The Heavens are Open…
When I was a child I belonged to a church group called primary. It was an afterschool program provided for children under the age of 12 where we learned the stories of Jesus, about prophets, and the tenets of Christianity, through song, story telling, testimony and games. I enjoyed every Thursday afternoon from 4:30 to 6 pm learning with my friends and feeling that sweet Spirit always associated with the teachings of Christ. Our motto was “Choose The Right,” and we even wore “CTR” rings to show our commitment. Among the many lessons we learned, we studied and memorized thirteen “Articles of Faith” to help us remember the tenets of our religion. It was a special day upon graduation from primary when we had all thirteen memorized, and with our bishop presenting us to the congregation as graduates, we would get to recite our favorite.
I do not think I really ever had a favorite Article of Faith, except that I recited the longest one of all, the thirteenth, because it was the most impressive to memorize, and I think I was showing off. Nevertheless I committed them to memory, and as I study them still, they are still memorized and I am able to draw upon them when I need to remind myself, or perhaps share with others, what I believe.
There is a profound lesson or message with each one of the articles of faith, and on some of them several messages come to mind. Today I would like to focus on the ninth:
“We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”The Articles of Faith 1:9
“We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Pearl of Great Price — The Articles of Faith 1:9).
God has always revealed His will to the ears of His listening children. He has always revealed His will to those who do not listen as well, but with ears or hearts closed they cannot or will not hear and respond in faith with faithfulness. We have the entire canon of scripture as evidence of God’s willingness to guide His children. We have the whole of human history as evidence of the unwillingness of many of God’s children to listen and to follow. Nevertheless we have His word and are free to listen and follow, or not to do so.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”John 14:26
God does not sleep, nor does He cease to be mindful of us in our day. God talks to His children still. Although there are eternal and immutable laws, commandments for God’s children always, that will never change, there are words for us now that carry the same weight as those of ancient times. Our Heavenly Father loves us. As a loving Father, He guides us in the here and now with the trials and challenges of this modern era. The heavens are open because of His love, for He loves us no less than His children of Moses’ day, or those who walked in the meridian of time with His Only Begotten. While God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, times change and additional guidance is necessary in ever-changing circumstances.
He speaks to us by His Spirit, and through those who He calls as prophets. As the Savior taught in John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” And when God needs to speak to the whole of humanity, He does so through prophets. As we read in an Old Testament account, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). I do not believe anyone of godly wisdom would argue that the Lord God is doing nothing, therefore He is revealing His secrets unto His prophets even today.
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.”Amos 3:7
I have known and conversed with people in my lifetime who have lived in three different centuries. I have heard the stories of individuals who remembered life before the automobile, who remembered World War I, the Great Depression, the Dustbowl, World War II, and the Korean War. I remember the Vietnam War, the Summer of Love, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the Moon Launch, Watergate, the end of the Cold War and September 11. I remember life before personal computers, mobile phones, texting and handheld tablets, and have witnessed with the explosion of advancing technology a coinciding eruption of social decay. If we believe that times are done changing, then we are fooling ourselves, because what is yet to come is as expansive as what has come to pass.
There are changes yet to come, crises that will stretch and challenge mankind beyond anything we can imagine, and we will need the active and continuing presence of our loving Father in Heaven guiding us through it all if we are to endure the day. The heavens are open and we will endure it all if we are willing to hear and follow His revelations, even until He comes again in glory and grants us eternal joy and exaltation with Him.
“We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” May we have eyes to see and ears to hear that we might know His word, “yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), and “Choose the Right.” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.