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From the July 21, 2008 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

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TODAY'S DECISION-MAKING DEMANDS can overwhelm even the practiced multitasker. Decisions about careers, job changes, retraining, retirement. Choices to make about healthcare, health insurance, and caregiving. Answers needed about marriage and relationships.


The numbers of those facing decision-making stresses are multiplying, too. As rising prosperity enables the people of China, India, and other rapidly industrializing countries to enter the modern marketplace, they encounter life's modern dilemmas, including the time and peer pressures that often accompany decision-making.

To be sure, a billion or more of the world's citizens still have precious few choices to make. They must first grow or buy enough food to feed their families, and then take care of other basic needs. But the poorest, too, face some wrenching 21st-century decisions—chief among them, whether to stay on the land and in villages or migrate to a city in hopes of finding jobs.

Words that have echoed in the Jewish-Christian Scriptures for more than two millennia are sounding extremely contemporary: "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision" (Joel 3:14).

Since so many of us today live "in the valley" of multiplying decisions, how can we make better choices? How can we deal more effectively with the flow of decision demands, and help others find peace and direction in decision-making?

Christ Jesus promised that a universal Comforter or Advocate would come to guide humanity "into all truth" (John 16:13). The divine Science, or full truth of the Christ, discovered by Mary Baker Eddy and fully explained in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, has fulfilled Jesus' promise. This divine Word—God's message coming to human hearts in all its specificity and comforting assurance — is the surest of guides. It's speaking right now, gently, clearly, in ways anyone can discern and confidently follow.

The Bible is both the medium and the message of God's Word. The Scriptures' words convey God's message of hope and healing to this age, and they give exact answers to those who take their questions to God as they read its pages, or consider its truths in prayer.

The first of six tenets, or "important points" in the theology of Christian Science, establishes humanity's right to one-to-One communion with God through the divine message. It states, "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life" (Science and Health, p. 497).

The "we" in this statement can be fairly taken to include all who are searching for the spiritual laws of life. It embraces everyone who wants to find the Source of all good—to live by its ordering Principle, to feel its loving guidance. We strongly believe that these desires burn within everyone in decision's valley.

God is a profoundly caring listener. And the Father-Mother's response to any sincere query comes as the seeker goes to the Bible with a purified willingness — willing to be informed, reformed, awakened, enlightened, surprised, sometimes stopped in his or her tracks.

Do you have to be a Bible scholar to hear or sense God's guidance? No, but a steady gain in Biblical literacy surely helps anyone who's searching for answers.

There are more Bible resources than we can possibly list, but they include older and recent translations, commentaries, dictionaries, and Hebrew-Greek lexicons. One go-to resource, though, is the Chrisitan Science Bible Lessons. These weekly lessons are a denominational product with universal value, and they're available in print, audio, and electronic editions. Check out the weekly "In the Christian Science Bible Lesson" column in this magazine (pp. 35-36) for a friendly welcome to the current week's Lesson.

But the most immediate resource is your own prayerful asking for God's guidance. Woven through that first important point of Christian Science is the assurance that every person deserves and can develop a close and deeply satisfying relationship with God. We gain this intimate relationship with the Infinite as we attain a more infinite concept of ourselves as spiritual beings — as Spirit's very own image and likeness.

A spiritual image cannot help but hear the divine Mind that created it, that gives it life and purpose. And the "eternal Life" spoken of in the first tenet of Christian Science isn't some far-off destination for the holy few. It's God's intelligent presence now and constantly informing the heart that seeks Him.

Mary Baker Eddy once described God as "our helper," and noted: "He pities us. He has mercy upon us, and guides every event of our careers" (Unity of Good, pp. 3-4). We can know what to do in the face of any pending decision because God knows all, and each of us reflects the All-knowing. The inspired guidance you need awaits you in His Word. ♦

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