Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Light Comes in Packets

A friend of mine recently wrote:
"I really appreciate your insight. It helps me in coming closer to the Lord. I am just not as articulate as you to express what I am thinking. I am trying to get closer to the spirit so I can be of service to warn of impending things as well. I feel them often, but like the Lord said to Hyrum, it's not my time yet, I need to learn more of His word."

The scripture my friend referred to was:
Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men. (D&C 11:21)
This morning I was waiting on God on another topic, when he used the open channel to call this conversation back to my mind. He then taught me something I had never before considered on the topic, though I feel quite stupid for not having thought of it before.

It turns out that God's word is not a binary (on/off) thing. It is progressive. What this means is that, while you can truly have none of God's word on a subject, what is far more likely is that you have some share of it. You can have a little, a lot, or anything in between. It comes in packets. You get a little, then a little more, then a little more. Even the biggest revelations are only partial in nature. To prove this, flip to any revelation in the scriptures, and see if you can raise a question on that material that is not answered there. You will be able to do that every time. Even the most amazing revelations are only partial packets of truth.

If it were God's will that no one ever preached the gospel without a fullness of God's word on a topic, it is unlikely anyone would ever preach the gospel, as we are fallen, broken, weak little creatures in a desolate, dreary world.

If you are waiting until you know everything about something before you preach it, one of two things will happen. Either you will never preach anything, or you will come to a point where you falsely believe you know everything about a topic, and you will fall into Satan's snare by ignoring anything anyone teaches that contradicts what you know about it without honest evaluation.

God calls upon the weak things of this earth to thrash those who think they are mighty. That is the pattern in scripture. Whether it is stammering Moses, or second-string priest Ezekiel, it seems that he has a ready supply of those weak enough to listen to him among rejects like myself.

We are meant to share what we have been taught, in abject humility realizing that others may know far more than we do on a topic.
...it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor. (D&C 88:81)
It is not enough to keep the commandments. We must also teach them.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19)
When we are willing to share what we learn, the Lord gives us more. 

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. (Matthew 25:22)
Just two weeks ago, I was waiting on the Lord when all of the sudden the spirit recalled a question I had asked a few days prior on the relationship between body, soul, and spirit. In a snap of the fingers, the Lord communicated to me pages and pages of information, that I hurriedly transcribed afterward. It was such a concentrated package of light that I knew it would take me many days to unravel it all. I was very grateful for that communication. A day or two after that, my wife asked if we could attend a friend's church. I am not the church type these days, as I avoid situations that constrain the way I worship God like the plague. She was shocked when I immediately said yes. When she asked, the spirit said, "You didn't think was for you, did you? They will ask you to speak, and this is your topic." Sure enough, when we arrived, the normally-always-present teacher was absent without notice, and they asked if I would be willing to share a few words. These experiences, though not daily occurrences, have been common in the years since the Lord taught me that those who are willing to share what he gives them will be blessed with more, and those who do not will lose even what they have.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5)
9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. (Alma 12)
Now, a brief note on articulation. I know a few people whose articulation puts mine to shame. While there are times when I feel the word flowing through me, most times I feel like I am squeezing frozen molasses from a clogged tube. I have to push, and push, and push to force my mind to access God, organize words and thoughts, and construct the right questions to get the next bit of information. Once I wrote an entire book in about a month, where every evening the Lord granted for me to write about a chapter. Most times, it takes me about four hours to write a page and a half. Those four hours are filled with prayer, reading, waiting, writing, rewriting, shifting to another area, and repeating the whole process. Most of the time the Spirit leads me to work on something other than what I want to work on, and what I want to work on has to wait until some other time. This is why I have about 150 blog posts in draft form, and at least 3 books being drafted besides the one that will come out next. It's not a magical process. It's the closest thing to Army crawling through a sand pit the size of central park. But every time I get around people, I cry in my heart, "Lord, look at your children! Where can they turn to learn more about you! They are surrounded by rubbish. They have no reason to believe in you. They are in the darkness, and there is no light." He says "if you want that to happen, there is only one way." Now, God doesn't depend on me for anything. He is raising up very many servants (the subject of an upcoming post if it ever gets done). But each of these servants has to decide whether to crawl through the park or not.

My friend said, "I am not as articulate as you." When God told me to write "Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men," I thought it would be rapidly injected into my head like "Commanded in All Things" was. When I got to working on it, I realized quickly that the sophisticated writing needed to lay out that material was far beyond my capacity. I prayed and prayed and asked him to find someone else. I said, "Lord, I'm not capable of writing this." He responded, "Get capable!" It was not comforting at all. What seemed like a reasonable task ended up being the hardest thing I've ever done. It took me about four years of hours and hours of hard work every week, mostly at night. Even the revisions took forever. Articulation is not a trait, it is a skill. If you want to preach the gospel, you need to learn it. You will always be limited in your capacity to bring people to God by your ability to persuade and explain. We don't win souls by smooth talking, but we can lose them by preaching poorly.