When The Lord Commands   Leave a comment

          In April of 2010, at General Conference, there was a talk given by Bruce A. Carlson of The Second Quorum Of The Seventy, that i’m sure at the time I took note of, but failed to allow to sink into my mind. Perhaps this talk is much like what happens when we study the Standard Works, and stumble upon a scripture we easily could have read over a dozen times, and yet, the 13th time, we find it pivotal to our current situations.
          This talk, and many other great ones really hit home for me. We all know that our leaders, and the council they give us come down from the Lord. Revelation is one of the blessings, and foundational principles upon which we, as Sons and Daughters of a loving Heavenly Father can draw upon to know and execute the will of the Lord. I mentioned not too long ago, in a previous blog, a highlight from the “Shumway Sequence” (A Special Draft of 5 points our Stake President has given as revelatory field guidance for successful progression and expansion of the Lubbock Texas Stake.) which was:

“# 2. ALL THINGS ACCOMPLISHED ACCORDING TO THE LORD’S TIMING“.

          I submit that this principle goes hand in hand with the faithful execution of another principle, “Obedience To The Laws And Ordinances Of The Gospel.” This is one of the “Lubbock Standard Of Success” (The entire Stake) items. Granted these items have been told us, for our stake, yet I submit and testify that if we obey, if we do the will of the Lord 100 %, and leave our will out of that plan, we simply will not, and cannot lose.

          It requires deep Faith, and great trust in the Lord to move forward, even when we may not see or exactly know what adversity we may very well wade through. The Shumway Sequence reminds us that we need to:

“#4. INCREASE OUR DESIRE TO HAVE A DEEPER LEVEL OF TRUST AND FAITH.”

          Now I submit the text of the talk I spoke of in the beginning.
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The story is told of two outdoor enthusiasts who hired a bush plane to fly them to a remote lake for their annual fishing trip. Following a successful outing, the pilot returned to retrieve them. However, he quickly informed the fishermen that his small plane would not support them, their equipment, and the added weight of the fish they had caught. A second flight would be required.
Now, the sportsmen were not interested in paying for a second round-trip. So after a promise to pack tightly and a small bonus payment, the pilot reluctantly agreed to attempt the flight.
The fishermen grinned knowingly as the pilot forced the aircraft into the air. However, seconds later the plane stalled and crashed into a large, flat swampy area at the end of the lake.
The plane had stalled as it flew because of a well-known phenomenon called “ground effect.” Ground effect is created when air is compressed between the aircraft’s wings and the earth’s surface—when they are in close proximity. In this case, as the bush plane inched its way upward out of ground effect, it was required to fly on its own power, which it simply could not do.
Fortunately there were no serious injuries, and after regaining their senses, one of the fishermen asked the other, “What happened?” The second replied, “We crashed on takeoff—about a hundred yards (91 m) from where we ended up last year!”
Like the two sportsmen, occasionally we believe that there must be an easier way, a shortcut or modification of the Lord’s commandments that will accommodate our individual circumstances. Thoughts such as these fail to acknowledge that strict obedience to God’s laws brings His blessings and failure to abide by His laws leads to foreseeable consequences.
At the time of his appointment as President of the Church, Harold B. Lee said: “The safety of the Church lies in the members keeping the commandments. … As they keep the commandments, blessings will come.” 1
When we choose to disobey a commandment, it is usually because (1) we have convinced ourselves that the commandment does not apply to us; (2) we do not believe that it is important; or (3) we are certain that it is too difficult to obey.

1. This Commandment Doesn’t Apply to Me

During the closing years of King Solomon’s reign, the Lord informed him through His prophet, “I will … rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.” 2
 
Shortly thereafter, the prophet Ahijah identified that servant as Jeroboam, an “industrious” man whom Solomon had made “ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.” 3 Jeroboam’s duties required him to travel from the mountains of Ephraim, where he lived, to the capital of Jerusalem. During one of those trips, Ahijah met him along the road. Through Ahijah, the Lord said, “I will … give ten tribes to thee.” 4 He also instructed Jeroboam, “If thou wilt … walk in my ways … to keep my statutes and my commandments, … I will be with thee … and will give Israel unto thee.” 5
 
After hearing of Ahijah’s prophecy, Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam, so Jeroboam fled to Egypt. 6 Upon Solomon’s death Jeroboam returned from exile to the northern part of Israel and began to lead the northern ten tribes. 7
 
However, Jeroboam’s plan to rule the kingdom involved a mixture of good and evil. He established Shechem as the nation’s capital, a city of great religious significance to his people. But sadly he introduced satanic rituals into their worship. 8
 
Jeroboam convinced himself that some of God’s commandments were not applicable to him. As a result of his actions, all of his descendants were slain, and because of the heathen practices he had introduced into their sacred ordinances, the ten tribes of Israel were eventually driven from their inheritance. 9
 
Just as flying out of ground effect with more weight than an aircraft’s wings can sustain will lead to disastrous consequences, our partial or selective compliance with God’s laws will fail to bring the full blessings of obedience.

2. This Commandment Is Not Important

Decades later Naaman, a Syrian war hero, “a mighty man in valour,” 10 traveled from his native country to Israel and approached the king, Jehoram, to be healed of leprosy. 11
 
Naaman was directed to the prophet Elisha. “And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, … and thou shalt be clean.” 12
 
Despite this prophetic promise to be cured, Naaman was offended that Elisha did not greet him in person and even more insulted with the prophet’s direction to wash seven times in the small and muddy Jordan River. His pride demanded something more noteworthy and grand, something matching his stature and place in the community and nation.
Fortunately for Naaman, his servants convinced him that regardless of what the prophet asked him to do, if obeyed, it would bring the Lord’s blessings. Naaman washed himself in the Jordan River as directed and, as a result of his obedience, was cured of his leprosy. 13
 
Obedience to the Lord’s commands, in spite of how trivial or unimportant we believe them to be, will surely bring His promised blessings.

3. This Commandment Is Just Too Hard

Following the Lord’s command, the prophet Lehi led his family into the wilderness. During the first few days of the journey, Lehi instructed his son Lemuel to be “firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord!” 14
 
However, when the prophetic requirement came to return to Jerusalem to retrieve the brass plates, containing a “record of the Jews,” 15 the two oldest boys rebelled, saying, “It is a hard thing.” 16
 
Despite his older brothers’ murmuring, Nephi’s faith in and obedience to the Lord’s commands led to obtaining those brass plates. A nation was built, a language was preserved, and the gospel of Jesus Christ was taught for generations to come.
At times we may rationalize that the Lord will understand our disobedience because our special circumstances make adherence to His laws difficult, embarrassing, or even painful. However, faithful obedience, regardless of the apparent size of the task, will bring the Lord’s guidance, assistance, and peace.
The Prophet Joseph Smith petitioned the Lord on two occasions, asking if a prominent friend, Martin Harris, could take the first 116 handwritten pages of translated material from the book of Lehi from Harmony, Pennsylvania, back to Palmyra. Each time, the Lord counseled Joseph to avoid entrusting the manuscript to Mr. Harris.
Martin was seeking to use the translated material as evidence to stop his associates from spreading rumors about his friendship with Joseph Smith. On the third request the Lord granted Joseph’s appeal. 17
Martin lost the manuscript, and as a result the plates were taken from the Prophet Joseph Smith for an extended period. This was a painful lesson for the Prophet Joseph, who said, “I made this my rule: When the Lord commands, do it. 18 This should and can be our rule as well.
The Lord’s response when we obey His commandments is sure. He has promised us, “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life.” 19
 
Additionally He has counseled us, “I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.” 20
 
Obedience to the Lord’s commandments provides us confidence in our chosen path, qualifies us for His guidance and direction as we pursue our efforts, and offers us the potential to become like our Savior, Jesus Christ, and return to our Father’s presence.
It is my prayer that each day will find us striving to be more obedient to the laws, ordinances, and commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ in order that He may more fully bless our lives.
I testify that obedience to God’s commands brings the blessings of heaven; that our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, live; that the Book of Mormon is the word of God; and that President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s prophet for our day, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
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The Shumway Sequence

1.ALWAYS STRIVING TO INCREASE TIME SPENT AROUND THE SPIRIT“…Humble yourselves before the Lord…call upon His holy name…watch and pray continually… and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all longsuffering.” (Alma 13:28)

2.ALL THINGS ACCOMPLISHED ACCORDING TO THE LORD’S TIMING“Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you.” (Doctrine & Covenants Section 67:14)

3.THERE IS SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE IN THE SERVICE YOU ARE GIVING“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17)

4.INCREASE OUR DESIRE TO HAVE A DEEPER LEVEL OF TRUST AND FAITH“…exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.” (Alma 32:27 –Faith)“I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good- yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously ; and this is my Spirit.”(Doctrine & Covenants Section 11:12 – Trust)

5.IF YOU ARE HERE NOW, YOU ARE FOREORDAINED TO BE HERE.“And this is the manner after which [we] were ordained – being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; …therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling…which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.” (Alma 13:3)

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Posted July 28, 2011 by rexfordgbeardsleyjr in When The Lord Commands

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