Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Never Say It Again!

Have these words ever passed through your mind or come from your mouth...

"I don't get inspiration. I just have to have faith to follow those who do."
 "The Lord doesn't talk to me. He talks to others but not to me."
 "I can't ever find an answer in the scriptures. They don't speak to me the way they do to others."

Well, if those phrases sound familiar (Guilty! I've said them before.) then this post is for you! Read on and by the end, I hope you will know that all of those statements are lies from what's-his-no-face and you will never allow yourself to utter them or think them again.

I know. I know. You are thinking..."but Lisa Love, those statements are true. I really don't get inspiration. The Spirit doesn't talk to me. I really just have to have faith and trust that things will work out."

Well, I know. I hear ya. I'm right there with ya. Remember I said in an earlier post that satan twists the truth? So the truth in all of that is that "yes" we do need to have faith and trust. The lie is that we don't get inspiration and that the Holy Ghost doesn't talk to us.

Those of you with children, ask yourself this question...would you ever decide that you were only going to talk to a couple of your children and then make the others listen to them to find out your thoughts and feelings and guidance? NO WAY!! Even a imperfect parent (all of us) would never completely ignore some of our children while talking and interacting and sharing our love with the others. Our Father in Heaven is a perfect parent - He doesn't work that way. He wants to talk and guide and help every single one of His children. If it is important to us, it is definitely important to Him. I can't stress that enough. Even the teeny, tiny, small things in life, He wants to be involved in all of it.

Yet! So many of us think that He doesn't talk to us. I have come to believe that when we utter statements such as, "I don't get inspiration." We are in a sense saying, "My Father doesn't talk to me." and slamming the door to inspiration in His face, thus bringing about the fulfillment of our statement. Does that make sense? What if your kids did that to you? OUCH...triple OUCH!! That hurts! Although our Father in Heaven is perfect, He still feels that pain of rejection from His child.

Okay? We're never going to say that again! EVER!! But now comes the job of LEARNING HOW TO RECOGNIZE HIS MESSAGES. It can be a little bit of hard work and trial and error and it takes a life time and we can't give up.

I have had the amazing opportunity to teach a  Continuing Education adult religion class for the past 4 years. I'm not a professionally trained religion teacher. I have a degree, but not a PhD! This assignment has been an experiment in trusting that my local leaders know how to get inspiration. Teaching institute is not like any other teaching assignment I have ever had. People expect me to KNOW what I'm talking about. I need to back myself up with scriptures, the words of modern day prophets and powerful testimony. I can't just spend an hour before class gathering some thoughts and hope that a cute hand out will make up for the rest. I must study daily, and deeply and PRAYERFULLY. (btw...I've learned this is how we should approach any teaching assignment because teaching is the greatest responsibility.)

As anyone who has ever been asked to teach something knows, the teacher learns the most. Of all the lessons the Holy Ghost has taught me over the past 4 years, the lesson that has been the most life changing, the most valuable to my eternal salvation is this: I have a responsibility to seek out personal guidance and revelation from the Holy Ghost...and even more eye opening...I have a right, a BIRTHRIGHT to receive guidance and inspiration from my Eternal Father.

Read these verses very carefully. It is long but oh so worth it with the new direction that you are not going to slam that inspiration door ever again... (Doctrine and Covenants 76:5 - 10)

"For thus saith the Lord - I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end." What word does He use to describe how He feels about blessing us? DELIGHT. He loves to bless us. Just as we love to give our children way too many presents at Christmas time, He loves to bless us as much as we are willing to receive. (When the Savior talks here, He is telling us His desires, as well as those of our Father as they are one in heart and purpose.) The next verses tell what He WANTS to give to all of us. While you read the next verses, replace the words "they" and "their" and "them" with your own personal name and open that door to hearing the Savior and our Father talking to you... (I'll make those words small so it will be easier for you to mentally replace them.)

"Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.
"And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
"Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.
"And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.
"For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will - yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man."

Just sit for a moment and let yourself take all of that in.

Does that sound like someone who doesn't want to talk to you?

Up to this point you may have been someone who would have read those verses and just seen the word "they" as someone who is anyone but you. But that is going to change now...right? Because now you are going to start leaving yourself open to inspiration and guidance and LOVE from our Father and our Brother.
They WANT to give you and tell you and show you EVERYTHING. Truly. Why wouldn't They? God is your Father - your perfect Father who wants you to learn and grow and become all He knows you can - just like you want for your children. The difference is, we only have earthly aspirations for our children. Whereas, He has ETERNAL aspirations for us.  Jesus Christ joins Him in these aspirations - He's the one who made them possible, remember?

Now I need to say here that there is an order to things and some inspiration must go through certain channels. For example: if the Lord needs to give a message to the whole world He tells it to His prophet so that there is no confusion. When a mom needs inspiration for her child, the Lord tells that mom, not the mom around the corner. There is an order just like we have stop signals in our streets, otherwise there would be mass chaos.

But when we hear the words of the Prophets, we too can know what they know. The Holy Ghost can witness to our hearts that what they are saying is true. We can know for ourselves. We should know for ourselves. As the scriptures up above make very clear, we can know ALL THINGS for ourselves.

All of this is leading up to something, I promise. :)

A couple of posts ago, I wrote that I wanted to study more about the Savior's Second Coming and that I would post some of my notes and thoughts on this topic. The Second Coming isn't one of those warm fuzzy topics that people love to hear about. That is probably due to the fact that when we study the Second Coming, we must study the events that will lead to the Savior's return and they aren't pretty and we also wonder if the signs are already happening and it just seems so overwhelming that what has been prophesied for centuries will really happen.  So we tend to want to study other topics - topics that make us happy and give us hope. But I think this topic is of great worth, as it will happen and we need to be ready and knowledge is power. :)

I want to show how we can and should have hope while studying the Second Coming but I also want to show that anyone can study anything and find directions and answers because that is what our Savior and our Father WANT to give us. (are you getting that yet?)

When we study we need to not slam that inspiration door. Instead, leave it as wide open as you can by praying and believing and jotting down your thoughts (no matter how random the thought may be because sometimes the Holy Ghost has been trying to tell us something but the door has been closed so when we finally open the door, we may get messages that have nothing to do with what we are studying.)

While pondering how I wanted to go about studying the Second Coming a little more in depth, I came across two quotes by President Ezra Taft Benson which I had forgotten about...

"The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming." Ezra Taft Benson, “The Savior’s Visit to America,” Ensign, May 1987, 4

In the Book of Mormon we find a pattern for preparing for the Second Coming. A major portion of the book centers on the few decades just prior to Christ’s coming to America. By careful study of that time period, we can determine why some were destroyed in the terrible judgments that preceded His coming and what brought others to stand at the temple in the land of Bountiful and thrust their hands into the wounds of His hands and feet. … Can anyone doubt that this book was meant for us and that in it we find great power, great comfort, and great protection?(in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 5–6; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 6–7).

With this in mind, I'm going to focus my studying this time around the Book of Helaman and 3 Nephi, both found in the Book of Mormon. Maybe I'll get side tracked along the way and find myself studying something entirely different. That's okay. It all leads back to our Savior right? You can join me if you like and one more time...LEAVE THAT INSPIRATION DOOR OPEN!!!

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