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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

150: CONNECTED TO THE LIVING VINE


Below is a statue I discovered in Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.  It depicts a young man lifting his friend to higher ground. They are connected by holding on to each others arms. It is difficult to see the delineation between their two arms. It is as if they have joined and melded together, There is no separation. They are unified, and they are one. 

It is a blessing when friendships like this can be formed here in mortality. These friendships give us insight on the type of relationship we need to have with our Savior. Christ uses the example of a living "vine" to describe himself in John 15:1  "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman." This description suggests that we should have a living connection to the Him. A living connection implies you are in contact with Him. You hear from and listen to Him. He is a part of you and an active part of your life and growth.

A friend of mine stated, "How each of us received contact with God, how we hear His voice, and what gifts we possess are unique. There is no single, universal way for one to hear His voice and know that He is. And so it is a mistake to ignore your own unique talent for "hearing" your Father in Heaven. He did not send you here powerless to hear Him. But it will require you to develop the capacity. Relying merely upon your "feeling" or "emotions" alone is insufficient; you must learn to hear His voice."


Sidenote:

Here is another quote about the importance of friendship from a blog that I think is worth reading:  Weeping for Zion

"One thing I am eternally grateful for is friendship.  Having others around me, to lift me up when things get hard or to share in the best moments of this wonderful life is a precious gift that we should always try to nurture.  Those who connect like this often feel like there is a tangible feeling of ‘oneness’ that is invaluable for both and all parties."

The author of the blog is currently expounding on the Book of John. He is currently on chapter 15.

"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
These things I command you, that ye love one another."

John 15: 12-17

12 comments:

  1. "There is no single, universal way for one to hear His voice and know that He is."

    I think this could be misinterpreted that He has different voices and different messages for different people. There is one Lord and He has one Voice. We can easily read in scripture how similarly the Lord deals with His children. There is an eternal pattern which He follows.

    Once we believe anything under the sun *could* be the Lord delivering us a message, we open ourselves up to deception which is rampant in our day. I even read a comment today that the true faithful followers of Jesus Christ will be excommunicated from the Church... "cast out" from the wicked, as he called it. Unbelievable.

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    1. :29 "I even read a comment today that the true faithful followers of Jesus Christ will be excommunicated from the Church... "cast out" from the wicked, as he called it. Unbelievable"

      Yep.. UNBELIEVABLE.

      What is even more unbelievable... is to read our scriptures and see that it usually is the "righteous", the Temple going, the law abiding people... who not only stone and kick out the true followers of Christ.. but they actually try and kill them... including.. not only the followers, but Christ Himself, the God and Creator of this world.

      We only need to read the Book of Mormon to see that this happens over and over again.... the proud and righteous cast out and want to kill men like Lehi who needed to flee with his family and leaving the "Church" and the "righteous" back in Jerusalem..

      or what about shooting arrows and trying to kill a man for preaching repentance on the wall of the Temple in Zarahelma to the "righteous" members of the Church.

      yes.. unbelievable

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    2. I guess it boils down to who really are the righteous? Everyone seems to think they are... and that their perspective is the true one... but your logic fails. Since temple-goers were pharisaical and bad in Jesus' time, that must be a sign! I reject all temple-goers presently. Since active members tried to kill Samuel, that must mean active members are missing the mark presently, too.

      The idea that leaving the Church is a sign that one is very or "more" righteous (like Lehi?!) is dangerous, in my opinion. I don't think there is any reason to leave the Church if one is living righteously and faithfully.

      Before you think you've "evolved" beyond where I am spiritually, I'll tell you I've been where you are and back.

      It also makes you less focused on missionary work.... I mean, if you're feeling like the Church is holding you back somehow, why bring anyone else into that situation? The Church becomes optional at best. Not where you want to find yourself, brother.

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  2. I think what you say has value; the Holy Ghost is capable of reaching each person, and each person's heart IS different--

    The comments of anonymous 1:29 PM make me think of puritans and those other religious sects that 'shun' and shame--

    Why wouldn't Heavenly Father delight in the unique personality of each of His Children?

    And what does this have to do, this ability that a perfect God has to reach each of His Children in a way that child needs to be reached--

    have to do with the last two sentences (almost three lines)--

    of anonymous 1:29 PM?

    It's interesting how even in this blog essay, in these comments at the end of a blog essay, it is obvious to see how differently minds work.



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  3. All of these anonymouses on this blog are confusing. Seriously. You have a choice to choose "Name/URL" - all you have to do is make up a name and leave the URL blank. Then those who read could keep you straight. It's like the story of the lady who had twenty-something boys and called them all "Dave".

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  4. Toni, I was tempted to call myself dave.. :-)


    "I guess it boils down to who really are the righteous?"

    You're right, it admittedly really does. So stay close to your savior and find the voice of the spirit so we be not deceived. And there is only one judge. But we will know soon enough, though the ignorant in that day will still clamor for religion even while the 'righteous' are persecuted without the church. The Book of Mormon is plain as to our crimes and every individual is held accountable to them, thus we are under condemnation. Thankfully, we have no need to argue over it! we all see things differently, but soon an ensign will be raised that will create a decision of whether we will look to him hissing on the rod of Moses, or to the arm of flesh borne by shebna. To each their own, it is up to us anyway. At that day, just dont go to the arm of flesh for your answer on who god is, which was the stumbling block of the Jews, and Joseph said it was ours too (ezk 14).

    And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel; But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.

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

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    1. I guess my thought is that if we think God delivers His messages in every and any possible way, we might start thinking Jesus appears to people in the church parking lot in a black suit and red tie or that black-haired angels levitating above us in bed is Gospel. His house is a house of order. Once we believe "anything goes" I think we set ourselves up for religious extremism, a la the Taliban, the Crusades, etc.

      ~Dave (couldn't resist)

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  5. Christ is speaking and appearing to many people in these days. The gathering of Zion has begun. There will be many who will one day meet the Savior and say, Lord Lord, didn't we prophesy in thy name and in thy name do many good works? Then He will say unto them, depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    Sadly many of those people will be religious members of the LDS church. The church does not bring salvation, only Christ does. The ordinances performed in our church all point to Christ, but the ordinances have no power to save in and of themselves.

    Now is the time to prepare to meet Christ, in this life. Do not suppose that you can wait to meet Him in the next, now is the time to prepare to meet our Lord.

    There will be many prophets who are called to testify and cry repentance. If we harden our hearts, we will miss them or worse, we will cast them from our midst. True prophets of God are always called by His own voice directly. Lehi is the perfect example. Amos is another. Amos who said that God will do nothing save He reveals His secret to the prophets. Amos, who was a herdsman and a gatherer of fruit. Amos who did not come from priestly lineage.

    Do not be as the hypocrites who say if we had lived in the days of Lehi or Nephi, we would not have cast them out. Yet ye are worse than they. You deny the plain truth testified before your very eyes.

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    1. I'd like to hear an account of Christ appearing to someone where the person asked for the handshake test and the test was passed. Just one account.

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    2. Peter didn't need the handshake/test...there were no wounds in the body yet living. The Spirit revealed the Christ to Peter. Moroni 10:5-33. You have taken a small bit of information out of context and assume you have knowledge. You deny the gifts of the Spirit and deny the Christ. Repent and be believing.
      Read your last statement. You have asked for a sign. You reject the testimony of believers. You reject the testimony of prophets (those who have the testimony of Jesus...you may well ask the testimony of Jesus regarding what???) who kindly (our of love for you) share with you their testimony of the risen living Lord.
      How silly indeed. He in-fact does condescend and quicken as Dan has written below.
      Hear it everyone weak and great. I am weak and am one of the least members and I know our Christ lives and all who will be believing, have faith in Him, repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost as their guide and come unto Him may know. Do not believe those who say otherwise as they do not speak from anything other than darkness, ignorance, and tradition. I KNOW The gospel of Jesus Christ is true.
      Brahm

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    3. No, Joseph Smith is directing me to ask for a sign. But what would he know? He just gave the counsel to hear himself talk. If Peter didn't need the handshake test, we must follow Peter! Away with Joseph and his superstitious unbelief! How dare he give us counsel when we know so much already. You are rejecting Joseph and if you reject him, you do not receive the Word. (D&C 5:10)

      After an entire day of self-examination you'd still be unable to see what is apparent to anyone who's listened to you for 30 seconds. You condemn. You mis-judge. Your discernment is faulty at best. "How silly..." you say with your smug sense of self-importance. You set yourself up as a light, as someone who has wisdom to teach others. Who has right here denied the teachings of the Prophet? Rejected them outright? Do you have eyes to see? You boldly proclaim you KNOW the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and I dare say you hardly know of what you speak. You parrot missionary scriptures and think you are wise.

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  6. Anything does go... if we believe god is the omnipotent and omni-powerful one, not us. Our current Mormon paradigm doesn't allow for these things, we are afraid of the anything goes mentality. Thus, we limit him and how he would teach us.

    His disciples met a resurrected Jesus on the road, than ate fish and honey with them. At first, they didn't realize it was him.

    Jacob Got the name Israel after engaging the Lord in a Wrestling match

    Abraham met him and his friends in a dusty desert, sat in the shade, washed feet with him and ate with him, long before the meridian Jesus showed up on the scene.

    I can testify to the fact that God condesends to us , as well as quickening us to Him. By us limiting how he can teach us and appear, we are only limiting how we can taught and enjoy his companionship. How silly!




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