This Week’s Inspiration

This summer we are offering a six part series on spiritual disciplines. Each week we will focus on a different spiritual discipline that can help improve our relationship with the Lord and our spiritual life in general:

  1. Meditation.
  2. Self Reflection.
  3. Prayer.
  4. Worship.
  5. Happiness/Joy.
  6. Congregation’s Choice.

 

Spiritual Disciplines Part 2: Self Examination – Sunday, July 9th, 2017

This week we focus on the spiritual discipline of self-examination. As we learn from the Lord the genuine difference between what is right and wrong, we begin by applying our new understanding to the world around us. As spiritual adolescents, we become very good at taking what we know to be good and evil, and applying it to other people and the world around us. This is a normal part of growing up.  However, a milestone is reached in our spiritual development when we begin using our knowledge of what is good and true to reflect on the evils and false ideas that exist within our own hearts and minds. Instead of focusing on what is wrong with everybody else, we begin to examine ourselves:

“A person comes into the second state of reformation when he begins to think that there is such a thing as sin…and when he examines it somewhat in himself.” (Divine Providence 83)

Even though the Lord gives us the ability to examine ourselves and encourages us to use this gift, genuine self-examination can be a hard discipline to achieve! The Heavenly Doctrines teach us that few people practice this spiritual discipline well. This week we focus on three Divine tips that can help us practice the spiritual discipline of self-examination more effectively.

1. The Lord loves you: Remember that the Lord wants you to make this effort because He loves you and wants to help you rid yourself of the things preventing you from receiving His love. You don’t have to be scared about the Lord discovering your deep dark secrets. He already knows you better than you know yourself. He is not here to condemn you, but to help save you.

2. Be specific: The Lord teaches us that a person who simply makes a general confession of all evils, in reality confesses no evils. When it comes to the spiritual discipline of self-reflection, our job is not to simply confess that we are sinners in a general way. Our job is to be specific! Find one specific selfish love or behavior that you can see you have a problem with; one evil that is preventing you from receiving the Lord’s love into your life, your marriage, your relationships. And then work to shun that specific evil. It’s only if we practice the spiritual discipline of examining ourselves for specific evils that the Lord can help us get rid of those evils, and more forward.

3. Practice makes perfect: We all know that things tend to get easier with practice. Self-examination is no exception. One of the main reasons that self-examination can become difficult is because we don’t do it enough. The Lord tells us that if we can get into the regular habit of examining ourselves it will get easier and less scary over time:

“It is known that habit is a second nature, and that therefore what is easy for one is difficult for another; and this is true of self-examination and a confession of what is thereby discovered.” (True Christian Religion 563)

This week use these Divine tips to help yourself get into a more regular habit of self-examination.  The spiritual discipline of self-reflection can be difficult at times, but with the Lord’s help and guidance it is well worth the effort!

Read a text of this week’s sermon: The Spiritual Discipline Of Self-Examination – Text Sermon

Listen to an audio of this week’s sermon: The Spiritual Discipline Of Self-Examination – Audio Sermon

 

Spiritual Disciplines Part 1: Meditation – Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

This week we focus on the spiritual discipline of meditation. There are many different kinds of meditation which can be good and useful. However, this week we explore the Lord’s command that we meditate on His Word. The Lord encourages us to not just read His Word, but to meditate on it regularly. We should think about what His Word teaches us and reflect deeply on it:

“Happy is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, and stands not in the way of sinners, and sits not in the seat of the scornful. But in the law of Jehovah is his delight; and in His law he meditates by day and night.” (Psalm 1)

“I meditate in Thy commandments, and look unto Thy ways. I delight in Thy statutes; I do not forget Thy word.” (Psalm 119:16)

On Sunday we had a wonderful conversation about why the Lord wants us to meditate regularly on His Word. We also talked about things we can do to make our meditation on the Lord’s Word more useful and effective.

Below is a link to a pamphlet that was shared on Sunday. This pamphlet includes a collection of passages that can help us understand how we can make meditation on the Lord’s Word a more regular and useful part of our lives. This pamphlet includes passages on:

  • How meditation on the Lord’s Word helps make truth your own.
  • Meditating on the Lord’s Word with an affirmative attitude.
  • The importance of asking questions.
  • How to meditate spiritually and not naturally on the Lord’s Word.
  • Praying for enlightenment.
  • Meditating in the field: The importance of meditating on the Lord’s Word with the intent of learning how to better love the Lord and serve the neighbor.
  • How your conscience is formed and strengthened through meditation.
  • How the New Church offers us a new ability to mediate on the Lord’s Word.

This week reflect on the spiritual discipline of meditating on the Lord’s Word. How is your life suffering because you lack this discipline? How can your life improve by committing yourself to developing the spiritual discipline of regularly meditating on the Lord’s Word.

Enjoy these readings: Mediate On The Lord’s Word – Handout

As always, don’t hesitate to contact our Pastor, Rev. Matthew Genzlinger, if you have questions or would like to talk more about this week’s inspiration.

(This week a full sermon was not given. In the future you WILL find links to sermons for the next five spiritual disciplines!)

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