Sunday, January 21st, 2024 Roundtable

The Lord Is the Strength of My Life

This week’s Lesson Sermon Subject: Life

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Morning Prayers

There is nothing present nor has power apart from divine Life, Truth and Love as infinite Mind, that can possibly control or confuse my thought, obscure my spiritual perception or hinder my progress in Christian Science, spiritually, mentally, morally, physically, financially, or any other way.

God’s will is all good always, is harmony, perfection. The will of God is health, gladness, all good, Life. His will is the consciousness of divine ever-presence, of Life eternal. It is to know what it is to act in conformity with the divine purpose and to be wholly governed by God.

Look away from the body to Spirit. My being is spiritual, my life, my intelligence are spiritual; my senses are spiritual; my life is hid with Christ in God, and there is no other existence.

I was born free, not in bondage to anything nor to anyone, for Principle leads me ever.

— from Divinity Course and General Collectanea, (the “Blue Book”), by Mary Baker Eddy, page 78

Discussion points

392 — WATCH that you rise to meet the claim of advancing age with alertness and activity. Sometimes it helps to call it witchcraft, since that is what it is. Mrs. Eddy once analyzed its workings as follows: “Malicious animal magnetism haunts you with a personality all distorted by mortal suggestions; makes it hideous and hateful to you and urges you to adopt ‘this’ as being created by God. It suggests a mental picture of age, failing strength, failing memory, dim sight, dim hearing, withered skin, bent form and every other suggestion to bolster up the lie of age.”

In the Christian Science Series for May 1, 1889, we find Mrs. Eddy writing, “… The added wisdom of age and experience is strength, not weakness, and we should understand this, expect it and know that it is so, then it would appear.”

Someone has written, … “You will be amazed and delighted by the revitalizing effects of this confident attitude, your step will have the spring of youth in it, and the dread of old age will slink away out of sight.

“Another thing to guard against is mental and physical inertia, particularly the former; when your interests begin to narrow down to what principally concerns yourself, look out; this is one of the first signs of old age. By living on a diet of self, you will slowly but surely deteriorate into a dried up, uninteresting character, neglected and really unworthy of anything but charitable notice.

“Disinclination to go out among people finally produces physical disability to do so. Limbs stiffen and your body refuses to do your will without the suffering you dislike to impose upon it. All routine tends to produce atrophy of mental activities, and again has habit robbed you of your youthfulness. Instead of dreading changes and fighting off the opportunities for making them, welcome them eagerly as you would a glass of water to quench your thirst — they are youth preservers for you. But don’t make the mistake of holding fast to that youth which belonged to your twenties. The charm and poise of your assimilated experiences have far greater value as an asset for your attractiveness than anything of the distant past. You are fitted to meet the world from any source whatever, if you have lived and lived deeply.

“A sense of humor is a divine gift. It is the very stronghold of abiding youth. It slays care, sustains hope, and has the world with it from the start to the finish. If it is not yours by right of heart, then cultivate it as a fine art. It is too valuable to be ignored.

“And don’t look on life from any viewpoint with a protest. Cultivate a love for people — exclusive of yourself — and let it be that divine love that sends out joy to everyone and so happiness to self.”

The handling of the claim of age would be approached with expectancy, did the student realize that it is but a false argument, since faculties and functions directed and sustained by Mind, can no more wear out or become impaired, than can a mirror wear out by being used. A wholesome active determination to meet these lies of age cannot help but be efficacious.

— from 500 Watching Points by Gilbert Carpenter


“God is my strength and power: And he maketh my way perfect.”

There is, perhaps, no quality more necessary to successful endeavor than courage. Every one knows that it takes courage to be true under trying circumstances; to press on under all sorts of difficulties; to “hold the fort” until all enemies are vanquished; to win the battle whatever the apparent odds against one. No one questions that it takes courage to persevere in each true activity until every hindrance is removed, every obstruction is thrown down, every obstacle is overcome; to press steadily forward, whatever the seeming discouragement, whatever the tendency to falter and faint by the way, until right is established. Many a battle has been gained by the revival of courage where the fight had seemed almost lost; renewed effort was thereby made possible because hope was restored, and the triumph of good resulted.

Men have always looked upon such courage as this with great admiration, and few if any thinkers but have desired to possess and exercise it. They have, however, often sought for it in the wrong direction because they have considered it physical, whereas the entire nature of true courage is always moral. That which is sometimes called courage, but is not based on a desire to see good triumph, will fail when it is most needed; it invariably runs before danger and would rather be accounted a coward than to stand, under difficulties, for that which is right; it is the very counterpart of fear, and partaking of such a nature it is but “a reed shaken with the wind,” on which no dependence can be placed,—on which no one would be tempted to rely for an instant.

In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (p. 514) Mrs. Eddy says, “Moral courage is ‘the lion of the tribe of Juda,’ the king of the mental realm.” And then she adds: “Free and fearless it roams in the forest. Undisturbed it lies in the open field, or rests in ‘green pastures, … beside the still waters.'” The Bible also teaches that it is only the courageous who can be calm and untroubled in the midst of stress, and who may always be conscious of God’s presence to deliver them from all evil. The Psalmist sang, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart.”

…Every demonstration of Truth over error, however small, is of real value in winning the salvation of the world. No one can be left out. It is important to all that every one of us shall succeed in proving God’s allness and the nothingness of every supposititious claim to an opposite. Then should we not lovingly stand ready with our songs of courage and hope, that no brother shall faint for lack of them? The demand for courage is made upon every one of us equally. Let us all, therefore, cling constantly to the blessed assurance that our beloved Leader has given us in “The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany” (p. 191), where she says, “Immortal courage fills the human breast and lights the living way of Life.”

“Courage” from Christian Science Sentinel, September 20, 1924 by Ella W. Hoag

Article — “Radiation and Absorption” by A. Learner

To wait does not mean to sit idly by with folded hands. “Having done all, to stand,” perhaps in the midst of arguments of discouragement, lack, grief, or illness, is sometimes harder than plunging into battle with mortal weapons might seem to be. But it is only as we stand firmly and steadfastly for what we know is right, waiting patiently on the Lord, that we shall win the victory.

Analyzing the words of the Psalmist, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord,” we find there is plenty of work to do in our waiting. The qualities of patience, humility, courage, loving-kindness, right activity, perseverance, all are called into use, if we would rightly wait. To “be still, and know that I am God” involves more than merely saying the words. It means to silence the temptation to believe in a power other than God; to quiet fear; to “renounce aggression, oppression and the pride of power” as Mrs. Eddy tells us in the textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (p. 451); to seek to understand God more fully; and to be willing to allow Him to lead and to guide, even though it be along stony paths.

Preceding every great service rendered to mankind, there has been the period of waiting, of preparation. Before Moses was ready to lead his people out of bondage, he had his years in the desert, where he did not idly allow the time to drift by, but where his thought and heart were being prepared for the work before him. David, tending his father’s flocks, was acquiring the needed courage, resourcefulness, fearlessness, childlikeness, that later enabled him to meet and conquer his foes and to be Israel’s great king. Jesus was thirty years preparing for his three short years of ministry…

When our Leader discovered, through her own healing, that the Christ is present for our salvation as it was in Jesus’ time, she tells us that for three years she secluded herself to devote her time to a consecrated study of the Bible, that she might give us a positive rule whereby we also might utilize God’s power to heal all manner of disease and discord. In the light of these examples, need we grumble if we too are called upon to have our period of waiting and preparation for the work that God has for us to do?

“They also serve who only stand and wait” from Christian Science Sentinel, July 11, 1925 by Helen Hixon

I see myself as God’s own child,
As perfect in His sight.
I see my brother-man as well,
A perfect child of light.
Then to complete my prayer,
I see him seeing me aright —
I see him seeing me seeing him
As perfect in Love’s sight.

“Perfect in Love’s sight” from 500 Watching Points, Watching Point 34, by Gilbert Carpenter

Teaching Testimony — Have courage and Be Kind by Mary Beth Singleterry

Caleb, as we may interpret his name, was “all heart.” He was an optimist. He would gladly have made all the others optimists too. He entertained no doubts about the conquest of the country. He does not even say, Let us go up and try to conquer it, but, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” Opposed to him were nearly all the other spies, who took a gloomy view of things. They saw no bright light in the clouds. The atmosphere in which they lived was that of a foggy November day. They forgot that the sun was shining behind the clouds, and that by and by it would disperse them. They were men who talked things down, men of no expectation and no hope,—pessimists, in fact. Unhappily, the race of pessimists is not yet extinct. They are with us today,—men of melancholy who do not see anything bright and always predict failure.

“Caleb” from Christian Science Sentinel, September 2, 1916 by From Our Exchanges, [The Jewish Chronicle]

Thoughts shared on the Lesson from readers:

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”(Psalm 27:14)

Below definitions are from the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary:

Wait: To rest in expectation and patience.

Courage: Bravery; that quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits; valor; boldness;

Strengthen: To cause to increase in power or security. To make strong, to encourage.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:

Numbers 14:5-10 Moses and Aaron were astonished to see a people throw away their own mercies. Caleb and Joshua assured the people of the goodness of the land. They made nothing of the difficulties in the way of their gaining it. If men were convinced of the desirableness of the gains of religion, they would not stick at the services of it. Though the Canaanites dwell in walled cities, their defence was departed from them. The other spies took notice of their strength, but these of their wickedness. No people can be safe, when they have provoked God to leave them. Though Israel dwell in tents, they are fortified. While we have the presence of God with us, we need not fear the most powerful force against us. Sinners are ruined by their own rebellion. But those who, like Caleb and Joshua, faithfully expose themselves for God, are sure to be taken under his special protection, and shall be hid from the rage of men, either under heaven or in heaven.

These are my thoughts of it:

My thought (consciousness) is like the spy, watching and interpreting what happens around me. If my spy (thought/consciousness) doesn’t know of or doesn’t accept the omnipotence and omnipresence of God, it interprets the land (could be a person, or a circumstance) as dangerous. For example if a person appears to be bossy and mean, and I only judge the outward appearance this person might seem dangerous or difficult to approach. If my spy knows about the omnipotence and omnipresence of God my spy will sense that this person has put up thick walls to hide something ungodly. Maybe they fear rejection, and for that reason they boss others around in order that no-one can boss them around. In seeing that this person doesn’t have God behind their actions, I don’t need to fear them. But I can trust in God to guide me in how to deal with the land/person/situation, to bring the omnipotence and omnipresence of God to light in me and others.

— Shared by participant.

Final Readings

Many of the great leaders of Israel in their demonstration of Truth sometimes came so near to the Christ-idea that it might seem almost strange they did not attain completely to the standard of perfection. Each one of the great characters of the Bible manifested more particularly some predominant quality, or qualities, which rendered him distinctive. Not so much is heard of the great leader of Israel who followed Moses, as of Moses himself; yet to a remarkable degree Joshua influenced the destinies of Israel through preserving intact the state formed by Moses, through protecting the teachings of Moses for the use of future generations, and through carrying out in full the plan of Moses. It may be said that Joshua’s characteristic quality was single-mindedness. He was spiritually anointed by God with that oil which Mrs. Eddy defines in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (p. 592) thus: “Consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration.”

… when one studies his character and his deeds, he is seen to have been possessed of rare spiritual qualities, and lacking in self-assertiveness or egotism. Under his guidance, it would seem as if a great spiritual idea had led Israel rather than a human personality. Ever at the head of the host, yet ever seemingly withdrawn from the commoner associations of the people; ever close to the inner shrine of the holies, Joshua always retained the complete confidence, love, respect, and obedience of his followers; for it is said, “And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua.” This was the work of one who has been called prosaic; yet his work expressed courage, initiative, activity, and ability; it was the work of one who in his sublime selflessness trusted implicitly to the leadership and guidance of God.

When Moses knew that he was to leave this human experience, he had already recognized the leader chosen of God,—Joshua, whom he had trained and taught. Just one kind of leader could accomplish the work before them, and it was such a one as would wholly follow the Lord. When Moses charged Joshua with his mission, the great lawgiver knew that the latter would follow, without complaint or comment, the path marked out for him…

Whenever Israel found a resting place, Joshua set up an altar to God and devoted time to prayer and thanksgiving and to reading in the “book of the law” to his people. To the rest of Canaan he led Israel, though the spiritual rest of inward peace, harmony, love, and good works each individual finds for himself. Yet in the midst of battle did Joshua find these. Amid great impurity he was pure. Among many gods, he worshiped but the One. Whatever another might do, he declared, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” His unrelinquished single-mindedness in holding to the standard of God was the cause of his success. In seven years he was able to complete the work of establishment in Canaan. When the land was divided, Joshua accepted a small portion for himself; and for eighteen years dwelt in mount Ephraim in the city which he built, still serving God and governing Israel.

… He glorified God while saying, “The Lord your God is he that hath fought for you.” Like his great ancestor Joseph, to whom he was similar in many ways, he possessed, “… true humility, The highest virtue, mother of them all.”

Joshua relinquished self to save Israel, and in so doing proved that he had never been the hardened warrior, but only the loving, gentle, obedient, resistless soldier of God. In the “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel” the voice and purpose of God always spoke through this single-minded leader, and all Israel was blessed thereby.

“The Single-Mindedness Of Joshua” from Christian Science Journal, October 1925, by Sarah Beatrice Slote

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