Feast Upon The Word

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16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.

19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.

20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. (Luke 14:16-24).

We have all been invited to a feast, a daily feast upon the words of Christ.

“Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” (2 Ne. 32:3).

The call was made, will we respond? Will we make excuses not to partake because we are too busy – our car needs washing, a book needs reading, a movie needs watching? Will we ignore the feast and starve ourselves spiritually? It does not take long for a body to die without physical nourishment. How long does it take the spirit to waste away without spiritual nourishment? Daily scripture study and frequent feasting upon the word of God can provide spiritual sustenance necessary for spiritual life.

Do we respond to the Savior’s call to feast at His great supper, or do we make excuses and not partake?

A Famine of Hearing the Words of the Lord

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The prophet Amos prophesied of a day of future famine, “not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). This prophecy was partially fulfilled after the death of Jesus and His apostles. His authority was lost from the earth and His words were changed – not all of them, but enough to leave people without a fullness. With the restoration of the gospel and priesthood authority, the words of the Lord once again went forth in purity. However, many in the world still suffer this spiritual famine. They willingly or unknowingly seal off their hearts and homes from the words of the Lord. The words of the Lord are ever-present but many will not hear them. Their homes become deserts without the waters of life that flow from the Lord and His anointed.

This can happen even within the membership of the church. And so I ask: is there a desert in your home? Are the words of the prophets in your homes? Is the spirit of revelation found there? Do you live the life you profess to live? Do you live the commands of the Lord and His living prophets? Is in your home a watered garden feeding and nurturing a tree of life or do you starve in a famine of hearing the words of the Lord? If you are experiencing a famine, what can you do to counter it?

There is one sure source of spiritual moisture – the Holy Ghost. Through the gentle yet piercing promptings and proddings of the Holy Ghost you can have your thirst sated. How often are you asking for this influence and nourishment in your life? Are you supplicating God in the name of Christ daily? Do you plead for forgiveness of your sins so that you might be better able to feel the influence of the Holy Ghost? If you used to pray frequently, do you do so now? “And now behold, I ask of you…have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?… And now behold, I say unto you…if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:14,26). A one-time change of heart is not enough. King David was a man after the Lord’s heart but he made mistakes and sinned. The Lord requires life-long endurance.

Have you kept your home an oasis of life in the midst of a desert, or have you allowed the desert to encroach into your home? Do you allow the east wind to blow through your home, drying it out and filling it with scorching heat and suffocating sand? What influences do you allow in your home? Do you eschew evil, or is it embraced? Is your home built by the iron rod and upon a rocky foundation, or have you established a residence in the great and spacious building, which has no foundation? Do you live full-time in a holy house or do you keep a summer cottage in Babylon? Elder Neal A. Maxwell stated, “Even if we decide to leave Babylon, some of us endeavor to keep a second residence there, or we commute on weekends” (The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book, p.25).

Do you call upon God and plead with Him to abide in your home? Lowrie Hofford wrote this moving plea for comfort from Jesus:

“Abide with me; ’tis eventide.
The day is past and gone;
The shadows of the evening fall;
The night is coming on.
Within my heart a welcome guest,
Within my home abide.

O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.

Abide with me; ’tis eventide.
Thy walk today with me
Has made my heart within me burn,
As I communed with thee.
Thy earnest words have filled my soul
And kept me near thy side.

O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.

Abide with me; ’tis eventide,
And lone will be the night
If I cannot commune with thee
Nor find in thee my light.
The darkness of the world, I fear,
Would in my home abide.

O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.” (Source).

Have you asked the Lord that He enter and remain within your home? Have you made your heart and home a welcome place for Him? Have you walked with the Lord on your own road to Emmaus? Have you felt your heart burn within you? If you have, do you still feel it burn? Are you experiencing a personal and spiritual famine or do you drink deeply from the well of eternal life?

None of us are perfect and none of us will be in this life. However, we can, like Elder Maxwell said, strive to live close to Him who is perfect (see Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book, p.275). We have a perfect source of comfort and nourishment in the Lord. If and when we stumble and slip and fall – we all do – all we need do is get back up. If we ask, the Lord will be by our sides to help pick us up. By remaining close to Him we will find an endless well and be sheltered from personal and spiritual famine.

Lessons from Life – Part 2 – Leaky Balloons

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The other night I sat watching my daughters play with a couple helium-filled balloons. As my daughters played with them, the helium inside slowly leaked out. At first the balloons stayed up on the ceiling but then over time they lost their lift and sank to the floor. The spiritual significance of this was striking. Before I write the spiritual, I’ll focus on the physical.

Balloons are usually made out of rubber or plastic or latex. All of those materials, especially when stretched thin, are porous. Being porous, balloons will leak whatever is inside based on the principles of equilibrium (of pressure) and diffusion. Many balloons are filled with helium, which is the second “lightest” element. It diffuses through solids very quickly, up to 3 times faster than air, because it is a small and simple atom. This means that latex/plastic/rubber balloons filled with helium will deflate quite quickly.

We, spiritually, are like helium-filled balloons. Over time we start to deflate spiritually. Remaining pumped full of spiritual helium requires effort and recharging. If we slack off in our spiritual efforts and endeavors, we will lose our lift and sink slowly down. For a time, if we are connected and tied to others, their buoyancy can keep us afloat but not indefinitely. Eventually we will sag and hang down, deflated and dejected. To counteract this spiritual diffusion we need to actively recharge with new helium. We should do some of the soul-searching Alma did and asked his people to do.

“And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

“Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?” (Alma 5:26-27).

I’ll repeat the key question: “If ye have experienced a change of heart…can ye feel so now?” Change once is not enough; conversion and salvation and exaltation take a lifetime of effort. We must seek daily for the Lord’s mercy and grace to free us from our sins. We must fill our lives with goodness and good acts. We must endure to the end: “Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Ne. 31:20). If we do not: “watch [ourselves], and [our] thoughts, and [our] words, and [our] deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what [we] have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of [our] lives, [we] must perish. And now…remember and perish not” (Mosiah 4:30).

In order to keep our spiritual balloons inflated and buoyant, we must remember what we have learned and endure to the end. We must continually fill our balloons with new helium in order to be lifted up at the last day.

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