God’s got it covered.

January 30, 2014

You may recall the story of Jesus directing Peter to catch a fish and take the coin from its mouth to pay their taxes.  (Matt 17:24-27)  Sure enough, he did just that.  You might think that was an extraordinary coincidence, or maybe the supernatural intervention of God.  But it was neither.  Instead, it was the natural outpouring of God’s love for His dear children – which Jesus understood and proved over and over.

Jesus could have just as easily said to Peter, “check with the guys to see if they have some things they don’t need and then go sell them in the market place.  With any luck we should be able to scrape enough together to cover the payment.”  That might be the option you or I would choose.  But Jesus wanted to always direct thought to God: to His provision, His generosity, His consistency.  He wanted everyone to know that God’s got it covered!

And not just Jesus proved this law of the superabundance of good.  The prophet Elisha helped a widow woman to get out of debt by selling her oil: way more oil than she had imagined was contained in that tiny little pot.  (1 Kings 4:1-7)  These are just two of many instances found in the Scriptures of overcoming limits.

Because we make the mistake of thinking that these were miracles, we don’t expect that same kind of divine generosity right here, right now.  Jesus said that faith the size of a mustard seed would move a mountain.  (Luke 17:6)  What’s the difference between moving a mountain of fear or debt or doubt – and tons of rock and earth?  It’s only perspective.  God gladly moves whatever prevents us from seeing Him as He truly is.

When the rich man came to him asking what to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus suggested that he sell everything and follow him.  (Mark 10:17-22)  The man was apparently terrified that doing so would deprive him of something necessary and helpful, and he went away very sad.  He didn’t know how generous God is.  So generous in fact, that Jesus told his disciples who had indeed left everything behind that they shall “receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.”  (Luke 18:30) There is no record in the Gospels that Jesus and his disciples were uncared for or went without.

Surely the Master – who knew his Father’s great heart and showed it to us with every word and deed – was not speaking out of turn when he said “seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.  Your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.  But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  (Luke 12:29-32)

Isaiah said as much of God centuries earlier: “The rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”  (Is 55:11,12)

In both passages, the message is clear: God can do it, God is doing it, God will continue to do it.  Mary Baker Eddy echoes that sentiment when she writes: “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.”  (Science and Health page 494)

Remember, God’s got it covered.

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.


The Pain of Belief

January 24, 2014

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you discovered that something you had believed – and suffered for – turned out to be untrue?  Maybe it was a viewpoint you were holding about someone else that was based on false information.  Or maybe it was regarding an event that never really happened.  These things that seem so real seem to trigger responses – that also seem so real.  But if the procuring cause is incorrect, then its consequence is also incorrect.  Thus we learn that reaction is based on opinion and interpretation, not fact.

Mary Baker Eddy writes, “A blundering despatch, mistakenly announcing the death of a friend, occasions the same grief that the friend’s real death would bring. You think that your anguish is occasioned by your loss. Another despatch, correcting the mistake, heals your grief, and you learn that your suffering was merely the result of your belief. If a Christian Scientist had said, while you were laboring under the influence of the belief of grief, “Your sorrow is without cause,” you would not have understood him, although the correctness of the assertion might afterwards be proved to you.”  (Science and Health page 386)

The disciples’ suffering at the crucifixion was very real.  They were devastated by Jesus’ death, so much so that they couldn’t imagine going forward as disciples.  They became fishermen again.  But Jesus had told them time and time again what would happen.  It simply was so unimaginable that the disciples couldn’t comprehend its possibility.  Gratefully, Jesus’ resurrection set the record straight, convinced the disciples of the truth of their Master’s words, and got them back on track.  They then went on to do the works that he had done.

Next time you find yourself reacting to news or events, take a moment to consider what’s really going on.  Step back from your immediate response to thoughtfully uncover the truer story and your capacity to deal with it.  You may find that your pause helps you to be clearer about the situation and your ability to resolve it.  You may find that what you think happened wasn’t what really happened.  And in that moment of reconsideration, you may hear the words Jesus tenderly spoke to his disciples, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”  (Mark 6:50)

Once you begin to understand that the pain of believing something that isn’t true can be diverted and ultimately dismissed – simply by learning the truth – you can begin to apply the same understanding to the belief of pain.  In both cases, you’re simply gaining a clearer comprehension of what’s actually going on.  Jesus mapped it out for us: he lived it and taught it.  We can learn from his example and prove it too.

Whether it’s the pain of belief or the belief of pain, you too can rise above its seeming reality and find a new view that helps and heals.  That new worldview is good for all of us.

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.

Complaint? or Gratitude!

January 16, 2014

Even before either one takes form in words or deeds, there is an attitude of thought behind it.  Complaint tends to reflect a preoccupation with self, accompanied by fear and apparent lack.  Gratitude is more outwardly oriented, overcoming both fear and lack.  Which sounds more productive to you?

A loved poem by Vivian Burnett puts it this way: “Our gratitude is riches, complaint is poverty, our trials bloom in blessings, they test our constancy.”

Is there a dearth of joy in your life?  Are health and happiness missing?  Are you struggling financially?  Perhaps the solution is as easy as adding a bit of gratitude to your routine.  In fact, if you Google the phrase “effects of gratitude on health” you will find nearly 30 million responses to its positive effects.

Gratitude doesn’t create abundance, but it does reveal it.  The fact is, God is pouring forth absolutely everything we need all the time without exception.  (see Is 55 for example)  A grateful heart recognizes it and rejoices.

Just as there is likely something to complain about in every life, there is just as surely something to be grateful for as well.  A close examination of one’s circumstances will reveal a compelling list for both outlooks.  Consciously choosing gratitude effectively diminishes every reason for complaint. The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Thessaloniki said, “in all things give thanks.”  (I Thess 5:18)  He gave no caveats – just “do it.”  And he further explained it to be God’s will to do so.

And Jesus’ consistent effort to be thankful no matter what the issue, transformed the lives of those around him.  He raised Lazarus after giving thanks.  He fed multitudes after giving thanks.  He allowed himself to be crucified after giving thanks.  Yet, each of these powerful acts changed the world forever – and revealed a more stunning and salvific outcome than complaint ever could.

Gratitude can even have the powerful effect of healing the past, as Mary Baker Eddy states here: “What is gratitude but a powerful camera obscura, a thing focusing light where love, memory, and all within the human heart is present to manifest light.” (My p. 164)

It is a mistake to think that circumstances determine one’s attitude.  Rather, one’s attitude determines circumstances.  Choose an attitude of gratitude and watch the blessings flow.

You might enjoy this post along the same lines: http://www.northernreflectionsonhealth.ca/2224/3-steps-exercise-gratitude-muscle/

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.


Watch one hour

January 10, 2014

When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane awaiting Judas and the temple soldiers, he asked his disciples to pray with him.  He was struggling with what looked like an inglorious end to his ministry.  Finding his disciples asleep instead of praying, he asked them, “what, could ye not watch with me one hour?”  But he trusted the care of his Heavenly Father, who ultimately turned that situation around, bringing infinite good to you and me.  You can read the whole story in Matthew 26.

The same invitation is extended to us.  We have an opportunity to watch in prayer for those around us.  Your prayerful clarity may be just what your neighbor needs.  Your deeply spiritual consecration could be the healing solution to lift someone out of suffering.  Your commitment to love unselfishly might be all that’s needed to inspire progress.  Your heartfelt and humble blessing will dissolve fear and open the way.

It’s only an hour.

Let’s do this for each other.

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.

No, I’m not talking about chocolate or smoking or robbing banks – that’s a different blog post!  I’m talking about qualities of thought.  Huh?!  Yep, what kinds of thoughts are you willing to give up this year that just aren’t serving you?  In other words, what thoughts are you thinking that are holding you back from recognizing your – and others’ – God-given freedom and progress?

Is it your tendency to find fault with yourself or others?  Whatever false sense of satisfaction you get from that isn’t enough to take away the stain it leaves on your spirit.  Instead, uncover your natural inclination to see the good in your neighbors and to help them celebrate their awesomeness!

Are you a procrastinator, waiting ’til not only the last moment, but way beyond it?  Yes, procrastination begins in thought.  But a new viewpoint can reverse it instantly, dissolving the bad effects of self-justification.

What about fretfulness?  Or blame?  Or rehearsing drama?  These are all simply phases of self-absorption which tend to hinder and hide your true nature.

Jesus was so convinced that his followers were clearer thinkers, kinder and holier, that he said of them (and you too) “ye are the light of the world.”  (Matt 5:14)  Imagine that!  Lifting off the bushel basket of willfulness and self-love, your brilliant godlike character shines forth as a guiding beacon.

It’s all just about changing your outlook.  There are plenty of available tools to help you do that too: the Sermon on the Mount, for one.  (Matt 5, 6, 7)  The Apostle James says “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (Chapter 4, vs 7) He further explains that you can do so by submitting yourself to God.  Mary Baker Eddy adds, “Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good.   God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man.”  (Science and Health page 393)

Think of that – nothing can prevent you from replacing fear with joy, or vanity with patience, or anger with affection.  Nothing can deter your efforts to express your real nature as a child of God.

It’s a new year – a great time to leave behind outdated thinking, no matter how familiar it seems, and take on the freshness of a more spiritual outlook.  You can do it.

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.