The Good News…
I am a consumer of daily news. Yes, I read and watch news reports everyday. I am not talking about sitting in front of one of the 24-hour news networks or listening to endless commentary on the radio. News marathons only happen with me on election night or some other significant crisis demanding immediate and ongoing attention. I read the news from authoritative sources because there are changes everyday of which I feel like I need to be aware. It is not always bad news. It is just news, new things that are happening that make our lives and our world an interesting place, or as defined in the dictionary: “Newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events.” I like knowing what is going on in the world around me. It is relevant. Yes, there is the inane, and that is where turning pages or changing channels comes in. We can filter those important things that we need to know based upon our interest and the validity and authority of the source. For the most important news, the most important things that I can know, I turn to the greatest source and authority, God.
Gospel means “good news.” Of course that is directly related to the good news that Jesus Christ atoned for our sins and has offered all of God’s children the grace and opportunity to return to His presence. Nevertheless, not everything has been said on the subject. There is still news coming, good news, and we should embrace enthusiastically the opportunity to hear more of God’s good news either from His voice or from the mouths of His servants, which He has declared to be the same (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38).
Some years ago I had the opportunity to sit and quietly ponder the words of the Lord Jesus Christ to His faithful servant Peter near the place where He had spoken them. The ancient Roman ruins of Cæsarea Philippi lie adjacent to the clear running waters of the Hermon River Springs, which is a tributary to the Jordan River. There, the Savior taught His disciples about revelation, and from where to seek ongoing truth.
“Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
Jesus at Cæsarea Philippi
Of this sacred encounter the scriptures record, “When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?’ And they said, ‘Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’ He saith unto them, ‘But whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven’” (Matthew 16:13-17).
Peter did not know of his own wisdom, or by signs and miracles, the true identity of this Jesus with whom he had walked. It was God the Father, by revelatory means, who revealed through His Holy Spirit the Savior’s divinity. This pattern set for learning and knowing truth, receiving the good news, became the true rock upon which the Lord’s Church would be built, and God’s truths would be known. Revelation, received through prophets, or personally, for individual and family needs, and in the fulfillment of divine assignments, has been and always shall be the means through which God communicates with His mortal children. This is how God answers our prayers. The heavens are not closed and God still communicates His will to His children. This is why when we open the scriptures and read God’s word from long ago, they come alive to us through the Spirit in our day. He speaks to us even now.
Revelation is ongoing. The Lord declared of those assigned to deliver His message in the latter-days “…they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (Doctrine and Covenants 68:3-4).
“God not only lives… He speaks,… for our time and in our day the counsel you have heard is, under the direction of the Holy Spirit.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Of this principle Elder Jeffrey R. Holland shared the application to general conference in our day. “I ask you to reflect in the days ahead not only on the messages you have heard but also on the unique phenomenon that general conference itself is—what we as Latter-day Saints believe such conferences to be and what we invite the world to hear and observe about them. We testify to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people that God not only lives but also that He speaks, that for our time and in our day the counsel you have heard is, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, ‘the will of the Lord, … the word of the Lord, … the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation’ [Doctrine and Covenants 68:4]” (General Conference, April 2011).
Yes, God does speak in our day. He is not silent. It is incomprehensible to think that a God so active in the lives of our ancestors would be silent in a day when He is needed most, or at least needed most from our perspective, the perspective of His children living today. He continues to love us and offer His hand and voice in loving concern and guidance throughout our daily lives. He will never close the heavens but hears us always. If somebody is not listening, that somebody is us.
May we open our hearts and minds to the continuing revelation that is available to all the children of God through living prophets, His servants, parents, and through His Holy Spirit. May God’s unchanging love and law ever be reaffirmed in the scriptures and by the voice of His servants, for they too are the same yesterday, today and forever. His word is without number or end, as is His wisdom to be shared in every day of man. May we have the wisdom to keep reading, keep listening, that understanding will come from the good news that He has to offer. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the authoritative source and sure pathway to God. I testify of these truths in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.