companionship of the Holy Ghost

“Revelation is communication from God to His children on the earth and one of the great blessings associated with the gift and constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.” David A Bednar

I have felt grateful many times over these past six years for this marvelous truth! Revelation gave me my testimony that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. The truth of the Book of Mormon was given to me by revelation. Revelation is how I have received many testimonies of the truths of the restored gospel.

“The Holy Ghost communicates important information that we need to guide us in our mortal journey. When it is crisp and clear and essential, it warrants the title of revelation. When it is a series of promptings we often have to guide us step by step to a worthy objective…it is inspiration.” Elder Richard G. Scott, April 2012 General Conference

We each can receive personal revelation from God by living His gospel and having the gift of the Holy Spirit. Every person may receive ongoing personal revelation for his/her own benefit– for protection, guidance in making choices and for facing the great decisions of life.

“If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things-that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal” Doctrines and Covenants 42:61

In this video, people respond to this question-

 “How does the Spirit send you revelation?”

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The following definition comes from the Bible Dictionary:

“Divine revelation is one of the grandest concepts and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for without it, man could not know of the things of God and could not be saved with any degree of salvation in the eternities. Continuous revelation from God to his saints, through the Holy Ghost or by other means, such as vision, dreams, or visitations, makes possible daily guidance along true paths and leads the faithful soul to complete and eternal salvation in the celestial kingdom.

The principle of gaining knowledge by revelation is the principle of salvation. It is the making known of divine truth by communication with the heavens, and consists not only of revelation of the plan of salvation to the Lord’s prophets, but also a confirmation in the hearts of the believers that the revelation to the prophets is true.  It also consists of individual guidance for every person who seeks for it and follows the prescribed course of faith, repentance, and obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“The Holy Ghost is a revelator,” said Joseph Smith, and “no man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations” (HC 6:58). Without revelation, all would be guesswork, darkness, and confusion.”

       “For everyone who asks receives”          Matthew 7:8

“Be careful.” Quietly the Spirit spoke. Returning from the farm, having fetched my weekly supply of raw milk, I was alone. I looked at my speedometer- 80 Kilometers an hour. Not speeding for once. Yay. If you know this area, I had just turned off of Spring Creek Road and was travelling on the section of Mountain that is completely devoid of lampposts. Unless there is a full moon, the area is pitch black countryside.

Some weeks before, I had received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and still had very little idea or experience with what His companionship would mean for my life. I wasn’t sure of myself. Satan’s minions were taking advantage, constantly at me, jabbing and invading my space, blocking the effects of sweet peace and happiness much of the time.

Discerning the Holy Ghost’s presence in one’s life is simply not learned within a day and had you asked, I would have had to admit my insecurities. I was unsure what to expect. Some days, I did wonder if He was with me every second. I didn’t always feel His presence, that marvelous peace that cannot be fully or adequately described to one who has never known it.

“Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7
“Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” John 18:37
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”John 10:27
       “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice,…walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.” Jeremiah 7:23
“…it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.” Jeremiah 42:6
(KJV)

A second time, firmly and still quietly, the Spirit said, “Be careful.” I obeyed. Immediately I braked –and just in time to realize there was an unusual situation ahead. Crosswise on my side of the road was a trailer-no lights. It was hitched to a truck-no lights- pulled over to the side of the road. Between that truck and another ahead of it–again, no lights- two men carried something huge, the size of and shaped like a living room picture window. Had I rammed into the trailer, or swerved I might have hit the men. If I had swerved into the other lane to avoid hitting the trailer, two oncoming vehicles would have become involved in a colossal mess. Because I was blessed with a warning, I had time to slow down and maneuver around the trailer when the opposite lane was clear.

Two words, audibly expressed, warned me. Two words spoken in love protected at least four other people from disaster. That day I gained confidence in the power of the Holy Ghost to warn me of danger. I gained confidence in my ability to hear and recognize His voice. I learned more about the Spirit’s role in my life. His omniscience. The sound of His voice. His gentleness. His faithfulness. His companionship.

I am eternally grateful for the confidence and assurance available to me through the power of the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. I love knowing how very mindful Heavenly Father is of each one of His children. Alone. On a dark road. In the middle of nowhere.

 

Have you a ‘warning’ experience you would like to share with us?

Life Without Hope

I contemplated murder. For a day or so I deliberated how and when to kill ‘Chet’ -get rid of him- my mind engulfed with dark evil thoughts, anger and bitterness deadening my heart.

Frustration, rage and bitter resentful sensations replaced my previous feelings of warmth, affection, and the happiness I had shared with him. I no longer could speak with Chet. I wouldn’t speak to him. I became more locked into my miserable self made prison, completely blind to any goodness that resided in him. Suddenly one day, a glimmer of light shot through the dark and thankfully, I came to my senses and left him. It was that easy to stop short of becoming a real murderer.

No one but me and the Lord knows how close I came to acting out my (or were they mine?) thoughts and feelings. I left Chet-completely left town. For a long time I was haunted by the realization that I even got to that point in my heart and in my mind.

You likely think I’ve made this up. I’ve learned much from that experience. Because of this and other spaces I’ve been in, I’ve come to believe that most people that do not recognize the light of Christ, and haven’t the privileges offered by the gospel of Jesus Christ live absolutely the most wretched mortal lives.

A Christian Lacking the Promised Holy Ghost

Afterwards, I became a Christian. As I read my Bible I learned the differences between good and evil, truth and error. I learned how God wanted me to think and to behave. I learned that He loved me. I learned to trust Him. With all my being, desiring to honor, to serve and to please Him, I gave Him my all. That is what the lists of Feelings/Emotions in Part One  are all about. That is the plan I followed. That was a start.

When I’d left home I wasn’t affectionate, confident, happy, sensitive, warm or grateful about anything, or tender hearted. I barely knew what the word ‘tender’ meant. I had lots of work to do. I made every effort to rid myself of all negative feelings/emotions and thoughts and actions. I read my Bible. I studied. I prayed.

I was giving my best effort and still, 2 Timothy 3 spoke loudly to me. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves…proud, abusive… ungrateful…unholy, without love, unforgiving…without self control, brutal…—having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

I focused on acquiring kindness, peacefulness, love, joy and happiness. And still, it seemed to me that I didn’t quite measure up with others’ ability to be gentle, kind and loving-at least not on the inside.

At this point is where I believe we get stuck. We try our best and still, remain confused and powerless. We feel bad whenever we fall short. Our thoughts (if we examine them) betray our standards. Or should I say, God’s standards for us. Our feelings in motion speak loudly to everyone around us, of our lack of humility, perfection and holiness. The extent that Satan uses our ignorance and weaknesses to his advantage is atrocious. This creates confusion in our lives. Of course the adversary prefers that we don’t know this truth.

I didn’t understand it then. Now I do. Yes, I had come a very long way from the young woman that had harbored thoughts of resentment and murder. But I still experienced harsh thoughts and feelings in some situations. I still was too familiar with feelings of impatience, guilt, pride, and anxiety.

There still remained a certain amount of hardness- areas that lacked feeling in my heart. I could not erase or remove these on my own, no matter how hard I tried. No matter how much faith I had. No matter how many times I read my Bible. A thorough cleansing had to occur.

Today, this is the way I see it: I believe that these experiences are very close to where one begins to feel that feelings are undependable. On our own (without the benefit of the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, that Jesus Christ promised to send) we don’t recognize His magnificent gift. We must flounder.

“I baptise you with water for repentance. But after me will come One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with Spirit and with fire…burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:11

The Companionship of the Holy Ghost

With the indwelling of the gift and personage of the Holy Ghost, a new promising world opened up to me. First, I began to cry almost every time I knelt in prayer. A lot. Some days, I cried so much, the amount seemed ridiculous, even to me. I cried for forgiveness. I cried with pain. I cried when I felt the promised comforting hand of the Lord.

I cried especially when my heart began to be soft enough to actually FEEL the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I cried when His love overflowed the capacity of my heart to contain it all. I cried for joy and happiness.

I didn’t understand all those tears at the time. But I knew it had something to do with the hand of the Lord. And what was happening? My heart was being cleansed of any remaining darkness and pain. The rock hard section that I had not succeeded in wearing off with my own effort was being sanctified by the working of the Holy Ghost, provided by the gift of the Atonement.

I knew it one day on the phone. I was surprised to hear a soft tone in my voice that I had never recognized in myself. It was confirmed by my friend’s surprised response.

Here is my explanation for confusion regarding our feelings. We all have thoughts every waking hour. The Lord can prompt us with thoughts (the still small voice). And then, once we believe and recognize the possibility of that, it becomes important to know that Satan will also make every effort to inject his not so quiet thoughts into our minds and hearts as well. If we are not taught and when we do not recognize this- yes, there will be immense confusion. Our feelings will then definitely be undependable.

“From the beginning God chose you to be saved

by the sanctifying work of the Spirit

and through belief in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13

 

How do we learn to differentiate these voices which prompt our thoughts and affect our feelings? That is where the power of the Holy Spirit is meaningful. This is where the importance of a sincere heart and real intent come in.

Let me give you an example. One day, as my Bishop gave me advice, I felt a weight settle on my heart even while my mind accepted what he said. I promised to go home and pray about the matter–to consult with the Lord what I should do.

As I drove away, my thoughts instantly ran wild. “(You) don’t belong in this church.” “(You) should leave and never come back”. “This is all wrong”.  I had not gone a block and just as suddenly, I recognized, “Hey that’s not how I think. These are not my own thoughts! Where did that come from?”

As a new member of the Church of Jesus Christ I had been thoroughly thrilled and felt privileged to belong. I’d been given a powerful testimony of the truth of the restored gospel and I had never had a doubt of the veracity of the teachings. I loved my Bishop and I trusted that he had been prompted by the Lord. When I did approach the Lord in prayer, He did let me know that indeed, the Bishop had been correct in directing me thus.

Does this example show you what I am trying to explain? Because of the companionship of the Holy Ghost, because of His sanctifying power, and because of the tremendous feelings of love that Jesus Christ had poured into my heart, I was able to recognize a different foreign feeling. Because my heart had no doubts about my church and no malice towards my Bishop, (my thoughts & feelings were pure) I was able to recognize that this was not my ‘voice’.

If I would have had any negative feelings towards the church, if I would have lacked confidence in my decision to belong here, or if I would have held a grudge against my Bishop, do you see how these thoughts might have created confusion in my heart and in my mind? If I had not had the benefit of experiencing gentle loving thoughts and feelings from Christ, delivered by the Holy Ghost, I might have believed that Satan’s thoughts originated with me. The outcome might have been entirely different.

I know that “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” is the only true church on earth today. I know that Jesus Christ died for all of mankind and lives today. He is doing what He promised and empowers His faithful children when we accept His gift.

“Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.” Helaman 3:35 (BOM)

Continued in Part Three, we will briefly consider the effects of strong emotions and recognizing feelings from the Holy Spirit.