Tuesday, June 15, 2010
The Gifts of God: Let Go and Let God!
1 Nephi 10
I. Our church ward recently witnessed the conversion of an entire family. The father had spent the previous two years studying the scriptures. He bears testimony of how he knew the scriptures well, of how he attended (a different) church weekly, and yet he felt something was missing? He described his conversion as one of recognizing and accepting the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
II. The world believes that Christianity dates back to the birth of Jesus Christ. The world (because it does not believe and have faith in God nor his prophets) does not understand that the Messiah was promised "from the foundation of the world"(vs. 18). Jesus Christ is God's Gift to redeem the world.
I am aware of many gifts of God. As a child I was made to count them. I often counted them as butterflies, sunbeams, dogs, smiles, and food. But Nephi saw two other gifts of God. He recognized that God gives the Holy Ghost to those who believe in his words, and that the Messiah was a gift that came as part of the plan of salvation.
Today I learned how God uses the gift of the Holy Ghost to help me recognize all of his other gifts. Today (finally after how many years) I saw that when I am connected to God (through the Holy Ghost) I am connected to life. Life becomes more meaningful when I have eternal understanding. Life takes on a new purpose when I am filled with the Joy of God's love.
I am grateful to Nephi for helping me understand these greater gifts. (and Adena with whom I was speaking with this morning)
(Words and Phrases)
concerning the Jews (vs. 2) Nephi was a Jew. This is significant because Lehi is going to expound to him all that is going to happen to, through, and because of the House of Israel. The Lord is able to give his gifts to mankind because of the faithful prophets from the House of Israel. The Jewish people gave us many gifts: the Bible, the prophets, the prophecies, eternal perspective, the law of Moses (my Dad's specialty), traditions, culture, language, and so much more.
they should return again (vs 3)- I am of the House of Israel. I am not Jewish by religion, but the blood of the House of Israel runs through my veins. As I read about how the Jews were "carried away into Babylon", I am reminded that they returned again. I can liken this unto my own cycle and struggle with faith. I am often carried away.. only to return again. But Lehi's prophecies are not metaphorical, they are literal. History teaches us these things all took place. History teaches us how God used the Jewish nation to bestow and teach His gifts.
concerning the prophets (vs 5) - (how great a number that testified)
What of the prophets that taught of the Savior? What other gifts do prophets have? Clearly they have the gift of the Holy Ghost and an understanding of the mission of Jesus Christ, so what sets them apart?
They cultivated the desire to not only find the gifts of God, but to learn how to use them daily in their lives. I want to be like Nephi. I want to be desirous to see, and hear, and know of these things. Is this a bad thing? Why when I say it does the world want to put me down for it? Would God think it a bad thing?
I am so grateful we have prophets today. I am grateful for men who diligently seek out the Lord's will concerning men, and teach us truth not only through words, but through example. I am grateful to understand the power by which the prophets work. Nephi taught that it is available to all "those who diligently seek him"(vs 17). It was "in times of old", it is today, and it will be when Jesus Christ returns. Why because the course of he Lord is "one eternal round".
lost and fallen state (vs. 6) What does it mean to be in a lost and fallen state? If you are lost then you have need to be found? If you are fallen then you have need to be lifted up? How does the Holy Ghost and the Redeemer change things?
What I see is this: As humans in a physical state we see the world purely physically. We understand with reason, fact, and rational. We live to eat. We eat to work. We work to sleep. And we sleep to live. But this is a dreary way of life. Life eventually wears you down. Where is the Joy?
The Joy is found in God's gifts. They change us, our views, our thoughts, our spirits, our perspective. By believing there is more than the natural and physical cycle to life, we lift ourselves up to a spiritual plane. Nephi spoke of it in verse 17 when he stated, "the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God."
We are all "lost and fallen" until we learn to believe in the power of the Holy Ghost which will bear witness to us of the divinity of the Son of God's mission as our Redeemer. We are lost because we have no plan, no road, no course to follow. Fallen because we cannot go where God's love dwells.
rely on this Redeemer (vs 6) - How do we rely on this Redeemer? "by the power of the Holy Ghost which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him."(vs 17). The two work in tandem. If I accept the power of the Holy Ghost then I will know of the power of our Savior's Redemption. If I have faith to believe in the Savior's redemptive power, then I have faith to receive the Holy Ghost. By relying on either of these gifts I am entitled to have the power of both in my life.
the way is prepared for all men (vs 18) - How is the way prepared for me? Where is God's plan for me? Without the Holy Ghost or the belief in God's redemption my time here on earth takes on a view of finality. What a wonderful thing it is to know... (through faith) of God's power of Redemption and of his comforter (the Holy Ghost). I don't have to do any of this alone. I am part of the "all men". I am part of God's plan. When I use faith to ask, the Holy Ghost teaches me. When I falter, God's redemption lifts me up.
which power he received by faith (vs. 17) How does faith bring power? How does faith bridge the gap between our earthly world and God's gifts of the Holy Ghost and His redemptive love? I believe that power comes to those who believe like it comes to the seed who sprouts it's root deep. It comes to those who exercise their own power to let go of worldly views and believe in something that will lift them higher. We do not always have to understand the power, we only have to believe in it for it to benefit us. I.E. I don't understand how jets fly, but I believe they will fly me to my destination. Faith in God's power is like this, we may not understand the mechanics of it, but we only have to believe that it will help us reach the desires of our heart for it to begin to work within us. Unlike the gift of airplane-flight, the gift of faith requires that we participate. We must be the generator of the power. By believing, the power is made stronger and we gain even greater heights of understanding.
the mysteries of God (vs 19)- What is a mystery? Is it something to one but something different to another? Does it rely on our experience? Does it rely on faith to understand?
Are the mysteries of God like the mysteries of science?
I have experienced many mysteries that I have not understood. As a child I remember watching in bewilderment as a plate glided effortlessly across the table. As a pre-teen I remember learning to listen to a "still small voice" as it whispered to me that answer to a prayer on where to find the key I had lost.
God is no more mysterious than the laws of science. We need only to "diligently seek" to find. We need only to believe in God's love and gifts. He waits patiently for us to not only to open them, but to learn how to use them.
As I think about how I have used the gifts of God in my life, I am reminded of many different occasions when the Holy Ghost has prompted me to change my course while driving in the car, to call someone on the telephone (only to discover they had great need), to stop what I was doing and to pray for a child (and learn later they had a near miss accident), to learn to forgive myself and let God carry the burden for me.
My mother has a wonderful adage she tells me often.
"Let Go and Let God". In letting Go of my life, I must learn to rely on the Holy Ghost as it directs me down my path. In Letting God, I have learned to allow God's love carry me, so that I don't have to carry my burdens of mistakes.
What gifts have you been made aware of this day? What have you done to Let Go...
to Let God?