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Pastor Guides Test Pilot

    Did you know that every Christian Science church, all over the world, has the same pastor?  That’s because it is not a person, but a set of books.  The Founder of the Christian Science movement ordained the *Bible and her inspirational book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, as the joint pastor of her church.  Every week, selected passages from these two books are read to the congregation as a major part of the bi-weekly services.  Every day, adherents of this Christian denomination study these writings at home in order to understand spiritual truths that they can put into practice in their lives.   This Word of God is a pastor you can depend upon 24/7. 
    As a Christian Science practitioner and former test pilot, I have had many opportunities to ask my Pastor for divine guidance.  In difficult situations, the first thing I do is ask: “What would my Pastor tell me to do?”   The answer may come in these words from Scripture:  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5,6)
   There have been many times when God directed and protected me as a test pilot.  Once I was preparing to taxi an aircraft for a first production test flight.  Just before calling for clearance to taxi it came to me very strongly to shut down the engines, get out of my seat and check the avionics equipment associated with the flight control systems. This was not part of my normal preflight duties, or something a pilot would usually look at before flight. I quietly stopped and listened for my Pastor’s guidance - and remembered these words:  “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind.”  (II Tim 1:7) Again it came to me very strongly to shut down the engines. So I obeyed and discovered that one of the avionics boxes associated with the flight control systems was not installed properly. This would have resulted in serious control problems had we proceeded with the test flight.  I quietly thanked Him for giving me the right directions in this situation.
    At times, we may think or say, “I’m afraid.”  But our Pastor says: “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9) “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) “This truth is Christian Science.” (S&H page 442:28)
    We may say, “I’m so disturbed; this situation really bugs me.”  But our Pastor says:  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.”  (Isa 26:3) “Spiritual living and blessedness are the only evidences, by which we can recognize true existence and feel the unspeakable peace which comes from an all-absorbing spiritual love.” (S&H 264:24-27)
    We may say, “Why it’s impossible. I don’t think I can do it.”  But then we remember something our Pastor told us and we hear ourselves saying:  “I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me.” (Phil 4:13-JBP)  “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)  “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.” (S&H 494:10-11)
    All of us can take care of ourselves because God gives us guidance through His Word.  Over the years I have discovered that God’s loving, spiritual directions have kept me safe and out of trouble. Sometimes this counsel comes directly to my thought; sometimes it comes through the words of my Pastor – passages from Scripture, or words from the Christian Science textbook. 
    So the next time you have one of those occasions when you ask yourself, “Now, what is the right thing to do in this situation?”  - you might just want to stop and ask Him, and listen for His reply.  Or you may discover, as I have, that quite often He tells me even before I ask Him.

Jim - U. S. Navy, Retired

*Please note:  Bible verses are from the King James Version, except for JBP which is The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips.   S&H refers to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
 

God Provides Comfort

     A few years back I was on an aircraft carrier on the other side of the world.  The comfort of my family, friends, and church were a long way away…but only to mortal sense.  The portability of Christian Science and its application to every situation has helped sustain me through my life and military career.    
    This fact was demonstrated multiple times while I was on a long deployment in 2007.  One particular situation involved a condition that made it uncomfortable to sit for prolonged periods of time.  My job as a pilot and the missions I was flying required me to do just that, day in and day out.  Each mission was also punctuated on either end by the violence of the catapult shot to begin the flight and the equal violence of the arrested landing at the end, both of which seemed to aggravate this condition.  I held fast to the idea that I was always in the exact place that God wanted me to be, and that He would provide all the comfort I needed.  I could not, and would not, be hampered in executing my daily activities by the claims of mortal mind because God’s man is not susceptible to those claims.
     One of the few bonuses of being on the ship is that there is a copious amount of free time for reading.  At the time, my wife and I were studying Science and Health (the textbook of Christian Science) simultaneously.  We would each read the same ten pages a day and would chat about what we were learning from it via email.  This provided further comfort and the dedicated time for the study and prayerful reflection that I needed to see myself through this trial.  During this time I was able to see myself so clearly as the perfect and unencumbered idea of God and know that material circumstances could not dictate the state of my being.  The condition cleared up expeditiously and I was able to continue on in my duties without pause or interruption. 
     I am so grateful for all the tools that Christian Science provides for me in dealing with day-to-day issues and for the pure, absolute Love that accompanies it.

Gabe - U.S. Navy
 

Safety on a Navy Ship

    I was serving on a U.S. Navy ship operating in the Vietnam theater.  One afternoon we were steaming off the coast, when suddenly the general alarm sounded and all hands immediately went to their emergency/battle stations.  The problem was a burst steam valve in the engine room of the ship.  The space was located low in the ship with access/egress via only two vertical ladders about twenty feet in length.  The engine room immediately filled with steam and condensation vapors, creating intolerable heat and very limited vision.  Those on duty in the engine room scrambled up the ladders as they had been trained to do.  Subsequently a roll call was taken; one man was unaccounted for. 
    As the executive officer, or number two man on the ship, I had no specific assignment during such emergencies.  I went to the bridge to find out the details of the situation.  It sounded grim for the missing sailor.  Knowing there was nothing of a physical nature I could do, I retreated to my room, away from the chaos of the engine room and the bridge.  I was then able to take command of the situation - at least in my thinking - with aggressive prayer.  I declared that God, Spirit, was actually in control, and that each of God’s ideas, was always safe in His tender and infinite care. I knew that the divine Mind would provide every right idea necessary for protection in this human situation.  I thought of Daniel in the lion’s den and of the three Hebrew men in the burning fiery furnace.  Even in those extreme situations, the God they knew to be all-powerful was there providing safety and comfort for them.
    I continued with this specific prayer for maybe twenty minutes, and feeling that all had to be well, made my way back to the bridge.  I found out that the missing sailor was all right; he suffered no ill effects.  When the steam valve broke he was not able to reach one of the egress ladders.  However, he wisely dropped to the floor where the steam was less intense, then crawled on his hands and knees to a spot where he knew there was a water spigot, which he turned on to provide cool relief from the heat and steam.  He remained there during the time it took the engineering crew to rectify the situation by turning off the steam flow from an adjoining space, and then venting the engine room.  All of that was accomplished in the time frame of the twenty minutes that I was intensely praying.
    I was so grateful for the positive outcome of this situation, which certainly appeared to be a grim one initially.  The power of prayer is always available to meet the need required at any moment.  It is these experiences that we have along the way that reinforce our desire to depend on the power of God in our lives to meet all human needs.

Doug - U. S. Navy, Retired
 

Missing Classified Papers Found

    An interesting experience occurred when I was serving on a U.S. Navy ship during the Vietnam conflict, which clearly demonstrated the power of divine Mind, God, to solve an agonizing situation.
    The ship was in its home port of Yokosuka, Japan.  Following a long deployment at sea, this period of several weeks provided a break for needed maintenance and rest for the crew; additionally, an important administrative inspection was scheduled.  The purpose of this inspection was to requalify the ship to transport very sensitive naval weapons.  Included in the inspection was an inventory of highly classified documents and the proper administrative control and processing of them.
    A couple of days before the actual inspection, the officer responsible for custody of these classified documents confided to me that he was unable to locate some of the documents, a serious breach in the chain of custody.  I, in turn, reported this to the ship’s commanding officer, who immediately became highly agitated and irate.  Any discrepancies would reflect on him, as he was responsible for all aspects of a properly run ship.  His wrath fell on my shoulders, and it was heavy.
    I could not directly do anything to uncover the location of the documents except to lean on the custodial officer, which I did.  However, as a Christian Scientist I knew that no problem could come into our human experience that could not be solved by understanding that God, divine Mind, was capable of showing us, His children—His manifestation,—the solution to the problem.
    I endeavored for most of a day to pray on my own to find a resolution to this problem.  However, with the turmoil surrounding me and the pressure to find those documents, I was not finding it easy to pray effectively.  I needed help from an experienced Christian Scientist.  So I called the Christian Science Minister for the Armed Forces, a civilian and Christian Science practitioner placed in Tokyo by The Mother Church, whose job it was to be of service through prayer when requested by members of the armed forces who were stationed in Japan and in the western Pacific.  I knew this individual, and when I called him he quickly understood the situation I was in, and immediately began prayerful work on my behalf.  I don’t recall now specifically what ideas he gave me to work with, but I clearly remember feeling a sense of calm prevailing.  I knew that a resolution to the problem was at hand.  It had to be, as the power of God is impossible to deny.
    Within hours the missing documents were found and all was soon in proper order, and the inspection was passed with flying colors.  I was so very grateful for the effective help I received from the Christian Science Minister.  This was a definite proof that “God is a very present help in trouble.”
 
Doug - U. S. Navy, Retired
 

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