Reward is Intrinsic Beatitude, which is called Peace, and thence External Joy

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeFrom Apocalypse Revealed ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Rev 22:12
… signifies that the Lord will certainly come, and that He Himself is heaven and the felicity of eternal life to everyone according to faith in Him, and life according to His commandments. “Behold, I come quickly,” signifies that He will certainly come, that is, to execute judgment, and to found a New Heaven and a New Church. That “quickly” means certainly. “My reward is with Me,” signifies that the Lord Himself is heaven and the felicity of eternal life. That “reward” is heaven and eternal felicity. That it is the Lord Himself, will be seen below.

Rendering unto everyone according to His work,” signifies according to his conjunction with the Lord by faith in Him and by life according to His commandments. The reason why this is signified, is because by good works are signified charity and faith in internals, and, at the same time, their effects in externals; and because charity and faith are from the Lord, and according to conjunction with Him, it is evident that these are signified; thus also this coheres with what went before. That good works are charity and faith in internals, and at the same time their effects in externals.

That charity and faith are not from man, but from the Lord, is known; and because they are from the Lord they are according to conjunction with Him, and conjunction with Him is effected by faith in Him and by a life according to His commandments. By faith in Him is meant confidence that He will save, and they have this confidence who immediately approach Him, and shun evils as sins; with others it is not given.

It was said that “My reward is with Me” signifies that He Himself is heaven and the felicity of eternal life, for “reward” is intrinsic beatitude, which is called peace, and thence external joy. These are solely from the Lord, and the things which are from the Lord, not only are from Him, but also are Himself, for the Lord cannot send forth anything from Himself except it be Himself, for He is omnipresent with every man according to conjunction, and conjunction is according to reception, and reception is according to love and wisdom, or if you will, according to charity and faith, and charity and faith are according to life, and life is according to the aversion to evil and falsity, and aversion to evil and falsity is according to the knowledge of what is evil and false, and then according to repentance, and at the same time looking to the Lord.

That “reward” not only is from the Lord but also is the Lord Himself appears from those passages in the Word where it is said that they who are conjoined with Him are in Him and He in them, as may be seen in John:

At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.  He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.  Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings: and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent me. (14:20-24)  (also see John 15:4-5 seq.; 17:19, 21-22, 26, and in other places),

… and also where it is said that the Holy Spirit is in them; and the Holy Spirit is the Lord, for it is His Divine presence; and also when he prays that God will dwell in them to teach and lead them, the tongue to preach and the body to do that which is good; besides other things of a like nature. For the Lord is love itself and wisdom itself; these two are not in place but are where they are received and according to the quality of the reception.

… the Lord Himself is in men according to reception and not from anything Divine separated from Him. The angels are in this idea when they are in the idea of Divine omnipresence, and I do not doubt that that some Christians are in a similar idea also.

(Apocalypse Revealed 949)
June 7, 2017
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Things desired as essential

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

Spiritual Questions
Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be
greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career
however humble;
it is a real possession in the
changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you
to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit
to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham,
drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.”

Max Ehrman

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

Posted on8th April 2013CategoriesMeaning and inspiration, PoetryTags,, , , , ,  Leave a comment

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The peace and joy of heaven is available to us

by Rev. Amos Glenn

And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At evening you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am Jehovah your God.’”

So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a tiny round substance, as fine as frost on the ground.

And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which Jehovah has given you to eat.” “This is the thing which Jehovah has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need.’”

Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. So they gathered it morning by morning, every man according to his need.

(Excerpted from Exodus 16:9-36)

The Lord wants us to have the peace and joy of heaven. Everything He does leads us away from misery and toward happiness. A willingness to follow the Lord’s instructions doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so we are unhappy at times. The children of Israel complained about their suffering in the wilderness because they trusted neither Moses nor Jehovah to take care of even their needs. Ironically, this very mistrust was the source of their misery.

Just as He cared for the Children of Israel, the Lord responds to our unhappy grumblings by sending two types of happiness: natural (meant by quail) and spiritual (meant by bread). The flavorful quail corresponds to the natural feelings of pleasure that come from doing a good deed—­sometimes for selfish reasons. The Lord provides these positive feelings to motivate us, even when we aren’t feeling loving, to sustain us during times of struggle.

While sustaining us with feelings of happiness (quail), the Lord also offers bread, corresponding to unselfish, spiritual happiness. Tasting the bread corresponds to genuinely enjoying serving the neighbor, authentic good feelings not mixed with self-gratification. The bread is satisfying and nutritious; quail was tasty, but the bread was life-giving. The bread corresponds to the happiness of heaven, which the Lord provides each of us.

Here is the catch: you cannot generate these simple, good ideas yourself. The bread was impossible to store and it is impossible to provide ourselves with heavenly life. The test for the children of Israel was to collect only as much as was needed for the day and to trust that the Lord would feed them again tomorrow. Bread stored overnight became putrid and full of worms. This is a picture of what happens when we lack trust in the Lord and His Providence.

Happiness comes from the daily journey. We are filled with heavenly happiness when we gather true ideas from the Lord’s Word and make them part of who we are, when we do what the Lord teaches because we acknowledge Him as God. The Lord understands there are times when the bread is difficult to eat, when it seems tasteless, dry and unpleasant. In those times, the lower delights, represented by the quail, serve to motivate us to continue acting in a good way. These actions form a container into which the Lord can rain down the bread of life and its heavenly happiness.

https://newchurch.org/

DAILY INSPIRATION

“Whatever spiritual qualities a person acquires in the world remain with him or her after death.”

Heaven and Hell

How does prayer work?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

When I was considerably younger than I am today, I used to think I was lucky; fortunate not to often get het up, upset or worried like individuals I noticed around me. Then I met the real world – the demanding boss, the troublesome colleague, the awkward neighbour – and I realised I could get as emotional as the next person. I do feel irritated when things go wrong; I do get angry when people are inconsiderate; I do find myself nervous in unfamiliar social situations.

Just as I am writing these words, I am very much aware of a telephone conversation in an adjoining room. I cannot hear the words but I’m half listening to the tone of voice of my wife as she is talking to someone we are fond of who is having a bad time of things just now. So I’m naturally concerned. It’s distracting my mind. I feel uneasy, unsettled, even anxious.

We get so immersed in the hectic daily round that we forget those past occasions – perhaps infrequent and brief ones – when we actually felt content with life, and there was a sense of inner peace. Only when we concentrate hard do we vaguely recall  having had that state of mind –  when the stress of everyday life was forgotten, when we were becalmed in what had been a stormy sea, and when we sensed a harmony with everything around. Those were the times when we felt we had found refuge and protection from the conflicting and unsettling pulls of what was going on around us.

People ask, ‘How does one engineer this sense of calm in the muddle, disarray, and emotions of daily life, when one feels anything but tranquil?

When I think about it, these moments of inner quietness for me have occurred in prayer. I’d love to talk in a simple down to earth way about such times. But mere words seem so inadequate. The experience of profound stillness is so different from ordinary consciousness.

Other people who have talked about such peaceful moments may have travelled a different path but I can’t separate these special moments from my religion. A Divine state of peace comes from a ‘place’ deep within oneself and yet it is also an inflowing presence from above. This probably sounds a bit odd if you are not of a religious persuasion, but all I can say is it is very real for me.

The trouble is I’m not sure whether I want to tell others about it even if I could find the right words. The sense of the Divine Presence while conversing with God feels such a personal and private matter. The mystics have been willing to put it into words, but for me it seems like betraying a secret as if one were telling people about an intimate moment with one’s lover.

For love seems to me to be the essence of that inner sense of peace; feeling fully accepted warts and all, fully embraced by the unconditional compassion and mercy of selfless love. This is a very different picture of God to that of the old religion based on a literal understanding of the Bible. For the traditional idea of a judgmental, punitive, vindictive God is not my religion. It is not a picture of God that I could turn to for rest and peace, but rather one to turn to in fear and guilt; for we don’t find inner peace by condemning ourselves.

I think that perhaps another obstacle to experiencing inner calm is our negative reactions to other people.  I’ve found that only when I give up mulling over unwelcome things said by others can I hope to experience the peace of forgiveness. In a state of anger, peace cannot be found.  For only when we bring peace to others can we find peace within ourselves.

Also I would suggest that it’s no good praying merely to get confirmation for our own views about things. We need also to be prepared to have our eyes opened. Prayer is like any worthwhile conversation; it has its awkward moments when we realise we have said something daft or unfeeling or when we realise the full implications of some casual comment.

What counts is what comes from the heart and not whether we are using smooth phrases.  For me, prayer is the focusing of one’s thoughts on the Christ within and this must necessarily involve our whole being.  Only then can we become fully in touch with the Divine Peace that passes all understanding.

My own problem is one of complacency. Things go along hunky dory for a while, life seems to be running smoothly, and I forget to make contact with the Source of peace. Thinking about it, I realise that repeatedly, it’s usually only when I hit the rocks and suffer hurt and sorrow that I spend sufficient time in prayer.

For only then do I really try to surrender my own ideas and hopes. Only then do I really ask about what God wants in the circumstances I find myself in. And only then do I get an answer which gives such a sense of serenity. We don’t find rest from problems unless we speak with God sincerely, fully opening ourselves to the Divine Presence.

This article was first published as A Time to Keep Silence and a Time to Speak in New Vision Magazine July/Aug 2010

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

Posted on2nd July 2010CategoriesMeaning of life, ReligionTags, ,, , , , , , , , , , , ,  Leave a comment

Personal change — Is it too late?

Personal change
Time for a personal change?

It’s never too late to make a personal change – or so my mother used to tell me. But sometimes I feel I’ve missed the boat. Others have said the same thing. The more we indulge our weaknesses, the more our flaws seem to take hold; and the more we avoid those difficult challenges, the more dissatisfied with ourselves we become – and wonder whether ingrained personal habits can ever be broken.

Stopped making personal change?

Some of us may realise that we’ve stopped moving along our path in life. Stopped making any personal change. For the warning signs have appeared – a medical complaint caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, a developing coldness due to the neglect of one’s close friends, a loss of interest and energy for something we should be doing that we know deep down is important.

Not moving along life’s path is literally true for me. In my case it is a canal tow-path near my home which I should be using for much needed daily exercise. They say, ‘A healthy mind needs a healthy body’, but mine is getting to be no longer ‘fit for purpose,’ sadly through a long time of overindulgence.

Reasons for no personal change

Sometimes I think I’m just naturally lazy and so have been quick to forget about the problem. And when I’m shaken out of my complacency, I only make an effort to make personal change in stops and starts.

Perhaps that’s the trouble with our failings  – we don’t like to dwell on them.  Our mistakes sometimes need to have catastrophic consequences before we wake up and take notice; before we see the need for something important to make a personal change about.

We may want to find peace and contentment. The trouble is such feelings are denied us as long as we turn our backs on what we see to be the truth; the truth that we can cause harm to our body by neglecting it, or the truth that we can do damage to our most valued relationships by not nourishing them.

Need for personal change

Going out for a daily jog – or in my case a regular brisk walk every day, perhaps in cold wind and rain – may not seem like a deep issue; but something on the surface of life like this can be a spiritual matter if we do not follow our inner conscience. If I do not take control of my body what chance have I of taking control of my life? I do make the effort but somehow I seem to need an extra lift to keep at it. To make that personal change I really want.

Unaided personal change

To be honest, and I know it sounds pathetic, but after many years I’m beginning to wonder if I can win this battle unaided – not to mention a few other personal trials I’m facing. Many alcoholics accept that the fight to beat the demon drink cannot be won through one’s own efforts alone and have surrendered to what Alcoholics Anonymous term a ‘higher power.’ When the going gets really tough and we realise we are just not strong enough to make that very important personal change and find a way through, then perhaps we likewise can humbly ask for help from the spiritual force in which we believe.

As the Christian mystic HT Hamblin pointed out, our seeking must ultimately be not through mental effort, but through acceptance and surrender, ‘turning the heart to the Christos’. This means accepting the ‘disciplines and chastenings’ of life, working through them and learning as much as possible from them and then leaving the outcome entirely in Divine Hands.

In other words, seeking a way through our troubles and failings is usually something to do with moving away from self – from self-indulgence and self-importance. We may all be complacent about some of this but how much happier we could become by both facing the need to change and asking for help – however long it takes in relation to different aspects of our character.

I’m focusing on just one issue at the moment, but I’m becoming aware of other ways my life needs turning round. I don’t know if all my troubles will be cured but I believe I can only do what I can do and leave the rest to God’s Power.

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

First published as Facing the Cold Wind and Rain in New Vision Magazine March/April 2010.