Symproto

How Does God Speak to Us?

Oct
17

 

 

And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:12.)

 

There is a lot of noise in the world. Between kids, pets, work, television, media etc., there is hardly a moment’s peace. I will never forget coming home from work one day to an empty house. I went into the kitchen only to hear my kids screaming in the background. I immediately turned to tell them to quiet down, only to realize they weren’t there. It was the first “quiet” I had known in a long time and all I could hear in my head was noise. Having this experience has taught me about the beauty of how God speaks to us.

 

Descriptions of how we hear God are words such as peace, warmth, calm, joy, love. These words have one thing in common; they are feelings. I find it interesting, and quite fitting, that God does not necessarily speak to us with sound, but rather to our spirit through His spirit. The still, small voice that touches our hearts is the witness that God lives and is interested in our well-being. In this way, He can penetrate through the noise of our daily lives to reach our hearts. The quiet calm, the peaceful joy that you feel inside will bring you closer to His presence. This is the principle way God speaks to us, and recognizing this will help us better listen to and communicate with Him.

 

Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard Professor, puts it this way:

 

“We speak to each other in physical, analog ways. Our vocal cords vibrate. This initiates waves in the air, which are also physical. These waves hit the eardrums of others, causing them to vibrate, which in turn creates tiny electrical signals that transport those vibrating patterns to the listeners’ brains. In turn, the signals initiate neurons to zip around our brains, distilling the concept that the speaker wanted to convey. The key concept is that these are physical, mechanical phenomena. We don’t hear with our ears, we hear with our brains. Our wonderful ears are converters; they transform mechanical into electronic signals.

 

“So far as we know, these physical, mechanical waves that convey speech don’t work in space, where there is no atmosphere. So if two astronauts took off their helmets on the moon and tried to talk to each other, it wouldn’t work, because there is no air in which vibrations can be converted into waves. So they need to talk electronically, not mechanically.

 

“This is a long way of saying that you should not expect God to speak to you by these physical waves that your ears collect. Rather, He dispatches the Holy Ghost, which is the Spirit of God, to you, and His spirit can communicate to your spirit inside of you directly to your brain or your feelings – without going through mechanical-electrical conversions in your ears. A lot of people get confused because they try to hear God’s voice with their ears, and they don’t hear anything. Instead, you need to listen inside of yourself.” (Christensen, Clayton, The Power of Everyday Missionaries.)

The Day that I Drowned

To illustrate this point, I can recollect the time when I was a young man just beginning Boy Scouts. We were set to go on a canoe trip down the Jordon River, in Utah. The river was just a stone’s throw away from my home; as well as the leader’s home. We formed a single file line as we carried the canoes along the bank on the river. I was at the end of the line – not the best idea in retrospect.

As we walked along the river, I took a misstep and lost my balance, falling into the river. I was quickly engulfed in the water; as this particular river has strong undercurrents and the more I struggled to swim the deeper I was being pulled under. Even worse, all of the kids kept walking ahead; they had no idea I had fallen in.

I tried to scream for help, but the water filled my mouth. I was in deep trouble and I knew this was the end for me. Far from being scared, however, a calm came over me. It was a peace I had never felt before. I stopped struggling and I took what I knew would be my last breath and went under: I had drowned.

Just then, a voice came into my head: it was a soft voice, but also a powerful voice that shook me to my core. I knew it was the spirit of God and it simply said: “reach your hand up as far as you can.” I obeyed and reached my hand as high as I could. When I did this, I felt a hand grab my hand and pull me out of the water. It was the daughter of the scout leader, who just so happened to need to relay a message to her father and was trying to catch him before he left. She saw me fall in and rushed to help me. When she got to the bank of the river, where she saw me fall in, she could not see me until I reached out my hand. Had I not listened to the voice, I would not be alive today.

The Accident

I remember when I was a teenager, I was driving home one night on an empty street, while listening to very loud music. As I approached an intersection, where I had the right of way, I heard a voice that went straight to my core and shook me once again. The voice whispered: “stop!” I quickly put on the breaks of the car and came to a stop just before the intersection where a car came flying through the stop sign and certainly would have crushed me.

It wasn’t that I avoided the accident, it was that I could hear a voice so penetrating that after several years, I can still feel the way it felt. And yet the description is that it whispered, didn’t shout or scream. I did not hear it with my ears but my heart and in my mind.

 

The Accident, Part II

As a young adult one night, as I was sleeping, I was awoken suddenly by a voice in my head. I was told that I needed to call a young lady immediately. Looking at the clock and seeing that it was 2:00 am, not to mention both of us being single and attending the same church, I said to myself: “no way!” I tried to go back to sleep, but the voice grew stronger and stronger, urging me to call. Again, and again, I declined, convincing myself it was all in my head. Mercifully, it stopped, and I was able to get back to sleep.

A few days later, I was speaking with this young woman and skeptically asked if there was anything interesting that happened to her on that particular night around 2 am. Her face went flush and asked me how I knew. She mentioned she had been in an accident, sliding off the road, and could not find anyone to help her. She prayed that someone would be able to come to her aid. Finally, someone did, but it was hours after I would have been able to get there. I learned that day about the importance of listening!

 

The Girl at Work

More recently, I went to work sick. I was exhausted and had no intention of going to work that day, but resisted the urge to call out and made it in. I was hoping it would be an easy day and that I could get out of there at a decent hour; it turned out to be an incredibly long day and I was exhausted.

Around the 10th hour of work, I was finally getting to a stopping point, when a thought impressed my mind – I needed to ask one of my employees to visit with me. This could not have come at a worse time, as I just wanted to go home and go to bed. Even though I knew better than not to listen; I ignored it. The thought persisted, however, and this time I succumbed. I asked her to come and talk to me at my desk.

This employee just recently had a child and had just returned from maternity leave. Prior to leaving she was the happiest employee and nothing changed when she returned. Always smiling, always helping others, always happy. She sat down and asked what I needed and I did not know what to say. My mind was blank other than I knew I was supposed to meet with her. I made some small talk before asking if we needed to go talk in a meeting room. She turned a bit pale and said that we did.

Once we got to the meeting room, the happiest person in the company let me know that she is suffering from severe postpartum depression.  She let me know that she is hiding it from everyone, including her husband, because in her culture it is a sign of weakness. She said she is dying inside and needed to tell someone. She could not understand how I knew something was wrong, but she was grateful that she could confide in me.

I am not an expert at these things, but in addition to listening, I was able to provide her with some resources to get her on a path to recovery. I made it clear to her that it was impossible for me to know that she was struggling. I told her that I got an impression that I needed to talk to her, but had no idea why. I let her know that I think it is awesome that God knows her struggles and was mindful enough of her to help her. She said she is not a religious person, but however it happened, she is happy I was willing to listen.

These are just a few examples from my own personal experiences where I can witness that the spirit of God has spoken to me: not in a loud voice, but a soft, quiet, penetrating voice that left deep impressions in my own soul.

 

 

Equality

Oct
12

And he [Christ] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)

There is really only one true way that we are equal. We all sin, we all fall short, and therefore we all need Jesus Christ who atoned for those sins. That is the great equalizer. That is the reason I cannot ever think I am better than anyone else. No matter what the situation is, no matter who the person is, we have this commonality between us. This knowledge is the great unifying force.

I firmly believe that knowing we are all in need of Jesus Christ is the foundation to peace. This will stop the divisiveness that exists because we think we know more than the next guy. Simply acknowledging that we are equal partners in Christ will allow us to humbly search for truth, dutifully stand up for our beliefs, reverently discuss our differences, and respect the free will of others who disagree. To me, that is where equality begins and ends.

As C.S. Lewis puts it: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit.” (The Weight of Glory.)

Does this mean that we don’t have any differences between us? Of course not. Does it mean we won’t have disagreements? How boring. What this does mean is that we can get along and encourage each other despite any perceived conflict. In other words, we can discuss and share ideas with each other from a place of strength. We will know when we speak to each other we are coming from a position of love and respect. That is what puts us on equal footing.

So, it is turning to the Lord that creates equality: “Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal?” (Ezk 18:25) How can it be otherwise? “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor 15:21,22)

“..it is to expiate this sin that Jesus Christ came to the world. His soul, created from the beginning with the other spirits, alone remained absolutely faithful to God.” (Origen, Tixeront, Historire des Dogmes, Vol. 1, p. 313. As quoted by James Barker, Apostasy from the Divine Church, p. 49.)

Was the Bible Written by Man?

Oct
10

“Scripture is the most important tradition that man can have, and yet how few people make use of it. Instead they read the news.” (Rasmussen, Dennis, The Lord’s Questions, pg. 31.)

An acquaintance of mine recently went on a social media rant about how supportive he is of all people and how he does not judge anyone. Not seeing the irony, he then proceeded to wail against anything religious, how all religions judge, how foolish religion is and my favorite, how the Bible was “written by man.” To drive the point home he capitalized the word MAN followed by an obnoxious amount of exclamation points (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Practically speaking I do not disagree with the idea that the Bible was written by man. In fact, I defy anyone to produce a text of anything – scientific, religious, historical, or any subject matter that wasn’t written by man. However, I don’t really think that was his argument. What I think he was trying to articulate, albeit incredibly poorly, was that in his opinion the Bible is not inspired by God through man.

This argument is nothing new, and in my mind certainly didn’t require the abuse of the exclamation point. Was the Bible inspired by God, or was it invented by the minds of men? It’s an incredibly important question that all honest seekers of truth should take seriously. It is for that very reason that I am a student of the Bible. I read the Bible, study different translations from the Greek to the Hebrew and I test the teachings and promises made. I know the history, the changes made, what was left out – what was added in. This has been, and will continue to be a lifetime pursuit.

On the New Testament:

“Today the fact is evident, that there are many differences in the manuscripts, either through negligence of certain copyists, or the perverse audacity of some in correcting the text.” (Daniel-Rops, L’Eglise des Apotres et des Martyrs, p. 313.)

But does the fact that there are differences in the texts, suggest that we should not consider them at all? More importantly, should we discount the testimonies all together? 

“Though the New Testament books were written without plan for the whole, and as particular circumstances demanded, and do not contain the ‘fulness of the gospel,’ nevertheless, they cannot be explained by any other hypothesis other than that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that the apostles were true witnesses of His resurrection.” (Barker, James, Apostasy From the Divine Church, p. 15.)

I often wonder if opponents of the Bible put in as much work to know if it’s the word of God. What a difference it is to hear someone argue: “I have studied and read and tested, but it just isn’t for me,” vs. “I’ve never really read it because I don’t want to waste my time on nonsense.” I can respect the opinion of the first line of thinking, because an honest effort was made. Unfortunately, I think too many people dismiss the Bible without giving it a fair shake, without really studying it. In my opinion, it is one thing to say that you don’t have any interest in it, and another to condemn an entire group of people because you know better – even though you haven’t really studied it, because it was written by man and is not scientific!

“The testimonies of the prophets leave to others the task of teaching about the world of common experience. Man’s natural curiosity is sufficient for his science. The teachings of the prophets comes from beyond the world, and it appeal not to science but to conscience.” (Rasmussen, Dennis, The Lord’s Questions, pg. 25.)

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39.)

“Thoughts and Prayers”

Oct
04

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer.”

― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

 

With the most recent tragedies, I have noticed an increased attack on anyone offering their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims. Accusations abound how “thoughts and prayers” are useless; after all, we need people of action! The implication being that thought and prayer are not sufficient action, nor are you doing anything else besides offering them. The second implication may or may not be true. It begs the questions: What action do you take when responding to tragedy? What is an appropriate response?

Action is an ambiguous term that can only be defined by each individual. There are numerous ways to respond to a tragedy, some helpful and some not so helpful, but what if the response is simply sending “thoughts and prayers?” Where does this fall in the spectrum and why is it being attacked? I believe it is a larger problem – a country who is pushing further away from God: “for all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” (Isaiah 5:25)

35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:35-40)

 

When tragedy happens, there are numerous responses: You can choose to be angry; you can choose to help by donating time, material, blood etc. You can shout to your political leaders to act; You can argue on social media; you can offer your thoughts and prayers; you can even do all of these things combined. Some of these responses may be helpful, some harmful, but all of them are responses that we choose. What is the best way to respond depends on so many factors, but I argue that most important must be to first offer your thoughts and prayers.

It can be easy to forget the first law, which is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. Is not sending thoughts and prayers a way to recognize God? If we truly believe that there is a God in heaven, and I do, then doesn’t it make perfect sense to ask for divine help first? What is wrong with an acknowledgement that the tragedy is bigger than all of us? That we need God’s grace to help comfort those who are suffering, because we can’t do it all by ourselves? What better way to show love and appreciation for both God and our fellow man? We do this by first recognizing God and His merciful hand as our foundation. I say foundation because that is not, nor should it be, the end of action, but the beginning. Remember the second law is to love our neighbor.

What happens if circumstances dictate that I cannot donate money, because I am poor? Is it enough to say in my heart that I would give if I had? Would it be enough if instead of donating money, because I do not have, I see a neighbor who just had surgery and I mow their lawn? Is that an appropriate response to a tragedy? Is it enough?

Is it enough if a tragedy leads us to be kinder to others? How about if I simply tell someone that they are awesome? Again, is it enough? or do you want more? I believe this is the point of the Gospels and why we must first recognize God. When acts lead us to God, they lead us to be better to each other, to stop arguing with each other, to stop hating each other, and that is why I believe “thoughts and prayers” are the best response.

So, what are we really arguing about? Well, the truth is we don’t want anything to do with God. We would rather argue and be divisive, because we are angry. We don’t know how to process these things so we blame, not the evil, but God. We ask our political leaders to save us and we want to be right. No matter what, we must be right. Our side would have prevented this, if only the others would listen! So, we attack “thoughts and prayers” because we think we don’t need God, we just need us. We need our response, because it does something! Well, so does “thoughts and prayers” and which response unites and which one divides?

 

 

 

Many Are Called

Oct
03

For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14.)

Why are few chosen? Does humility have anything to do with it? I think it is interesting to do a comparative study of the reactions of a few great leaders, after they were called.

The Maid of Orleans – Joan of Arc:

I heard the voice on my right, in the direction of the Church [i.e., the little Church of St. Rémy near her house], and rarely do I hear it without a light. This light comes from the same side as the voice…. It seemed to me a worthy voice, and I believed it was sent to me by God; after I had heard this voice the third time, I knew that it was the voice of an angel.

It taught me to be good, to go regularly to church. It told me that I should come into France [i.e., territory loyal to the Dauphin]… This voice told me, two or three times a week, that I must go away and that I must come to France… It told me that I should raise the siege laid to the city of Orléans. The voice told me also that I should go to Robert de Baudricourt at the town of Vaucouleurs, who was the [garrison] commander of the town, and he would provide people to go with me. And I replied that I was a poor girl who knew neither how to ride nor lead in war. (Barrett’s”The Trial of Jeanne d’Arc”, p 43-44.)

General George Washington:

Mr. President, Tho’ I am truly sensible of the high Honour done me, in this Appointment, yet I feel great distress, from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important Trust: However, as the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their service, and for support of the glorious cause. I beg they will accept my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their approbation.

But, lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavourable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered, by every Gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the Command I am honored with.

As to pay, Sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress, that, as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to have accepted this arduous employment, at the expence of my domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any proffit from it. I will keep an exact Account of my expences. Those, I doubt not, they will discharge, and that is all I desire. (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 1775.)

Moses:

And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. (Exodus 4:10.)

And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed. (Moses 1:10, the Pearl of Great Price.)

Enoch:

And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant? (Moses 6:31, the Pearl of Great Price.)

All great leaders who did great things. All humble, but far from letting their sense of worth keep them from becoming those great leaders, with God beside them, they responded out of their sense of duty.

Firstfruits

Sep
29

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

The word “beginning” is an interesting one, as it is placed here, and is the purpose of the study today. In the Hebrew the word translated as beginning is rêʼshîyth meaning: the first, in place, time, order or rank (specifically, a firstfruit):—beginning, chief(-est), first(-fruits, part, time), principal thing. The Hebrew word is translated 11 times in the Old Testament as firstfruit.

Therefore, Genesis 1:1 could be translated: As the firstfruits, God created the Heaven and Earth.

What is a firstfruit? The Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition, defines firstfruit as:

  1. The fruit or produce first matured and collected in any season. Of these the Jews made an oblation to God, as an acknowledgment of his sovereign dominion.
  2. The first profits of any thing. In the church of England, the profits of every spiritual benefice for the first year.
  3. The first or earliest effect of any thing, in a good or bad sense; as the first-fruits of grace in the heart, or the first-fruits of vice. (Link)

The BibleDictionary states a firstfruit as “Regarded as belonging to God, and offered by the nation as a whole at the great feasts.”

It is clear then from the scripture, that the earth is God’s, as the “first or principle thing.” Israel was commanded to offer, as an oblation to God, an offering of the firstfruit of the land, as a symbol of their willingness to recognize that all things belong to God, who created the earth:

The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God. (Exodus 34:26.)

As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord. (Leviticus 2:12.)

Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase. (Proverbs 3:9.)

Later, after His sacrifice, death and resurrection, Christ was called the firstfruit:

For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. (Romans 11:16.)

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:20.)

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15:23.)

Combine this idea with what took place next:

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3.)

Who is the light of the world?

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12.)

So God created the earth and provided us a Savior, who offered Himself as a sacrifice to God for us. The firstborn, who was then raised from the dead, the firstfruits of our Father in heaven. In return, we honor the Father and His Son by accepting the Fatherhood of the Creator and obeying His words.

How the Definition of Meekness Has Been Changed

Sep
29

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psalms 37:11.)

 The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 29:19.)

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matt. 5:5.)

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matt. 11:29.)

Contrast the definitions:

Websters Dictionary 1828:

  1. Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding; given to forbearance under injuries.

Websters Dictionary 2015:

  1. Enduring injury with patience and without resentment.
  2. Deficient in spirit and courage.
  3. Not violent or strong.

Cambridge Modern Dictionary:

  1. Quiet and unwilling to disagree or fight or to strongly support personal ideas and opinions.

Was Christ’s message really that the deficient in spirit and courage or not violent or strong would inherit the earth? Perhaps Christ was teaching to learn of him, who is unwilling to fight or strongly support personal ideas and opinions, and you will find rest unto your souls?

Does the idea that the modern definition has changed the word meekness to really mean weakness resonate in our modern world and does it matter?

The world would have you believe that not being provoked easily is lacking in courage, that far from being patient, soft and gentle, you are unwilling to fight for your ideas. A coward.

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.

And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,

And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me?

And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. (John 19:1-3, 10, 17-18.)

However, we must remember, it was the meek Christ who showed forth the greatest example of courage when he proclaimed:

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34.)

And it was the meek Christ who won the ultimate victory when the angel declared:

He is not here: for he is risen! (Matt. 28:6.)

Free Will

Sep
27

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that is was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:3-4.)

If we are to interpret the word light as Christ or the Gospel, and darkness as Satan or evil, does this change the way we read these verses?

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12.)

Good vs. evil has been since the beginning and continues today on earth:

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev. 12:7-9.)

What was the war in heaven fought over? Is it not free will?

Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; (Moses 7:32, Pearl of Great Price.)

God has blessed us with free will, so that we may learn to choose the good, not by compulsion or constraint, but by choice proven through our obedience to His commandments:

But because man is possessed of free will from the beginning, and God is possessed of free will, in whose likeness man was created, advice is always given to him to keep fast the good, which thing is done by obedience to God. (Novatian, Concerning the Trinity, XXIX.)

And if certain persons, because of the disobedient and ruined Israelites, do assert that the giver of the law was limited in power, they will find in our dispensation, that “many are called but few are chosen”: and that there are those who inwardly are wolves, yet wear sheep’s clothing in the eyes of the world; and that God has always preserved freedom, and the power of self-government in man, while at the same time He issued His own exhortations, in order that those who do not obey Him should be righteously judged because they have not obeyed Him; and that those who obeyed and believed on Him should be honoured in immortality. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, IV, 15, 2.)

Why is free will then so difficult, particularly for the righteous followers?

Life in this universe is full of polarities and is made full by them; we struggle with them, complain about them, even try sometimes to destroy them with dogmatism or self-righteousness, or retreat into the innocence that is only ignorance, a return to the Garden of Eden where there is deceptive ease and clarity but no salvation. (England, Eugene, Why the Church Is As True As the Gospel, pg. 3)

None of the righteous has obtained a reward quickly, but waits for it; for if God should pay the recompense of the righteous speedily, we should immediately be training ourselves in commerce and not in godliness; for we should seem to be righteous when we were pursuing not piety but gain. (II Clement XX, 3, 4.)

Principles of Wealth

Sep
26

Who Provides Wealth?

What is Gods response to the Darwinian evolutionary theory “survival of the fittest” as it pertains to wealth? (Darwin, Charles, On the Origin of the Species, Chapter 4.)

And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth, (Deut. 8:17.)

Another way of putting this is found in the ancient American scripture known as the Book of Mormon. An antichrist known as Korihor taught:

…every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and every man conquered according to his strength. (Alma 30:17.)

Gods reply is beautiful in its simplicity and is the real secret to a wealth:

But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. (Deut. 8:18.)

The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob further teaches:

But before ye seek for riches, seek ye first the kingdom of God.

And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good – to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. (Jacob 2:17-18.)

Principles of Wealth:

Remember the Lord thy God

God gives power to get wealth

God gives wealth to establish His covenant

First seek the kingdom of God

Obtain a hope in Christ

Seek wealth only for the intent to do good

Christ Did Not Offer a Political Solution

Sep
23

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27.)

Small sample headlines of today:

The list goes on and on: Homelessness, Foreign Affairs, the Economy, the Environment, Racism, Bigotry, World Peace, etc. What is to be done? Where do we look for answers?

How painful it sometimes is to have the wrong answer. How much more painful then to be the wrong answer. (Rasmussen, Dennis, The Lord’s Question, pg.8.)

The world would say the answers are to be found in politicians, lawyers, judges, media outlets and social media. But what solutions do they offer? Do they bring us any closer to peace “not as the world giveth” or security that “let[s] not your heart be troubled?”

If not here, then where do we find the brotherhood of man? Is it not discovered in the little Babe of Bethlehem?

To realize the brotherhood of man, it is necessary to recognize the Fatherhood of God and to accept the leadership of Jesus Christ. (Barker, James, Apostasy from the Divine Church, pg. 3.)

Christ came not to offer a political solution, but rather preached an individualized message of love:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40.)

All the law? Yes! Everything hangs on us loving God and loving our neighbor. It is found in each of us.

Can it really be this simple? Would following these commandments really stop all the bickering and division? Would it solve all the issues of the day? Search your heart for the answer:

And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. (Mark 12:32-33.)