Examining Faith

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Elder Sarah
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Examining Faith

#1 Postby Elder Sarah » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:38 pm

Shalom!

In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul speaks,

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Yeshua Messiah is in you?- unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test.”

This statement of Pauls draws up a beautiful interpretation of Faith. I hear him asking, are you living with the awareness of the Christ Presence within you? That he speaks of a testing of faith in regards to this awareness, says faith cannot endure unless it is founded within.

In order to fully absorb this interpretation of faith, it appears, one must examine their current concept of faith. This is part of the examination Paul is asking us to do. Upon examining this current concept, it becomes evident; faith can often arise as an outward trust and knowledge. By trust is meant a trust in a higher power, something much grander, much larger than oneself. The word knowledge here pointing to an awareness of a grand orchestration of all things, that all is interdependent and interconnected. Also, the definition of faith the author of Hebrews provides comes to mind, “ Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” This concept is one that assures faith exists, though subtly underlining, while there can be this trust, knowledge, assurance and conviction outwardly, the inward interpretation often appears lacking. The question comes; does one have the same trust, knowledge, assurance and conviction in oneself as they do in God?

In order to ask this question, it appears, the balance of faith in God and faith in oneself must be looked into. First, to have faith in God and to truly grow this faith we must entertain a large view of God. To trust in a higher power, or a power that is orchestrating all that appears, we must first be able to entertain the vastness that idea demands. To grow our faith, our relationship with God and the view of the vastness of God must grow. We must come to be able to see God in all things, in every situation, circumstance and event. Also, while maintaining this vast view, we must be able to perceive God ever beyond all that we perceive. If this is what it means to truly have and grow our faith in God, then what about faith in ourselves? This is where the divide between the two gets a little fuzzy! Where does God end and self begin? Ah, this is a great question! It would appear, we grow as our faith in God grows. This growth in both directions though must constantly be cultivated and open on both sides. In other words, we must grow the view of self in order to grow the view of God and visa versa.

This is where Paul’s words become extremely beneficial and delightful. He says, “Are you living with the awareness of the Christ Presence within you? It is the Christ Presence that can perceive the vastness of the Father, of God. Such that Yeshua says, “I tell you the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.” We can only perceive ourselves as vast, in trust, assurance and conviction if we are perceiving the Father in this way and at the same time we can only perceive this of the Father if it is in us. This appears the examination Paul is calling us to!

May we be empowered and bless to cultivate our faith!

Shalom,
Elder Sarah+

Mark
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faith

#2 Postby Mark » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:46 am

Shalom Elder Sarah!
Your contemplation of faith is meaningful to me. While in states of feeling separated from the Christ Spirit, I struggle to generate faith. It is difficult for me when I am ruminating in the habit energies of fear. Whenever I feel some gradation of the Christ presence within, having faith is easy since the energy of the grace is the doer and is my primary consciousness during those sacred moments.

May we all be open to receive the grace that makes faith possible.
Mark

Mark
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:45 pm

faith

#3 Postby Mark » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:09 am

Shalom in God's love,
Reflecting on having faith in oneself as well as having faith in God, what comes to mind is that I feel like a different person, more able to trust myself, when I am sensing that I am connected to the source of Divine unconditional love. Even though these moments, when it seems like I am in a flow of grace, may just be experienced occasionally, I give thanks for being helped to perceive what is possible and remembering the feeling of faith that is inspired.
With appreciation for the healing that increases faith,
Mark

Tau Malachi
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Living Faith

#4 Postby Tau Malachi » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:54 am

Greetings and blessings in the light of the Messiah!

“Unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test.”

These words capture my attention this morning, and I cannot help but inquire what St. Paul means. What’s the test?

I’m reminded here of St. James and the teachings he gives in his inspired letter: “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing” (1:1-4).

He also writes: “Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (1:12).

Now, in the midst of a spiritual or mystical experience, or a peak experience in consciousness, in that instant we do not believe, but rather we know, we experience, something of the presence and power of God, and we know, we experience, nearness to God, more or less. Likewise, when things go our way in life, or in the midst of the flows of life and good fortune it is easy to believe in Christ and God, and to feel blessed, and so give praise and thanks to God. What about at other times, when there is not a spiritual or mystical experience underway, or there are ebbs of life and what appears to be ill fortune, or inauspicious circumstances? Do we persevere in our faith and maintain our hope in the Lord, and abide in the Life Divine?

You see, these are the times we are being “put to the test,” or our faith is being tried and tested, and these are the times we must strive to persevere in faith and place our hope in the promise of God. As St. James also teaches us, it is not God who puts us to the test, but rather it is our own desires, and it is our own fears, our own insecurities and self-doubts. Thus, indeed, we must keep the faith, in Christ and God, and in ourselves, or rather we must keep our faith in the indwelling Christ, and in who and what we are in God as revealed in Christ, and in our experience of the Light Transmission.

We must learn to remember the Truth and Light revealed to us, and live according to that Truth and Light, even in those moments the Truth and Light seems distant or removed from us; hence, in those times we are being tested, tempted, or encountering trial and tribulation in life, whether interior or exterior.

It is taught that Abraham, and Sarah, lived according to their faith, and that it is accounted to them as righteousness. In other words through thick and thin, good times and bad times, they lived according to their faith, according to the Truth and Light revealed to them, and it is this that is true righteousness. Thus, this holy man and holy woman are called tzaddik, “righteous one.” As we know and understand, the Holy Tzaddik is a sanctuary to others, and is called the “foundation of the world,” or rather, “kingdom of heaven.”

Here we might remind that when Christ appears in the world Yohanan and Yeshua proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near!” If the Christ-Spirit is in us, if Christ indwells us, so also we embody something of the kingdom of heaven on earth, and the “kingdom of heaven has come near.” In the First Coming and the Second Coming this, exactly, is our spiritual labor, to embody the Christ-Spirit, or the kingdom of heaven.

Faith in Christ and God, the True Light, is faith in Christ and the kingdom of heaven within oneself, and beyond oneself; and this is one faith, one hope, and one love, and persevering in faith, so wisdom, understanding and knowledge will come, or an actual self-realization, or enlightenment in Christ. This is our hope for salvation in Christ, or for the liberation of our soul in Christ, as Gnostics.

The nature of faith is this, that we place our trust and hope in Christ and God, and that we surrender to Christ and God, receiving all as from Christ and God, and that we live according to the Truth and Light revealed in Christ Jesus, Messiah Yeshua; this Truth and Light of made known to us in the Holy Mother, Yeshua, Mirya and the Apostles, and it continues to be revealed to us in Gnostic Apostles and the experiences of Light Transmission we have with them, the ongoing communication of the Christ-Spirit, this Living Presence and Power. We must remember the Truth and Light revealed to us, however, and learn to stand in the spiritual empowerment we have received, the Christ-Spirit; we must learn to live within, in full communion with Christ and God, driven no longer by our bestial nature and flesh, but guided by the Spirit of God.

In those times we seem most removed from the presence of God, or Christ seems the most fanciful aspiration, it is then we must keep the faith, and so immerse ourselves that much more in the spiritual life and practice, in prayer and meditation, and in study and contemplation, turning to Christ and God in the time of our challenges and despair. This is living according to our faith and being faithful to the Lord.

There are in the mystical journey very powerful, and often very long, dark nights of the soul as we pass from one stage of the soul’s journey to another, or from one grade of self-realization in Christ to another, and the only thing that will see us through these times and bring us to the “other shore” is faith, hope and love, and a complete, active and dynamic surrender to the Christ-Spirit. If we waver, if we fall to temptation and do not press forward in faith, then we will not experience the breakthrough to a greater spiritual realization that Christ has in store for us; hence, there will be no victory in Christ and we will not receive the “crown of life the Lord has promised.” Thus, keeping the faith in the most difficult circumstances is essential to anyone called to the mystical journey, or the Gnostic Path.

Of course, the greatest challenge, the greatest test, lies ahead of us. It is at the time of our dying and death, when our soul departs the body and the possibility of the full reintegration of our soul with the Light Continuum presents itself; here and now, keeping the faith, engaging in conscious living in Christ, we are preparing for our conscious dying in Christ, laying the foundation of the soul’s resurrection and ascension in Christ, or our full reintegration with the Holy Light.

If I gain the world, but my soul remains bound up in aimless wandering, and is lost, what does that profit me?

If I know the realities in-between in the afterlife states, and I know the truth of the gilgulim, the potentially endless transmigrations of the soul, will I not have faith and devotion with great zeal and passion, and so live according to my faith, actively hoping, aspiring, laboring, for a “better resurrection”? Indeed, the truth is, not much else will matter in this world, for I will know and understand that “everything under the sun is vanity”!

In Christ it must be said, there is no issue of worthiness – no one here is worthy of such grace and such love as is in Christ. There is a great spiritual empowerment in this awareness, though, for it completely removes one of the strongest underlying barrier in us to the Holy Light, the entire play of self-doubt, feelings of unworthiness, or self-loathing; accepting we are, indeed, unworthy, and no longer grasping at feelings of unworthiness, so we can accept and receive the forgiveness and love that is in Christ, and allow the full action of Divine Grace, the Christ-Spirit.

Receiving the Christ-Spirit not an issue of worthiness; it’s an issue of receiving God’s love – in Christ we are all made worthy!

I will share and open secret with you, and I encourage you to consider it. Any moment we feel removed from God’s presence, or any time we face a trial of any kind, it is an opportunity for a most radical leap in the spiritual realization of our soul in Christ, or the most radical progress in the Gospel. At such times we have the opportunity to turn to God, our Father, our Mother, and are empowered to cry out and to yearn from the deepest place of our soul, our being, for greater nearness and union with God, and for an experience of a greater influx of the Holy Light and Spirit; and if we do so in faith and hope, cleaving to the Risen Christ, God will answer our prayer and draw us nearer, and we will experience a greater influx of the Christ-Spirit. This is what St. James knows and understands, and is teaching us at the outset of his luminous letter – this is exactly what he is saying. That’s why he teaches it is a cause for joy – it is a grand opportunity!

If and when we examine ourselves and find there is a weakness in faith, or in hope, or in love, or we find that we are lack anything spiritual, understanding all things spiritual are gifts from the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul teaches us, then let us pray to God and ask God to gift us stronger faith, or hope, or love, or whatever we find that we are lacking, and as we do, let us restore our awareness of our innate fullness in Christ, and let us cultivate joy. As we know and understand, the Holy Shekinah cannot rest upon a depressed person, or a person who falls into themselves, giving way to egoistic sorrow in self-grasping, and the Holy Spirit cannot take full action in a restricted consciousness. Thus, as we pray, as we invoke, we must cultivate joy, some energized enthusiasm, uplifting the energy and vibration of our consciousness, and so expand our consciousness. It is fine that we might begin our prayers in sorrow and despair, or in anguish, wailing and in tears, turning to Christ and God for deliverance and comfort, but as our prayers continue we must let our soul be uplifted, letting sorrow give way to joy. Joined with this, let us look to see the good in us, not what’s “wrong with us,” and let us seek to draw out the good in us as we pray, remembering that, in fact, our soul is born from heaven, our soul emanates from the Light Continuum, Yahweh, Yeshua; hence, our soul is an innate good.

In a word, as need to be proactive in our spiritual life, actively cooperating and co-laboring with the Holy Spirit, the Mother Spirit; and if there is any need whatsoever, spiritual, psychic or material, let us turn to God, the Father, the Mother, and pray and invoke.

If we do, whatever the “test” we will pass it with “flying colors,” the rainbow glory of the Shekinah of the Messiah, for the Holy Spirit will take up the action, and there will be success, victory, through the power of Christ and God, the True Light.

O Adonai, may we be empowered with enduring faith, the confidence of hope, and the passion of love, and so receive our crown of life in You (Atoh). Amen.

Peace be with you!
Tau Malachi
Sophia Fellowship
Ecclesia Pistis Sophia

Elder Sarah
Site Admin
Posts: 334
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2003 5:20 pm

God within and ever-beyond

#5 Postby Elder Sarah » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:05 am

Shabbat Shalom!

Your words here Tau Malachi draws up a recent contemplation regarding something said in Job (4:6),

“Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope.

It is curious, while recalling this verse, I often mistakenly or not so mistakenly recite the word “faith” instead of “fear”. By “not so mistakenly” is meant perhaps we can hear faith in place of fear in the event we are interpreting fear as having Holy awe and wonder for the beloved. Fear in this way is the acknowledgment of the vastness, the interconnectedness and the incomprehensible acts of Creator. For our confidence to be based in this would be the faith that everything we witness, experience and work with and through is an arising of the Beloved. To walk in this confidence is to walk in the trust that in fact we ourselves are an emanation of this power, hence St. Paul’s words of the Christ Presence and Power being within oneself.

Hope being established by integrity is a profound statement. By integrity, I often consider the “integrity” of a structure. A structure that has sound integrity is a structure that is well built, that has lasting capabilities, that is clear of the possibly of detrimental flaws. If we move with ways of integrity, we move in a solid, integral vessel. Curious that hope is what would ensure the stability of the vessel that is us. Also, curious that hope is often equated with Understanding and we know Understanding in Kabbalah to be equated with the Mother, Binah, the “vessel” of creation. This leads to the words that stood out the most in what you said,

"Faith in Christ and God, the True Light, is faith in Christ and the kingdom of heaven within oneself, and beyond oneself; and this is one faith, one hope, and one love, and persevering in faith, so wisdom, understanding and knowledge will come, or an actual self-realization, or enlightenment in Christ. This is our hope for salvation in Christ, or for the liberation of our soul in Christ, as Gnostics. "

I am most struck by the consciousness of moving with the awareness of God within and ever beyond. This appears a delicate balance and a precious key to enlightenment. That faith, hope and love are wisdom, understanding and knowledge speaks that these are in fact a great formula of coming into being, or recognizing our Being all the while. Can we hear faith as the eternally flashing fourth of energy or force as found in Wisdom? Hope as the vessel, the form by which faith is contained as founded in Understanding. And Love as the knowledge, Daat, which balances these two as the arising of an individual aware and awake of this power within and ever-beyond. In other words love as the knowledge of the transcendent and eminent aspect of the Human One?

May the Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge of Faith, Hope and Love arise within and through the matrix of Elohim!

Tau Malachi
Site Admin
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2003 4:20 pm
Location: Grass Valley, Ca.

Faith, Hope and Love & Habad

#6 Postby Tau Malachi » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:38 am

Greetings and blessings in the light of the Messiah!

As we know in the Holy Kabbalah, Malkut is called “faith,” and so we may say that Yesod corresponds with “hope” and Tiferet corresponds with “love,” or “charity,” in the Middle Pillar.

The correspondence of hope with Yesod, the Sefirah called Holy Tzaddik and Sign of the Covenant, is very interesting, for Yesod is the Sefirah corresponding with luminous dreams and visions, and to have hope, in a manner of speaking, is having a vision of ourselves in Christ, and this “vision” serves to integrate all aspects of ourselves and our lives, being as it were, our integrity, and empowers us to live according to our faith, which is accounted to us as righteousness, tzedek.

The sign of the covenant is circumcision, and in Christian Kabbalah it is the circumcision of the heart, which applies to women and men alike, and the essence of righteousness is “guarding the sign of the covenant” in us, which is to say, having one single desire, the desire for Christ and God, and uplifting all our desires to God so that all our desires are purified and consecrated, and woven into this one holy desire for God, the True Light. The very nature of the desire for Christ and God is a complete surrender and self-offering, and corresponds with charity, the desire to give, as we witness with Christ on the cross, and such charity, or self-offering, is call tzedek, righteousness.

As we know, desiring God, loving God, we will love our neighbor, enacting loving-kindness, charity; and in this desire is purified, consecrated, and it is sanctified by God.

This, of course, corresponds with the Holy Tzaddik who is called the “foundation of the world,” or we may say, the “integrity of the world.”

Here we may say, the vision of who and what we are in Christ and God is the Holy Tzaddik, ourselves as living tzaddikim, “righteous ones.”

According to our Christian Kabbalah, faith also corresponds with Da’at, knowledge, for the maturation of faith is the knowledge of Christ in us, and beyond us; hope corresponds with Binah, understanding, through which knowledge is applied, actualized and realized, and love corresponds with Hokmah, wisdom, for the nature of God’s wisdom is all giving, pure mercy and love all of the time.

Faith is knowledge, hope is understanding, and love is wisdom, and so the sign of spiritual wisdom is love; hence, the love of the Shekinah for the Messiah, or the love of Sophia for Christ, the fruition of which is union.

It is written, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (da’at),” and equally it may also be said, “Faith in the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” for first we must have faith in the Lord in order to know the Lord.

If we have faith in the Lord, and acquire knowledge of the Lord, so we will have hope, and through the Spirit of the Lord we will come to understanding; the understanding of the Lord, naturally, leads to love and the generation of true wisdom. All of this has its root in “fear of the Lord,” or rather, “faith in the Lord.”

As we know and understand, the hands of the Holy Tzaddik, which are able to receive all blessings, correspond with the fear of the Lord and love of the Lord, or with the faith and love of Christ; and we may say that the joining of these hands in prayer is the hope of the Lord, Adonai.

If we have faith in the Lord, if we have love of the Lord, we will pray.

Malkut is called the “gate of prayer,” and the single “weapon of the Messiah” is prayer, and we may say that through prayer we hope, and through prayer we love; as we know, the most powerful prayer, or meditation, comes from the experience of union, when the indwelling Christ and Holy Spirit are praying with, in and through us, and as us – hence, the Holy Tzaddik is praying.

If we have faith, we will pray. So it may be said, “Prayer is the beginning of knowledge.”

Now here a thought arises. If faith is prayer, then to examine faith is to examine our prayers, and to grow and mature faith is to grow and mature our prayer life, or our communion with Christ and God. First, as much as prayers for ourselves, there needs to be prayers for others, and as much as prayers for material blessings and boons, or things of the world, so there needs to be prayers for spiritual blessings and gifts, or things of heaven.

Here I will say, prayers for things of the world corresponds with “fear of the Lord,” and prayers for things of heaven corresponds with “love of the Lord,” and so joining our hands together in prayer we pray for earthly and heavenly blessings. It is said, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” or wisdom, and so the end of knowledge, or wisdom, is the love of the Lord. Naturally, the things of heaven, spiritual blessings and gifts, are greater than earthly things, for they are with us in This World and in the World-to-Come.

As we examine our faith, our prayers, we may look to see if there is kavvanah-concentration and devekut-cleaving, and likewise we may look to see if we are “at home” in prayer, and prayer feels natural to us.

What do we pray for, and how to we pray, and when do we pray?

If we consider it, prayer is the expression of our relationship with God, and so the desire to grow and evolve our prayer life is the desire to grow and evolve our relationship with God; as we have said, the most powerful prayer, the fruition of deep prayer or meditation, is the experience of union – faith hopes, yearns, for nearness and union, the perfection of love.

If we have faith, we pray, and so also we worship God in spirit and truth with zeal, and therefore, examining faith, we examine our worship, whatever forms that might assume.

St. James gives us another key for the examining of our faith, for he teaches us that if we have faith, we will have good works, and as much as we may say, if we have faith, we will pray, so if we have faith, we will have works. Worshiping God in spirit and truth with zeal is not only the giving of praise and thanks, or rejoicing in the presence of the Lord with music, song and dance, or abiding in deep meditation with an uplifted heart in the presence of God, but so also it is acts of loving-kindness, or good works.

In this we may understand that faith is not a vital, or sentimental belief, nor are hope and love vital sentiments either, but faith, hope and love are an action in Christ, and it is through this Divine Action that we acquire knowledge and understanding, and the wisdom of Christ (Habad of Christ).

As I am in myself, I do not know how to have faith, hope and love, but my soul within me and Christ within me, knows how to have faith, hope and love; thus, to increase and mature in faith, hope and love I must learn to go within and live within, and go deeper still, living from the inner aspects of the soul and the indwelling Christ, the Holy Tzaddik within me.

Here we may say, the indwelling Christ is the Holy Tzaddik who is the Foundation of the World; Christ within, and ever beyond, is the Perfect Tzaddik.

These were the thoughts that arose this morning in prayer and contemplation of faith joined with hope and love.

O Adonai, we pray, illuminate our minds with Your Word and Wisdom, and grant us knowledge and understanding, and fill our hearts with Your Love, and set us on fire with Your Holy Spirit, that we might set the world ablaze with You (Atoh)! Amen.

Peace be with you!
Tau Malachi

Sophia Fellowship

Ecclesia Pistis Sophia


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