20.1.18

An Aspect of the Atonement of Jesus Christ


In the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ, in the seventh chapter of Alma, verse 13, we read:

“Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.”

So, did Christ need to suffer in the flesh or could he have experienced it through the Holy Ghost?  As, the Spirit of the Lord or the Holy Gost knows all things, as it is one with God (3 Nephi 11:27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one. — Doctrine & Covenanants 20:28 Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen.).

Answer: he had to/needed to/must have suffered in the flesh for the bowels of mercy to have been activated and for the intelligences of the Universe to have been pained and cried for the injustice--it couldn't have been just a mental exercise or something that could be passed-through through-the-omniscience-of-the-Spirit, but blood had to be spilt--come from every pore!

JPS

12.1.18

If it be Thy will...


Yet, think of the woman with an issue of blood who had to only touch the hem of Christ’s garment and, unbeknownst to Him, virtue was drawn out of Him and healed the woman’s ailment!

On the one hand, one could argue that since Christ wasn't even aware, it happened regardless of His will being aligned with hers...  But, on the other hand, He was already out-and-about, looking to help, right?  Every second of His short, 33 year life, was Him on a mercy mission.  One could argue that it was His will, just owing to the fact that He would have healed her, had she asked Him too or even if He had known that she was looking for Him for just that reason.  The fact that she didn't even talk to Him doesn't change the fact that she had enough faith to be healed and the fact that Christ was unaware of her touch, doesn't alter the fact that her faith combined with Christ's Priesthood and power and virtue combined in such a way that she was healed!

Remember Jairus' daughter (same chapter in Mark)?  She was brought back to life when Christ was in a different town, walking towards her.  Not only that but, He healed the woman with the issue of blood while He was traveling.  

What a chapter...  What a Man...  What a God! (is that silly to say or even think?  By definition, that's what He is. He is a God!)

Let's push the idea that He wasn't even aware, though...  Had He become so in-tune with His Father that He was able to be aware of the thoughts and needs of those in this world?  One could argue that He had, in which case, there would be nothing to wonder about: If she was close enough to "touch the hem of His skirt", then she was close enough for Him to be aware--actually, very close and close enough!  He would be the definition of "being present" in every situation!

The fact is, though, that she was healed.  His virtue did leave His person.  Couldn't even entertain the idea that He didn't know...

Two occasions where Christ didn't necessarily need to even be cognizant of the need and didn't need to even be in the same town to perform the miracles of healing!

JPS

5.1.18

Remember, remember...


Think of how many times, in the Book of Mormon, we are asked to remember!  Remember your father’s, remember what you were taught, remember, etc.  The Jews, it seems, were always remembering, or being reminded that they needed to remember different things: Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, and their other fathers...

Remember that you have made covenants.

Remember that God has made promises to you.

Remember that God will never deny or forget the things that He has promised.

Remember that God has made covenants with Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, or Israel, and that those promises are also made to each member of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Remember that Christ will never forget us; for He has wounds in His hands and feet and side to remind Him forever.

We must remember Him and all that He has taught us...

Won't WE always remember Him and all that He has done for us?

After all, that was President Specer Wooley Kimball's favorite word: REMEMBER!  Or, rather, he believed that it was the most important word in the human language...

JPS

2.1.18

Where is his honor?


God has it, Satan wants it...  

How does Satan have “power” but by honor?

The Lord told Moses, that Satan said, talking to God the Father, Satan said, "And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore five me thine honor."


Also, in the Doctrine & Covenants, we read in section 29; verse 36:
And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;


Again, in the Doctrine & Covenants section 124, verse 55, we read, 
  • "And again, verily I say unto you, I command you again to build a house to my name, even in this place, that you may prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you, and crown you with honor, immortality, and eternal life."
  • So, what does Honor mean?
    The dictionary says that honor means: high respect; esteem.
    Those and that which has been created by God respect and esteem Him.  They are His creation and the workmanship of His hand.
    What kind of power is derived from honor?
    Those who honor God, delight to follow, obey, and serve Him and those who do, are thus able to share in His infinite power--priesthood power (based on their worthiness and to the degree that their will aligns with God's).
    So, what kind of honor does Satan have?
    Short answer: after this life, he will have none for he has not followed, honored, or obeyed God the Father nor His Son.
    But, why does he have power here on Earth now?   Well, I'm not positive why, but my educated guess would be to say that even Satan is honored by the third of the host of heaven, as said in verse 29 of section 36.  He receives honor from them and for all those who obey him living on this Earth.
    His power, is also curbed by the divine commands from God and any of God's children who call-down the power of God to stop, thwart, banish, etc. him or his powers.
    JPS

1.1.18

When you already know the outcome, you are free!


What I mean, is that when you already know the end and what’s going to happen, then you are truly making a choice and not acting in fear or anxiety or shame or even manipulation—whatever you choose to do is done knowing that you might have chosen something else, and is truly choosing one thing over sonetging else—anything else...

Let me use a quick example to illustrate my point (and you may be able to understand what I’m talking about, in case you are not sure what I’m trying to say...):

In the movie, Minority Report, with Tom Cruise, he (or his character) doesn’t kill the man he believes to have kidnapped his son (and possibly murdered him) even though it has been that he will by the three pre-cogs that see into the future and help prevent murder.  Once Cruise has seen the future, he knows one possible outcome, and he is able to choose differently, which he does—chooses a different outcome than the “future” he sees or the one shown him by the pre-cogs or three people who have cognitive visions of the future...

Outside the world of Philip K. Dick (the author of the story), we (you and I), are more free to make choices when we are aware of what might happen.  The obvious example to me is a priesthood blessing or more specifically, a patriarchal blessing.  A patriarchal blessing is a blessing made by a man, called and ordained in Melchizedek Priesthood to give members of a stake of Zion of the Latter-Day Saints a blessing (it is possible to receive more than one patriarchal blessing, though I’m not sure why you would request more than one...).  “Patriarchal blessingsare modeled after the blessing given by Jacob to each of his sons prior to his death.”

Not only does the blessing tell you what will happen in the future, if you follow God’s will for you in your life, but it also opens-up more possibilities to that which could be my future if I choose it!


Patriarchal Blessings “are gifts of knowledge and strength of one's coming challenges and blessings” (Wikipedia).

The purpose of a patriarchal blessing is (1) to identify the tribe of Israel to which some people belong, others who do not are then "adopted" in and given the same blessings; (2) to bless the member with knowledge and the spiritual gifts that may be obtained by obedience to Gospel principles; (3) to give advice or help to the individual (often this includes foretelling of possible future events, opportunities, and temptations). Within the church, a patriarchal blessing is considered to be a revelation for the recipient, with the promises made in the blessing considered conditional upon the recipient's obedience to Gospel principles.”


According to former church president Ezra Taft Benson, "A patriarchal blessing is the inspired and prophetic statement of your life’s mission together with blessings, cautions, and admonitions as the patriarch may be prompted to give." (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1986, pgs. 43-44). Blessings given in the 19th century often made use of themes, such as an millennialism and polygamy, that are not common in today's blessings. During his presidency, Joseph Fielding Smith advised patriarchs to be conservative in their blessings unless "especially inspired otherwise".[3]

Although they may not be ordained patriarchs, every Latter-day Saint father who holds the Melchizedek Priesthoodcan pronounce blessings upon his child or spouse, as necessary. Such blessings do not reveal the Tribe of Israel to which a person belongs. The church encourages families to create their own records of such blessings, but does not accept them into the official church archives in Salt Lake City as they would a blessing from an ordained patriarch“ (Wikipedia)
So, once you have had your possible future revealed to you, you then are made an agent to choose to follow that which has been promised you, or to choose otherwise.  Other choices, made without an over-arching vision of your life and your future, are choices made based on your (one’s) understanding of a situation, preferences, worries, desires, hopes, impulses, cravings, fears, etc.  If I had a direction that I planned to follow or a destination that I intended to arrive at, I would prefer a “sneak-peak” into where I would be...  That way, I would be free to choose one thing or the other with full cognicense of what I would be doing or where I would be going!

JPS

Because of their fathers...


“Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins; neither shall ye revile against them because of their filthiness; but ye shall remember your own filthiness, and remember that their filthiness came because of their fathers.”
Matthew 7:3-4)


Cast the beam out of your eye and then you'll be able to see motes in other's eyes...”

How many people could we say that about?  "The sons of their fathers" covers everybody!

All of us—every single person born on this Earth, is a son or a daughter to imperfect parents (excluding Jesus Christ), and to one degree or another we are brought-up and taught by imperfect parents who, regardless of their desires/wants/wishes/efforts, are raising us in an imperfect world, and thus, will pass-on their own traits of the natural man (Mosiah 3:19) in their parenting!


JPS

29.12.17

Blinding light of truth


When the unrighteous see the bright light of the Gospel or the Gospel in action, it must be similar to walking into the bright light after being in a cave with no light...

JPS

Whatsoever He sayeth unto you, do it!


Even though she wasn’t saying this to you or me, shouldn’t this imperative as given by Mary, the mother of Jesus (at the wedding feast in Cana) be taken personally and lived steadfastly by each of us—by you and by me?  After all, aren’t we commanded-to and should be following Him in everything we do already?

Elder L. Whitney Clayton, in April of 2017, said:

The Savior performed His first recorded miracle at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. Mary, His mother, and His disciples were there as well. Mary apparently felt some responsibility for the success of the feast. During the celebration, a problem arose—the wedding hosts ran out of wine. Mary was concerned and went to Jesus. They spoke briefly; then Mary turned to the servants and said:
“Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
“And there were set there six waterpots of stone. … [These waterpots weren’t used to store drinking water but were used for ceremonial washings under the law of Moses.]
“Jesus saith unto [the servants], Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
“And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
“[Then] the ruler of the feast … tasted the water that was made wine” and expressed surprise that the best wine was served so late in the feast.1
We usually remember this event because transforming water to wine was a demonstration of the power of God—it was a miracle. That is an important message, but there is another important message in John’s account. Mary was “a precious and chosen vessel,”2 called by God to give birth to, nurture, and raise the very Son of God. She knew more about Him than anyone else on earth. She knew the truth of His miraculous birth. She knew that He was sinless and that He “spake not as other men, neither could he be taught; for he needed not that any man should teach him.”3 Mary knew of His extraordinary capacity to solve problems, including one as personal as providing wine for a wedding feast. She had unshakable confidence in Him and in His divine power. Her simple, straightforward instruction to the servants had no caveats, no qualifications, no limitations: “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”
Mary had been a young woman when the angel Gabriel appeared unto her. At first she had been “troubled” by being called “highly favoured” and “blessed … among women … and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.” Gabriel reassured her that she had nothing to fear—the news he brought was good. She would “conceive in [her] womb … the Son of the Highest” and “bring forth a son … [who] shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever.”
Mary wondered aloud, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”
The angel explained but only briefly, affirming to her that “with God nothing [is] impossible.”
Mary humbly responded that she would do what God asked, without demanding to know specifics and undoubtedly in spite of having countless questions about the implications for her life. She committed herself without exactly understanding why He was asking that of her or how things would work out. She accepted God’s word unconditionally and in advance,4 with little knowledge of what lay ahead. With simple trust in God, Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”5
When we decide to do “whatsoever [God] saith unto” us, we earnestly commit to align our everyday behavior with God’s will. Such simple acts of faith as studying the scriptures daily, fasting regularly, and praying with real intent deepen our well of spiritual capacity to meet the demands of mortality. Over time, simple habits of belief lead to miraculous results. They transform our faith from a seedling into a dynamic power for good in our lives. Then, when challenges come our way, our rootedness in Christ provides steadfastness for our souls. God shores up our weaknesses, increases our joys, and causes “all things [to] work together for [our] good.”6
A few years ago, I spoke with a young bishop who was spending hours each week counseling with members of his ward. He made a striking observation. The problems that members of his ward faced, he said, were those faced by Church members everywhere—issues such as how to establish a happy marriage; struggles with balancing work, family, and Church duties; challenges with the Word of Wisdom, with employment, or with pornography; or trouble gaining peace about a Church policy or historical question they didn’t understand.
His counsel to ward members very often included getting back to simple practices of faith, such as studying the Book of Mormon—as we were counseled by President Thomas S. Monson to do—paying tithing, and serving in the Church with devotion. Frequently, however, their response to him was one of skepticism: “I don’t agree with you, Bishop. We all know those are good things to do. We talk about those things all the time in the Church. But I’m not sure you’re understanding me. What does doing any of those things have to do with the issues I’m facing?”
It’s a fair question. Over time, that young bishop and I have observed that those who are deliberate about doing the “small and simple things”7—obeying in seemingly little ways—are blessed with faith and strength that go far beyond the actual acts of obedience themselves and, in fact, may seem totally unrelated to them. It may seem hard to draw a connection between the basic daily acts of obedience and solutions to the big, complicated problems we face. But they are related. In my experience, getting the little daily habits of faith right is the single best way to fortify ourselves against the troubles of life, whatever they may be. Small acts of faith, even when they seem insignificant or entirely disconnected from the specific problems that vex us, bless us in all we do.
Consider Naaman, a “captain of the host of … Syria, … a mighty man in valour,” and a leper. A servant girl told of a prophet in Israel who could heal Naaman, and so he traveled with an escort of servants, soldiers, and gifts to Israel, eventually arriving at Elisha’s house. Elisha’s servant, not Elisha himself, informed Naaman that the Lord’s command was to “go and wash in [the river] Jordan seven times.” A simple thing. Perhaps this simple prescription struck the mighty warrior as so illogical, simplistic, or beneath his dignity that he found the mere suggestion offensive. At the very least, Elisha’s instruction didn’t make sense to Naaman, “so he turned and went away in a rage.”
But Naaman’s servants gently approached him and observed that he would have done “some great thing” if Elisha had asked it of him. They noted that since he was asked to do only a small task, shouldn’t he do it, even if he didn’t understand why? Naaman reconsidered his reaction and perhaps skeptically, but obediently, “went … down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan” and was miraculously healed.8
Some rewards of obedience do come quickly; others come only after we are tested. In the Pearl of Great Price, we read about Adam’s tireless diligence in keeping the commandment to offer sacrifices. When the angel asked Adam why he was offering sacrifices, he answered, “I know not, save the Lord commanded me.” The angel explained that his sacrifices were “a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father.” But that explanation came only after Adam had demonstrated his commitment to obeying the Lord for “many days” without knowing why he was supposed to offer those sacrifices.9
God will always bless us for our steadfast obedience to His gospel and loyalty to His Church, but He rarely shows us His timetable for doing so in advance. He doesn’t show us the whole picture from the outset. That is where faith, hope, and trusting in the Lord come in.
God asks us to bear with Him—to trust Him and to follow Him. He pleads with us to “dispute not because ye see not.” He cautions us that we shouldn’t expect easy answers or quick fixes from heaven. Things work out when we stand firm during the “trial of [our] faith,” however hard that test may be to endure or slow the answer may be in coming.10 I am not speaking of “blind obedience”11 but of thoughtful confidence in the perfect love and the perfect timing of the Lord.
The trial of our faith will always involve staying true to simple, daily practices of faith. Then, and only then, does He promise that we will receive the divine response for which we long. Only once we have proven our willingness to do what He asks without demanding to know the whens, the whys, and the hows do we “reap the rewards of [our] faith, and [our] diligence, and patience, and long-suffering.”12Real obedience accepts God’s commandments unconditionally and in advance.13
Every day, consciously or otherwise, we all choose “whom [we] will serve.”14 We demonstrate our determination to serve the Lord by faithfully engaging in daily acts of devotion. The Lord promises to direct our paths,15 but for Him to do that, we have to walk, trusting that He knows the way because He is “the way.”16 We must fill our own waterpots up to the brim. When we trust and follow Him, our lives, like water to wine, are transformed. We become something more and better than we ever otherwise could be. Trust in the Lord, and “whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.“
So, have faith in doing what Jesus Christ himself has and is asking us to do, we will be able to expect the same miracles promised to us by the Son of the Living God!

Don't just take my word for it--do it!

JPS

The Prayer of Faith


In the Book of Enos, in the Book of Mormon, in the thirteenth verse, it reads, “And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him--that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation--“.  And now, of course, we have seen the promised blessings come to pass, as the work of salvation has blossomed like the rose with those descendants.

My thought was that I wish or hope to be able to pray and ask for things that come to pass, literally.  Even though Enos never saw the fruition of his work or his faith, he saw it happen with an eye of faith!

Let my prayers work so well and let them be ever as faithful!

JPS

7.12.17

Why dost thou offer sacrifices?


Adam was asked, by an angel, after being obedient in worshiping the Lord and making making sacrifices to Him, for many days, “Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord?” (from the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, which is a selection from the revelations, translations, and narrations of Joseph Smith first prophet, seer, and revelator to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints):

    And Adam said unto him: “I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
    And then the angel spake, saying: “This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
    Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.”

Why didn’t Adam already know why he had been offering sacrifices?  It wouldn't have been blind obedience, regardless of "why" he was offering sacrifices, as he was trusting in the Lord and he knew it was a form of worship--he knew he was worshipping the Lord as he was sacrificing.  But, why had he made sacrifices for many days without knowing why?

I have given this some thought and have come to a conclusion that makes sense to me: When you get in trouble, maybe have broken the only commandment given to you (but of the fruit of the tree which thou beholds in the midst of the garden, God hath said—"Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die").  Nevertheless and notwithstanding, Satan knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world by beguiling Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil.  

Adam and Eve ate the fruit.  We are all alive, thanks to that act!  It is not a bad or terrible decision, it was wise and good.

Back, though, to the "Why".  Why didn't Adam know?  When you were young and in your parent's house, did you feel like you should ask questions about your "punishment"?  Even though sacrificing was in no way a punishment, it followed Adam breaking his Father's rule: "Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die"  And you did eat it.  I don't know how Adam and Eve felt, but I know that they must have been crushed when they realized that they were going to die and that they were going to forever be cast out of the presence of God.

When God tells you that there is a way to be able to be resurrected and be able to enter God's presence again--because of the Atonement of Christ.   Out of absolute gratitude you are asked/commanded to offer sacrifices.  You just perform those sacrifices and never even ask why--even for years! 

That's why, I think, he never asked why...

JPS