HEAVEN

Jesus tried to make the people of His day understand that the Kingdom of God is within, but few could really comprehend His great message. In the Lord’s Prayer, He said again, “On earth as it is in Heaven.” But, because most humans lacked inner vision, they looked for a Heaven outside themselves, not realizing that Heaven is actually a state of being.
When you are in harmony with the God Consciousness within you–you are in Heaven.

When your mind and heart and soul are filled with love for your fellow man and for God–you are in Heaven. When Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this earth,” He was referring to that Eternal Kingdom of oneness with God which exists within.

It is an incorruptible, indestructible Kingdom. It has always existed and it can never perish since you are a part of the God Consciousness which created it. It was conceived in love and it is eternally sustained by love. But you cannot enter into this Kingdom, and experience its transcendent joys and indescribable bounties, without love. Hate always drives you out of the Kingdom but love is the one unfailing key to your return.

Love is the key to everything good and lasting in life. When it replaces your feelings of hate and other destructive emotions, you instantly feel a release of mind and body tensions. The conflicts within your consciousness cease, and you sense a union with a power greater than yourself, a power now freed to serve you constructively, to bring you the right answer to prayer as opposed to the wrong answers you have been getting when your consciousness has been dominated by wrong feelings.

True love must be shared. It cannot be hoarded. To be blessed by love, it must be expressed, not repressed.

Love is your only means of communication with God.

 – Harold Sherman, “Love–The Essential Key to Prayer,”
How to Use the Power of Prayer, 1958


God is LOVE;
and whoever continues in love, dwells in God, and God in him.
His love with us will be perfected when we have free access in the Day of Judgment;
because as He Himself is, we also shall be, in that world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect [complete] love expels fear,
because fear is torture;
and whoever is in fear has not reached the perfection of love.
We love, because He first loved us.

I John 4:16-19
The New Testament in Modern English,
Fourth Edition, 1906
Translated by Ferrar Fenton

Posted in Atonement, Eternity, Fear, Freedom, God, Heaven, Inner Life, Love, Perfection, Prayer, Receiving

SELF

In that painful moment when the finite self discovers its own nothingness it again turns by contrast to the larger Self …

(I can) perceive my all-knowing Self as a living intuition in those happy moments when I am lifted above mere finite self-consciousness.

Since then, such an absolute Self exists, I am fully known, I am known far better than I could ever know myself; and I rejoice that this is so. If I could thus see myself as I fully am, I should probably find myself as one among many individuals, standing for some idea which no other soul is so well adapted to represent, a character which all other souls probably share in their own way. It is enough for me to know that I am needed.

I am fated to miss my true self until, having exhausted mere self-scrutiny, I await in silence, and let myself be discovered as a moment embosomed in eternity, a word in the divine language, a quality of purest absolute being. That which a moment before seemed hard and fast limitation now appears in its true light as an element of beauty, inseparably and intimately relating the finite to the infinite. No self is complete until it thus becomes self-conscious. No self is in full self-possession until it knows itself in God. … Here is the joyous passage into the divine.

If at one moment I seem puny and ignorant, at another–in the ineffable moment of illumination–I am the heir of all the ages and of all wisdom. In these two moments I know myself first as finite, then as infinite. I did not seek out this my deepest truth. I did not reason it out. It sought me, and I recognized the Seeker.

 – excerpts, Horatio W. Dresser, The Perfect Whole:
An Essay on the Conduct and Meaning of Life,
1896


Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked (Jesus) a question, tempting him,
and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him,
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it,
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Matthew 22:35-40
The Bible, King James Version

Posted in Affirmation, Freedom, Growth, Guidance, Inner Life, Jesus, Mind, Perfection, Silence, Vocation

BIRTH

Christ came the first time into men’s vision by coming on the plane of their senses; He comes the second time into men’s vision by lifting men up to His plane of spiritual comprehension. This coming of Christ involves a new birth, a new creation, a new kingdom. It means a new step in the evolution of man. … Many times, in many ways, He declares, I am ‘from above.’ He is born a natural man, and yet possesses the life of the kingdom next higher, and proceeds to lift the natural man by a new birth into the kingdom of the spiritual man. He is born the son of man and the Son of God, bridging the chasm with his own being. … And so, the Christ life takes the character, the soul, the spirit of the natural man, which have developed through the ages–takes them through a new birth, this time with man’s consent.

The new birth of the natural man into the kingdom of the spiritual man, the reborning of his personality, making him a child of God after the type of Christ, is the tap-root of Christianity, is the chief artery. Cut that and all is gone. Keep that and let the ‘new creature’ grow toward his fulness, then Christ is recreated, reincarnated in him, and through him He is manifest again among men.”

– Isaac K. Funk, D.D., L.L.D., (co-founder of Funk & Wagnalls Company),
The Next Step in Evolution, 1902.
– Quoted by Ralph Waldo Trine, In the Hollow of His Hand, 1919.


Now when He (Jesus) was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said,
“The kingdom of God does not come with observation;
nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’
For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Luke 17: 20-21
The Bible, New King James version


It is indeed a new life, or birth into a new life; it is conversion and redemption combined, if you please, the moment any soul realises this one great central truth that Jesus brought within the realm of human knowledge and experience.

 – Trine, op. cit.

Posted in Atonement, Christ, Conversion, Creation, Growth, Heaven, Inner Life, Jesus, Life, Perfection, Receiving, Spirit

THE WAY

It cannot be otherwise than well that we find the Kingdom while here; that we realise the reign of the Spirit, which is the reign of God in the mind and heart and life. It serves us here; and it may serve us better than we know, when we are through here, and when what lies beyond awaits us. With life thus under the Divine rule we are able better to preserve the true proportions of life.

There will be problems–there will always be problems. As desire, however, leads us to subordinate all things to this Kingdom of the Divine rule, and as will keeps us true to that desire, there come continually clearer perceptions through the leadings of the Spirit–the Holy Spirit of which the Master spoke–through which new insights and powers are awakened within; and there comes a fortitude of the soul that enables us to meet with calmness, and effectively to deal with each problem, as it comes.

There is a help in connection with the way that the Master has shown us, that is of inestimable value and that we could use to far better advantage than we do use it. It is the method or the practice that he made use of so frequently himself, whereby he was enabled to sense and to find the way, which, when he found, he revealed to us. So many times, we are told, he went alone into the mountain to pray–to commune with the Father. It is these quiet times alone, in communion with our Source, the Reality of our being, in communion with the Father–my Father and your Father–as Jesus taught us, which constitute effective and valuable prayer. Surely this is what he meant when he said: But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. [Matthew 6:6] It is thus that the deeper perceptions of the mind and spirit are awakened and developed. It is the greatest privilege or gift that we humans have.

A great secret of life, therefore, is to go daily into the mountain to pray, and then to go down to do each day a man’s or a woman’s work in the world. As is revealed to us, so we can reveal. As we receive, we can give, and we must give–thus we serve. … Thus do all things work together for good for those who love the Good [Romans 8:28] – and the way of the Christ is the highest that we know.

 – Ralph Waldo Trine, In the Hollow of His Hand, 1919


Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 143:8
The Bible
English Standard Version

Posted in Christ, Faith, Giving, Guidance, Heaven, Inner Life, Listening, Prayer, Receiving, Silence, Soul, Spirit, Trust

REST – Part 2

I wonder if you have ever noticed that no biblical poet or prophet sets the thought of God’s greatness over against the thought of man’s littleness in order to make man feel insignificant and of no consequence. On the contrary, all the great biblical writers set the thought of God’s greatness over against the need of man. They magnify God not to make man feel small, but to make man feel that the resources of this mighty Being are at his disposal. We are not to argue, “If he is so great, I must be of no account at all,” but rather, “How great he is, and therefore how able to take care of me and look after my interests.”

…in Psalm 8, which might seem to dispute my claim: The psalmist says: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him! and the son of man that thou visitest him?” But don’t stop there! For the poet goes on to say: “Thou hast made him a little lower than God”–in the original we have the word God (elohim), not angels–“and hast crowned him with glory and honor… Thou hast put all things under his feet.” In other words, the poet is rejoicing in the glory of God in order that he may rest the minds of men in God’s infinity.

And remember that when the psalmist cries out, as he so often does, “O magnify the Lord,” he does not mean, “Let us tell God what a wonderful person he is, and let us in our insignificance crawl at his feet.” He means, “Let us realize how big God is and how adequate for all our needs, and let us rest our minds and hearts, our worries, our concern for our loved ones, our whole nation’s troubles, on his breast.”

Let us magnify the Lord together! Let us have a great God… For all science and all poetry and all music and all drama are but revelations of his nature and his ways with men. Our God, vast and infinite, stands behind them all, greater than man’s power to imagine, better than man’s loveliest thoughts.

– So you can relax your body
and hush your mind
and quiet your heart
and rest
in the infinity of God.

When you pray, God gives himself in loving attention to you as if you were the only person in the universe.

Our only mental rest is in the infinity of God, with whom is no detail, no chance, no unimportant event, no past, no present, no future. All exist in his life, which, being infinite, is beyond our comprehension.

Do you realize that when you know a person you are content to wait for an explanation of the things he does and allows? “He who hath heard the Word of God,” said Ignatius, “can bear his silences.”

We cannot comprehend the infinity of God. God will always be beyond the compass of our little, finite minds, and he will both do and allow things that puzzle, bewilder, and affright us; but, although we don’t know much about God, we know God in Jesus and, knowing, can rest our minds in his infinity.

“Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God.”
[from “The Marshes of Glynn”, by Sidney Lanier]

“And I smiled to think God’s greatness flowed around our incompleteness,–
Round our restlessness,
his rest.”
[from “The Rhyme of the Duchess May” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning]

 – Leslie Weatherhead (1893-1976), minister at City Temple, London.
Excerpts from the sermon “Resting in God’s Infinity,” The Significance of Silence, 1945.


The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not lack.
He makes me to lie down in pastures of tender grass;
He leads me beside waters of rest.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
 For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
To the end of my days.

Psalm 23
The New King James Bible

Posted in Comfort, Eternity, Freedom, Infinity, Jesus, Prayer, Psalm 23, Rest, Silence, Trust

REST – Part 1

BACKGROUND

In this season of honoring military veterans, and of Thanksgiving, it is the right time to present a stunning example of the personal strength generated by reliance on God through Christ Jesus. It concerns the courage and persistence of civilians in a war zone: London during the WWII “blitz.”
This blog topic is being written in two parts – the 2nd to follow soon. It is taken from a book of sermons titled The Significance of Silence by Dr. Leslie Weatherhead, minister at City Temple, London, 1936-1960, and a prolific writer. He prefaced his sermon collection with the background “of the work of which preaching is only a part and a picture of the people to whom (the) messages were proclaimed.”

Part 1 of this blog topic quotes excerpts from Weatherhead’s preface:


In the spring of 1941 the City Temple was set on fire by incendiary bombs dropped from German airplanes and, except for the facade, the tower, and the lower part of the walls, totally destroyed. The famous marble pulpit, gift to my predecessor, Joseph Parker, from the City of London, was an unrecognizable heap of stones. Not one of the stained-glass windows remained. The great organ vanished in a night. The vast auditorium, seating over two thousand people, was a jumble of burned beams, twisted girders, and broken rubble. A score of firemen lived on the premises from the outbreak of war, but unfortunately the first fireman on the roof fell and was injured. By the time he was carried to safety the roof was alight in three places. Pieces of burning roof fell on the wooden pews, and in a few minutes the place was a roaring inferno.

… On the one hand, the sadness, the unutterable sadness of our loss. On the other, the unconquerable sense of triumph; a great thankfulness that no power of hate or aggression or evil can ever dominate the church, the living entity, made, not of stones, however venerable, or stained glass, however lovely, but of loyal, loving human hearts.

I have come to admire those stout hearts.

(After some descriptions of these “stout hearts” and the devastating effects of war in their lives comes the following account of their commitment to faith and church – their inspiration and hope.)

A month after the great disaster, the City Temple suffered again, although there was little more that could be destroyed. At that time we had been graciously allowed by Dr. Sidney Berry to meet in the Memorial Hall, the headquarters of the Congregational Union. One Sunday morning in May, 1941, I set off to conduct worship with a heavy heart. All night the bombs had been dropping, the guns roaring, the shrapnel falling. I should think no one in London had had any sleep, and many hundreds had suffered. In the suburb where I live we had been fortunate this time, though my own home had been damaged by earlier raids. Yet I felt sad on this bright morning, and apprehensive of the stories of suffering my people would tell me.

Before we had gone a mile, the bright sky had disappeared and given place to rolling clouds of smoke that covered the heavens and made the streets look as though it were a November evening. How we escaped punctures I have never understood. We drove continually over broken glass and parked at last near Smithfield Market, three quarters of a mile from the Memorial Hall, but as near as the police would allow us to take the car. Then we walked.

Down one side of bomb craters we went, and up the other. Skirting piles of debris, including part of the famous Old Bailey Courts of Justice, which I saw come down into the street, clambering over timber and massive lumps of masonry, threading our way between and over fire hose, we came at last to Farringdon Street, which was blazing all down one side as far as one could see. Fortunately the Memorial Hall was safe, though all approaches to it were dangerous, either from flames or from falling buildings. One could not pass up Ludgate Hill toward St. Paul’s Cathedral, for the flames from both sides met in the middle of the street. Yet the small hall in which we met to worship was crowded with people, and many stood in the corridors outside. I took for my subject “The Power of God” and read part of that glorious letter of Peter to a church suffering the agony of persecution under the monster Nero. We felt gloriously close to the infant church of the first century as we prayed and sang, with London burning all around us.
In the sermon I had to raise my voice to be heard above the hiss of the firemen’s hose and the roar of the flames devouring the buildings on the opposite side of the street.

I shall never forget that service. In the middle of it a gas main exploded with a roar. The flames lit up the faces of the congregation…

(We wondered if) we should give up the idea of an evening service. I then announced that the second service would be held as usual. And again the people crowded the hall. I spoke on the inner serenity of spirit which Christ promised to those who trusted him. We felt the Master was indeed in our midst and that no outward horror and destruction could invade our hearts.

I have described in detail that Sunday, the worst day I have ever lived through, because it tries to paint a picture of what my people are facing and the spirit in which they are facing it.

Not one of us is in despair.


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

Posted in Christ, Comfort, Faith, Fear, Jesus, Life, Peace, Protection, Psalm 23

CONVERSION

The most fundamental change (in life) is the change called conversion. Conversion is the gradual or sudden changing from the Kingdom of Self to the Kingdom of God through the grace and power of Christ. (The soul) stands up under the pressures of life and is able to live and to live victoriously.

According to (William) James: “Conversion produces these four fruits:
1. A sense of a higher and friendly Power.
2. Charity and brotherly love.
3. A paradise of inward tranquillity.
4. Purity of life.”
and, we may add, a new sense of the value of ourselves. An inner, royal dignity comes into the human breast. The human heart has found itself and its way to live.

A man can never despise himself again, for God does not.
He is reconciled with God and hence with himself.

 – E. Stanley Jones, Is the Kingdom of God Realism?, 1940.


Then one of (the Pharisees), a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus said to him,
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.’
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like it:
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22: 35-39


And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2
The Bible, New King James version

Posted in Atonement, Conversion, God, Growth, Heaven, Jesus, Love, Mind, Peace, Perfection, Reality, Thought