The Gate of the Year


By Rev. Emily Jane Lemole

"And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.'

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East."

by Minnie Louise Haskins

From a sermon by Rev. Emily Jane Lemole:

Isaiah 26:1-4, 42:5-8
Matthew 7:7-14
Revelation 22:14
Arcana Coelestia 2851

We are standing at the Gate of the Year, a threshold to the unknown in many ways. “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

We read many passages from the Word and the Writings about gates. Gates provide a connection between what is inside and what is outside. They suggest a choice – whether to open or shut it – whether to come in or stay out.

A closed gate makes us hesitate and stop. In this Sufi saying the gates provide thoughtfulness and reflection about what we say:

Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.
At the first gate, ask yourself, “is it true?”
At the second ask, “is it necessary?”
At the third gate ask “is it kind?”

How best to begin this New Year? There are the usual resolutions – to lose weight, be healthier, be more organized, and spend more time with loved ones. But there are deeper resolutions or intentions that are crying out for a new start, a fresh beginning.

Number 1: Putting God in the center of our lives – seeing the Lord Jesus Christ as the beginning, middle and end of our day. A good habit is to pray – a lifting up of our perspective – of our priorities – several times a day. Even the physical action of looking up and pausing can shift an annoyed, resentful mood into a moment of correction – a turnaround of most of what we fuss about.

"Sub specie aeternitatis" is a great reminder. Under the auspices of eternity – what matters? Not most of what worries and upsets us. In the long view, with God at the center, what really matters becomes evident and what doesn’t diminishes.

So how do we put our hand into the hand of God? How do we open the gates of our minds and hearts to all that is good and true, wise, kind and peaceful? How do we shut the door to selfishness, unkindness, resentfulness, ingratitude and violence? By what we do every day.

“The way we do anything is the way we do everything,” says Fr. Richard Rohr, the Franciscan priest.

What do we pay attention to and give our time to? What do we love?

A New Year seems a good time to take inventory, a reflection on last year, not so much what we have accomplished as who we are becoming. What matters most to us? What are our priorities? Or as Swedenborg would ask, What do we love? For we are what we love!

We learn that there are two gates that are in each of us:

1. The Gate to Heaven, surrounded by angels, leads to what is good and what is true.
2. And the Gate to Hell, surrounded by evil spirits, leads to what is evil and false.

These gates are in us. We get to choose, and what determines our choice? What we love!

Every year, every week, every day, every moment we have the freedom to choose who we are, what brings us pleasure, how we spend our precious time – what we love and how we love.

And let’s remember that if we don’t honestly like what we see in our inventory, we can repent! Turn around! Change our direction! Change our minds! Change our loves!

Swedenborg describes what we cannot see – our spiritual companions – the company we keep and are for the most part unaware of. Like guests, they come by invitation.

We are surrounded by spiritual guests, invited by our states of mind and heart: Through the Heavenly Gates come the angels and good spirits; from the Hellish Gates come the evil or bad spirits. My high school Latin teacher used to refer to these as the “Basement Boys”.

It is out of fashion today to speak of evil, guilt, repentance or hell. These terms have become obsolete, uncomfortable and ones we really don’t want to be reminded of. But from everything Swedenborg teaches, these are spiritual realities.

Evil is very much alive and well in our world (if one reads the papers and watches TV) and in each one of us, recognized with some introspection! When we honestly become aware of our own intentions and emotions, we know this!

Evil, with its twin, falsity, is everything that is against God, that is selfish, dishonest, greedy, mean and cruel. But evil can also appear with a deceptive face – we can justify our resentments, our ingratitude, our unforgiving stance. Sin means missing the mark, the mark being God. All that draws us away from God makes us miss that mark!

Guilt – a very necessary emotion that makes us want to repent – not to wallow in, but to lead us to repentance – to persuade us to change course!

And evil spirits – these are the very real spiritual companions that we are told are fighting for our attention, and in the end, for our spiritual life. We are in the balance. We are between two gates.

An ancient Buddhist proverb teaches: Everyone is given the key to the Gates of Heaven; the same key opens the Gates of Hell.” The key is what we love.

Every decision we make feeds either our proprium (our unregenerate will) or feeds our "remains" – that inviolate treasure, a storehouse of all the good and true things we have experienced since before birth. Remains are our birthright, and we draw from it and add to it forever with true thoughts and good deeds.

Since the number one focus of most New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight (and I’m not against that, if needed) let’s try to use that concept for a spiritual weight loss – losing the burden of negative emotion, the bad habits of criticism, complaint, gossip, irritation, annoyance, being easily offended, anger – the list we know goes on and on. The diet for this weight loss is good thoughts, honest behavior, truthful intentions. Turning off the bad news, turning on the good news. Supporting a hopeful optimism that encourages others; kind acts that look for no return.

Think on these things, Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians.

“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8.

And the exercise required for this transformation of the soul’s health is spiritual practice – the exercise that brings the abstract into the real, the doing of what we say we believe. Perhaps this year we can embrace a spiritual exercise:

- Meditation
- Prayer
- Lectio Devina – slow, purposeful reading of Scripture and other Holy Books.

A dear friend of mine makes a habit of thinking about which type of spirits are influencing her, and then asking the Lord to send away the harmful influences, when there. Also, she has developed a practice of thanking the Lord for all good things when they happen.

We can open the Gates of Heaven. Angels can rush in at any time that we cause the gates to swing open by loving what is good, what is true, the Lord and one another. These choices open those gates.

We all need reminders to help us make the right choices. We forget so quickly and are distracted by the loud noise of our times. We are plugged into T.V., radio, our computers, phones and i-pads -- a secular culture that is immersed in what is natural, not spiritual. But it is not natural for us to turn away and turn toward God and the Heavenly gates. It is unnatural. It is spiritual. Here are a few reminders that I have found helpful.

SET A TIME FOR AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE LORD: Every morning and before bedtime are two commonly used times to reserve for the Lord. When feeling angry, raise your thoughts and vision upward, and ask for the angels at the gate for assistance. Try a phrase learned from one of our daughter’s friends: Bless and release! Work toward seeing God in everyone and in all things.

Let ugly states pass – bless your enemies, remembering that those who disagree or dislike us are likely our best spiritual teachers. We can see our response to them, usually a response that mirrors the behavior that irritates us. Love our enemies, we are told, as well as our neighbor.

We need to watch our thoughts.

From the Ancient Vedas:

"Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny."

Most important is to detect what we love, for that will determine which gate we hang around, and later, enter.

How auspicious it is that we have Holy Communion as we enter the New Year. What better way to begin, seeking first the kingdom of Heaven – putting what matters most into the forefront?

This is a beautiful prayer by Sister Joyce Rupp:

Waiting on the threshold
of this new year,
you open the gates
And beckon to me:

(You say) “Come! Come!
Be not wary of what awaits you
as you enter the unknown terrain,
be not doubtful of your ability
to grow from its joys and sorrows.

For I am with you,
I will be your Guide.
I will be your Protector,
You will never be alone.”

Guardian of this new year,
I set aside my fears, worries, concerns,
I open my life to mystery, to beauty,
to hospitality to questions,
to the endless opportunity
of discovering you in my relationships,
and to all the silent wisps of wonder
that will draw me to your heart.

I welcome your unfailing Presence
And walk with hope into this New Year.


“Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God.”

It really matters as we stand at the Gate of the New Year whose hand we will take – whose inspiration we will follow and whose influence may determine who we are becoming.

From Psalm 118:19-20:
“Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
And I will praise the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord,
By which the righteous shall enter.”


De Bijbel


Matthew 7:7-14

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7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.


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Exploring the Meaning of Matthew 7      

By Rev. Dr. Ray Silverman

Chapter 7.

Examining our Motives

1. “Judge not, that you be not judged.

2. For in what judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and in what measure you measure, it shall be measured back to you.

3. And why dost thou look at the bit of straw in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam in thine own eye?

4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Permit [me] to cast out the bit of straw from thine eye, and behold, the beam [is] in thine own eye?

5. Hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt look carefully to cast out the bit of straw out of thy brother’s eye.

6. Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast your pearls in front of swine, lest they trample them by their feet, and turning, tear you.

7. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.

8. For everyone that asks, receives; and he that seeks, finds; and to him that knocks, it shall be opened.

9. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask [for] bread, will give him a stone?

10. And if he ask [for] a fish, will he give [him] a serpent?

11. If you then, being wicked, know [how] to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father that [is] in the heavens give good [things] to those that ask Him?

12. Therefore all things whatsoever you will that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.

13. Enter ye in through the tight gate, for wide [is] the gate and broad [is] the way that leads away into destruction, and there are many who come in through it,

14. Because tight [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way that leads into life, and there are few who find it.

15. And beware ye of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s raiment, but inside they are rapacious wolves.

16. From their fruits you shall know them. Do [men] collect grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?

17. So every good tree makes good fruits; but a rotten tree makes bad fruits.

18. A good tree cannot make bad fruits; neither [can] a rotten tree make good fruits.

19. Every tree not making good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.

20. Therefore from their fruits you shall know them.”

The previous episode ended with the words, “sufficient unto the day is its own evil.” These words remind us that there is nothing more important than examining the hidden evils in our own lives, investigating our own motives, and determining to what extent we are putting God first. This is absolutely essential if we ever hope to do good towards the neighbor that truly is good. In other words, in order to do good we must first examine our deeper motives and ask God to remove any evil, selfish inclinations that might still be in our heart. This is a daily process, even moment to moment, identifying and removing one selfish inclination at a time.

If, for example, we have been highly critical of others, we are taught to examine this aspect of our nature: “Judge not, that you be not judged,” says Jesus. “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged” (7:1-2). This does not mean that we are never to make any judgments at all, for in order for society to survive, civil and moral judgments must be made. Personnel managers must decide whether a particular individual is more or less qualified for a job; physicians must decide whether or not to perform a life threatening operation; referees must make decisions about the games at which they officiate; judges must make decisions that are consistent with the law. Judgments of this nature must be made continually in order for society to properly function.

What then does Jesus mean when He says, “Judge not, that you be not judged”? He means that we should not make spiritual judgments about people. We should be most cautious when it comes to assessing the motives and intentions of others. We really cannot see into another person’s soul; therefore we do not know what drives a person, what anyone’s motivations are, or what reasons lurk behind a person’s external words and actions. Because all of this is in the realm of the spirit, we are forbidden to make judgments about anyone’s deeper motivations or essential character. 1

We are, however, strongly encouraged to judge our own motives and intentions. This is why Jesus says, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank that is in your own eye? . . . Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye” (7:3, 5). Self-examination, as we shall see, is the key to spiritual growth. To the extent that we examine and remove evils from ourselves, we open the way for good to flow in from God.

But the process of examining ourselves, identifying evils and overcoming them, requires prayer to God for the light and the will to do so: “Ask, and it will be given you,” says Jesus. “Seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened” (7:7). Jesus’ words are filled with assurance: “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (7:8).

As the sermon continues, Jesus offers several keys for how we can go about examining our motives and intentions. Perhaps the most famous and the most widely practiced of all is the golden rule: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (7:12). This universal principle of self-examination applies to all people, in all faiths, at all times. It calls us to ask ourselves, “Would you want someone to do to you what you are about to do to them?” If the answer is “no,” we should not do it. If the answer is “yes,” we should do it.

But even though the golden rule is a universal principle, it can also be a “narrow path” if we rarely walk it. If we choose instead to walk the pathway of self-indulgence and harsh judgment of others, the more we walk that pathway, the broader it becomes.

Therefore, Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (7:13-14). Jesus knows that the pathway of careful self-examination and consideration of others is a narrow one. It is not well-trodden, simply because people have not walked it very often. Even so, it is the way that leads to the fullest life.

As the process of self-examination deepens, we must be especially aware of our tendency to use scripture to promote our own selfish ends. Jesus therefore warns us to “beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (7:15). “False prophets” are our own tendencies to use sacred scripture (“sheep’s clothing”) as a way of achieving selfish ambitions (“inwardly they are ravenous wolves”). As long as we have self-serving ulterior motives, nothing truly good can be produced. Bushes that produce “thistles” and “thorns” symbolize the barrenness of actions that have self-interest within them — the empty, fruitless efforts to appear righteous in the eyes of others, while inwardly there is no righteousness at all. As Jesus says, “You will know them by their fruits; do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” (7:16).

None of us, no matter how often we read or quote scripture, is on the path that leads to life until we begin to serve others from a truly spiritual motive. Service to others and faith in God must not be separated. For example, there are many contemplative paths that focus on prayer, meditation, study, and reflection. While these faith-oriented disciplines are vitally important, they must also include useful service. If not, they are incomplete.

Similarly, there are many paths that emphasize charity and good will. These service-oriented disciplines focus on saving the environment, establishing schools, providing homeless shelters, feeding the hungry, helping the handicapped, and caring for the poor and needy around the world. These works of outward compassion are vitally important, but if they are not motivated by a genuine love for the neighbor, they have little actual good in them. In fact, they can become another form in which the ravenous wolf (desire to be appreciated, rewarded, and esteemed) disguises itself in sheep’s clothing (doing external good works for others).

Whether we tend towards the path of contemplation or the path of service, the narrow path should not be neglected, for it is at the heart of both approaches. It reminds us to stay spiritually awake and to be conscious of what is arising in our inner world. It calls us to first of all look to God in His Word, shunning evils as sins against Him (faith-oriented disciplines), and then looks outward towards the neighbor, striving to see and serve God in everyone (service-oriented disciplines). If our works are to be truly good and our service efforts are to bear noble fruit, they must flow from our highest intentions. These are the finer instincts and nobler promptings of a heart that is being cleansed through self-examination in the light of God’s commandments. 2

Whenever we carefully and honestly examine our motives, praying to God to help us remove every selfish desire and false thought, we open a way for God to work in and through us. It is at this point that our “good” works become truly good: “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit . . . a good tree cannot bear bad fruit” (7:17-18). But if we avoid the hard work of self-examination (the narrow path) we never get around to rooting out the selfish desires that will contaminate every good work that we do. In that case, the fruit of our outwardly good works will not be good, since the root of the tree is corrupt: “A bad tree bears bad fruit” (7:19).

Unless we choose the narrow path, continually rooting out and eliminating all forms of selfish concern, we will not be able to produce good fruit. As a result, we will be increasingly consumed by the flames of selfish desire: “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (7:19).

In the end, the only thing that counts is our sincere desire to rise above selfish concerns so that our motives may be as pure as possible. That is why this section begins with an exhortation to first remove the plank from our own eye. When the plank of self-interest is removed, we see clearly how we can help others in the most useful and loving ways — ways that are devoid of ego concerns. Whenever this happens, we produce fruit that is truly good. This, then, is what Jesus means when He says, “By their fruits you will know them” (7:20).

Doing the Will of the Father

21. “Not everyone that says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but he that does the will of My Father that [is] in the heavens.

22. Many shall say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name cast out demons, and in Thy name done many [works of] power?

23. And then I will profess to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you that work iniquity.

24. Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a prudent man, who built his house on the rock.

25. And the rain descended, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and they fell upon that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26. And everyone that hears these words of Mine, and does them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, who built his house on the sand.

27. And the rain descended, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and the fall of it was great.

28. And it came to pass when Jesus had ended these words, the crowds wondered at His teaching.

29. For He was teaching them as [One] having authority, and not as the scribes.”

As mentioned in the previous section, a contemplative life, however prayerful and pious, without good works, is useless. Similarly an active life, filled with external good works, without first identifying and shunning our evils, is also useless. Both the extremely pious and the strenuously service-oriented may believe they are serving God and doing their best. But Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (7:21).

To do the will of the Father is to keep the commandments; it is the foundation and basis of everything else. 3 Without first keeping the commandments, nothing else really matters. Even if we cast out demons and do wonders, it will not help. As Jesus says “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’” (7:22). In other words, each of us is called to do the deeper work of self-examination. This involves identifying evils within ourselves and shunning them as sins against God. But if we do not obey the fundamental laws of spiritual life, which include shunning the evils of murder, adultery, theft, false witness, and coveting, we cannot claim to be followers of God. Therefore Jesus will say to us, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (7:23).

The spiritual teaching given throughout this chapter is quite clear: just to the extent that we shun evils in ourselves as sins against God, the good that we do is truly good. This is what it means to do the will of God. It is not complicated. Just keep the commandments, and pray for the power to do so.

Whoever does this is like “a wise man who built his house upon a rock.” And who ever does not do this is like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the storms came, the house of the foolish man, built on the shifting sands of human opinion, did not stand. But the house which was built upon the rock — faith in the Lord and a life according to His teachings — was able to withstand the most violent storms of life. As Jesus says, “The rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (7:25).

In the stormy setbacks of life — represented by the rain, the floods, and the wind beating upon the house — our true motives are exposed. During these moments we can freely choose to turn to God, asking Him to help us cleanse our heart from every self-serving desire. And when we do so, the rains cease, the floods subside, and the winds die down.

As the storm clouds pass, and the sun begins to shine, peace returns and joy arises. It is then that we realize that God has been with us all along, helping us to remove evil and inspiring us to do good. In these “after-the-storm” states, we understand, more and more deeply, that God is always there, calmly leading and instructing, offering the truth that will keep us rock-solid, even in the midst of the most turbulent emotional storms.

This awareness does not come merely by hearing the truth; rather, it is a result of living the truth. Therefore Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount with a wonderful promise and a firm warning. First the promise: “Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken to a wise man who built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house, and it did not fall, for it was founded upon a rock” (7:24). And then comes the warning: “Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them, I will liken to a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house, and it fell. And great was its fall” (7:27).

This was the powerful ending of what has come to be known as “the Sermon on the Mount.” It is significant that Jesus gave this sermon on a “rock” (a mountain), the most enduring symbol on earth of an immoveable, unshakeable faith.

As Jesus concluded the sermon, “the crowds wondered at His words” (7:28). That’s because “He taught them as one having authority, not like the scribes” (7:29). Jesus’ words were filled with power. He spoke with a kind of authority that was unlike anything they had heard before; it was certainly unlike anything they had heard from other religious leaders. It’s easy to imagine them thinking, Who is this man? Where did he come from? And where did he get this knowledge?

This will become the leading question throughout the rest of this gospel. Who is Jesus?


1. Conjugial Love 523: “The Lord says, ‘Judge not, that you be not condemned.’ This cannot in the least mean judging of someone's moral and civil life in the world, but judging of someone's spiritual and heavenly life. Who does not see that if people were not allowed to judge of the moral life of those dwelling with them in the world, society would collapse? What would become of society if there were no public courts of law, and if no one was permitted to have his judgment of another? But to judge what the inner mind or soul is like within, thus what a person's spiritual state is and so his fate after death — of this one is not permitted to judge, because it is known to the Lord alone.”

2. Charity 21: “All good that in itself is good proceeds from the interior will. Evil is removed from this will by repentance. See also True Christian Religion 654: “The works of charity done by a Christian and those done by a heathen appear in outward form to be alike, for one like the other practices the good deeds of civility and morality toward his fellow, which in part resemble the deeds of love to the neighbor. Both, even, may give to the poor, aid the needy and attend preaching in churches, and yet who can thereby determine whether or not these external good deeds are alike in their internal form, that is, whether these natural good deeds are also spiritual? This can be concluded only from the faith; for the faith is what determines their quality, since faith causes God to be in them and conjoins them with itself in the internal man; and thus natural good works become interiorly spiritual…. The Lord, charity, and faith make one, like life, will, and understanding, but when separated they all perish like a pearl reduced to powder.”

3. Apocalypse Explained 981: “Love to the Lord means the love or affection of doing His commandments, thus the love of keeping the commandments of the Decalogue. For so far as a person from love or from affection keeps and does these, so far a person loves the Lord. This is because these commandments are the Lord’s presence with everyone.”


From Swedenborg's Works

Toelichting(en) of referenties van Swedenborgs werken:

Arcana Coelestia 922, 1011, 1017, 2851, 3463, 3477, 5890, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 376, 762, 951

Divine Providence 250, 330

Doctrine of the Lord 9

Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture 51

Doctrine of Life 73

Heaven and Hell 534

True Christian Religion 226, 411, 444, 459

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 186, 254, 411, 556, 785

Scriptural Confirmations 14, 87

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The videos shown here are provided courtesy of our friends at the Swedenborg Foundation. You can find out more about them here:

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Is the Law of Attraction Real? - Swedenborg and Life

What is the “Law of Attraction”? Is it real? Swedenborg says yes, but you have to understand how it operates and where, considering different levels of life and reality.

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library by following this link.

 Answers to Prayers
We need to learn about the Lord's way of answering prayers.
Article | Ages over 15

 Build a House on the Rock
Use blocks or small cardboard boxes to build a house on sand and sprinkle with water to see what happens. Then build the house on a rock.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Build on the Rock
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 By Their Fruits
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Choosing Heaven or Hell
A lesson and activities exploring how our choices lead us towards heaven or hell, day by day.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 Correspondences of Mineral Kingdom
Illustrations of places in the Word that mention minerals.
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Doing Is Living
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Dramatize Giving Good Things to Those Who Ask
Dramatize and discuss the examples given by the Lord of a parent giving good gifts to a child. The Lord gives these examples to reassure us that He also will give us what will help us most. 
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Entering the Narrow Way
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 First Remove the Plank
Activity | Ages over 15

 Foundations for My Life
Reflect on beliefs or attitudes that are like “foundations” for your life. These are the constants that help you weather the storms of life.
Activity | Ages over 13

 Fruit of the Vine
Talk about grapes and other fruit that grows on a vine. Consider making "a grape vine" of good deeds with "grape" beads to put on a green cord.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Golden Rule
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Golden Rule and Prayer Crossword Puzzle
Crossword puzzle about the Golden Rule and the Lord's Prayer.
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Hear and Do
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Hearing and Doing
It is important to do what the Lord teaches as well as listen to Him.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Helping Out
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 House Built on the Rock and Sand
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 House Built on the Rock Demonstration
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 House Built on the Rock Diorama
Color the pieces of the diorama, then cut them out and assemble it. 
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 House Built on the Rock Rebus
Younger children will enjoy "reading" the pictures with help from an older child or adult. 
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 House Built on the Rock (sheet music with hand motions)
Song | Ages up to 10

 How the Word Enlightens
The Lord wants to help everyone see spiritual things more clearly but the quality and extent of an individual’s enlightenment depends on his or her own spiritual development. Enlightenment is affected by the questions we ask the Lord and the reasons we are seeking answers.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Illustrate the Parable of the House Built on the Rock
Illustrate the parable by picturing both the house built on the rock and the house built on the sand.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

When the Lord says “judge not,” the meaning is that we are not to judge falsely, or from a selfish motive, or based only on external appearances. And instead of looking for faults in others, we should concentrate on removing the evils and falsities within ourselves. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 15

 Memory Verse: I Will Build My Church
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Looking for the Good in Others
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Praying to the Lord
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Pathways to Heaven and Hell
Contrast the paths to heaven and to hell by picturing some of things that might be seen along these paths by someone who can see clearly in the spiritual world.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Adults: Dealing with Other People with True Charity
Activity | Ages over 18

 Prayers for Adults: Praying to the Lord
Activity | Ages over 18

 Prayers for Children: Being Kind to Other People
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Children: King of Kings
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Children: Praying to the Lord
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Teens: Friendship and Judgment
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Prayers for Teens: Keeping the Sabbath
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Prayers for Teens: Praying to the Lord
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Quotes: I Will Build My Church
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: The Way to Heaven
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Song: The House Built on a Rock (3-5, 6-8 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Stormy Weather
Identify and write about some of the false ideas that may distort our thinking and challenge our commitment to the Lord.
Activity | Ages over 15

 The Golden Rule
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The House Built on a Rock
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The House Built on the Rock (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The House on the Rock
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The House on the Rock with Quote
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord's First Parable
The sermon on the mount ended with the parable of the house built on the rock and the house built on the sand.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Sermon on Mount--The House Built on the Rock
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sermon on the Mount
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Sermon on the Mount (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Tolerance and Judgment
Loving the neighbor is intending and doing good to all, but wisely loving others takes a variety of forms depending on others' actions.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Two Houses
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Wings of Truth
Lesson and activities exploring how truth can uplift, protect, and free us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 You Are the Man!
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14