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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lectures on Faith 4, Part 4: The Hidden Spiritual Development Strategy Embedded in Lecture on Faith 4

In Lecture on Faith 4, we learned that God is Omniscient (LofF 4:5), Omnipotent (LofF 4:6), Just (LofF 4:7), Judgmental (LofF 4:8), Merciful (LofF 4:9) and True (LofF 4:10). He's more than deserving of your unqualified trust.
"By a little reflection it will be seen, that the idea of the existence of these attributes in the Deity, is necessary to enable any rational being to exercise faith in him. For without the idea of the existence of these attributes in the Deity, men could not exercise faith in him for life and salvation; seeing that without the knowledge of all things, God would not be able to save any portion of his creatures; for it is by reason of the knowledge which he has of all things, from the beginning to the end, that enables him to give that understanding to his creatures, by which they are made partakers of eternal life; and if it were not for the idea existing in the minds of men, that God had all knowledge, it would be impossible for them to exercise faith in him." (LofF 4:11).
Yet we mortals (often eagerly) put our trust in another, no matter if it's a teacher, book author or leader.

When you trust another person, when you prioritize their words over those of God Himself, to any degree, you are actually distancing yourself from Him:
"Each renewed person knows the Lord for himself. You cannot know God except for yourself. . . . No second-hand knowledge can be admitted here. You cannot know God through other people. . . . You cannot see God with another man’s eyes; you cannot know God through another man’s knowledge.” (Charles Spurgeon, 1834–1892)
I'm not sure if you've noticed, but in these blog posts regarding Lecture on Faith 4, we've focused and discussed learning these attributes which God -- and no one else -- has. In other words, our ability to know these facts isn't based theoretical constructs. It's experiential. It's learning through reflection on doing, which only comes through experience...not with a mortal, but a God.

You see, it's one thing to read about baseball. It's something else to discuss baseball or maybe even play it with some friends. Yet it truly is something higher when we actually work with a coach and play competitively on a team.

That's what God invites you to do. Invite Him into your life. Ask Him to demonstrate these attributes to you, in your life.

As one friend once stated,
"Jesus wants very much to interact with you, and will be as present and involved with your life, your family, and your home as you want Him to.
He doesn't impose or come where He's not invited, nor does He dominate you with His infinitely superior knowledge.
But if you'll have Him, He'll engage with you right where you are, today."
Being a perfect gentleman, He will not come where He is not invited. He WILL enter where He IS invited.

Have the Heavens Unfolded to You

Make no mistake: God is anxious to display His attributes to you. The scriptures inform us that

"This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3)

And as Brother Joseph said,
"If any man does not know God, and inquires what kind of a being He is,—if he will search diligently his own heart—if the declaration of Jesus and the apostles be true, he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle.
My first object is to find out the character of the only wise and true God, and what kind of a being He is...
Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach Him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer. When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, He begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to Him, He is ready to come to us." (History of the Church, 6:303–5, 308; capitalization modernized; paragraph divisions altered; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Apr. 7, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards, Thomas Bullock, and William Clayton; see also the appendix in this book, page 562, item 3).

In The Silence...I Hear Your Voice

Some may ask, "OK, that sounds great. How do I have him come to me?"

My response:

Be still.

The warnings have been spoken, dreams have been shared, and visions have been revealed.

Now be still and listen.

Don't focus on those who do not believe; let them be. Don't argue with fools. Don't join in with mockers. Don't take the advice of the wicked.

While the world trembles under its traditions, the rumbling of its own rockets and the fanfare of its glorified falsehoods, go the opposite direction. still.

Await your next assignment. Listen for your new instructions.

In the quietness, seek Him. You'll find Him.

In the quietness, invite Him. He'll come.

In the quietness, expect Him. He'll provide you plenty of experiences...with Him.
"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)  
Also read:

Lectures on Faith 4, Part 1: Experience the God Who Far Exceeds Expectations!
Lectures on Faith 3, Part 4: Get to Know Jesus Christ on a Whole New Level
Lectures on Faith 3, Part 2: Why You Don't Hear (Let Alone Experience) God
Lectures on Faith 2, Part 1: Why Its Absolutely Essential For You to Hearken to God
YOUR Enos Experience
Don't Just Know About Christ…EXPERIENCE Him!
Alignment, Part 6 of 6: When One Becomes the Compass and the Square

Proto-Zions: A Follow-Up

In a previous post, I discussed "The Proto-Zions Among Us...Where We Least Expect Them". I highlighted efforts made in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, which helped transform it from "The City of Death" into a city of disciples.

A friend recently turned me on to a 60 Minutes story which, ironically, was broadcast a few hours after I published my post (I promise I didn't collaborate with 60 Minutes).

Viewed here, it's a story about Medellin, Colombia. Once considered the murder capital of the world, it's undergone a transformation similar to Juárez. Only in this instance, the catalyzing agent wasn't churches, but Colombia's military. They hired a top advertising firm which encouraged rebel leaders to turn their backs on violence, return to their families and choose peace instead. The weapons of peace were soccer balls, Christmas trees, banners and posters lovingly inviting FARC rebels to demobilize and come home.

The ad campaign was so effective, it led to peace talks between FARC and the government -- ending a 52-year war that left 220,000 dead and millions displaced -- without firing a shot.

Simultaneously, Medellin's mayor instituted a bold initiative to turn the slums and depressed areas into the best, most beautiful places to visit. Today, those slums are now thriving, and home to an amazing cultural center, science museum, botanical garden, new schools and libraries.

When FARC rebels returned, they saw first-hand that hope could be built and things could be changed. In the words of that mayor, Sergio Fajardo, "There is no sense of community. So we have to put the pieces together of our society. And we have to connect physically and mentally."

Connecting physically and mentally...a concept which, I believe, is very parallel with another:
"And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.
And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God. And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion." (Moses 7:18-19)
This is yet another example that there is no force in this universe -- none -- greater, stronger, tougher, more durable than love. And it's influences can often be found in the places we least expect it.

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