Friday, May 26, 2017

Communication with God

From: Francis Harper

Communication with God

Dear Ones,

God wants to communicate with us. He wants to be our guidance system. Jesus commended Peter when he said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar Jona; for flesh and blood [mortal man] hath not revealed this [testimony of Jesus] unto thee, but my Father, who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:18). The means by which this revelation came to Peter is not mentioned, but we all know it came from heaven.

Jesus, our example, tells of his communications with the Father; “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting; whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak” (John 12:49-50). What a challenge this is to all of us who call ourselves the Followers of Christ. Jesus has set a very high standard for us in every aspect of our lives, including our communications with God.

After Peter was commended for his testimony, received from the Father, Jesus said the gates of hell would never prevail against his church, if the church would faithfully keep in touch [communicate] with the Father. The gates of hell have prevailed against the church many times because the lines of communication with the Father have been cut off. We must never let this happen again.

Hearing and heeding the voice of the Lord has never been easy. This often requires “laboring much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer” (Alma 6:11). It is much easier to determine the mind and will of man and to follow their “pernicious ways,” (2 Peter 2:2). This always leads to apostasy!

I recall, while I was reading through the Old Testament for the first time, being impressed with the oft-repeated phrase, “And the Lord spake unto Moses . . .” Upon at least one occasion he spoke to him face to face. “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11). This would be the ultimate in communications with God.

Moses was not fearful that he would be supplanted as a prophet in Israel. He said to Joshua, “. . . Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them” (Numbers 11:29). How wonderful it would be if every follower of Christ today was tuned to hear the Lord; even his slightest whisper.

How then can we in the church today improve our communications with the Father and his Son? We can begin by being more diligent in our study of the Scriptures; reading his Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 KJV). Jesus is God’s message to us. This is clarified in the Inspired Version: “In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word . . .” (John 1:1 IV).

Quite often the Lord has used a certain passage of scripture to convey a personal message to his friends. Joseph Smith, Jr., described this process: “While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the epistle of James 1:5. Never did any passage of scripture come down with more power to the heart of man than this did at that time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart” (History of the Church, Vol. 1, p 8). Inspired by this scripture, Joseph went to the woods to pray and two personages appeared [God the Father, and Christ the Son] and answered his question: “Which of all the sects was right and which he should join?” He was told to join none of them. Later, Joseph assisted in the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ.

My father was spoken to by the Lord when he read, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (D & C 16:3c). This scripture became the focus of his life. God has also utilized scripture to give me a greater assurance and understanding of his truth on several occasions. When I asked “Why did Jesus have to die in such a cruel way?” he answered by giving me a scripture unknown to me at the time: “Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). When I wondered about the reality of the coming of his kingdom, these words were planted in my mind: “In this world we have no continuing city.” I surmised these words might be scripture, although I was not aware of such a passage. Using a concordance and searching under the word continuing, used only once in the Bible, I found these words: “For here [in this world] we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Hebrews 13:14). Needless to say, I was assured that his kingdom will indeed come, as he taught us to pray.

We do have a living God who still speaks to all who desire to hear him. Is anything more precious or important than receiving a personal message from Him? The destiny of the church, our nation and our personal salvation will ultimately be determined by the intimacy of our relationship with the Lord and by our ability to communicate with him.

I send my love to all, Francis Harper

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