It seems to take forever

August 14, 2020 § Leave a comment

If you have been looking to the Lord and striving to shun evils as sins against Him, you will–at some point–get discouraged. The evils you are shunning, never seem to leave. These two quotes should give us some comfort:

So for a long time evil spirits are left with him to activate his desires, and so release them in countless ways. Indeed the spirits are left there to do this in order that those desires may be turned by the Lord towards something good, and in this way the person may be reformed.

AC 59

Meanwhile the Lord is constantly fighting on his behalf against evils and falsities and by these conflicts is confirming him in truth and good.

AC 63

One True Love

August 13, 2020 § Leave a comment

Self-love and the love of the world present a semblance of life and of joy, but because they are absolutely contrary to true love, which is loving the Lord above all things and the neighbour as oneself, it is clear that neither of them is love but hatred. For the more anyone loves himself and the world, the more he hates his neighbour and so the Lord. Consequently true love is love to the Lord, true life is the life inherent in love from Him, and true joy is the joy of that life. The existence of more than one true love is not possible. Nor consequently is the existence of more than one true life possible which is the source of all true joy and happiness, such as angels in the heavens enjoy.

(AC 33)

Tailored Regeneration

August 12, 2020 § Leave a comment

The Lord works to lead each of us to heaven. He tailors His efforts to regenerate us to our unique character:

It is also a heavenly arcanum that the Lord uses those things that are man’s own – both his illusions of the senses and his desires – to lead and direct him towards the things that are goods and truths.

AC 24.3

Just because you were brought up in the church does not make you a Christian or a New Church person.

July 13, 2020 § Leave a comment

But the recognition of sin is useless, unless a person examines what he does in his life, and observes whether he did such a thing in secret or openly. For up to this point all that is mere knowledge; and then the arguments of the preacher are merely a noise in the left ear, which goes through to the right ear and so out. Finally it becomes no more than a thought, a piety on the part of the lungs, in many cases mere imagination and a chimera. But it is quite the reverse, if a person, recognising what is a sin, examines himself, finds one in himself and says to himself, ‘This evil is a sin,’ and fearing everlasting punishment abstains from it. Then for the first time the preacher’s teaching and oratory in church is taken in with both ears and reaches the heart, so that he turns from being a pagan into a Christian.

TCR 525

Our Destiny

July 9, 2020 § Leave a comment

. . . the Lord perpetually wills man to receive truth and do good, thus becoming spiritual, the destiny for which he was born.

TCR 481, Chadwick

Teaching others

July 5, 2020 § Leave a comment

Many people believe that people are born good, and if we can just create a positive environment and provide the right education we will have good people. Unfortunately, the Lord reveals to us that we are born with an inclination towards evil. We must learn what evil is, search for in our hearts and minds, and shun it as a sin against the Lord, and then we can do good.

A surprising consequence of this is a truth well know in heaven, but so well known here:

For it is one of the facts which are well known in heaven that wicked ideas can be breathed into good people, but not good ideas into wicked people. The reason is that everyone is by birth pervaded by evils.

TCR 448

Miscellaneous Quotes 001

April 15, 2020 § Leave a comment

They did not know that bearing hatred and taking revenge just because one is not honoured and worshipped as a demigod, is a sin, nor that slandering the neighbour out of enmity and thus bearing false witness against him, is a sin; nor that deceiving anyone by word or deed, is a sin; that despising another in comparison with oneself, envying him his goods, being covetous of them, are sins. They did not know, either, that claiming merit for performing the various acts of worship towards God, in matters both of faith and of charity, is a sin; besides innumerable other things. (Charity 205)

Since wisdom is, as we said above, a matter of life first and consequently of reason, the question arises, what wisdom of life is. In brief summary, it is this: to refrain from evils because they are harmful to the soul, harmful to the civil state, and harmful to the body, and to do good things because they are of benefit to the soul, to the civil state, and to the body. (CL 130.4)

The Lord’s zeal

March 9, 2020 § Leave a comment

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God.” This symbolizes the Lord, out of Divine love and so out of Divine zeal, calling all people who have a spiritual affection for truth and think about heaven, and summoning them to the New Church and to conjunction with Himself, thus to eternal life. (AR 831)

The Latin (zelo) could also be translated “very enthusiastically” or “passionately.” Thinking of zeal as passion, gives a different perspective for me on the Lord’s desire to save us from our sins.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3:20; NIV)

Now I see this verse in Revelation differently. I hear the Lord passionately saying, “Here I am!” I hear the Lord knocking firmly and insistently on my door. It is urgent to open the door and let Him in.

Equals

March 7, 2020 § Leave a comment

I see a connection between this teaching (AR 818) and the quote below from Jon Meacham.

Angels in heaven are not superior to people, but are their equals, and therefore they are the Lord’s servants the same as people; and the reason is that all angels were once people, born in the world, and none were created angels directly, as can be seen from what we wrote and showed in the book Heaven and Hell (London, 1758). Angels excel people in wisdom indeed, but that is because they are in a spiritual state and so live in the light of heaven, and are not in a natural state and so do not live in the light of the world as people on earth do. But the more an angel excels in wisdom, the more he acknowledges that he is not better than people, but like them. (Apocalypse Revealed 814; Rogers)

Literalism is for the weak; fundamentalism is for the insecure. Both are sins, too, against God, for to come to believe that we are in the exclusive possession of truth about things beyond time and space, and thus to hold power to shape lives and decisions about things within time and space, is put ourselves in place of God. (The Hope of Glory: Reflections on the Last Words of Jesus on the Cross, Jon Meacham, Convergent Press, 2020, pp. 69, 70)

There is also another book I am reading reflects the same principle:

Ideological totalists do not pursue this approach solely for the purpose of maintaining a sense of power over others. Rather, they are impelled by a special kind of mystique that not only justifies such manipulations, but makes them mandatory. Included in this mystique is a sense of “higher purpose,” of having “directly perceived some imminent law of social development,” and of being themselves the vanguard of this development. By thus becoming the instruments of their own mystique, they create a mystical aura around the manipulating institutions—the Party, the Government, the Organization. They are the agents “chosen” (by history, by God, or by some other supernatural force) to carry out the “mystical imperative,” the pursuit of which must supersede all considerations of decency or of immediate human welfare. Similarly, any thought or action that questions the higher purpose is considered to be stimulated by a lower purpose, to be backward, selfish, and petty in the face of the great, overriding mission. This same mystical imperative produces the apparent extremes of idealism and cynicism that occur in connection with the manipulations of any totalist environment: even those actions that seem cynical in the extreme can be seen as having ultimate relationship to the “higher purpose.” (Lifton, Robert Jay. Losing Reality (pp. 71-72). The New Press. Kindle Edition.)

Notes on the Ten Commandments

February 5, 2020 § Leave a comment

Before beginning the Ten Commandments, the Lord says:

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Ex. 20: 1; NIV)

This is the historical setting for the giving of the Ten Commandments. The spiritual setting is much more important. Jesus said:

“I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (Jn. 8: 34; NIV)

The Ten Commands are the means by which the Lord will free us from the slavery of sin!