Category Archives: Inspiration

God’s presence is acknowledged everywhere including at UT Austin

Written by Michelle Wigginton, CS

A report of a shooting taking place on the UT campus came across my newsfeed yesterday morning. I did not even take a moment to read the report. I turned to God in prayer. I humbly acknowledged His presence right here with me and right there on the UT campus 25 minutes from my home.  I was remembering the assurance we find in the Bible that, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, . . . And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”(KJV Genesis 1) As that statement flashed through my thought, I was suddenly struck by the command in that statement to all of us.  More on that in a moment, I have always followed up Genesis 1 with Christ Jesus’ simplification of the 10 Commandments. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He goes on to say, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (NIV Matt 22:37-40) This is the clanging symbols, brick dropping on your head, car horn blaring, alarm clock buzzing, AK47 firing, wake up call to your true identity as the child of God. This is the “El Dorado” of how to think about and “do” life.

When I was learning Bible stories in the Christian Science Sunday School many moons ago, I thought anyone who healed was awesome and Christ Jesus was the epitome, the coolest dude to walk the planet. I’ve been trying to emulate the Christ idea he so perfectly expressed ever since. A statement that I learned while in Sunday School came to me while I was praying about the UT shooting. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discover and Founder of Christian Science in her landmark textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures makes this phenomenal statement, “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy.” Wow, wish I could do that . . .  actually I can and so can you!  Remember Christ Jesus also says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”(NLT John 14:12) How in the world, you might ask, do I do that?  That was the question I knew that needed to be answered.

So I come back to that command in Genesis 1:31. It is so simple a command, so profound and yet I’ve overlooked its presence for years. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”  Do you see it?  “BEHOLD” what a direct command! God has just informed us for all time that his creation, every aspect is not only good, but very good.  If we are seeing something not good, then we are miscalculating, not being obedient to the first commandment, not honoring God’s word, not loving with all of our heart, soul and mind. We are given a direct command “behold”.  Merriam-Webster Unabridged defines behold as: to look at: examine closely: watch: to receive the impression of through or as if through visual means: see intently and fully: apprehend, experience: look: used in the imperative as an interjection especially to call attention.  I must line my thinking up with what God has already declared to be law.  I must look at and examine closely how I am seeing each man and woman.  How am I seeing this shooter?  I followed God’s command to “behold, it (God’s creation) was very good.”  I saw this man and everyone else in Austin and around the globe as “made in the image and likeness of God” and therefore good, despite what the outward appearance was saying.  I knew in my heart if I had made a mistake I would still want to be loved, so I had to love this man.  I have made plenty of mistakes in my life, but my true identity, as well as the UT shooter’s and yours, as the child of God is worth holding to, clinging to, examining closely, learning about, simply . . . LOOKING AT WITH LOVE.

The Bible unfolds and reveals the only source of complete, total security

Written by Robert Carswell, CS

National news reports about the recent shooting on the UT at Austin campus paint a picture of near tragedy for the purpose of emphasizing the danger on college campuses around the country, and its relevance to possible legislation allowing students to carry concealed weapons. The incident, and news responses quite naturally lead us to consider ‘protection’, of what it consists and its source.

Campus security has been enhanced over recent years at all levels of education, as has student and parent awareness of potential danger. Electronic surveillance, increases in manpower, and computerized information exchange are wise innovations intended to further protect the students and teachers. While human footsteps are comforting, no one would argue that these preventative measures afford complete protection. So where can we turn for such assurance?

The Bible unfolds and reveals the only source of complete, total security. In the book of Isaiah, we read this promise: “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.”

For thousands of years, even before the birth of Christ Jesus, man has turned to our heavenly God for supply, discovering that human needs can be met in every circumstance. Jesus proved beyond all doubt that we could rely upon God’s loving protection, that our divine Father-Mother is with us no matter where we are, providing total security, meeting our every need whether if be for healing our bodies, nourishment, comfort, or protection from forces that seem beyond our control.

“Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you.” These words were written by the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy in her best-selling book, Science And Health With Key To The Scriptures, that begins with this assurance: “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.”

Turning to God, attesting to His infinite Love for mankind brings into full view divine protection, a corrective element that allay fears, secures us from harm, defuses crises, and not just for us but also for all within our thought. Whether student, parent, or concerned citizen, we can turn to God with complete confidence, being assured of this Truth written by Mary Baker Eddy, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.”

Spiritual Response to UT School Shooting: Safe at school and everywhere else

by Patrick Jonnson, excerpted from an article in the Christian Science Monitor as originally posted at www.CSMonitor.com September 28, 2010

The University of Texas at Austin, the site of one of the worst campus shootings in US history, came close to another tragedy Tuesday as a ski-mask wearing gunman fired several shots on campus before taking his own life. No one else was hurt.  Read the entire article here: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0928/UT-shooting-comes-just-as-Austin-campus-debates-concealed-weapons-law

What is a spiritual response to this news that our community can offer?  How can turning to prayer bring safety and protection, peace and harmony?   In an article on www.Spirituality.com, “Safe at school and everywhere else”, Robert Storm writes “as a principal, I would regularly visit classrooms and monitor the playground and cafeteria. I would regularly ask myself, ‘Do I feel safe on this campus?’ I could honestly answer, ‘Yes, I do.’ It wasn’t just because of all the updated safety devices and procedures added to the campus during my tenure as principal—I also felt safe because of an abiding confidence and conviction that God’s love is ever present and would not put any of His precious children in harm’s way.”  Mr. Storm goes on to write about how his conviction of God’s ever present care was demonstrated during a school incident where a teenage intruder entered the campus with a gun and took several shots. The situation ended peacefully without any injuries. Mr. Storm continues that “prayer informs our practical actions in maintaining safety, and is an effective counter to error, which would terrorize us into believing that our children, or we ourselves, are vulnerable. God’s presence is a constant protection and source of comfort.”  Read the complete article here http://www.spirituality.com/article.jhtml?ElementId=/repositories/shcomarticle/May2010/1272976858.xml&ElementName=Safe%20at%20school%20%13%20and%20everywhere

Going on Vacation? Here are some travel prayers to take along.

It’s almost the end of summer and folks are taking in their final vacation plans.  Below is a compilation of articles and audio talks that offer uplifting thoughts about safe travel, rest and relaxation, vacations.

The author of a recent article from the Christian Science Monitor, kept several Psalms close at hand when starting on a family road trip. Assuring safe travels, Psalms 191 reads “The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”  Read more

“Travel Safely in God’s Care” is the topic of this hour long audio web chat that dives into a discussion and examples of how prayer can make a difference when traveling.   Listen here

Are you looking for rest during your vacation?  In this article from spirituality.com “It’s Vacation Time – more work or real rest”, the author writes, “During that flight to Orlando, and more than a few times since, I considered what it means to take a break from my daily routine. I began to wonder—the way a child might—if God takes a vacation….”  Read more

You’ll find numerous inspiring articles and testimonies of healing related to vacations and travel at www.spirituality.com.

A spiritual response to the stress of war

USA Today recently published an article outlining the increase in Army medical discharges due to mental health issues (Mental Illness Costing Military Soldiers by Gregg Zoroya published on July 25, 2010).

According to the article, 1,224 soldiers were medically discharged last year due to post-traumatic stress disorder. “These numbers really just validate the mental health communities’ concern about multiple deployments,” says Adrian Atizado, who specializes in health issues as assistant national legislative director for Disabled American Veterans. “Mind and body are both taking a beating.”

In this audio webcast from Spirituality.com, Janet Horton, a 28-year Army veteran and former military chaplain, talks about the spiritual ideas that have inspired and supported her through her years of service in the armed forces, including her experiences at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.  She shares healing experiences and answers questions about post-traumatic stress disorder, ways to pray for loved ones in combat as well as the victims of war, and how prayer in combat is possible and essential.

Click here to hear the entire discussion: www.spirituality.com

Spiritual Solutions for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill

Are you looking for a spiritual perspective about the Gulf oil spill? Perhaps you’ve wondered how you can help be part of the solution.  Below are just a few of the many wonderful resources available for your thoughtful consideration.

A quick search “oil spill” on www. spirituality.com brings up a number of articles including an audio chat from May 6, 2010 with Kit Wittich entitled “Prayer about the Gulf Coast oil spill.”  Click here to listen.  You can also read various answers from around the world to the question “How are you praying for resolution to ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?” Click here to read.

This week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson is on the subject “Is the Universe evolved by Atomic Force?”  A thought-provoking question “Does God notice the magnitude of human problems? Does He care?”  has been posed on www.TMCYouth.com and invites the public share to their answers, thoughts, and additional questions.

The Christian Science Monitor has ongoing coverage from a news perspective. But it also has several articles based on a Christian Science perspective.  From June 1st, “The oil spill and God’s finger” and from June 6th “A healing answer to the Gulf oil spill.”

Feel free to share your thoughts and prayers on this topic in the “Comments” section below.

Marine Recruits in Sunday School

Yesterday, seven US Marine Recruits from San Diego joined our Sunday School in Austin TX – thanks to laptops, web cameras, wifi and Skype.  Steve W, a retired Navy pilot and English High School teacher, fielded questions from the recruits about God, spirituality, healing and sexuality.  The feedback from both sides afterwards was that the hour long class was a huge success.  The recruits took away several key spiritual ideas that will help them during their demanding physical and emotional training.

So how did this come to be, you might ask? Carolyn S. is a local Christian Science Practitioner who for the past 5 years has joined other faith-based volunteers and chaplains in providing religious services and spiritual support to the MCRD-SD recruits for 3 hours each Sunday morning. Carolyn contacted us several weeks ago because our church worship services are being teleconferenced with easy Skype access AND we are in a time zone that matches the early morning Sunday free time when the recruits are encouraged to reach out and learn about different faiths.

We talked about different ways that we could support the recruits and their interest in spirituality and healing. The first venture occurred two weeks ago when we arranged for Carolyn and the recruits to Skype into our Sunday worship service at 11am CST (9am PST).  We were fortunate to have Chris C., a recently retired US Army Chaplain, join us in person at the Austin church. Chris video-chatted via Skype with the recruits, making introductions before the church service and answering questions afterwards.  This initial dialogue led to yesterday’s Sunday School class in which the recruits, most of whom are 17-19 year olds, participated in a Q&A discussion format.

Carolyn later emailed feedback,  “…The fact that they are responsible for their decisions in the most challenging situations is amazing. But then they are made in the image and likeness of God and have all that God knows at hand (omni-Science) – so all is well! The point of needing to lift the weakest member for the good of all was especially relative. [After Sunday School] we continued to consider how to apply the Science Jesus demonstrated – one Recruit shared how that has worked in his platoon. He has been “healing” that challenge over the past few weeks.”

It seems fitting that this experience is being written today, Memorial Day, a national day of remembrance for those who have sacrificed so much for the ideals of freedom and sovereignty. Here is a link to an article published on www.Spirituality.com on topic for today, “Remembering our Heroes”.

Economic Freedom NOW

The answer to economic freedom isn’t in waiting for abundance or balance or control. In matters of the home, the community, the state, and the world, the only lasting, right, satisfying solution is always spiritual. Because it is spiritual, it is ever-present and active, readily available and ours to claim right now!

It seems that in these challenging economic times, the biggest culprit to our realizing our freedom may be fear.

Listen to what Mrs. Eddy tells us in Science and Health: “Always begin your treatment by allaying the fear of the patients. Silently reassure them as to their exemption from disease and danger. Watch the results of this simple rule of Christian Science, and you will find that it alleviates the symptoms of every disease. If you succeed in wholly removing the fear, your patient is healed.” (Science and Health 411:27-1)

Doesn’t this statement necessarily apply to every claim to a lack, be it of health or of substance of any kind? The healing is revealed as we remove the fear. It’s a simple rule, she says. We can’t very well take a stand for Truth and go forward with generous living and giving if we are still afraid. We are not really standing with Truth, then, are we?  Matter still has our attention and at least a portion of our affection. We still believe it has power that God might eventually overtake, rather than realizing its powerlessness, now and always. What we need is to get all our news from God, and really be at peace in that. It isn’t going to get better. All is well. Full. Complete. Right now.  No waiting.

So how do we conquer fear? First of all, we keep the spiritual idea before out thought, rather than the blinding and confusing illusions of material things and circumstances. But, the real answer to fear is always Love. “Love casteth out fear.” God requires us to be loving and to feel loved.  And He made us capable of this. Of course, we start by loving God– His tender love, presence, wisdom and control.

Then how else can we realize love more? We need to get rid of blame. There’s no love in that. Are we blaming ourselves or others? We have to absolve ourselves of guilt over past decisions in order to begin witnessing a present abundance.

Or are we assuming a government’s action or inaction has done us or our nation harm, or that it can save or doom us? Maybe there is even a righteous indignation that we’d like to hang onto toward some group or individual. Remember, nothing has been done to us. God is the only Cause. The effect of His authority is always good.  The government is on His shoulder alone and is steady. It’s never been anywhere else.  There needs to be a conscientious forgiveness of things– administrations, self, and circumstances. No political party or financial organization is to blame nor is it responsible for improvement of something that hasn’t been broken. God is All. He is not in an organization or limited by it. We know we “are not hurt and understand the reason why.” (Science and Health 397:17) Mrs. Eddy is talking about accidents, random acts. We aren’t subject to unreasonable surprises. God’s not like that! There’s nothing to repair. No guilt. No blame. No fixing. The adjusting that is God’s law is revelation, not material action, although it appears as a righting of things humanly. We have to get past the idea that we have to fix something. We are not broken. Life is not broken. Life is God, perfect good.

I love how Mrs. Eddy describes Christian Science—“Jesus said, ‘Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’ This truth is Christian Science.” (Science and Health 442: 27)

Christian Science comes announcing our fearless abundance. It comes reminding us that we have not given anything up or earned it or lost it along the way, nor can we at any point.  It is God’s pleasure to give it to us, and to keep on giving it to us. He has enough goodness and enough Love. So, indeed, we have all and we have it now and without a fear of losing. God is the keeper of all good, our good, not a bank, or a boss, or even ourselves. God’s substance is in secure hands, and it is ours by reflection, not personal possession. We all have it equally and sufficiently and without fluctuation. God’s flock is always loved with a Love that is boundless, controlled, perfect, and more than enough!

The Healing Power of Music – a Conductor’s Perspective

We’re here in Austin, right? The Live music capitol of the world!  It’s not too difficult to think of music in terms of spirituality. I’m sure many of us have found comfort, inspiration and maybe even healing from a song.  When I find my thoughts spinning with worrisome noise, I love to listen to favorite hymns. Their soft and simple tunes shut out that noise and their powerful and poignet lyrics about our heavenly divine creator and her creations (us) fill my thoughts with a calm trust that Christ is at the helm and God’s care is constant and ever present for all. I’ll frequently drift to sleep while listening to these gentle prayers on my i-pod.

Next week, Spirituality.com is hosting a live audio chat with Conductor Alistair Willis who will be sharing his thoughts on “The Healing Power of Music – a Conductor’s Perspective”.  From Spirituality.com, “A new songlist on your iPod, a favorite hymn in church, a Bach concerto…music has a way of opening all of our hearts to greater possibilities and joy.” You can log on live thru www.Spirituality.com and join their chat room during the talk – scheduled for Tuesday May 25, 1-2pm CST. Feel free to come back to this blog and share with us your thoughts on the topic and the talk.   To subscribe to this and future spirituality.com podcasts, click here http://feeds.feedburner.com/spirituality_eventpodcast