Feast upon the Word Blog

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RS/MP Chapter 14: With God All Things Are Possible (Lorenzo Snow Manual)

Posted by kirkcaudle on July 12, 2013

Find the whole lesson here.  For this months lesson notes I will tackle two of the questions that come straight out of the manual.

Review the account on pages 175–76. Why do you think people who trust in God respond to trials so differently from people who do not trust in God?

I have a very good friend who is an atheist and I decided to ask him this question. I did this because I didn’t want to speak for those who “do not trust in God,” so I decided to go out and find something myself.  The “trial” that I provided him with was losing a job and needing to find another one quickly. Here is a summary of his response:

One of the biggest differences between Christians and atheists is that if you lose a job and want to find another job you don’t pray.What you do is work hard and talk to other people who might be able to help you locate a new job. As you take these steps, you hope for best. In the end though, you can only depend upon yourself, there is no God to fall back on.

While looking for a new job, Christians (and especially Mormon Christians) have an advantage because of built in social networks. People love you and are motivated to help you in ways that people are generally not to help an atheist. If you do not believe/trust in God and you do not end up find a job in the specified time you would either a) just feel lazy or b) feel like you needed to lower your standards. You might instinctively want to shoot for the moon but then realize that perhaps you have too high of hopes. Your goals must remain realistic.

This is different from a religious person because if you feel like you have a religious calling (or if you have received an answer to a prayer) then you reach for positions that you might not otherwise reach for. Faith plays a big part in all of this. If you fail as an atheist, you have nobody to blame other than yourself. As stated above, you don’t have God to fall back on. For better or worse, everything just depends on you.

Search the final section of this chapter. Why do you think we sometimes do not ask God for His help? Think about what you can do to receive His help more in your life.

Jacob 4:6-7 from the additional scriptures section can help us think about ways to answer this question.

Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea. Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.

Lets look at this verses section by section:

“we search the prophets.” One of my favorite quotes ever comes from Elder Richard G. Scott, “If you want to talk to God, pray. If you want him to talk to you, read your scriptures.” I find that one of the best ways of asking God for help is going to the scripture. The scriptures have the ability to help you think through the tough problems in your life and see situations in new ways.

“we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy.” This is what follows from searching the scriptures. God will bring will bring forth dark things to light in your mind if you let him.

“having all these witnesses we obtain a hope.” Without searching the scriptures and receiving revelation from doing so we are without hope. When we are without hope we shy away from God. God gives us hope that He can help us.

“and our faith becometh unshaken.” This faith mobilizes our hope and gives us the assurance that God will assist us in our troubles.

“insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.” Everything in the universe seems to obey God because everything in the world trusts God. The exception to this is humans. Often, we do not ask God for help because we do not trust that he can help us. Again, we lack hope and faith.

“Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace.” Coming to an understanding of God’s grace is coming to an understanding of our own weakness. Knowing that we are weak and that our weakness is insufficient allows us to understand this concept. Only once with stop fighting against the grace of God can we understand our own weakness and let him into our lives. Also, notice that weakness is singular here.  We do not have weaknesses, we are just weak…period. There is nothing that we can do to change that. If we want to be changed then we must allow Christ to do that for us. We do not approach God because we have a distorted view of our own strength and abilities. Once we are humble and realize our own weakness, then God will come to us. We just have to let Him.

“and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.” After we truly understand our own weakness we will find that we are not weak after all, but strong in Christ. He will give us power to do all the things that he has asked to do. If God calls us to do something he will provide us a way to do that thing. Therefore, if God asks us to call on him at all times (which he has) then we should. We often do not call upon God because we doubt that he will help us for one reason or another. However, he always will.

Regarding this issue of asking God for help, Lorenzo Snow says, “A man’s mind should be single to the glory of God in everything that he starts to accomplish. We should consider that of ourselves we can do nothing. We are the children of God. We are in darkness, [unless] God enlightens our understanding. We are powerless, [unless] God helps us. The work that we have to do here is of that nature that we cannot do it unless we have the assistance of the Almighty.”

One Response to “RS/MP Chapter 14: With God All Things Are Possible (Lorenzo Snow Manual)”

  1. Jim Siniscalchi said

    Thanks Kirk. I ‘d like to share this bit, as it has been helpful in my own life.

    A profound definition of prayer given by Elder Bruce R. McConkie : To pray is to speak with God, either vocally by forming the thoughts involved in the mind. Prayers may properly include expressions of praise, thanksgiving, and adoration; they are the solemn occasions during which the children of God petition their Eternal Father for those things, both temporal and spiritual, which they feel are needed to sustain them in all the varied tests of this mortal probation [Mormon Doctrine, pg. 581].
    With God all things are possible because [God is omnipotent Rev 19:6] Omnipotence is the possession of all unlimited power. There is no power God does not have. Therefore, the power called upon through prayer is without limit.
    With that said, our Heavenly Father will answer our prayers and will grant righteous requests that are made in accord to His will. God interferes with nature and agency, … i.e., God performs miracles Himself as a result of prayers, through His power named faith. God is Omnipotent. He possesses all faith, power.
    It is also important to remember that when petitioning God, He helps those who help themselves.
    I have found through personal experience, when we are down and out, completely discouraged, and in our darkest moments in life, it is at that time, we ought to exercise faith, continue to trust God, place ourselves completely in His hands, and to do so, we will have worshiped Him in the deepest way!
    And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record—for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity— 3 Nephi 8:1
    Being cleansed every whit from one’s iniquity is key to performing miracles in one’s life and for others. This is seemingly simple, yet profound.

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