Thanks Dad

Blog #60 June 20, 2023

Modern science for all of its logical functionality and its wonderfully amazing ingenuity seems to have played a very unwelcome and treacherous prank on us. It has reduced the very life we live from a miracle of God's created design to a mundane system of being born, growing to become a viable part of the creation itself, only to be humbled by the deterioration of both mind and body, and finally succumb to the insignificance of death. What a waste. Think about what God offers all His children through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We have been offered a way to escape the bondage of this reprehensible cycle? 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish; but have everlasting life.

Any father worthy of the name seeks to use his wisdom and his authority to give His children the very best life can offer. God is the epitome of righteous fatherhood. He endeavors for all of His children to grasp the depth of His love for them. He wants them to understand that life everlasting is the very foundation of His work and His glory.

DC 22:23a-23b
22:23a And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying, The heavens, they are many and they can not be numbered unto man, but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine; and as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come;
22:23b and there is no end to my works, neither to my words; for this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality, and eternal life of man. 

When I first faced this passage of scripture I was puzzled as to why God used two identical terms for the life we seek beyond this one. In my world immortality and eternal life has always meant the same thing, but as I labored to understand the ways of the Kingdom I grew to understand the fullness of His true nature and the depth of His love for me and all of His children. 

The first phrase, "immortality" is defined here by the Webster's 1928 Dictionary: Immortality- {immortal'ity} noun The quality of never ceasing to live or exist; exemption from death and annihilation; life destined to endure without end; as the immortality of the human soul.

The rebellion of Adam and Eve in Eden disrupted the perfection of God's creation. In my humble opinion, God's greatest hope is for us to return to Him. In 2 Nephi 1:115, He gave us a path to walk and a promise of what our diligent effort of humble repentance would bring to our life. He also gave context to His second phrase (eternal life) and why He used it to further describe the gift of John 3:16.

2 Nephi 1:115 Adam fell, that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

The application of the words "eternal life" to the relationship between God and His children keys on the definition offered by the above verse from 2 Nephi. By opening our hearts to the promise of this verse we find that life by God's design is joy. In that light we discover that humanities original act of self-centered rebellion can be transformed into a path of joy, but for that to happen must make a choice. God sanctified the authority of Christ's sacrifice at Calvary to cleanse us of our sins. We must choose to sanctify it, too. We do that by first recognizing our sinful nature. We must repent, open up our hearts to God's Holy Spirit, and allow it to teach us and give us the strength to overcome the lust within us that separates us from the righteousness of God. By doing this we allow God to prepare us to join Him in His labor. As we toil in our covenant effort we discover that task we seek is a labor of joy.                       

DC 6:1a A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men:

Alma opens our eyes to the very nature of the labor God and the joy it offers those who will follow Him.  

Alma 14:94-96
14:94 Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the most high God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell.
14:95 Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love:
14:96 Yea, and we have been instruments in his hands, of doing this great and marvelous work; therefore let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God for ever.

Read this passage again and allow joy to be the expected outcome to the labor He offers. Consider the everlasting quality of this challenge in that everything we learn allows us something new to absorb, and something more to learn. One success leads to the chance for another. This truly is the path of everlasting joy we seek. 

God created us as creatures of choice with the ability to say yes or no, choose left or right, and act or react to Him in a way that is either acceptable or unacceptable. Was this all a cruel joke He played on himself or was it a mistake. Brethren, looking at the world today I want to say both, but in truth it was neither. Our loving Father was creating for Himself creatures that had the ability look beyond the lie that earthly authority and the possession of earthly things can fill our life with joy. He was instead creating creatures with the ability to recognize the truth of what makes life worth living forever and ever. 

Romans 8:14-16
8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the of adoption; whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God;
8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Grasp if you will the full meaning of all that is being offered. God wants us to live with Him forever, but He is offering us more than just a mundane existence. He is offering us an everlasting life that is filled with purpose, labor, and joy. He wants us to be a part of His work and His glory. In fact God wants us to accept His purpose so completely that they become our labor and our joy. God the creator wants to be our Father, and Christ our holy Savior, wants to be our Brother. What's better than that is They want us to start doing it, now, today, this minute...................Wow! 

This brings me to a matter that as I grow in God I find to be more and more important. 

2 Nephi 1:68-70
1:68 And the law is given unto men.
1:69 And by the law, no flesh is justified, or, by the law, men are cut off.
1:70 Yea, by the temporal law, they were cut off; and also by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable for ever.

Christians worldwide accept law as the standard of excellence God demands. I think that acceptance causes many to fall short of what God wants from His children and in that, threatens to undermine and destroy all that we seek to achieve. He wants us to do more than just accept His righteousness and wear it as a cloak to define our lives. He wants righteousness to live in our hearts and grow in the world as we grow in Him.

Mosiah 3:1-3
1:1 And now, it came to pass that when King Benjamin had thus spoken to his people, he sent among them, desiring to know of his people, if they believed the words which he had spoken unto them.
1:2 And they all cried with one voice, saying, Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us;
1:3 And also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.

Laws by their very nature give rise to rituals, and tradition, which I think cheapens our dedication to God and the ways of God. Too often the churches of the world demand rituals be performed regardless of the heart of the person that submits to them. To some belief systems, baptism is little more than a requirement of membership. Sacrament is required once a month or the very covenant claimed comes under suspicion. The offering plate is passed once a week with little thought beyond making sure everyone sees you donate. We seem to be telling the world that as long as I adhere to all the traditions and perform all the rituals, I am acceptable to the Lord. Wouldn't it be so much simpler if that were the truth?

Mark 12:47-50
12:47 And after this, Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury; and many that were rich cast in much.
12:48 And there came a certain poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing.
12:49 And Jesus called his disciples, and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they who have cast into the treasury;
12:50 For all the rich did cast in of their abundance; but she, notwithstanding her want, did cast in all that she had; yea, even all her living.

Tradition demands we give. Ritual demands we give for everyone to see. God infers that the heart of the giver is more telling than either the giving of the gift or the gift given.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Ask yourself what is the more important testimony before the world that God seeks from His people. What we did or why we do it. 

Proverbs 16:2-3
16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.
16:3 Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

We can hide from the world behind rituals and traditions, but God seeks our heart. In today's society, even laws have become a hiding place. We can hide from the world but God sees the heart and knows the truth.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Law is necessary or society will fall into chaos, but God seeks for us to understand that even His laws fall short of what is needed for us to become His children living to the fullness of their creation. Christ knew this and sought to make us aware.

Luke 10:26-29
10:26 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
10:27 He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou?
10:28 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.
10:29 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live.

If we are to truly be acceptable to the Lord, our righteousness must not be a cloak we put on when it is needed. It must be a light in our heart that shines out to the world as a testimony of God at work in our life.

Matthew 5:17-18
5:17 Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light to all that are in the house.
5:18 Therefore, let your light so shine before this world, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Grasp fully what our Heavenly Father is trying to accomplish within His children. If we seek to be one with God, our righteousness is to be more than something we cover ourselves with. It needs to be our very nature. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were covered with a robe of righteousness that was founded on innocence. It was not in their hearts. It was not secure. Satan tempted them, they took off that robe, and they were naked. In the Kingdom, our righteousness will come from a choice we make and the strength of God's Spirit in our hearts. Temptation will fall short in its attempt to disrobe us. In God through the Spirit we will be safe. 

Jacob 2:48-49
2:48 But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart.
2:49 Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction.

This is the path we must trust. This is the path we must choose. 

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

We have before us an offering from God that can assure us of an eternity of life full of joy, but we must choose it. Yes, we must choose it and we must choose to let God through His Spirit lead us, teach us, and be the strength within us that allows us to succeed in our efforts. 

It is true that we must be patient and wait on the Lord, but we cannot expect Him to lift us up from our sedentary approach to the problems we face. We must be diligently at work building the Kingdom first in our hearts, then in the hearts of the people of the world. Ultimately we must gather the people together and become a community that God will call Zion. He won't do it for us, but He will most assuredly grant us the strength to do it with Him. That's the plan as I understand it and it's a good plan. 

Thanks Dad. 


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