guidance

“I’d be interested to see more references in scripture that talk about listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I’ve met many people who claim to follow these promptings and then do ridiculous things and even horrible things and say the Holy Spirit told them it was right…which then makes me wonder if it is happening at all…”

One of my friends wrote this comment last week on Facebook. I answered him some of what you’ll read here and at the same time realized that he had given me my topic for this week’s post.

Before I list any scriptural references, I’ll mention a few considerations that I have learned and that are important. There may be more points to make than these, but these are most basic.

First and foremost, in order to receive Him, one must have the indwelling of the Holy Ghost conferred by the laying on of hands by those in authority to do so.

“…the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:16-17

Secondly, the heart must be pure and the hands clean. (James 4:8) And we must be humble. Very humble. We don’t call the shots. “God resists the proud…gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6) Obeying the commandments, (John 14:21) repentance and keeping the covenants (promises) we make with God are all important as well. If there is sin in a person’s life, the Holy Ghost will leave that person.

“We cannot have the companionship of the Holy Ghost-the medium of individual revelation-if we are in transgression or if we are angry or if we are in rebellion against God’s chosen authorities” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, (“Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 9)

“Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear; For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite” D & C 136:33

And thirdly, we receive revelation for our own lives and those that we are responsible for. I may be prompted by the Spirit for myself or concerning a situation with my family. The Bishop of a ward may be led by the Holy Spirit regarding the care of one of his members; however, he would not receive revelation pertaining to the direction of the whole church.  That is not his area of responsibility.

“Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world” D & C 50:2

Lastly, I would say that if you feel folks “do the ridiculous and horrible” then you are able to recognize or discern that it cannot possibly be a truth. Remember the fruit of the Spirit? None of these fruit lead one to feel repelled or disgusted.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:22-24

Here are some Scriptural References about listening to promptings or receiving personal revelation:

John 16:13-15 “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears and He will tell you what is yet to come” (A favorite I’ve had marked for very many years)

Acts 8:29 “Spirit said unto Philip, Go near…”

Acts 10:19 “The Spirit said unto him…”

Acts 11:28 “and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world”

1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly”

Galatians 5:18, 25 “led of the Spirit”

1 Kings 19:12 “a still small voice”

2 Peter 1:21 “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4 “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”

Psalms 12:6 “The words of the Lord are pure…as silver-purified seven times”

Job 33:14 “God speaketh”

John 10:4 “sheep know His voice”

John 14:21 “I will love him and manifest Myself to him”

John 14:26 “The Holy Ghost shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance”

Hebrew 3:7, 15 and 4:7 “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”

1 John 5:6 “it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth”

Galatians 2:2 “I went in response to a revelation”

Isaiah 58:11 “The Lord shall guide thee continually”

1 Nephi 11:11 “Spirit…spake unto me as a man speaketh with another”

Jacob 4:13 “for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not…”

Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3 “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart”

Heavenly Father desires us to receive revelation.  Many times in the scriptures we are reminded to “Ask, and ye shall receive”.

“Ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. Moroni 10:4-5

I feel privileged to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints -to have come to the place that indeed does have the authority to confer that precious gift of the Holy Ghost.

“I am He which searcheth the reins (desires and thoughts) and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works” Revelation 2:23 

There is much to ponder as we read and study the scriptures. The condition of our heart is important when we consider our relationship with God. Searching all the scriptures that mention the condition of the heart may teach us much about purity and humility.

Jesus Christ lived, died and is resurrected. He lives. He has done what He said He would do. There is a connection between obeying His commandments, repentance when we do not and the guidance and inspiration from the Holy Spirit that we long for. He freely gives as we grow in righteousness.

How have promptings (personal revelation) helped you in your family and church responsibilities and other areas of your life? 

Why would personal revelation be so very important in our day?

 

“Our ever faithful Heavenly Father took my prayer seriously and that summer implemented situations in my life that would direct me at last to His true church. That is a story for another time.” 

The paragraph above was written in “First, My Story”. Today’s post gives you the addition.

There may be countless times in our lives when we are guided by the Lord but we do not necessarily recognize it.

“When He, the Spirit of truth is come,

He will guide you

into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself;

but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak” John 16:13 (KJV)

In the spring of 2005 I prayed a simple prayer stating that I desired to find the church where His Holy Spirit would be found. That was the full desire of my heart. In September, after my summer excursions, I intended to begin ‘church shopping’.

My plans included attending a convention in Salt Lake City, followed by a journey to Texas for a few weeks.

Shortly after uttering this prayer, I began to have a very strong feeling that I should include a week experience at an herb farm, at the invitation of the company.

Supposing that it would broaden my knowledge of essential oils I registered. This would take place immediately after convention.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)

One evening during convention, half heartedly, I followed a couple of my friends on a tour of Temple Square. There, I met young female missionaries with innocence, openness and with a light in their eyes which I hadn’t seen before.

They spoke with great reverence about Mormon history. I learned that they had paid their own way to volunteer for a year and half.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was performing the next morning. Alone, I attended “Music and the Spoken Word” live. My heart was deeply moved. The lady next to me was warm and friendly. I was in tears and could hardly respond. Embarrassed, I sought escape.

I spent the following week at the farm in Mona Utah. We worked in 100+ degree weather and there was very little time or energy for chatting. But one important incident kept repeating in my mind.

One day, K.C. the farm manager felt that I had responded disrespectfully to his boss. All he said was “Lily.” No anger. Firm. I had never heard that tone of authority by anyone in all of my life.

It did not make me feel afraid and I quickly realized how respectful he was of his boss. Later, as I pondered, I realized that something in his tone had actually made me feel safe and protected, even while I was the one being admonished.

For days, I wondered what the difference was. (Friends, do you know?)

On the fifth day, K.C. enquired about my church, mission to Africa and experiences.

That evening back in my hotel room, very strong on my mind, I kept wondering. “He asked me about my church. Why didn’t I ask him about his church?”

And then time ran out. It was our last day and K.C. left the farm early that day. I left for Texas with the intention of writing my new friend to ask my questions.

Soon after getting home one day, I was enjoying a great upbeat day. I sat down to check my email and someone had posted a very short video clip-maybe 30 seconds- of the farm. Nothing outstanding or spectacular. I watched it and abruptly out of nowhere it seemed to me, copious tears flowed.

That is when I began to speculate. What was happening? Why the tears ‘out of nowhere’? Had God been answering my prayer all summer? Was He trying to get my attention?

I struggled and questioned Him. “You really want me to become a Mormon? Are you sure? Lord, that is the last place I ever would have thought You would send me. Really? Oh, dear.”

“And the Lord shall guide you continually,

and satisfy thy soul in drought” Isaiah 58:11

I wrote K. C. and his wife Marilyn asking many questions, eager to learn more about the Mormon faith. Very faithfully they responded…weeks of exchanged letters, carefully teaching me the truths of the restored gospel.

They mentioned the official LDS website. There, were more teachings regarding the Holy Ghost-the same as I’d always believed and even more! Joy and great hope flooded my heart. I began to believe that this was the answer to my prayer.

Finally, in September, I invited the missionaries to visit. I noticed that they too, have a deep respect and love for the Lord. God’s light shone in their eyes. Patiently and with evident joy, they answered my questions and then left a Book of Mormon with me.

Again I was told, “If you will ask our Heavenly Father with a sincere heart, with real intent, the truth will be made known to you.”

As soon as they left, I read a few passages. As I relaxed with this precious book in my arms, the warmest gentle feeling filled my heart and I was given a vision of the truth of the Book of Mormon. It was a powerful testimony.

“You will seek Me and find Me when you

seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Since my conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Heavenly Father has blessed me immeasurably with deep peace, assurance, comfort, joy and love. He continues to guide and inspire me daily. I continue to be amazed how He guides me step by step.

God does answer prayer. He keeps all of His promises. He will do this for you. He lives to do this for each of His children.

Is there a time that have you were guided by the Lord? I’d love to read about it.

“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