Guide Celebrate the Spiritual Realities of Life (Revelations of the Soul Book 4)

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  1. A Matter of Death and Life
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To grow in grace requires renewing the mind to walk in the fullness of the will of God. In short, the goal of the Christian lifestyle is to become more and more like Jesus Christ in attitude, thought, and action. This involves the development of a number of disciplines: study of Scripture; prayer; living in community with other Christians; giving of our talents, finances, and resources; and sharing our faith, among other things. Freedom from the overwhelming power of sin requires persistent faith and a lifestyle of obedience. To the degree that sin still governs and tyrannizes our lives, we are not free.

We must therefore come to an awareness of how sinful habits still govern our flesh. In addition to an inborn tendency toward disobedience to the will of God, called sin nature, we have also conformed to the ways of this world. From this bondage of the flesh we need to be steadily transformed into his image Rom. Breakthrough, or real spiritual transformation, occurs in the heart with a sense of conviction of specific sins, and results from us accepting personal responsibility for our unbiblical attitudes and actions.

This requires real openness of heart and mind and an honest accounting for the hurt we have caused God, the Lord, ourselves, and others. Proverbs He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Time and again we find ourselves without excuse for our disobedience, for God has provided all that we need to live in righteousness and true holiness Eph.

From this place of brokenness and humility God begins a work in us that forgives, heals, covers, and restores. A new vision evolves. Transformation ends in a renewed commitment to obey God from the heart, and shows up in new and consistent behavior patterns.

In like manner we are all called to present our bodies as living sacrifices or places of worship Rom. Cleansing our mind, heart, and body is a challenging process involving much hard work. Embracing God more wholly and openly brings a sense of joy, hope, and celebration. We are once again transformed by his presence and power, and we move deeper into our true identity in Christ. Identification with Christ brings us more and more into a life that is a reflection of his life and ministry.

As we grow up in Christ, we learn to identify and interrupt unhealthy attachments to things, ideas, people, emotions, etc.

A Matter of Death and Life

Jesus often addressed the idea of attachment, whether to riches, to religious ideas, relationships, or any other thing that might hinder wholehearted devotion to God. It is not a proclamation of future punishment or a condition of torment. Only when the truth is known, can a righteous judgment take place. Our Lord God knows the truth about all of us, so we can safely trust Him to judge correctly.

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His judgment is always redemptive, for we need truth in order to eliminate the lies that have led us in the wrong direction. This is God's way of getting us to see that we need to be freed from our carnal thinking and come into agreement with His thinking! For in one hour your judgment has come. The judgment of God has fallen on humanity's religiosity, and the kings of the earth weep and lament over the fall of Babylon! This does not refer to the fall of the historic Babylon, for that Babylon was taken in B.

The kings of the earth are the strongholds that we cling to in our religious nature. They rule our actions. They commit acts of immorality because they do not submit themselves to Christ's rule. Their immorality consists of aligning themselves with the natural ideas that are against God, approving them, and then having an intimate relationship with them! God dwells in our spirit, and He searches our soul and pronounces judgment against all unrighteousness. The soul realm is ruled by either the Spirit of God or by our own natural desires, and needs to be cleansed of all our thoughts and ideas that consist of religiosity.

It is very difficult to leave our pet theories and philosophies, but everything needs to be tested. The flesh cannot rule in God's kingdom because it always lusts against the Spirit! The strongholds in our religious nature weep and lament when they cannot have their way. Fire can be both destructive and beneficial.

This fire is an internal spiritual burning that does away with the carnal nature. Trials and testings are needed to show us that faith in self cannot produce a righteousness that meets God's standard.

Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives

It is difficult to accept this truth if our trust is in self. Our Father is not satisfied with a partial deliverance from selfhood. Selfhood expresses itself in religious rituals and traditions and works that are intended, or falsely expected, to produce righteousness!

All has to be done away with! As the individual members of Christ's body are cleansed, the church is cleansed. We know that a touchstone tests the value of certain metals. This symbolism tells us that there is a fear of being tested. A test reveals what a student knows; it also reveals the areas that still need to be brought up to standard. Students who are well prepared do not fear the test, but those who have frittered away their time, are fearful.

It takes a great desire for truth to be willing to endure the testing that will reveal the lies that we thought were truth. It also takes a great love for truth to accept truth when it is revealed to us, for we know that religious Babylon will ignore, reject and persecute those who do not agree with her.

One hour represents a short time. It is not a sixty-minute hour. It enabled and expedited the sale of their cargoes. Merchants need to sell their wares if they want to become rich. These merchants are the leaders who proclaim their ideas of salvation etc. They become rich by selling their products. However, when people learn to know their living Savior, and who they are in Christ, they lose their religiosity, because truth reveals the lies that are imbedded in religiosity.

When their religiosity is gone, they refuse to buy the wares lies and deception of the merchants. This robs the merchants of their profit, and causes them to weep and mourn.

Revelation: Vision of a God-Centered Life - Swedenborg and Life

This is a very descriptive and itemized list of the cargoes they merchandize. It includes everything from gold and silver to slaves. The merchants are suddenly out of business because the judgment of God has fallen on this harlot called Babylon. Those who have received truth won't buy her lies. They won't buy the counterfeit, the external copy of a genuine spiritual experience.

The merchants were dealing with heavenly, spiritual realities that had been lowered to an earthy, carnal level. They taught that these could be bought for money or obtained by good works. This was big business, but it was not pleasing to God! To understand this spiritually we have to look at the symbolic meaning of these items. Gold represents the divinity of God; silver symbolizes our redemption; precious stones our riches and gifts in the Holy Spirit; pearls symbolize suffering; fine linen and purple and silk symbolize our priestly and kingly garments of righteousness and royalty; scarlet represents our sinful nature; citron wood is good wood, so it represents the good humanity; articles of ivory are articles of beauty; articles made of costly wood symbolize the first fruit; brass speaks of judgment; iron symbolizes inflexibility.

Religiosity embodies the inflexibility of the law, and woe betide anyone who does not adhere to its codes. In Christ we have the inflexibility of truth, for it cannot be changed, altered or bent. Any compromise changes the truth into a lie. Marble speaks of kingdom beauty! They refer to our worship and prayers.

Wine symbolizes revelation; olive oil speaks of our anointing; fine flour is pure, for it does not contain any lumps, and wheat contains nourishment. Cattle and sheep and horses and chariots and slaves and human lives are symbolic of riches and power. The merchants were selling these wares. They were merchandizing these precious spiritual truths, and in the process they were corrupting them by bringing them down to the natural level.

They were bringing people into the slavery of the law. God's way is different; He freely gives us spiritual truth, and He wants us to freely pass it on. They formerly lusted for the things of this world; they wanted a luxurious life, and power over others. But once we feed on the bread of life, we are satisfied, and the former things pass away. In the Roman world, commerce and trading were done by sea. Much of their communication also depended on sea travel. The merchants, shipmasters, sailors, and passengers all belong in the same category, for they all deal with natural humanity.

Jesus often used the natural to explain a spiritual principle. If we only remain with the natural understanding we won't hear what God is telling us. When the Spirit of God illumines our minds, the natural ideas of salvation and righteousness and giftings are put away. Those who still function in the natural ideas will become very upset because they can't control and enslave us any longer!

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This affects their money-maker account, for they were using religion to make money. No wonder they grieve over the loss of their profits! The ships were made of wood symbolizing humanity and they sailed on the sea of unregenerate humanity. The carnal mind is religious, and it uses whatever it can to enslave us. Babylon represents religiosity. Babylon was a great city. Herodotus said that the circumference of this city was furlongs, or a circuit of 56 miles. Two walls surrounded this city. The outer wall was 11 feet wide and the inner wall was twenty-one feet thick, and reinforced with towers at foot intervals.

Since it was built on the Euphrates River, they also had a good irrigation system to water the gardens and fields within the city. Therefore it was thought that this city was impenetrable and impregnable. Yet the city was captured in B. Our religious mind also seems inaccessible, but Christ, the truth, can overcome it! Those who live in the soul realm, stand at a distance for fear of her torment testing. Because they know that they have had an intimate relationship with religion religiosity , and that they have used Babylon to become rich.

They have not been ruled by Christ, and have never had an intimate relationship with Him. This makes them feel guilty and condemned, and they fear the outcome of the test. Those who know that they have been born from above have no reason to fear, for Christ has become their righteousness. God is a consuming fire; His fire consumes our religiosity. The religious church system is horrified when it sees the evidence the smoke of their burning of the decline of religiosity. Just as the Ephesians cried, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians", so the false church cries out, "Great is the source of our revenue!

What a fitting description of the religious mind!

What Happens When You Die? 5 Big Questions About Death Answered

It desires wealth, and it doesn't mind what tactics it uses in order to amass that wealth. History reveals that a great many religious leaders, and even pastors, have fallen prey to their passion for money and sex. The desire for money and sex are the great pitfalls of religiosity. Only when the Holy Spirit illumines us with His light, and changes us from within, are these desires taken away. Instead of material wealth we now want spiritual wealth! The love of God that is poured into our hearts makes us want to give instead of to get.

In one hour, that is, within a short time, the old desires are eradicated when Christ becomes our Lord! However, the world is always beckoning us to partake of its so-called delights, and care must be taken that we are not lured back into the religious mold. This clarion call to rejoice is spoken to those who are in their physical bodies, and living in time.

Since God calls us saints, do we have the right to contradict Him and call ourselves sinners? Sinners have not been born from above. Our rejoicing takes place "because God has pronounced judgment for you against her. The decision He has chosen isn't going against us; it's going against her, and the word "her" refers to Babylon, the great city that symbolizes religiosity!

This is good news! We don't have to judge anyone. We just agree with God's judgment and rely on Him to perform it! Babylon means "the gateway to the gods". Babylon's many gods bring contradictory messages, so they bring confusion to the soul. In the scriptures Babylon always symbolizes confusion because of the confusion of language that occurred there. Babylon leads us away from the one true God.

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God unites us with Himself, thus bringing us peace. In order to live in continual peace, the Babylon within our soul has to be thrown down. A powerful messenger can do the job! This messenger is Jesus Christ! Babylon is thrown down, and disappears under the water as quickly as a big millstone would disappear when thrown into the sea. We don't concentrate on the splash, but on the joy that enters the soul when the counterfeit is cast down!

The soul that is ruled by the flesh Babylon can only produce the things that are in opposition to the Spirit, and these appeal to the base appetites of the flesh. She indulges in, and feeds on: her type of music, crafts, art, religion, affluence, luxury, riches, trade, commerce, entertainment, sports and sex. God is left out of all these things! Nothing could be more fitting than to commemorate the most important event that ever occurred on this earth by worshipping the most important being who ever walked this earth.

I love Him and testify that He lives! It is He who leads and guides His Church. Without His Resurrection, death would be the end. Monson had stepped through the veil. How we miss President Monson! We honor his life and his legacy. A spiritual giant, he left an indelible imprint upon all who knew him and upon the Church that he loved. I am humbly grateful for your sustaining support. I am also grateful for those upon whose shoulders I stand. It has been my privilege to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for 34 years and to know personally 10 of the 16 previous Presidents of the Church.

I learned much from each of them. I also owe much to my forebears. All eight of my great-grandparents were converts to the Church in Europe. Each of these stalwart souls sacrificed everything to come to Zion. During subsequent generations, however, not all my ancestors remained so committed. As a result, I was not raised in a gospel-centered home. I adored my parents. They meant the world to me and taught me crucial lessons. I cannot thank them enough for the happy homelife they created for me and my siblings. And yet, even as a boy, I knew I was missing something.

I loved learning about the gospel.

Bible Living

As I came to understand the Word of Wisdom, I wanted my parents to live that law. So, one day when I was very young, I went to our basement and smashed on the concrete floor every bottle of liquor! I expected my father to punish me, but he never said a word. I just want to be sealed to my parents. I cannot fully express the joy that I felt that day, 3 and each day I feel that joy of their sealing and my being sealed to them. She and I were blessed with nine splendid daughters and one precious son.

Today our ever-growing family is one of the greatest joys of my life. In , after nearly 60 years of marriage, my dear Dantzel was unexpectedly called home.