"Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again.
And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple."
I don't think I will ever be called to be a martyr. Out of all the Christians in the world a small percent have. So how do I liken this verse to me? What does it mean to lay down my life for Christ's sake? It must be that I give up the things of the world for something better. That I take off the natural man and stand with Christ. That I am a witness at all times, in all things, and places. That the fear of the Lord is greater than the fear of man. Which I have come to understand fearing the Lord has nothing to do with fear, when your on his side. Having his love is finding a new life, I am born again. I was lost but now I am found.
The high council was appointed by revelation for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church, which could not be settled by the church or the bishop's council to the satisfaction of the parties."
As I read this chapter I kept thinking, what does this have to do with me? I don't plan on having a situation where I would need to go before the high council to settle a dispute, or have them question my standing in the church?
Then I realized, I do need to know this. In fact I have counted on these proceedings as the church has needed to settle matters, especially with apostate members. I know how the Lord handles these matters, and it is just and fair. The whole process is no secret, A person is given every opportunity to repent. When an apostate in turn speaks out angrily against the church, I feel no need to hear or get involved in the matter. I have totally confidence in how these things have been handled. I trust the high council has sought the will of the Lord in the matter.
"They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.
In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me."
I know this well. I had one trouble after another, until one day the words of this verse came to me, even though I wasn't reading my scriptures. I knew I was in a cycle of only remembering the Lord because my troubles brought me to my knees. When there was calm I did my own thing. The Lord was not my priority. When I had troubles I was more active at church and attending to needful things. Sorta like a child that cleans their room in the expectation of gaining a reward. Not because they really wanted a clean room. How grateful I am that I realized this cycle had to end. I knew I needed to turn to the Lord of my own doing and not because I was compelled to do so. This changed my life. Blessings have come. Trials that will and always do come are fewer and shorter in duration. They do not have their sting because the Lord comforters me all the day long.
"Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say."
I have experienced this many times in my life. I pondered on some of my experiences and realized the frequency is happening more and more. I think consistent scripture reading helps because often the impressions that comes are in the way of scriptures. One thing is for sure I am also taught during those experiences. Truly the words that come, put gospel principles in a light I had never considered before. They do bear testimony of truths. I have even said to people, "Wow, I didn't know that. I learned something new too." I have pondered a lot on a recent experience. I continued to learn more afterwards the more I pondered on it. I have wondered if the other person's question or concern, that were not my own, were also a means for Heavenly Father to teach me more of his mysteries. It's like both parties needed to be edified by the experience. Having learned something myself is a true marker that is was indeed instruction through the Spirit.
"Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my servant John Murdock - thou art called to go into the eastern countries from house to house, from village to village, and from city to city, to proclaim mine everlasting gospel unto the inhabitants thereof, in the midst of persecution and wickedness.
And now, verily I say unto you, that it is not expedient that you should go until your children are provided for, and sent up kindly unto the bishop of Zion."
In the chapter header it says "For over a year, John Murdock had been preaching the gospel while his children - motherless after the death of his wife, Julia Clapp, in April 1831 - resided with other families in Ohio."
I could not help but ponder on how many fathers were called to preach the gospel in the early days of the church. These missions were not short but lasted many years. Now the church doesn't do that, and I am grateful that I have had my husband with me while raising my children. But, I think that may not always be so. What the Lord established in the early days of this dispensation he could once again call for us to do at the ending of it. In Revelations 7 & 14, I read of the 144,000 sealed up and called to proclaim the gospel, one last time to the four corners of the earth. It is understood that they would be high priests. I would have to assume that would also be our husbands and fathers. I reflected on how I would feel if my husband was so called. I would feel extremely blessed and honored. Could not the early saints wives felt the same thing? The sacrifice called for was instead a great blessing. I do not know if I will ever live to see that day, but if I did, the fact of knowing their mission was in preparation of the Savior's arrival, would be the ultimate sign of his coming. What an incredible feeling that would be. Those involved in the Lord's work would not be surprised at his coming.
"Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.
Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.
Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy."
Never in the history of our nation have we had such poor candidates for president. Honest, wise and good men left standing have hardly any chance of winning. Baring the mercy of the Lord, I foresee our next president to be counted among the evil and wicked of this world. Yet I have peace and am not troubled, because I know I did not and will not support them in evil. I am not fearing what will come and have found peace, because I have covenanted with the Lord to obey his will. I know this will be a time of proving of His saints and where their loyalties lay. I believe in miracles, even eternal life.
After posting these thoughts I went back and read these verses again and something jumped out at me. We are told to seek honest, wise and good men as our rulers. That is what observe to uphold means. The part "otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil", would mean not to vote for people that do not have these characteristics. I have heard so many people saying they are voting "for the lesser of two evils". The Lord is telling us in verse 10 that anything less than good is evil. If we support one evil person over another we are still choosing evil. If we are God fearing people, we must not select the "lesser of two evils". It will prove to the Lord we will not abide in our covenants. We will not be found worthy at the judgment seat. Boy, is this election one of the most important ones of our lifetimes.
"Behold, I say unto you, concerning the school in Zion, I, the Lord, am well pleased that there should be a school in Zion, and also with my servant Parley P. Pratt, for he abideth in me.
And I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings, in expounding all scriptures and mysteries to the edification of the school, and of the church in Zion."
I looked at the footnotes and not only does this speak of the school of the prophets, but also schools for children. Number one among this is to expound scriptures. It made me think of the conditions of our public schools today. You cannot read your scriptures there. I reflected on how important the opening of your mind is to learning. Reading the scriptures does that very thing. It gives you the mind to understand mysteries, which is anything you didn't earlier know. It really could be any type of subject, like sewing, arithmetic, or nuclear science.
I pondered on how I went from an average high school student to a perfect 4.0 college graduate. What made the difference? I read my scriptures. Reading the scriptures prior to study opened my mind. I was able to put things in logical order in my brain and able to understand. Yes, mysteries were opened to my mind. As I have seen my children go to college I have encouraged them to read their scriptures and promised them the ability to understand would be there. Sadly, not all of them have tested the truthfulness of that concept. A mother can always hope, I can hear the Father echoing those same words.
"Behold, I say unto you, here is wisdom, whereby ye may know how to act concerning this matter, for it is expedient in me that this stake that I have set for the strength of Zion should be made strong.
Therefore, let my servant Newel K. Whitney take charge of the place which is named among you, upon which I design to build mine holy house."
The section heading says this is a revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet, showing the order of the city or stake of Zion at Kirtland, Ohio, as an example to the Saints in Kirtland. I had to sit and think a bit what the example was.
It says the chief subject of consideration was the disposal of certain lands. Since the conference they could not agree who should take charge of the farm, all agreed to inquire of the Lord concerning the matter. I think this is giving an example of studying a subject between ourselves, and if there is no harmony then inquire of the Lord on the matter. I think through the spirit we can make wise decisions in our life. The key is to have the spirit while doing so. If no agreement between parties arise then both parties must be willing to take it to the Lord. He is the great councilor. He will settle matters of dispute. In all things we must be willing to do God's will.
"For the preparation wherewith I design to prepare mine apostles to prune my vineyard for the last time, that I may bring to pass my strange act, that I may pour out my Spirit upon all flesh -"
So many great verses to pick from, but the words "strange act" gave me pause. I had to look up the scripture references and Isaiah 28:21 mentioned it too. This is speaking about the need for the temple. I indeed through the temple strange when I first went. In fact I pondered on my first experience there.
I was married in the Washington D.C. Temple, and received my endowment and sealing on the very same day. I recall sitting outside the dressing room next to the temple clothing rental area with my mother, waiting for things to begin. As I sat on that bench I heard the elevator door ding, and turned to see a man and women, hand in hand, walking down the hall towards me. They had just finished an endowment session and that was my first look at temple clothes. At the time I didn't realize what they were.
I almost busted out laughing. I nearly pointed to them and whispered to my mother "Look at what they are wearing!" I thought them totally strange people that had somehow gotten in. But, something stopped me from mocking and I never said those words. I kept it to myself and just wondered. It wasn't long after that, that I found myself dressed in those same temple clothes. I was so grateful I hadn't mocked what I didn't yet understand. My realization of how different the temple ceremonies where to my expectations, and my prior desire to laugh, made me ponder deeper all that was taking place, no matter how strange they seemed to me at first.
After my marriage and sealing to my husband I found myself walking hand and hand back to the dressing rooms, going past the bench where I earlier sat. I had a lot to think about, but one thing was for sure I loved my temple clothes from the moment I put them on. They are my most favorite things to wear, and I cannot wait for the endowment session so I can put them on again. They now feel like me. I have thanked my Heavenly Father repeatedly for them. I thank Him repeatedly for letting me learn his ways so I can grow. What was once strange is not so anymore.
"And ye shall not suffer any unclean thing to come in unto it; and my glory shall be there, and my presence shall be there.
But if there shall come into it any unclean thing, my glory shall not be there; and my presence shall not come into it."
I cannot tell you how many times I have sat in the celestial room of the temple and wondered if the presence of the Lord is still there? Has the temple been defiled by one unclean person's presence that has made his glory leave? Thankfully, I can report I have never been in a temple and not felt the spirit there. Yet, I still wonder and I do so today. It would grieve my heart to have his spirit gone because someone else defiled it, and now I had to suffer too.
As I reflected on these verses and my heart's concern, the spirit told me all I have to worry about is if I am clean. I will never suffer because of someone else's sin. I have been twice in a temple when I knew the physical presence of the Lord was there. There is a difference. His physical presence and glory may not come while the unclean are there, but that would not mean he would never come. Once it is dedicated to Him, it is his, and the unclean cannot take it from him. Satan does not have that control. As I come worthily the spirit will always be there. It is His Holy House and the timing of his coming is his own.
"The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
Light and truth forsake the evil one."
I've heard this saying many times "The glory of God is intelligence". It's inspired me to gain all the knowledge I can. For I know that is what I can take with me. But I sat and pondered on this and I don't think its talking about secular knowledge at all.
I think its telling me to seek the glory of God, and learn more of him. Pure intelligence would lead me to eternal truths. I would understand the will of God in my life, and seek to do it. I would forsake all that is evil and come to Christ, the true source of light and truth. To come to know the Son is only to glorify the Father.
"Verily, thus saith the Lord, I give unto the united order, organized agreeable to the commandment previously given, a revelation and commandment concerning my servant Frederick G. Williams, that ye shall receive him into the order. What I say unto one I say unto all."
I have to admit I don't really understand all about the united order. It isn't something I have felt impressed to study and learn about. I know it deals with the law of consecration, and I live that as things are setup right now. Someday the members of the church maybe called to live the united order again, but that just seems so far away to me.
One thing I do hope is if I was called to live it, I hope it is during a time of wealth for me. I think the blessings would be incredible to give all when there is much to give. If I gave in my poverty I would be concerned I would unite in this because of my own personal greed.
As I thought on this short two verse chapter, my mind went back to a conversation I had with a sister I visit taught in New England, over 30 years ago. She was going inactive and all worked up and concerned about someday being asked to live the law of polygamy. I was young and inexperienced and had never thought upon this matter. While I sat and listened, I just prayed in my heart I would know what to say. Then the spirit spoke and I said "There is a reason you are concerned about living the law of polygamy right now. That is because we are not asked to live it. Your heart is right in this matter. When or if the time ever comes to live such a law again, I am sure your heart and my heart will be changed. Then we would be able to do what we are asked to do." These words settled the matter for the sister and were words of marvel to me. This experience has helped me be relieved of any concern on matters I do not understand. I do not have to pick at them to make myself raw over them. I know when its time to understand or know something of importance, my mind will be opened to these things.
"Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha - There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly;
There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men."
The Prophet Joseph Smith was in the middle of translating the Old Testament when he inquired of the Lord on instruction regarding the Apocrypha. He was told it was not needful to translate it for the reason mentioned in these verses.
What really struck me was the word "interpolations". I didn't know what that word meant so I looked it up. This is what I found on Wikipedia under "Interpolation (manuscripts)"
"An interpolation, in relation to literature and especially ancient manuscripts, is an entry or passage in a text that was not written by the original author. As there are often several generations of copies between an extant copy of an ancient text and the original, each handwritten by different scribes, there is a natural tendency for extraneous material to be inserted into such documents over time. Interpolations originally may be inserted as an authentic explanatory note (for example, [sic]), but may also be included for fraudulent purposes."
I realized as I read that I had no prior knowledge of what "Interpolation" meant, and I've been to college. Joseph Smith on the other hand had such little formal education. If these verses were not given in revelation how would he have come up with this explanation? It just testified all the more to me that Joseph Smith truly was an inspired prophet of God.
The chapter goes on to say that one can benefit from reading the Apocrypha if they are enlighten by the Spirit. If you receive not the Spirit then there is no benefit. I wonder what I would find by reading it?
"Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another."
I cannot tell you how much hope it gives me knowing that all that I pass through will in the end work together for my good. I truly can say looking back it has forever been so. I would change absolutely nothing in my past, because of what that experience has taught me. There was even purpose in my sins. For without them I would not know the absolute joy of my Savior's atonement and what he has done for me. I am hopelessly flawed and forever in his debt. Only with faith in Christ have I seen goodness come out of even sorrow and pain. I have seen miracles as things are righted and put into their place. No, I would not change a thing.
"To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days -
Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation -"
This chapter on the Word of Wisdom has been of particular importance to me of late. I have had a weight issue all my life. I have prayed with all my heart that the Lord would bless me, so the foods that are bad for me wouldn't taste good. It was a prayer that was never answered. I didn't realize until later I was asking for something that could never be.
In June, an overwhelming desire to go read the Word of Wisdom and study it came over me. The spirit also told me to read it, and it alone, and not read any books about the Word of Wisdom or any diets based on the Word of Wisdom. I needed the spirit to tell me what I needed to do. This would be a personal tutelage. With that and reading these two verses I realized I had to throw out everything I had ever been taught by man about eating right. The foods we have today and the evil and designs placed by conspiring men upon it, had changed what man has ever known about food. The Word of Wisdom was for these times, not the wisdom of the ages. As I read, being willing to be taught by personal revelation, the spirit told me what to do. It was a plan just for me for the condition of my body at this time. As I talked it over with my husband and son they received their own plans. As my body has been healing the foods that I have been able to eat has increased. I will only follow what the spirit tells me to do, and not anything anyone tells me in their wisdom that is needful. One of the blessings of the Word of Wisdom is personal revelation. I know what works for me may not work in combination or be the emphasis for someone else.
How has this been working for me in the last 2 months? I have lost 40 lbs. I have energy I have not had in over 20 years. My tummy is full and there are no cravings or feeling deprived. I am off all medicines but one. My body is still healing, but I am no longer in the bondage I have been for years. I stand all amazed at the grace the Lord has given me. I know now what I was doing wrong for me, had placed me in a literal bondage. A bondage I wanted to continue just like someone does with sin. I wanted my food that was bad for me, to not taste good, so I wouldn't desire it. That is like asking God to make sin not pleasurable in its own way. The foods that have been conspired by evil and designing men will always taste good, that's what they were designed to do.
In compensation for eating as the spirit has directed, the foods I am eating taste so very good to me. I am desiring that which is good. In fact it tastes so good I often say several prayers after eating, thanking God once again for making my food taste so good to me. This is such a personal thing for me. I cannot be kept from showing to God in prayer all the gratitude that is in me for this blessing. The Word of Wisdom truly is something to be rejoiced over and with much thanksgiving.
"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."
This verse is preparing the saints for a temple of God. It is describing its purpose. What I pondered on is how this is the same pattern for my home. I have had an incredible desire to "put my house in order". I have been cleaning and dejunking little spaces as my time allows. I am finding it is even true for homes, by small and simply things are great things accomplished. It is such a good feeling to get rid of things. Its like bondage is going out the window. As I was reading this verse I realize the desire to declutter did not come to me until I had established my house to be a place of prayer, fasting, faith, and learning, so peace could reign. I wonder if a whole new level of glory will reside here once my bondage is gone? To have a house of God you need to cast Satan out of your midst. I would think removing bondage from material items and greed would be part of a similar equation for a home.
"Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen."
At this time of my life this is my favorite scripture verse. I thought I didn't have one, it would be like picking a favorite child. But, this is it. I hear these words echo in my mind all the time. It is where I continually seek to be.
As I ponder on the command "stand ye in holy places, and be not moved". I have come to know that obvious holy places like the temple, church or my home is not where I can be every minute of the day. I need to shop, go to the doctors, work, and run untold errands so I can care for needful things. I have wondered how I could possibly "be not moved" from holy places, and still move about?
Then I understood, I have to take it with me. Sorta like the Israelites did with the tabernacle as they wondered in the wilderness. The only thing that can make a place holy is the presence of the spirit of the Lord. If the Holy Ghost is my constant companion it would be possible to stand in holy places, and be not moved, while actually moving about. I could be locked in the darkest of dungeons and still it could be a holy place, if that is where my mind and heart seeks to dwell. No wonder Joseph Smith, Paul and John the Revelator were all capable of receiving beautiful revelations while being in such a place. I need obvious holy places to put the oil in my lamp. Then as I move about with the light of the Holy Ghost as my constant companion, the holy place remains in my heart. Only then would I truly not be moved.
"But the Lord saith unto them, pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy the wheat also.
Therefore, let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned."
I had to sit and reflect on how living among the tares has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. I truly have learned faith. I have had to learn to turn to the Lord and rely on him and not man. These are lessons I could have learned no other way.
The other thing I thought about is how merciful the Lord is to have the wheat and tares grow together. I know the tares are planted by Satan, but with them living among the children of God there is always a chance the now wicked will change before they become fully ripe. Repentance would never happen if they didn't have examples around them of the mercy of the Lord. It really is for both our sake we are growing up together.
When I have fully grown in faith, and they have fully become ripe to wickedness, there is no longer any benefit we can receive from each other. Then God is merciful to his saints to gather them from the field. What a comfort it is to know that the Lord will move me to a better place when the time is right. Right now because I know there are things I can still learn, I wouldn't change a thing.
"It is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law, which he has given, that he may tithe his people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God."
This is the first time I realized that keeping the law of tithing is also living the law of consecration. I seem to be finding more and more ways I can keep and live the law of consecration. It is something I don't fully understand. It is something I am ready to learn.
"Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.
But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come."
I had to sit and ponder on how this describes a condition where a person will not receive forgiveness, here or in the eternities. I had always thought the Lord's arms would be stretched out to me? I knew you could not sin against the Holy Ghost and be forgiven, but these verses mean something I hadn't really thought about.
It was talking about the higher priesthood prior to these verses. I think it is talking about the oath and covenants made in the temple. If you altogether turn from them, probably meaning willful rebellion and mocking of that which is sacred, not just a casual laziness and going inactive in the church. It would have to be a completed breaking and turning your back on the covenants you made. Can one never come back from that? I don't understand all things, but what I think happens is you don't ever feel the desire to come back once you've done that. Satan owns you, the Lord is beyond your grasp. You will never seek a claim on forgiveness because your heart will no longer seek Him. The spirit is gone. Forgiveness can never be granted. That just makes me weep.
"And the storehouse shall be kept by the consecrations of the church; and widows and orphans shall be provided for, as also the poor. Amen."
I pondered on how the law of consecration is alive and well today. Once a month I fast two meals and donate that as a fast offering to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is how the Lord provides for his own. The blessings now are that we are able to help more than our own members. What an amazing operation this has blossomed into. Even the poorest among us can fast and donate to help others, and receive the blessings from doing so. I am so grateful for the help I received when my children were young and I could not provide for them. I am so grateful that I can now help others receive that same assistance.
"And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God."
Once the Lord has forgiven my sins he will remember them no more. But, what a scary thought that they can all come back on me if I sin again. I don't want my former sins, I cannot let that happen. As I pondered on this concept I realized sins is sin no matter its level of darkness. To sin and not repent means I am unclean, and unworthy regardless. I will not be judged on a sliding scale by the Lord. I am either clean or not. I guess the only sliding scale for me is how far I have fallen and how much easier the road of repentance is to come back. Thinking about this I see how much more needful it is to remain faithful and endure to end. I can never be as perfect as the Lord. It is only by my relying on His mercy is he be able to make up the difference that I lack.
"Therefore, verily I acknowledge him and will bless him, and also thee, inasmuch as thou art faithful in counsel, in the office which I have appointed unto you, in prayer always, vocally and in thy heart, in public and in private, also in thy ministry in proclaiming the gospel in the land of the living, and among thy brethren."
Frederick G. Williams is called to be a counselor to Joseph Smith. The header explains that this chapter describes what a counselor does and how it is now called the First Presidency. The phrase "land of the living", really stood out to me. The Lord is talking about Frederick G. Williams mission on this side of the veil. I take that to mean there is also organization and order on the other side of the veil. Does what follow "and among thy brethren" speak of Frederick G. Williams mission in the spirit world? At this point they had no idea about the 138th chapter of the Doctrine & Covenants. I love how the Lord is explaining things little by little and laying the foundation for greater light and knowledge.
"Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Stephen Burnett: Go ye, go ye into the world and preach the gospel to every creature that cometh under the sound of your voice.
Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss."
What this made me ponder on is how even without the calling of missionary, every member of the church of Christ is to testify of him. It is an obligation to stand as a witness at all times, in all things, and all places. I think this is why the Lord is telling Stephen Burnett it doesn't matter where you go, you cannot go amiss if you are testifying of Him.
"And I will send upon him the Comforter, which shall teach him the truth and the way whither he shall go."
From personal experience I know this verse is true. Every answer to a prayer I have said has come through the Comforter, or Holy Ghost. The Spirit can only testify and speak the words of Christ. No matter the issue, whether great or small, if it is needful then this is how the answer comes.
I have been pondering of late if I should relate the answer to prayer I received on who to vote for in the coming election. The answer did not come until I was totally willing to submit to whatever the answer given, regardless of my personal feelings on the person. The answer I received gave me such an abiding testimony of the power of prayer. I also know answers don't come until I am willing to live up to what I receive.
What would I say is the answer for who to vote for in the coming election? It's prayer. I did not receive an answer until I considered the question I had been asking. The Spirit needed to teach me on what I needed to ask. When I received an answer through the Comforter there was no doubt, the direction I needed to take was clear and abiding. Even if I shared what I received it would make no difference to a person that had no witness to the same thing. Its personal and was presented in such a way that I could understand. The best thing for everyone is to pray with a sincere heart and look at what your asking for. If the answer hasn't come then change your question.
"Otherwise Satan seeketh to turn their hearts away from the truth, that they become blinded and understand not the things which are prepared for them.
That through my providence, notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world;"
I laid in bed this morning reading a book. Something I haven't done in years. I just felt it so needful to read this non-religious book written for my day. It is helping me understand what progressiveness is, and why there is a movement towards it in our society. The author is not a member of my faith but I saw so many parallels to what the prophets and leaders of my church have been warning against. I could see Satan's plan and the Lord's plan side by side, even though it wasn't all in the book.
I have a special gift I was given in my patriarchal blessing. I am going to share this portion. "Through His Spirit, you will be able to distinguish between social, educational, political and philosophical doctrines which are in keeping with the Gospel from those which run counter." I know of myself I have not the ability to distinguish between these false doctrines. It is only through the Spirit I can have the gift of true discernment and not be deceived. As I read my book I knew the spirit was speaking to me. One question I had running through my mind was "If I were to believe Satan had a plan for this earth, what tools would he be using to make it work? I could see how they are no longer in hiding, but openly in plain sight.
As I sat to read my scriptures it confirms my thoughts that Satan has a plan prepared for us. He has made these preparation from every facet of our lives. One cannot see it unless you look at the social, educational, political and philosophical doctrines and how they interact with each other. This plan is reaching a ripeness that is scary beyond belief. He is masterful in his plan and the way it is being orchestrated. Many of his players have no idea they are working his most beautiful of plans. Beautiful only if you see it through his eyes and how very successful it has become. What is horrifying is many have no idea they are supporting things that bring to pass what Satan has planned for us. Things that will only bring tribulation upon the saints, as these verses testify of.
On the other hand we have a glorious plan in place for us by our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. As I was reading I could see a recent direction the church is taking to circumvent a plan of Satan. I saw the wisdom of having the church stand independent to protect us from Satan's plan. How much the family is under attack and how needful it is to stand in holy places, and have our homes a refuge from the storms. I am so very grateful for the Father's plan. How I pray I will have the spirit as my constant companion and not be deceived. The gift of the Holy Ghost is the only protection I ultimately have.
"Q. What time are the things spoken of in this chapter to be accomplished?
A. They are to be accomplished in the sixth thousand years, or the opening of the sixth seal.
This is a very interesting chapter. While translating the book of Revelations the Prophet Joseph Smith inquired of God the meaning of certain things. I went back to those parts of Revelations given in explanation to see if I could understand it any better. I know when I last read the book of Revelations I often referred back to this chapter. The explanations are very helpful.
When I read this verse I remembered recently I had seen the Hebrew Calendar and the year they said it was. It was a huge number and I was rather shocked that the Jews had been keeping one continuous calendar all this time. I couldn't remember what year it was so I looked it up. The Hebrew Calendar says God created Adam and Eve October 7, 3761 B.C. and its now the year 5776. So there is 224 years and a few months left before we reach 6,000 years.
What I pondered on is how wicked this world would be in another 224 years if we keep on the direction we are headed. Somehow I can't see it being that long before the Lord comes again. It may not be my lifetime, but I really believe the youth today will see him in theirs. Then my mind thought of two scriptures.
Doctrine & Covenants 49:7
"I, the Lord God, have spoken it; but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes."
"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
So what I know is I don't know when the Lord is coming. I have strongly felt that time has sped up and days have been shortened and they are passing at an amazing rate. But what could also be shorted is the number of years. 224 years could be shortened to any length of time for the elect's sake. I did all types of crazy math trying to figure out how close it was to midnight. Then I stopped and realized it makes no difference. I will meet the Lord when my life's work is done, be it at the Savior's second coming or when my natural life is over. I will not know the hour or the day when I leave this mortal existence. What's important is that I am ready to meet him at any time. Being side tracked by calendars, time tables and math and any manner of speculation will not save me in the end. Its what's in my heart and my relationship with the Lord that will serve me well. Now is the time to prepare to meet my Savior for I know someday I will. Oh, that I might be found worthy in the end.