How do I get to Heaven?

heavenly-garden

Jesus said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt and thieves do not break in and steal, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Many of us have treasures – material possessions that we value, and there is nothing necessarily wrong with that as long as we don’t place more value on them than they deserve. At the end of the day, we can’t take them with us when we go. We need to put more value on spiritual treasures – to lay up treasures in heaven. What are these treasures we should lay up in heaven? They are the good values we are to cultivate in life – things like honesty, integrity, fairness, kindness, compassion, love, and trust in God. These are the sorts of treasures that can never run out, wear out, or get lost or stolen. In fact, the more we share these treasures with others, the more they increase. The more we practise good values in our lives, the more they grow in us. We are laying up treasures in heaven.

But we are only laying up treasures in heaven if we are acknowledging where they have originated. Each treasure is a blessing from heaven and we should give God the glory for each one.

“The Lord says, ‘Wise men should not boast of their wisdom, nor strong men of their strength, nor rich men of their wealth. If anyone wants to boast, he should boast that he knows and understands Me, because My love is constant, and I do what is just and right. These are the things that please me. I, the Lord, have spoken” (Jeremiah 9:23, 24).

God works through us to do good in the world. If we take the credit for these things, we are stealing from God the credit due to Him. We are breaking the commandment not to steal. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” The commandments are God given rules for our eternal happiness. They appear in the Old Testament in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 20. Then there are the two great commandments – to love the Lord your God, and your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22: 34-40), as well as the Golden Rule – to do to others as you would have them do to you. As we follow the commandments, turning our back on the negativity of our self-centred nature, we make room for God’s love to flow in. Gradually we become the person we were created to be. According to the Writings of Swedenborg, it was revealed to him from heaven that no one comes into heaven unless they bring with them angelic qualities from their life in this world.

God said in Deuteronomy 30:15, 16:

“Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, between life and death. If you obey the commands of the Lord your God, which I give you today, if you love Him, obey Him, and keep all His laws, then you will prosper and… The Lord your God will bless you…”

So, lay up for yourself treasures in heaven and one day you will find yourself in your heavenly home, where you will find true happiness among the angels who always give thanks to God, the Source of all that is good and true.

Jenny

Advertisements

Angry God?

earthquake

Earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, floods, tornados, famine – so much death and destruction, pain and sorrow being inflicted on our planet. One thing after another, it seems it is never-ending. A group of people stood around discussing these phenomena, asking why? Why now? One of them said, “It’s a sign of the end times.” Another one said, “God is angry, believe me!” Another said, “If it’s God, there can’t be a God – if there was He wouldn’t let it happen.” And another said, “No, it’s not God, it’s just nature.”

Many people believe in God but believe Him to be angry and vengeful. They believe that He is so angry at the depravity of the human race that He is punishing us by causing natural disasters and much suffering to teach us a lesson. Parts of the Old Testament of the Bible do seem to depict an angry God, often threatening destruction if He is not obeyed. Other parts describe God’s steadfast love for us. What is the reality? The reality is that the way we see God says a lot about ourselves. In Old Testament times the people thought that when bad things happened they were being punished. God’s zeal for goodness was described as anger and wrath. In the same way that a criminal regards the policeman as his enemy, they thought that God was angry with them. God is never angry. He is our friend and wants us to walk in His ways. He has given us a conscience so that we can hear his still, small voice inside us. In fact, God is love. He came into the world as “the Son of God” to show us His true loving nature.

God created the world according to His laws of nature, e.g. the law of gravity. God does not go against His own laws of nature and change the natural course of events. But, even so, God restores and renews after an event. God is present in the aftermath in the outpouring of love from people who go to help those in need. His love is manifested through many people from all walks of life. When disaster strikes, we are called out of our comfort zones to respond to God’s inner calling and manifest courage and compassion. In fact, we grow in the face of adversity.

God does not cause natural disasters in order to punish us for the sins of theĀ  human race. It is not God’s will that anyone be hurt. There is no way He wants the people He loves (that means anyone) to suffer. But accidents and disasters do happen and He is with us constantly, lovingly endeavouring to bring something good out of misfortune. Let’s see these events as opportunities for us to step up and show our true colours.

“And behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains, and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12).

Jenny

The City of Your Mind

city-1

Back in April 2016 we published a blog called ‘The Golden City – A Vision of your Personal Transformation’ about the holy city New Jerusalem described in the Book of Revelation. This beautiful city represents a vision of our spiritual potential and the way that the Lord is calling us to be made new. It pictures a mind that is upright and honest, kind and good and also openminded towards other people and their different points of view. On the other hand the Bible also refers to the city of Babylon, which has the opposite meaning of a life dominated by self love and worldliness.

At first it may seem strange to compare a person to a city but, when you think about it, there are many similarities. A city is full of arteries and veins (the streets, roads and railway lines) along which travel its inhabitants. On a mind level, we can liken these to thinking in a certain vein or reasoning along certain lines. Just as there are roadblocks in a city, a person can experience mental blocks; and just as there are fires that occasionally break out in a city, a person can suffer temper flare ups! If a city needs renewal every once in a while, so does a person. Human renewal is as necessary as urban renewal. We do look after our bodies when they get sick. But what about our spirit? How would you treat a case of resentment? Or an attack of enmity towards another person? The Lord’s greatest desire is to renew our spirit. Whatever is selfish and rotten in us has to be thrown out so He can replace it with a sound new beam of love. Gradually this process of renewal will result in a strong framework for the city of our mind, fabricated of uprightness, fairness, honesty and love for our God and for others.

There are many gates, which are always open and, therefore, many ways to enter the Lord’s heavenly city. The Lord calls us all to follow Him and build our lives on the firm foundation of faith in His Divine power. If we do this, He makes this promise in Isaiah 55:12 – “You will leave Babylon with joy; you will be led out of the city in peace. The mountains and hills will burst into singing and the trees will shout for joy.”

Jenny