09 January 2017

Panorama Ward conference theme 2016

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. That is our first Article of Faith. We believe that he wants us to have eternal glory, with Him.

His Son, Jesus Christ, taught us that 'After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven...' He taught us that we are children of Father in Heaven, one who has a kingdom.

For the past ten years I have been encouraging ward members to qualify for and receive driver's licenses to improve their self-reliance. As I worked with some of them, and with my own children, it became quite evident that the objective in the minds of many driver's license examiners is to look for every reason to fail the candidate. Contrast that with what I believe is the objective of our Father in Heaven as He will examine us in the final judgement. I firmly believe that the objective of our Heavenly Father is motivated by His love for us, and His absolute wish that each and everyone of us would come unto Him in purity of heart so that He can welcome us back into His presence. It grieves Him when we choose to become unclean in thought, word or deed. He taught Moses 'Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.' He wants everyone to pass, but every individual who passes will pass because he or she chose to repent. No one can pass while in an unclean state.

Alma taught 'And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.' As we develop these characteristics as part of our being, we repent, become clean and can  inherit the mansions prepared for us. The Saviour taught 'In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.' How sad it will be for a mansion to be prepared, but we fail to turn up to occupy it!

The Saviour also told a parable of great power.
31 ¶When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Some time ago I read about wealth creation. Robert Kyosaki mentioned hearing the Have, Be, Do relationship. In searching for this, I came across this by Tracy Corrigan 'The only way I could get a true definition of happiness for myself was to identify what it wasn’t. As in, what was absent: When I am NOT anxious, fearful, worried, scared, angry, resentful, depressed, sad, lonely, tired, jealous, greedy, lazy, hungry – I am at peace, and I am very happy. So, when I am calm, accepting, loving, kind, gentle, compassionate and empathetic towards myself, I am happy, and I can naturally extend those things to others because it is the very operating system of Who I Am. When I have let my judgments of the past, and projections onto the future go, I am fully present and happy with myself, wherever I am, doing exactly whatever it is I am doing at that moment. It is completely independent of people, places or things around me. BE happy is a state of being, not an emotion. That’s my definition of happiness for me, at least.'

In essence, as children of God, we HAVE divine potential. Sometimes we DO things that Heavenly Father wants us to DO. But, until we strive to BECOME, to BE, of a Divine Nature, we are not succeeding in Heavenly Father's vision for us. I recently heard someone comment on the term 'human beings', that we are not human doings or human knowings, but BEINGS.

Once again, to quote Jesus Christ in Matthew 22: 36-40:
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
 38 This is the first and great commandment.
 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, soul and mind. That ALL is everything.

I am reading the book The Undaunted and was impressed that young David is so excited when approaching his 6th birthday that he can start working at the mine! He will be underground in total darkness for most of 12-14 hours each day, earning some money to help his family. That touched my heart and made me think of the divine inspiration in Jacob's words 'And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.'

In the Sunday School discussion today we have read about looking to Christ as the children of Israel were instructed to look to the brazen serpent 'And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.' I have often thought about what this meant. If you were one of the children of Israel, in a camp of hundreds of thousands, even possibly 3 million people, what is the likelihood that you were conveniently close to the serpent to be able to simply turn and look? In all likelihood you would have needed to walk at least a few minutes, if not hours, to be able to look  upon it. But the promise was there, and it was simple - look, and live.

May we set out with devotion and commitment to follow the example of the faith, hope and charity exemplified by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Once again, as verbalized by Alma:
22 And now my beloved brethren, I have said these things unto you that I might awaken you to a sense of your duty to God, that ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received.
 23 And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
 24 And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.
 25 And may the Lord bless you, and keep your garments spotless, that ye may at last be brought to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the holy prophets who have been ever since the world began, having your garments spotless even as their garments are spotless, in the kingdom of heaven to go no more out.
Let us press forward in our duty to God being blameless, of the holy order, humble, submissive, gentle, spotless. Then we can be welcomed in to 'sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the holy prophets who have been ever since the world began' being comfortable in their presence, our confidence having waxed strong in the presence of God.

May our hearts be committed to so do, I hope and pray.