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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Best Friend You Never Knew Part 10: Why You Need to Dialogue with Yeshua Daily


The Bible is full of passage after passage that instructs us to seek wisdom. For example,

Passages like:

"To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:2-7)

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." (James 1:5-6)

But what exactly is wisdom?
  • Is it intellect? Having a high IQ?
  • Is it basic, everyday knowledge? Common sense?
  • Is it a collection of facts and data?
  • Is it a college degree? Is the PhD wiser than one with an Associates Degree?
It seems to me that what the world calls wisdom is vastly different than what God considers wisdom. Divine wisdom, which comes directly from God, is different than intellectual knowledge:
  • Man's intellect can physically save a life, but not a soul.
  • Man's intellect can reach the moon and other planets, but not heaven.
  • Man's intellect can help bring forth a child, but not an immortal spirit.
  • Man's intellect can unveil new scientific discoveries, but not all things supernatural.
You see, there is a limit to human intellect and worldly wisdom. After all, look at current events. Even with the collected human wisdom of our world, we are still a mess.

In fact, today, those who consider themselves the most enlightened among us espouse policies which replace law enforcement with...well, they're not quite certain. 


I think the case can be credibly made that we mortals not only get a failing grade, but also barely get any grade at all, in terms of the quality of our wisdom. Perhaps that's why Yeshua said, “I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6)

In other words, the only way for us to have true wisdom –- the kind of wisdom that truly transcends the best of human understanding-- can only come from God.

One of the saddest things I see is when members not only believe, but also tell others, that they never can have a personal experience with Yeshua. They may have high IQs, have tremendous common sense, be able to spit out fact after fact and even have notable church callings, yet never know what it means to be One with Yeshua, even as He is one with Father (as He requested).

"be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves"


Because we have been baptized and confirmed members, many believe that the influence of the Holy Ghost is automatic. But nothing further could be the truth. The statement, "Receive the Holy Ghost" pronounced upon you at confirmation wasn't a blessing, but a command.

Unfortunately, many among us fail that command.

I see members who promote and follow false prophets and prophetesses, whose supposed prophecies, dreams, visions and insights (which may be sprinkled with truths) have been proven false time and time again. 

I see members who believe that it's OK to be commanded in all things by trusting in the arm of flesh to warn them when times are about to be tough. 

I see members who judge others as unrighteous because the others don't wear masks and they do...and feel their judgmentalism is endorsed of God.

I recently heard first-hand how this overconfidence in possessing divine wisdom has crept into the online, worldwide forums where church members regularly meet.

Within the last year, a number of Ugandan men who either are or pretend to be members have contacted several members online. Over time, they have been subscribed to various online forums and groups. There, they establish relationships of trust so thoroughly, that if you ask them what their favorite scripture is, they'll send you back a multi-paragraph analysis that makes total sense. Gradually, they infuse statements about how they are desperate for funds in constructing an orphanage or some other worthy endeavor. 

Yet they aren't building orphanages or anything of the sort. They are scammers -- or, to be more exact, "Affinity Frauds":

"Affinity fraud is a type of investment fraud in which a con artist targets members of an identifiable group based on things such as race, age, religion, etc. The fraudster either is or pretends to be, a member of the group. Often the fraudster promotes a Ponzi or pyramid scheme." (Source)

These pleadings have been unbelievably successful. According to the mission president over Uganda, dozens of members have fallen for these scammers. One member sent the scammers a thousand dollars. Others sent hundreds of dollars they really didn't have the luxury of parting with. Another pledged money every month to a scammer.

One of those who was initially taken by a scammer (for $500) had many opportunities to send money to other scammers, being told that his money would help in some worthy endeavor. But every time, doubts would prevent him sending more money. He didn't, and began comparing notes with others and checking facts, until he learned that he -- and others -- had been scammed. It wasn't his wisdom, his knowledge, nor even the facts that gave him a moment of pause, but rather, the quiet whisperings of the Lord...that "receive the Holy Ghost" command in full force.

If you ever run across "Ebong Daniel," "Harbart Bua," "King Sagacious," "Paul Oola" or "Joseph Oola" and possibly a few others supposedly hailing from Uganda, I would highly recommend blocking their profiles. That's because today, they are likely enjoying wealth obtained by defrauding good LDS members. But one fact remains certain: Ultimately, they will sow what they reaped. What goes around comes around. Justice will someday catch up with them.

But what of the scammed? I know a few of them, and they are good-hearted saints. They are definitely "harmless as doves." But it's also apparent that they need to work on that "wise as serpents" characteristic. Have they learned their lesson? Good question.

Why the Saints (including you and your family) won't be spared from the upcoming tribulations


Our sacrament prayers promise that those who [1] are "willing to take upon them the name of thy Son," [2] "always remember him, and" [3] "keep his commandments which he has given them" = "may always have his Spirit to be with them." (D&C 20:77)

Yet every day, as I am online, I'm floored by the apathy, ignorance, denial, naivete among a people who should be walking, talking examples of the Savior and should have His spirit -- and therefore His wisdom -- with them.

If these members don't develop this wisdom now,
what will become of them when times are tougher?

And times WILL get tougher. But will these members personally have the God-given, divinely-directed wisdom to make it through what's coming?

Point #1: Many Saints believe they can somehow eat, drink and be merry until the church president says it's time to head for the hills. 


Many believe that church leadership will announce a general "Call Out" to all members, or perhaps a special subset of them (like temple recommend holders who have a year's supply of food), immediately before the worst of the tribulations are upon us. The church may even provide trucks to haul food storage to an area of refuge. 

Maybe it'll happen. Maybe it won't. However:

Such an action will not be kept secret. You can count on two things happening: 
  • Many (if not most) members will not keep the destination of these "Call Out" locations secret. They will, understandably, want their sons and daughters, mothers and fathers to come to safety as well, and will act accordingly.
  • If hundreds or (more likely) thousands of church members are suddenly headed for the hills, local media will be reporting on how many left and to where. You just can't expect the media to turn its heads while thousands of members are suddenly rushing to the wilderness.
There's not a stellar track record of leader-announced call-outs. Look at the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon (which we are told to liken unto ourselves): 
  • The Lord didn't tell the people in Noah's time that an ark was being built for them.
  • Did prophets tell the Israelites of 600 BC that it's time to head to the desert? Not that we read. Instead, the Lord sent prophets out to the people and had them cry repentance, so the people would be able to spiritually discern needed directives straight from the Lord.
  • Church leadership didn't warn Lehi and his family to head to the desert. It was a spiritual call-out, pure and simple.
  • Did Samuel the Lamanite tell people that it's time to head for the hills? No. Again, he went among the people and cried repentance to them.
  • The Ten Virgins were never told exactly when the Bridegroom was coming. They knew they were supposed to prepare ahead of time, then wait. And when the Bridegroom tarried (for good reasons), those who didn't have enough oil were caught off-guard.
  • The Lord and church leadership did not tell members when to leave Jerusalem when the Romans invaded the city; they were given signs of what to look for so they could initiate their own actions (George A Horton, Jr., "Be Ye Also Ready," Ensign, June, 1989).
  • Church leadership did not direct members in Europe or Japan to depart prior to World War I or II.
  • Church leadership did not warn people to move away prior to damns bursting (for example, the Teton Dam disaster), hurricanes, tornadoes or tsunamis, killing thousands.
  • Church leadership did not warn people not to go to work in New York City or fly in planes on 9/11.
  • Church leadership didn't tell members to take precautions for a pandemic prior to the flu pandemic of 1889-1890 (killed 1 million), the American polio epidemic of 1916 (6,000 deaths), the Spanish Flu (1918, at least 50 million dead), the Asian Flu (1957-1958, 1 million dead), H1N1 (2009-2010, between 151,700 and 575,400 dead), Ebola (2014-2016, 11,325 dead) and COVID-19 (2019-Present, 600,000+ dead) (source).
Even President Kimball said "With no warning, no last-minute preparation is possible." 


Look at it this way: If you're someday in the wilderness, and need immediate instructions on how to avoid mobs or avoid being shot (see below), you're not going to have the luxury of turning to the church president for counsel. The bottom line: Be able to hear the Lord's voice, or you'll die (see here for scriptures).

Point #2: Many Saints believe they are somehow immune or exempt from the pre-millennial tribulations.


"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." (Revelation 13:7)
 
"And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.
And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.
And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;
That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies." (D&C 87:4-7)

"That same God who gave the revelations to his servant Joseph Smith in regard to these matters, will fulfil every jot and every tittle that has been spoken, concerning that nation. What then will be the condition of that people, when this great and terrible war shall come? It will be very different from the war between the North and the South. Do you wish me to describe it? I will do so. It will be a war of neighborhood against neighborhood, city against city, town against town, county against county, state against state, and they will go forth destroying and being destroyed and manufacturing will, in a great measure, cease, for a time, among the American nation. Why? Because in these terrible wars, they will not be privileged to manufacture, there will be too much bloodshed--too much mobocracy--too much going forth in bands and destroying and pillaging the land to suffer people to pursue any local vocation with any degree of safety. What will become of millions of the farmers upon that land? They will leave their farms and they will remain uncultivated, and they will flee before the ravaging armies from place to place; and thus will they go forth burning and pillaging the whole country; and that great and powerful nation, now consisting of some forty millions of people, will be wasted away, unless they repent." (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses 20:151)

"I saw men hunting the lives of their own sons, and brother murdering brother, women killing their own daughters, and daughters seeking the lives of their mothers. I saw armies arrayed against armies. I saw blood, desolation, fires. The Son of man has said that the mother shall be against the daughters, and the daughter against the mother. These things are at our doors. They will follow the Saints of God from city to city. Satan will rage, and the spirit of the devil is now enraged. I know not how soon these things will take place; but with a view of them, shall I cry peace? No; I will lift up my voice and testify of them. How long you will have good crops, and the famine be kept off, I do not know; when the fig tree leaves, know then that the summer is nigh at hand." (TPJS, 161; Emphasis mine)

Point #3: Many Saints believe it is foolish, it's a waste of money, to prepare for future calamities.


Famines...plagues...earthquakes...slaves rising up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war...

Sounds like today's headlines. 

Yet it's amazing how many members don't want to think about these things, or believe that pre-millennial tribulations are so far off in the future, that they are irrelevant to them. Yet they may not be that far off after all:

"The time would come wen the government would stop the Saints from holding meetings. When this was done, the Lord would pour out His judgments." (Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 453).

Such an assumption is foolishness at best and dangerous at worst, because when the stuff really does begin to the hit the fan, those who think God's judgments are still years or decades off will know what it's like to be an unwise virgin.

The Time to Develop a Dialogue with Yeshua is Now 


If you want true wisdom, then there's one and only one way to get it: Have an active, everyday, dialoguing relationship with Yeshua.

It's that simple and that plain.

Well, I say it's high time to take Yeshua up on His offer to always have His spirit to be with you, because without possessing a genuine relationship with Him, you are missing out on being able to be a truly wise person.

The world and the Devil have done an excellent job in convincing us human beings that wisdom is only putting together a collection of statuses and/or facts, being able to argue your point in a convincing manner and being able to speak eloquently.

Too many good people are falling for that lie.

Stop being one of them. 

Want a good suggestion on what to do next?


Meet Brother Lawrence


Around 350 years ago, there was a man known as Brother Lawrence

He was a common man, with no degrees, no riches nor a prestigious family. He just fell in love with God, with the Word and with others.

Brother Lawrence wasn’t able to become a minister; he wasn’t qualified at that time. So, he worked in a monastery taking care of the monks. Most of the time he worked in the kitchen, in the garden and around the place cleaning it up. But all day long, Bro. Lawrence talked with Yeshua and allowed Yeshua to change him.

After a while, a rather strange thing happened. The people who normally came to talk with one of the monks or priests started approaching him. They wanted to know what he thought about this or that. 

By the time Brother Lawrence was an old man, the monastery was better known as the place where one could hear the wisdom of Brother Lawrence and read the writings of Brother Lawrence than it was the place that one went to talk to a learned priest or monk.

Today, you, too, can become a vessel of supernatural, God-given wisdom. All it takes is your willingness and ability to be open to Yeshua, to open your ears, your eyes and your heart to Him. To listen for Yeshua’s voice, to be ready to obey at a moment’s notice and to give your will and your way over to He who is my best friend.

In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul thanks God that He has given the Corinthians wisdom, insight and discernment. He tells them that God has enriched them in everything, in every form of speech and in every form of knowledge (1 Corinthians 1:5).

The result: The Corinthians possessed all the spiritual gifts that they needed and were therefore able to receive all of God’s wonderful gifts.

Were they perfect? Of course not. But when they allowed Yeshua to refill them, when they allowed Yeshua to lead them and when they allowed themselves to be open to Yeshua’s wisdom, their lives went up another level.

So, too, will yours.

You can start by waking up each day and asking Yeshua to reveal more of Him to you, to be infilled with more of His spirit and to be given more of His wisdom, insight, discernment and knowledge.

If you do that, then you will begin to notice a change not only in yourself, but also in those around you. You will find yourself going up a step in your thinking, in your walking, in your conversations and in your spirit. You will find yourself developing the mind of Christ. You will find yourself enjoying life more and enjoying being in God’s holy presence. You will find yourself being more at peace, more kind, more gentle and more loving.

And, you will be ready for the one thing you've always wanted to do:

To walk and talk with God.

Want to learn what Brother Lawrence did so he could walk and talk with God...straight from Brother Lawrence himself?

Stay tuned for our next post in this series.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Best Friend You Never Knew Part 9: When God Seems Distant



IMPORTANT NOTE: As I've often mentioned on this blog, the Prophet Isaiah is the most-quoted prophet (aside from Yeshua) in our Standard Works. Even the Savior said "Great are the words of Isaiah." And for good reason: they've been described as the "Cliffs Notes of the Latter Days" which describe in detail the pre-Millennial tribulations. The Lord wants a prepared people, and Isaiah is one of his top recommendations to get you there.

Yet I have observed that by and large, we saints are grossly unfamiliar with Isaiah. People complain that Isaiah is too complex, too hard to understand. Thus, they miss out on the blessings which come from reading Isaiah and understanding what he wrote about concerning today.

Over a year ago, this blog started a Facebook group, "Great Are The Words of Isaiah." It's maintained by moderators who are ordinary members seeking to better understand Isaiah. Consider it "Isaiah for Dummies who aren't Dummies!" I encourage you to click here to subscribe and partake of the wisdom of Yeshua as proclaimed by Isaiah. You'll be glad you did.

____________________

As we read in the previous two posts (”The Best Friend You Never Knew Part 7: ‘Ye Never Knew Me’” and ”The Best Friend You Never Knew Part 8: The Non-Judgmental Savior”), we stand rejected by Yeshua the minute we withhold mercy, or unleash judgment, upon another (see here for more). Also, the more merciful you are towards others, the more merciful God is with you (1 Corinthians 13:2). The less judgmental you are towards others, the less judgmental God is with you. 

So, it seems to me that God’s primary judgment criteria regarding you is best summarized in 1 Samuel 16:7: “for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” The advantage of this criteria: “charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

Judging or being uncharitable towards a person doesn’t define who they are; it defines who you are. And with the best possible definition you can have -- “he/she was non-judgmental and full of charity towards others” -- you are far more aligned with the Savior.

In my opinion, it’s at this point that not only dialoguing with Him, but also seeing Him, becomes an inevitability:

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen." (Moroni 7:48)

When Heaven is Silent


Unfortunately, there are times when you may be exerting all of your heart, might, mind and strength towards being more charitable and less judgmental, and heaven is still silent. 

This blog has addressed this issue several times. Here are a few possibilities:
  • Your heart really isn’t in it: "What more can be said, what greater case could be made than this: to find God, you must look with all your heart. To remain present to God, you must remain present to your heart. To hear his voice, you must listen with your heart. To love him, you must love with all your heart. You cannot be the person God meant you to be, and you cannot live the life he meant you to live, unless you live from the heart." (John Eldredge, "Waking the Dead")
"They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall." (D&C 1:16)
 
"O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!
Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.
O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth." (Helaman 12:4-7)
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday." (Psalms 37:5-6)

"Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. " (Jeremiah 17:5

"O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm." (2 Nephi 4:34

"Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost." (2 Nephi 28:31
  • You seek not the voice of the Lord: Instead, you listen to and pay serious consideration to Satan’s pick up lines. You should anticipate this because “The nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power will be manifested by the adversary to prevent the accomplishment of His purposes” (The Prophet Joseph Smith, in Orson F. Whitney, "Life of Heber C. Kimball", Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1967, p. 132).
“Perhaps we have grown too accustomed to the place [of Babylon]. Even if we leave Babylon, some of us endeavor to keep a second residence there...or we commute on weekends.” (Neal A. Maxwell, A Wonderful Flood of Light, BYU Devotional, March 26, 1989).
  • You’re impatient: "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him..." (Psalm 37:7) Also, "The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 3:295–96

Worthiness required?


Another common belief is that you’re not good enough, faithful enough, righteous enough, worthy enough to dialogue with God, let alone kneel in His presence. I encounter this mindset all the time, as exemplified by the following private message to me by a subscriber to this blog’s Facebook group:


As we read in my immediate previous post (”The Best Friend You Never Knew Part 8: The Non-Judgmental Savior”), Yeshua not only was non-judgmental regarding the woman at the well, but he also let her be the first one to publicly proclaim that the Savior had arrived.

The fact of the matter is, as we read in “The Prodigal Mormon,” none of us are righteous or worthy enough for God’s attention. Yet all through recorded history, God has chosen to walk and talk with mortals. 

"each individual member of the Church can come to know of the divinity of the work, can have the whisperings of the Spirit in his heart and soul, and in addition, can see visions, entertain angels, behold the face of the Lord, and receive all the knowledge and wisdom that has been poured out upon faithful people in any age." (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, "How to Get Personal Revelation," New Era, June 1980, pp. 46-50).

"Now I say that we are entitled to revelation. I say that every member of the Church, independent and irrespective of any position that he may hold, is entitled to get revelation from the Holy Ghost; he is entitled to entertain angels; he is entitled to view the visions of eternity; and if we would like to go the full measure, he is entitled to see God the same way that any prophet in literal and actual reality has seen the face of Deity."  (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, "How to Get Personal Revelation," New Era, June 1980, pp. 46-50).

When I posted the above Facebook group subscriber’s question, other subscribers chimed in with some viewpoints. Here’s one that stood out to me:


Descent, then Ascent


Some people take such interactions seriously. They’ve chosen to step their metaphorical foot off the boat, turn their backs on everyone and everything else, and focus on Yeshua. There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- that stands in between them and Yeshua. Not even Satan, nor the foolish things he says to us, has an effect on these patient, mercy-filled, non-judgmental people. 

They have zero idols in their lives. They have a profound unwillingness to rely upon the arm of flesh to any degree. They see God’s hand in their lives several times daily, and praise His name for it. Their eyes are firmly affixed and singled on Yeshua. Because of this, they are full of light (Matthew 6:22; Luke 11:34). And to stay there, they ask Yeshua to immerse them in the atoning blood of his atonement every day.

They would be the first ones to tell you that they aren’t perfect. But they will say that every time they fall and fail, they get back up and continue to try to be better in their lives. Like a baby who’s learning to walk and falls on her bum, they pull themselves back up and keep walking towards the open arms awaiting them. This is because they seek the Lord with all their hearts and all their souls (Deuteronomy 4:30-31) and passionately remind God of the promises He has made to them.

Of all the hundreds and hundreds of people I know, I think I could count these souls on my fingers, and still have a few left over. So why is it that these “super saints” not only haven’t had an audience with the Savior, but also can’t even hear Him? Why is it that they relate to Psalm 13:1-2 so well?:

"How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?" (Psalm 13:1-2)

If anyone is entitled to see God, it’s these people.

So...why? Why no appearances? Why not even a voice in their heart and mind?

Here, we see a few examples in the scriptures:
  • The Book of Job we read about a man who underwent a divinely-sanctioned descent in which he lost his family, his property and his reputation. Yet through it all, he praised and blessed the Lord. And for that, everything was restored to him, and then some.
  • In the four gospels, we read how Yeshua was born in the lowliest of circumstances, walked among sinners, was despised, betrayed and ultimately killed. And in the hardest, toughest part of it, He walked the winepress of the atonement alone -- so much so, that He asked on the cross, “Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani?” which is Aramaic for "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me" (Psalm 22:2)
  • In D&C 121, we feel the anguish in Brother Joseph’s words as he plead with the Lord for the suffering Saints. The section begins, ‘O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?”
In all three examples, we read of a person undergoing what’s considered a “descent.” The Son of Man descended below all things (D&C 122:8) before He ascended above all things (Ephesians 4:9-10).

This may be required of a few people today. They are in a “descent phase” which means (per God’s will) they are walking in low places prior to ascending to new spiritual heights:

"Spiritual descent is necessary for spiritual ascent: When a man has to rise from one level to the next, prior to his ascent, he must first undergo a descent. The paradox is that the very purpose of the descent is the ascent. From this you can see how much strength is required in the service of God. Even when you fall or descend in any way, you must never allow yourself to be thrown off balance to the extent that you come to look down upon yourself or to hold yourself in contempt." (Rabbi Nachman, trans. Avraham Greenbaum, Likutey Moharan, "Restore My Soul" [Monsey & Jerusalem: Breslov Research Institute, 1980], p. 16-17; here; read more here).

"Therefore, let us not resent those tutoring experiences which can develop our own empathy further (see Alma 7:11-12).  So being admitted fully to 'the fellowship of his sufferings' requires the full dues of discipleship (Philip. 3:10; see also 1 Cor. 1:9)." (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, "Plow in Hope", April 2001 General Conference)

A Few Suggestions


In addition to D&C 93:1 and D&C 50:24, here are some other things you can explore to close the distance between you and God:
  • Increase your focus on God: Eliminate the idols, the pride, Satan’s pick up lines, everything mentioned at the top of this post. 
"Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days 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 own will." (D&C 88:68; emphasis mine)
“I think we pay too little attention to the value of meditation, a principle of devotion. In our worship there are two elements: one is spiritual communion rising from our own meditation; the other instruction from others, particularly from those who have authority to guide and instruct us. Of the two, the more profitable introspectively is meditation. Meditation is one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord." (Pres. David O. McKay, “Consciousness of God: Supreme Goal of Life,” Improvement Era, June 1967, pp. 80–82; emphasis mine).

So what is meditation? How does a latter-day saint do it? Click Meditation, Part 1 - Evolving Beyond Pondering” for the first post of a seven-part series on meditation.
  • Ask “What Lackest I?”: I really like Elder Larry Lawrence's October 2015 General Conference talk, "What Lack I Yet?" It's an appropriate question, and his analysis is chock full of references not about other men, but God, Christ and the Holy Ghost. Awesome. 
"If spiritual growth is not a priority in our lives, if we are not on a course of steady improvement, we will miss out on the important experiences that God wants to give us. Years ago I read these words of President Spencer W. Kimball, which had a lasting impact on me. He said: "I have learned that where there is a prayerful heart, a hungering after righteousness, a forsaking of sins, and obedience to the commandments of God, the Lord pours out more and more light until there is finally power to pierce the heavenly veil. ... A person of such righteousness has the priceless promise that one day he shall see the Lord's face and know that he is." (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/what-lack-i-yet?lang=eng; emphasis mine) 
  • Persist in asking for your ascent: In other words, don’t give up! If you fall down on your diapered bum, get back up.
Luke 18:1-8's story of the persistent widow is a lesson about persevering in prayer. Actually, most scriptural prayer stories are. How many times did it take Elijah to call down the promised rain? Not once, not twice, but eight rounds of all-of-your-heart-soul-mind-and-strength prayer. In Acts 12, Herod seized James and executed him. He then arrested Peter and put him in jail. The outcome looked the same. But the story shifted with the phrase, “But the church was praying very earnestly for him” (v. 5). The Greek for “very earnestly” is the same description of Jesus' serious prayers in Gethsemane. The text also indicates that the church prayed for Peter all night long. It worked; Peter was rescued. Then we have Enos' prayer:

"And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens. And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed." (Enos 1:4-5)

No wonder Joseph advised that we should "Come to God weary him until he blesses you" ([recorded in Willard Richards Pocket Companion, 78–79] cited in The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, comp. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook [1980], 15; https://www.lds.org/manual/book-of-mormon-student-manual/chapter-50-ether-1-5?lang=eng)
  • Keep an eye out for the descent...and the ascent: Get out of your own comfort zone or pity party and look for the blessings He's constantly sending you. It's like learning a new language. Maybe you've become so accustomed to hearing (or not hearing) God on a lower wavelength, that when He increases the wavelength to a higher one, you don't hear Him anymore. But the harder you look, the more you'll find those highs and lows, the peaks and valleys, of his increased frequency. Then before you know it, you're ON that higher wavelength.
"Learning to hear the voice of the Lord is like learning a language, the language of revelation. Learning any language takes time. It takes repetition and practice. It takes an immersion in that language. And it takes learning the rules that govern the language. If we were learning Portuguese or Chinese, we would not only have to memorize vocabulary words but learn syntax and grammar as well. Similarly, as we set out to better learn the language of revelation, there are guidelines and rules to govern us." (Sherri Dew, "No Doubt About It"; emphasis mine)

Sometimes you're going to find His responses in the Temple. Sometimes, it'll be in your bedroom or living room, or out in the middle of nowhere, away from Babylon. Sometimes it'll be in a dream, sometimes it'll be in the scriptures. Often, it’ll be at a time you didn’t expect. They may not come immediately...but they will come.
Yeshua is God’s gift to mankind. As you become more like Him, you become a gift to Him -- one which will eventually be personally and directly received, with great appreciation, by Him:

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen." (Moroni 7:48)
  • "Gloria in excelsis Deo" (Latin, "Glory to God in the Highest" [Luke 2:14]): Do as Yeshua did -- no matter what He was going through, good or bad, He gave ALL credit to the Father. You should do the same, for in so doing, you actually breathe new life into that blessing and try to extend it to others. 
My friend, Vincent, is on a level of coolness that's really, really high. When people ask how he's doing, his response is both accurate and electrifying: "I am richly blessed."

Exceed Even Your Own Expectations


In this blog's post "The Promise of His Presence, Part 2: The Formula," I spotlighted the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Russian squad.

Nobody thought they had even the remotest chance of beating the Russians. 

But one man did: Herb Brooks, the team's coach.

In one scene, before the Olympics, the US team played an exhibition match against a team in Europe.  They didn't take the game seriously, and Coach Brooks knew it.  So after losing the game, Brooks had his team go back onto the ice and had them run drills, skating a few yards, then back again, then skating further again, then back...for several hours.  Brooks said:

"Red line, back. Blue line, back. Far blue line, back. Far red line, back. And you have 45 seconds to do it. Get used to this drill. You'll be doing it a lot. Why? Because the legs feed the wolf, gentlemen. I can't promise you we'll be the best team at Lake Placid next February. But we will be the best conditioned. That I can promise you."

This fact may have been what inspired Brooks to tell his team, 

"This cannot be a team of common men, 
because common men go nowhere."


When Team USA met the Soviet team in the Olympics semi-finals, the Americans proved to be extremely well-conditioned for the match-up.  With the world watching, the team rose to the occasion, prompting broadcaster Al Michaels' now famous question to the millions viewing at home: "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"  The US college kids beat the Soviet hockey team, which had previously routed the NHL All-Stars 6–0 and consistently won Olympic gold for 26 years.

I believe that seeking the fulfillment of D&C 93:1 in our lives requires the same kind of dedication.  Note the Lord's advice on this topic:

Seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (D&C 88:63; emphasis mine)

Seek.

Me.

Diligently.

Although I can't be there with you every day, pushing you to reach your metaphorical spiritual red lines and blue lines, and even though you and I likely don't know each other personally, please know that I have specially prayed for every person (including you) who reads this post, and that with Yeshua's help, you will clear away any and all barriers in between you and Yeshua...and like the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team, you will be blessed with results which far surpass even your wildest dreams.