Okay, so that’s a trick question, for to be omnipotent means there is no competition of any kind in any direction.  It’s a Latin compound word: omni meaning all and potens meaning power.  It is most often attributed (and rightly so) to God.

So the real question is: in theory what supersedes omnipotence?  In other words, where are we living our lives as if there is a power greater than God?  And the deeper question is: when bad things happen that appear to be out of our control are we attributing them to God?

Sounds like we need a better, clearer, higher view of God – the God Jesus knew, preached, and proved!

The Bible makes it plain that God makes only good (see Gen 1:31 for example).  And that His gift of good and expression of good is unchanging (see James 1:17).  And that He works only good in us (see Phil 2:13).  Therefore, following this scriptural line of reasoning, good must be omnipotent.

How would your life be different if you really accepted and expected that to be true?  How would you have to change – improve – your view of reality to accommodate this truer definition of God, of omnipotence?

You can’t have it both ways.  You can’t attribute all power to God, to good, and still give any kind of potency to anything else.

Let your faith be deepened, let your understanding be broadened, let your consecration be expanded to include this more biblically accurate concept of God and His creation.  Doing so, you will find a greater measure of peace, health, and longevity.

Divine omnipotence leaves nothing up to chance, but governs every detail with the most thorough good, the most loving good, the most permanent good possible.

Nothing supersedes Omnipotence.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.

Feather Duster

August 25, 2013

Have you ever noticed how a feather duster doesn’t really pick up the dust – it just sort of redistributes it?  Seems to look good short-term, but once the dust settles you either need to do it again right away or give up and live with it.  Real dusting requires some elbow grease.

Prayers can be like that too: either they just sort of move things around a little bit, without really getting at the issue to deal with it. Or they confront it head on and wipe the trouble away.

In the Bible book of Luke, Jesus tell the story of two pray-ers: one a Pharisee and the other a publican.  The Pharisee’s prayer is grandiose, wordy – and made for his fellow-man to hear.  Jesus says that he “prayed to himself.”  The publican, on the other hand, speaks only to God, asking for mercy.  Jesus approves of this latter prayer.  (see Luke 18:10-14)

Does this mean that praying out loud is self-centered while praying silently is more godlike?  No.  Of course not.  But audible prayer can sometimes be more about impressing those around us rather than gaining peace or spiritual insight.

Mary Baker Eddy gave a simple explanation of effective prayer when she wrote, “what we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.”  (see Science and Health page 4)  This kind of prayer, she explained, more accurately follows Jesus’ commandments, one of which is to love each other.

Both Jesus’ and Eddy’s point is that prayer is not just for making us feel good about ourselves – a feather duster prayer – but for the deeper task of healing our own and others’ lives, and improving our communities and the world.

This kind of prayer is practical and possible, right here.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.

I love the Bible.  I love its promise and lessons, its correction and encouragement.  I especially love the expectation of its writers and characters that as I mold my own life – as much as possible – after its redeeming example, I’ll receive the benefits they did.

One of the tenets of my religion is that “as adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, page 497)  Sufficient guide covers all the bases, doesn’t it?

As long as their hearts were stayed on God (see Is. 26:3), individuals in the Bible were kept from harm.  That’s my story too: loving God with all my heart, all my soul, all my might – and having no other Gods before Him, as the First Commandment says – I can expect to be blessed in untold ways.  And that blessing brings progress: improved health, stronger relationships, spiritual growth, even life eternal.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What’s your story?

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.



Eye contact

August 9, 2013

Have you noticed that not making eye contact is almost the same as pretending someone is not there?  If that driver doesn’t look at you, she doesn’t have to let you in.  If you don’t look at that person on the corner holding the sign you don’t have to give him anything.

Usually, when we do acknowledge someone by looking them in the eye, it’s not like a lot is required of us: maybe just a little courtesy or a simple hello.  But the fear is that a lot more MIGHT be expected: we might have to get involved, or do something, or – gasp – care.  It’s safer to just not go there.

After Jesus’ ascension, his disciples Peter and John approached a crippled man outside the temple and said “look on us.” This man had been lame since his birth and was not even allowed into the temple.  Since he was a beggar, it’s likely no one ever made any attempt at conversation, let alone eye contact.  The disciples’ gift, however, was more than alms: it was healing.  Peter said, “silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”   And he did!  He leapt with joy, proceeding into the temple with them.  (see Acts 3:1-10)

Just to be clear: it wasn’t the eye contact that healed the man.  As the Apostle Paul, quoting Isaiah, says, “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”  In other words, eyes and ears are not the means of receiving God’s message.  Paul further explains: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.”  (I Cor 2:9,10)

Eye and ear reveal the nitty-gritty details of the human condition that are often more than we want to cope with.  But in a heart prepared by love for God, the Spirit reveals the true identity of absolutely everyone.  And that revelation heals.

Jesus was very clear about that.  He knew the inherent value of each individual in his Father’s eyes.  And he took the time to acknowledge that value.  Doing so may have brought upon him the wrath of the Pharisees, but it changed the world – not just for the ones he healed, but for you and me.

Jesus chastised his countrymen for not taking that larger, more momentous view when he said, “O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”  (see Matt. 16:3)

It’s true that looking someone in the eye may require something of us: a smile, a hand.  But what it really calls for is to look beyond the “face of the sky” to see the face of God.

That kind of viewpoint heals.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.

Your closet

August 2, 2013

No, I don’t mean the place where you store your clothes and shoes – and who knows what else.  I mean the sanctuary Jesus told us to enter when we pray.  He said, “when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to the Father which is in secret.”  (Matt 6:6)

I don’t think he meant a special little room.  He was talking instead, about a mental space.  Jesus meant for us to get quiet in thought – close the door on distractions and interruptions – and commune one on one with God.  He indicated that those conversations should be in secret, not because what we had to say to – or hear from – the Father was necessarily secret, but because the Master didn’t want us to waste time trying to impress someone who might be listening.  This was just to be between God and you.

His disciples were eager to heal as Jesus did, and they knew it included prayer – quiet, holy, direct – with the Almighty.  So they asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.”  (Luke 11:1)  Jesus’ response was not just a suggestion that we approach prayer in humble silence, it was a directive.

How often do you obey that command?  How often do you take the time to hush the clamor of busyness or fear, to put down the hustle-bustle of self?  It’s not that we can’t pray under those circumstances – and we often do.  It’s just usually that we don’t hear God’s response to our prayer, only our own words.

Jesus reminds us of the outcome of taking the time to shut out the world while praying: “thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”  That means visible healing, freedom, progress.  That means peace and joy.

And who doesn’t want that?

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.