"Hell-fire"
(Author Unknown)

4-10-2008 Church Within SOW Seeds Service - Story #487
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Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds”].

This week's SOW Seeds Story, contributed by: Jane Apostolos

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Story of the Week
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“Hell-fire”
(Author Unknown)

Once I met an old man who lived near Seattle. I had been sitting near the sea, much inspired by the vastness of divinity. After that inspiration subsided I felt hungry, and went to the farmhouse of this man, seeking to buy some cherries. The rosy-cheeked man looked very happy, and showed me kind hospitality. A divine impulse then came over me, and I said to him, “Friend, you look happy, but there is a hidden suffering in your life.” He asked, “Are you a fortune-teller?” I answered, “No, but I tell people how to improve their fortunes.”

He then said, “We are all sinners, and the Lord will burn our souls in hell-fire and brimstone.”

I replied, “How could a man, losing his body at death and becoming an invisible soul, be burned by fire created by material brimstones?” He surprised me by repeating angrily, “We will certainly burn in hell-fire.” I said, “Did you get a telegram about this from God, that He will burn us in hellfire?” At this the old man became even more agitated.

To mollify him, I changed the subject and said, “What about your unhappiness over your wicked son?” He was surprised at my words and acknowledged that he was helpless to correct his son, whom he deemed incorrigible. This sorrow remained as a burning fire at the back of his mind. I said, “I have a remedy that will absolutely cure this situation.” The old man's eyes gleamed with joy as he smiled. I, then, with a mysterious attitude as if about to reveal the grand solution, whispered to him, “Have you got a very big oven with a broiler?”

“Why, yes,” he said. Then, suspiciously he asked, “Just what are you getting at?”

“Don't worry,” I said reassuringly. “What I'm proposing will end all your sorrows.”
Somewhat mollified, he said, “Go on.”

“Now then,” I continued, “Heat that oven, with the broiler, to red-hot temperature. Do you have some strong rope and two trusted friends who would not repeat anything against you?” Again he said, “Why, yes.” Then I said, “Call your son here. With the help of your friends, bind him hand and foot, and slip him into the red-hot oven.”

The old man was furious! Shaking his fist at me, he shouted, “You blackguard! Who ever heard of a father burning his son, no matter how wicked?”

I then spoke soothingly, “That is exactly what I wanted to tell you. Where did you, who are human, get this instinct of love except from the Divine Father? Even a human father cannot stand the cruel thought of roasting his own son alive to put him, or himself, out of misery. How could you think the Divine Father, who has infinitely greater love than you, and who created parental love, would burn His own children with hell-fire and brimstone?”

The old man's eyes filled with tears of repentance as he said, “I understand now that the Heavenly Father is a God of love!”
We punish ourselves by our own evil actions, and reward ourselves by our own good deeds.

Sin cannot change the soul. We, who are made in the image of God, can be lost in the jungles of an evil environment for a while, but no amount of sin can change our eternal, divine nature. Sin is a crust which hides the perfect soul, made eternally in the image of God. When that crust is dissolved by meditation/listening to the still small voice, the perfection of the soul is revealed at last.

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Pastor's Quote of the Week
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        Though many of the temple rituals very touchingly impressed his sense of the beautiful and the symbolic, he was always disappointed by the explanation of the real meanings of these ceremonies which his parents would offer in answer to his many searching inquiries. Jesus simply would not accept explanations of worship and religious devotion which involved belief in the wrath of God or the anger of the Almighty. In further discussion of these questions, after the conclusion of the temple visit, when his father became mildly insistent that he acknowledge acceptance of the orthodox Jewish beliefs, Jesus turned suddenly upon his parents and, looking appealingly into the eyes of his father, said: "My father, it cannot be true--the Father in heaven cannot so regard his erring children on earth. The heavenly Father cannot love his children less than you love me. And I well know, no matter what unwise thing I might do, you would never pour out wrath upon me nor vent anger against me. If you, my earthly father, possess such human reflections of the Divine, how much more must the heavenly Father be filled with goodness and overflowing with mercy. I refuse to believe that my Father in heaven loves me less than my father on earth."

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-125 Section-0)

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The Prayer
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Dear God,        
        I pray that All of Your Children learn to know you as their Loving Father. The old pitiless scorekeeper and wrathful judge concept is “So Yesterday!”

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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