God Is My Father, I Am His Son

I always pray when I begin a study of the scriptures, and this afternoon as I began my study, I uttered only two words “My Father” when I was stopped in my tracks with a very strong impression. To try to put into words what I was feeling, it was something like this:

Indeed, God is my Father, He knows me, He is like me. I am created to become like He is. Oh, how he wants me to succeed!

What scriptures support this thought?

I have looked up several verses of scripture from the Guide to the Scriptures under the heading: Father in Heaven. I’ve have read several groups of scripture that address a present concern that I am facing. Such as 3 Nephi 13:26-33, Luke 11:11-13, and Doctrine and Covenants 123:1-3,6. None of these are logical statements, but are to be understood spiritually with the heart as well as with the mind.

So God has again answered my prayers and given me the instruction through his holy word for the challenges that I have been facing today. Though I wasn’t particularly questioning my relationship to Him, he knew that the answer through the scriptures to today’s challenges would be found through the topic of which I was impressed to study. What remains to be seen is how the two topic are related. That is for another day.

 Addendum

I’ve come back to this group of verses two days after the initial post. With a sabbath day in between and a renewal of faith, I am somewhat more willing to listen this morning. Behold, what it says in Doctrine and Covenants 123 verses 11 to 17:

11 And also it is an imperative duty that we owe to all the rising generation, and to all the pure in heart—

 

12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—

 

13 Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—

 

14 These should then be attended to with great earnestness.

 

15 Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.

 

16 You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.

 

17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

I do not understand how it is possible for me to continue in the harrowing course which I have set out to accomplish what I have felt to be the will of God for me. But that said, God is talking directly to me this morning through these scriptures. As the Savior aptly reminds me: “How much more shall your heavenly Father give good gifts, through the Holy Spirit, to them that ask him?”

Covenants are Tools

I’m studying the covenants associated with baptism. As I pray about the significance of covenants, it strikes me that covenants are tools given to us that clearly spell out the terms and bounds within which we are able to receive blessings and protection from God. They are instruments of safety fashioned by God to guide us safely through the confusing challenges of our days. Their power and strength are not able to be discerned by the proud and ungodly, but to those who have experienced their power know that covenants indeed are a shield, a safety net, and shelter from adversarial storms of our days.

“Low Estate”

Luke 1:46-55

I think that no where in all of scripture is a more profound statement of humility found than that given by Mary as she contemplates her part in God’s plan. The Spirit of the Lord is trying to tell me of something which is profoundly significant. I think it is in understanding who Christ is, partly because of who His earthly mother was, the humility and meekness possessed of a God.

I desire to be possessor of this humility and meekness.

A quote from David H. Burton:

Meekness is vital to becoming more Christlike. Without it one cannot develop other important virtues. Mormon indicated, “None is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart” (Moro. 7:44). Acquiring meekness is a process. We are asked to “take up [the] cross daily” (Luke 9:23). Our lifting should not be an occasional exercise. More meekness does not translate to weakness, but “it is the presentation of self in a posture of kindness and gentleness. It reflects certitude, strength, serenity; it reflects a healthy self-esteem and a genuine self-control” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Meekly Drenched in Destiny,” in Brigham Young University 1982–83 Fireside and Devotional Speeches [1983], 2). More meekness will allow us to be tutored by the Spirit.

 

Last night in my journal, I made this longing observation: “And then there are those who are humble enough to be truly effective servants in the work of God.”

The humble, meek, those of “low estate” are those that understand the reality of things as they really are, their utter dependence upon God, their own nothingness.

Reading “Meekness – A Dimension of True Discipleship” by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, I am realizing that there is something about the family life that I have created that is amiss.

I am taken back to this post about Mosiah 4:11-12. Then Moses 1:10 also reminds me of my own nothingness in comparison to God and his works. This reminder seems to be crucial to my understanding of meekness.

A Creed for Preparation

In light of new assignments, and stemming from recent conversations, and in light of scriptures such as this one:

But notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been given to the aelders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to bconduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit. (Doctrine and Covenants 46:2)

The need to be spiritually prepared is presently before me, as an ongoing and constant need. This need is not only in personal preparation, but now spreads to a larger realm of duty, for which I too must prepare.

To accomplish these ends, the proposed daily routine should include the following:

  • Review of General Handbook 2 instruction.
  • Review of Preach My Gospel instruction
  • General Conference Addresses
  • Scripture Mastery/Memorization

This should happen immediately following your half hour of personal study, on a daily basis for another half hour. Specific lesson preparations may be included as part of this time.

 

The natural man cannot see the opportunities to do good.

My brothers and sisters, I declare to you, however, that there is nothing which can bring more joy into our lives or more peace to our souls than the Spirit which can come to us as we follow the Savior and keep the commandments. That Spirit cannot be present at the kinds of activities in which so much of the world participates. (Pres. Thomas S. Monson, General Conference, October 2011, Sunday Morning Session)

I passed over the full implication of this statement in the first reading. Many activities that have to do with money and how to spend it, how to beautify one’s self, and one’s surroundings.

I like the quote from CS Lewis where he talks about how our charitable contributions should cause us to experience a degree of discomfort or sacrifice. (Find the quote.) I also like the assurance recently offered by Pres. Eyering who reminded me of the words of other inspired leaders:

President Marion G. Romney said of welfare work, “You cannot give yourself poor in this work.” And then he quoted his mission president, Melvin J. Ballard, this way: “A person cannot give a crust to the Lord without receiving a loaf in return.”

 

I have found that to be true in my life. When I am generous to Heavenly Father’s children in need, He is generous to me.

 

A second gospel principle that has been a guide to me in welfare work is the power and blessing of unity. When we join hands to serve people in need, the Lord unites our hearts. President J. Reuben Clark Jr. put it this way: “That giving has … brought … a feeling of common brotherhood as men of all training and occupation have worked side by side in a Welfare garden or other project.”

 

(Pres. Henry B. Eyering, General Conference, April 2011,  Saturday Morning Session)

 

To Do: I am reminded of the importance of studying and understanding welfare principles. I need to become better minded in these matters.

5.2 Convert Retention

Three things that converts, and all members of the Church, need to stay active:

  1. friendship
  2. opportunities to mature and serve in the Church
  3. nourishing by the word of God.

Bishopric’s responsibilities to accomplish this includes

  • facilitating fellowshipping opportunities
  • assigning callings to each new adult member.
  • ordaining worthy male converts to priesthood office.

Ward Council helps by discussing ways to help new members feel:

  • the love of other members.
  • the joy of serving in the Lord’s kingdom.
  • the peace that comes from living gospel principles.

Ward council can also discuss possible service opportunities in family history or temple work.

The bulk of the work of convert and new member retention should rest on the Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders.

Gospel Principles Class should be attended by new converts for a few months. No specific time frame is given beyond that. It impresses me that there should be an emphasis on teaching from the Book of Mormon in this class using it as the main support to the lesson manual. Another aspect of this class is to encourage members to be reading regularly from the Book of Mormon.