Friday, January 25, 2013

Who Am I?

The Psalmist asked, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him" (Psalms 8:4)? I echo his words: "Who am I, that thou are mindful of and good to me?" 

In the scriptures, I find doctrinal gems that are glimpses into the eternities that help me know who I truly am. Paul declared, "We are the offspring of God" (Acts 17:29). Both Abraham and Zechariah said that God organized or formed our spirits before this world began (Abraham 3:22 and Zechariah 12:1). Moses spoke of a spiritual creation in heaven before mortal flesh was ever upon the earth (Moses 3:5; see also Genesis 2:5 and Abraham 5:5). God asked Job where he was before the foundations of this earth were laid (Job 38:4) and where he was when "all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). To Jeremiah, He said, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee" (Jeremiah 1:5). In Proverbs we read,

"The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.

"I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

"When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

"Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:

"While as yet he had not made the earth, or the fields, or the highest part of the dust of the world.

"When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

"When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:

"When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

"Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

"Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men." (Proverbs 8:21-31, emphasis added).

Paul taught that God promised His children the hope of eternal life before this world ever began (Titus 1:2). He also taught that God called us to accomplish a special work before He laid the foundations of this earth (Ephesians 1:4 and 2 Timothy 1:9). This is likely what Paul meant when he wrote, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate" (Romans 8:29).The Holy Spirit confirms to my spirit the truth of these precious scriptural views of my existence before God formed this world. My being extends into time earlier than the days of my earthly life (Job 38:21). God is the Father of my spirit (Acts 17:29). I am literally His spirit child (Romans 8:16). He brought me up; I was also His daily delight; I rejoiced before Him (Proverbs 8:21-31). This wasn't some distant relationship. This was an intimate Father to son relationship that stretched into time long before my birth. This is where I first called Him Father (“O My Father”, Hymns, 292). He nurtured me and taught me. When He promised me the hope of Eternal life (Titus 1:2), I shouted for joy (Job 38:7). I can only imagine what I witnessed as I watched the miracle of creation unfold before my spirit’s eyes. Could I even have been a minor participant in laying the foundations of this earth?

God is mindful of me because He literally is my loving Father and I have been with Him before. He knew me (Jeremiah 1:5) and I knew Him. I am not a mortal being seeking a spiritual experience but I a spirit being that am experiencing mortality.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Trust In God

Known as Nephi’s psalm, the following verses are some of my most favorite passages of scripture. They remind me to always trust in God.

“Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.

“Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

“I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.

“And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

“My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.

He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.

“He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.

“Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.

“And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.

“And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.

“O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?

“And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?

“Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.

“Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.

“Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the brock of my salvation.

“O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?

“May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!

“O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.

“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.

“Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I bask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.” (2 Nephi 4:16-35)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

"...Our Father in Heaven loves His children. He loves us. He loves you. When necessary the Lord will even carry you over obstacles as you seek His peace with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Often He speaks to us in ways that we can hear only with our heart. To better hear His voice, it would be wise to turn down the volume control of the worldly noise in our lives. If we ignore or block out the promptings of the Spirit for whatever reason, they become less noticeable until we cannot hear them at all. Let us learn to hearken to the promptings of the Spirit and then be eager to heed them." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Waiting on the Road to Damascus", Ensign, May 2011)