Noah

faithI had a brief chat recently, with someone that loves just about everything about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, while rejecting the truth of the restored gospel. “All you need do is kneel in prayer and ask Heavenly Father whether this is the true church”, said I.

The response, “But I don’t believe all that other stuff”, meaning our controvertible history, questionable to the outside world, but truth and glory to the LDS heart.

I accused my chum of having the very little faith necessary, to not even consider approaching God in humble prayer, trusting Him to respond as He has promised each of His children. This episode along with ongoing thoughts and desires has me pondering the meaning of faith.

Not at all am I an expert. I am aware of the breadth of this topic and do not even promise to make a dent in its meaning.

Faith. This small word carries the weight of potential huge impact on the lives of mortals and is especially meaningful for our eternal destiny.

When you hear the word faith what comes to your mind? Today, I’d like to share one way I see it.

Picture a ruler.  Let’s make it a scale of one to ten. And let’s begin at where the majority of humankind seems to be. Now, please do remember, this is faith according to Lily…it is not gospel! It’s one concept to ponder in our spare time. 🙂

Where would you say the majority of people fit on a scale of faith? Where are you on this scale?

For fun here is my scale:

1.  Never having heard the gospel, still, most folks believe in something, -science, evolution, philosophies, etc-we’ll give them a one. “Live and let live” is their motto.

“By faith the harlot Rehab perished not with them that believed not” Hebrews 11:31

2.  These believe in Jesus Christ. Might not attend or associate with any church, but they do know of Him.

3.  These believe in Jesus Christ, are members of some church but do not know or follow all of His commandments. They have faith, but do they believe Him and all His words? Do they seek to know more from Him? Do they expect to hear from Him?

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

4.  Let’s place believers of the atonement of Jesus Christ, the gift of the Holy Ghost  and members of the true gospel at this level.

“By faith Moses…refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter…choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season…esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt…by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king” Hebrews 11:24-27

5.  These are members of the true gospel. However obeying commandments is not high on their list of priorities.

“Through faith (Moses) kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them” Hebrews 11:28

6.  These people believe the true gospel and live to obey the commandments of the Lord.

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down” Hebrews 11:30

7.  Attention to prayer, communication with God and a relationship with Christ is important to this group.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts”        Hebrews 11:4

8.  These diligently seek God. Desire to hear from Him. Sacrifice and serve when called upon. They are tested and face trials with His divine help.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went…For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:8-11

9.  These faithful follow directions and build an ark. That is, they have enough faith to accept their God given assignment.

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet…prepared an ark to the saving of his house” Hebrews 11:7

10.  These champions offer up all that they have.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac…his only begotten son” Hebrews 11:17

The following inspiring thoughts are written by Michael T. Ringwood of the Seventy in January’s Ensign, page 56 :

“Let’s look at Joseph Smith as an example of faith and of demonstrating the particles of desire, belief, and hope.

Joseph wanted to find the true Church of Jesus Christ. His desire was so strong that it led him to the scriptures, where he read, “if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5) He thought about this scripture. He desired to have wisdom, and he believed that he would receive it if he asked God. He did the only logical thing: he prayed and asked God.

Now think about this for a minute. Joseph had the desire to know the truth. He believed the words of James. He hoped for an answer. But if he had stopped there, we would not be here today. Exercising faith meant he had to enter the grove and pray.

I believe that when Joseph went into the grove to pray, he expected to walk out with an answer. He might not have expected to see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but he did expect an answer. What a great example of faith! He had desire, he believed, he hoped and he took action.

The faith of a 14 year old boy changed the world. Because of Joseph’s prayer in the Sacred Grove, the heavens were opened and God spoke again …”

 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1

So…what do you think of my list? Missing anything?

When you hear the word ‘faith’ what comes to your mind?

What does ‘faith’ look like in your life?

 

This post began with one thought that lead into another, that lead into another. You know how that is.

It began with something I was reading. “When the Lord has spoken through His servants, there have been at different periods of time many people in the earth who have said, “I do not believe in revelation.” This age is no exception to the rule.

The thousands, yes, the millions, of our Father’s children who live in the earth are but repeating the history of the past when they deny that God has revealed again His will to the children of men, and say that they have no need of any further revelation.” (George A. Smith, Improvement Era, Mar. 1949, 137)

Noah was a just man and perfect (Hebrew: complete, whole, having integrity) in his generations, and Noah walked (guided) with God.  Genesis 6:9 (KJV)

My first thought was of Noah and the days of the flood. Men had turned to wickedness. The earth was filled with violence and all flesh was corrupted. So God commanded Noah to build an ark, taught him detail upon detail how to accomplish this astonishing project and expounded on His plan for mankind.

“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth and His heart was filled with pain.” Genesis 6:5-6

Can you believe it possible that Noah was the only righteous man living on the earth at that time? That he alone chose to obey God’s commandments? The only person left in this world able to receive revelation-to hear the voice and instruction of the Lord?

Wow. Awfully near to 100% annihilation of humans off the face of this earth. What would have been the outcome had this one righteous man not been able and willing to hear and obey God?

I imagined Noah preaching and warning the people. Perhaps he had other children and even grandchildren that he supplicated with all his being. He would have had many other relatives-brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins. His heart must have felt an awful burden of grief and sorrow for those he knew and loved.

Noah did everything just as God commanded him. Genesis 6:22

As he explained what the Lord had planned, can you imagine people’s reactions as Noah built the ark? “Why would the Lord speak to you? What makes you so special?” “Who says you’re a prophet?” “We don’t believe in revelation.” “Go away-you’re wrong. God doesn’t speak to people anymore.” “You don’t know what you’re talking about Noah.”  “Ha, ha…he’s crazy!” “He’s losing his mind.”

Only 8 Were Saved

Once the door was sealed and the rain began, what was it really like for those eight people? They left behind people they loved and had shared their lives with. The scriptures don’t mention the state of their minds and their hearts at that time. What would they have felt? Despair? Anguish? Fear? Pain?

Not only was the world as they knew it a bit shattered, it was totally gone. Not a little at a time. It disappeared all at once. As the door slammed shut, each individual they had known and loved become only a memory of the past.

Each of them knew personally hundreds of people that perished. Heartbroken? Shocked? Scarred by the experience? I wonder how emotionally prepared they were for the future they faced.

And then perhaps, none of those torments would have lasted too long as they trustingly turned their hearts and their minds towards Heavenly Father.

I’ve always, because of a children’s song that ends with the phrase, “but only 8 were saved”, stopped at that thought. They were saved. But, what saved those 8 people?

Is it possible that they were the only people prepared to receive revelation? Did they hear a confirmation of the truth from the Lord, as they listened to Noah preaching? I believe they harkened to the Lord’s still small voice, humbly entered into covenant with God, and followed Noah into the ark.

Perhaps it’s possible that their hearts and their minds had long before been prepared as they received comfort, assurances, confidence and strength from the Lord for the choices they made.

There is none other but God that is capable of surrounding His children with a palpable comfort and peace that passes all mortal understanding. There is none other so capable of bathing broken hearts with His healing balm to make them whole again.

And then my thoughts rolled around back to the quote that began my musings. I thought of those I love. I pondered, if a prophet of the Lord came to this very town I live in, and told me it was time-right now- to leave everything-my kin, my home, my wealth-behind, how would I respond?

Am I ready to ask for and seek the Lord’s confirmation? Would I recognize and accept His true messenger? How would my neighbors react to our prophet? What would my family think? What would my family do? Would they come with me? Would I be able to go with the few and leave those most dear to my heart behind?

One day we will be dependent on the Lord’s direction to save our lives, perhaps even temporally. I wonder how many are truly prepared to recognize and listen to His voice, guidance and instruction. Or, will we be among the millions who say “We have no need of any further revelation”?

“For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:37-38

Which scriptural characters-those who are obedient to God’s commandments and hear and obey His voice- come to your mind? Which one is your favorite? Why?