Sunday, June 3, 2012

How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life Pt. 2: Words from an Apostle

As I sat down to write about this week's article, the post went in a different direction than planned and did not include the article I had chosen at all. But it was still pretty good so I posted it as part one, a preface to this post which does include the article of the week.

As we discussed in part one, each of us faces difficult and life-changing decisions in life. Relying on the wisdom of the world or simply on our own experience often times is not enough to make educated, correct decisions. However, we are not left alone to make these decisions; we have a loving Father in Heaven who knows our challenges and is willing to help us if we reach out to Him. And when we do, God communicates with us through the Holy Ghost.

Elder Richard G. Scott, apostle of the Lord in our day, gave a discourse on how we can receive help from the Lord in our personal lives. His talk, entitled, "How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life," is published in the May 2012 publication of the Ensign.

"The Holy Ghost communicates important information that we need to guide us in our mortal journey," taught Elder Scott, "When it is crisp and clear and essential, it warrants the title of revelation. When it is a series of promptings we often have to guide us step by step to a worthy objective, for the purpose of this message, it is inspiration."

Elder Scott then went on to describe a number of things that we can and should do to invite and recognize revelation, starting with prayer. "One of the great lessons that each of us needs to learn is to ask. Why does the Lord want us to pray to Him and to ask? Because that is how revelation is received." He continued:

"When I am faced with a very difficult matter, this is how I try to understand what to do. I fast. I pray to find and understand scriptures that will be helpful. That process is cyclical. I start reading a passage of scripture; I ponder what the verse means and pray for inspiration. I then ponder and pray to know if I have captured all the Lord wants me to do. Often more impressions come with increased understanding of doctrine. I have found that pattern to be a good way to learn from the scriptures."

In addition to studying the scriptures, we must live in a manner that invites the Spirit. Elder Scott taught, "There are some practical principles that enhance revelation. First, yielding to emotions such as anger or hurt or defensiveness will drive away the Holy Ghost. Those emotions must be eliminated, or our chance for receiving revelation is slight.

"Another principle is to be cautious with humor. Loud, inappropriate laughter will offend the Spirit. A good sense of humor helps revelation; loud laughter does not. A sense of humor is an escape valve for the pressures of life."

(I LOVE that he calls humor an escape valve for the pressures of life. Something I definitely need to work on.)

"Another enemy to revelation comes from exaggeration or loudness in what is stated. Careful, quiet speech will favor the receipt of revelation.

"On the other hand, spiritual communication can be enhanced by good health practices. Exercise, reasonable amounts of sleep, and good eating habits increase our capacity to receive and understand revelation. We will live for our appointed life span. However, we can improve both the quality of our service and our well-being by making careful, appropriate choices.

"It is important that our daily activities do not distract us from listening to the Spirit."

As we pray and strive to live in a manner that invites the spirit of revelation, we should record what we learn. "Inspiration carefully recorded shows God that His communications are sacred to us."

If we falter in our striving to do right and make wrong choices, the Atonement of Jesus Christ  provides a release from the demands of justice for the errors made. The Atonement, said Elder Scott, "is wondrously simple and so incomparably beautiful. As you continue to live righteously, you will always be prompted to know what to do."

Read this talk about receiving revelation from the Lord for our personal lives. Each of us faces decisions in life that we cannot adequately decide on our own. Elder Scott is an apostle of the Lord and knows very well how to live in order for the Lord to speak to us unhindered. In closing he said,

"Communication with our Father in Heaven is not a trivial matter. It is a sacred privilege. It is based upon eternal, unchanging principles. We receive help from our Father in Heaven in response to our faith, obedience, and the proper use of agency."

Heavenly Father knows and loves each one of us. He desires our well-being and eternal happiness. He will help each of us on our own journeys through life if we ask Him.