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.

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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.

False Promises

July 5, 2018 § Leave a comment

‘Why is this, that You have sent me?’ means when yet the law going forth from God seems to promise something different. This is clear from the meaning of ‘Why is this?’ as, Why is this so when something different is said? from the representation of Moses, who uses these words in reference to himself, as the law from God, dealt with just above in Arcana Coelestia 7164; and from the meaning of ‘being sent’ as going forth, dealt with in Arcana Coelestia 47106831. Consequently ‘Why is this, [that] you have sent me?’ means that the law going forth from God seems to promise something different. Because these words are spoken by one complaining about the molestation by falsities, the law from God appears to promise something different. This is why the expression ‘seems to promise something different’ is used, though in actual fact it does not promise anything different. For the law from God is the law of order, and the law of order so far as those passing through a state of molestations by falsities are concerned is that they must be molested until they reach the point of despair. Unless they reach the point of despair the final advantage to be gained from molestation is lost. The fact that temptation grows ever stronger until a person reaches the point of despair is plainly evident from the Lord’s temptation in Gethsemane, Matthew 26:3839Mark 14:33-36Luke 22:44, and also after that on the Cross, Matthew 27:46, when it was made to reach the state of despair. Now the Lord’s temptation is the pattern which the temptation of faithful believers follows, which is why the Lord says that those who wish to follow Him must take up their cross, Matthew 10:3816:24. For the glorification of the Lord is the pattern that the regeneration of man follows, Arcana Coelestia 313832123296349044025688; and regeneration is effected chiefly by means of temptations. (AC 7166)

The Lord promises us peace, happiness, and salvation. Life gives us depression, despair, and pain. It is no wonder that we sometimes feel that the Lord has mislead us, and that He has falsely promised us good when we experience evil.

The Lord has indeed promised peace, happiness, and salvation; but He has also instructed us that we must go through states of depression, despair, and pain to achieve these good things.

It is a temptation among the clergy to preach the good the Lord will provide us, and to ignore that evil we will experience. It is, after all, a lot more fun to give people good news, then it is to give them bad news and have to deal with unhappiness about it. These days, it seems, that many ministers would rather tell people what they would like to hear, that they should simply love the Lord and do good.

People do not want to hear that they should shun evils as sins, for that means they must confront themselves and acknowledge their evil desires, and shun them as sins against the Lord.

Good before repentance is spurious good; and also charity, for good is of charity. For evil is within the man inwardly; because it is not opened, and therefore is not healed; and genuine good cannot issue forth from evil. The fountain is impure. Good that flows forth from evil may appear good in the outward form, but the quality of the man is within it, as he is inwardly.  (Char 6)

This is why it said:

the first of Charity is to look to the Lord and shun evils as sins; and that the second thing of Charity is to do goods.(Char. 13)

When we shun evils as sins, which we must do if we are to be saved; we will come into states of temptation, vastation, and molestation. We will experience despair and depression, and pain.

Ministers need to present a balance. They need to preach both the positive and the negative, the good and the evil, the end and the means, the ideal and the reality. Such a balance will help us to deal the dark passages we must traverse to the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise of salvation, peace, and happiness. Without the balance we will inevitably blame the Lord for giving us false promises.

 

 

Consolation and Death

July 4, 2018 § Leave a comment

A friend’s father passed away recently, and I shared some thoughts:

Sorry to hear about _____ passing. He is a good fellow. Now he ventures into a better world where he will be far more comfortable. We too, some day will join him, but for now, we must endure his absence.

     Therefore I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. (2 K 22.20; NIV)

      “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.
      I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may
      be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (Jn. 14: 1-4l NIV)

….when a person is divested of his body, he comes into the full exercise of a much more enlightened understanding than when living in the body, for the reason that while he is in the body, corporeal and worldly things occupy his thoughts, which induce obscurity; but when he is divested of the body, such things do not interfere, and it is with him as with those who are in the interior thought by abstraction of the mind from the things of the outward senses. From this they might know that the state after death is much more clear-sighted and enlightened than the state before death; and that when a person dies, he passes comparatively from shade into light, because he passes from the things of the world to those of heaven, and from the things of the body to those of the spirit. (AC 3957:2)

The Lord regenerates a person from Divine Mercy. This is done from his infancy down to the last of his life in the world, and afterward to eternity. Thus it is from Divine Mercy that the Lord withdraws a person from evils and falsities, and leads him to the truths of faith and goods of love, and afterward keeps him in these. And after this, in Divine Mercy He raises him to Himself in heaven, and makes him happy. (AC 9452)

This was followed up with these thoughts:

One of the beautiful things about the Heavenly Doctrines is their ability to comfort us in times of distress. While the teachings about life after death comfort us, they do not alleviate the pain and loss we experience when we loose a loved one. So we find ourselves filled with conflicting emotions. There is comfort and solace from the Lord. There is loneliness and heartache from our loss. With time there is healing. The healing, however, takes longer than most people realize. We have to experience the first birthday, the first Christmas, the first thanksgiving without our loved one. After that it gets a bit easier. Others, of course, will have moved on while we continue to go through loss and healing.

The road ahead will not be easy, but it will get better.

The Lord will bless you and keep you,
the Lord will make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you,
the Lord will turn His face towards you and give you peace (Num. 6: 24-26)

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. A man comes into this state in proportion as he comes into love to the Lord. (AC 8455)

Marcia and I send our prayers an best wishes.

Seeing Divine Providence

July 3, 2018 § Leave a comment

The Heavenly Doctrines teach:

 ‘And you shall deliver the tally of bricks’ means the falsities which are to be introduced in abundance. This is clear from what has been stated above in Arcana Coelestia 7116, where similar words occur. Such then are the [arcana] which these verses contain in the internal sense, things which perhaps seem to man to be of little importance and also unconnected with one another. Nevertheless each one is essential to the subject that is being dealt with; and all hang together in a very beautiful way. Angels perceive this to be true, for they see in the light of heaven the ways in which things follow one another and are linked together, and they see countless arcana formed out of interior truths, which gives those things a very beautiful and very lovely appearance. Man cannot do the same thing at all because interior truths are hidden from him. Nor therefore can he connect together the details contained in these verses; it seems to him as though they are disjointed, which is why, as has been stated, they seem to him to be of little importance. (AC 7153)

As I read this, the thought occurred to me that this is true of Divine Providence. Lord’s Divine Providence governs every least detail of our lives; but in this life the details of His Providence seem disjointed and unconnected. In the other life they will seem wonderfully and beautifully connected.