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Faith – The Third Hour

February 24, 2015

2Nephi 2:22-23

And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden.  And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

Our Father in Heaven works all things for our good.  How can we be happy if we don’t know what sadness is?  Kahlil Gibran says,

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

The deeper our sadness, the greater our joys.  The difficulties of life are worked for our own good.

2 Nephi 2:11

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.  If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.  Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.  

How can we choose the right if there isn’t a choice to make?  If all were good, what choice would that be?  There needs to be a balance, so that we can choose the right to our own happiness, or the wrong to our own misery.

D&C 88:63-64

Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you.

And if ye ask anything that is not expedient for you, it shall turn unto your condemnation.

If you diligently seek the Lord, you will find him.  How do you seek him?  In prayer, in scripture study, in church and Temple attendance, in serving others, and in a frame of mind that is focused on him.  If you ask for something that is right for you to receive, the Lord will give it to you.  If you ask for something that’s not good…either he’ll be all, “What the heck? No way, man!” or, even worse, he’ll be all, “Ok fine, here you go.” and that’s the *worst* thing that could happen.  Because if you are given something that’s not good for you to have, how can anything good come from it?  Seek only for things that are good, thereby you will be happy and can bless the lives of others.

2 Nephi 2:25

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

The reason why Adam left the Garden of Eden was so that we could be born.  The reason why we’re born is so that we can be happy.  Pretty straight forward. =)

2 Nephi 2:16

Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself.  Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

One of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father gave to us is the freedom of choice.  Often people ask, “why does God allow bad things in the world?  Why does God allow suffering?”

Suffering and pain comes from the misuse of the freedom of choice by others.  Think about it.  Wars are caused by power hungry tyrants seeking power instead of choosing to help others.  Famine? Misuse of resources by greedy people instead of sharing with others. Abuse? Misuse of the freedom of choice by other humans.  Rape? One human choosing to hurt another rather than helping them.  Other sadness is caused by the simple fact that we’re alive on a fallen world with an imperfect body.

So here we are, with this freedom to choose.  As mentioned above, how can we choose the right unless the wrong choice is also available?  There must be opposition or we cannot exercise our free will to do good.

2 Nephi 1:6-7

Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.

Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring.  And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.

How come so many of the scriptures I love are in 2 Nephi?  =D

As an immigrant, I loved this scripture.  It was like Lehi was referring specifically to me.  “Hey, Keeley, you came into this land because the Lord wanted you to be here.  And if you follow the Lord you’ll be free and blessed.” That’s a pretty nifty thing to read. =)

Isaiah 53:11

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Our Saviour walks with us and knows us; all our thoughts and desires, and therefore can judge us truly, righteously, fairly, with justice and mercy.

1 Nephi 22

Wherefore, my brethren, I would that ye should consider that the things which have been written upon the plates of brass are true; and they testify that a man must be obedient to the commandments of God.

The plates of brass are the Book of Mormon.  It is a true book.  It is the owner’s manual for this life.  Follow the precepts therein in order to get the optimal result.

1 Nephi 21:15-16, Isaiah 49:15-16

For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands…

Our Saviour will never forget us.  Not us as a whole – though certainly that too – but us individually.  My Saviour will never forget me.  He has carried my burdens, eased my woes, encouraged me, held my hand, paid for my sins, been tortured and nailed to a cross, ridiculed, died, and rose again.  For me.  He will never forget me, and is always with me.  I am so grateful.  ❤

1 Nephi 19:23

And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.

In order to gain a stronger testimony of the Saviour, read Isaiah.  Whatever you read, pretend it’s directed at you.  Even include your name if you like.  It can make it easier to understand.

Ether 12:9, 11-12

Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.

Wherefore by faith was the law of Moses given.  But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled.

For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.

I think I had underlined that first scripture because it made me smile.  A few years ago I was pregnant.  A lovely young lady called Gretchen Killingbeck gave a masterful, uplifting, and encouraging talk on Hope.  At that point I decided our child, if it were a girl, would be called Hope.  So verse 9 would make me smile because the child was a gift and wouldn’t it be funny if we had another child and called her Faith? =D

But then I lost the baby and so Hope died and at that particular time it seemed pretty apropos because it was one of the darkest times of my life. Man, that sucked.

But then we move on to the other verses.  With faith we can do anything, and so can the Lord.  If we have faith he can work miracles in us.

Some people say, “show me the miracle first! Then I will believe.” but that’s not how it works.  That’s like looking at a fireplace and saying “Give me heat first! Then I will light you.”

No no.  First you must gather the wood.  You much chop it to the appropriate size.  You must gather kindling.  You must lay the kindling in such a way that it easily catches fire. You must gently, carefully, fan the tiny flame.  You must stay there, focusing on it, adding larger then larger pieces until the fire is roaring and you are warm.  Then you must tend the flame so it doesn’t go out.

That is faith.  First you do the work, then comes the miracle.  Faith precedes the miracle, not the other way around.

Alma 32:21

And now as I said concerning faith – faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

It’s kind of astonishing I don’t have the entire chapter of Alma 32 in here.

Faith doesn’t mean you know everything.  How can it be?  If you know everything, that’s knowledge.  Faith is saying, “Well.  I trust you.  So here we go!” and you step out on to that invisible ledge just like Indiana Jones.  And waddya know, the ledge is there and you can go get the cure.

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Hmmm…..maybe that scripture will come later…..

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