Thursday, February 16, 2012

Calling and election made sure

Wow, what a morning of interesting studying for the talk I'm giving on Sunday about the Temple and Family History.  It's a long convoluted path that brought me to these quotes found in an article in the Ensign, July 1976.  The article is about having your calling and election made sure.  These quotes are about being willing to sacrifice all, being willing serve Him at all hazards,  being able to overcome all the vices which are the opposites of gospel virtues.  What a blessing the "higher ordinances" found in the temple are in providing us more knowledge and power to do those things. Attending more often and studying more about the temple so that I may understand it and love it more is one of my goals.  Here are the quotes, I hope they have meaning and power for others too.  

"The Prophet Joseph Smith gave an ultimate definition of salvation as having the power to overcome all enemies in this world (meaning the vices which are the opposites of gospel virtues) and “the knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come.” (Teachings, p. 297.) He further stated that the triumph over one’s enemies would come only through a knowledge of the priesthood. (See Teachings, p. 305.)

"If we are to triumph over all of our enemies in this world in preparation for exaltation, wherein does the priesthood make this possible? Obedience to “the mysteries of the kingdom”—the higher ordinances of the gospel—is the answer.

“From the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.” (Lectures on Faith, 6:58; see also D&C 98:11–15 and Teachings, p. 322.)

"When faith is sufficient to sacrifice all earthly things, even life itself if necessary, it is possible for a person to know that he is accepted of the Lord for what he has done, and with this strong faith he may eventually receive eternal life.
"Thus the Prophet Joseph said:
“After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure.” (Teachings, p. 150.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Liahona - contentious, rude, slothful or forgetful

Elder David A Bednar, Ensign, May 2006,30-31:  " . . .the primary purposes of the Liahona were to provide both direction and instruction during a long and demanding journey.  The director was a physical instrument that served as an outward indicator of their inner spiritual standing before God. . . . The pointers in the Liahona operated 'according to the diligence and heed' of the travelers and failed to work when family members were contentious, rude, slothful or forgetful. . . . The Holy Ghost operates in our lives precisely as the Liahona did for Lehi and his family, according to our faith and diligence and heed."

And it will fail to work for the same reasons - when we are contentious, rude, slothful or forgetful.  We similarly have a long and demanding journey in this mortal experience but we also have a way provided to be guided successfully through to the Promised Land - the "unspeakable gift" of the Holy Ghost.  Guarding our ability to receive that gift and have it operate in our life is critical to being able to find our way.  Too bad we don't have a physical instrument to serve as an outward indicator of our inner spiritual standing before God!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Our arms and our power come from our righteousness

Elder Neil A Maxwell said that righteousness will be the power of the Lord's people.  "So let us look at ourselves.  For the Church, the scriptures suggest both an accelerated sifting an accelerated spiritual numerical growth - with all this preceding the time when the people of God will be 'armed with righteousness' - not weapons - and when the Lord's glory will be poured out upon them.  The Lord is determined to have a tried, pure, and proven people . . ." (Ensign, May 1988,8).

Elder Maxwell further explained that honoring our covenants is vital to the reception of this promise: "Church members have a special rendezvous to keep, brothers and sisters.  Nephi saw it.  One future day, he said, Jesus' covenant people, 'scattered upon the face of the earth,' will be armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory; (1Nephi 14:14).  This will happen, but only after more members become more saintly and more consecrated in conduct." (Ensign, Nov. 1991, 32) (From the Book of Mormon Institute Student Manual p.30)

I am going to pray each day that I will " look at myself" and be able to see things as they really are (Jacob 4:13), to recognize my weaknesses (12:27, 37) and face them so as to avoid being among the "sifted", that I will pass the tests that try me and become a "pure and proven" person and that I can become "saintly and consecrated" enough to be among those who are "armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory!"  -Strong, Prepared and Able to Serve.