Part I: The Old Testament

This will be the first post of a series on the Old Testament.

The Old Testament is a sacred volume of books that contain the words of many prophets.

The Bible begins with the book of Genesis. The word “Genesis” means “The beginning”.

The Plan of Salvation begins with the formation of the earth. God created the earth so his Spirit Children could obtain physical bodies and be tested.

Our Heavenly Father knew that we would live imperfect lives. He knew that we would also die. Our Heavenly Father’s Plan required a Savior: Someone who could come to earth and atone for our sins and conquer death (be resurrected) so that we could to return and live with our Heavenly Father if we follow His plan.

The key to understanding the Old Testament (and all scripture for that matter) is to realize that the Jesus Christ is the Savior. He is the main focal point. Our salvation rests with following Him.

The Old Testament foretells the coming of the Messiah–the Savior. All symbolism, all prophecies, all ordinances point toward Jesus Christ as that Savior.

Jesus Christ was Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament. It was Jesus Christ who formed the earth. It was Jesus Christ who visited Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It was Jesus Christ who made a covenant with Abraham and gave him the promised land. It was Jesus Christ who spoke to Moses from the burning bush, gave Moses the 10 Commandments, led the Israelites out of Egypt, and was later seen by Moses (and others) face to face (Exodus 33:11). Etc, etc, etc….

The Mosaic Law of Sacrifice, in which an animal was killed and its blood was spilled upon an alter, was instituted by Jesus Christ. It was symbolic of the blood of Jesus Christ that would be shed to atone for the sins of mankind. So, you must remember that as you read the Old Testament. Here is a wonderful article that explains this in better detail.

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Happy Easter!

Today, we celebrate the life, Atonement, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

He stands alone as the author and finisher of our faith and salvation. Honor to God the Father, for the gift of His devine Son!!!

Here are some videos created by the restored church of Jesus Christ: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I encourage you to watch them and consider what the Savior means to you:

https://www.lds.org/bible-videos/videos?lang=eng
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Judgement

There would be no need for commandments or repentance, if there were no judgement.

Someday, everyone will have a day of reckoning. We will be held responsible (accountable) for the works we have done in this life.

This life is a test. One day, this test will come to a close. We will all die. We will then be judged based upon how well we have handled our test.
We will all have to answer to God for the things we have done.

We will be judged based up our works (our actions, what we have done) and based upon our intentions (the desires of our hearts).

“We will also be judged for the things we chose not to do.”

If we chose not to follow the example of Jesus, keeping the commandments, helping those in need of help, etc., we will be judge for that too. If we chose to spend our lives in selfish pursuits, we will be judged for that.

We will be judged based upon our degree of knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how well we sought to follow it.

Since Adam and Eve, billions of people have walked this earth never knowing about the Plan of Salvation. If they never had the opportunity to during their lifetime to learn about the Plan of Salvation (and Jesus Christ’s central role), they will have that opportunity before judgement.

Children that have died without knowing the gospel will be redeemed. Those with mental disabilities, who do not know the difference between “right” and “wrong”, will also be redeemed.

Everyone who did not have the opportunity to hear the gospel in this life will have an equal opportunity to hear the gospel before judgement.

If we have done all within our means to keep the commandments of God. His grace will be sufficient for us. His grace will make-up the difference.

If we repent and keep the commandments, the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ will qualify us to return and live with him, and our Heavenly Father, in eternal glory.

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Repentance

You can’t really discuss commandments without also discussing repentance. What is repentance? Why do we need to do it? What does it accomplish? Why is it important to your salvation?

First, let’s describe what sin is.

Sin is “knowing the will of God and choosing not to follow it.” Some people sin in ignorance–meaning they sin without ever knowing that they were breaking a commandment.

We cannot be saved in ignorance though. You cannot be saved in ignorance. God wants us to know his commandments–and follow them. When we follow them, we become more like Him.

When you sin, you can repent. When you repent, you are forgiven. When we are forgiven, you qualify to have the Light of Christ with you (or the Holy Ghost if you have been baptized) which will help guide you.

Repentance is a 4 step process:

  • Recognition
  • Remorse
  • Restitution
  • Don’t repeat (the sin).
  • Ask God for forgiveness.

Recognition is the first step. If you don’t realize that you’ve done something wrong, you won’t recognize a need to repent. If you sin in ignorance of God’s commandments (meaning: You broke a commandment because you didn’t know it was a commandment), God will be merciful unto you. However, God cannot save us in ignorance. If you want to be saved, if you want to return an live with God, then you need to learn his commandments and seek to follow them.

The next step is “To be remorseful”. If you don’t feel bad that you did something wrong, you’ll likely to continue doing it. You should feel sorrow about what you have done. You should also feel sorrow that the Savior suffered for your misdeed. You should feel enough sorrow to want to change and be better.

Restitution is next. You need to try to fix what you did wrong. Ex. If you stole something, return it.

You can’t always “fix” what you’ve done wrong though. In those moments, you just need to pray and ask the Lord what you can do (if anything).

If you are truly sorrow about what you have done, you won’t repeat it. That’s step #4.

Lastly, you need to ask God for forgiveness. Commandments are God’s laws. If you want to live in heaven, you need to learn how to obey the laws of heaven.

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Commandments

Are we saved by grace alone?

If we are saved by grace alone, why would God call prophets? What would be the point of having scriptures? Why would God give us commandments if there was no need for us to follow them?

Well, the answer is…. Works do matter.

Please don’t take that the wrong way though…. Please don’t presume that any amount of “being good” on our part will ever “cancel-out” or “erase” the mistakes (sins) we’ve made in our lives.

Only Jesus can forgive sin–because he paid for our sins.

Why does God give us commandments? God gives us commandments to help us become like Him.

God gives us commandments with the full expectation that ALL his children can keep them. He does not ask of us the impossible.

If we choose of follow the commandments, we are blessed. If we choose not to follow the commandments, we miss-out on those blessings.

Just because you follow the commandments doesn’t mean that you won’t have trials in your life. Life is a test. However, you will be better suited to deal with your trials because you’ll qualify the the Lord’s help by striving to keep his commandments.

The Lord doesn’t expect us to reach perfection in this life. However, the Lord does expect us to pick ourselves up when we fall down, brush off the dust (repent), and do our best continue on the right path.

Commandments matter. Living them matters. Learning them matters. You can’t live the commandments if you don’t know them.

God decrees commandments. Commandments may change over time–according to how receptive his children are to listening to his prophets. When changes occur, we should be willing to accept them.

Pray about God’s commandments. Ask Him about them. Get confirmation from Him that they are true.

Some commandments are collective–they apply to everyone. The 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17, KJV) are an example. The 10 Commandments didn’t only apply to Moses and the people of Israel. These commandments apply to everyone. Everyone can be blessed by following them.

Other types of commandments, however, are of a more personal (1 on 1) nature. To return and live with God though, we need to individually make covenants (or promises) with God–and keep the covenants that we make.

Covenants involve ordinances. Ordinances are symbolic, outward acts that represent an internal commitment to keep promises made with God. Ordinances performed by those who hold the priesthood of God so they are enforceable after this life. Covenants are binding promises made with God.

The ordinances of salvation include….

  1. Baptism.
  2. Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  3. Receiving the priesthood (if you are male).
  4. Receiving your endowment.
  5. Being sealed to your wife (if you are male) or your husband (if you are female).

Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel. When someone is baptized, they covenant (or promise) to take the name of Jesus Christ upon themselves and choose to follow him.

The act of baptism involves….

  1. Entering a body of water.
  2. An authorized bearer of God’s priesthood saying the baptismal prayer.
  3. Being baptized (submersed) completely under the water by the priesthood bearer.

Ordinances involve symbolism. Being completely submersed under the water is symbolic of complete commitment to the covenant.

Being completely submersed under the water is also symbolic of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The water represents the tomb. Buried in the water represents being buried in the tomb. Being raised out of the water is symbolic of being raised out of the tomb–when we will all be resurrected. In a sense, we are then “born again”. We “live again” after we have died. The “man” (or “woman”) of sin dies and we are “re-born” a new person–a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I will not go into further detail about ordinances at this time. Suffice it to say, our first goal should to keep the commandments. The first commandment is to “Repent and be baptized”–by someone who is authorized to do so our baptism will be valid after this life.

Lastly, we may not always understand the reasoning for why God gives us a commandment. He gives us commandments, because he loves us and wants to bless us. I know that God will bless you for following them.

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Scriptures

I’ll return to talk about prophets-particularly prophets living our time-later on. For now, I’d like to turn to the topic of scriptures.

Scriptures are sacred books that contain the words of many prophets. The purpose of reading scriptures is to gain WISDOM–NOT KNOWLEDGE.

What??? I know that may seem backwards…. But, I’ll explain why.

The world teaches: “Study books to gain knowledge.” The Lord teaches: “Study scriptures to gain wisdom”. The reason for that is…

Knowledge alone can’t save you. Knowing facts can’t save you.

The gospel of Jesus Christ challenges those who accept Him as the Savior to BECOME SOMETHING. It’s not just about praying, reading scriptures, and going to church. You’re supposed to DO THE THINGS JESUS WOULD DO: Walk-the-walk–not just talk-the-talk or merely read about it or think about it.

It’s about doing it–living the gospel.

“If you’re living the gospel, it will change you: You’ll think differently. You’ll act differently. You’ll see the world differently. Your perspective changes, you’ll see the world how God sees it. You draw nearer to God–and He draws nearer to you.”

Those of us who have made a decision to follow the Savior should do our best to live like Him.

When we fall short, we repent: We pick ourselves back-up and strive to do better going forward. The Lord is the only perfect person who ever walked this earth.

The scriptures teach us to be wise:

  • To act wisely.
  • To make good decisions.
  • To learn from the mistakes of others in the past–so we don’t repeat them ourselves.

In addition to that, the scriptures teach us about…

  • Our relation to God and his relation to us.
  • The Plan of Salvation (how we can return to live with God after this life).
  • The fore-ordination of Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the World.
  • The life and works of Jesus Christ while he lived on earth–providing a perfect example for all of us.
  • The commandments.
  • The necessary ordinances to return and live with God (I’ll talk about this subject in a later post).
  • The organization of Christ’s church.
  • The priesthood.

In time, I will show you that the scriptures explain all these things. To understand the scriptures though, there is no getting around it, you just really have to invest the time in reading them.

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Part II: Prophets

This is Part II on a series about prophets.

God is not dead. He lives. He is unchanging. Some people incorrectly suppose that God cared about the affairs of men anciently, but he does not today. That is an incorrect assumption.

God does care. Our Heavenly Father EQUALLY loves ALL his children. Just because some of us were chosen to experience this earth-life later than others does not mean that He is any less interest in our personal happiness and salvation.

When He calls a prophet, it is someone that He trusts to represent Him: It is not someone who will seek for money or popularity with the world.

To the contrary, the ways of the Lord are not the ways of the world. A true prophet will never be popular with the world.

Prophets can be young. Prophets can be old. Age does not matter. Race does not matter. We are all His children. God looks upon the heart.

A true prophet does not seek “followers”. A true prophet’s only objective is to do the will of him who called him–the Lord Jesus Christ.

Just because God called prophet’s anciently, please don’t make the wrongful assumption that He could not do so today. He has all power to do all things according to His will.

We live in a marvelous time in the history of the world. The church that Jesus Christ formed when he was on the earth has been restored. Yes, that same church, lead by a prophet and apostles. Jesus Christ restored it. It is HIS church. HE leads it. Don’t believe me? Pray about it. Ask Heavenly Father if the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored.

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Part I: Prophets

This is first post in a series on prophets.

Once you know how to pray and recognize answers to your prayers, you can know for yourself what is true.

Since Adam and Eve, God has called righteous men to lead those who seek to do his will. These men are prophets.

Prophets speak for God. They are his mouthpiece. They are given His power and His authority. They act in His name. They do His will–always.

God knows their hearts. God trusts the prophet to lead us. God knows that the prophet will not lead us astray.

True prophets teach that Jesus is the Christ. They teach that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. They teach us to follow the commandments of God. They teach us to repent, be baptized, and receive the saving ordinances only available in the Houses of the Lord.

Like the Savior, a prophet does not seek to be popular with the world. They do not seek wealth or popularity. They do no grandstanding.

God never intended us to be born into this world, have no understanding of why were here, and then die. He has called prophets to lead us, guide us, and show us the way back to our heavenly home.

They are shepherds to us. They teach us what the Lord would have us do.

Having said all that, there are many bad and evil influences in this world. God doesn’t want us to be blind followers. We can’t be saved in ignorance.

“Just because someone claims they know the will of God, doesn’t mean that you should blindly follow them. Don’t be fooled.”

It is your responsibility to pray to God and get confirmation that what a prophet tells you is true. Your salvation is up to you. Not anyone else.

God’s ways are not confusion. God chooses only one spokesperson on the earth at a time to be his prophet.

Anciently, God called prophets. The scriptures are sacred books that contain the writings of some prophets.

“As in all things, you can know that the scriptures are true by asking God if they are true.”

No amount of studying or schooling will ever prove they are true.

Just because you have the scriptures, you needn’t make the wrongful assumption that the scriptures contain all of God’s word. God is endless. His works are endless. If all the works of God could be documented, this world could not possibly contain the number of books that would have to be written.

God has created more worlds than number the sands on the seashore. It is, in fact, wrongful thinking to imagine that all His words can be summarized in a few hundred pages.

If you don’t believe me, ask Him.

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Post Updates

From time to time, I’ll revisit prior posts and add additional thoughts and clarifications. So, you may find value in re-reading an older post.

I am not a professional writer or blogger. Furthermore, I will never allow advertising on this site.

I created this site purely out of my motivation to share the gospel–my way of making a difference in the world. 🙂

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Part VI: Recognizing answers to your prayers

This is Part VI on a series about recognizing answers to prayers.

Although prayer seems like such a simple thing, your salvation depends upon it.

If you don’t pray, you can’t repent. If you don’t repent, your heart will never change. If that doesn’t happen, you cannot be saved.

Everything rests upon prayer. Salvation is a very personal thing. It involves you, your Heavenly Father, and your Savior, Jesus Christ.

“You can’t bring your will in alignment with God’s will if you never speak to Him.”

Everything that I will ever write about in a subsequent post depends upon prayer. You have to pray to Him to know that the things that I share with you are true. HE is the truth. The things that I share are HIS truth–not my truth. If you want to know the truth, ask HIM.

Next, we’ll discuss commandments, then priesthood, then prophets, and the scriptures. Eventually, we’ll get to latter-day prophets and the restored church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Always remember, you are a Child of God. He loves you. He is the source of all truth. He can reveal to you what is true if you seek his counsel, in humility, through prayer.

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