Happy 4th and Repentance Too

Happy 4th and Repentance too

I recently posted and sent out an article about Grace, Faith, Hope, Mercy etc.; you should read it. We are and will continue to need it. We must come to ourselves and arise and come to our Father and acknowledge our sins against heaven (see Luke 15:11-24 about the prodigal son); then Grace through Mercy, via the Atonement will be available to all who are willing to turn and face Him.

It is also a time to reflect on the blessing we have received from living in God’s ‘Promised Land’. But first, in light of the fact that we have failed to keep the Republic that Benjamin Franklin cautioned us about, we are in need of repentance, for we have been asleep at the wheel or the helm, and tares have been sown among the wheat (since its beginning) and the harvest is fast approaching. In listening to many messages over the last year, I have heard very few speak about the need for repentance (whether religious or secular), other than a casual passing comment.

“If you wish to go where God is, you must be like God, or possess the principles which God possesses, for if we are not drawing towards God in principle, we are going from him and drawing towards the devil. Yes, I am standing in the midst of all kinds of people. Search your hearts, and see if you are like God. I have searched mine, and feel to repent of all my sins.” Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 216-17

We lost many freedoms with 9/11 and the Patriot Act and we are now losing many of our Constitutional liberties and freedoms as those of the dark side take advantage of a pandemic. The news is full of noise, lies, contradictions and distractions; all tools of the adversary of our souls. We must awake and arise as Moroni brought to our attention in Either 8: 23 “Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be. 24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up. 25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning. 26 Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.”

Elder Bednar recently and correctly addressed how the governmental responses to COVID-19 has put our Constitutional liberties in jeopardy. Elder David A. Bednar – COVID-19 and Religious Freedom.

In Jacob 5:66 he says: … the Lord will sweep away the bad out of the vineyard… and in Ether 2:8: … those in the promised land who do not serve God shall be swept off…”. Those of you who know the Book of Mormon well and Israel’s history in the Bible also know that this is a recurring theme in the realm of men and one of our greatest challenges in this cycle of growth on this planet.

Next, may you all have a great 4th and remember that you have had the privilege of living in the greatest and most blessed land in the world; a country that was established by the will of God, and inspired our founding Fathers. Their writings are full of their acknowledgement of His hand in its creation. With only 3% of the populace in the colonies willing to challenge the British, it is by the faith of those men, in God, and in the righteous cause for the liberties granted by Him, that they were willing to sacrifice their all; and they did. They stated, “We are, and of right ought to be free.” And “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.” So let us not forget them as we see this nation destroy itself.

Washington’s army had less than 10,000 men; less than one half of one percent to the entire country. Washington issued orders to his men: “The time is now near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves, whether they are to have any property they can call their own….The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance…. We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die. Our own country’s honor [calls] upon us…. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being… to… encourage us to great and noble actions. The eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings and praises if, happily, we are the instrument of saving them from the tyranny meditated against them. Let us therefore… show the whole world that a freeman contending for LIBERTY on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.”

Of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence: Nine died of wounds or hardships during the war; five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment; several lost wives, sons or entire families; one lost his 13 children; two wives were brutally treated; all were at one time or another, the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes’ twelve signers had their homes completely burned; seventeen lost everything they owned; yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word.

Thomas Paine by campfire light wrote: “These are times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he who stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph… Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

My personal view, which I am sure many I know will not agree with (but many do), the time is far spent and all things are in His hands. Our duty is to seek Him and to do His will and endure the trials that are fast upon us (don’t flinch). Romans 13: 12-14 “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day, not in rioting and drunkeness, not in chambering and wantoness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” That certainly describes todays events. The true desires of our hearts will be tried in the crucible of affliction, but if we seek to know His word and come unto Him we have many promises extended to us, including: Ephesians 1:  4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one call things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”.

President Russel M. Nelson did recently state that besides being temporally prepared (food, water, shelter, rainy day fund etc.) we more importantly need to be prepared spiritually. Those who have studied the scriptures need to ask themselves about the events we see and hear about each day. Many think our current circumstances will soon pass and life will return to “normal”. Let me tell you, chaos is probably the true normal and it is upon us and will persist until the “Glorious Day.” Matthew 16: 3 “And in the morning, it will be foul weather to day; for the sky is red and lowring (dark and gloomy). O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye bot discern the signs of the times?

May you all be blessed in your endeavors, but seek to be among the wise virgins, who had the necessary oil in their lamps to see their way to the grooms reception.

“If we don’t change direction we will arrive at where we’re going.” Richard L. Evans

“Your past controls your now. You can only control the future by what you do now. But what you do now controls all eternity.”

The scary part for us is this quote from George Orwell’s “1984”. “Who controls the past controls the future.”  Remember the winners write the history to the detriment of the losers and today we see the desire to erase our nations history. Tyranny is about control as is communism and socialism. But you can apply this quote to your own personal journey back to His presence by choosing wisely as you go. Sincere repentance allows you to wipe out the negative effects of your past as you move forward, allowing you true freedom. You are free to choose whether to act or be acted upon. 2 Nephi 2: 14 & 26.

“You must choose your world: this one or the next. You cannot choose both. Your past controls your now. You can only control the future by what you do now. But what you do ‘now’ controls all of eternity. The most important lessons in life, shedding the greatest light, are almost invariably the most painful as well. That is as it must be.” As Neal A. Maxwell also pointed out, too many think they can have one foot in Babylon and another in Zion. It will not work.

JTH- June 28, 2020

Also see “The Miracle of America” (Birth of a Nation).

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Grace-Faith-Works-Salvation-Agency

Grace-Faith-Works-Hope-Salvation-Agency

Helpful Definitions

Grace: Unmerited favor; divine assistance; it is by Grace that we are saved after all we can do.

Mercy: tenderness; kindness.

Works: exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil. A productive or operative activity.

Faith: “… is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, which are true.”

Hope: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. Real hope can only exist in and through Christ. Hope in anyone else will bring disappointment and despair.

Redemption: is used in speaking of the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ and our deliverance from sin. He redeemed us with His blood.

Salvation: “Salvation is nothing more nor less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet. And when we have power to put all enemies under our feet in this world, and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, then we are saved, as in the case of Jesus, who was to reign until He had put all enemies under His feet, and the last enemy was death.” TPJS p. 297. See endnotes.

Born Again: Born again, or to experience the new birth, is a phrase, particularly in evangelicalism, that refers to “spiritual rebirth”, or a regeneration of the human spirit from the Holy Spirit, contrasted with physical birth.

This is the ultimate meaning, which will take multiple cycles of creation to reach. I will not pursue this topic now. There are multiple levels of discussion on this topic and the word itself and it is not the purpose of this paper. The discussion here, as found in the scriptures, is related to being ‘born again’ and what that entails. Are we saved by grace or works or both? In some churches the focus is on works and a long slow process of sanctification, while in others it is the one-time declaration that Christ is their Savior. Keep in mind the definition of grace above. The conclusion will result from the study of the scriptures below. The other theme that I will not be discussing is that one can fall from grace and also reclaim it. The key in this is to endure to the end, and that involves a constant return to humility, repentance and prayer, and facing Him who is mighty to save. Ponder, don’t just read.

Agency, Mercy , Repentance  and Redemption and the role of works

These are all linked. You are in a state of probation here; your salvation is at stake here. You have a choice to make and in reality there are only two.

2 Nephi 2: 14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon… 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… 21 And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents. 25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. 26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. (This freedom is to choose to act or to be acted upon. As you will see you have two choices). 27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. 28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; 29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom. (Men’s works are related to their desires to listen to one of two spirits; the LORD God or Satan.) “If we don’t change direction we will arrive at where we are going.” Richard L. Evans. “It is our desires that ultimately determines the choices we make, and consequently our actions and works.”  “You must choose your world; this one or the next; you cannot choose both.” You cannot serve two masters.(Matthew 6: 24)

If there was no Atonement, all men would be lost. This chapter also explains that Adam and Eve would have remained in their state forever and would have had no children.

Mosiah 2: 36 And now, I say unto you, my brethren, that after ye have known and have been taught all these things, if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom’s paths that ye may be blessed, prospered, and preserved— 37 I say unto you, that the man that doeth this, the same cometh out in open rebellion against God; therefore he listeth to obey the evil spirit, and becometh an enemy to all righteousness; therefore, the Lord has no place in him, for he dwelleth not in unholy temples. 38 Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever. 39 And now I say unto you, that mercy hath no claim on that man; therefore his final doom is to endure a never-ending torment. 40 O, all ye old men, and also ye young men, and you little children who can understand my words, for I have spoken plainly unto you that ye might understand, I pray that ye should awake to a remembrance of the awful situation of those that have fallen into transgression. 41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

 

Mosiah 3: 16 And even if it were possible that little children could sin they could not be saved; but I say unto you they are blessed; for behold, as in Adam, or by nature, they fall, even so the blood of Christ atoneth for their sins… 19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. Alma 22: 14 And since man had fallen, he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance,…”

 

Alma 40: 26 But behold, an awful death cometh upon the wicked; for they die as to things pertaining to things of righteousness; for they are unclean, and no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God; but they are cast out, and consigned to partake of the fruits of their labors or their works, which have been evil; and they drink the dregs of a bitter cup.

 

Alma 41: 2 I say unto thee, my son, that the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order. Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every apart of the body should be restored to itself. 3 And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good. 4 And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame—mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption—raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other—5 The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh. 6 And so it is on the other hand. If he hath repented of his sins, and desired righteousness until the end of his days, even so he shall be rewarded unto righteousness. 7 These are they that are redeemed of the Lord; yea, these are they that are taken out, that are delivered from that endless night of darkness; and thus they stand or fall; for behold, they are their own judges, whether to do good or do evil. 8 Now, the decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved. 10 Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. 11 And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state (Natural Man), are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness. 12 And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature? 13 O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful. 14 Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again. 15 For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.

 

Alma 42: 1 And now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand—which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery. 2 Now behold, my son, I will explain this thing unto thee. For behold, after the Lord God sent our first parents forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground, from whence they were taken—yea, he drew out the man, and he placed at the east end of the garden of Eden, cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the tree of life—3 Now, we see that the man had become as God, knowing good and evil; and lest he should put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever, the Lord God placed cherubim and the flaming sword, that he should not partake of the fruit—4 And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God. 5 For behold, if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partaken of the tree of life, he would have lived forever, according to the word of God, having no space for repentance; yea, and also the word of God would have been void, and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated. 6 But behold, it was appointed unto man to die—therefore, as they were cut off from the tree of life they should be cut off from the face of the earth—and man became lost forever, yea, they became fallen man. 7 And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will. 8 Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness. 9 Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death. 10 Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state. 11 And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside) as soon as they were dead their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord. 12 And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man had brought upon himself because of his own disobedience; 13 Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God. 14 And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence. 15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also. 16 Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul. 17 Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment? 18 Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience unto man. 19 Now, if there was no law given—if a man murdered he should die—would he be afraid he would die if he should murder? 20 And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin. 21 And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature? 22 But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the claw, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God. 23 But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice. 24 For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved. 25 What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God. 26 And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery. 27 Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds. 28 If he has desired to do evil, and has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God. 29 And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.

30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.31 And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bbring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen.

 

I wish to include James discussion on works for your convenience, but note that the works are really the result of faith in Him who changes our hearts.

 

James 2: 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

The change of our hearts that brings about our seeking to do good works is noted in Ezekiel:

Ezek. 8: 30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31 ¶ Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Ezek. 36: 24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 ¶ Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. We can ask for this change of heart- see Alma 22: 15.

 

Now, in taking a little different look at all of this, one can ask if, after a person has used his agency to choose the path of righteousness, can it take time and even many years before they realize their redemption? The answer is of course; yes; but it is still the result of His Grace; and when it happens it will be an event. Just ask Nephi (3 Nephi), the son of Nephi (Helaman 3 & 5), who was the son of Helaman.

 

Alma 9: 27-29
And behold, he cometh to redeem those who will be baptized unto repentance through faith on his name. Therefore, prepare ye the way of the Lord, for the time is at hand that all men shall reap a reward of their works according to that which they have been: if they have been righteous they shall reap the salvation of their souls according to the power and deliverance of Jesus Christ; and if they have been evil, they shall reap the damnation of their souls according to the power of the Devil; now behold this is the voice of the angel crying unto the people. Alma 11: 41 … all shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works. …44 whether they be good or whether they be evil.

Grace is essential for agency to bring forth good works that can lead one to salvation.

 

A friend has asked that I add some extra thoughts on work. On one end of this spectrum is that it can take work to even turn and look towards the Lord and there are the works of those who are seeking to have you turn your hearts to Him and this is often at a great sacrifice. Then it becomes our opportunity to choose to do some good work. The invitation is:

 

Alma 13: 13 “And now, my brethren, I would that ye should humble yourselves before God, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, that ye may also enter into that rest.” That ‘rest’ is best exemplified in having one’s calling and election made sure. The journey begins with baptism, which is intended to bring about our change of heart.

 

Conclusion:  I have been studying this over the last week as a topic. Let’s look at our agency, redemption and the Natural Man. The natural man is an enemy to God and can do no good works (just look up the references). When Adam was cast out there was no salvation for him without the Atonement. There was no work that he could do to bring salvation. If a man can do good works it is only because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Man’s agency is really, really simple. I will not list the scriptures now but it is a choice between righteousness, which is only possible through Him, or it is choosing the Devil. And as revealed in 2 Nephi 2 the results of that choice is either to be able to act or be acted upon, and of course to be acted upon is the result of choosing poorly and violating the law and justice of God. The scripture says we are saved by Grace after all we can do, so it is evident that works cannot do it alone and never can. Works come because of the Atonement and the right choice in following Him. They come from being born again. Being ‘born again’ appears to be an event and is not dependent on works at all. Examples of this include: Alma the younger and the sons of Helaman (very wicked in Mosiah 27); the 300 Lamanites that were in the jail with Nephi and Lehi; King Lamoni and his wife and servant (Alma 19)s; Lamoni’s father being also wicked (Alma 22: 14-18)) etc., where there are no works, as they were wicked. The works come because of the change of heart that takes place through the Holy Spirit as we are driven to humility, repentance, faith and hope in Him. By facing Him and seeking His Spirit our attempts at good works result in blessings and thus we are still indebted to Him. We can only be justified and sanctified through His Gospel and that is truly “Good News”. There is no other way for man to be redeemed. The Savior pointed out that the 300 Lamanites were redeemed as the Holy Ghost had been received amidst the baptism of fire that they were enveloped with. Their lives were changed and they went about preaching the word and converting many. May we become as Abraham and worthy to be called a ‘friend of God’.

Certainly redemption can happen to a group of people choosing a more righteous path. This can be seen in Nephi’s psalm/prayer; King Benjamin’s people; and the over two thousand in 3 Nephi who witnessed the Savior. This is again noted to be an event. But it was not their works alone that redeemed them, for without Him it was not available. The works of the Gospel come after the change of our hearts and are manifested in our desire to walk in His way, on His path and includes our best, but inadequate attempts at obeying His commandments and keeping our covenants. The commandment to “I would that ye should be perfect, even as I or your Father in Heaven is perfect”, is impossible for us to keep and is a work that we cannot do alone.

Judging between good and evil:  Moroni 7: 13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. 14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil. 15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. 16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. 17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. 18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. 19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the alight of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ. 20 And now, my brethren, how is it possible that ye can lay hold upon every good thing? 21 And now I come to that faith, of which I said I would speak; and I will tell you the way whereby ye may lay hold on every good thing. 22 For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing. 23 And God also declared unto prophets, by his own mouth, that Christ should come. 24 And behold, there were divers ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good; and all things which are good cometh of Christ; otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them. (Natural -Man). 25 Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ. 26 And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.

Cycles of creation can be entertained in Joseph Smith’s King Follett discourse and these statements by Joseph Smith.

“When you climb a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel- you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation even beyond the grave.” (King Follett discourse). Other nuggets can be found in the TPJS p. 364; 237; 150;

Climb carefully. Awake, Arise and Ascend.

Jack Hinkle May 31, 2020

Thanks to RFM for stimulating my search into these subjects.

 

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History and the Future

History

The quote “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it” is attributed to the American philosopher George Santayana and it can be accurately quoted as “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” as stated in his work, The Life of Reason : Reason in Common Sense. Hopefully history helps us to be smart enough not to repeat it and it is also the reason why the scriptures are so important to us; especially the Book of Mormon (plus patterns are notable though-out Israel’s history in the Bible), as the covenant that is linked to this land (or any land of promise) has a promise and a curse linked to it.

Alma 45: 16 “And he said:” Thus saith the Lord God-Cursed shall be the land, yea, this land, unto every nation, kindred, tongue and people, unto destruction, which do wickedly, when they are fully ripe; and as I have said so shall it be; for this is the cursing and blessing of God upon the land, for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.”

Ether 2: 7-12 “7 And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people. 8 And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them. 9 And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. 10 For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off. 11 And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done. 12 Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.”

When the people and the government become as wicked as the Jaredites or the Nephites, they will become ripe for destruction and in due time they will be swept off; or stated another way their cities will become desolate and the House of Israel (and promises to the Lamanites) will trample them (the Gentiles)under their feet. Isaiah definitely speaks of this too. (See 3 Ne 16:15 and 7-20) This land will be replaced with a Zion like people as you find in 3 & 4 Nephi, who were preserved only because they were more righteous than the wicked, and not because of their works. (3 Nephi 9: 13). It is the few who truly exercise their agency to come unto Him in humility, repent, be baptized and then make His paths straight in their lives.

Alma 9: “27 And behold, he cometh to redeem those who will be baptized unto repentance, through faith on his name. 28 Therefore, prepare ye the way of the Lord, for the time is at hand that all men shall reap a reward of their works, according to that which they have been—if they have been righteous they shall reap the salvation of their souls, according to the power and deliverance of Jesus Christ; and if they have been evil they shall reap the damnation of their souls, according to the power and captivation of the devil.”

Most of us have probably been delinquent in choosing wise and righteous politicians to office and bear some responsibility in our current state of affairs. They must bear the responsibility to their oath of office that is linked to the law of the land (meaning our Constitution and not the laws of men; see D&C 98: 5-9); but we have been like ostriches sticking our heads in the sand, while hoping life goes on or will return to the ‘normal’ that we are comfortable with. The problem is chaos is more the norm than we would like to believe and the spirit linked to the ‘god or this world’ promotes it. The problem with secular history is that the winners write it at the detriment of the losers; and therefore history might not reflect reality. The study of history, especially in the scriptures can identify not only general patterns that develop over time but also specific nefarious activities of the dark lord, his minions and the mortal souls that support his goals. His techniques are not only forthright with anger and contention but also subtle: seducing mankind by flattery, their whispering voices (in our head and that which bombards the airways) and ideas that entice the desires of the ‘natural man’ (who is an enemy to GOD); while others he will pacify and lull them into carnal security, cheating their souls, while he carefully is leading them down to hell. (See 2 Nephi 28) So if you want to know what is going to happen, prayerfully and diligently read and study the scriptures. And if you want to know what you can do about it, prayerfully and diligently read and study the scriptures and then ask. Do not depend on the government or the ‘arm of the flesh’ to save you; only Jesus truly saves. There are so many scriptures to share but the above is adequate to get the point across. I will end with two: a warning and invitation:

Mormon 8: 32-41 (consider 22-41 carefully): “32 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins. 33 O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled. 34 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you. 35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. 36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. 37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. 38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the cpraise of the world? 39 Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not? 40 Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads? 41 Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer. (Also see 2 Ne 28; Revelation; Isaiah; Ezekiel and Jeremiah).

The INVITATION and PROMISE

Alma 7: “15 Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism. 16 And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth, the same will remember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life, according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me.”

 

Jack Hinkle May 31, 2020

 

 

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The MAN

The MAN

He said:” Behold the man.” ”I find no fault in him.”
MAN said: “Come follow me.” “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father in Heaven is perfect.”
Some said: Come follow us (the arm of the flesh), for we cannot lead you astray.
Others said: Man, be like them or you are none of us.
I said: I will behold the MAN and come unto HIM!

JTH

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My Lord-YHWH-El-Shaddai

My Lord-YHWH-El Shaddai
In my youth I learned of thee,
But, taken not too seriously
I knew God was there, but knew little of spiritual things
But, I still called in time of great need.
But of thee I wondered some and
I wandered a bit, searching and seeking–
For I knew not what.
In time, destiny’s opportunities converged
And caught my eye; I turned to see;
I reached; cautiously considered, and found
The soil of my heart sufficient for the seed to abound.
Planted, it began to grow and I found
A covenant path before me go, and so…
I seek thee… again.
Belief, Hope and growing Faith have become…
The leaven for Charity, and
Soon I find myself before your temple gates…
Washed, anointed, and endowed—
Having walked your Way, so straight and narrow;
Of Obedience, Sacrifice, the Gospel too, of Chasity, and a Consecrated life- to You
I know, You are there, I sense it here, inside, here, deep in my heart.
I have sought thee diligently, though not consistently so,
I am in need of thy Atonement, desperately so.
On bended knee, with humble heart, I plead, for Thy Mercy and Grace.
A thinly veiled door before me lies;
I knock three times, hoping to see;
A hand is extended; I grasp in glee;
As hand to back draws me close
I hear thy words whisper from mouth to ear;
You seek to know what I want the most, having traveled–
On this path of Truth and Faith–
Leading to Light and Knowledge from my Lord;
So, I exclaim! To enter into your presence, even with your smile, is my desire–
A confirmation of my Hope; For, thou art my Hope.

Ah! Seeing thee again!
Oh, what Joy…My soul is consumed;
May it ever be so!
Through cycles of Creation and Eternal Rounds
May I find Thy Grace ever abound
May Thy Mercy Seat forever be my inheritance, along with my family.
Until I too become like Thee…
Ever part of a Divine-Eternal-Family

Jack T. Hinkle- January 2, 2019

For now I am shutting down this blog and all other posts deleted. May God’s blessings be with you now and forever. Awake, look up and ascend to Him. September 15, 2019.

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