What do you do in Heaven?

spiritual wisdom home page

life after deathspiritual wisdom logo

What do you do in Heaven?

On earth we live in communities. So we will in heaven. But the heavenly communities will be structured and organised. Each community will have its own specific use and function within the whole.

We will determine our heavenly community and unique role within it by use of our specific skills and talents in this world to love and serve others. Each angel will thus feel comfortable and at home with those around and have a function which suits his or her own abilities and desires.  Emanuel Swedenborg tells us that ‘the Lord’s kingdom is a kingdom of uses’. Heaven and Hell 387.

Work in heavenly communities will differ from work on earth because its motivation will be different. In heaven housing, clothing and food will be freely given to all angels.  The need to work for personal needs is gone. Perhaps it is like choosing how to be busy in early retirement!

People’s prime motivations on earth vary – use to the Lord, to others or to self – so in heaven they will vary too. The parallels in heavenly life might be seen to be: helping people in their spiritual life, civil life or domestic life. In each of these areas there will be work to do for other people, in loving them, caring for them and helping them.

It is possible to think of people who love working in each of the above areas in their life on earth. If it is their true love and skill it will continue into the next life. Thus each angel will be happy in the work which needs to be done. It is perhaps also evident that there will be an infinite variety of occupations to match the infinite variety of the angels. Swedenborg tells us that there are few tasks in the world by comparison.  Heaven and Hell 393.

Each angel is busy in activity which benefits the community and, thus the whole, using unique talents given by the Creator. There are fortunate people on earth whose work is like this for them. In heaven this will be achieved by all.

http://www.spiritualwisdom.org.uk/life-after-death.htm

Top of Page

 

The Lord God Jesus Christ

The Lord God Jesus Christ
A Sermon by Rev. Grant R. Schnarr

Image result for The Lord God Jesus Christ

Our idea of God is the most important concept we can have.
Our spiritual lives are based on this concept. Our spiritual destiny,
including our homes in the other world, are formed by our view of
God. Every aspect of our eternal life revolves around our
understanding and our relationship with our Maker.
Developing a true and working concept of God, though, can be
a challenge. We bring our own conceptions and misconceptions to
this image. Historically humans have perverted or destroyed the
picture of God over and over again, and used a twisted
understanding of God and His will to do many twisted things. The
Spanish Inquisition, Hitler, and others claimed to worship the Lord,
and performed hurtful deeds in the name of the Lord. People can
make up their own God to suit their own bias rather than worship the
true God.

Culture and times can be biased against a true picture of God.
For instance, God the judge might be popular at times, the punisher,
the warrior, or a remote and uncaring Ruler. Or the opposite kind of
God can be held up as an ideal: the ineffective, permissive, enabling,
anything goes God, weak and unable to lead or effect change in the
world. The discussion of gender in relation to God is a good example
of the struggle between cultural bias on every side of the issue and a
struggle to understand Revelation.

In the past history of the Christian church, truth has certainly
taken precedence over good. The Writings tell us that a faith alone
world developed, where good did not count for much, if anything. A
natural outcome was that the world became perceived as a male’s
world, and even as good was suppressed and put down as nothing,
so were women treated the same. In a faith alone culture, male
attributes have been held up as an ideal, and it can be argued that
even much of the feminist movement in the western world in the past
quarter century has made the mistake of joining that illusion rather
than dispersing it. This has caused deep wounds in many, not to be
taken lightly or overlooked as an oddity. When love, perception,
gentleness, nurturing are looked upon as second rate feelings, many
of them to be shunned, those who excel in these areas receive the
constant message that they are not good enough, that they do not
count. From a truth dominated culture a false concept of God is
created, a static God firmly entrenched in a groundwork of rules
seemingly unconnected to life. God becomes a judge whose favor
limits the variety of the human race to those few who hold the correct
set of ideas, and punishes those who do not. God can seem to
become a distant Father who is never home, or who arrives home on
Sundays to lecture and scold, only to disappear again Monday
morning. What would it be like to have nothing at all in common with
this God and be told that this is the true God and you must worship
Him?

Cultural bias not only affects our view of God, but our lives, and
the wounds caused by false doctrines presenting false gods are real.
And so it is that the Heavenly Doctrines come into the world to bring
back the balance between truth and good, to honor both sexes in
their own right, and to offer everyone with an open mind a visible
image of God in a Divinely Human form for what actually is the first
time in religious history. (Read True Christian Religion #787 and
following.) The Writings call upon society to rethink the entire picture
of religion, the entire concept of God. They present a radically
different concept where love and wisdom both reign in the Divine and
in life. The Writings say no to a truth alone world and firmly present
the marriage of truth and good in use as the essence of perfection
(DLW 28-33).

However, while acknowledging the wounds created by false
doctrines of the past, how do we form a true picture of the Lord,
which reflects all of humanity, without bias from past or present
cultures? How do we begin to heal the wounds that many have felt by
cultural misconceptions of God, and at the same time not create more
wounds by creating more misconceptions? We want to see God
through our own eyes, but how do we do this without creating God
with our own hands, in our own image?

Wounds heal over time, and there is no quick solution, but there
are answers to all of life’s questions that can help heal. The Writings
are called the leaves of the Tree of Life, for the healing of the nations.
Revelation from God is the source of healing, if one can approach it
and accept it. Revelation was given to guide us to an ever growing
understanding of the Lord. Revelation presents a picture of the Lord,
a living picture, and through this Window into eternity we can behold
the face of our Creator, and see our own face reflected therein.

What does Revelation teach us? More than we can learn in a lifetime.
Truth from the Word is infinite, but we can take a few principles and
apply them to this issue, to begin to build a healthy and genuine
concept of God. First, the Heavenly Doctrines teach us to look to our
Maker from essence to person, and not from person to essence. This
is an important teaching to help us approach our Maker.
“Everyone who thinks of God from person only,” the Writings
say, “and not essence is thinking materially. For instance, a person
who thinks of the neighbor from the form only and not the quality is
thinking materially…

Think of God from essence, and from that of His person, and do
not think of His person and from that of His essence. For to think of
His essence from person is to think materially of the essence also;
but to think of His person from essence is to think spiritually of His
person” (Apocalypse Revealed 611:7).

Thinking of God from person to essence is not helpful to us.
Looking at the Lord’s material body from a corporeal point of view,
and translating that into the essence of God, is not helpful. In modern
terms, getting hung up on the physical form of the Lord while He was
on earth, and allowing the physical form of the Lord to dictate how we
think of the essence is not helpful. An example of this would be
statements that say the essence of God is male or female. That is
thinking of God from person to essence. God is the I AM, while the
origin of gender, God in essence is above gender. To attribute
qualities of creation to the uncreated is like calling the Potter clay.
But that does not mean that all attributes of what we call humanity are
not from the Divine. Of course they are, and that is why every human
being, whether white, yellow, black, male, female, disadvantaged,
disabled or healthy and whole can approach and be conjoined with
the Lord.

But this is accomplished by approaching the Lord from essence
to person. Through a recognition of the all-encompassing God, the all
loving, all wise, ever creating, ever nurturing Force, from whom all
people and things come, we look to the Divine Human. We see these
infinite and Divine qualities in the Lord Jesus Christ. When we do this,
we allow the invisible to be visible, as the Writings say, in the air or on
the sea, with His arms opened inviting you into His embrace (True
Christian Religion 787). This is how conjunction with God takes place,
through the visible, tangible, lovable, approachable Lord Jesus Christ,
as revealed in His Word.

But we are to worship Him as the Lord as Jesus Christ and no
other. To worship Divine attributes by any other name is to make God
invisible. The Writings tell us, “In respect of His Divine Human the
Lord is the Mediator, and no one can come to the Divine Being itself
within the Lord, called the Father, except though the Son, that is, the
Divine Human… Thus the Lord as to His Divine Human is the actual
joining together. And if people cannot do this in thought how can they
be joined to the Divine itself in love.” (Arcana Coelestia 6804:4)
The Writings go on to say, “He was pleased to take upon Himself
human form, and this to allow people to approach Him … It is this
Human which is called the Son of God, and this it is which mediates…
This is why the Son of God, meaning the Human of God…is called
the Savior, and on earth Jesus, which means salvation.” (True
Christian Religion 135:4)

And so the Lord said, “I am the way the truth, and the Life. No
one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me,
you would have known the Father also; and from now on you know
Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:6-7)

The invisible soul of God is at once revealed and made
manifest in His own Humanity, now revealed in His Word, and
proclaimed to us in the Heavenly Doctrines as the Lord God Jesus
Christ. Can we see the essence of God within His person? Can we
allow God to be both Divine and Human? The image of the Divine
Human is a blessing to those who long to understand and be
conjoined with the Lord. A newcomer of the church once said, “When
I was young I heard about God, the great and powerful Almighty. He
clapped His hands, the thunders roared. He batted His eyes, the
lightening flashed. Boom! God? God scared me. But when I read in
the Writings that this gentle shepherd named Jesus, who Himself
called a lamb, who held the children, healed the sick, and taught so
many loving things, that this man was God, well, that did for me.” The
question might be asked,

“What does it do for you?”
The image of the Lord Jesus Christ as it appears in the Gospels
and as it is explained in the Heavenly Doctrines, is given to the
human race to bring conjunction with the Divine, the true Divine, and
with that — healing. Although it is no doubt difficult for some, because
of real abuse of false doctrines in the past, to approach this image as
presented in the Word will bring healing. This image when viewed
from essence to person can be in filled with a variety of descriptions
from the Word, which represent every aspect of humanity. Jesus
does bless the children, heal the sick, feed thousands of hungry
mouths, cries for His people, and calls each of us to arms of love and
compassion. He says,

“Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) He cries out to a church that has
gone astray in faith alone, He says, and listen to His words,
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and
stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your
children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but
you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say
to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who
comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matt. 23:37-39 )

Can we say these words? Can we see our Lord and Savior as
all encompassing, containing the source of all that is human and
Divine? And can we worship Him as He has revealed Himself in His
own Word? Then we will truly be able to see Him, and say with full
hearts, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
What is the essential message of the New Church? Is the
message of the New Church that God is inaccessible to some people,
for no fault of their own? Is the message that if you have a hard time
picturing God that you should give up and go somewhere else? The
answer is NO! Is the message of the New Church that anything
goes? You can make up your own God here, in any fashion you
choose? The answer is NO! The message of the New Church is clear
in the Writings, preached by the lips of the apostles themselves, and
held as a hope for all people everywhere, from whatever background
or origin, so that they may be conjoined with their Creator. This
message is for everyone, to be in filled by every individual in a way
that she or he must, in order to see and feel what it means to them.
The message is that the Lord God Jesus Christ Reigns, and His
Kingdom shall be forever and ever. Blessed are they who come to the
marriage supper of the Lamb (True Christian Religion 791). The Lord
promises us, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me
to give to everyone according to their work” (Rev. 22:12). May
ourresponse be with open hearts and minds, and with joyful lips,
“Even so,come Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)
Amen.
Lessons: Isaiah 42:1-9; John 14:1-11; Arcana Coelestia 8705

https://newchurch.org/

DAILY INSPIRATION

“Love wants to love and it wants to be loved.”

True Christian Religion 99

The Grace Of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Grace Of Our Lord Jesus Christ
By the Rev. Eric H. Carswell

Image result for The Grace Of Our Lord Jesus Christ

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen”
(Revelation 22:21).
At the end of many New Church services the minister’s final
words are the benediction, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be
with you all. Amen.” Other than this you would probably hear only
rare reference to the word “grace” within the New Church.
The terms, grace, mercy, and forgiveness are interconnected,
but not the same. One of the appealing ideas associated with the
Lord’s message in the New Testament is the concept of Divine
forgiveness. We don’t have to live a perfect life to make it to heaven,
and indeed we are incapable of being perfect. We all fall far short of
perfection. Even the most loving and wise angel doesn’t remotely
approach perfection. We are not perfect because our understanding
is always limited and our motivations are never completely pure.
Sometimes these qualities have only faint effects on our actions and
sometimes we, as human beings, knowingly, and with intention
choose to think, say, and do evil things. In the words of Revelation, all
that we do is written in our book of life. By the measure of perfect
truth, then each of our book of life would keep us from heaven. But
the Lord isn’t just perfect truth. He is perfect love and this love lifts all
to heaven, as it were overcoming the evil loves and false ideas that
we have attached to our lives.

The Lord as King governs each and all things in the universe
from Divine truth; and as Priest, from Divine good. Divine truth is the
very order of His universal kingdom, all the laws of which are truths,
or eternal verities Divine good is the very essential of order, all things
of which are of mercy. Both of these are predicated of the Lord. If
Divine truth alone were His, no mortal could be saved, for truths
condemn every one to hell; but Divine good, which is of mercy, uplifts
from hell to heaven (Arcana Caelestia 1728).

It is very important that each of us thinks of ourselves as being
capable of learning what is true and good and becoming better and
better able to do what is truly useful. Sometimes a person’s thoughts
can so focus on his flaws and ignorance that he feels incapable of
being useful or is encouraged into feeling irresponsible about even
trying to become a better person. But if we overcome these false
ideas, and become better and better at living a truly useful life, it is
important for us to know and acknowledge that we will always need
the Lord’s help.

Every one believes at the present day that the evil loves and
false ideas in a person are entirely separated and abolished during
regeneration, so that when he becomes regenerate, nothing of this
evil or falsity remains, but he is clean and righteous, like one washed
and purified with water. This notion is, however, utterly false; for not a
single evil love or false idea can be so shaken off as to be abolished;
but whatever has been hereditarily derived from infancy, and
acquired by act and deed, remains; so that a person, notwithstanding
his being regenerate, is nothing but evil and falsity, as is shown in a
living way to souls after death. The truth of this may be sufficiently
manifest from the consideration, that there is nothing of good and
nothing of truth in a person except from the Lord, and that all evil and
falsity are the person’s from those things that are his own; and that a
person, spirit, and even angel, if left in the least to himself, would rush
of himself into hell; wherefore also it is said in the Word that heaven
is not pure. This is acknowledged by angels, and he who does not
acknowledge it cannot be among angels. It is the Lord’s mercy alone
that frees them, and even draws them out of hell and keeps them
from rushing thither of themselves.

That they are kept by the Lord from rushing into hell, is clearly
perceived by the angels, and even in a measure by good spirits. Evil
spirits however, like people, do not believe this; but it has often been
shown them (Arcana Caelestia 868:1).

This passage states that it is the Lord’s mercy that frees us.
There are actually three distinct concepts of how the Lord’s
forgiveness is received by a person. The first is a dangerous falsity
that has led people away from following the Lord and trying to live a
good life. This is the belief that a person is forgiven and receives the
benefits of the Lord’s mercy purely by means of faith or an
acknowledgment of Christ’s death on the cross. This idea of
forgiveness and mercy, together with other supporting ideas, has led
some to assert that how a person lives his life makes no difference,
as is spoken of in the following passages:

“From this one error [that truth is the essential of the church, and so
essential that truth, which people call faith, has power to save without
the good which is of charity], very many other errors have been
derived, which have infected not only doctrine, but also life; as for
instance that no matter how a person lives, provided he has faith he
is saved; that even the most wicked are received into heaven if in the
hour of death they make profession of such things as are of faith; and
that every one can be received into heaven merely from grace,
whatever his life has been. In consequence of holding this doctrine
they at last do not know what charity is, nor do they care for it; and
finally they do not believe there is such a thing, nor consequently that
there is a heaven or a hell (Arcana Caelestia 4925:2).

“[A false principle of religion] is the doctrinal idea of a church
which acknowledges faith alone as a principle, as that a person is
justified by faith alone, that then all sins are wiped away from him,
that he may be saved by faith alone even in the last hour of his life,
that salvation is merely admission into heaven through grace, …
These and the like are the special things belonging to the principle of
faith alone. But if the church would acknowledge as its principle the
life of faith, it would acknowledge charity toward the neighbor and
love to the Lord, consequently the works of charity and of love, and
then all these special things would fall to pieces; and instead of
justification it would acknowledge regeneration” (Arcana Caelestia
4721).

Both of these passages mention the word “grace” and it might
be concluded from its association with a clearly false idea, that it
perhaps makes one with a false idea of forgiveness and salvation, but
this is not the case.

The Writings of the New Church distinguish a fundamental
difference between grace and mercy that has to do with the
recognition a person has of his or her need for the Lord’s help. Those
people whose approach to the Lord is more dominated by what they
know and acknowledge to be true are called spiritual. Those people
approach to the Lord is more dominated by what they love and
acknowledge to good are called are called heavenly, or “celestial.”
Those who, at the core of their life, are led by their understanding (or
I believe by simple obedience) acknowledge in their thoughts that
they are not perfect and that they need the Lord’s help. They
nevertheless are not so aware of their faults and flaws other than
intellectually. Consequently their humility is affected by the fact that
they sense that they see their faults and flaws with their own
intellectual ability.

A person can acknowledge, from his own reflection that he has
trouble telling the truth and the whole truth about a situation, can
acknowledge that this evil, feel remorse for this fault, and still have it
all be significantly a matter of thought. Such a person may have a
genuine humility in his approach to the Lord, but it is limited. Such a
person knows that he needs the Lord’s help in fighting this evil
tendency, knows that he needs the Lord’s forgiveness for the times
that he has lied to himself and others, and knows that as he fights this
tendency he will receive the Lord’s help and forgiveness. This state of
mind seeks what the Writings would call the Lord’s grace.

But if a person, at the core of his life, is led by a love of what is
good, he will sense the presence of evil loves and false ideas in his
life with a horrifying and saddening clarity. He will sense at a very
deep level of his life that he is absolutely dependent on the Lord’s
help. His humility before the Lord will be from his heart and far, far
surpass that of the person who is led more by his understanding.
Such people are the ones that the Writings state really understand
the Lord’s mercy.

This distinction is indicated in the following passages: “The
mercy of the Lord involves and looks to the salvation of the human
race; and so does His grace. In the Word however a distinction is
made between mercy and grace, a distinction which depends in fact
on the difference in those who are their recipients. Mercy applies to
those who are heavenly, but grace to those who are spiritual, for
heavenly people acknowledge nothing other than mercy, while
spiritual people acknowledge hardly anything other than grace.
Heavenly people do not know that grace is, while the spiritual
scarcely know what mercy is, for they make mercy and grace to be
one and the same. The reason for the difference springs from each
one’s humility. People in whom there is humility of heart plead for the
Lord’s mercy, but those in whom there is humility of mind seek His
grace. Or if the latter do plead for mercy they do so in a state of
temptation or with the lips only and not with the heart”
(Arcana Caelestia 598:2).

“People governed by an affection for truth are not able to
humble themselves sufficiently so as to acknowledge from the heart
that all things are attributable to mercy; and this being so, instead of
mercy they speak of grace. Indeed the less affection for truth is in
them, the less humility there is within their speaking of grace. On the
other hand the more affection for good exists with someone the more
humility there is within his speaking of mercy” (Arcana Caelestia
2423).

The Holy Supper is the act of worship that most clearly reflects
our need for the Lord’s help. In it we turn to the Lord, seeking to
receive more of His life within our own. The bread represents the
Lord’s love that we need within our own hearts, fundamentally
changing what we care about and make most important. The wine
represents the Lord’s wisdom that we need in our thoughts,
fundamentally changing how we see ourselves, others, and the life
we are to lead. Each of us, if we are to approach the Holy Supper
worthily, need to be actively acknowledging that we have specific
faults and flaws that harm us, others, and the uses we seek to
achieve. We need to acknowledge these evil loves and false
ideas to ourselves and to the Lord. We are to pray for His help in
fighting their influence and we are to be doing the best we can to
change the quality of the thoughts, words, and deeds that have been
tainted by them in the past.

To begin with this effort will be more a matter of intellectual
acknowledgment and we will in reality be seeking the Lord’s grace.
As the miracle of regeneration occurs we will come more and more to
recognize and acknowledge on a progressively deeper level that we
can not be the person we want to be or accomplish the things we
hope to without the Lord’s constant presence and help. From an ever
greater humility we will turn to the Lord for this help. More and more
we will truly know what His mercy is.

We cannot instantly change who we are. In fact, by ourselves,
we cannot change at all. With the Lord’s help we can gradually
become better and better human beings. Where ever we are in
spiritual growth, may we turn to the Lord, acknowledging as best we
can our need for His help. May we do our part to receive His life, His
love and wisdom more and more within our lives. And from this we
will become more and more useful human beings, all who our lives
touch will be blessed by this growing ability, and we ourselves will
grow in fulfillment and blessedness.
AMEN.
Lessons: Revelation 22:12-21, Arcana Caelestia 598:2, Arcana
Caelestia 242

https://newchurch.org/

DAILY INSPIRATION

“To acquire a heavenly selfhood a person needs to do good from themself and to think truth from themself, but still must know that all the good and all the truth are from the Lord. ”

Arcana Coelestia 2883

Will we meet in heaven – my partner and I?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

Poets sometimes voice a feeling that even death cannot break the bonds of love. That even after their demise a  loving couple meet in heaven.

meet in heaven
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! And, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

(Sonnets from the Portugese XLIII by Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

But does love really transcend bodily death and do you and your loved one ever meet in heaven or in another form of afterlife for that matter?

We do meet in heaven according to Leslie Flint

The psychic Leslie Flint held seances in which voices could be heard speaking. A recording includes an account by a man named George Wilmot purportedly from beyond the grave. According to this communication, we do meet in heaven again. This man awoke in an afterlife and said he met there a young woman he  was sweet on during the war in France before she died together with her family.

Through Flint’s mediumship Queen Victoria was also heard speaking. Of Albert, she said
“We are still very, very concerned and interested in all the things that transpire in your world.”

Flint was involved in thousands of experiences in which people spoke to deceased loved ones and the deceased responded in normal conversations. Their voices did not come through the medium’s mouth or from any one else present. Flint was tested hundreds of times using all manner of controls and never once was found to have produced the voices or had any collaborator produce the voices.

For example he was bound to a chair, his mouth sealed with tape. In other experiments he wore a throat microphone to detect possible vibrations in his vocal organs. He was observed through an infra-red viewer. At no time did sounds come from his mouth. In no tests by qualified, skeptical scientists, was anything found to be fake or deceptive.

Does the Bible say we meet in heaven again?

Christians have traditionally thought that angels and the spirits of the departed are
sexless beings — neither male nor female. They point to the words of Christ who said

“At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matt 22:30)

However another interpretation of this passage is that Jesus was referring to the kind of superficial impure marriages the scoffing Sadducees had in mind which are not going to be made in heaven.

Do couples do meet in heaven according to Swedenborg?

Emanuel Swedenborg lived over a century before testing of psychics started. However, he did write about his extraordinary communication with spirits in meticulous and comprehensive detail. His books report on both his own experiences of the spirit world and what spirit communicators had told him about it. He addresses the issue of whether husband and wife meet in heaven.

He reports that people after death are male or female not only as to their
psychological makeup but also as to every detail of their spirit bodies. We are told that all of what one loves and desires stays with one in the next life. This is said to be because what one deeply feels is the inner being of one’s life. And this includes one’s sexual inclination and the person one loves.

Swedenborg claims that most couples meet after death, in a `world of spirits’ before they are ready for heaven, recognize each other, associate, and live together at least for a while. So they do not meet in heaven but meet outside heaven. To the extent they are familiar to each other and have things in common, they remain together and mutually explore each other’s true feelings. They start to see more clearly to what extent they had any real affection for each other.

According to this account those, whose minds are inwardly in a state of agreement and unity, progress and stay together for all time in heaven and are said to experience a deep conviction that they had been born for each other, and have a sense of tender love and joy such as they had never known before.

However, those whose relationship is discovered to consist of an inner disharmony, then sooner or later the individual partners have a growing unease. If there is pleasure in having a partner to blame or at least to foil and outwit, this may break out into open enmity, quarrelling, and even combat.

Other partners unsuited to each other realise it is not good for them to stay living together and so separate no matter how long they have lived together in their former life.

We are told those individuals with a heavenly character who are in unhappy relationships separate and  find a new partner with whom union is possible to the point that the new pair do not wish to lead two lives but one.  They are indeed kindred spirits.

Copyright 2012 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problem

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on17th January 2012CategoriesConsciousness, Spirit awarenessTags, , , , , , , , , , , , , , Leave a comment

Appearance Of The Lord

Appearance Of The Lord
A sermon by Rev. Grant R. Schnarr

Image result for Appearance Of The Lord

The Lord had appeared before His disciples, most of them rejoiced that
they had seen Him again. But He was alive. All the times that He had
spoken of, rising on the third day, had come true. They remembered,
they believed Him.
And yet there was Thomas who was a very earthly kind of person,
known as “Doubting Thomas,” who said, “I won’t believe in the Lord
unless I can put my finger in the holes in His hands and put my hand in
His side.” What happens? Eight days later the Lord appears before
Thomas and says, “OK, Thomas. Reach your finger in my hands. Put
your hand in my side. Handle me and see that it is I.” Thomas didn’t
need to do that any more.

He said to Him, “My Lord, my God.”
And the Lord said to Thomas, “You have seen. That’s why you have
believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed
in Him.”

Why was it that the Lord appeared to His disciples after His crucifixion?
It might have been to show that He was alive, that He had conquered
death. That’s a great part of Christianity, that He is the resurrection and
the life. But even more than this, He appeared to His disciples so that
they would worship Him in His risen form, that they wouldn’t think back
on Him historically, think about His life in the world, but to see that, yes,
He is very much alive now. He has risen, He’s alive, He’s with them still.
“Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age,” He said to them.
The Lord came on earth to make Himself visible to the human race, to
make Himself accessible to people so that they could know Him, so that
they could understand Him, so that they could, if they chose, be one
with their Creator through that understanding.

Before the Lord had come, what kind of God did they worship at that time?
The Writings for the New Church say that they worshipped an invisible God,
incomprehensible. After all, if God is love itself, life itself, reality itself, that’s pretty
incomprehensible for us finite beings. How can the finite comprehend the infinite?
It’s impossible. Beyond that, though, they had a perception of the Lord within.
They could think of His humanity, so to speak-His love and wisdom withinperceive
what it was. But there was no external form, no concrete image, to put
that into. Again, it was an invisible God, sort of perceiving who God was, but not
really being able to grasp Him in their imagination.

And then through the process of time, as people turned away from the
Lord, as the leaders of the church at that time, began to make up teachings,
began to lead the people to themselves rather than from God, that picture of the
Lord became very clouded. And so we can look at the Old Testament, and we
see their concept of God – an angry God, a punishing God, a God who can
repent, a God who wants vengeance. This is the way they saw Him because of
their infantile state, because of the dark state that they were in.
Where was the relationship with God and man? If you think of God as
being love itself and desiring nothing more than to be one with that which He had
created, that wasn’t taking place and the end of creation was in danger, so the
Lord came to her (?) “Jehovah bowed the heavens and came down,” the Psalms
say. He presented Himself to mankind so that could understand Him, so that they
could see Him, so that they could see the infinite God in human form as Jesus.
He could set up a new church that had the opportunity to worship Him in truth
and sincerity, had an opportunity to be joined with their Creator like never before.
So the Writings for the New Church say the following, “By means of the
Human, Jehovah God sent Himself into the world and made Himself seen before
the eyes of men, and thus accessible. The Lord made the natural man in Himself
Divine in order that He might be the first and the last, that He might thus enter
with men even into their natural. He was then able to conjoin Himself to man in
His natural, yea, in His sensual. And at the same time to His spirit or mind in His
rational, and thus to enlighten man’s natural light with heavenly light.

It’s not as if the Lord said goodbye, to His disciples and zoomed off a
million miles away, or into some other realm of existence. No, He was still right
there. He’s right here today. He hasn’t gone anywhere. In our natural lives we
cannot see Him, but God exists around us, within us, in a way that He didn’t
before His Advent. He came into the natural, He made that natural within Him
Divine so that He could be with us, not only from within, from our perceptions, but
also without, so that now we can grasp God in a form and understand Him. So
now we can have a personal relationship with our Maker.

So how do we have that personal relationship with the Lord? We have to
recognize His Humanity, not like many Christian churches have done today,
solely seeing His Humanity and sort of separating it from His Divinity and the
Divine Father appear in Jesus, my friend and buddy, my pal. If we do that, if we
separate it out, then we take away that Divinity of the Lord. And when we take
that away we take away some of the respect He had, the admiration, the love,
the responsibility that we have to the Lord. We can’t see Him as merely being
human, we’ve got to see Him as Divine, life itself, in the Human form.
The Writings say that we should look at God from essence to person, think
of His essence first, that God is life itself, that God is love itself, the very reality of
these two concepts of God. His essence though, shows itself in the human form
of Jesus Christ. And we can take all these unknowable things and put them down
in a form that can be grasped.

And we can see the Lord with His arms open, waiting to take us in. And
He will take us in and hold us as long as we want Him to, in our own freedom.
That’s how we should see the Lord.
So the Lord said, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father.” He that has
seen that Humanity has seen the Divine within. “I am the Way, the Truth and the
Life. No one comes to the Father, but by Me.” No one comes to that Divinity but
through the Human of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Human.
You know, many of us who are receivers, wandered away from traditional
Christianity because of that very point, that it made Christ too human, that they’ve
made God more of a fable, made God a comic strip character, rather than
something real and living.

But we can go too far. We can make God a complete abstract concept in
our life. God is life itself. God is love itself. God is impersonal. God is a concept.
But what good does that do us in our relationship with Him to do that? We can’t
worship an It. We can’t be conjoined with an It. We can’t love life itself, the esse,
the first principle. Reality, what does it mean? We can’t talk to it. We can’t love it.
We can’t be one with it? Why should we obey what it says? What good is it going
to do us? That’s the whole reason the Lord came, so that we could see Him in
that Human form, see that Divinity, so that we could be one with Him and have a
personal relationship with Him, see that He is a very real God, very real person.
So, when He appeared before Thomas, that’s why Thomas said, “My Lord and
my God,” to that Divine Human.

One of the ways we form a relationship with the Lord is through turning to
His own Word. This book is unlike any other book that has ever been written. Not
only does it teach us about God, but it is a living book. If we read the New
Testament alone, think of the picture that we get there, seeing God in human
form. What a picture that is! What a beautiful picture of who God is, how He
presents Himself.
Look at the New Testament. Look at the Lord’s life and see how He
presents Himself to us, not with preconceived notions, but take a good, honest
look. We see the Lord joking around with His disciples. When He was talking to
Peter He said, “Peter, from now on your name will be the Rock.” He was saying.
Petra. “From now on I’m going to called you Petra.” That’s like saying, “Rick, from
now on I’m going to call you Rock.” Or saying, “Stanley, from now on you’re
Stonely.” It was a pun. It was comical. And yet it says something deeper.
How about when He appeared, when He was whipped in front of the
whole Sanhedrin who were judging Him. And Caiphus says, “Are you the Christ,
the Son of the Living God?”
He said basically, “You said it. It is as you say,” right back to them.
When Pilate said to Him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You said it.”

How many times have we heard in pulpits in different churches, “Are you
the king of the Jews?” “It is as you say. And they led Him away,” in a monotone
voice.
The Lord was human. “You said it. Yes, I am.”
We see Him laughing, the Scribes and the Pharisees, “You whited
sepulchers.” “You who strain at a gnat and yet swallow a camel.”
Human.
When He’s in the temple, clearing out the temple. “My house should be a
house of prayer and you have made it a den of thieves.”
And then we see another side of Him. As He’s trying to raise Lazarus from
the dead, and all these people don’t believe it. He’s been with them for three
years and no one really understood. There He is. He’s weeping. He’s weeping
because of their disbelief.

When He was in the Garden of Gethsemene, that Human was going
through such anguish, knowing what would happen, that it was said that He
sweated as if drops of blood.
Remember when He was even riding into Jerusalem, and all the people
were cheering, Luke tells us the Lord was weeping at that time. Why was He
weeping? Because God had come to the light into the darkness to save His
creation, and the darkness comprehended Him not. As John said, “He came to
His own and His own received Him not.”

A human God, someone we can relate to. He shows us all the different
aspects of humanity on purpose, so that we won’t see Him as a God afar off, so
that we won’t see Him as an abstract concept, but we can see Him as someone
who has gone through many of the things that we go through, and even worse.
We can relate to Him, that we can be with Him, that He understands us, that He’s
here and now. He’s not somewhere else.
Keep that in mind. The Lord is very real. If you picture the Lord as an old
man with a beard, holding a scepter, way off there somewhere, you’re missing
out on a lot. The Lord is very real. He’s here and now.
He’s there, ready to have a relationship with us, if we are willing to open
our minds and hearts to him.

We can see Him in the literal meaning of the New Testament so easily.
The Writings also say that there are deeper meanings to the Word, that the
whole Old Testament, for example, has a continuous internal sense, a
continuous inner symbolic meaning which deals with many different aspects of
our lives, which deals with the Lord. So that story of the Israelites coming out of
Egypt through the wilderness into the promised land, is also a story of the Lord’s
life on earth, how He came out of the slavery of that human hereditary evil and
worked toward the promised land, His glorification, making Himself Divine. And
the Writings lay out a lot of this for us in the Arcana Caelestia, 12 volumes. The
Psalms, for example, are not just prayers of David, but on a deeper level, a
symbolic level, are prayers of the Lord to the Father – that human part of Him –
praying to the Divine within, becoming one with it.

And when we read the Word in that sense, study it, and look for the
symbolism, the deeper meaning, all of a sudden the Word becomes alive. It’s a
living book. The Lord is there speaking to us. So, John says, “In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” That’s how
the Lord shows Himself to us, can talk to us in His Word. It’s alive. The Writings
say that the Word is the soul medium of conjunction between the Lord and man,
the sole medium of communion between the heavens and the human race, that
when we read the Word with simple minds and simple hearts that the angels of
heaven affect us. Whereas we understand the literal sense, they understand the
deeper internal sense. And when we read the Word we are affected by it. The
Lord can be with us in a special way to the degree that we can read the Word
with the willingness to be led, to understand.

Some people read the Word as if it’s a textbook and they are going to
have a test on it. They look for the facts. If you do that all you’re going to get are
the facts. If you look at the Word with pessimism as you read, all you are going to
get is pessimism. If you look at the Word with preconceived dogmatic notions
about what you’re looking for in certain doctrines, then all you are going to see
are certain doctrines. The Writings say, “Those who approach the Word with
preconceived doctrines, it’s as if they only read one page and flip it over, they
miss this page, they read the next one, they flip that over. They’re only reading
half the Word.” The approach is like that.

To approach the Word with open minds, open hearts, those who approach
the Word with a willingness to be led, simply to say, “Help me.” To read it, even if
you were reading something about David going off and doing this or that, or Saul,
or Solomon, you are going to get something from it. Sometimes you will be
amazed at the answers you get in the Word. When you ask a specific question
about your life, “How am I doing? How can I do better?” the Lord will answer you
in an incredible way, an astounding way. You’ll see this is a living truth. This is
alive. At other times it’s much more subtle. It was pointed out once that a lot of
the time it’s just a feeling you walk away with, a feeling that we’ve been
somewhere, a feeling that we’ve been with someone, that they are still with us in
a special way. And that someone is the Lord.
The Word is very important to read. But not only to read the Word, but to
do something with that.
There is also prayer, the whole realm of prayer, come to know our God, to
understand Him. The Lord’s prayer is a very special prayer. After all, the Lord
gave us that prayer. He says, “When you pray, say this..” He gave us that prayer.
The Writings of the New Church say two things about the Lord’s prayer. One, that
that prayer in its deeper, inmost sense, deals with all the different facets of our
relationship with God and man, and when we say that prayer we are saying a
general prayer to help us out in all fields. And if we can see that deeper, inner
sense we’d understand that it has all kinds of things to do with our life.

But beyond that, we’re told that when we say the Lord’s prayer, because
of the way it’s been written, that we can communicate, can have communion
with, all of the heavens, all the different societies of the heavens. So that prayer
has a special power, a power for good, an effect on our own lives and hearts.
There’s more than just reciting prayers. It’s funny, it’s amazing, many
churches haven’t picked up on this, especially some of our larger churches. The
Lord said, “Do not use vain repetition as the heathen do, for they think that they
will be heard for their many words. Therefore, do not be like them.” When we
pray, sometimes all we have to do is talk to the Lord. The Writings define prayer
as “speaking with the Lord.” It’s very simple. Talking to Him, “How am I doing
today? Help me out in this one. Help me to get through this. Thank you.” There’s
many things we can do, just to talk to Him. At first when we do that, when we are
not used to it, it may seem a little strange, talking to the Lord. You remember that
Paul Newman movie, Cool Hand Luke, after he had escaped for the third or
fourth time, in that church he was looking up and talking to God, he looked up
seeing if someone was listening to him. We’ll feel that way a little bit when we
first start. But what happens is, after a while when we do this, we begin to feel
the Lord’s presence in a very real way. And we begin to feel it’s more than what
we bargained for. It’s not as if we do this and ended up all of a sudden feel it,
there’s some kind of psychological reason for it. No. The Lord comes into our
presence, His presence comes into us even more than it would have at that time,
and we can feel Him and understand Him. We will be astounded.

Even more than this probably, the most important thing, we want to have a
relationship with the Lord. If we want to bring Him into our hearts and tell Him,
we’ve got to put ourselves in the order of His creation.
We’ve got to shun that evil and selfishness that we all know we have
within, that block out the Lord’s life, that block out His love. That’s why
He’s given us His teachings, so that we can use them to get our act together, to
put ourselves back in that order, to put ourselves on the right path, that He can
flow into us with His wisdom, He can come into us with His love. And with that
love comes joy and happiness. It could be sometimes, that we like God to be way
up there in an abstract concept because when we want to do what we want, He’s
not there to make us feel bad or make us feel guilty.

Think about that. How uncomfortable would you feel if you are doing
something that really was raunchy, and had that real awareness that the
Lord is right there with you, it would be a bad feeling. Sometimes we leave Him
way off in the distance. We keep Him close enough so that when we feel guilty
we have somebody to turn to, but for the most part in our lives, we keep Him way
off there. If we are going to do that, and we have a perfect right to do that, the
Lord lets us be free to do that, but if we do, let’s be honest with ourselves. We
are creating a hell in ourselves, and that after death that’s exactly where we will
go.

The Lord is not a God afar off. He is here with us. He has His arms open
to us ready to receive us into Himself. When we hold the key, we can open that
door and let Him into us. We do that by learning of Him in His Word which He
has given us, by turning to Him for help, by being aware of His existence, and by
following His teachings. When we do that, we open our eyes to Him. We can see
Him. More than that, He will be with us. And even more than those disciples, we
will know the Lord, who He is even more than Thomas, and we will be able to say
at this time with full hearts as we comprehend our God, “My Lord and my God.”
Amen.

https://newchurch.org/

DAILY INSPIRATION

“True repentance means not only examining what one does in one’s life, but also what one intends in one’s will to do.”

True Christian Religion 532

Inspiration — How can I get inspired?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

Image result for inspiration

Sports fans are enthralled when they happen to witness something special – a great solo run, a penetrating pass, or a brilliant shot at goal from a seemingly impossible angle. The player has had an inspired moment which takes your breath away.

Brilliant insight can also take place in science, like when Archimedes jumped from his bath when he experienced a leap of understanding about the principle of displacement and when Kekule had a flash of illumination regarding the ring structure of the benzene molecule, when he imagined a snake chasing its tale.

Kenneth Ring, professor of psychology, has found that people have often been inspired by a near death experience to find a greater appreciation for life, greater compassion for others, a heightened sense of purpose, and greater planetary concern etc.

I would argue that inspiration can take place in every area of human activity — whether it be in musical composition, private meditation, poetry, the visual arts, military combat, technological invention or even political speech-making. Such moments involve clarity and vivid awareness of some new possibility. When inspiration takes place it raises our spirits and fills us with wonder.

Whatever one’s individual situation and personal experience, who wouldn’t want to feel inspired? Surely it would add excitement and greater interest to normal living. So what does it actually feel like to be inspired and how can you bring it on?

State of inspiration

The common factor across all instances seems to be an awakening to something new, better or more important, and going beyond one’s previous concerns and habits of looking at things. Instead of being tied to the old way of doing something, a world of possibility opens up, and what is new is created. Some have said that this state of human consciousness is a spiritual gift which happens to you and takes you away from your normal self-serving limitations and puts you into closer contact with the divine spark.

Inspiration is all around

Karrie Landsverk, educationalist and professional speaker, has suggested that inspiration can readily be seen in ordinary life.

inspiration
Karrie Landsverk

“There are amazing people all around us doing every day things but doing so in a way that is inspiring. It may be they work or volunteer with a cheerful heart, they are always willing to lend a hand and stop what they are doing if someone is in need, they are always learning, they are always teaching, they are always creating and so on. Nature is inspiring and beautiful as it transforms throughout each season. God’s word is absolutely inspiring to meditate on each day. I agree our children’s innocence and pure hearts are some of the best inspiration we could ever find. The point is – open your eyes, look around and you can’t help but be inspired.”

Factors conducive to inspiration

Todd Thrash and Andrew Elliot at the University of Rochester have conducted some psychological research into some of the factors which may be conducive to inspiration. In line with Karrie Landsverk’s views, they found that openness to experience often came before inspiration, suggesting that those who are more open to inspiration are more likely to experience it. Also in line with her views they found a link with the spiritual: students studying the humanities such as art, religion and philosophy were more likely to feel inspired: these being all subjects concerned with transcendent values such as beauty, goodness and truth.

Inspiration and a spiritual state of mind

Emanuel Swedenborg, spiritual philosopher, has written extensively regarding what he describes as the enlivening of the human spirit when you turn towards the spiritual with your heart as well as your mind. When you intend what is good then you will start to feel gratitude, joy, happiness, love. Then your understanding of the desirability of these things is no longer just in your head but also in your heart.

It is said that creative writing is 99% perspiration and one percent inspiration. While inspiration is not the same as effort, effort is an essential condition for inspiration. By acting on ones visionary insights you open the door to further inspiration.

Todd Thrash and Andrew Elliot would agree. They point out that both insight and the desire to act on it are both crucially important. The way they put it is to say that Yang (being inspired to) without Yin (being inspired by) is devoid of meaning and so Yin without Yang is spiritual stagnancy. In other words trying to act on one’s vision is the way to be open to further inspiration.

Copyright 2013 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on 14th November 2013Categories Consciousness, Meaning and inspiration Leave a comment

Image result for inspiration

 

The World Needs More Love Letters

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

Hannah Brencher
Hannah Brencher

Hannah Brencher age 24 years felt lonely in the big city. Two and a half years ago she found a way of easing her own feelings of sadness and at the same time helping other isolated people.

She began writing letters to strangers and leaving them all over New York city to find tucked into park benches or magazines in cafes. Words of encouragement like “Don’t give up on your dreams” and “Someone believes in you.”

This all started as a comforting habit but as others joined in it turned into The World Needs More Love Letters project as now there are approximately 13,000 people involved. Now a veritable army of volunteer letter writers has formed and Brencher’s spark of an idea is spreading around the world.

Hannah, who is originally from New Haven in Connecticut, tells Positive News: “My hope was that people would feel like they would be given a proactive recipe: that they could become folded into something larger than themselves – something that blesses the days of others. My letters were filled with honesty and encouragement and words of love. I wanted the recipients to know love wherever they were standing.”

There are now approximately 13,000 people involved, young and old, men and women, from all walks of life.

And judging by the response to the projects web site this is really helping people find connection and encouragement they need.

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on25th April 2013CategoriesMeaning and inspiration Leave a comment

Image result for  spiritual  love