Being a Road of Heaven

September 14, 2018 § Leave a comment

For what flows in from God passes first into perception, which belongs to a person’s understanding; from there it passes into his will, and after that into action, that is, into a good deed, which is the useful purpose, and in this reaches its goal. When this passage of goodness and truth from the Lord is complete, the goodness and truth become the person’s own, for now they flow all the way through to the final level of order, that is, of the natural order, which all Divine influx heads towards. The person who has the Divine flowing all the way through him may be called a road of heaven. From all this it may now be seen that ‘coming near before Jehovah’ means a state in which that influx is accepted and put to use (AC 8439; Elliot)

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We Should Pray to be Murdered

September 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

Well, that is a provocative title. 

AC 8403.2 reads:

People uninformed about human regeneration suppose that a person can be regenerated without temptation, and some that he has been regenerated after he has undergone a single temptation. But let it be known that eo one can be regenerated without temptation, and that he suffers very many temptations, following one after another. The reason for this is that regeneration takes place to the end that the life of the old man may die and a new, heavenly life may be instilled. From this one may recognize that conflict is altogether inevitable; for the life of the old man stands its ground and refuses to be snuffed out, and the life of the new man cannot enter except where the life of the old has been snuffed out. From this it is evident that fierce conflict takes place between mutually hostile sides, since each is fighting for its life. 

The old man is the life we have from ourselves. It is evil, not that we like to admit this. The new man is the life we have from the Lord. It is good, and not ours — something we don’t like to admit either.

We should pray that Lord helps us to snuff out (murder, extinguish) the old man, so that the new man can be born in us.

 

Reflecting on What We Observe

September 10, 2018 § Leave a comment

It is always interesting to reflect on what we observe when we read. The Lord inspires us to see different things at different times. You may see one thing, and I may see another; but even if we see the same thing, we do not see it in exactly the same way. The Lord’s inspiration and enlightenment is personal and unique, tailored to our individual needs.

I remember once when I was a young man in the Air Force having an issue I was bothered by. I was looking for guidance. The book of the Writings that I had available was Heaven and Hell. There was one passage that seemed relevant. I read it 17 times! Each time I saw more. This to my mind, was evidence that the Writings really are Divine Revelation.

Lately I have been observing verbs that describe actions taken by abstract nouns. In addition to evils and falsities when they are cast into hell, dragging the person with them into hell (see previous blog post); here are several others.

This is why when angels come to be present the sphere of the good of love ripples out from them and impingeson the affections of those who are present; and the truths of faith shine from their faces. (AC 8370)

Good that results from truth is the good done by a spiritual person prior to regeneration; for at that time he does it as a result of truth, that is, because truth demands it, and therefore he does it in a spirit of obedience. (AC 8399)

Being Dragged Kicking and Screaming into Hell

September 7, 2018 § Leave a comment

I am sure that the people going to hell are not screaming and kicking, in as much as they are going where they will be the happiest. Still the image of them being dragged there is striking:

The reason for saying that the falsities and evils cast themselves into hell is that falsities and evils themselves are what are cast into hell, and these drag down (draw; Potts) with them the people to whom they cling. For through evil in life a person becomes a form of the falsity that arises from evil; consequently when evils themselves accompanied by falsities are thrown down, forms to which they cling are dragged down together with them.  (AC 8343; Elliot)


									

Making Choices

August 31, 2018 § Leave a comment

Recently I had a discussion with one of my daughters on Facebook. She wrote:

I’ve decided that I can talk myself in and out of just about anything….not good when there’s real decisions to be made…I’m so grateful for the many opportunities ahead, but getting there is obnoxious 

I responded:

Since the future is essentially unknowable, and we have only an incomplete understanding of all the pros and cons of our choices, we can only do the best we can, and trust in the Lord.

AC 8455: “peace has in it confidence in the Lord, that He directs all things, and provides all things, and that He leads to a good end. When a man is in this faith, he is in peace, for he then fears nothing, and no solicitude about things to come disquiets him.”

Sometimes we like to think upon looking back on things, we can know whether or not we made the right choice; but the truth is, we have no idea of how things would have really turned out if we had made a different decision. 

The best we can do is to maximize the good we have currently have, and minimize the bad. 

The Lord will lead us and provide for out spiritual welfare in ways we cannot imagine. Often times what we think is best for us is not.

A Powerful Image

August 28, 2018 § Leave a comment

When I read this passage, the image of the evils and falsities that the Lord had removed from our minds forming a wall around us and constantly seeking to fall in on us stuck me very powerfully.

AC 8206. ‘And the waters were a wall for them on their right and on their left’ means that they were held back from falsities on every side. This is clear from the meaning of ‘the waters’ – the waters of that sea – as falsities arising from evil, dealt with in Arcana Coelestia 81378138; from the meaning of ‘being a wall for them’ as being held back from those falsities, dealt with below; and from the meaning of ‘on their right and on their left’ as on every side. The reason why ‘being a wall for them’ – when said of ‘the waters’, by which falsities are meant – denotes being held back from falsities is that the situation with a person is as follows: When he is maintained by the Lord in goodness and truth falsities and evils are removed. Having been removed they stand around him like a wall, for they cannot enter the area where goodness and truth are. The reason for this is that goodness and truth have the Lord present within them, and the Lord’s presence repels evil and falsity, on every side; for goodness and truth are the complete opposites of evil and falsity and therefore cannot exist together with them without one destroying the other. 

[2] Goodness accompanied by truth destroys, that is, removes evil accompanied by falsity, because goodness is from God and consequently possesses all power, whereas evil is from hell and therefore possesses no power at all. Goodness acts on internal levels, whereas evil acts on external ones. When the evils accompanied by falsities residing with a person are removed they stand around him, as stated, like a wall. They are constantly attempting to rush in on him, but they cannot do so because the Lord’s presence, residing in the goodness and truth, holds them back. These are the considerations meant by the waters being like a wall for them on the left and on the right. Regarding a person’s being held back from evil and falsity through being maintained by the Lord in goodness and truth, see Arcana Coelestia 158124064564. Yet no one can be held back from evil and maintained in good unless he has received that ability through exercising charity in the world. A life of good, that is, a life led in accordance with the truths of faith, and therefore an affection for or a love of good, achieves this. The person who has a love of and affection for good as a result of the life he leads can be in a sphere of goodness and truth, but not one who through the life he leads has taken on the nature of evil.

Hope

August 28, 2018 § Leave a comment

Probably each of us have had our lives upended and feel that we had experience hell. Here is a passage that can give us hope in such times. It concerns the dividing of the Red Sea and the children of Israel crossing it on dry ground:

AC 8191: ‘And the waters were divided’ means separation from truths, and removal. ‘And the children of Israel came into the middle of the sea on dry ground’ means the entrance into hell by those who belonged to the spiritual Church and their passage through it in safety and without falsity flowing in.