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With the election season in full swing there are lots of sources for “truth” but how do you know what’s actually true?

Jesus famously said, “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)  He wasn’t speaking at a political rally, but his words helped shape history nonetheless.  Jesus knew that the seeming truth of circumstances and events, of human ways and means, would ultimately pass away.  Yes, it was important to be well informed.  But he was speaking of truth that was larger than just the conditions of his day.  He was speaking of Truth itself, God, that would break the bonds of ignorance, illness, sin, and even death.

Our Master’s simple statement put forth a universal fact: Look to God and strive to know Him.  Doing so will help you sort through all the confusion and find a useful solution for moving forward.

Whether it’s who to vote for in this or any election cycle, or how to overcome fear, or even when seeking renewed health and vigor, turning to God, divine Truth, will reveal how to think deeply and with hope on these and all topics.

To be clear, God is not manipulating human circumstances to get a specific outcome.  But He is bringing forth order, harmony, safety, satisfaction, and usefulness as right components of His creation.  Endowed with those qualities of thought, we – His beloved children – can rightly determine and bring resolution to, any issue that comes to our attention.

This kind of spiritual thinking is the truth that makes you free – free from anger and apathy, or free from illness.

The Bible explains, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Mary Baker Eddy lived this, and encouraged others to “Pray for the prosperity of our country, and for her victory under arms; that justice, mercy, and peace continue to characterize her government, and that they shall rule all nations. Pray that the divine presence may still guide and bless our chief magistrate, those associated with his executive trust, and our national judiciary; give to our congress wisdom, and uphold our nation with the right arm of His righteousness.”  (Prayer for Country and Church, Pan p.14)

The wisdom you need to find your way through today’s issues is yours.  God is pouring it forth and it won’t return unto Him void.  (See Is 55:11)

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.

…and not to leave the other undone.  You may recognize Jesus’ admonition to the Pharisees.  (Luke 11:42)  He was encouraging them to not just perfect their understanding of the letter of the law but to live and love the spirit of the law as well.  He wanted them to do both.  His own life was a great illustration of knowing the law inside and out, but tempering it with love, using it to bless, not punish, his fellow man.

For example, when the Pharisees brought a woman to him whom they’d caught having sex with a man who wasn’t her husband, they rightly told him she should be stoned.  Jesus didn’t contradict their verdict.  But he did ask them to examine their own hearts to see which one of them was pure enough to throw the first stone.  Their anger and self-righteousness dissolved and they left the woman unscathed.  Then, Jesus pardoned her, changing her life forever.  (John 8)

In another instance, when a lawyer hoped to ensnare him in some false teaching about eternal life, Jesus asked him to recount what the law said. (Luke 10:25-37) The lawyer rightly quoted the Old Testament: love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.   Jesus praised him and reminded him that doing so was eternal life.  Still trying to trip him up, the lawyer asked how to identify one’s neighbor.  The Master told a poignant story that has come to be known as the parable of the Good Samaritan, making the point that one’s neighbor is anyone we come in contact with.  It was a startling but valid interpretation of the law that the lawyer couldn’t challenge.  Neither can we.

The Pharisees repeatedly chastised Jesus for healing on the Sabbath day.  And he repeatedly pointed out that freeing his fellow men and women from sin, disease, and death on the Sabbath was in keeping with God’s law of love.  In fact, he told them “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”  (Mark 2:27)  Jesus powerfully challenged the letter of the law that enabled a man to save an animal from danger on the Sabbath, but not a person.  Surely a person was worth more than a beast, he said.  (Luke 13:11-17) The spirit of the law was freedom for all.

We too can understand the freedom that comes from knowing the law inside and out and practicing it for healing and helping, rather than condemning or belittling.  Only in this way are we actually following the teachings of Christ Jesus.  We can do both.

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.

Give a fish or teach to fish

September 6, 2015

You’ve heard the adage: give a person a fish and they eat today; teach them to fish and they’ll eat every day.  It’s a good plan most of the time.  But you’ll recall that there are stories in the Bible of Jesus doing both, and both are important.

There are several instances in which Jesus fed thousands of people with just a few fishes.  Most of the people gathered probably already knew how to fish, and maybe even made their living doing so.  But they were hungry then and there, and Jesus, through understanding his heavenly Father’s abundant provision, fed each one of them.  And not just fish but bread too.  There were even leftovers.

Jesus was always meeting the need of the moment whether it was healing the sick, feeding the hungry, raising the dead, or encouraging the downtrodden.  And he expected nothing in return, not even gratitude.  He simply gave, and gave graciously.  It was his way of sharing the good news of Immanuel, or God with us, promised by Isaiah several centuries earlier (7:14).

At the end of his ministry, after his resurrection, he directed his disciples to shift their nets from one side of the boat to the other after they had fished all night in vain.  It was actually counter intuitive for these trained fishermen to do this, but they obeyed and found their nets overflowing.  This was the kind of teaching Jesus had provided to his closest followers throughout his time with them.  He challenged them to look at the things they thought they knew and perhaps took for granted in a different and deeper way.

Just as Jesus didn’t accept the outward appearance of things as the final verdict, neither did his disciples once they learned that God’s power was available to all, for good.  After Jesus’ ascension, they each had extensive healing ministries, touching the lives of thousands through their words and works.

The Science behind that early Christianity is still active today, still requiring its followers to look deeply beneath the human circumstances, to the safe and holy truth naturally abiding there.  Jesus promised his works would be done by us today, tomorrow, and forever.  And to the extent that we practice his Christianity will we accomplish those works, and greater works.

Give a fish or teach to fish: both are part of meeting the need.

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.

Lulu’s dream

February 16, 2015

She was tired and fell into an uneasy sleep.  Tossing and turning, she awoke with a start and realized she was late. With no time to go over her equations or review her math book, Lulu flew out the door.

The drive-thru at her favorite espresso stand was jammed so she parked, ran inside, and got in line.  She could hear the cashier three customers ahead of her: “that will be $5.  Out of $20.  $5’s your change.”

What?

Next customer: “that will be $5. Out of $5.  $20’s your change.”

What? again…

Now it was her turn: “that will be $5.  Out of $10.  You owe me $5.”  “Wait a minute,” Lulu said, “you owe me $5.”  “That’s not what it says here,” the cashier said.  “The register generates the numbers, I just collect the cash.  Next.”

Pulling out of the driveway, she puzzled over this odd occurrence.  She accelerated – or tried to – but the car sputtered and died.  Out of gas.  She had just filled up, and should be getting at least 25 miles per gallon.  But this was more like 1/2 mile per tank.  What?

The auto-club driver gave her 5 gallons to make it to the gas station.  He told her it was $2.50 per gallon.  She owed him $1000.  “That’s too many zeros,” she said.  “Pay, or walk,” he said.

She walked into work perplexed.  Lulu’s co-worker was nodding her head at some numbers on the board.  She read them aloud, “7,4,1,9,6,3,2,8,4.  They’re in perfect order, but I have this 10 left over… ”  Lulu rolled her eyes and said under her breath, “there is no math.”

There was a sharp ringing sound – Lulu’s alarm clock.  Oh, thank goodness, it was only a dream.  Lulu made sure she reviewed her equations before she got out of bed: 0 x 0 = 0, 1 x 0 = 0 all the way up to 12 x 12 = 144.  Then she spent time reading in her math book.  She certainly wasn’t going to be the cause of the collapse of math today, no sirree.

Aren’t you grateful that’s not the way it really works?

Lulu is no more responsible for the operation of the laws of math than you or I are.  Nor could not having time to review those laws, in any way impinge upon their usefulness or activity.

On the contrary, the laws of mathematics are consistent and demonstrable regardless of who knows them or uses them – or doesn’t know them or doesn’t use them.

The laws of God are the same way.  They are consistently universal and impartial in their operation and availability.  Nothing you do – or don’t do – effects any aspect of their eternal action.

Jesus raised the dead, fed the multitudes, healed the sick, and walked on the water, all through the ever present laws of God.  He included everyone in their operation when he said, “Our Father which art in heaven…”  (Matt 6:9)  And then he promised those laws would always operate (John 14:12).

Today, take as much time as you need to affirm your own place in God’s universe.  Let your prayers embrace God’s allness and your relationship with Him; the unchanging power of good and your expression of it.  But remember that your prayers don’t design your day – only God can do that.  Your prayers reveal your day, the reliably harmonious day of God’s creating.  Just like math and numbers never change regardless of our attention to them – or lack thereof.  And that’s not a dream.

This is part 2 of the Lulu saga.  To see part 1, click here:

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.

O ye of little faith.

February 8, 2015

Jesus only said that to his disciples, not the multitudes in general.  They were his students, his dear friends and closest companions.  They knew him the best, and even could do some of the works that he did.  They had the deepest understanding of his theology of anyone.  And yet, he knew – of all people – they should have more faith.

Sometimes though, much of what Jesus taught them seemed like theory.  He talked of things, and did things they simply couldn’t comprehend.  And, since he was there to do everything for them, they just didn’t quite connect the dots the way he’d like them to.  He was going to be around forever, right?  They had plenty of time!

All too soon, he was taken from them.  And it felt very permanent.  The disciples even feared for their own lives.  Going back to fishing seemed like a practical – and perhaps the only – option.  Yet, when Jesus presented himself to them, risen and alive, after the crucifixion, his teachings were no longer theory but demonstrable Christianity.  And he expected them to go into all the world and do as he had done.  (Mark 16:15)  Talk about a job requiring a lot of faith!

Mary Baker Eddy explains it this way, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes, “His resurrection was also their resurrection. It helped them to raise themselves and others from spiritual dulness and blind belief in God into the perception of infinite possibilities.”  p.34

Is our faith too little?  Jesus’ resurrection was not just for his disciples but for all mankind, and for all time.  The very fact that he overcame the last enemy (see 1 Cor. 15:26) and expected us to do the same (see John 14:12) indicates that our spiritual dullness and blind belief in God can melt away too.  The Apostle Paul was convinced that Jesus’ resurrection was real and repeatable and it was a major piece of his preaching.  You’ll find it throughout many of his letters.

How are you understanding and practicing the resurrection in your life?  How are you overcoming and transforming your lack of faith in Jesus’ word and works?  How are you growing beyond reading the words to proving their principle?

When Jesus said “O ye of little faith” to his disciples, it wasn’t so much a criticism as a means of waking them up to accept the possibility of what Jesus was doing.  Let that same wake-up call be like a resurrection to you, helping you to shake off the routine and rise into the heavenly fresh; to look away from the fear-induced impossibility, lifting your eyes to the all-things-are-possible-to-Love reality.

O ye of little faith is for those who do not know the risen Christ.  Get to know him and let your life be filled with his salvation.  Let your faith make you whole.

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.

2014, I mean 2015

January 8, 2015

Recently, I’d made the date on several important documents January 2014 instead of January 2015.  You see, 2014 was an established habit – I didn’t have to think about it, it just flowed from my fingers through the pen or keyboard.  It was legitimate for so long, surely I could make continued use of it.  I mean, what difference would it make?

And why should I have to remember the new date anyway?  It required of me to actually pay attention to what I was doing.  But alas, using the old wrong date created too many problems.  Important information was lost, or misfiled.  Documents had to be redone – sometimes from scratch.  Holding to the incorrect date, regardless of how big a habit it had become, was painful, and rather ridiculous.

Sometimes that’s the way it is with things that need to change.  We know we really should – and frankly, we probably want to anyway.  But the old way is so ingrained, so much a part of our behavior that we just can’t seem to catch ourselves until after the fact.  Then we fuss and fret and imagine that the bad habit is simply to be endured – and suffered for.  The Apostle Paul explains it this way, “the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. O wretched man that I am.”  (Rom 7:19,24)

Just as we eventually begin to write the correct date – with a bit of conscientious care – we can also shift from repeating some other bad habit to forming a new and better one, in the same way: conscientious care.  The key is in watching our thought, because behavior stems from our thinking. Mary Baker Eddy once wrote, “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.”  (Science and Health p. 392)

Yes, you can actually identify a thought before you accept it as your own – you can decide whether it will bless you or harm you.  If that thought is the basis of an unwanted behavior, nip it in the bud.  Don’t think it, then you won’t be compelled to act upon it.

Following the Apostle Paul’s painful confession, quoted above, he asked how to be delivered from repeating the problem.  The answer? “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”   Paul knew that the Christ is that quality of thought which acknowledges that “with God all things are possible” as Jesus himself said and proved.  (Matt 19:26)

That means that watching thought  – choosing the better ones and rejecting the worse – is not simply an activity of human will.  It is a spiritual ability animated by God.  Jesus put it this way: “I can of mine own self do nothing…because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”  (John 5:30)

While exchanging 2014 for 2015 is not terribly dramatic, it is indicative of one’s capacity to improve.  And knowing you can – especially when you must – makes the transition more hopeful.  And isn’t that the best part of the Christ?  To instill hope?

Welcome to 2015!

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.

But.

November 6, 2014

It’s a little word and it has a huge meaning.  For example, “I love God with all my heart, but…”  “I trust God to provide everything for me, but…”  “I know that God is my life, but…” Unfortunately, everything we say before that little word, is wiped away by whatever we say after it.  It’s as if we’re saying, I know God is all powerful.  I know He’s ever present.  I know He can do all things.  But…I’ve got this covered.

What better example do we have than Jesus Christ, who said, “I can of mine own self do nothing…because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”  (John 5:30)  The “but” in this case points to the whole power behind everything he did: his Father’s will.

You and I have the same Father, and His will is as clear and as love-impelled for us as it was for His beloved Son.  We can lose nothing except fear, by trusting God completely.

The two Great Commandments that Jesus made plain to his followers – to love God with all the heart, all the soul, all the mind, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself – have no caveats, no buts.  (Luke 10:27)  Consistency in living these spiritual laws as Jesus taught will conform us to receive the blessings he bestowed on the faithful.

This is not too much to ask.  Especially when you remember that God has no buts in His love for us.  It’s simply eternal and unconditional.  (Matt 5:45)

So, let’s say it together: I love God with all my heart.  Period.  I trust God to provide everything for me. Period.  I know that God is my life.  Period.  And then let’s go about our day as if it’s true.  No buts.

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.