Monday, 28 May 2012

Simple faith . . .

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet I know how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in Heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if a chart were given.
~Emily Dickenson

I cannot remember a time in my life when  I did not know that God was in His Heaven, or that Jesus was His son.  They have always been very real to me.  I may not have known in my younger years, that I truly mattered to them . . .  at least not in the way that I know those things now . . . but they have always been real to me, as real, as real . . . as real as can be.  I have never doubted their existance.

As a young child I was sent to Sunday School each Sunday morning.  Oh how I loved to sing the songs . . . songs about sparrows falling, and Jesus loving me.  I adored the Bible stories and ate them up like candy.  I never tired of hearing them again and again . . .

I was with Noah when he built that Ark.  I heard all the jeers of the people in town as he drove in the nails.  I understood why he did it.  I never doubted for a moment that he had been commanded to do so by God.  I marveled with him as the animals began to arrive and I sorrowed with him as he had to watch the people of the world drowning.  I rejoiced with him when the dove brought back the Olive branch.

I felt sorry for Job, as he lost, one by one . . . everything he had.  I had no doubt he was a righteous man . . . for I have always believed the scriptures too . . . and I marvelled at his wondrous faith.

Then too there were the stories of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego . . . and Daniel in the Lion's den . . . David meeting Goliath . . . Joseph and his coat of many colours . . . Queen Esther . . . the stories were endless, and I wondered at each of them, amazed at the power of God to work in people's lives, and the power of people, ordinary people to have such faith as these, and I strove to have that same faith and I did . . . and I do.

The scriptures and my faith in them and my Heavenly Father have always been a beautiful tapestry which has been woven into the fabric of what is my life.  I cannot imagine a life in which there is no faith in a higher power.  Without faith . . . how can there be any hope . . . where is the love . . .

“Hope is a leg of a 3-legged stool with Faith and Charity.”  ~President Dieter F Uchtdorf

Faith contributes to the form and content of ideals that guide the aspirations we each harbour for our own lives . . . and it affects the way we regard and behave with respect to others.  A human being without faith, without reverence for anything . . . is a human being morally adrift in a sea of hopelessness and instability . . . which we are now seeing manifest in the world around us.  One only has to think back to the London riots of last year to see how far adrift society has gone . . . and, if anything . . . it helps me to value the faith that I have even more for the treasure that it is.

Oh . . . I know there are people out there who poo poo at the church I belong to, who think it is a cult, or something which is totally unbelievable and so far out in left field as to be a complete lie.  People who may think that Joseph Smith was a total charlatan, spinner of lies and tall tales . . . weaver of mistruth.  There are people who believe that we have been deceived by Satan and, having been wound up in his web of deceit . . .  are now doomed to an eternity in hellfire and damnation.

But . . . how can this be so if our God is a heavenly, merciful, loving, caring and charitable and perfect being, who wants only for His children to return back home to be with Him???

Have they ever stopped to read the Book of Mormon with an open mind, and a seeking heart????  Have they ever stopped to listen to ponder and study the words on it's pages . . . to study the history of it's beginnings in an unbiased and open minded manner . . . to get to know the people who belong to this church, and search out the leanings of their hearts.  These are good people, happy people . . . a loving people.  People who are not afraid to live what they know to be true in their hearts, and to stand by it, come what may.

Have they ever stopped to ask themselves . . . why would Satan inspire a book to be written which totally upholds and speaks only of the divinity and power of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father, which decries Satan and all that he stands for?  When they point at Joseph Smith and ask why would God use an un-educated farm boy to fulfill his purposes for these latter days . . . why do they not see that when you look at the history of the people that God has used all through the ages to fulfill his purposes, he has used young and untried boys such as Daniel and David . . . Joseph of Egypt???  Simple people, from humble means and backgrounds . . but people with a pure and simple faith and belief that anything is possible and a desire to obey.  Do they not see that when God sent his son to earth . . . our Saviour and King . . . that he did not send him to a palace to be pampered and coddled, but to a simple family with meagre means, a lowly stable, and a hard life.  This is a story that repeats itself again and again in the scriptures, and why not in these latter days???

Does something have to be truly ancient in order to be believable????  Must prophets always have long beards and have been dead for thousands of years????  If we matter as much as they say we do to our God . . . why would He not still speak to us, and guide us with his presence????  If the end is nigh and close to hand . . . and the bible makes it very clear that we are in the latter days . . . why would he not raise up a prophet on earth to gather in his flock and to guide them back towards home before it is too late????

Like the Bible, the central theme of the Book of Mormon is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are over 160 passages in the Book of Mormon that speak of the Lord Jesus Christ. There were 22 men named in the Book of Mormon who saw Christ. Some form of Christ’s name is mentioned on an average of every 1.7 verses. The New Testament mentions a form of Christ’s name on an average of every 2.1 verses. The name of the Savior appears nearly 25 percent more frequently in the Book of Mormon than in the New Testament. When we realize that a verse usually consists of one sentence, we cannot on the average read two sentences in the Book of Mormon without seeing some form of Christ’s name. Why would Satan inspire the writing of such a testimony of one that he hates?

"He is Lord" rings loud and clear from its pages like a London cathedral choir harmonizing on a Sunday morning. The sound is resonant throughout the book’s pages. The Spirit’s witness is there. That same Jesus which I discovered in the Bible as a small child all those years ago . . .  is also present in the pages of the Book of Mormon.

I am so very grateful for my faith, which grown through the years,  has allowed my heart to be touched in amazing and beautiful ways.

"They, the two sticks, shall be one in mine hand."
~Ezekiel 37:19

I am also very grateful for an open mind and a seeking heart, which was not afraid to embrace something new or to pray about where it led me . . . and then, having prayed . . . to embrace the answer, and have the strength of conviction and the faith to live it.

Sorry for being a little deep here this morning . . . but it is what's been on my heart.

"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." 
~The 13th Article of Faith, to read them all look here.


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