions. Why create victims who acquire an educated appetite for intoxicating treatments?
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.
All persons must fulfill their own mission without timidity and without putting on a show.
Spiritual goals are successfully achieved when our work is done unselfishly, and as a result, arrogance, prejudice, bigotry, and envy cannot wash away its foundation, for it is built on the rock, Truth.
Love is satisfied with Her work. How could that which is complete be unsatisfied? The spiritual creation is the result, the outflow of Father-Mother’s infinite self-containment and immortal wisdom.
 Job 14:1
The Lord’s Prayer with a Christian Science interpretation (in italics) from 21st Century Science and Health:
Our Father in heaven,
Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious,
Hallowed be Your name,
One sacred nature,
Your kingdom come,
Your government is come; You are ever-present,
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Enable us to know—as in heaven, so on earth—God is omnipotent, supreme.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Give us grace for today; feed the famished intentions.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And Love is reflected in love.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
And God does not lead us into temptation, but delivers us from sin, disease, and death.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All.