Sunday, August 24, 2014

Believe In God

Have you ever wondered if God is real? If he is real does it matter if we believe in him? If he is real and we don’t believe in him does that matter? The answer to all these questions is YES.

There are many around us that do not believe. Some say that God is something that man has created to help us through difficult times. They also say that we are a product of evolution and that everything has happened by chance over millions of years. If God is real and we do not believe does not make him not exist?

In the first chapter of Genesis the first verse it says: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Later in that same chapter it says:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

We are not a product of chance or evolution. God created us in his image. Perhaps you will say that the scriptures are just stories made up by men to enslave us to the traditions of men and to guilt us into living according to their ideals. How can we really know the truth about God and can it be proven? If God does exist, why doesn’t he just show himself to us?

There is another scripture written by a prophet here on the American continent about 124 B.C (it is interesting to note that those who created our calendar believed in God) he said:

Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend. (Mosiah 4:9)

We are here to develop faith in God and in his Son Jesus Christ. The first Article of Faith states: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost”. Why do we need to live by faith? President Wilford Woodruff, fourth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said:

“During our life on the earth, we are to walk by faith and not by sight.
“Faith is the first principle of the Gospel. What is faith? Paul, in writing to the Hebrews, undertakes to explain it. He says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;” and to prove this he goes on to tell what different men accomplished through faith [see Hebrews 11]. I look upon faith as one of the most important principles that God ever revealed to man.

“If we had correct understanding we should all see as the Lord does, and should understand how his purposes will be accomplished; but we are to walk by faith and not by sight.

“When we get to the other side of the veil, we shall know something. We now work by faith. We have the evidence of things not seen. The resurrection, the eternal judgment, the celestial kingdom, and the great blessings that God has given in the holy anointings and endowment in the temples, are all for the future, and they will be fulfilled, for they are eternal truths. We will never while in the flesh, with this veil over us, fully comprehend that which lies before us in the world to come. It will pay any man to serve God and to keep His commandments the few days he lives upon the earth.

“Brethren and sisters, you should live by faith, realizing every day that all power rests with God, and that it is through him that we are able to live in peace and enjoy plenty.

“The Gospel of Christ requires faith all the day long.” (TheTeachings of Wilford Woodruff, Chapter 15)

Alma, another American Prophet, who live about 75 years before Christ was born, told us that we could develop our faith by testing the word of God. He compared the word to a seed that if we plant the seed and nourish it and if the seed began to grow, then we would know the seed is good. He then said:

when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.

Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.

And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good. (Alma 32:28, 29, 32, 33)

The challenge for us is to develop our faith by keeping the commandments and seeing if we become better people. We are to follow the example of Jesus Christ and love all men, even our enemies and see if blessings come. As we do these things we will come to know it is right and our faith deepens and we know by the Holy Ghost the Gospel is true and that God does live and will bless us as we keep his commandments.

There are many who teach that there is no God or Satan, that whatever we do is ok as long as we do not harm others it does not matter how we live. That is the same lie that Satan has been spreading since he was cast out of heaven and sent here to the earth. His entire existence is spent trying to convince us that he is not real and if he is not real then there is no God. The Book of Mormon gives an example of this when an Anti-Christ came among the people spreading these lies. He was brought before the Prophet Alma to be judged. Korihor accused Alma and the priests and teacher of teaching the people to believe in silly traditions. Alma asked Korihor if he believed that there is a God to which he said no and asked Alma for proof that God existed. Alma said:

Now Alma said unto him: Will ye deny again that there is a God, and also deny the Christ? For behold, I say unto you, I know there is a God, and also that Christ shall come.
And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only.

But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are true?

Behold, I know that thou believest, but thou art possessed with a lying spirit, and ye have put off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but the devil has power over you, and he doth carry you about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God. (Alma30:39-42)

I believe that there is as much proof that God is real as there are those that think they can prove that there is no God. It is up to us to choose faith and believe, to test the testimony of the prophets in the scriptures. As we live lives of faith we eventually come to know for ourselves what is true. If God were to come down and show himself, there would be no doubt; no room for faith. We must live by faith so we can prove ourselves worthy of his blessings. Having a sure knowledge ends the need for faith. Without faith we do not have agency and without agency then justice has no claim on us and mercy has no role for those who repent and seek forgiveness. The time will come when Jesus Christ will come again and reveal himself to the world. Then our faith will be no longer needed we will all know. We will all bow down on our knees and confess that Jesus is the Christ and that it was he who came in the meridian of time to his people and they rejected him.

The closing chapter of the Book of Mormon has a promise to all those who will read it and ponder what it means. The promise says:

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:4-5)

No other book has this promise. We are promised that if we read the Book of Mormon and ask God in the name of Christ if it is true, he will answer our prayers through the Holy Ghost. We can know the scriptures are true, that God does live and that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. We are his children and if we keep his commandments we will prosper and be blessed.

I have tested that promise and have been given that witness to know that we are created in the image of God that Jesus Christ lived and died for our sins. I know that after three days he rose from the dead and lives today. Because I know these things, I know how to live and what I must do to be worthy of eternal life after I leave this mortal world.

It does not matter that there are those who deny that God is real. Their lack of belief does not change the reality that God lives and those who do not believe will in the end bow their knee and confess that he lives.

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