All That He Does Now Reveal
by William Jackson on 2007-05-27
The ninth Article of Faith reads:
We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and webelieve that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining tothe Kingdom of God.[Articles of Faith 1:9]
This statement concisely expresses our belief, as Latter-day Saints, in thepattern God our Eternal Father uses to teach truth to us, his children. Breakingit down into three periods of time testifies that God is the same yesterday(“… all that God has revealed …”), today (“… all that He does now reveal…”), and forever (“… He will yet reveal …”).
It is my purpose today to concentrate on revelation in the present tense: webelieve all that God does now reveal.
Revelation can come through various channels. Here are three examples: first,the prophet receives revelation that is meant for the whole Church, and oftenthe entire world; second, our local leaders receive revelation concerning ourward or stake; finally, we can also receive personal revelation for ourselves.
We live in a time when God has called prophets and apostles to direct his workon the earth. Do we count ourselves truly blessed to have these watchmen on thetower? Do we study and follow their counsel, and seek a testimony that they areindeed men of God? Do we bring their words into our homes, either through theChurch magazines or the Church website?
Do we study the scriptures and pray daily? Do we live within our means andstrive to get out of or stay out of debt? Do we attend Family Home Evening? Arewe doing what we need to do to prepare ourselves to make covenants in thetemple? This is only a small example of the counsel we have recently receivedfrom our prophets.
If we profess a belief in this Church and the restoration of the Gospel, if wetestify of the prophet Joseph Smith and the truthfulness of The Book ofMormon, and we do not abide the counsel of our latter-day prophets, we are nobetter than the people of Zarahemla to whom Samuel the Lamanite said,
And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathersof old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them,and cast them out.
Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come amongyou and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sinsand iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner ofways to destroy him …[Helaman 13:25-26]
Latter-day prophets are a blessing we cannot treat lightly.
The organization of the Church is divinely inspired. It is as important to heedthe counsel of our bishop and stake president as it is for us to follow theprophets. These men are uniquely situated to receive revelation on behalf of ourward and stake.
While latter-day prophets and local leaders are an essential part ofGodʼs pattern of revelation, equally essential is the role of personalrevelation. The prophets teach us the commandments and the framework of theGospel of Jesus Christ. They give counsel that should be followed by all membersof the Church, but they are probably not aware of the personal challenges weface.
Our bishop is closer to home, and it is appropriate to seek his counsel andguidance as we face the challenges of life. But he cannot make our decisions forus, or give us our own testimony that the principles he teaches us are true. Wemust seek out and receive revelation for ourselves.
How do we prepare ourselves to receive this revelation? Here are nine ways wecan prepare to receive the promptings of the Holy Ghost:
- Pray for guidance,
- Be reverent,
- Be humble,
- Keep the commandments,
- Partake of the sacrament worthily,
- Study the scriptures every day,
- Take time to ponder,
- Study the matter out in your mind, and
- Patiently seek Godʼs will.
If Thou Shalt Ask
First, we pray for guidance. Last night I had a nightmare. I was at church,attending a fireside, sitting in the back of the room. As we were singing theopening hymn, someone came to me and whispered in my ear. I was told that I wasresponsible for the lesson at that fireside.
This was news to me. I quietly stood up and left the room. Then I began topanic. I was not in a comfortable situation. I began to enter other rooms of thebuilding, frantically searching for something that would help me teach a lesson,or give me an idea of what I should share. Each time I passed the room witheveryone else in it, I could hear them singing a different hymn. I was takingtoo long. They were stalling for me.
I entered the kitchen and discovered piles of large red and yellow napkins. Thisgave me an idea. Everyone at the fireside could split into pairs. One of eachpair would blindfold themselves with a napkin, and the other would guide themaround the building with their voice. This would represent our reliance on thepromptings of the Holy Ghost as we walk, often blinded, through this life.
But would it work? The napkins were just barely big enough to be used asblindfolds. I left the kitchen, looking for a better idea. After several moreminutes I returned to the kitchen, having found nothing better. I grabbed a pileof napkins and made my way back to the room in which the fireside was beingheld.
I donʼt know how many hymns they had to sing as I was bumbling about themeetinghouse, and I donʼt know how my lesson turned out; I woke up. But Ihad two very distinct impressions as I lay there in my bed.
The first thing I thought as I woke up was how great that lesson idea sounded. Ishould try it sometime.
The second thing that entered my mind was the words of a familiar hymn:
Ere you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ, our Savior,
Did you sue for loving favor
As a shield today?[Hymns, Did You Think to Pray?, no. 140]
Why did I not think to pray? Surely, had I taken a moment to ask the Lord forinspiration, would I not have experienced such panic? The Lord has promised,
If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledgeupon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—thatwhich bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.[Doctrine and Covenants 42:61]
Reverence Is Love
Second, be reverent.
Revʼrence is more than just quietly sitting:Itʼs thinking of Father above,A feeling I get when I think of his blessings.
Iʼm revʼrent, for revʼrence is love.[Childrenʼs Songbook, Reverence Is Love, p. 31]
When we are reverent we invite revelation. We open our minds and our hearts tothe positive influence of the Spirit of God. As we quietly reflect on andnurture our love for our Heavenly Father and his Son, we prepare to receiverevelation that will help us become more like them.
Be Thou Humble
Third, be humble. If we do not recognize our dependence on the Lord, we will befar less likely to receive his help. The Lord pointed out the direct connectionbetween humility and receiving guidance when he stated,
Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and givethee answer to thy prayers.[Doctrine and Covenants 112:10]
Keep the Commandments
Fourth, keep the commandments. The Lord, through Joseph Smith, has revealed:
But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of mykingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing upunto everlasting life.[Doctrine and Covenants 63:23]
That They May Have His Spirit to Be With Them
Fifth, partake of the sacrament worthily. When we make and keep the sacramentalcovenant, the Lord promises
… that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.[Doctrine and Covenants 20:77]
The sacramental prayers teach us that we must be willing to take upon us thename of Christ, always remember him, and keep his commandments, if we desire theSpirit of God. We will not receive revelation if we do not have his Spirit withus.
Study the Scriptures
Sixth, study the scriptures every day. From the scriptures we can learn from theexamples of others who have sought and received revelation. He can reveal to usthe importance of certain passages in relation to our personal life.
When we study the scriptures we are generally more receptive to the promptingsof the Holy Ghost. On several occasions as I have studied the scriptures, I havereceived inspiration and answers to prayer that had nothing to do with thepassage I was reading at the time.
I Sat Pondering in Mine Heart
Seventh, take time to ponder. In The Book of Mormon, Nephi tells us,
For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father hadseen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as Isat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord …[1 Nephi 11:1]
A grand vision unfolded before him because he was pondering the things he hadbeen taught. Pondering takes our thoughts from the trivial things of the worldand brings us closer to the Spirit.
Study It Out in Your Mind
Eighth, study it out in your mind. The Lord does not always immediately give usan answer to a question. He expects us to do some work, to study the choices, todecide upon a course of action and ask for confirmation. If we proceed along theright path, the Lord
… will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shallfeel that it is right.
But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have astupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong …[Doctrine and Covenants 9:8]
In His Own Time
Ninth, patiently seek Godʼs will. Revelation cannot be rushed.
Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and thedays will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you,and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his ownwill.[Doctrine and Coventants 88:68]
Let the Holy Spirit Guide
Let the Holy Spirit guide;
Let him teach us what is true.
He will testify of Christ,
Light our minds with heavenʼs view.
Let the Holy Spirit guard;
Let his whisper govern choice.
He will lead us safely home
If we listen to his voice.
Let the Spirit heal our hearts
Thru his quiet, gentle powʼr.May we purify our lives
To receive him hour by hour.[Hymns, Let the Holy Spirit Guide, no. 143]