Tuesday, September 26, 2017

First Law of Heaven


I simply love this quote. Below is the lesson that I got the quote from. This entire lesson is filled full of pure goodness. Enjoy!!


Chapter 17: Obedience, a Law of Heaven
Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, (2000), 46–48
Introduction
Cecil B. DeMille, director of the epic biblical film The Ten Commandments, told the student body at Brigham Young University:
“We are too inclined to think of law as something merely restrictive—something hemming us in. We sometimes think of law as the opposite of liberty. But that is a false conception. That is not the way that God’s inspired prophets and lawgivers looked upon the law. Law has a twofold purpose. It is meant to govern. It is also meant to educate. ...
“... And so it is with all the Commandments.
“We must look beneath the literal, the surface meaning of the words. We must take the trouble to understand them; for how can we obey commands that we do not understand? But the Commandments too have an educative function—which you can see in the life of anyone who keeps them. They produce good character. The Ten Commandments are not rules to obey as a personal favor to God. They are the fundamental principles without which mankind cannot live together. They make of those who keep them faithfully, strong, wholesome, confident, dedicated men and women. This is so because the Commandments come from the same Divine Hand that fashioned our human nature.
“God does not contradict Himself. He did not create man and then, as an afterthought, impose upon him a set of arbitrary, irritating, restrictive rules. He made man free—and then gave him the Commandments to keep him free” (“Commencement Address,” in Commencement Exercises, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [31 May 1957], 4–5).
Doctrinal Outline
A.
Obedience is the first law of heaven.
1. 1.
It was decreed in heaven that all blessings are predicated upon obedience (see D&C 130:20–21;
Deuteronomy 11:8, 26–27).
2. 2.
We came to earth to prove our willingness to obey (see Abraham 3:24–25; D&C 98:14).
3. 3.
          
 Obedience must be voluntary (see Abraham 3:25–26; Helaman 14:30–31).
4. 4.
Commandments are given to us because God loves us and wants us to become like Him (see Deuteronomy 6:24–25; D&C 25:15; 3 Nephi 12:48).
5. 5.
Our obedience to God’s commandments is an expression of our love for Him (see John 14:15,
21, 23; 1 John 5:3; D&C 42:29).
6. 6.
It is important to obey God even when we may not fully understand the commandment (see Moses 5:5–6; 1 Nephi 3:7).
7. 7.
The Lord chastens the Saints because He loves them (see Hebrews 12:6; D&C 95:1; Helaman
15:3; Revelation 3:19).
8. 8.
We should obey God rather than man (see Acts 5:29).
B.
The Lord promises great blessings to those who obey His commandments.
1. 1.
The Lord promises both temporal and spiritual blessings to those who obey His commandments (see Mosiah 2:41; Leviticus 26:3–12; Deuteronomy 4:40; D&C 58:2; 64:34; 130:21).
2. 2.
Obedience in this life will give us an advantage in the world to come (see D&C 130:19).
3. 3.
The Lord will provide a way for us to obey all His commandments (see 1 Nephi 3:7; 17:3).
4. 4.
Obedience to divine law makes us free (see John 8:31–32).
C.
Disobedience is a serious offense in the eyes of the Lord.
                             
 1. 1.
We offend God by disobeying His commandments (see D&C 59:21; Ephesians 5:6).
2. 2.
Disobedience to the commandments will bring serious temporal and spiritual consequences (see
Leviticus 26:14–32; Jeremiah 11:3; D&C 1:14; 56:3; 2 Nephi 9:27).
D.
Jesus Christ set the pattern for obedience.
See 2 Nephi 31:7–10; Luke 22:42; John 8:28–29; 3 Nephi 27:21.
E.
Through the Atonement and by obedience to God’s commandments, we can receive eternal life.
1. 1.
We are expected to obey God to the end of our lives (see Mosiah 5:8; 2 Nephi 31:16; D&C 14:7).
2. 2.
Eternal life comes to us through the Atonement and by our obedience to the laws and ordinances
of the gospel (see Articles of Faith 1:3; D&C 138:4; 1 Nephi 22:31; D&C 14:7; Matthew 7:21).
3. 3.
Those who obey the Lord faithfully will be privileged to see Him (see D&C 93:1; 88:68).
Supporting Statements
A.
Obedience is the first law of heaven.
“Obedience is the first law of heaven, the cornerstone upon which all righteousness and progression rest. It consists in compliance with divine law, in conformity to the mind and will of Deity, in complete subjection to God and his commands” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 539).
“Obedience must be voluntary; it must not be forced; there must be no coercion. Men must not be constrained against their will to obey the will of God; they must obey it because they know it to be right, because they desire to do it, and because it is their pleasure to do it. God delights in
                           
 the willing heart” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 65).
“If we love [the Lord], we will keep his commandments.
“Should there be any who offend or fail to keep the commandments of the Lord, then it is evidence that they do not love him. We must obey them. We show by our works that we love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ we serve him and love our neighbor as ourself. This is the word of the Lord as it has been revealed in these modern times for the guidance of Israel” (Joseph Fielding Smith, “Keep the Commandments,” Improvement Era, Aug. 1970, 2).
“In the political field where so much pressure is exerted on men to compromise ideals and principles for expediency, party workers early learned to admire Marion G. Romney’s intense loyalty to his own conscience as well as to the advice of his Church leaders whose pronouncements on vital issues affecting the welfare of the nation he accepted as divinely inspired even though it frequently brought him into sharp conflict with leaders of his own political party. On one such occasion when church leaders in a tersely-worded editorial had denounced the trends of the political administration then in power, he confided in me something which it might be well if all loyal Church members in public life could emulate: ‘When I read that editorial,’ he told me, ‘I knew what I should do—but that wasn’t enough. I knew that I must feel right about following the counsel of the Church leaders and know that they were right. That took a whole night on my knees to accomplish.’ I submit in that statement the difference between ‘intelligent’ and ‘blind’ obedience. Marion G. Romney, while never disloyal to authority over him, could never be rightfully accused of being ‘blindly obedient.’” (Harold B. Lee, “Marion G. Romney,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1962, 742).
B.
The Lord promises great blessings to those who obey His commandments.
“Obedience to God can be the very highest expression of independence. Just think of giving to him the one thing, the one gift, that he would never take. Think of giving him that one thing that he would never wrest from you. ...
“Obedience—that which God will never take by force—he will accept when freely given. And he will then return to you freedom that you can hardly dream of—the freedom to feel and to know, the freedom to do, and the freedom to be, at least a thousandfold more than we offer him. Strangely enough, the key to freedom is obedience. ...
“... When I was president of the New England Mission, the Tabernacle Choir was to sing at the world’s fair in Montreal. The choir had one day unscheduled and suggested a concert in New England. One of the industrial leaders there asked for the privilege of sponsoring the concert.
    
 “Brother Condie and Brother Stewart came to Boston to discuss this matter. We met at the Boston airport and then drove to Attleboro, Massachusetts. Along the way Mr. Yeager asked about the concert. He said, ‘I would like to have a reception for the choir members. I could have it either at my home or at my club.’ He wanted to invite his friends who were, of course, the prominent people of New England—indeed, of the nation. He talked of this, and then he asked about serving alcoholic beverages.
“In answering, Brother Stewart said, ‘Well, Mr. Yeager, since it is your home and you are the host, I suppose you could do just as you want to do.’ ‘That isn’t what I had in mind,’ this wonderful man said. ‘I don’t want to do what I want to do. I want to do what you want me to do.’
“Somewhere in that spirit is the key to freedom. We should put ourselves in a position before our Father in heaven and say, individually, ‘I do not want to do what I want to do. I want to do what thou wouldst have me do.’ Suddenly, like any father, the Lord could say, ‘Well, there is one more of my children almost free from the need of constant supervision.’” (Boyd K. Packer, Obedience, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [7 Dec. 1971], 3–4).
“Half obedience will be rejected as readily as full violation, and maybe quicker, for half rejection and half acceptance is but a sham, an admission of lack of character, a lack of love for Him. It is actually an effort to live on both sides of the line” (Mark E. Petersen, in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, 21; or
Ensign, May 1982, 16 ). •
“There is not a man of us but what is willing to acknowledge at once that God demands strict obedience to his requirements. But in rendering that strict obedience, are we made slaves? No, it is the only way on the face of the earth for you and me to become free, and we shall become slaves of our own passions, and of the wicked one, and servants to the Devil, if we take any other course” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 225).
C.
Disobedience is a serious offense in the eyes of the Lord.
“There is no power given to man, nor means lawful, to be used to compel men to obey the will of God, against their wish, except persuasion and good advice, but there is a penalty attached to disobedience, which all must suffer who will not obey the obvious truths or laws of heaven” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 105–6).
D.
Jesus Christ set the pattern for obedience.
     •

 “Christ, himself, set the perfect example of obedience for all his brethren. As the great Exemplar he was baptized to witness ‘unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.’ (2 Ne. 31:7.) In all things his obedience was perfect. As Paul wrote: ‘Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.’ (Heb. 5:8–9.)” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 540).
E.
Through the Atonement and by obedience to God’s commandments, we can receive eternal life.
“To get salvation we must not only do some things, but everything which God has commanded. Men may preach and practice everything except those things which God commands us to do, and will be damned at last. We may tithe mint and rue, and all manner of herbs, and still not obey the commandments of God. The object with me is to obey and teach others to obey God in just what He tells us to do. It mattereth not whether the principle is popular or unpopular, I will always maintain a true principle, even if I stand alone in it” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 332).
“If we keep the commandments of the Lord, we shall enjoy the presence of both the Father and the Son, and we shall receive the Father’s kingdom and shall be heirs of God—joint heirs with our elder Brother. O how wonderful, how great the blessings of the Lord to the Latter-day Saints and to all who are willing to go through the waters of baptism and abide by the law and keep the commandments of the Lord!” (Smith, “Keep the Commandments,” 3).

Monday, September 25, 2017

Obedience - test of this life


When a prophet of God speaks, we should listen. Thomas S Monson said, the great test of this life is obedience. https://www.lds.org/new-era/2013/08/the-great-test-of-this-life-is-obedience?lang=eng

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Hands never dirtier


The washing of the hands was a legal way to transfer responsibility from himself to the people. Although legally Pilate was innocent, spiritually he was still filthy. He put worldly things above the things of God. We too need to be careful and not put worldly things above the things of God. We must put God first always.

3 Nephi 13:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/13?lang=eng

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Once enlightened...


I have a good friend who is struggling with her testimony and living the Gospel of Christ. I woke up this morning for my scripture study but just felt so overwhelmed with this weight of helping my friend. I knelt in prayer for her and her husband, desiring to know how I could help them reignite their flame of testimony. I rose from the floor and started my scripture study. Not very long later I came across this scripture that burned inside of me.

And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things. Alma 24:20

I knew that God had a message for them in this scripture but I wasn't sure what it was. I jumped in the shower and pondered it the whole time.

Let me share the context of this scripture first.

Alma 24:20-30

20 And it came to pass that their brethren, the Lamanites, made preparations for war, and came up to the land of Nephi for the purpose of destroying the king, and to place another in his stead, and also of destroying the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi out of the land.
21 Now when the people saw that they were coming against them they went out to meet them, and prostrated themselves before them to the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord; and thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them, and began to slay them with the sword.
22 And thus without meeting any resistance, they did slay a thousand and five of them; and we know that they are blessed, for they have gone to dwell with their God.
23 Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but that they would lie down and perish, and praised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword--
24 Now when the Lamanites saw this they did forbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done.
25 And it came to pass that they threw down their weapons of war, and they would not take them again, for they were stung for the murders which they had committed; and they came down even as their brethren, relying upon the mercies of those whose arms were lifted to slay them.
26 And it came to pass that the people of God were joined that day by more than the number who had been slain; and those who had been slain were righteous people, therefore we have no reason to doubt but what they were saved.
27 And there was not a wicked man slain among them; but there were more than a thousand brought to the knowledge of the truth; thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people.
28 Now the greatest number of those of the Lamanites who slew so many of their brethren were Amalekites and Amulonites, the greatest number of whom were after the order of the Nehors.
29 Now, among those who joined the people of the Lord, there were none who were Amalekites or Amulonites, or who were of the order of Nehor, but they were actual descendants of Laman and Lemuel.
30 And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things.

The message that the Lord wants my friends to know, is that this state of hardness does not come overnight, but if not resisted it will spread fast. Satan knows that you guys are slipping, and as a matter of fact, he was the one that put the doubts in your hearts to begin with and has been helping you feel more and more angry, bitter, and resentful. The path from where you are is a tough path back, because your minds have been darkened by the cunning of the evil one. It is time to step out of the shadows and into the light. Your Savior is standing with arms open and outstretched, waiting to embrace you and give you happiness and joy that you can't even comprehend now.

I plead with you to decide today to step into the Light and come back home, allowing the atonement to cleanse you and bring about a might change in your hearts.

Craig

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Signs follow those that believe


Doctrine and Covenants 63:9
But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/63?lang=eng

This is really important to remember in our lives. If we want miracles in our lives we must exercise faith sufficient to the miracle prior to the miracle being performed and seen in our lives.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

See that ye do them

In Stake Conference, Kevin Pierceson of the Seventy, repeated, "if you believe all these things see that ye do them" in both sessions on Saturday and Sunday. It really sunk into my heart. If we know them, why wouldn't we do them? So simple, and yet we find ways to rationalize away our actions and disobedience. Let us be more dligent and more faithful!!!

Mosiah 4:9-10
9 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
10 And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/4?lang=eng

Craig

Monday, September 11, 2017

Increase our capability to rise

Let us be obedient to the spirit which would make us steady and unwavering. As we do this the Lord will lift us and increase our capability and capacity to become more and eventually become like our Savior, even Jesus Christ.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Key to spiritual growth is obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit

I just finished again the book, Following the Light of Christ into His Presence, by John Pontius, where this quote is found. This is such a powerful quote. And one that stood out to me everytime I read the book.

Background image by: K S https://flic.kr/p/HhEnmx

The key to spiritual growth is obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit. This message needs to be blazoned in the sky in letters a thousand feet tall. We consistently underestimate how great a role obedience plays in our spiritual progression. Spiritually, nothing is possible without it, and everything – absolutely everything – is possible with it.

So now the question is, what will we do now? Will we pray to hear and act upon the promptings of the Holy Ghost in a greater capacity, or just continue on as we were before? After we have begun to be obedient, will we open our mouths and bare testimony of the power of obedience to all we come in contact with and help them on their personal journey back to Christ and the Father? We all have our agency to act or to be acted upon.

2 Nephi 2:14
And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/2?lang=eng

In Stake Conference today Elder Kevin W. Pierceson of the Seventy spoke and talked about this same topic. He mentioned that we should be agents verses objects that are simply acted upon.

We all have our agency and we must use that agency to choose to obey because all blessings are given based on obedience to that law.

Doctrine and Covenants 130:18-21
18 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.
20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated--
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/130?lang=eng

I don't know about you, but there are many blessings I want from God and I have committed to learn to hear and to obey the voice of the Lord so that I can qualify for these and other blessings He wants to bestow upon me. I pray that you will join me in this great and marvelous journey of obedience.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Yield to the Holy Spirit

Background image by: Carsten Frenzel www.carstenfrenzl.de

Mosiah 3:19
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/3?lang=eng

The enticings of the Holy Spirit are the words of truth and guidance from the Lord that come into our minds. It can be hard to discern our own voices from those of the spirit working through the light of Christ or those of the darker side. Luckily, we have the words of Mormon preserved in Moroni 7 for the answer to this dilemma.

Moroni 7:15-17
15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/7?lang=eng

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Yet learned He obedience

This scripture brings so many different feelings. On one hand the suffering he went through is unimaginable and yet on the other hand it gives me great hope that I too can learn obedience by the things that I suffer. In this small way I can become like Him and ultimately be worthy to serve Him on any errand that He might send me on. When we submit ourselves to learn and obey His will, we begin to qualify to be His sons and His daughters. I can not think of anything I want more than this. Let us all learn obedience by the things that we suffer.

Hebrews 5:5-9
5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/heb/5?lang=eng

Craig