Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dad's Talk 9 April 2017

Applying the words of the prophets in our lives
Sacrament Talk 4-9-2017

Brothers and sisters and little ones, this IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD. This is His only church on this earth. We have a Prophet, as God’s church has always had, to guide his people. The value in having a prophet, is God letting us know what he wants us to know, the value to us, is in applying those words to our lives that the prophets convey to us from our Heavenly Father. These will be words of love, of guidance, words to strengthen us, words to give us hope and help and to give us the truth, his words, his laws, counsels and commandments.

Since Adam, who was the first prophet on the earth God’s people have been blessed, many have applied the prophets words in their lives, like the people in the cities of Enoch and Salem were blessed so much they came back into God’s presence, God walked with them while there were still on this earth and having lived so righteously they did not need to live on earth anymore, but were taken from this earth to live in a better world, where their lives and their families continued.
Words of the prophets sometimes come as commandments, we are expected to  apply their words to our lives. Apply is a verb, an action word. We have to do something. Suzzy gives to me a gift card each year for eBay; I can choose any of my desires and have it shipped to me. All I have to do is to apply the code.
So how do we apply the words of the prophets. Some commandments protect us and give us guidance, other commandments tell us of things that Heavenly Father wants us to do to help Him accomplish His work and to join with him in building his Kingdom.  Some are under the impression of commandments being rules of things we are not supposed to do. Most commandments are things we are supposed to do. There are really very few Don’t Do commandments. The blessing is, once we choose to learn the words of the prophets, and understand the words of the prophets and change our will to God’s will then we will want to keep the commandments, not only will we be blessed, feel the spirit more, come to know our Heavenly Father and Jesus better, and we will be blessed with more commandments. D&C 59:3-4 Quote Yea, blessed are they whose feet stand upon the land of Zion, who have obeyed my gospel; for they shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth, and it shall bring forth in its strength. And they shall also be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few, and with revelations in their time—they that are faithful and diligent before me.” Close quote. When we do chose to follow the words of the prophets and apply them to our lives, we will be blessed of our Heavenly Father, we will become happy we will magnify our stewardship and prepare ourselves for eternal life with our Heavenly Father.
Our stewardship given to us at birth is to obey the commandments and receive light and truth. We are the sole agent of our stewardships. Much like the Ten Virgins which only half had oil with their lamps, the oil cannot be shared, the Ten Virgins were their own agents for obtaining oil, no one else could provide that oil, it was their own responsibility to build that supply of oil during their life on this earth. We can only gain oil or truth and light by our own works, by obedience to the commandments. Which commandments come from applying the words of the prophets.  D&C 93:28  Quote “He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.” Close Quote.
I do not care to dwell on the Don’t Do Commandments, they are few and hopefully most have those behind them and are praying and striving to obey the Do commandments. Abraham was blessed of God greatly. In Genesis 26:5  Quote “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Close quote. The prophets tell us God’s Laws, Counsels, commandments, statutes and charges. Some think there were only ten commandments. When our prophet provides counsels, commandments and laws, we need to learn of ourselves if they are of God or of man. If they differ from our beliefs, then we have to choose. We have had the blessing of the Freedom of choice before we came to earth and while on this earth and I assume after we pass from this earth. This is a gift from our Heavenly Father, we can choose for ourselves. God will not force us to believe His way. How do we make the determination if a counsel spoken by the prophet is of God or not? We can pray and we can obey. John 7:17 Quote “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” Close quote. We can perform the counsel and then determine if it is of God. God says we will know. I have never heard of a counsel, law or commandment from a prophet that was harmful to us. D&C 1:38 Quote “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my aword shall not pass away, but shall all be bfulfilled, whether by mine own cvoice or by the dvoice of my eservants, it is the fsame.”  Close quote
All scripture was or is modern day scripture, for Moses he was the modern day prophet and the same for President Monson he is our modern day prophet. Some of the words of the prophets given in our day are. Have a 2-year supply of food, keep a journal, Hold FHE, do your Home Teaching, keep the Sabbath Day Holy, Attend the temple, perform your genealogy, magnify your callings. From this recent conference there was more counsel given, we need to Gather the family of God, progress in spirituality, understand and do the will of the Father, draw closer to Christ, Be a disciple of Christ, keep your covenants, be kind, have charity and love for others, serve others, read the Book of Mormon, learn to follow the spirit. And many more are mentioned.
There are many examples of how not following the prophet’s words resulted in misery and sin, applying the words of the prophets will bring us happiness, give us direction  and build a personal love of service in this life and to prepare us for service after this life.
We used our pre-mortal Freedom of choice to accept Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness and understood the expectations of mortal life. We joyed in the opportunity to have bodies and the opportunity of progression to becoming all that God intended of us. We all made it to this life, now the work starts. For those who chose to follow Jesus, will need to understand how to follow him. If we learn what the prophets tell us, have told us and will tell us we will know what we are supposed to do. Next is having a desire to do what we are supposed to do. Life is wonderful there are so many things to do, so many choices some bad, some good, some better and some the best things we can do. I have found no better way to build a desire to keep the commandments and a desire to learn the words of the prophets in my life then to read the scriptures and to obey the prophets by applying their words in my life. From reading the scriptures I have come to a better understanding of God’s will. I can now compare my will to His will. I learn what I need to change. If we let someone else tell us what the words of the prophets are, then we are living on their words and they might not be as special to us, others words may not help us to understand and be converted. I am not saying that we cannot learn by the spirit that is felt when others speak the truth. I was taught by two missionaries Elders Jeff Smith and Elder Barber, I felt the truth and my testimony started, but I was not converted until I read the Book of Mormon and the words of the prophets and obeyed. When we read we are not watching something, we are not listening with our ears but we are seeing and hearing by our minds and the Spirit can witness to our spirits. There is a growing and learning experience when we read and are touched by the spirit to our understanding, we can learn for ourselves what the laws, counsels and commandments are. All of our scriptures are words of the prophets as our Savior inspired them to write and teach us.
If we let others tell us what is in the scriptures it may not be correct. I have heard many say that the God of the old testament is a mean and vengeful God. I have you to know that the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament and He changeth not. The God in the Old Testament is kind and loving, cares for his people, nurtures them, guides them and provided all their needs as they obeyed him.  The God of the Old Testament speaks in 3 Nephi 10:5 Quote “And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings” Close quote.
Sometimes it is hard to tell someone something when it is best for him or her to learn it themselves. When they learn to know God, that knowledge becomes theirs. John 17:3 Quote “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” Close quote. Matthew 7:32-33 JST Quote “and Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I say, ye never knew me; depart from me, ye that work iniquity” Close quote. We need to know God, how do we know someone who we do not read about, talk to or serve. One of my favorite stories talks about judgment day people are waiting to be interviewed. A man comes into the interview room and the question asked is by the interviewer “What do you know about Jesus?” The man replies back, well Jesus’s mother was Mary, his father was Joseph, he had 12 disciples, he healed people. The man was stopped and asked again, what do you know about Jesus. The man started telling details again and the interviewer stopped the interview and said thank you, please go out this door. The next person came in, and immediately fell on their knees weeping and said “My Lord, My God”.    -   Reading the scriptures does not give us only dates and facts it teaches us about God so we can know Him and know and feel his love for us.
We apply the words of the prophets in our lives when we serve others. Serving others is one of those do commandments. We have been asked to help the poor, clothe the naked, feed the hungry and will we feel joy in doing so. We will know we are doing what our Heavenly father wants us to do, the spirit will testify to us. Jesus states in Matthew 25:31-40 Quote “ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Close Quote.
Applying the words of the prophets changes our lives, changes how we think, dress, talk and act. We will take joy in modesty; delight in obeying the Sabbath and will happily keep the other commandments. We will look different than the world looks, we will not seek vanity. That wide and spacious building will not be desirable to us. The fine twined linen will not mean so much to us.  Our thoughts will be pure and we will be pleased to have turned from the past poor choices we made, regret the lost resources, the time and effort wasted from former pursuits not in alignment with God’s will and words. We will joy in doing the work of the Lord and building His kingdom and in helping and serving others. We will desire to be better; we may desire to become perfect.
We apply the words and enrich our lives as we take upon ourselves sacred covenants. We are introduced to what is usually our first covenant when we are baptized. We follow Nephi’s words to repent and to take upon ourselves the name of Christ, to always remember him and to keep his commandments and we will be blessed.
The prophet holds the keys to guide the church, direct the work and to call and set apart worthy men and women in callings. Magnifying our callings applies the direction provided to us through God’s leaders. We learn to serve, we become be less selfish, knowledge is gained and we prepare ourselves for the blessings of eternity.
Changing our lives to be in alignment with God may not be easy. Most of us have mannerisms which we like, they make us who we are currently, they are our paradigms how to live, of right and wrong, they can be part of our culture and those mannerisms help us to fit in. The words of the prophets inspire us to be the person we should be. One of the strongest and most detailed personal development courses mentioned in the scriptures is Charity. Developing the pure love of Christ is critical to our salvation. The Apostle Paul and the Prophet Mormon detail for us what charity is. With this detail we can work 16 aspects of our personality that will put us in line with our Savior. I will read each of them. You decide if you need to apply the counsel.
Charity suffereth long
Charity is kind
Charity envieth not
Charity vaunteth not itself
Charity is not puffed up
Charity doth not behave itself unseemly
Charity seeketh not her own
Charity is not easily provoked
Charity thinketh no evil
Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity
Charity rejoiceth in the truth
Charity Beareth all things
Charity believeth all things
Charity hopeth all things
Charity endureth all things
Charity never faileth

The lord will give us strength to change, we have to want to change, we have to desire to change and to develop Charity. Having the gift of the Holy Ghost gives us advantage; he will remind us before we act out of line. Developing charity is an admirable project; it is what the Savior wants us to do and to become.
We cannot become perfect without developing charity. Moroni 7:43-44 QuoteAnd again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart. If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity” Close quote.
Faith is power that we need to develop, faith is the moving cause of us wanting to improve and  the motivation of all actions, Hope comes from our faith that God is real, that our Savior really did atone for us and that there is life after death. Charity is a labor that only you perform, that is why it is the greatest.
Charity is something we need to do in this life. Alma 34:32 Quote “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors” Close quote. Developing charity is our stewardship and can only be performed while we have our bodies, it is our time to align our thoughts and will to God’s will, to overcome our weaknesses and to learn to work, and to serve. Heaven is not a place to lie down and relax, it is a busy place, and it is a place of service. God the greatest of all, is the greatest servant. He serves all of us.
The questions are, do we believe the prophet, have we found out if his words are the words of God, do we follow him, do we apply their words in our lives. In reality the words, the guidance, the counsel, the laws, the commandments are Gods words, guidance, counsel, laws and commandments.  The Lord expects us to apply his words in our lives. It is how we show Him that we love him and believe in Him. Abraham was blessed of God greatly. Because Abraham obeyed God’s voice, and kept his charge, his commandments, his statutes, and God’s laws. Abraham applied and made the effort as we must do and we will be blessed as Abraham was blessed.

I have been blessed many times with answers to prayers, I take it literally to ask and it shall be given, knock and ye shall receive. I have many stories that can only be explained that they are answers to prayers and there have been miracles in my and my family’s lives. I have been protected from harm many times. We have that promise. Do we believe God’s promises. I do. My answers and miracles show me that God does exist, that He loves us and will do all he can to help us believe that Jesus is the savior, that this is God’s church. We do have to have faith, for without faith no miracle can be done.

One day the birds held a conference, the eagle was selected as the main speaker. The eagle who is the mightiest of all the birds, spoke of aerodynamics, flight, lift, use of down and up wind currents and much more. After the conference the chickens discussed how wonderful the eagle had spoken - as they walked home.    -    It does no good to read, have answers to prayers, and hear the words of the prophets and apostles if we do not apply those words to our benefit.
How do we apply the “Words of the Prophets” in our lives? We have to choose to, it is our Freedom of Choice, we have to labor to apply, it is work but it is a wonderful journey with blessings and strength given, prayers answered, and miracles performed. Evidence will be created that you applied the words of the prophets in your life. The evidence will be kindness, obedience, charitable to others, helping others, calling magnified and an increased knowledge of the Gospel and so much more. Others will be blessed and lifted, the dead will have their work completed, your home teaching will be done, you will be a better person, you will fill your lamps with oil and be prepared for the coming of the savior and you will be a light to the world that others will seek
We will keep the commandments because we want to keep them.  In the primary song “Keep the Commandments” our children learn to keep the commandments for the words say “in this there is safety and peace”. We will be blessed in this life we will have answers to prayers, we will have miracles in our lives we will know that God is real and loves us. We will be blessed with the riches of eternal life, God has promised.
I would like to read my two favorite scriptures, they inspire me, the tell me why I want to apply the words of the prophets in my life, and the desire to make God’s will, my will. Rev 3:19  Quote “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am sit down with the Father in his throne” Close Quote and D&C 93:1  Quote“ Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;  Close quote.

In the days after this talk, the words will fade from your minds and eventually will be entirely forgotten. The principles spoken of will remain with you. I hope they inspire you to seek out what the prophets have spoken; I hope you will apply the words, which these spokesmen of God have given us. It is my prayer that all of us will serve and work together with Heavenly Father and our Savior for the remainder of eternity.

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