This is a General Conference Odyssey post.
President Spencer W. Kimball gave the closing address of the April 1977 General Conference speaking on revelation. He said,
“How this confused world of today needs revelation from God.”
Now, more than ever before, we need to listen to the voice of God that warns us, shapes us, and gathers us. Satan is doing his very best to destroy us and make us miserable like unto himself. So, it behooves us to respond well to our chosen god. My choice in responding to revelation: Obedience with pure, grateful love.
Don’t you hate it when you answer your phone and no one responds? Or there is a delay and then a recording begins talking to you. It could also be someone reading a script of something you are absolutely not interested in, and their script makes it hard for you to interrupt in order to cut the conversation off.
Revelation from God isn’t like that. The message may be difficult to hear, but it is a very personal message, and it is meant just for you.
Think of all the places the word of the Lord is revealed to us. Scriptures, General Conference, Lessons, Blessings, Prayers, Pondering, etc. Each one is internalized differently by each of us in a very personal way. When the message comes into our hearts, how do we respond?
What do we do when we read our scriptures? Do we remember what we’ve read? Do the words cause us to think differently? To pray differently? To ask different questions? Are we inspired to search additional scriptures, hungrily seeking spiritual nourishment? Within the scriptures, we will receive messages from God spoken through His prophets of old, and they will be the messages we need to hear today and now.
When you listen to conference, do you hear the challenges that are offered us? Do you remember that President Nelson asked us to search all the “scriptural citations about Jesus Christ in the Topical Guide”? Do you remember all the talks that have been given recently on the Sacrament and strengthening the family? Have you thought any more on these subjects? Our present-day prophet and apostles speak the words we need to hear now, to strengthen us when we feel weak, to warn us when our path may be obscured, and to encourage us when we are humble and striving to move forward.
We’ve been urged for years to read our lessons before we come to church, the reason being that we will get more out of the lesson this way. How is that going? Have you received revelation because of a lesson taught recently? Has inspiration come as the lesson draws you back into the scriptures? Lessons are simply catalysts to help us seek the answers to our questions.
When we are feeling confused, frustrated, and helpless, is our first thought that we need to ask for a blessing? Are we open to the word of God that comes through the voice of one of His servants? Each blessing is a personal letter from our Father in Heaven. Do we seek after and yearn for His voice, comfort, and advice?
Sometimes, our pain is so private all we can do is utter a silent prayer of desperation. Are we praying because we are seeking an answer from God, or are we only open to what we want to hear? Sometimes I receive answers for thoughts that are only in my heart, never uttered. Sometimes the answer floods my mind just as the request leaves my lips. Sometimes an answer doesn’t come at all and I must be patient. But as I look around, I will find compensatory answers to assure me of His undying love and concern for me.
Who has time to ponder these days? Life is so busy and so noisy and so chaotic, who has time to think upon holy things? Pondering is a choice. We choose when we want to think about Jesus Christ, His atoning sacrifice, His promises, and how we personally want to respond to them.
President Kimball reminds us that the people often don’t believe the prophet of their day.
“Now, a word of warning: Let us not make the error of the ancients. Numerous modern sectarians believe in the Abrahams, the Moseses, and the Pauls, but resist believing in today’s prophets.”
Our prophets have always spoken boldly to us. Their mission is to call us to repentance, warn us of eternal pitfalls, and guide us through the controversial mists that cover the world. It is our choice whether to believe what they say, and straiten our path, or not.
We also must recognize how much we are loved. God loves us enough to warn us, so He showers us with revelation that we might always be reminded.
While thinking about this talk and wondering how often I receive revelation in my life, I attended Sacrament Meeting yesterday and was flooded with so many inspired thoughts and ideas simply from what the speakers said. It wasn’t so much what they said–although it was thought-provoking–it was more that I was in tune to receive all and more of the spirit of what they were saying. One of the speakers quoted Elder Holland, which I simply have to share here. It reminded me that when I feel the love of my Heavenly Father, I can just about get through anything.
“My brothers and sisters, the first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength–that’s the first great commandment. But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. … God will never desert us. He never has, and He never will.”
This beautiful truth will always feel revelatory to me. And how do I respond? With my heart full of the desire to please only Him.
Additional General Conference Odyssey posts:
A daily portion of love Marilyn Nielson