Unique expressions of God’s love

 

Unique expressionsHave you ever been so appreciative of a quality in another person that you had to tell them immediately because you felt you might burst otherwise? Or have you ever participated in an group exercise of naming characteristics you love in each other? I recently led an exercise in a church service where I called on someone in the room, and everyone else in the room spoke of the positive qualities they saw in that person. It was a powerful, even sacred experience. These are amazing experiences, because something holy happens in those moments of expressing love. Something changes as we focus our love for one another and speak it aloud.

One of the things that has been striking me profoundly in the last couple years is what the New Church tells us about love. A beautiful teaching is that love, by its very definition can’t keep itself to itself, it has to be shared.

“The essence of love is loving others than oneself, wishing to be one with them and devoting oneself to their happiness…. The third essential of God’s love, to devote Himself to the happiness of others, is to be recognized in everlasting life, which is blessedness, bliss and happiness without end, which He gives to those who receive His love into themselves. For God, just as He is Love itself, is also blessedness itself. For every love breathes out an aura of joy from itself, and the Divine Love breathes out the very height of blessedness, bliss and happiness forever” (Emanuel Swedenborg, True Christianity 43).

Love cannot exist unless there is something that it loves; it needs a receptacle.

“The hallmark of love is not loving ourselves but loving others and being united to them through love. The hallmark of love is also being loved by others because this is how we are united. Truly, the essence of all love is to be found in union, in the life of love that we call joy, delight, pleasure, sweetness, blessedness, contentment, and happiness. The essence of love is that what is ours should belong to someone else. Feeling the joy of someone else as joy within ourselves—that is loving” (Emanuel Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom 47).

God is love, and His love is the reason we were created. So you were breathed into existence out of God’s love, for the purpose of God’s love. That is the reason you exist, so that God can love you. What an amazing thought! And if any of us were not here, there would be some unique expression of God’s love which we are each an instrument of in someone else’s life that would be missing from their life and from the world. That is an incredible thing to think about. Each of our lives is meant to be an instrument of that love which would be missing in other people’s lives without us.

It is up to us to share that love, share that expression of the Lord that we were created for, with others. We need to carry that same conviction into our interactions with all the people in our lives so that when we use the words “God is Love,” and when we talk about how the Lord loves all His children, everyone we come in contact with will come to really believe it. We need to make sure people feel and trust that our love for them is coming from a heartfelt conviction and that we care more about them than we do about what’s comfortable for us. Not just for our friends, but everyone around us, on both an individual and a global scale.

The Lord has called each of us by name and is lifting us up to new lives. This is where all hope comes from.


 Reflection

Take this challenge:

  • Think of someone you love, feel neutral about, or are in conflict with.
  • Speak/write the positive qualities you see in them.
  • Hold them in a loving place in your heart.
  • Observe any shifts that occur within you as you do this.

 

Ethan McCardell is the pastor at the Light for Life New Church in Seattle, WA. Visit www.lightforlifenewchurch.org for more information.

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DAILY INSPIRATION

“In its essence, marriage love is nothing else than the willing of two to be one, that is, their desire that the two lives shall become one life.”

Married Love 215

 

A Divine Revelation of True Christianity

 

Jesus Lives! – The Lord God Jesus Christ: Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of Heaven and Earth

Old Christianity New Christianity
God is divided into three persons, who are somehow “one” God is one Supreme Being, one Person: Jehovah. He is Being and Existence itself, and cannot be divided into separate “persons.”
The Son is the “second person” who descended and was born as Jesus Christ The human body born in time, derived from the virgin Mary, is the Son of God
Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons Jesus is Jehovah in human form, and simply calls God his Father as he was born of a virgin with no human father. See The False Belief of a Trinity of three beings: TRITHEISM
The Trinity of three persons existed from eternity The Trinity is NOT three persons. There is a trine of soul, body, and spirit in each human. The Holy Trinity came about When Jehovah became incarnate in a human form.
Among Catholics, when Mary was born she was free from “original sin” (known as the Immaculate Conception). Mary was like any other human person, and was born in sin. She was however highly spiritual. Swedenborg does offer explanations for the Marian apparitions within the Catholic church (hard to summarize here). Prayer should only be focused on Jesus Christ.
Jesus was also born perfect Jesus, initially, was like any other human. The body derived from Mary had sinful tendencies, by which Jesus could be tempted. But his soul was Divine and could not sin. Through Jesus, a spiritual war arose between Jehovah and all of hell.
Various Christological disputes about whether or not Jesus has one nature (Divine) or two natures (Divine and human) Jesus initially had two natures, the external human nature that had sinful tendencies, and a Divine soul. Gradually the human was absorbed and Jesus became a “Divine Human” or “God Man”.
Among Catholics, Mary is known as the “mother of God.” Mary was the mother of the human vessel of Jesus. Initially Mary was his mother, but once the human was absorbed the human became Divine. It is this human body which is the Son of God. As the human was made Divine, Mary is no longer the mother of Jesus.
God was angry and wrathful with humanity for their sin God is love itself, and can never be angry. He appears “angry” to those who turn against Him.
God seeks to punish us for our sin God created a law of Divine order where each sin contains within it its own punishment. These laws are designed to lead man back to good.
Various theological debates about the meaning of the Eucharist ritual, the body and blood of Jesus Christ The Eucharist ritual is symbolic. Symbolic rituals conjoin the human mind with heaven. The body represents God’s love, the blood his truth. The Eucharist is the central ritual because Jesus made his very body Divine
Jesus had to suffer and die as “payment” for our sins. Our sins were transferred onto him. Everyone is responsible for their own actions. Sins are removed by repentance. The sins that Jesus bore are the ones he inherited from his mother Mary
Jesus saved humanity from a wrathful God by taking on punishment to satisfy this “legal debt.” Jesus saved humanity by making his very human Divine.  Once the human was made Divine, the Holy Spirit could flow through him to other humans
Jesus saved humanity by his death on the cross where sins were somehow “transferred” to him. Jesus saved humanity by gradually making his human Divine, and resisting temptation. The cross was simply the last temptation before he made his human Divine.
Among Protestants, all one has to do is “believe” to be saved. Good works mean nothing. Protestants have misinterpreted the writings of Paul, who was talking about the external Mosaic rituals, due to Judaizers at the time. Belief alone is a “devilish faith.” Faith means “living by the truth,” not mere belief. See The Fundamental Error of the Protestant Faith
Among Protestants, sins are supposedly removed by a lip confession and belief Sins can only be removed through repentance, or turning away from them and living by God’s commandments.
Among Protestants, salvation is “free” and “unconditional.” Salvation is dependent on whether or not one lives by God’s commandments
Among Protestants, the 10 commandments are abrogated The 10 commandments are based on the two great commandments of Jesus: love God, and love your neighbor. Only the Sabbath was changed from a day of rest to a day of worship and instruction.
Certain Messianic Jews seek a return to the Mosaic rituals The external Mosaic rituals of the Jews have been abrogated. They along with the Jewish people were a symbolic representative form of the Christian Church
Among Protestants, grace means “unmerited” favor. This is false: scripture shows God has favor to those who live by his commandments. Mercy and grace describe God’s love for each person to save them. See The False Theological Definition of the word “Grace”
Atonement means somehow God will no longer see the sins you commit and will see the righteousness of Jesus God will always know a person for who he or she is.  “Atonement” describes the spiritual protection one obtains from evil temptations after repentance and obeying God’s commandments. Also see What is Blood Atonement or Vicarious Atonement?
One is sanctified by the blood of Jesus The blood is symbolic of the life of Jesus, and his outflowing spirit of Divine Truth. One is sanctified by living according to the Divine Truth
Among Protestants, man has the capacity to do nothing through their own will. Everyone is passive, God does everything Inasmuch one resists sin and turns away from evil, and lives by the truth, one will eventually desire to do good out of love. Inasmuch one approaches God with their whole heart, God’s spirit will dwell within them. All goodness and love comes from God, but each person must be an active willing participant.
Among Catholic, ultimate authority is placed in the priesthood. Among Protestants, ultimate authority is placed in scripture The Protestants are correct: scripture contains within it the Word of God and is the ultimate authority. Interpretation of scripture, however, is influenced by doctrine. A reading of scripture with an open heart opens a connection between the mind and heaven, according to one’s understanding
The Catholic Church claims that through Peter, the Papacy is the “Vicar” of Christ and there is a direct line of succession Catholics have misinterpreted a symbolic reference to Peter in scripture. Moreover, the decree of Chalcedon declaring Christ has two natures was done so that the Papacy could claim to be the Vicar of Christ on earth. However, what was revealed is that the Catholic church was allowed to be dominant for a time through Divine Providence, in order to remove various heresies from the Christian Church.
The Bible is the “literal” and “inerrant” Word of God. Hidden behind the literal sense of the Bible there is a symbolic spiritual meaning. In the literal sense there are many “appearances” of truth that are not literally true.
Among Protestants there are 66 books that are equally Divinely Inspired; Catholics also have additional “Deuterocanonical” works not found in the Masoretic. The canon of the Bible is defined as those books which contain an internal symbolic spiritual sense. The canon of the Old Testament closely follows the Jewish Canon of the Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nevi’im) and the Psalms, but many books of the writings are not inspired. In the New Testament, only the Gospels and Revelation are inspired. However the writings of Paul were included for instruction of the masses.
Among literalists, the world was created in seven days The seven days of creation are symbolic of seven stages of spiritual development
Among literalists, we are all descended from Adam and Eve The story of Adam and Eve is symbolic of how the first church established here on earth eventually turned away and lost direct communion with heaven. Mankind is much older than what Biblical chronology presents; the first 11 chapters of Genesis are highly symbolic.
We all have “original sin” from Adam and Eve (plus other types of sin from Catholic theologians.) Our evil nature is distinguished between what we have successively inherited from our parents and ancestors, and the sins we commit by choice. One will be judged by the actions one committed by choice according to the intent and one’s knowledge.
Many believe in a heaven and hell. Catholics also subscribe to the concept of “Purgatory” – an area between heaven and hell. A very detailed description of the spiritual world from firsthand visions, which includes heaven, hell, and an area in between known as the “world of spirits” which is closely associated with those still alive. This waiting area is similar to Purgatory, but different than what is described by many Catholics.
Certain denominations believe that after death, one just “falls asleep” to await a literal physical resurrection. After death, the spiritual body – human in form – withdraws and separates from its physical body. One could go to heaven or hell, but others are not ready and wait for a time in the world of spirits, some close to a state of sleep. There is no literal physical resurrection – one rises from the dead in a spiritual body. Only Jesus physically rose from the dead.
For those who believe in a “wrathful” God, he condemns sinners to eternal torment in hell We all go where we want to go, according to our desire. We are judged according to our conscience. Evil punishes itself, not God. The burning of hell is due to the burning of hatred and jealousy. The joys of heaven are according to one’s love. There is an automatic separation between those in heaven and hell, according to order.
Many subscribe to a future “end of the world” where there will be this last judgment of all mankind on earth. There is no literal “end of the world.” There is an end to each church or age or dispensation. A church ends when it becomes corrupt, and a new revelation is then given. A this time a final judgment occurs in the spiritual world – in the region of the world of spirits between heaven and hell where those who sleep are awakened and judged at this time. These “last” judgments have occurred at certain key moments in the history of spiritual development on earth. Those in heaven and hell already are not judged
One is judged according to one’s belief system or religion. One is judged according to how one lived one’s life according to your conscience. The more you know, the more responsibility you have. Those who have done good, and yet knew little, can still be taught in heaven.
There will be a kingdom of God on earth The true kingdom of God is in heaven, and in one’s heart. However there is a reflection of this kingdom of God on earth: it is the community of the Church.
Some religious people think we should just withdraw from the world and pray and worship The physical world is not evil, but can be a reflection of the heavenly life if one lives according to God’s laws. One lives a spiritual life by being practical and useful to the common good in everyday life.

truth

http://www.biblemeanings.info/

http://www.biblemeanings.info/

From  here.