How do you talk to God?Â How does God talk to you?Â How do you know that He hears you, and that you are really hearing Him and not just hearing what you want to hear or what some other source has to say?
These are all important questions.Â I heard a lesson today in Sunday School that had some good answers.Â The lesson is online, if you would like to read it: “I Will Tell You in Your Mind and in Your Heart, by the Holy Ghost”
To outline it briefly, God communicates with us through the Holy Ghost.Â We can hear this communication only if we are listening (just like you can only hear the radio if you have it turned on).Â We also need to know how the Holy Ghost communicates with us, as it isn’t just like hearing a voice most of the time (and if I’m not listening and tuned in, I won’t even register what a person talking to me in the same room is saying – we have to listen).
This is how the Holy Ghost communicates:
- He uses a still, small voice to communicate to our minds and hearts.
- He enlightens our minds.
- He brings peace to our minds.
- He may cause a burning in the bosom.Â (This is most likely felt as a sensation of warmth or comfort – I have felt it at times, and you will know it when it comes to you).
- He often reveals things â€œline upon line, precept upon preceptâ€ rather than all at once.
There is more discussion of these points in the lesson, if you want to follow the link.Â Or feel free to ask me if you want to know more, or if you don’t understand anything here.
Â There are a few more things to remember.Â First of all, we don’t always get the answer that we want, and we need to be willing to accept God’s answer.Â He isn’t going to change His mind because we don’t like what we hear.Â And sometimes it is really hard to hear what we don’t want to hear.Â Especially when it isn’t clear or we aren’t used to communicating this way.Â Also, this isn’t an answers on demand service.Â God will show us His answers in his own time, and in His way, which isn’t always what we are looking for.Â Keep listening.
Â There are a couple of other points worth mentioning.Â We aren’t going to get answers for other people that we aren’t responsible for.Â I can expect to find out God’s will for me and sometimes for my children, or people who are placed in my care.Â But I’m not going to get answers for you.Â Maybe I will get a suggestion of what God would like me to do to help, but that’s as far as it goes.Â So if I think that the Holy Ghost is whispering to me that you ought to move to Utah and be my new neighbor, then I need to check the source there.Â It’s probably wishful thinking and maybe I’m confusing what I want to hear with what God really has to say about it (He’s not going to tell me something like that, because it isn’t my decision to make).
Â And sometimes you ask, but you don’t get an answer.Â What then?Â Remember that God answers when He decides that we are ready, and in His way.Â It can take a long time.Â It is also possible that we might not be listening to what we need to listen to, or that we need to do something first (study, prepare, etc.)Â Sometimes we just need to be patient.Â But the answers will come when the time is right and when we need them and are ready.
We must sometimes face challenges and difficulties. At times there appears to be no light at the tunnel’s end…no dawn to break the night’s darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, the despair of vanished hopes. We all join in uttering the biblical plea, is there no balm in Gilead? We are inclined to view our own personal misfortunes through the distorted prism of pessimism. We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone. If you find yourself in such a situation, I plead with you to turn to our Heavenly Father in faith. He will lift you and guide you. He will not always take your afflictions from you, but He will comfort and lead you with love through whatever storm you face.
Thomas S. Monson
For me, this is the essential message. This is what I have been trying to say. It’s what it is all about. There is hope, and there is help and comfort available. No matter what you are going through or have been through, God has not abandoned you.
Especially for those who turn away from God and from religion because of their hurts and having associated their pain with something that is meant to be healing, I wish that you could hear this message and know that God is love. Anything else does not come from this source. Some people make mistakes, and some use God’s name for their own purposes, and none of that is of God. God offers healing and relief, and love. You’re not alone.
This chapter of the Book of Mormon really leaped out at me today and I wanted to share it, for anyone interested.
What strikes me as relevant is how this passage reveals the lies that the adversary uses to disguise his message and make it look like it makes sense.Â The story in this chapter is about an “antichrist” called Korihor, who goes about teaching that there is no God.Â
Â First, what is an “antichrist?”Â My Bible Dictionary says that this is “a word used by John to describe one who would assume the guise of Christ, but in reality would be opposed to Christ.”Â Also, “In a broader sense it is anyone or anything that counterfeits the true gospel or plan of salvation and that openly or secretly is set up in opposition to Christ. The true antichrist is Lucifer, but he has many assistants, both as spirit beings and as mortals.”
Korihor lived about 2000 years ago, shortly before Christ was born, in America.Â During this particular time there were wars between the people who followed God, and those who didn’t.Â The believers had been taught that Christ would be born, and were looking forward to that event.Â Among the followers of God, “there was no law against a man’s belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.”Â Therefore, it was legal for Korihor to teach what he believed.Â Korihor exercised his right to free speech by going about attacking others’ beliefs, telling them that they were “foolish” to believe, because
- no man can know of anything which is to come
- prophecies are “foolish traditions of your fathers”
- you can’t know things you don’t see
- looking forward to remission of sins is “the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your mind comes because of the traditions of your fathers”
- basically it’s every man for himself
- do anything you want to do because there is no crime or sin
- when you die, that’s all there is
Well, Korihor kept preaching and some people believed him, but some had a problem with these teachings and took Korihor to visit the authorities.Â Since this preaching wasn’t illegal, all they did was talk with him, but Korihor couldn’t keep his lies straight.Â I’ll let you read that discussion for yourselves – follow the link above.Â It’s pretty good.Â
In the end, Korihor kept making false accusations, and insisting that there was no God.Â Alma was a prophet, and Alma discerned that Korihor really did know that there was a God,Â and was lying.Â Korihor asked for proof, and a sign.Â Alma told him that all things are a sign: “Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets?Â The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote that there is a God; yea even the earth, and all things upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.”
Of course Korihor kept pushing for a sign.Â Alma had tried his best, and now told Korihor, to paraphrase, here’s your sign – you will be struck dumb.Â Korihor could speak no more, and wrote that he always knew there was a God and he had been preaching what the devil told him to say, because it was “pleasing unto the carnal mind.”
Unfortunately, the message that Korihor preached is still being preached today.Â It isn’t my place to judge or to call anyone an “antichrist” because I don’t know whether anyone spreading false teachings really knows the truth or if they are victims of what they were taught.Â But I can recognize the message and its ultimate source.
Â I know that God is real, and He lives, and Christ was sent and did provide the way for us to return home.Â What we say and what we do, or what we don’t say and don’t do, matters.Â I know which side I am on.Â Do you know which side you are fighting for?Â Which message are you listening to?Â It makes a difference.