Here, let’s try an experiment. I want you to say “I AM”, and then your name. Maybe “I AM Sharon” or ‘I am Chris.” See? Before you say your name, you must first say His name. So it’s two names, always. That’s pretty cool.
Even when you say “I AM a mother” or “I AM a dad” or “I AM a grocery store clerk” or “I AM a secretary,” it always starts with His name. Are you going to the store? You say “I AM going to the store.” Going to the park? You say “I AM going to the park.”
Whoever you are, I AM is with you. Wherever you go, I AM is going before you.
All that you are comes from I AM. Your identity begins with I AM. You were created in the image of I AM. You’re redeemed by the blood of I AM. You only exist because of I AM.
It seems to me that what the world calls wisdom is vastly different than what God considers wisdom. Divine wisdom, which comes directly from God, is different than intellectual knowledge:
* Man's intellect can physically save a life, but not a soul.
* Man's intellect can reach the moon and other planets, but not heaven.
* Man's intellect can help bring forth a child, but not an immortal spirit.
* Man's intellect can unveil new scientific discoveries, but not all things supernatural.
You see, there is a limit to human intellect and worldly wisdom. After all, look at current events. Even with the collected human wisdom of our world, we are still a mess.
As we read in the previous two posts (”The Best Friend You Never Knew Part 7: ‘Ye Never Knew Me’” and ”The Best Friend You Never Knew Part 8: The Non-Judgmental Savior”), we stand rejected by Yeshua the minute we withhold mercy, or unleash judgment, upon another (see here for more). Also, the more merciful you are towards others, the more merciful God is with you (1 Corinthians 13:2). The less judgmental you are towards others, the less judgmental God is with you.
So, it seems to me that God’s primary judgment criteria regarding you is best summarized in 1 Samuel 16:7: “for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” The advantage of this criteria: “charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
Judging or being uncharitable towards a person doesn’t define who they are; it defines who you are. And with the best possible definition you can have -- “he/she was non-judgmental and full of charity towards others” -- you are far more aligned with the Savior.
In my opinion, it’s at this point that not only dialoguing with Him, but also seeing Him, becomes an inevitability:
Unfortunately, there are times when you may be exerting all of your heart, might, mind and strength towards being more charitable and less judgmental, and heaven is still silent.
This blog has addressed this issue several times. Here are a few possibilities...
“WOMEN in Jesus’ day weren’t treated well. Understatement. They had few choices, held no positions, and were often considered less valuable than the men.
But not to Jesus.
The adulterous woman was caught in the act and dragged to Jesus for judgement. But He called her accusers hypocrites, dispersed the crowd, and extended her grace.
The bleeding woman found Jesus and, upon touching his robe, was immediately healed of her twelve-year-long affliction. In front of the crowd that had deemed her unclean, Jesus honored her for her faith.
The Samaritan woman was drawing water from the community well at the hottest time of day. Translation: she was avoiding people because of her seedy reputation. But ahead of everyone else on earth, Jesus told her He was the Savior they’d been waiting for.
And she got to tell the others.
Bottom line: when the world chose to abuse, alienate, or brutally judge these women, Jesus chose to rescue, restore, and redeem them. To ascribe them value.
Because Jesus makes us what we’re not.” (“The Chosen”)
Despite whatever callings, titles, covenants, number of dead baptized, amount of tithes and fast offerings paid -- no matter what earthly things you’ve done, if you haven’t been charitable, you’re not bound for heaven, but hell.
I know there are some who might say, “Well hey, I paid my fast offering. I’ve been charitable. So you can just go right ahead and check that box off as having been completed.”
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matthew 23:23)
Perhaps I’m wrong here, but something tells me that simply going through the motions and checking off boxes isn’t quite what the Savior has in mind for you.
So let me ask you: Are you absolutely positive that writing out a monthly check equals the charity-centered life and behavior the Savior expects from His disciples?
Around 1528 BC, at the stroke of midnight, God visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. While doing so, God also spared the children of Israel, “passing over” their homes—hence the name of the holiday, "Passover."
Ironically, tomorrow begins the Jewish holiday of Passover, an annual commemoration of the first Passover. Only this year, we, too, are praying that the angel of death (COVID-19) passes over us.
We Saints have never really paid much attention to Jewish holy days, despite the fact that God never rescinded the importance He ascribed to them. Even Yeshua celebrated Passover. Ever heard of The Last Supper?
Rabbi Jonathan Cahn will be hosting a very special online Passover meal tomorrow night. I plan on watching. I hope you'll consider it too, as together, both of us pray that the angel of death passes by our homes. Click the link below for more details.
Who among us has the faith to do as Jesus did: to bless as He blessed...even those considered the most physically and spiritually unclean and diseased among us?
Might I suggest that what the Lord is truly asking of His disciples these days isn’t just fear, and believe it or not, it’s not just faith. It’s superfaith -- the kind the Brother of Jared had -- which pierced and cracked open the veil.
It’s time not just for prayers, but also power which flows not through another mortal to you, but instead, it flows directly from God to His true believers, both male and female. Spiritual gifts know no gender.
It’s a time for knowing not just that “God is aware of you”, “God loves you”, and “God watches over you” (Come on! We’ve known these things since we were in Sunbeams)! Instead, it’s a time to obtain a personal knowledge, independent of anyone else, that Yeshua is a real person, who laughs, cries, gets mad and loves life more than possibly anybody who’s ever walked the earth. Oh yeah...and that He would love nothing -- and I mean NOTHING -- more than to establish a personal relationship with you.
Everything the enemy tries to throw at you is a sign as to how much God has available to you. The spirit of fear is nothing compared to the spirit of God. More powerful than a thousand lukewarm Christians, more powerful than the coronavirus in your city, county or state, is the one who will stand for God in a day of darkness.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)
YOU get the chance to stand for God in a day when the world is against God. What a high, powerful honor!
I invite you to embrace this opportunity...while you still have the chance.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (John 14:12)
Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ?
The Savior’s miracles were real. His promise to those who believe in Him are just as real: YOU can do the same and even greater works as He performed.
The scriptures also give us some insight into Yeshua’s personality. On both sides of the world, Yeshua said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 3 Nephi 9:18).
Now, when I hear that someone’s the light of the world, I don’t envision someone who’s dark, gloomy, moody, always depressed, despondent, low-spirited or sad. Neither would He be emotionless, passionless, expressionless, cold, unexpressive, aloof, flat or just plain old spaced out.
But that is precisely the image of the Savior we have been and continue to be continually exposed to.
Why is it that some of our most popular images of the Savior depict Him as emotionless, dispassionate, perturbed, sad or mad? Could those be true depictions of our Savior?
I invite you to get to know Yeshua. As you show interest in Him, He’ll show greater interest in you (D&C 88:63).
Imagine a religion in which there are no scriptures. Absolutely no discussion of ordinances like baptism, confirmation, sacrament, priesthood advancement, baptism of the dead, initiatories, endowments, sealings. No explanations of garments.
Imagine zero evidence of spiritual gifts and personal revelation. No testimonies. No personal inspirational stories.
In fact, imagine a theology banning all discussion of the creation of the earth and mankind, the atonement, the resurrection and any appearances or dialogues of God to man.
What you’ve just read about is a religion which places a paramount importance of sacredness over secrecy. After all, isn’t the atonement sacred? Of course. The First Vision? Definitely.
Aren’t families sacred? Marriage? Freedom? Justice? The U.S. Constitution?
When you stop and look at the list of things we consider sacred, it can get pretty long:
* The Sacred Grove’s a sacred place. But anyone can visit it.
* The same holds true for our temples. We invite anyone -- anyone -- to pass through them during Open Houses. In fact, we allow into our temples members who are later proven, in courts of law, to have been conducting evil, criminal actions while holding temple recommends (and presumably using said recommends).
* Baby blessings, baptisms, confirmations, sacrament meetings and priesthood blessings are sacred, but can be attended by anyone (believer and non-believer) as well.
* Our garments are sacred, hidden and not discussed. But on October 22, 2014, the church posted the video “‘Mormon Underwear’ is the Temple Garment and is Sacred to Latter-day Saints”.
* People continue to post sacred testimonials to open Facebook groups, Instagram, Twitter, blogs and podcasts.
Thus, we have a situation where the most sacred events in history are freely discussed, our most sacred places are visited by some who may not match the sacredness of the property, our most sacred clothing is freely publicized and our most sacred thoughts and dreams are freely bandied about on social media for anyone to mock and denigrate.