What is the Christ?

In this audio program I share some thoughts about the Christ and how it helps and heals us.

The post What is the Christ? appeared first on Mark Unger C.S..

In this audio program I share some thoughts about the Christ and how it helps and heals us.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

 

The post What is the Christ? appeared first on Mark Unger C.S..

What is the Christ?

In this audio program I share some thoughts about the Christ and how it helps and heals us.

The post What is the Christ? appeared first on Mark Unger C.S..

In this audio program I share some thoughts about the Christ and how it helps and heals us.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

 

The post What is the Christ? appeared first on Mark Unger C.S..

Recapture the joy of the Season

Has the holiday hustle and bustle got you a little frazzled? Many of us are impacted by extra demands on time, energy and finances. The stress of a busy holiday schedule ­ from shopping to seasonal festivities – can wear off the joy of the season even for a usually well-balanced person. At times it […]

BLD037688Has the holiday hustle and bustle got you a little frazzled?

Many of us are impacted by extra demands on time, energy and finances. The stress of a busy holiday schedule ­ from shopping to seasonal festivities – can wear off the joy of the season even for a usually well-balanced person. At times it may not feel like ‘Christmas’, so much as ‘Stress­mas’!

Many contend that the season has become a commercial enterprise. It makes the rush of Black Friday followed by Cyber ­Monday a disconnect from “peace on earth, good will to all.”

A public movement to balance the buying frenzy is “Giving Tuesday” (December 1st), a day designated to give to charity or volunteer in the community. In his hugely successful TED talk, philosopher Peter Singer emphasizes the immense satisfaction and happiness in giving to help others.

So, how can we maintain – or recapture ­ the joy of this special season? After all, the idea was originally to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the view of our origin as God’s children that his life represented. It wasn’t about checking things off the ‘to do’ list or finding the perfect gift.

I learned one year to find the true reason for joy; to find that heartfelt love which genuinely underlies the season’s activities.

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;” states the prophet Isaiah (55:12 NIV). This promise came to me that year when Christmas preparations and present buying had me anxious and stressed. I wanted to be joyful and peaceful as this was a special time with family and friends. How could I experience this Biblical promise?

During one busy Christmas shopping trip, I was struck by the incongruity of the season’s joy with the battleground the shopping experience presented. I began to have a severe headache. Finding a quiet space, I humbly turned to God, wanting to let in His joy and peace.

The Bible gives wise counsel on changing how we think about a problem. Another proven source of inspiration for me is Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy. One of her statements came to me as I was praying that day: “Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul [God].” (pg 269:14) I understand metaphysics to be the principal laws of God, His all-­power and goodness operating in our lives.Woman wrapping presents

Certainly, there were lots of “objects” on my gift list that I had not even really stopped to think about deeply.
The idea came to see each gift as an expression of the recipient’s spiritual quality, which they expressed, and I was fulfilling. The gift of a special book for a beloved husband became the expression of infinite Mind [God], which he certainly expressed in the attentive way he ran his business. The music gift card for a step­daughter was an expression of Soul – a quality she expressed in much creativity as an outcome of our Creator.

I continued my shopping and other preparations, connecting each activity to a spiritual quality.

Over the course of the morning, the headache disappeared and the joy of the season reappeared. Nothing of the hustle and bustle around me had changed a bit. But, my thinking had.

The Christmas spirit is here to inspire. Our varied expressions of caring for others are a natural outcome of love that has its origins in our Creator. We can cherish a Christ-­moment ­ a recognition of our heritage as God’s children ­ when we look more earnestly for the spiritual qualities expressed by each of us. Little wonder that leads to peace and joy.

As a community blogger on Metroland Media across Ontario, you can read this in various editions such a WindsorON here.

You don’t have time to get it all done

Dear Risa, You don’t have time to read this letter. It’s fall of sophomore year, and between your AP biology class, your other academics, cross country, volunteering, and National Leadership

The post You don’t have time to get it all done appeared first on time4thinkers.

Dear Risa,

You don’t have time to read this letter.

It’s fall of sophomore year, and between your AP biology class, your other academics, cross country, volunteering, and National Leadership Council, you’re not sure when you can even fit in a moment for yourself. Weren’t you planning on joining that writing center club, too? You’re starting to question whether you’re actually able to handle all your responsibilities and obligations. Not to mention, you’re now almost positive you hate biology.

You took the AP class because, well, that’s the only AP you could take and you wanted to challenge yourself. Because that’s the kind of person you are, right? The overachiever, the girl who would never back down from a challenge, and now the girl who doesn’t have a moment to spend with her family, or with God…but wait a minute, that doesn’t sound like you.

And yet, the lack of time continues to overwhelm you; these long days of back-to-back classes and activities just blend into each other to create this mess of a busy life. Where is the peace? The joy?

That cry for something deeper is still there, quiet but constant, and as you’re preparing for your upcoming bio midterm, a quote from Science and Health comes to you: “Trials are proofs of God’s care.” 1 You’ve struggled with this quote forever. How could something bad be evidence of something good? But then you hear the word “challenging” replace the word “bad,” and you start to think that maybe something challenging can be evidence of Love.

It’s not a sudden answer, but it makes you stop and think. And you realize how beautiful and exciting life could be if, instead of fearing challenges, you met them head on, armed with love, patience, strength—and all your God-given qualities. You start to see how it’s possible to turn a trial into an opportunity to express God and grow spiritually. And so when you take that bio midterm, you attack it with spirit and love, and it’s hard, yes, but with this new perspective, you’re so much more open to do what you need to do and to receive good. The grade you end up getting might not be up to your usual standard, but you’re proud of it nonetheless because you felt empowered by Love.

You realize that working through that test was actually kind of….fun. You feel completely present in your life and completely present in Life. Feeling God’s presence this way makes it easier to recognize when you need to take a break—to pray and be alone with your thoughts—but this doesn’t mean you’re letting any of your activities go. Sure, you can’t be superwoman. But you can do what’s right for you, what’s God-guided, including clubs, volunteering, and spending time with the ones you love.

Going into junior year, you have even more challenges to face. But the strength and poise you’ve found from God will help you embrace them—to see them as proofs of God’s care.

You’ll even have time to write this letter—and to realize how far you’ve come.

Love,
Risa

Notes:

  1. MB Eddy Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 66

The post You don’t have time to get it all done appeared first on time4thinkers.

Have a worry-free Christmas. It’s good for your health.

In late October, lots of Christmas goodies were appearing on the shelves of my local supermarket. When I remarked on this to a fellow shopper she said, “Don’t use the ‘C’ word. I’m worried about having enough money to buy presents for my kids. My credit card will ‘max out’ – yet again. The stress […]

©GlowImages 'worry-free and healthy Holidays'

©GlowImages: ‘worry-free and healthy Holidays’

In late October, lots of Christmas goodies were appearing on the shelves of my local supermarket. When I remarked on this to a fellow shopper she said, “Don’t use the ‘C’ word. I’m worried about having enough money to buy presents for my kids. My credit card will ‘max out’ – yet again. The stress at Christmas really affects my health.”

 

Enjoy this excellent article with tips for a healthy and stress-free holiday season written by my Australian colleague Beverly Goldsmith.

Apparently many parents share the same feelings as that mother. A consumer credit counselling service reports that “eight out of ten people say financial difficulties are having a negative effect on their lives, jeopardizing their personal relationships, health and ability to carry out their jobs”. With that in mind, perhaps it’s time to have a worry-free Christmas – one that’s good for your health. It would seem entirely possible to be a relaxed, happy, healthy giver and spender – to enjoy the festive season with one’s family and friends.

Be an inspired giver

Inspiration could be described as a burst of creative thinking. It’s the “Aha moment” that can help you come up with practical, stress-reducing ideas for Christmas spending.  It can also lead to the moment when you’re rescued from worrying about finances and gift-giving.

One early December morning, I woke-up totally stressed out over Christmas shopping.  A fresh approach – a new attitude to gift-buying was needed. I spent some moments in calm contemplation. Then, with pen in hand, I waited patiently for a flash of inspiration. Ideas flowed. Looking at what I’d written down, I felt mentally energized. I was able to happily gift shop, and I’ve continued to do so.

TIP:

● Spend some quiet time getting inspired about what to buy for family members.

● Think more about individual likes and needs before rushing to the stores, or hitting the computer button.

● Put more thought into gift-selection, rather than relying on impulse-buying.

● Stay calm, serene.

● Don’t feel pressured to get the shopping done.

 

Give from the heart – not just from the wallet

An inspired gift doesn’t have to cost “big bucks”. It’s not the price tag that denotes a truly worthy present. Giving something special to the person you care about, should be the result of loving thoughtfulness – not simply spending lots of cash.

My grandmother and her siblings used to receive an orange for Christmas. This may seem unusual. Yet, if you celebrated Christmas in the wintry depths of Scotland, as they did, a summer orange would actually be a very special treat.

TIP:

● Give from the heart. Be prompted by good motives.

● Take the time to purchase a meaningful and thoughtful gift.

● Don’t be competitive and think you have to buy the biggest or most expensive present.

● Don’t get something just to impress your kids or loved-ones. It’s the “love-factor” that’s significant – not how much you spend.

 

Be love-motivated

For many people, this time of year is traditionally considered to be about love, peace and good will to men. This could be why many families place love at the top of their Christmas wish-list.

From the youngest to the oldest person in a community, there’s a yearning for that tender expression of heart-felt love which Christmas often inspires in people. Such love is more than words on a card. It’s the active, caring kind that can ultimately lead to a love-filled, happy Christmas.

TIP:

● Spend extra time with your kids, or those you love.

● Show someone you care. Cook a meal, offer to do gardening, or run an errand.

● Resist being stressed out or financially burdened-down with preparations for the festive season.

● Be an unhurried friend, unharried shopper, unruffled neighbour, and an unflustered family member.

● Remember, it’s possible to be worry-free, and to stay healthy and well this Christmas.

Beverly Goldsmith is a Melbourne based health writer who provides a perspective on the connection between spirituality, thought and health. As a keen blogger, her aim is to provide the public with a diversity of health content including research into the mind-body connection and how thought affects health.

Freedom is a spiritual quality – God’s gift for all mankind

by: Linda Mardi A family friend was worried about my two sons who were going to visit their father’s relatives in Iran over the summer. Although their dad and I were confident about their safety, we understood that others might … read more

by: Linda Mardi

A family friend was worried about my two sons who were going to visit their father’s relatives in Iran over the summer. Although their dad and I were confident about their safety, we understood that others might be apprehensive. I understood her concern. However, I have learned a way to think spiritually about the universe through my practice of Christian Science that transcends thoughts of fear, worry and limitation.

U.S. Flag

As she and I sat together, we discussed a way to help promote peace and safety in their travel experience and also how she could find peace in her own thoughts whenever my boys came to her thought. It helped that we were looking out an a beautiful and very large American flag waving in front of the bench where we sat. “Do you see that flag?” I asked. “That flag represents freedom. Freedom is a spiritual quality – a God idea of thought. It’s not limited to a certain country, geography or circumstance.” She readily agreed.

We talked about other qualities the flag stands for – strength, safety, courage, happiness. Because these qualities exist in the infinite now and the eternal presence of God – it means that we can each choose to uphold these qualities in our own thoughts and experience. When thoughts of fear and worry come to mind, we can actively and conscientiously choose to yield to God’s thoughts of goodness. This means replacing fear with the affirmation that God’s goodness is supreme. We can know that God’s government rules everyone and everything and that evil has no place or power in the kingdom of heaven. Our holding onto these spiritual convictions in thought will contribute to world peace and demonstrable freedom for all of mankind.

As we yield to God’s government, we’ll find that spiritual ideas from the One universal intelligence (God), will provide us with spiritual solutions to exemplify this peace and freedom everywhere. So, during this week of celebrating America’s day of Independence, I’m also celebrating that freedom is a gift from God and embraces all mankind. My friend is more at peace and I am enjoying the reports from my boys about their very happy visit with family in Tehran.

Slash the chains of misunderstanding

The world today is full of opinions and personal views. The Internet and social media open doors to a whole new level of human interaction and networking. But although this

The world today is full of opinions and personal views. The Internet and social media open doors to a whole new level of human interaction and networking. But although this is wonderful in many ways, it also has its downsides: a faceless identity and the anonymity of a computer monitor encourage more aggressive comments. The lack of accountability can lead to situations where everyone is talking, but very few are listening or trying to understand one another’s ideas.

Taking time to understand each other is essential to progress. We need not just more questions, but a strong, burning desire for answers. Understanding a new viewpoint should be of the same importance as lunch and dinner in our daily routines. Honest research and diligent, truthful study will unlock the doors of ignorance and guide individuals into trust, compassion, and brotherhood. We don’t necessarily have to agree with a shared idea, but we should strive to understand it.

Mary Baker Eddy instructs, “The time for thinkers has come”. 1Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures 1:13(only){/ref] This statement, so powerful and insightful, displays Mrs. Eddy’s deep understanding of the world and its need for spiritual ideas. The thinking and understanding that draw on God as their source are needed now more than ever.

We can all join this search for understanding. Even if you and I take just five minutes out of our day to turn to God for new insights, to research a new idea, or to learn something about a foreign culture, this can help us to slash the chains of misconceptions and free ourselves and others to see the world around us more clearly.

Notes:

Is your manger stable?

Christmas, for me, was never really about the stable. It’s definitely been about other elements of the Christmas story. The guiding light of the star. The persistence of the wise

Christmas, for me, was never really about the stable. It’s definitely been about other elements of the Christmas story. The guiding light of the star. The persistence of the wise men. The advent of Christ—that love of God that awakens us to our divine son- and daughter-ship.

But the stable? Who gets captivated by the spiritual meaning of a stable?

This Christmas: Me, that’s who.

Actually, it’s not so much the stable I’ve been thinking about, but the qualities that Bethlehem manger represented. What was it that welcomed the Christ-child? What quietness, meekness, and heavenly peace must have been present to receive the promised
Messiah?

I love the way singer-songwriter Peter Mayer puts it in his song, “Stables”:

“In Bethlehem a manger waits,
Long ago and so today,
Where hatred-weary people pray,
Love will come and lay there.

And so do countless stables stand,
In hearts as harsh as desert lands,
Rough shelters in the wind and sand,
So love will come and stay there.” 1

I was totally awestruck when Mayer’s song shuffled onto my iPod a few months ago, and I couldn’t stop listening. For the first time, the stable from the Christmas story wasn’t just special in an unspecific kind of way. It was suddenly completely relevant to my 21 st-century existence. Spiritually-speaking, that manger was much more than a rough-hewn structure; it was a sanctuary of the heart, where love, innocence, and purity welcome the Christ today, just as they did in the era of the nativity.

Really, that simple insight has changed everything for me this Christmas season. Maybe not in any dramatic way. But going through daily life with my heart as that metaphorical stable has brought a peace and stillness to a lot of moments that might not seem very peaceful otherwise. For the first time ever, I haven’t been cowed by crowds this December, or ruffled by the general hustle and bustle of the city where I live.

Just one small example: Recently, in an overcrowded store, I found myself face to face with hordes of mothers toting small children, and grumpy, harried shoppers with grocery carts piled high. For a moment, I experienced that overwhelmed feeling that often accompanies fast-paced, crowded urban living. But then I remembered that my heart was a stable. Within me were all those Christ-welcoming qualities: patience, humility, joy,

generosity, quietness, meekness, peace. An oasis in the desert of human existence. And, just like in the song, I suddenly felt the love of God “come and stay there.” My heart just filled with it.

Nothing about the scene in front of me changed. (Actually, a toddler in a nearby cart chose that moment to explode a juice box and burst into piercing wails.) But instead of experiencing that overwhelmed feeling, I felt utterly wrapped in the presence of the Christ. The crowds no longer bothered me. There was nothing about being in that store that I could find unpleasant. I was in my stable, in the shelter of love and stillness.

When I think about Christmas, I think about the gift Jesus brought to us. He came to prove that God’s kingdom is here—that we don’t have to wait for some future date to find heaven, but that we’re worthy of heaven, that we dwell there, right now. Isn’t
that also the promise of the stable? That no matter how desert-like our existence may seem, no matter how loudly the winds howl around us, we can still find that stable—that kingdom—within?

The greater peace I’ve discovered over the last few months makes me think that those stable qualities, cherished and cultivated in each of our hearts, can do more than bring an extra glow to our individual lives this holiday season. Welcoming the Christ on a regular basis blesses others, too. In fact, it has the power to change the whole world.

1 “Stables” by Peter Mayer.

Peace in Congo, Afghanistan, Sudan

Peace. Is it a distant concept?

Well, maybe. I know our lives are busy, but for the last several years a civil war has been raging in the central African country of Congo. In this civil war, most of the victims are women and children. What should your response be? Should it be indifference or should you bless everyone involved in the conflict? Jesus Christ believed that you should bless our enemies. That’s the way he lived and his life and theology changed the world. If you follow Jesus, then Congo, or Sudan or Afghanistan is a great opportunity to bless everyone involved in wars in these countries. What I didn’t realize until recently is how much the soldiers perpetrating violence need blessing. We don’t bless them in their violence of course. We bless them in their desire to do right, their humanitarianism, their care for the weak. We bless them in their soberness.

The first time I started praying for Congo, I listened to God for ideas. And God answered right away and said to pray about drunkenness, including being drunk with power and the love of violence.

Blessing everyone involved in a conflict is powerful. How can I say that? Because in life we are dealing with ideas. In war, the idea is there are tribal differences, there are many minds at war with each other, there are limited resources, there’s bad blood, bad history, enraged thinking. That’s where God and Christ come in. Jesus proved the power of loving your enemies by blessing and loving even on the cross. This Love overcame death. God is divine Love, which is infinite Love. Infinite means “fills all space.”

You end war by not ignoring it. You end war, not by taking sides, but by living, praying and knowing that God, infinite Love is everywhere and all powerful. You end war by blessing everyone including the soldiers. When you do that, you are practicing the First Commandment (Exodus 20:3) that there are no other gods (powers or authority) besides Love.

I bless you all as children of the one God, divine Love. I bless all those trapped by war and all those waging war as children of God.

Mary Baker Eddy, an American woman who discovered the laws of God, which she named Christian Science, said this:

“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.”

Peace. Is it a distant concept?

Well, maybe. I know our lives are busy, but for the last several years a civil war has been raging in the central African country of Congo. In this civil war, most of the victims are women and children. What should your response be? Should it be indifference or should you bless everyone involved in the conflict? Jesus Christ believed that you should bless our enemies. That's the way he lived and his life and theology changed the world. If you follow Jesus, then Congo, or Sudan or Afghanistan is a great opportunity to bless everyone involved in wars in these countries. What I didn't realize until recently is how much the soldiers perpetrating violence need blessing. We don't bless them in their violence of course. We bless them in their desire to do right, their humanitarianism, their care for the weak. We bless them in their soberness.

The first time I started praying for Congo, I listened to God for ideas. And God answered right away and said to pray about drunkenness, including being drunk with power and the love of violence.

Blessing everyone involved in a conflict is powerful. How can I say that? Because in life we are dealing with ideas. In war, the idea is there are tribal differences, there are many minds at war with each other, there are limited resources, there's bad blood, bad history, enraged thinking. That's where God and Christ come in. Jesus proved the power of loving your enemies by blessing and loving even on the cross. This Love overcame death. God is divine Love, which is infinite Love. Infinite means "fills all space."

You end war by not ignoring it. You end war, not by taking sides, but by living, praying and knowing that God, infinite Love is everywhere and all powerful. You end war by blessing everyone including the soldiers. When you do that, you are practicing the First Commandment (Exodus 20:3) that there are no other gods (powers or authority) besides Love.

I bless you all as children of the one God, divine Love. I bless all those trapped by war and all those waging war as children of God.

Mary Baker Eddy, an American woman who discovered the laws of God, which she named Christian Science, said this:

"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."

Peace in Congo, Afghanistan, Sudan

Peace. Is it a distant concept?

Well, maybe. I know our lives are busy, but for the last several years a civil war has been raging in the central African country of Congo. In this civil war, most of the victims are women and children. What should your response be? Should it be indifference or should you bless everyone involved in the conflict? Jesus Christ believed that you should bless our enemies. That’s the way he lived and his life and theology changed the world. If you follow Jesus, then Congo, or Sudan or Afghanistan is a great opportunity to bless everyone involved in wars in these countries. What I didn’t realize until recently is how much the soldiers perpetrating violence need blessing. We don’t bless them in their violence of course. We bless them in their desire to do right, their humanitarianism, their care for the weak. We bless them in their soberness.

The first time I started praying for Congo, I listened to God for ideas. And God answered right away and said to pray about drunkenness, including being drunk with power and the love of violence.

Blessing everyone involved in a conflict is powerful. How can I say that? Because in life we are dealing with ideas. In war, the idea is there are tribal differences, there are many minds at war with each other, there are limited resources, there’s bad blood, bad history, enraged thinking. That’s where God and Christ come in. Jesus proved the power of loving your enemies by blessing and loving even on the cross. This Love overcame death. God is divine Love, which is infinite Love. Infinite means “fills all space.”

You end war by not ignoring it. You end war, not by taking sides, but by living, praying and knowing that God, infinite Love is everywhere and all powerful. You end war by blessing everyone including the soldiers. When you do that, you are practicing the First Commandment (Exodus 20:3) that there are no other gods (powers or authority) besides Love.

I bless you all as children of the one God, divine Love. I bless all those trapped by war and all those waging war as children of God.

Mary Baker Eddy, an American woman who discovered the laws of God, which she named Christian Science, said this:

“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.”

Peace. Is it a distant concept?

Well, maybe. I know our lives are busy, but for the last several years a civil war has been raging in the central African country of Congo. In this civil war, most of the victims are women and children. What should your response be? Should it be indifference or should you bless everyone involved in the conflict? Jesus Christ believed that you should bless our enemies. That's the way he lived and his life and theology changed the world. If you follow Jesus, then Congo, or Sudan or Afghanistan is a great opportunity to bless everyone involved in wars in these countries. What I didn't realize until recently is how much the soldiers perpetrating violence need blessing. We don't bless them in their violence of course. We bless them in their desire to do right, their humanitarianism, their care for the weak. We bless them in their soberness.

The first time I started praying for Congo, I listened to God for ideas. And God answered right away and said to pray about drunkenness, including being drunk with power and the love of violence.

Blessing everyone involved in a conflict is powerful. How can I say that? Because in life we are dealing with ideas. In war, the idea is there are tribal differences, there are many minds at war with each other, there are limited resources, there's bad blood, bad history, enraged thinking. That's where God and Christ come in. Jesus proved the power of loving your enemies by blessing and loving even on the cross. This Love overcame death. God is divine Love, which is infinite Love. Infinite means "fills all space."

You end war by not ignoring it. You end war, not by taking sides, but by living, praying and knowing that God, infinite Love is everywhere and all powerful. You end war by blessing everyone including the soldiers. When you do that, you are practicing the First Commandment (Exodus 20:3) that there are no other gods (powers or authority) besides Love.

I bless you all as children of the one God, divine Love. I bless all those trapped by war and all those waging war as children of God.

Mary Baker Eddy, an American woman who discovered the laws of God, which she named Christian Science, said this:

"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."