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.


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.

Prayer and Temptation

August 27, 2018 § Leave a comment

Here are some gems from the passage quoted below about prayer:

  • little heed is paid to the prayers of those in the throes of temptation
  • The Lord knows that end, but the person does not, and the Lord does not do what prayers ask for if that is contrary to the end, which is salvation
  • one should not rely on prayer

AC 8179. ‘Why do you cry to Me?’ means that there is no need of intercession. This is clear from the meaning of ‘crying to Jehovah’ as interceding, that is, pleading for them to be delivered from temptation, and therefore the question ‘Why do you cry to Me?’ means, Why do you intercede when there is no need of intercession? And as there is no need of it the words ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and let them travel on’ immediately follow, meaning that the people will be given help, but that temptation will still go on until their preparation has been accomplished. 

[2] With regard to there being no need of intercession, the situation is that when people are in the throes of temptation they usually stay their hands and resort solely to prayers, which they then pour forth feverishly, unaware that such prayers achieve nothing, but that they should battle against the falsities and evils which the hells introduce. The truths of faith are the means for fighting that battle, and they are of help because they strengthen the forms of good and the truths opposed to falsities and evils. In the conflicts brought by temptations furthermore a person should fight as if he did so in his own strength, yet he should acknowledge and believe that he does so in the Lord’s, see above in Arcana Coelestia 8176. If a person does not fight as if in his own strength he does not make his own the goodness and truth which flow in from the Lord by way of heaven. But when a person does fight as if in his own strength and yet believes that he does so in the Lord’s, he does make those things his own. This gives him a new proprium or selfhood, called a heavenly proprium, which is a new will. 

[3] Moreover people in the throes of temptation who take no action other than to send up prayers do not realize that if their temptation were terminated before running its full course their preparation for heaven would not be accomplished, and so they could not be saved. For this reason also little heed is paid to the prayers of those in the throes of temptation; for the Lord desires the end in view, which is the person’s salvation. The Lord knows that end, but the person does not, and the Lord does not do what prayers ask for if that is contrary to the end, which is salvation. The truth of this also becomes more firmly established with the person who conquers in temptations; but one who does not conquer entertains doubts about God’s help and power because he is not heard. Then sometimes, because he stays his hands, he gives in to a degree. 

From all this one may see how to understand the explanation that there is no need of intercession, namely that one should not rely on prayer. For in prayer, when inspired by God, there is always the thought and belief that the Lord alone knows whether what is sought would be beneficial or not. Therefore the one who prays leaves the Lord to decide whether to listen to what he asks for, then accordingly pleads that the Lord’s will may be done, not his own, in keeping with the Lord’s words uttered in Gethsemane during His severest temptation, Matthew 26:394244.

Non Repentance – A Train of Thought

August 13, 2018 § Leave a comment

I think is is interesting to sometimes see how one thought leads to another.

I am reading the book: The Death of Truth by MIchiko Kakutani, Tim Duggan Books, 2018. On pages 96 and 97 she writes:

In 1984, another way the party and Big Brother exert control over reality is by adjusting the past to conform to their worldview: It is not merely that speeches, statistics, and records of every kind must be constantly brought up to date in order to show that predictions of the Party were in all cases right. It is also that no change in doctrinal or political alignment can ever be admitted. For to change one’s mind, or even one’s policy, is a confession of weakness.

A few days before reading this quote I had been reflecting on a paper that I given to a church assembly many years ago on the Grand Man. In that paper I had argue that all levels of people working together were a grand man: corporations, associations, churches, the country. And that these forms of the grand man had personalty and character, and they could repent. They could, that is, acknowledge their mistakes and repent.

When I read the above quote, my mind went immediately to this paper and its ideas. It occurred to me that many organizations (grand men) change their policies but never acknowledge that they had been wrong or mistaken.

A few days later, it occurred to me that many individuals are also like this, and that this is describes the process of not repenting.

I think we as individuals need to practice repentance, not only in our own lives, but also in the lives of the various organizations we work in.

Some Thought Provoking Passages

August 11, 2018 § 3 Comments

‘Draw out’ means that they should compel themselves. This is clear from the meaning of ‘drawing out’, when used in reference to the good of innocence which those belonging to the spiritual Church are to receive, as compelling themselves. The good of innocence, which is the good of love to the Lord, is not received by one who belongs to the spiritual Church unless he exercises self-compulsion; for the belief that the Lord is the only God, and also that His Human is Divine, does not come easily to him. Therefore, since he is short of faith, no love to Him, or consequently any good of innocence, can be present in him unless he exercises self-compulsion. The fact that a person ought to exercise self-compulsion, and that when he does he is in freedom but not when subject to compulsion from without, see Arcana Coelestia 1937,1947. This is what is meant by ‘draw out’, that is to say, the Passover animal. Drawing out that animal, it is self-evident, holds an arcanum within it that is not perceptible in the sense of the letter. (AC 7914)

I usually associate self-compulsion with shunning evils as sins. This passage suggests that there are other uses for self-compulsion, such as compelling yourself to belief that the Lord is the only God, and that His Human is Divine.

There are arcana in the internal or spiritual meaning of the Word that is not perceptible in the meaning of the letter. I believe that that is also true for the Heavenly Doctrines.

I believe that the rational ideas found in the letter of the Heavenly Doctrines correspond to spiritual ideas, some which are imperceptible to us.

‘And you shall take a bunch of hyssop’ means the outward means by which purification is effected. This is clear from the meaning of ‘hyssop’ as outward truth, the means by which purification is effected, dealt with below. It says that they were to take a bunch of hyssop because ‘a bunch’ is used to refer to truths and the arrangement of them,Arcana Coelestia 5530,5881,7408. The reason why ‘hyssop’ means outward truth, the means of purification, is that all spiritual purification is effected by means of truths. For the earthly and worldly types of love from which a person has to be purified are not recognized except by means of truths. When these truths are instilled by the Lord a horror of those types of love, as of things unclean and damnable, is also at the same time instilled. The effect this horror has is that when something similar enters the person’s thinking the feeling of horror returns, producing a loathing of those types of love. (AC 7918)

I am familiar with the teaching that we should feel holy fear at offending the Lord. And even though I have read the above teaching before, I never noticed that I should also feel “horror.” It does occur to me that before some regeneration has taken place, one will not feel either “holy fear” or the “horror” described above.



Derived Doctrine

August 4, 2018 § Leave a comment

I think the idea of “derived doctrine” is widely misunderstood and misused in the church.

The expression “derived doctrine” is used negatively to suggest that a doctrine is invalid or false. This can be the case, but it is not necessarily so. A doctrine is said to derived because someone does not like it, and wishes to discount it as untrue. The expression “derived doctrine” is used to suggest that it is a man made doctrine and not the Lord’s doctrine.

Doctrine means teaching. All teaching is derived. The teacher (minister or other) studied the the Lord’s Word and presents what he thinks it is saying or teaching. His teaching is derived from the Lord’s Word. The proper question or concern is, does this teaching accurately represents what the Word is saying, or does it misrepresent and falsify what the Word teaches.

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