Finding Hope

For many in our modern world, the word hope comes with a hint of uncertainty, hoping for something, that we may already believe is unlikely to happen. However, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ hope is described as “…firm hope…” (Alma 34:41) and a “…lively hope…” (1 Peter 1:3). Hope is unwavering and sure.

Hope comes through faith, for “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

The Prophet Moroni taught “… whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” (Ether 12:4)

Hope comes to us by living a life of faith in God.

One can hope for a better world, a better life, peace from a disaster or joy in times of sorrow. However, the first step in finding this peace and joy is by having faith in Jesus Christ. We must rely completely on Him, trusting in His infinite power, intelligence and love.

Following Him, means: Believing and following His teachings, which also means keeping His commandments. Believing that even though we do not understand all things, He does. For “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5).

As a follower of Jesus Christ, we become one of His disciples, it is no coincidence that disciple is so similar to the word discipline. Following anything, requires discipline.

Discipline by definition is “control gained by enforcing obedience…” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Obedience requires self-control, it requires dedication and a lot of work. The scriptures teach us that “… faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:17-18)

Work requires Action.

Our Belief and Faith can be expressed through our Actions – by the way in which we live.

The Savior promised that “If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.” (Moroni 7:33) Living our lives by faith will motivate us to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings. In fact, Jesus Himself taught that; “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do…” (John 14:12).

As a Disciple of Jesus Christ, not only are we to follow His example, but He encourages us to strive to do even more! Faith in Jesus Christ and in His Gospel helps us to receive physical, spiritual, mental and emotional healing through His Atonement.

He knew that life would not always be easy. He taught us that “…in the world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer; for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

We too can overcome the world.

Speaking to the Romans, the Apostle Paul taught;

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; … because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly… God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:1-11)

The Apostle Paul knew that we should glory in the difficult times, for these challenges work our patience and give us experience. This experience gives us strength and through Jesus Christ and His Atonement or sacrifice, we too can overcome the world.

Remember, Hope comes through Faith. 

Hope can sustain us through everyday challenges.

Hope can provide us with joy in this life, for “Happy is [them]… whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146: 5).

We must strengthen our faith through our discipleship, and “…press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Chris, and endure to the end, behold… Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Nephi 31:20)

Wild flower growing out of concrete cracked | Geri Gibbons

Revelation 20

Revelation 20: 1,000 Years of Peace

                “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having they key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:1-2) Satan is bound for 1,000 years and peace comes during the Millennium.

Satan is cast; “…into the bottomless pit, and shut… up… that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” (Revelation 20:3) Here we learn that for one thousand years we will have peace and the world will be free from corruption. We also learn that Satan truly has no power, all the power he has is given to him and can be stopped at any time by God. But, as the scripture mentions, He must be released again for a season. John explains that he sees judgment being given to the nations of the world and those who were; “…beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God…lived and reined with Christ a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4) These were the ones who died for the testimony of Jesus Christ and will be part of the first resurrection, where they shall “…be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6) Then Satan will be released from prison one last time to deceive the world and to gather those who turn their hearts away from God one last time for a battle at; “…Gog and Magog…” (Revelation 20:8)

Since the beginning of time the outcome of the battle has been determined; Satan loses. After the battle is complete the dead will gather and come forth to be judged; this is the Second Resurrection. John describes this judgment;

                “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” (Revelation 20:12-13) We learn that everyone great and small will be judged by the Lord through their works during their own lives. Everyone will regain their bodies and will be judged in the flesh. Those who are not found in the book of life, were; “…cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15) In other words, those who did not have good works in their life and instead chose wickedness will not be found in the book and will therefore be cast down to hell (or a lesser kingdom) according to their individual judgment by the Lord.

Jeremiah 41-42

Jeremiah 41-42

Chapter 41: Ishmael kills Sedaliah

Ishmael (of royal seed) executes his conspiracy against Gedaliah and his companions. Ishmael also attempts to carry away the Jews who were with him as captives to the Ammonites. Johanan recovers them, and proposes fleeing with them into Egypt.

Chapter 42: Jeremiah promises peace if they obey

Johanan and the remnant of the people desire Jeremiah to ask counsel of God what they should do. Jeremiah says they will be safe in Judah, but face destruction in Egypt. Jeremiah expresses his disapproval of their hypocrisy in asking advice they have no intention of following.

Isaiah 57-58

Isaiah 57-58

Chapter 57: No peace for the wicked

The righteous are persecuted. God’s people have committed spiritual adultery. He who puts his trust in the Lord shall possess the land and inherit His holy mountain – in contrast to those who trust in idols. The stumbling block shall be removed. The Lord will restore, but there is no rest for the wicked.

Chapter 58: The Law of the Fast

God’s people ask why their prayers go unanswered. In fact, their ritual observance was shallow and did not proceed from the heart. God is more pleased to see people help the oppressed and poor.

“Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thous seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.“ (Isaiah 58:3) When we fast, we need to fast for a cause. While we fast we donate money/food that we would have consumed during the fast… this will then go to help the needy and in turn give blessings to both parties. The light of the true worshipper shall break forth like the morning; he shall be as a watered garden. Those who keep the Sabbath will ride on the high hills of the earth.

Genesis 31-33

Genesis 31-33

Chapter 31: Jacob and Laban make Peace.

The Lord commands Jacob to go to Canaan, so Jacob leaves secretly in the middle of the night with all of his belongings and his wives (the daughters of Laban). Laban, after finding out that they had fled secretly in the night, pursues them.

Later Laban catches up to Jacob, but at that same place they make peace. They make a covenant with each other that they will be peaceful, they make an altar/pillar to symbolize their covenant; they call this pillar: Galeed. Laban blesses his descendants and parts from the company and heads home.

Chapter 32: Face to Face

Jacob sees an Angel and asks God to preserve him from his brother Esau. Jacob invited his brother to try and make peace with him, but a servant told him that he was coming to meet him, but bringing an army of 400 men to meet with him. Jacob prepares presents for when Esau comes and pleads with God, because he fears his brother Esau. Jacob even has his stuff split in half, so that if Esau falls on one group with half his stuff, the other group with the other half of his stuff can flee.

In the scriptures it says that Jacob crossed a river with his wives and children and sent them away with what he had with him at the time. It then says that he wrestled all night with a man, who we can say was either a servant/angel of God, or God himself. They wrestled so hard that Jacob’s “hollow of the thigh” or hip was out of place. The man tells Jacob to let him go, and he says he will not let him go until he receives a blessing from him. The man tells him that he will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel from now on. Because as Israel, he has power with God and with men. “Wrestling” most likely means that he “wrestled in prayer” with God or something to that effect. Israel receives a blessing from the Lord; and Jacob/Israel calls the place where he was “Peniel, because he said; “…for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Genesis 32:30-31)

From that day forward the children of Israel did not eat of the sinew (tendon) that connects to the hip. I find this very interesting, that Jacob/Israel spoke to/saw God FACE TO FACE!  Especially in a world that has religions that say “no man has seen/ nor ever will see God”, how false is that! The scriptures prove otherwise. God is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever! If he called prophets and spoke to man in ancient times, he speaks and a calls prophet today… nothing has changed! I can testify that God has already called a prophet, and through that prophet Jesus Christ re-established (restored) his church on the earth again, today. God continues to call prophets and today, we have a living prophet of God on the earth.

Chapter 33: Reconciliation Between Esau and Jacob

Jacob meets Esau and urges him to take his presents, even though Esau refused,  because he had enough. When Esau meets Jacob he embraces him, hugs and kisses him and they make peace. Jacob tells Esau that he saw the face of God, just like he sees his face. So we know that Jacob really did see God’s face, and it was like man’s face. Because remember, God created man in HIS IMAGE! So God is also like a man! Jacob settles in Canaan and builds an altar to God; calling it: “El-elohe-Israel”