Have Miracles Ceased? Part Two

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When I was a young missionary in Kaufbeuren, Germany, I experienced my personal Pentecost. Although I was baptized with water when I was eight years old, I don’t remember experiencing anything special. Sure, it was a momentous occasion and at a young age, I was aware of my desire to serve the Lord, but beside this, it was nothing remarkable. It wasn’t until just over a decade later in a small attic apartment on the other side of the globe when I knelt down in faith with a sincere prayer that I had been visited by the Lord as my answer. The room, although dark at night, seemed to fill with electrifying fire that consumed me. There is nothing on Earth that I can compare this experience with. There was nothing earthly about it. But for five, ten, or maybe fifteen minutes, I felt like every atom of my body was charged with waves of electricity. If I could use any word to describe this, it would be a quickening. I had been baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost. Over the course of about thirty years up until today, I have experienced a series of miraculous events that the world would describe as little more than supernatural.

John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

For years and years I did not understand this passage. Yes, I understood it in my brain, but not in my heart. To illustrate this, I will share one experience. In this same town of Kaufbeuren, my companion and I had bought train tickets to another town. As we approached the large and long platform, I received a very distinct and powerful prompting to go and stand on a very specific spot on the platform just an arm’s length from the edge, which dropped off onto the train tracks below. I remember very clearly planting my feet firmly as if this decision was the most important decision of that day. My companion followed behind and then stood on my right side and there we waited shoulder to shoulder for the train to arrive. Then as the train arrived with all its loud mechanical sounds, a girl behind me lost consciousness and she slumped forward, falling down directly between my companion and me. Had we not been standing at that very spot when she fell, she would have fallen farther forward without anything or anyone to break her fall, and she would have been pummeled by the train.

God does not always explain things when He requires something of us. Like the wind that blows where it pleases, so is the Spirit. You cannot predict where the next breeze will come from or when or why, but it’s not until you see its effects around you that you discern its presence, such as when it caresses your face or some leaves blow in the air. Likewise, you don’t know when the Lord will next need to work through you for His purposes, but the difference between feeling a random breeze and the Holy Spirit working in you is the love that you are filled with when it works in you. You also have to be willing to be led without always knowing why, even if it’s somewhere you would rather not go. But if you choose not to be led in small, mundane ways, God will not work His miracles through you, particularly when He needs to accomplish great miracles.

Have Miracles Ceased? Part One

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I have witnessed too many people ask this question lately. My answer to this question is no. That’s the easy answer. Miracles abound in my life. I am not sharing this to boast of my own strength because I am nothing. I am less than dirt and less than rocks. Dirt and rocks are greater than me because even dirt and rocks obey God. When God says to the mountain move, it moves. Whenever God tells me to do something, I don’t always listen or I don’t always hear, though I am sincerely endeavoring every day to become better and to become complete. But in Christ, I know I can do all things. I have seen too much to doubt and to doubt it all would be to look straight up toward the sun at noon day and declare in defiance that there is no light. But that isn’t so much denial as it is blatant rejection. Through Jesus, I have caused the lame to walk, I have healed the sick, I have escaped death, I have been God’s instrument in preventing the death of another, and I have been given a vision, just to name a few examples. And I acknowledge that it is only through Jesus that I have been able to partake in such events because of a genuine and sincere desire to be obedient to Him in all things and at all costs. That is a scary notion!

I have spent a lot of time sharing the teachings that Jesus taught in His sermon on the mount. They are not only teachings, but commandments. Jesus summarized his teachings by saying, “Be ye therefore perfect.” That wasn’t a suggestion. It was a commandment. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Our love for Him is measured by our willingness to obey Him and our obedience to Him is measured by the things we suffer for His sake. The Greek word for perfect, τέλειος or Teleios, means complete. Jesus desires us to be complete in Him. Jesus obeyed His Father perfectly, or in other words, completely, by all the things He suffered for us.

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him…

If you’ve read this far, then maybe you really are interested. Now I’m going to throw you into the deep end. Too much is at stake in the world right now.

Moroni 7:27 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?
28 For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens.
29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.
30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness…
35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.

I am going to give you an example of true discipleship. His name is Liu Zhenying and is known as Brother Yun. He learned obedience by the things he suffered in China and through him, Jesus Christ worked marvelous works. But does God expect all of us to suffer as brother Yun did? Probably not, but we should be willing to suffer whatever God requires of us in our individual lives to bring to pass the salvation of others, whether they are your neighbors, total strangers, or even your worst enemies. The Bible is filled with examples of people working mighty miracles by the things they suffered because of their obedience to God’s commandments. But this is Brother Yun’s story. I hope his experiences encourage you to seek Jesus Christ with the same zeal that Brother Yun sought Him until he found Jesus. Did Brother Yun embody Christ’s teachings in the sermon on the mount? Absolutely!

Discernment

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“And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.

But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die…

Heed the Lord’s counsel to the Saints of this dispensation:

Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord. [D&C 133:10]

This preparation must consist of more than just casual membership in the Church. You must learn to be guided by personal revelation and the counsel of the living prophet so you will not be deceived. Our Lord has indicated who, among Church members, will stand when he appears:

And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.

For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.

And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.

For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver. [D&C 45:56–59; emphasis added]–Ezra Taft Benson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University fireside, 14 April 1981. (Click for full talk).

It is important to carefully listen to the counsel of those who preside over us who receive revelation for the entire church. More important, however, is to take the Holy Spirit for our guide because those who preside over the church are not infallible.

“You must work through the Spirit. If that leads you into conflict with the program of the Church, you follow the voice of the Spirit.” (Elder S. Dilworth Young, First Council of the Seventy, 1945; quoted here, p. 17)

“President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel–said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church–that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls–applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall–that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 237-38).

Perhaps the most compelling words come to us from ancient scripture:

“Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (2 Nephi 28:31)

Nephi cried unto the Lord before his heart was softened sufficiently to believe his father’s revelations, but Nephi went to the Lord to receive his own revelation directly from God that his father’s revelations were, in fact, from the Lord. Laman and Lemuel, unlike Nephi, did not bother to seek the Lord and became lost.

It is incumbent upon us to seek the Lord ourselves to verify revelations from those who preside over us, even when their counsel is to trust in the expertise of secular or worldly men. Nephi warned about this.

“O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” (2 Nephi 9:28-29)

Are the learned men who are being trusted in their areas of expertise hearkening to the counsel of God or do these experts think they are wise? Who is trusting who? It is imperative to take the Holy Ghost for our guide above all else when seeking God’s own counsel.

“Because when we seek to hear—truly hear—His Son, we will be guided to know what to do in any circumstance.

The very first word in the Doctrine and Covenants is hearken. It means “to listen with the intent to obey.” To hearken means to “hear Him”—to hear what the Savior says and then to heed His counsel. In those two words—“Hear Him”—God gives us the pattern for success, happiness, and joy in this life. We are to hear the words of the Lord, hearken to them, and heed what He has told us!

As we seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ, our efforts to hear Him need to be ever more intentional. It takes conscious and consistent effort to fill our daily lives with His words, His teachings, His truths…

We also hear Him more clearly as we refine our ability to recognize the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now. In the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is the messenger. He will bring thoughts to your mind which the Father and Son want you to receive. He is the Comforter. He will bring a feeling of peace to your heart. He testifies of truth and will confirm what is true as you hear and read the word of the Lord.

I renew my plea for you to do whatever it takes to increase your spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation.

Doing so will help you know how to move ahead with your life, what to do during times of crisis, and how to discern and avoid the temptations and the deceptions of the adversary.”–President Russell M. Nelson, Sunday morning session of general conference, April 2020.

Even when a prophet speaks truth, you may fall. Lehi was a true prophet, yet Laman and Lemuel fell because they did not “inquire of the Lord” as Nephi did. Nephi did not take for granted that his father was truthful. Nephi went and inquired of the Lord and received greater revelations.

In the final analysis, we should hearken to all counsel given to us by those who preside over us and then inquire of the Lord, as Nephi admonished, in order to know whether the counsels given to us align with God’s will in each of our individual lives. If you do not take the Holy Ghost for your guide, you will stumble and fall. “For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.” (D&C 45:57).

As A Whirlwind

D&C 112:23 Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.

24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

By A Thread, Kindle Edition

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The Kindle Edition of my paperback book is now available for purchase to download to your digital device. I have set the price at $0.99 cents. I had hoped to make it available free of charge, but it was not possible. On December 24, 2020, I felt deeply inspired to begin writing a series of essays, which I knew I would have to convert into a published book. It was a very daunting task to organize all my thoughts onto paper, or rather, into my computer. After I had finished and began the process of formatting it, I was prompted to write an additional two chapters. After I finished publishing it, I awoke about 3 am and I heard “well done” spoken to me. I believe with all my heart that the Lord wants people, especially elders in the church to begin to rise up and prepare to redeem Zion. Now that this digital edition is also finished, I can move on to other things. Please click the link to order your copy:

By A Thread

This is an excerpt from Chapter Eight: What’s The Big Deal?

Is liberty really essential? Maybe the Constitution is outdated and obsolete! What’s wrong with a government that wants to keep us safe? We should just trust our leaders, right? From George Orwell’s book, 1984, we read the following excerpt where the main character Winston is being tortured and questioned by O’brien, a member in INGSOC’s inner party. Winston had been caught in the act of independent thought and behavior:

“I don’t know—I don’t care. Somehow you will fail. Something will defeat you. Life will defeat you.”

“We control life, Winston, at all its levels. You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable. Or perhaps you have returned to your old idea that the proletarians or the slaves will arise and overthrow us. Put it out of your mind. They are helpless, like the animals. Humanity is the Party. The others are outside—irrelevant.”

“I don’t care. In the end they will beat you. Sooner or later they will see you for what you are, and then they will tear you to pieces.”

“Do you see any evidence that this is happening? Or any reason why it should?”

“No. I believe it. I know that you will fail. There is something in the universe—I don’t know, some spirit, some principle—that you will never overcome.”

“Do you believe in God, Winston?”

“No.”

“Then what is it, this principle that will defeat us?”

“I don’t know. The spirit of Man.”

“And do you consider yourself a man?”

“Yes.”

“If you are a man, Winston, you are the last man. Your kind is extinct; we are the inheritors. Do you understand that you are alone? You are outside history, you are non-existent.”1

O’brien then ordered Winston to remove all his clothing and look at himself in a three sided mirror across the room. To his horror, Winston sees someone that he does not recognize: a figure of a man reduced to skin and bones, whose hair can be removed by a simple grasp of a tuft, and who is so emaciated that O’brien’s thumb and forefinger can meet around his frail bicep. He was grimy, filthy, and smelled so awful that he had to wonder how long he had been held captive. One can summarize this story in a single phrase, one which O’brien had succinctly explained to Winston during his torture, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever…and remember that it is for ever. The face will always be there to be stamped upon.”

While O’brien was well educated and knew about God, whatever he believed about God was irrelevant. INGSOC was God for all intents and purposes. That is all that mattered. The fact that Winston did not believe in God in the story is noteworthy. Oceania, where the story is set, may as well be a Godless society. But what was their atheistic moral compass? They had none. The spirit of man without God in the story proved to be self destructive.

Karl Marx considered religion to be nothing more than the opium of the masses. The communist hatred of faith is a feature, not a fault. Since the days of Marx, the communist goal has been the creation of a “new man.” The communist Chinese re-education camps in Xinjiang have employed political brainwashing of millions of Uyghur Muslims with the goal of making them suitable for the Chinese socialist system. Tibetan monks regularly face arrest, imprisonment, or death. Christians are being detained and forced to renounce their faith or be tortured. Falun Gong practitioners have their organs forcibly harvested for the benefit of party leaders. But what exactly is communism? Or better yet, what is the communism of Mao Tse-tung? What is the communism of Ho Chi Minh? Or Fidel Castro or Marshal Tito?

In keeping with the fact that almost everybody seems to have his own definition of Communism, we are going to give you ours, and then we will attempt to prove to you that it is the only valid one. Communism: AN INTERNATIONAL, CONSPIRATORIAL DRIVE FOR POWER ON THE PART OF MEN IN HIGH PLACES WILLING TO USE ANY MEANS TO BRING ABOUT THEIR DESIRED AIM—GLOBAL CONQUEST.2

Why does it matter whether the term is communism, socialism, fascism, or even capitalism when the desired result of the conspiring few is totalitarianism? Why does it matter whether it originates from the far left or the far right when the conspiring few use both sides to obtain their desired result of absolute control? In Orwell’s 1984, it can be argued that all the proletarians were atheists because all the practitioners of faith had already been slaughtered wholesale. The rest were easy pickings. But we are operating on the premise and understanding that there is a God and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to Earth on a rescue mission, and whose unimpeachable character and attributes offer us a clear view of what a heavenly being looks like. For any believer to be saved as a heavenly being requires that he or she becomes exactly like Him, nothing less, and nothing more. But to become like Him requires that we freely surrender ourselves. It means voluntarily giving up all our worldly ways—all our materialistic, covetous, lustful, greedy, oppressive, despotic, carnal, devilish attributes—and take upon ourselves His godly attributes and His character.

To be like Jesus Christ is to be someone who exercises no control over anyone else’s freedom to act and to make choices. Instead of forcing us to do good or to be good, He says, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). He is persuading us to love Him by becoming like Him. This is because all heavenly people are also like Him. Thus keeping His commandments teaches us to be like He is, which is a being who does not lie, steal, covet, lust, murder, etc. There is a vast difference between simply doing something and becoming someone whose character motivates him or her to do it. His two greatest commandments cover all others, for if we love someone as Jesus does, we would forever pose no threat of harm whatsoever to another person in any way, shape, or form because we are motivated purely by Christlike love. Furthermore, if we love as Jesus loves, we would be willing to sacrifice as He did, even to the laying down of our lives for another. What good parent would not lay down his or her life for a dying child? So if we, who are fallen creatures, are willing to sacrifice ourselves for the betterment of our children, even for the preservation of their lives, how much greater is the love of our God in heaven?