Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Enlightenment and Obedience

                Why is it easier to learn the gospel of Jesus Christ when we are striving to keep His commandments?  The Holy Ghost brings enlightenment to our minds; this enlightenment helps us to understand the truths of the gospel and carries the testimonies of other people into our hearts.  We must be obedient to the commandments in order to be worthy of the influence of the Holy Ghost.  By being obedient to the doctrine and principles we learn, we invite the Holy Ghost to bring additional truth from God.

                The story of Daniel is just one example of how keeping the commandments brings wisdom and understanding.  Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, conquered Jerusalem and carried treasures from the temple and some of the upper class children back to Babylon.  The children were to be without “blemish, but well favoured, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans” (Daniel 1:4).

                The king desired that for three years the Jewish children be fed the same type of food and wine that he ate and drank.  He believed that by the end of three years they would be ready to be presented to the king.  Among the Jewish children were Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah – who became more famous as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  These four boys determined within their own hearts that they would not “defile” themselves by eating the king’s food or drinking his wine. 
                “Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs” (Daniel 1:9); therefore, Daniel was able to persuade him to allow Daniel and his friends to eat “pulse” and drink water for ten days as an experiment.  After ten days the boys appeared healthier and their “countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat” (Daniel 1:15).  The experiment had proven that pulse and water were better for them, and they were allowed to continue their own diet.

                Heavenly Father was not yet finished with the boys:  “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom:  and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams” (Daniel 1:17).

                At the end of the three years, the children were brought before King Nebuchadnezzar, and they “communed” with the king.  “… and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:  therefore stood they before the king.
                “And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm” (Daniel 1:19-21).

                You or I may be tempted to take foods (sugar, white flour, etc.) or substances (coffee, tea, alcohol, drugs) into our bodies.  We would be wise to follow the example of Daniel and his friends to partake of only healthy food and drinks; we will also be blessed by keeping the commandments of God.

                The Savior, even Jesus Christ, taught the connection between obedience to the commandments and gaining knowledge.  “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).

                Elder Richard G. Scott stated, “One must be ever mentally and physically clean and have purity of intent so that the Lord can inspire.  One who is obedient to His commandments is trusted of the Lord.  That individual has access to His inspiration to know what to do and, as needed, the divine power to do it….  Our obedience assures that when required, we can qualify for divine power to accomplish an inspired objective” (“How toObtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life,” Ensign, May 2012, pp. 45-47).  

                The Holy Ghost brings things to my remembrance as well as teaches me new information.  I keep my journal on the computer and back it up on thumb drives.  Recently, I received a prompting that I should print my journal.  In obedience, I began the long-term project of printing all the pages of my journal but wondered about the best way to bind the pages together.  I went to Office Max to look at their binding materials but did not see what I thought I wanted.  I called my older sister who also keeps her journal on the computer to ask her what she does with her printed pages.  I expected her to tell me about some super-duper thing that she does; instead, she told me that she keeps them in sheet protectors in three-ring binders.  Even though I am temporarily keeping my pages in sheet protectors in three-ring binders, I want something a little more finished.  As I have pondered what I should do, I received more inspiration on how to make the type of cover I desire.  I am not yet to the point of binding any of my pages, but I feel comfort in having an idea about how to do it.  I may have to tweak it here and there, but I believe I will have a finished product like I want.

                I have learned that even “small” sins, such as a bad thoughts or words, can drive the Spirit away and strive to keep my thoughts, words, and actions pure.  I encourage you to consider what you could do or stop doing that might enhance your ability to be taught by the Holy Ghost.  I encourage you to make a journal entry about your decision and the process you go through to make that decision.   I know from personal experience that obedience to the commandments enhances my ability to receive inspiration.

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