Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Ministry of Angels

Just as promised, here is Jon's talk from 2 Sundays ago. A lot of his talk was filled with personal experiences that he shared as he went so he has bullet points that outline the subjects he wanted to share. I'll fill in a couple of them so that you get the idea :) Enjoy!

“. . . have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?

“And because he hath done this . . . have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.

“For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.”

- We don’t talk all that often about angels in the church, but they are everywhere throughout time:

o announcing Christ’s birth to the shepherds

o visiting every prophet in history

o brought Joseph Smith the Book of Mormon

- Angels are a major part of God’s plan

“From the beginning down through the dispensations, God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children. Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times.”

- One of my deacons last week asked me how the Holy Ghost can be everywhere all at once: How can everyone feel his presence’s at the same time if he is only one spirit? I didn’t have an answer. Some things we’re just meant to know yet. We don’t need to know how the Holy Ghost does it, only that He can and does. But now I have an answer: Ministering Angels. When we need comfort, guidance, or are seeking answers to difficult questions, how does God take care of all 7 billion people in the world simultaneously? I think it’s Ministering Angels. And we have great need, especially in recent times, for these Heavenly messengers:

“In the course of life all of us spend time in . . . circumstances of sorrow or fear or discouragement. Our present day is filled with global distress over financial crises, energy problems, terrorist attacks, and natural calamities. These translate into individual and family concerns not only about homes in which to live and food available to eat but also about the ultimate safety and well-being of our children and the latter-day prophecies about our planet. More serious than these—and sometimes related to them—are matters of ethical, moral, and spiritual decay seen in populations large and small, at home and abroad. But I testify that angels are still sent to help us . . . such ministrations will be to the righteous until the end of time.”

- Many would say the heavens are closed and have been for centuries. God no longer speaks to us, no longer watches out for us. We are left to figure out life on our own with the little knowledge and guidance He has given us through the Prophets of old. Others perhaps would say that God never spoke at all. Or that He doesn’t exist because there is no proof that He does exist. Show me a sign and I will believe friends have told me. They want evidence. They want the scientific method. But even in science evidence does not come to someone just because they want it. You must seek after it. You must work to find it.

Mormon said to his son Moroni:

“Has the day of miracles ceased?

“Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

“Behold I say unto you, Nay; for . . . it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men. . . .

“For behold, they are subject unto [Christ], to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.”

Elder Holland adds to this scripture: “. . . take heart, be filled with faith, and remember the Lord has said He “would fight [our] battles, [our] children’s battles, and [the battles of our] children’s children.” And what do we do to merit such a defense? We are to “search diligently, pray always, and be believing[. Then] all things shall work together for [our] good, if [we] walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.” The latter days are not a time to fear and tremble. They are a time to be believing . . . .”

- I have never seen an angel. I’m sure most of you haven’t. I’ve also never seen the wind. Or gravity. Or radio waves. Or the molten iron core of the earth. Or the millions of other oddities science claims exists. But I believe they exist, because I can experience the wind on my face, the rain falling down to earth, the music that comes through my car radio. And I can feel God’s influence when I need to comforted. I receive answers to questions when ask sincerely. The influence of Ministering Angels’ is something to be experienced, but only when we put in our effort.

“God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. “[N]or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.” On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting.”

- Whenever I think of Heavenly Father watching over me, or helping me with something, I think of Him waving His hand over me and magically making whatever the problem was go away. It doesn’t work like that. Nothing does. And not all the problems we have in life can be fixed with the comforting influence of Angelic Messengers. Life is hard. Physically hard. Living in modern times is rough. But God does not leave us to wade through our trials alone. Elder Holland speaks of other “heavenly messengers” of a more tangible nature:

“. . . when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Some of them gave birth to us. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind.”

- We too are Ministering Angels to others. We have no idea what influence we can have on other people. A simple smile can have an immense impact on the day and life of another. Helping a classmate carry his or her books, or calling an old friend or brother or sister to see how they are doing. Are we taking the opportunities to be Ministering Angles?

- Being Ministering Angels:

o My parents are old (Over the weekend we were in Loomis and Steve and Chris had purchased a fireplace insert for their living room. They tend to take on a lot of projects around their home and yard that they can't quite handle, so Jon is there to step in and help them get things done. He is a ministering angel because he sees a need and fills it. We should take more opportunities to serve others.)

o Steph is a bad, bad driver (Steph ran off the road into a ditch recently and while she was waiting for the tow truck and police there were a few people who stopped to help, called the fire department for her and helped her when she needed it. Steph didn't even know these people and will probably never see them again. These small acts of kindness show that God is watching over us in the promptings he gives to others to help us even when it might seem small.)

“May we all believe more readily in, and have more gratitude for, the Lord’s promise . . . : “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left . . . my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” . . . may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith. . . . Perhaps then we can be emissaries sent from God when someone needs it.”

(Jon ended by bearing his testimony of the gospel and the power of ministering angels.)

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