commandments

What can we do when we desire to receive personal revelation yet it does not come?

For several months I had been carrying on about being too busy. Bemoaning that I must cut something out of my week, my mind went in circles not able to figure out what that could be. I’d been praying for guidance so that my life would become balanced. For quite some time.

Afterwards I knew that I had not recognized immediately the answer that I’d been given. That answer -that I never would have thought to entertain- was to reduce my temple attendance.

You may understand why I resisted and did not receive this suggestion right away. The temple is where I get away from it all. It is quiet. There is peace. There is reverence there for the Lord and His work that I treasure. What activity can possibly have more import in life?

Very slowly the answer became apparent to me. Indeed I was greatly comforted by the Lord when He confirmed that my direction was correct. As soon as I had stated my intention to those people affected by my decision, those dear friends- some inconvenienced, expressed their delight at the change. I hope I wasn’t that much of a bear! 🙂

A huge weight lifted and I began to feel more energetic right away. This astounded me. I wondered why. I would not begin my new schedule for another two weeks, yet I felt differently.

I began to recognize that even though I was fitting the highest choice into my week that did not necessarily mean that it was the best one for me at this time. By letting go I brought balance into my life. And that has made the difference. Big lesson received.

 

 

What can we do when inspiration does not come right away?

Have you ever fasted and prayed and wondered whether you have been heard?

 

Here are some ideas:

  • We may have already been given an answer, but it is not what we expect or hope for.

If we insist on what we want, we may be closing off the Spirit’s communication. (I didn’t mean to be insisting on my own way, but that is what was happening.)

  • Be patient and continue waiting faithfully on the Lord.

We’re all familiar with this one. God does answer in His time. Practicing patience helps us grow spiritually and develop aspects of godliness.

  • Increase our efforts to be in tune spiritually

That we may be receptive and recognize when the Spirit is whispering to us.

  • Increase our efforts of scripture reading, study and prayer.

Perhaps we’ve not done this as long, or as faithfully or as honestly as we should.

  • Be more faithful in obeying the commandments

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” Isaiah 59:2

  • Set the matter aside for awhile.

Sometimes when our minds are no longer consumed by the matter, flashes of inspiration come unexpectedly.

“Sometimes you may struggle with a problem and not get an answer. What could be wrong? It may be that you are not doing anything wrong. It may be that you have not done the right things long enough. Remember, you cannot force spiritual things. Sometimes we are confused simply because we won’t take no for an answer…

“Put difficult questions in the back of your minds and go about your lives. Ponder and pray quietly and persistently about them.

“The answer may not come as a lightning bolt. It may come as a little inspiration here and a little there, ‘line upon line, precept upon precept’

“Some answers will come from reading the scriptures, some from hearing speakers. And, occasionally, when it is important, some will come by very direct and powerful inspiration. The promptings will be clear and unmistakable” Boyd K. Packer

I am deeply grateful for many experiences that prove that Heavenly Father is mindful of me. And I know that is true for you. You are not alone or forgotten-ever. He is perfectly mindful of you at all times.

You may have other ideas. We’d be glad to read your comment.

Every so often I’ll read a passage and suddenly my understanding is further enlightened. I wonder how I possibly could have missed it the other times I read that same scripture. Does this ever happen to you?

For many years it has been apparent to me that throughout the scriptures Heavenly Father communicates His love and desire for our peace, joy and well being. In return, He desires us to love Him with all our being. What does that truly look like? Great communication.

In this chapter of only 21 verses. words denoting communication are used a minimum of 32 times! Hear, hearken, look, heard, declare, spoken, tell, speak for example. There is a lot in 1 Nephi 20!

At the very start it is stated in the heading, “Compare Isaiah 48”. They are almost word for word. As I studied it further I found some differences, however the message is identical.

The fact that this passage is found twice in our Standard Works tells us that this message must be very important for God’s people to ‘get’.  He is addressing the converted.

I’ve listed most of those expressions and then I marked how often they are mentioned in each of the chapters for your convenience.

Expression

1 Nephi 20

Isaiah 48

Hearken

3

2

Hear

2

3

Thou hearest not

2

2

Ear not opened

1

1

Thou hearest

1

1

I showed them

5

3

Hath declared

3

2

Seen

1

1

Will not declare

3

3

Sing

1

1

Tell

1

1

Utter

1

1

Say

1

1

Thou knewest not   

2

2

I have spoken

4

1

Not spoken

1

1

 

A minimum of sixteen expressions of communication are mentioned by the Lord, some, several times within those 21 verses. We certainly get the picture of how important communication is seen from His point of view! I’ve not even included a few others like “mention”, “teacheth” and “leadeth”.

Forming this list I noticed a pattern of sorts->

  1.  7 times we are exhorted to receive God’s message. (hear, hearken, look)
  2. Our Lord clearly makes known His counsel 12 times in 1 Nephi, 6 times in Isaiah. (declares, show, spoken)
  3. We are commanded to share His message 7 times. (declare, tell, utter, sing, say)
  4. Our Lord admonishes those that do not share His message with others.  (Because we do not hear, know, or speak) 6 times this is mentioned.

God makes promises to those who do share the Lord’s messages->

  1. “The Lord hath loved him” (I believe this means that person will  feel/know the love of the Lord)
  2. “He will fulfill His word which He hath declared”
  3. “He shall make his way prosperous”
  4. “teacheth thee to profit”
  5. “leadeth thee by the way thou shouldst go”

He gives 5 more promises in verses 18 & 19, if we listen to His commandments->

  1. “thy peace as a river”
  2. “thy righteousness as the waves of the sea”
  3. “thy seed as the sand”
  4. “offspring like the gravel”
  5. “name not cut off or destroyed”

I love the Lord’s thoughts regarding peace and righteousness-perhaps because I love water so.

And yet more promises to His redeemed people->

They:

  • Thirst not
  • Are led through the desert
  • Waters flow out of the rock for them (revelation)
  • Claves the rock and the waters gush out
  • The Lord does all this and greater also

I recognize a progression here very much similar to my own experience that began the day I received the gift of the Holy Ghost -from simply feeling filled, and led through experiences with revelation on to the promises of “the Lord does all this and greater also”.

I doubt you will dash off to your scriptures and study these chapters. 🙂  However, if you come across either and discover more morsels, I’d love to hear from you.

Do you understand these chapters differently?

Have you discovered anything else I’ve not mentioned?

Recently, I was contemplating the importance of obedience to the Lord’s commandments and its relationship to revelation. 

That same week Sam, fifteen years old, spoke in Sacrament meeting along a similar line of thought. I thought you would appreciate this young man’s perspective in this guest post. Thanks, Sam!

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters. Last week I was handed a talk assignment and the topic that I was given was “Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth”. Looking at that topic I was a little confused how to open a talk from a quote. The first thing that came to my head was the story of Samuel in the temple with Eli.

1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;

3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;

4 That the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.

5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.

6 And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.

8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.

9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (KJV)

Now,  that was all that I could think about from the quote, was the scripture about Samuel hearing the Lord and later that he obeyed the Lord in all that he commanded, and then it hit me- obedience. I can talk on obedience.

Samuel like many other prophets was obedient to the Lord by doing what he asked. Such as Nephi. He was commanded to build a boat. Joseph Smith was commanded to restore the church and Samuel the Lamanite was commanded to preach to the Nephites of Christ’s birth. These are just a few examples of obedience.

Obedience does not just have to be obedience to the Lord. You can be obedient to parents, church leaders and to yourself.

Being obedient to parents includes just doing of what they ask. If they give you a job to do around the house, you do it. If church leaders ask you to give a talk or prayers you just simply do it.

President Uchtdorf told a story of a little rule pilots give to themselves. It is to fly at least 500 feet above the trees so that they do not crash. That is a little example of self obedience.

Now the most obvious part of obedience is to the Lord. Unlike Nephi and Samuel we are not prophets. But we go to God to get personal revelation from Him to us.

We can also get revelation from general conferences, and we do. Twice a year we have general conference where the prophet and apostles give us new headings for the church.

Obedience isn’t only followed straight from the prophet’s mouth. We have scriptures and many other books to help us keep our obedience such as “Strength for Youth”. It teaches the basics of modern day obedience from modesty to language and even spiritual obedience.

Another great source to get obedience is from the commandments, such as “love thy neighbour as thyself”, “thou shalt not kill”, “thou shalt not steal”, and many more.

“The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.” Joshua 24:24

Now what can obedience do for us? If we obey in all that we do we can be blessed.

A great example of that is from Samuel the Lamanite who was commanded to preach to the Nephites about Christ’s birth. While he was preaching, the Nephites attempted to stop Samuel by shooting arrows and rocks at him. But because of Samuel’s obedience he was not hit by anything and was able to leave with no harm.

Now what happens if you are not obedient? Well, there is a story of that in the bible of a prophet named Jonah. Jonah was commanded to go to a city to preach to  the people that were wicked to stop their wickedness.

Jonah thought that was a bad idea and decided to go the opposite direction away from that city, so he took a boat to get away from the commandment the Lord gave him. During his trip bad weather came upon the ship and Jonah was cast off the ship and was soon swallowed by a great fish. Jonah was stuck in the fish for 3 days and 3 nights then he repented of his sin and he was spat out onto dry land.

Now the moral of the scripture isn’t if you don’t be obedient you will be eaten by a whale. It is simply that following commandments are better and that you will be blessed if you do so.

“Love the Lord…obey his voice” Deuteronomy 30:20

Where does obedience come from? Before this time Heavenly Father had a plan known as the plan of salvation. It was to test us to see who is worthy to be with him.

The plan was that we were given a body, and to go to earth and that we have the choice to choose between right and wrong. This is where obedience comes from.  He gave us commandments that will guide us to Him to be worthy. If we are worthy in all that we do we will be able to return to him again.

I’d like to end my talk with my testimony on obedience:

I know that obedience can give us blessings and that if we obey the commandments and leaders of the church we will be blessed and that if we are obedient to Heavenly Father we will be able to return to Him.

 “When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” D & C 130:21