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Fear Not

November 5, 2017

There’s nothing more comforting than the reassurance you don’t have to be afraid.  Especially in the uncertainty of our everyday lives, having an available reminder to “fear not” is a precious resource. For me, it’s the word and works of Christ Jesus. His tender and persistent message of “be not afraid” was based on an unbreakable relationship with his heavenly Father, divine Love.

He taught his followers that the same relationship with God was theirs as well.  He showed them throughout his ministry that the saving power of God, Love, was ever present and ever responsive.  His Father was their Father.

Even before this passage in First John was written (4:18) – there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear – Jesus was proving it through healing and saving countless individuals from sin, disease, and even death.  And when bad things did occur, that law of Love was still at work comforting and lifting.

Jesus never agreed that there was ever a reason to be frightened.  And he never encouraged his followers to be afraid or to act out of fear.  On the contrary, he steadfastly refused to give any power to any scary situation, even when it appeared to be life threatening.

That same strong trust can be ours today by relying on the same strong Christ which Jesus depended on, giving us all the strength and courage we need to stand up to fear or terror or any horrible situation.  The power of the Christ, which Jesus manifested throughout his career, is at work right here counteracting whatever would frighten us.  It has all the power of God behind it, overthrowing fear through the omnipotence of divine Love.

Love is another name for God.  It’s not just about being loving or loved, although those help when we’re afraid.  It’s about the all-power of God Himself destroying what is unlike Him.  Love can cast out fear because Love is not afraid.

This is what Jesus knew when he fearlessly faced murderous crowds, when he patiently fed multitudes, when he compassionately raised the dead, and when he unselfishly rose from the grave.  He was simply expressing his heavenly Father’s infinite Love.

We can do that too.  We can give the power to Love by taking it away from fear.  Remembering the example Christ Jesus set for us, enables us to follow that example a little more closely, a little more quickly.  Then we see fear cast out too, and healing solutions follow.

Fear not isn’t just wishful thinking.  It’s a proven and reliable standpoint that anyone can practice.

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.

Supremacy…

August 19, 2017

…has come to mean the subjugation of one people by another for reasons no greater than color or creed.  It doesn’t take into account any kind of character or intellect, but simply places value on specific human origin.

Real supremacy though is about qualities of thought, such as the strength of truth over error, the power of love over hate, and the control of good over evil.  These highest standards of consciousness and behavior, when practiced assiduously and without rancor, lift all mankind regardless of physical and mental characteristics.

The Golden Rule is an example of putting another’s welfare above one’s own as a way of saying “this is how I’d like you to treat me.”  And it consistently improves relations and conversations when regularly applied.

The Prophet Malachi asked, “have we not all one father?” meaning, haven’t we all really come from the same source?  (2:10) Don’t we all really have the same beginning?  And whether you think that beginning is primordial or spiritual, there were not separate “them” and “us” creations way back then.

Uniting together through principles of decency, kindness, hope, and liberty regardless of what one looks like, or where one comes from is the only way to make true progress, blessing one and all.  The Apostle Paul said, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  (Galations 5:22,23)

And Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the  Scripture, “Love thy neighbor as thyself;” annihilates  pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes;  equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves  nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.”  (pg. 340)

Separation due to skin color or hate is not true identity. By striving to overcome all that would pit us against each other, including devious negative mental qualities, we begin to see who we truly are as the image and likeness of God.  And of that God said that it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)

Let us practice the true supremacy of equality, based on the law of God’s universal and impartial goodness. Then, nothing can keep us apart.

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.

Jesus said, “if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.”  (Luke 6:32)  It may be old fashioned language, but the point is if you only love those who:

  • agree with you;

  • look like you;

  • vote like you;

  • go to your church;

then your world probably feels pretty small and scary.

Jesus said love everyone and yourself.  Love those:

  • with whom you disagree;

  • who look different – maybe very different – than you;

  • who voted for the other person, or other party, or didn’t vote at all;

  • who go to a different church, or a synagogue, or mosque, or no church at all.

The Golden Rule doesn’t dismiss fear, it heals fear.  In fact, it requires its users to give up fear.

That is the best solution of all, where fear doesn’t separate us and love binds us together: brothers and sisters.  Neighbors.  People.

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.

Twelve Baskets Full

December 17, 2014

That’s how much extra food the disciples took away after they started with just 2 loaves and 5 fish.  (Matt 14:20 is one example) That’s one basket per disciple.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  Jesus wanted his students to know that God always provided enough – for them and for all – even when it seemed as though they started with nothing or next to nothing.

Why did Jesus care?  Because his ministry was based on the very simple premise that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…”  (John 3:16)  That divine Love that introduced Jesus to humanity was the basis of Jesus’ care for humanity.

And it’s still the basis of his enduring ministry.  God so loved us – you and me – that he sent his son to live and explain and prove that love to all who followed him, then and now.  And he expected them (and us) to live and explain and prove that love in our lives, too.

That means that there will always be at least one basket for us, out of the twelve baskets full, of whatever we need.  This is what love looks like.  Now, just to be clear, the baskets may not always be filled with “stuff” but they will be filled with grace, affection, strength, health, joy, intelligence, companionship, satisfaction, etc.: whatever we need to more safely exist and to more naturally love God and man.

Isaiah heard God say: “as 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.  For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace.”  (55:10-12)

That promise is perpetual.  It was evidence of God’s love way before Jesus’ time.  And the evidence of that same love is here today.  It’s why we celebrate Christmas: it’s why we remember the birth of God’s dear son, that came as a gift of love.  And those eternal baskets full are God’s ongoing gift to us of that love in action.

As Mary Baker Eddy puts it, “divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.”  (Science and Health p. 494)

“Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.”  (2 Cor 9:15)

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.

You may recognize that phrase from the 91st Psalm.  It’s not just a nice saying – it’s a law of God.  And one that we must gain a deeper understanding of, in order to effectively stop, and even reverse, the Ebola outbreak in Africa.  A recent newspaper update addresses the rising concerns there, as well as the need for calm.

The promise of the 91st Psalm is that the recognition of and reliance on God – or “the Lord, which is my refuge” – will guarantee that “no evil shall befall thee.”  Guarantee is a strong word, but the author of that ancient poem was convinced that anyone who hid himself “under the shadow of the Almighty” would find comfort and safety there.

Although scholars are not sure who actually authored this historic verse – David, Moses, or some other early composer – the writer surely had a clear sense of the willingness and ability of God to actively care for his children.  And even though it’s in a book of Hebrew poetry, its lesson is available to all regardless of faith – or no faith.

As a model for healing and protecting prayer, the 91st Psalm directs us to start with the all-power of the divine, placing ourselves – and those we pray for – in the shelter of God’s mighty presence.  Then, defining Him as our protector and foundation, we can realize all the ways in which His care sustains and maintains us.  The promise is that “he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”  That watchfulness is so complete that we can’t even stub a toe, let alone catch a disease.

Applying the message of this powerful Psalm to the events in Africa is an effective means of confronting the argument that Ebola is out of the control of man and God.  Yet for centuries, people have turned to the promises in the Bible, including the omnipotence of God, to heal all kinds of disease, contagious or otherwise.  Jesus’ many healings are especially inspiring and particularly instructional in their correlation between turning to our heavenly Father and being well.

What can you do?  The first step, and one which the 91st Psalm strongly promotes, is to put down fear.  It says, “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”  And 1 John concurs by stating that “perfect love casteth out fear.”  (4:18)  Turning to God who is perfect Love, restores a sense of peace and normalcy, enabling you to overcome any anxious sense for your own health, or that of others.

If you’re wondering whether your own small prayer wherever you are located, can be of benefit for those who are suffering someplace else, be assured that “to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.”  (Science and Health, p. 494)  It’s not your own power that heals, it’s God’s.  Prayer acknowledges the infinitude and ever presence of divinity, and humbly expects good results.

As a member of the community of earth, those in other parts of the world are your neighbors.  Your prayerful outreach on their behalf blesses all mankind.  And we surely need that blessing now.

Here’s a great podcast about healing contagion.  You might find some useful ideas to supplement your prayers.

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 more harm

June 12, 2014

The news has been full of stories of deadly harm: stories in which anger, misogyny, white supremacy, hatred, and fear (and many other etceteras) have played huge roles.  And people have died.

We must act.  We must take back our peace.  We must protect those we love from harm.  And we must prevent those who would harm from making those awful choices.

We are not helpless.

All of those negative thoughts and character traits are not new.  You can find them in the Bible.  The Apostle Paul said, “the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

But he also offers a solution: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  (Gal 5:19-22)  Paul was convinced that all of those wretched sins, including deadly harm, could be prevented and even undone, through confronting them with the power of the fruit of the Spirit.

Now, before you imagine that joy or meekness have no power before someone wielding a shotgun, consider this story from the Bible.  Jesus had just reprimanded the crowd with his references to Elijah and Elisha.  Luke, chapter 4 relates that “all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.  But he passing through the midst of them went his way.”

Their intent for him was deadly harm.  But this meek, peaceful, longsuffering and gentle man, simply walked through them.  And he said to us, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.”  (John 14:12)  Jesus intended for us to be as safe – and as harmless – as he.

We need to know that we can be temperate or loving or faithful.  And not only under normal circumstances, but even in the face of violence, just as Jesus was.  The cure to any awful situation is living those qualities on a consistent basis, and with authority, recognizing their saving power.

Again, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:35, 37-39)

Let us be actively expressing the fruit of the Spirit.  Let us confront evil thoughts and actions with good thoughts and actions.  Let us overturn the verdict of helplessness with the authority of the Christ.

It is the only thing that will never fail.

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.