jesus christ restoration

If It Be Of God, Ye Cannot Overthrow It!

TheDiscipleMd

As recorded in the fifth Acts of the apostles, after the death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection, the apostles Peter and John went about preaching, testifying and healing the sick in the name of Jesus.  Their influence and power was so electric that the multitudes brought forth the sick in hopes “that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.” (vs. 15.)

The Sadducees were filled with indignation and had them brought before the council.  There they were subjected to questioning and accusations.  Then, one of the Pharisees named Gamaliel, a doctor of law, said this:

“Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought… And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (vs. 35-39)

What Gamaliel was saying was, “If their message is not of God, it will come to naught.  But if it is of God, you don’t want to fight against it, because you won’t win.  As history has proven, Peter and John’s message of Christ and His mission has engulfed the world.  I found the line of reasoning used by the lawyer Gamaliel regarding the message of the apostles to be insightful when it comes to the message of the restoration of the gospel by living prophets.

“He called me by name, and said, unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni: that God had a work for me to do: and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people. (JS History 1:33)

The above statement was spoken by the angel Moroni to an unknown farm boy in upper state New York in the year 1823. Today, less than two hundred years later that prophesy has come true.  Like Peter and John of old, the message that Joseph Smith brought forth is resounding across every continent of our world.

If Joseph was a true messenger from God the message of the restoration of Christ’s church will not die.  And so those that mock and make fun of the Joseph Smith story should learn something from the message of Gamaliel. If it is not of God, it will eventually die, but “if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”

Dad

Who Knows What I’ll Find!

TheDiscipleMD

The other day my 86-year-old Father and I were having lunch, which is something we try to do at least once a week. We shared important memories, ideals and concepts. At one point during the conversation the dialogue veered onto the social problems of the day. We talked about it and the more we did, the more depressing the topic became. Then, with a humorous note of resignation, he said, “Well, I won’t have to worry about these issues much longer.” It was a clear reference to his age and the obvious lack of time he has left on this planet. Then as an afterthought, he added, “But, then again, who knows what I’ll find!” We both smiled. Indeed, who knows what awaits us on the other side.

Some believe there is nothing to find. That we die and that is the end of us. I don’t hold such a fatalistic outlook on man’s existence. No, I hold onto the words of the prophets that we are eternal. I hold onto the inner most feelings I have that I am not just a random accident. No, I believe I am eternal and that “what is on the other side” is a continued life with my loved ones and hopefully with my Savior and my Father in Heaven.

The clarion call of the gospel message is that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. (Articles of Faith, #3) The message of salvation to mankind is eternal! Its redemptive power applies to this life and crosses the universe, worlds without end.

Who knows for sure what exactly awaits us all on the other side. Perhaps we rest from all of our cares or perhaps, as my Father insinuated,  we still have much work to do once there.  But we both try to follow the admonition of Paul, “We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.”(Philippians 4:8)

My Father stands at the door with anticipation because he holds a strong testimony of the atonement of Jesus Christ and that life is eternal. He bore testimomy of that fact when he smiled and exclamed, without question,  “Who knows what I’ll find!”

 

Washington D.C. Temple

Closed Out Of A Sealing

TheDiscipleMD

One of the great joys of life is sharing special moments with good friends. One of those moments is the marriage of a son or daughter. As you grow older the invitations to such timeless events increase. So, over the past twenty years my wife and I have received numerous invitations from our friends to share in their joy when such events occur.  The ultimate and most sacred invitation is the request to be at the temple for the sealing of a couple. These invitations are of a more personal nature as many are invited to wedding receptions, or marriages held outside of the temple,  but there is limited seating for a temple marriage. So it is that a request to be at that sacred ceremony is of special value. I know that when my children have been sealed in the temple, we have invited only family and very close friends to be in attendance due to limited seating.

A few years ago we were invited to the sealing of a son of a very close friend. As we headed towards the temple, the traffic was uncharacteristically heavy for that time of day. As we were driving my wife was worried that we might be late. I told her that even if we were, I had never known a sealing to start on time at the temple.   She worried all the way down, but I was very calm and drove as if we had all day. Upon arriving at the temple we were surprised to find out that the sealing was indeed on time and that we needed to hurry.  We frantically raced to the sealing room while still tying to be reverent but found that the doors had already been closed. So there we both stood and later sat; alone in the hall, embarrassed to have arrived late. No one poked their head out of the door to see if we were there and it was certainly inappropriate for us to knock.  As I sat there, I keep thinking what I shoulda, woulda, coulda, done to have arrived there on time.  As I sat there my mind wandered to an old story:

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25: 1-13).

I had often read this parable but never had it sunk into my soul as it did that day. I now knew how those unprepared virgins must have felt because I certainly felt foolish sitting there in that hallway.  “Closed out”, you might say, of the wedding. And even though we meant no disrespect by arriving late; it certainly could have been taken that way by our friends. We waited until the joyous couple and our friends came out of the room to offer our congratulations, but we had missed the sacred opportunity to share in their moment of great joy.

Similarly we may not mean disrespect to the Lord when we don’t keep our lives totally in order, but the day will come when the call to come to the wedding will come, and if we are not prepared the door will be shut no matter if we are ”caught” in traffic or not. All the excuses in the world will not alter the fact that the marriage happened, and we were left waiting in the hallway. Let us live our lives so that we may find our “lamps”, trimmed and ready to go when the bridegroom comes again.

 

face of stork

When The Face Of ‘The Stork’ Is Revealed!

TheDiscipleMD

This week I again witnessed the marvel of birth.  My daughter and her husband welcomed a healthy baby daughter into this world. Being in the room as a baby is being delivered is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.  You don’t quite  know how to describe the whole affair except by uttering the trite statement that, “It’s a miracle!”

It has been said that giving birth to a child is when a woman has one hand holding onto life, while death is grasping the other. Both are so near for mother and child. Fortunately for us, life was given, while death’s hand was stayed.  William Wordsworth said:

The soul that rises with us, our life’s star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.
Indeed, the glory of it all! I watched as the babe passed from Mom to Dad,  then to my wife, and I sensed they felt what I did when I held that little grandchild in my arms for the first time. As I gazed into her murky eyes, the face of the Stork was once again revealed to me. It is a familiar face. It is a face I have seen before at the birth of my children and other grandchildren.  It is a face of love and nobility.  A divine witness is given to me and an assuring feeling  comes to my heart that through her face I can see Him, the creator of us all.  It is a time when the Stork reveals his face.  It is the face of God! Who can deny it!
Subscribe to Free Daily Message