Saturday, September 29, 2018

Scripture study: D&C 103

1 Verily I say unto you, my friends, behold, I will give unto you a revelation and commandment, that you may know how to act in the discharge of your duties concerning the salvation and redemption of your brethren, who have been scattered on the land of Zion;
2 Being driven and smitten by the hands of mine enemies, on whom I will pour out my wrath without measure in mine own time.
3 For I have suffered them thus far, that they might fill up the measure of their iniquities, that their cup might be full;
4 And that those who call themselves after my name might be chastened for a little season with a sore and grievous chastisement, because they did not hearken altogether unto the precepts and commandments which I gave unto them.
5 But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them.
6 Behold they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour.
7 And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever.
8 But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them.
9 For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men;
10 And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.
11 But verily I say unto you, I have decreed that your brethren which have been scattered shall return to the lands of their inheritances, and shall build up the waste places of Zion.
12 For after much tribulation, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, cometh the blessing. (D&C 103)

When I was a child, I remember one place we lived had a circular above-ground pool. I spent nearly a whole summer in that pool. We would walk in one direction around the pool, then after we got a good current going, switch directions and try to walk against the current. Even standing still in the current was both difficult and sufficient to eventually overcome the current.

God wants you and I to yield to his every word. He has placed us here--wherever here is--to stand in the current, and even to walk against it. If we do what he has called us to do, we will eventually overcome the forces of the world where we are. 

This process is always the same. It involves a great deal of suffering on our part. However, this suffering is the only way we can, through the justice of God, encounter the great blessings he anxiously awaits to give us. Like baking a cake, if we exit early, all our suffering will be in vain. 

I have stood in many currents, and fought against many, and God has shown me many more that I will stand in. In all of this, I have never been given any reason to doubt his strength, his commitment, his wisdom, or his trustworthiness. No matter how absolutely hopeless a situation has seemed, he has always delivered me, and has always shown me that the path he placed me on was completely necessary and completely worthwhile. 

This world is full of turbulence, and it will get worse. Do not buy into any illusion of security. Do not sell your birthright for a bowl of porridge. The only safety is in God's will and word. There is no earthly power that can stand against God's will and word. I have seen situations as impossible as the Pharaoh not letting the Israelites go from Egypt, and I have seen God's will and word cut right through it. The key to releasing this power in your life is keep all of God's commandments, to seek and yield to his will in all things. 

The Lord Jesus said he gives peace, but a different kind of peace than the world purports to give. Peace in the world is measured by your goods or tangible situation. If you have lots of money, you feel secure. This is how the world gives peace, and it is completely worthless. Who you friends are, how much money you have, or whether your house is paid off will not protect you from bad things that can happen. Even worse, the better your temporal situation, the more it will occupy your mind. Worldly peace costs mental peace, and it seems like you can't have both at the same time. 

God's peace has absolutely nothing to do with your temporal situation. You can be sawn in half or burned at the stake and, in that moment, still have perfect peace. The world cannot take it away. This peace comes from a) knowing God's will for you, b) doing it without exception, and c) knowing his character sufficiently to believe his promises to you. When these qualities are present, you will have the peace that pervades the hearts and minds of all those that love God, and nothing in this world will be able to cause you to deviate from emulating God's character in yourself. No matter what hell you are put into, you will be in heaven. No one and nothing can take that away, only you can through turning away from or distrusting God.

His word will be fulfilled to the letter, every time, no matter what anyone else says or does, and no matter how hopeless a situation may seem. I have seen the most attractive things wither away, and I have seen the most unlikely promise be fulfilled to the letter. I have never seen God violate any of the promises he has made me, no matter how far-fetched and impossible they seemed. With a single decree, he can order the most unlikely outcomes. If you offered me the choice between all the riches and pleasures of the world and a promise from God, I will take God's promise every single time. 

He will shake all things that are not of him, and he will break them down. We get to choose if we will be left standing, because we filled ourselves with his will and word, or if we too will be ground to powder. 

If we are faithful like Alma and Amulek, who were subjected to the same shaking that caused the walls of the prison to fall, yet walked away unharmed, we will be saved by the very trials that destroy the institutions and people who stand against God.

God is good. He is worthy of all trust and obedience. He will lead, guide, and rescue us. Nothing is more powerful than he is. No one loves us like he does. His wisdom is perfect. His path is sure. He has graven us upon the palms of his hands, and we will never be disappointed if we lean on him.