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

Animal Friendly Austin & God’s gracious care for the little creatures

Austin Pets Alive (APA), a local nonprofit dedicated to making Austin a no-kill city, today unveiled its first Adoption and Resource Center allowing for an increase in adoptions as well as improved resources for animal care. You can read more about the center by clicking here. Is there a way that we can contribute prayerfully to a solution to animal overpopulation, neglect or illness? You betcha! Below are several articles that provide a spiritual perspective on how the authors utilized prayer when seeking comfort and answers for animals.

*Caroline Martin, from Cape Cod MA, writes about a cold February evening when she came home to find the children “frantically calling, ‘Beau, Beau, where are you? Please, Beau, come home.’ Beau was a beautiful blue and green parrot.”  Read more about how the family turned to God for answers. Click here: Missing? Impossible!

*Finding Ming is a testimony about how prayer helped comfort the new owners of an adopted feisty cat who was nowhere to be found in his new home.  This family prayed and found peace, and…Ming. Click here: Finding Ming

*Unleased by Love. I absolutely love dogs. I know God gave man dominion “over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Gen 1: 26), but that doesn’t mean other creatures aren’t cared for by God. It is as much in their nature—as it is in ours—to express God’s great qualities, since He created them, too. So I had to disagree when I heard today that some people believe pets can’t be healed because they are lesser ideas of God. Read the rest of this article along with comments.

*Dog behavior issues? No problem! Permanent answers for this author started with the premise that “every creature is a distinct ‘right idea’ reflecting the divine intelligence that forms it. Read more here: Good Dog!

QUESTION: “Have you ever prayed for the protection or healing of a pet or animal? Read answers submitted by spirituality.com readers. Click here. Fell free to share your own experiences of turning to God for help in situations regarding animals by submitting a comment below.

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.

Spiritual solutions to eating disorders

In this recorded audio webcast from Spirituality.com, Candace du Mars, a Christian Science Practitioner and Teacher, takes questions and discusses spiritual solutions to eating disorders and weight concerns.  Questions include dealing with anorexia and other eating disorders, how to bring a more spiritual approach to athletic training,  concerns about weight and body image,  helping young children enjoy a wider variety of food and how to gain a more spiritual view of food and eating.  She also shares her own healings of gastritis and obesity.  Click here:  http://www.spirituality.com/article.jhtml?ElementId=/repositories/shcomarticle/Jul2010/1279655515.xml&ElementName=Spiritual%20solutions%20to%20ea

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

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