The Poetic Corner: The Valley and the Wind

The Valley and the Wind

upon the dry and dusty ground
our feet, they drag
our hands, they drop
as we walk through the valley
of the shadow of death
it’s not an uncommon place
as our poets have said

all creation has breathed this air
we’re no different as we sink into despair
here under the glare of the sun
we break into skeletons

then the wind carries the voice of a prophet
sent to wake us from our dreamless sleep
’cause a wake up call is what we need
to join together what is torn
and mend our heart strings thin and worn

so pick up your bones the wind restored
let the Lord build up your broken form
take your shield and take your sword
face the storm
let’s face the storm

take heart and see
the scattering come to an end
stand up and breathe
this life the wind has sent
we are an army for the Lord

so pick up your bones the wind restored
let the Lord build up your broken form
take your shield and take your sword
we are reformed
let’s face the storm

 

In the 35th chapter of the book of Ezekiel, Ezekiel sees a vision of a valley floor in which lies the remains of a great army. The Lord tells him to prophecy and tell the bones to live.

So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.

And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the fourwinds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. (Ezekiel 37: 7-10)

This vision was a prophetic statement of both the Resurrection of all mankind and the gathering of scattered Israel in the last days. But we can also apply it to our everyday lives. We are the army for the Lord. As believers in Christ, we are of the body of Christ. But often we are not the warriors we should be. Rather than a mighty army, we are a valley of broken bones.Are we all united under the banner of Christ? Think about it. Truly, we are not. Individually, we often go back and forth between a mighty warrior and a heap of bones. What makes the difference?

The Spirit of the Lord breathed life into the dead soldiers. If we do not have the Holy Spirit with us, we cannot be a mighty warrior. Now, although the Spirit is what quickened the dead bones and gave them life, who was it that was the bearer of the prophecy? Ezekiel, the prophet. The Lord could have simply let Ezekiel watch as He breathed life into the soldiers, but he commanded Ezekiel to prophecy instead. The army stood and was united under the voice of God’s prophet.

We have the words of the prophets with us, both ancient and modern. We have the visions and prophecies of Ezekiel in the Old Testament and we also can hear the voice of a living prophet. His name is Thomas S. Monson. Iknow that he is a prophet called of God. I know that God speaks to him as God spoke to Ezekiel. Under his voice we can be revived, and under his voice we must be united.

How can you know if this Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s prophet of the earth? Read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. You can receive an answer and discover for yourself that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom on the earth, and that there is a living prophet on the earth as well.

 

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Awake and Alive

Every Christian knows what the book of Revelation is. John the Beloved saw in vision the resurrected Christ, who showed him, essentially, the last days and the things that would go down. This book contains a lot of material that has become well known throughout the world: the mark of the beast, the mark in the forehead and hands, Babylon the mother of harlots covering the earth, the book of life, the seven seals, angels and trumpets, wars and catastrophe, etc.

When most people think of the book of Revelation, they think of bad things happening in the last days. The wars and catastrophes and the beast. These things don’t sound particularly fun. In fact, it sounds downright terrible, and somewhat hopeless. But many forget that all these things are not why John wrote Revelation. He did not want us to get caught up in all the calamities that would occur. The book of Revelation is not meant to be a warning of bad times approaching, but instead serves as a message of hope.

Yes, there will be wars. Yes, Babylon will cover the earth. Yes, people will worship the beast and the devil will mimic the miracles of God. Yes, there will be calamities. But the message John wants us to get from this is that it doesn’t matter, because Jesus is going to win in the end. Despite all of Satan’s efforts to destroy the work of God, he will not succeed. Revelation is a message of hope, not of warning.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

All the awful things of the world will pass away. Christ will conquer Satan and there will be no more sadness or pain. Eternal happiness will be what we will enjoy, so long as we are on the Lord’s side.

Gordon B. Hinckley, the last prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, once said, “The time has now come to turn about and face the future. This is a season of a thousand opportunities. It is ours to grasp and move forward. What a wonderful time it is for each of us to do his or her small part in moving the work of the Lord on to its magnificent destiny.

Never be discouraged. This is an awesome time to be alive. Amidst the bad news that gets thrown at us, we so often forget how many good things are happening right under our noses. These are the last days. These are the days in which Jesus Christ has restored the fullness of His gospel to the earth. His church is here. We have living prophets on the earth again that communicate God’s will to us. Christ’s priesthood authority is in effect. There is revelation. There are miracles. It’s awesome! Be happy. Get excited. Jesus can bring us salvation and eternal life if we only repent and turn to Him. The hand of God is with mankind more than it has ever been. I’m grateful to have been born in this day and age when I can witness of all this firsthand. You should be too, ’cause it’s a great time to be alive.

Articles of Faith VII: Gifts of the Spirit

Seven is the best number, right? This should be a super long one. Well, nope, it’s rather short and simple.

We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

These are all gifts of the Spirit, something that we, as a church, strongly believe in. The Holy Ghost can do amazing things, and when His influence abounds… miracles happen. These miracles are often in the form of these gifts. We can all have them, though we all don’t possess the same gifts. We each have our individual strengths and weaknesses in every aspect of our lives, especially the spiritual aspect.

Paul speaks of the gifts of the Spirit to the Corinthians,

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)

Let’s break up the seventh statement and go through it.

Gift of Tongues (and interpretation of tongues) – This one is simple: foreign languages. When LDS people speak of this gift, we aren’t referring to someone having a seizure in their pew and spouting off jibber jabber no one else can understand. When we speak of the gift of tongues, we are literally meaning the ability to communicate (and be understood) in a different language. Thousands of LDS missionaries are blessed with this gift when they travel to foreign lands and need to learn a new tongue fast. The Spirit of God is not a spirit of confusion. He is a spirit of understanding and comprehension.

The Gift of Prophecy and Revelation – These two gifts often go together. We can all receive personal revelation for ourselves and those we have stewardship over. This is prophecy… on an individualistic level. We can all be prophets in this sense. However, only the prophet can receive revelation for the entire Church and the world. Today, the prophet is Thomas S. Monson. As God’s prophet on the earth today, he can receive revelation for us all.

Visions and Dreams– This one is touchy, and should be handled delicately. Many of us have had interesting dreams in which we have had a special spiritual experience. Throughout the world’s history, prophets of God have had visions and dreams. In fact, we find in Numbers 12:6,

And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

This is actually a rather common way for God to communicate to His prophets. Like I said though, it’s a delicate thing. Personally, I don’t know too much about this topic, and I honestly can’t say I’ve had any first hand experience with it.

Healing – Numerous times did Jesus Christ heal. His apostles also healed many times. This gift can be separated into two categories: faith to heal, and faith to be healed. It takes faith on both ends. Some are blessed with tremendous faith to heal, while others have tremendous faith that healing can take place.

To put it simply, we believe the Spirit of God is still very active in our day. Miracles have not ceased, and if they do, it will be because of our lack of faith.

Bible + Book of Mormon = Prophecy

There are multiple prophecies in the Bible concerning the Book of Mormon. One such is a prophecy concerning Joseph, the son of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Each of Israel’s sons receives a prophecy. Joseph’s is this,

Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall. (Genesis 49:22)

The beginning of the Book of Mormon follows a family that leaves Jerusalem (about 600 B.C.) and sails across the ocean to the American continents. The patriarch of this family is Lehi, who is a descendant of Joseph. Truly, this prophecy is more literal than it seems. Joseph’s descendants, his branches, most definitely ran over the wall. In fact, they ran over the ocean and into a new land.

Other Biblical prophecies about the Book of Mormon can be found, such as the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph becoming one (Ezekiel 37), or the sealed book that is delivered to the unlearned man (Isaiah 29).

The truth of the matter is that the Bible and the Book of Mormon support each other. They both testify that Jesus is the Christ. I’ve met many people that say the Book of Mormon is false, and that it contradicts the Bible. If I was more bold I’d call them fools, for it is foolish to think such things. Many of them have never read the Book of Mormon… many of them haven’t even read much of the Bible.

Well, I’m here to tell you that these two books go hand in hand. They support each other, not contradict. If you don’t believe me, read the Book of Mormon. If you’ve already read it and still disagree, then you did not understand what you read, and you did not search it diligently. The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. I am a witness of that. But don’t take my word for it. Read the Book of Mormon and listen to the Spirit of God.