On The Eve of A New Year – 2010

  Often, when I look upon the vista beyond my living room window, I recall from scripture that this earth is a result of a discussion in Heaven in which our God, His angels and all the spirits participated. This great Council was joyous over the prospect of a world in which “agency”, the inalienable right to choose individual destiny, was the key determinant of potential. In Hebrews 11:3 we learn that the power of faith was the power “by which the worlds were created”. In conjunction with that bestowal of agency to humans, we recall that in the book of Job 38:7 the Plan of Happiness was also introduced to a glad reception: “…when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of god shouted for joy”. It is a fact that the power of faith, when it is invested in Christ and in his atoning sacrifice, is the rock upon which our personal and collective powers are founded.

          Hugh Nibley reminded us that: “When the plan is discussed, we usually hear of a definite time schedule as part of it, with set ages, dispensations, and ends carefully worked out and determined ahead of time, along with a definite and fixed number of spirits appointed to go to the earth in each of those dispensations.” Temple and Cosmos, p. 190.  Mankind was allowed to share in the plan and then bring to this existence the knowledge and wisdom gained through eternities as spirits. We know that the “…great rites of Israel, centering about the Temple and the throne, are a celebration” which, since the Creation, had been observed in Heaven. It is ancient Hebrew wisdom that mankind is central to the Creator’s plans. It is also fact that God’s love for us, expressed most wondrously through the atonement of His begotten Son, testifies that eternal lives and eternal families are an eternal reality. 

          As we attune our minds to the problems and perils of the year 2010 and beyond, we must remember that nothing exists without the will and plan of God. Though there is great opposition to Heavenly Father’s work because of the Adversary’s devilish joy in thwarting righteousness, OUR works are in OUR hands. Our rewards are based upon our deeds. Our potential for good or harm stems entirely from our individual choices. We may live by the Law of the Lord or that of Belial. It is the contest in which the whole human race participates. Nibley states:  “In the Dead Sea Scrolls and the earliest Christian writings this is expressly designated as ‘the ancient Law of Liberty’”. Temple and Cosmos, p.198.  

          As I meditate upon the Savior whose Hebrew name, Jeshua, means “one who makes free”, and upon Joseph Smith, his chosen prophet of this dispensation, I recall Joseph’s testimony when, in 1832, he and Sidney Rigdon were visited by Christ and saw the worshipping holy angels. Joseph then declared:

          “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him; That he lives!D&C 76:22.

          That declaration is a call to joyousness, for it guarantees us God’s other most precious gift – an eternal Redeemer. We are so deeply blessed with true counsel! With a Savior, a prophet, temples! Endless possibilities for growth!  I hear in my mind the wondrous voices of the Tabernacle Choir as they sing thanks to God for the great news of His Gospel:

              “Rejoice, rejoice in the Most High, while Israel spreads abroad.
                Like stars that glitter in the sky, and ever worship God,
                And ever worship God, and ever, and ever worship God.” *

          My prayer for the year 2010 is that men and women will grow the power of faith to rejoice in what God has so graciously bestowed upon them; that they will also rejoice in the bestowal of another year of life, to choose the right and not delay or derail their progress toward noble goals. For Latter-day Saints it is a daily mission. Let us schedule time and mark occasions to practice understanding, serving, uplifting, encouraging, promoting, protecting and loving one another, carefully worked out and determined at the very moments of opportunity.  We all make the journey together.

                 “Let your heart not be faint now the journey’s begun, 
                  There is One who still beckons to you.
                  So look upward in joy and take hold of his hand,  
                  He will lead you to heights that are new—**   

*   Joy to The World, Issac Watts, George F. Handel
** Does the Journey Seem Long?, Joseph Fielding Smith, George D. Pyper


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