Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Morning Breaks!

"Hey, I thought you were dead!"

No, we were incredibly busy. Lots of things have happened since the last time I blogged! We've had transfers, I'm still in Granger, and there was a lot - and I mean a lot of teaching to be done.

It was wonderful. And I'm back!

"Good! What are we hearing about today?"

Well, we're going to talk about one of my new favorite hymns. I've been listening to it almost non-stop for a week, now!

***


"And I saw another angel fly
 in the midst of heaven, having
the everlasting gospel"
"The morning breaks, the shadows flee;
Lo, Zion’s standard is unfurled!
The dawning of a brighter day,
Majestic rises on the world."

How glorious! "The morning breaks, the shadows flee"! This is beautiful imagery - the thought of this hymn came to me as I read this passage of Scripture:

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."
2 Nephi 19:2

Just imagine - how long had these people been searching for the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The pure, unadulterated truth. The Lord knew that there would be many who would search for the Light that the Gospel is while in "the land of the shadow of death," as He said to His Prophet, Amos:

"¶Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
"And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it."
Amos 8:11-12

People were waiting for the Standard of Zion to be unfurled! Eager, anxious - they knew where they wanted to be, but had no direction. That is, until they saw "the dawning of a brighter day".

Members of the Church sustain
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland as a
Prophet, Seer, and Revelator
During Christmas of 2012, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came to our Mission and addressed us for a Christmas Conference. He spoke very powerfully regarding this - the brighter day:

"Isiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel; Peter, James, and John; Alma, Amulek, Mormon and Moroni all knew they would not succeed in their time... [T]hey saw you. Your hour, your day, and your face is what kept them going. Ours is the dispensation that will succeed... Ours is the day that every Prophet, Priest and King would dream of."

love how this hymn explains the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - there are so many things that just come rushing to my mind; I love the Restored Gospel.

This majestic hymn tells us that with the coming of the Brighter Day, that the "clouds of error [will] disappear". With the Restoration of the Gospel, soso many things which were understood only through the "clouds of error" were made clear. What are some of the things that the Restored Gospel clarify?
As said above, these are but some of the things that were brought back with the Restoration of the Gospel.

"Why was a Restoration necessary?"

Well, you see, it's pretty simple. However, we're going to define the word 'restoration'. We read that the word means: "the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition."

He sent His Son to die for us.
So, in order to gain a better understanding of the Restoration, we need to understand that God is our loving Father in Heaven, and that He wants us to be happy - far happier than we are right now. To help accomplish this, He has provided us with a wondrous plan - it's called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's named after His Only Begotten Son, and is centered around His - even Jesus Christ - life and His teachings.

You see, this Gospel - which blesses our families as well as ourselves independent of them - has been revealed to Prophets from the very beginning. These were mighty men such as Adam and Moses, Abraham, Elijah and and others. They have always dispensed the Gospel and it's ordinances to those who hearken to their counsel and words.

People don't always accept the Gospel - and you'll see that there is a pattern whereby the Gospel is given, accepted, and later rejected. When this happens, we find ourselves in an apostasy.

This pattern of Gospel acceptance and later rejection was something that continued from Adam all the way to Jesus Christ. When Christ came, He established His Church. He called Twelve ApostlesHe instructed them after the manner by which man would be saved.
Joseph Smith was The Lord's
chosen Prophet to restore
the Gospel.

Christ was rejected and crucified - after His Resurrection, Christ guided His Church through revelation; however, as time went on, people rejected the Gospel even further! The Apostles were killed, Priesthood authority was taken from the earth. It was during this time that the formation of many churches came about; more and more error - even corruption - crept into the simple, pure, and perfect Gospel that Jesus Christ taught. Time went on, and this confusion abounded.

This continued until 1820. This is where the Restoration of the Gospel comes in. Father had deemed the world ready for the long-prophesied "dawning of a brighter day"! A Prophet was chosen - his name was Joseph Smith.

This young boy had two questions - "Which church is true? Which church do I join?" Searching for the truth, he found counsel in the Bible; it was after receiving this counsel that the young boy decided to act - that is, he would "ask of God".

Of this experienceJoseph said:

"Humbly kneeling, sweet appealing--
'Twas the boy's first uttered prayer"



"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me... 

"When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"

This event was the calling of Joseph Smith to be a Prophet through whom the Gospel would be restored in it's fullness! The Priesthood was restored, the Book of Mormon translated, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reestablished!

***
Do we realize how blessed we are? We live in a time where we have the Gospel! Elder Jose L. Alonso of the First Quorum of the Seventy said the following in a Zone Conference to our mission:

"President Monson is our living Prophet. The Book of Mormon is here for us. Jesus Christ is the head of our Church. How can you be [insert negative emotion or feeling here]?"

My dear friends - I do declare that this wondrous message has been restored, and that it was through the Prophet Joseph Smith that our loving Father restored the Church of His Son! I know with every fiber of my being that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and that this Gospel which was in desperate need of a Restoration was, in fact, restored.

I testify with wholeness of heart that our Father in Heaven will make the truth of this Restoration - this "dawning of a brighter day" - known unto you if you but ask Him humbly.

Ask Him. This is the first step.

Act on the knowledge you receive. This is the second.

The choice is now yours.

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