Thursday, November 15, 2012

Like A Fire

What an amazing week it was for me here in Santa Rosa, California. I have been spiritually uplifted and have seen the blessings of heaven. Miracles are happening here in the Santa Rosa mission! A hymn comes to mind as I ponder the events of this last week. The hymn starts, "The spirit of God like a fire is burning..."

I have felt the presence of my Heavenly Father through His Spirit. It is through the Spirit that we all can experience true happiness in this life and feel His presence ever so close to us. In The Bible dictionary it talks about our personal spirits. We are all spiritual beings. We are not mere mortals put on this earth to live and die, but we all have a divine purpose.

It says, "Every person is literally a son or a daughter of God, having been born as a spirit to Heavenly Parents previous to being born to mortal parents on the earth. Thus each one of us is a dual being: an immortal spirit body, clothed with a body of flesh and bone. As defined in scripture, the spirit and the body constitute the mortal soul. A spirit can live independent of a body, but the body cannot live without the spirit. In the resurrection, the immortal spirit is reunited with the same body of flesh and bone it possessed as a mortal, with two major differences: The union will be permanent, and the body will not be subject to aging and death."

I know we are all sons and daughters of God. We all have been sent here for a reason. Even though we are currently living outside the presence of our Eternal Father we can still feel His presence through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit only can work with us if we are pure in heart and have a desire to choose the right.

As defined, the Holy Spirit is the third Person in the Godhead, being a personage of spirit, whereas the Father and the Son each are personages of spirit tabernacled with a tangible body of flesh and bones.

In Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 it says...

22) The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

I know that the Holy Ghost is real, because I cannot duplicate those feelings by myself. I know that the Holy Ghost testifies of truth. He testifies that God is our Heavenly Father and that Jesus Christ is the Savior of this world.  It is through the Holy Ghost that we receive answers from God. God is the source of all truth. If we ask in faith, He can and will send His Spirit down to bring feelings of happiness and peace into our hearts. Those feelings cause "the burning" within us. When we feel The Spirit, our spirits feel like they are at home. We feel a bridge built between our spirits and our Heavenly Father.

In Galatians 5:22-23, we are reminded ...

22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The family we have been teaching was baptized on Saturday. They got baptized because they received their answers directly from God. The Holy Spirit bore witness to them that what we had been teaching them was true. They acted on the answer they received and followed the example of Jesus Christ. What a blessing it was for me to be able to baptize little Francisco and see the rest of their family enter the waters of baptism as well. There was such a strong spirit in the room and I was impressed that we as missionaries have merely been guides along the path for this wonderful family. Now that they have been baptized and been confirmed, they have received the gift of the Holy Ghost. To be able to know if our church is the true church of Jesus Christ once again established on the earth, one must pray and ask God for an answer. Below are a few verses of scripture that describe how anyone can TRULY know if what we bring to the homes of thousands around the world is true.

1 Corinthians 2:12-14

12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

I know that this gospel is true. I know it is true because I have personally received an answer from my Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost. I am grateful for the relationship I have with my Heavenly Father. That connection has been strengthened so much here on my mission through fervent prayer and a desire to feel of His presence in my life. I know that faith is not what we see, but what we feel. I know that true conversion comes through the Holy Ghost. It is through God, the source of ALL truth that we can know which path is the right one. He is willing to answer us, only if we believe. This gospel has changed my life. I know where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going. I know that because we are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father and we can receive answers "spirit to spirit" from the Holy Ghost that will stay with us forever. The Holy Ghost is like a fire that is burning and I want to live my life so that it is never put out. I would like to invite you all to read The Book of Mormon and ask God if it is true. Those that do, I promise, you will receive an answer through the Holy Ghost. You will feel a burning deep in your soul, with peace and happiness. That is your answer. This is a promise to all. All are invited to partake of these feelings of pure happiness and joy that will last for the eternities. I know that Jesus Christ lives and one day soon He will come again. The Spirit of God is burning in me; let it burn in you.

Los Quiero Mucho,

Elder Vance

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