The Reading for today is from Alma 15:52-55
Concerning focusing on our calling:
52 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people;
53 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance, and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might be no more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.
54 But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord has allotted unto me.
55 I ought not to harrow up in my desires, the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills; whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction;."
We want so much for others to partake in the fruit of the joys we receive. It is tempting to fall into the trap of the adversary to want to force others to "see" the truth. It is a small step from there to the idea of forcing people to choose what is right. Nevertheless that which is forced is not a choice, and this was the sin of the adversary in the beginning; to remove man's agency and force everyone to do the will of God. Some might not see the difference (satan is counting on that blindness in men). The point is that the choice to serve God is virtuous, and therefore Christlike, but serving God because there is no other choice is not.
When we are estranged from loved ones because they are choosing that which is not of God, our hearts go out in desire to bring them back. Nevertheless it is "the firm decree of a just God" for mankind to have that choice so that virtue (the love of that which is good) might take root in the earth and bloom in our souls. We each have a calling and purpose in our life and each must seek to fill that full measure of virtue which God intended through us in the day of our creation – so are we commanded by recent manifestation through our brother Joseph Smith: "Stand fast in the faith in the God you worship. Do not strive to accomplish the work that is not your calling. Leave unto me that which is mine to do." – Revelation of July 12, 2019.
Holy Father, we praise thee for the opportunity to grow in grace and truth an increase in virtue and holiness by the work of thy Holy Spirit in our lives. We praise thee for the plan of salvation which was laid in the beginning. We thank thee holy Father for the very great gift of agency to choose; that thereby we might love thee and cleave to thy goodness and holiness in fervent desire. Help us, Holy Father, to fill our calling in the earth, and to know what is that good work that we ought to do to glorify thee, for thou art worthy of all praise, glory, honor, and dominion for ever. In Jesus' holy name we ask these things. Amen.
TO WALK WITH THE LORD
We sometimes sing the song “Oh Master Let Me Walk with Thee.” The words of this song have long been a favorite of mine, yet I wonder if we ever think about what it would take to walk with Him. Would we not be required to become obedient to His will and purpose? We would not be welcomed by Him if we carried along our desires for the world, or our carnal habits - things like our pride, selfishness, intolerance, greed, and especially our self-righteousness, and lack of Love for one another. These things He would disapprove, and yet we sometimes retain them in our daily walk.
It is interesting to remember the account of Jesus and His disciples as He went about His work in Jerusalem. The men that He called were not, in the eyes of the world of that day, holding to the highest standard of righteousness. They were ordinary men: fishermen, tribute collector - men well acquainted with work, yet not so acquainted with learning.
Following Jesus, they began to learn from the Master, the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Perhaps as we walk with the Lord we can also learn about those mysteries. However this would require us to pay close attention to that which He provides for our learning. It would also require us to have faith, for without it, we could not receive those words and information.
How many years have we had the Book of Mormon - 190 years? What was this Book to bring to us? D&C Sect 1:4e “that the fullness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.” We have had the Gospel of Christ for many generations in the Bible. Now the Lord has provided the means whereby Joseph Smith Jr could translate the record of the Nephites, which contains the fullness of Christ's Gospel. In these two books we find the words of Christ, and we find that these books agree on many things, especially the path we must follow if we will walk with Him.
We read in 3rd John that a man named Nicodemus came to Christ asking about that pathway. John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” Nicodemus asked the Lord how was it possible to be born again. We might also ask the same question, and find many answers in the world around us. We find the true answers in our scriptures and they are there for all to see, yet many fail to see and understand. Why do they fail to see? What do we have that enables us to see? Turn to Eph. 4:22-24 “And now I speak unto you concerning the former conversation, by exhortation, that ye put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the mind of the Spirit; And that ye put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
We have a gift that was restored along with that record of the Nephites. It is the gift of the Holy Ghost, which will lead us to all truth. This gift had been gone for many hundreds of years, but was returned in 1830 along with the authority of the priesthood. It is the gift we receive when we repent of our sins and go down into the waters of baptism, laying down that old man, and coming forth a new man to receive that gift by the laying on of hands of the Priesthood, who have that authority to grant that gift of the Holy Ghost. By this process we become children of God ....“created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”(Eph 2:10)
Becoming children of God, we enter “..... the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water: and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire, and by the Holy Ghost. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son;”(2 Nephi 13:24-25) Then we can truly walk with God down this narrow pathway that leads to eternal life. As we walk this narrow path, if we will put into our hearts the love of God, charity, patience, kindness, virtue, etc., and practice them, we find that all the obstacles placed therein that cause us to stumble will be removed, and our walk with God will be more pleasant.
To walk with Christ and hear His teaching first hand, as did those disciples in Jerusalem and the Nephite period, would have been a tremendous experience. Yet we have the words of 2nd Peter 1:19 “We have therefore a more sure knowledge of the word of prophecy, to which word of prophecy ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light which shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts;” That word of prophecy became a reality to those disciples when Jesus promised to send the Holy Ghost to them and added this promise: "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26-27). The Holy Ghost lived within them. That word of prophecy lived within them, just like it lives within all who are born of God, and continued to confirm Jesus’ divinity, making a more sure testimony.
When we receive the laying on of hands of the Priesthood in confirmation we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost which dwells within us. It is important that we understand this. Notice what the Lord said in John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
So we have this testimony that is with us every day, that Jesus is the Son of God and our comforter, if we “Abide” in Him. From Him we receive the guidance that leads us to enjoy a walk in righteousness and to bring forth fruit worthy of the Kingdom of God. In essence then the Master lets us walk with Him, in that the Holy Ghost abides within us. If we ever let our love for Him slacken to the point that He withdraws His hand, we will not be walking with Him but will become most miserable. So come let us walk with the Master. Amen.
Joseph F. Smith
June 29th 2019