Saturday, July 12, 2014

Farewell Talk on Prophecy 7/13/2014

Good morning brothers and sisters! As I’m sure you have heard many times throughout your life, and you will continue to hear countless times this month, is the Seventh Article of Faith, which reads, 
“We believe in the Gift of Tongues, Prophecy, Revelation, Visions, Healing, Interpretation of Tongues, and so forth.”
As much as I would love to share with you about the Gift that I wish I had of the Interpretation of Tongues, because as we all know, Arkansas is a whole ‘nother language, which I will be diving head-on into in a matter of a couple weeks for my mission, that is not quite where this talk is headed. But, for all those curious ears out, I will share some information about my mission. On April 4, 2014, I was assigned to labor in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission and I report to the Provo MTC this Wednesday, the 16th. My mission will include parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Missouri. Arkansas is freezing cold in the winter and crazy hot and humid in the summer. There are tornadoes, floods, and thunderstorms like no other! Five venomous snakes live in Arkansas... And go figure—I am terrified of snakes. Food consists mostly of fried foods (especially fried chicken, fried pickles, and fried catfish. Oh! And road kill…joy!). The Arkansas watermelon is supposedly the sweetest, yummiest watermelon, ever! Arkansas and Mississippi are smack-dab in the middle of the Bible Belt.... This mission is strictly a bike mission, Yes, bikes with skirts… stoked. However, I will have a car that is on rotation. And lastly, my Mission President and his wife are from Fiji!!! Even with all the crazy weather, and the food that I’m sure I will not enjoy, I know that the Arkansas Little Rock Mission is where the Lord needs me and where I am supposed to go.

My mission call is appointed to me from God through His prophets, which have been, according to the Fifth Article of Faith, 
“...called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.” 
President Thomas S. Monson, as well as the others that aided in my mission assignment, have been ordained and set apart as prophets, seers, and revelators. And in Amos, we understand that God reveals His secrets unto his servants, the prophets. They have been blessed with the Gift of Prophecy.

Each faithful member of the Church receives at least one spiritual gift from our Father in Heaven. The Gift of Prophecy is one that is bestowed upon the prophet and His apostles. The Apostle John taught in Revelation that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

With the Restoration of the gospel, the gift of prophecy has once again become available. President Harold B. Lee described this gift, as like John did, as “the gift by which [we] may have God revealed”. With it, living prophets can reveal the will of God for his children—and we may receive inspiration for ourselves.

As I was preparing for my talk, I stumbled upon and came across “a guide to the scriptures” which is a portion of the “study helps”. There, I was able to discover the Church’s definition of “prophecy”, which is interchangeable as “Prophet”, “Revelation” and “Seer”. It states, “A prophecy consists of divinely inspired words or writings, which a person receives through revelation from the Holy Ghost. A prophecy may pertain to the past, present, or future. When a person prophesies, he speaks or writes that which God wants him to know, for his own good or the good of others. Individuals may receive prophecy or revelation for their own lives.”

Pertaining to “receiv[ing] prophecy or revelation for [our] own lives”, I have an experience where I received revelation to serve a mission. My road to my decision to serve was a very difficult one. There was loads of indecision, tears, and stress. This past December, I seriously considered going on a mission and was trying to figure out how that would work with my life. When talking with my mama about this, tears would come and I would stress even more about what was to be done. I was trying so hard to fit the mission into my life, as opposed to fitting my life for a mission.

I started to go through the motions while I was home for Christmas break. I got the papers started with my personal info, and my dentist checkup done. I then kind of put that all on the back burner and didn't bother about getting my physical done. And off I went back to BYU-Hawaii. Life got in the way and a mission wasn’t on my mind anymore. Back at school, more opportunities arose and I become even more stressed. I didn’t know what the Lord wanted me to do. I was praying, and fasting, hoping for an answer. As to not drag this part of the story on, I met with my professor and together he and I prayed and we both received an answer that I should finish my papers and serve a mission now. In his office that day, which I still remember very distinctly, I received personal inspiration through the Holy Ghost to serve and my professor felt the same way. Although we can’t receive revelation for someone else, he received his own prophesies that aided in my decision.

A few weeks after receiving my call, I was incredibly scared out of my mind to serve. I wasn’t sure if it was the right decision for me now. I wasn’t wanting to go and there was more stress and more tears. I went to bed that night about to quit the whole mission thing, and the first song that came on when I laid down was “Give It All To Him”, a song from EFY 2012, and the chorus is, 
“With 19 years behind me, I’ve got a whole life full of dreams. I spent countless nights asking God down there on my knees. And pretty soon I knew what I had to do. So with a smile on my face and a prayer in my heart. With my whole world behind me, my life’s about to start. I can’t count all the blessings that are waiting in the end. So I forget myself, and give it all to Him.” 
That was my prophecy. That is me. I received revelation for myself through a song of what I am to do. That calmed my fears.

The following day, I was looking all over my room for my Patriarchal Blessing, hoping that that may be able to calm me even more. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Eventually, I opened up my Preach My Gospel, and it was right inside. Again, I felt like this was from God and that sharing His Gospel by serving a mission is what I needed to do.

Long story short, I have received my own prophecy, or revelation, on my decision to serve a mission, just has prophets receive revelation when assigning the areas, and in all other things they do. Again, I go back to what was said in the study helps for “prophecy”…”When a person prophesies, he speaks or writes that which God wants him to know, for his own good or the good of others. Individuals may receive prophecy or revelation for their own lives.” And Prophets receives prophecy for this world.

In the October conference of 1975, Elder Legrand Richards stresses, 
“no one can look for a work here upon this earth that isn’t headed by a prophet. The Lord has never done a work that he has recognized without a prophet at its head. Thank God for our prophets, from the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith down to our present prophet, President Spencer W. Kimball.” 
And even up until now with our prophet today, President Monson. He continues to say, 
“Now if we understand the words of Peter when he said, ‘We have also a more sure word of prophecy’ (2 Pet. 1:19), then in other words, there isn’t any other way in this world that we can know the mind and the will of the Lord as intelligently and assuredly as we can know it through the holy prophets. Then coming back to Amos, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
We sing about it all the time, but do we really understand and listen to the words that are said?

In the hymn, “Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice”, the first verse says, 
“Come, listen to a prophet’s voice, and hear the word of God. And in the way of truth rejoice, and sing for joy aloud. We’ve found the way the prophets went who lived in the days of yore. Another prophet now is sent this knowledge to restore.”
To me, at least, this is interpreted as: if we want to hear the word of God we must turn to our prophets because through them we are given the truth. The truth given should lead us to rejoice because of the knowledge that has been given through prophecies. And in the latter days, the Church is constructed in the same way through a prophet, as in the ancient times, where the knowledge has now been restored. How great is it to know that we truly are hearing the words of our Father, because as He said, 
“What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice, or by the voice of servants, it is the same”. 
In another hymn, titled “We Listen to a Prophet’s Voice”, we sing, 
“We listen to a prophet’s voice and hear the Savior too. With love he bids us do the work the Lord would have us do. The Savior calls His chosen seer to preach the word of God, that men might learn to find the path marked by the iron rod. In every land, in every tongue, our prophet will be heard; how swiftly round the world his voice reveals the gospel word! The sacred message that he brings will witness and agree with every prophet called of God throughout earth’s history.”
Not only do we, here in the Park Orchard Ward of the Kent, Washington Stake, receive the message shared from God, but so do all that are in every land because of the organization that exists in order for all to hear the words of the Prophet which he preaches as the word of God. How great is that blessing! We have so many opportunities to hear the words of God, whether it be via the internet, on, in the Ensign, New Era, or Friend, live at General Conference every 6 months, or in the holy scriptures. We have been given so many chances to hear the word of God through the prophecy given to ancient and modern prophets. And, as stated in D&C 1:37 through revelation given to Joseph Smith from the Lord, we must “search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.”

And in the final hymn that I will reference, the song “Thy Holy Word”, reads, 
“We love to hear thy holy word proclaimed in latter days. It lifts our hearts; our souls are stirred to glorify thy ways. We love to read thy holy word with quiet thought and prayer. Thy Spirit’s whisperings we have heard; we feel thy constant care. We love to share thy holy word; thy gospel we proclaim. We humbly bear our witness, Lord, of thy redeeming name. We thank thee for thy holy word; with joy we sing thy praise. Oh, help us, Lord, to learn thy word and live it all our days.”
So my question to you is, “how do we receive the ‘holy word’”? I hope the answer is very obvious by now… But it is through prophecy. The holy word this song refers to is the words spoken by prophets and contained in the scriptures that give us hope. All these words have come from God the Father and have been revealed to the prophets. It is through His word that we may feel joy, calm, tranquility, peace of mind, humility, and so much more.

As said in the songs I have quoted, His word brings joy to others and joy to those who share it. I am so grateful for the chance I have to bring joy to others has I spread the gospel to those who are ready to hear it. I am grateful for the opportunity we have in these days to receive revelation through prophecy to the prophets of our Church. I would like to conclude with my testimony:

I know that God lives. I know that He speaks through revelation to His prophets on the earth today, as was done in the times before. I know that all the prophecies which have been spoken in the past, present, and future will all be fulfilled. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and through him, the Church was restored in these the latter days. I know the Church is now run through a true prophet, President Monson, who the Lord speaks to through prophecy. I know that the Lord knows and loves each and every one of you. He understands what you are going through and I know that if we pray, He is there waiting for you and ready to listen. He’s always just one prayer away. I know that no matter what trials we all face, we will never be alone, for the Lord is with us wherever we go. I love the knowledge that this Gospel provides and I am so humbled and grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to serve a mission and share the truth of the Gospel. I say these things, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

(PC: Berdeen Meadows at Pacific Blue Photography (253)332-0910)