Sunday, November 20, 2016

Elders Quorum Lesson, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W Hunter Chapter 21 - Faith and Testimony

Elders Quorum Lesson, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W Hunter  Chapter 21 - Faith and Testimony
Page 267 2nd and 3rd paragraph
“Howard’s testimony grew over the years. When he was in his 20s and living in Los Angeles, California, he began to recognize the importance of serious gospel study. He wrote: ‘Although I had attended Church classes most of my life, my first real awakening to the gospel came in a Sunday School class in [the] Adams Ward taught by Brother Peter A. Clayton. He had a wealth of knowledge and the ability to inspire young people. I studied the lessons, read the outside assignments he gave us, and participated in speaking on assigned subjects. … I think of this period of my life as the time the truths of the gospel commenced to unfold. I always had a testimony of the gospel, but suddenly I commenced to understand.’2
“Many years later, President Hunter explained: ‘There comes a time when we understand the principles of our creation and who we are. Suddenly these things are illuminated to us and the cords of our hearts do vibrate. This is the time when testimony enters into our very souls and we know beyond a question of a doubt that God is our father—that he lives, that he is a reality, that we are literally his children.’3”

While this talks of an awakening in things of the gospel in general, I think if we are progressing as we should, we will have little awakenings about pieces of the gospel. Either in gaining a testimony of a doctrine that we haven't really accepted or in gaining a testimony that there is more to a doctrine that we have a testimony of than we previously understood.

Have you even experienced an awakening to a change you need to make in the way you live a doctrine that you thought you previously understood?

Page 269 1st paragraph under Teaching of Howard W Hunter
“The supreme achievement of life is to find God and to know that He lives. Like any other worthy accomplishment, this can only be obtained by those who will believe and have faith in that which at first may not be apparent”

Let’s break this down in a couple of ways.  First, it says, “those who believe AND have faith”.  Does anyone have anything to say about the phrase, “those who believe AND have faith”?

The second thing we should talk about is the phrase, “that which at first may not be apparent”.   What does the word apparent mean?  What do you think about “that which at first may not be apparent”?

John 9:1-3
1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

What do you think about the man being blind from birth “that the works of God should be made manifest in him”?

Doesn’t that make God mean to make a child blind just so he can use him?  Do we take the answer to this question for granted, that obvious it does not make God mean, but actually means that he is loving?  Have we stopped to ponder what people that don’t understand the world we live in from that perspective.  Many people are lost and hurting trying to make sense of the pain and suffering and turmoil around them.  We have information like this snippet about one man that was born blind that strengthen their knees and bind their wounds.

Do we look for ways that our trials can manifest the truth to us or to others?  Examples?

Page 270 2nd Paragraph under section 2
“. . . Sometimes faith means believing a thing to be true where the evidence is not sufficient to establish knowledge. We must continue the probe and follow the admonition: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ (Matt. 7:7–8.) . . .”

How do you handle that, when something in the Church perhaps doesn't make sense to you and you haven't collected enough data yet to make it make sense yet?  Or when someone presents a criticism of the church, past or present, that you don't have an explanation for?

What is the longest you have waited on the Lord explain something to you?  How has that affected your testimony?

Page 271 2nd Full Paragraph
“When a man has found God and understands his ways, he learns that nothing in the universe came by chance, but all things resulted from a divinely prearranged plan. What a rich meaning comes into his life! Understanding which surpasses worldly learning is his. The beauties of the world become more beautiful, the order of the universe becomes more meaningful, and all of God’s creations are more understandable as he witnesses God’s days come and go and the seasons follow each in their order.”

“Understanding which surpasses worldly learning”.  What does the word surpasses mean?  Does it mean that it replaces worldly understanding?  Could it mean that in some cases it encompasses what man already understands and extends it?  The beauties of the world, that we can already see, become more beautiful.

What about fears?  When we take God’s plan out of the equation are the problems of the world sometimes scary and perplexing.  When learn His plan and His doctrine more and more, does it give us comfort and hope and knowledge about how things work and a glimpse at why things are happening?

John 20:24-29
24 ¶But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 ¶And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Thomas was an apostle.  He had been called by the Lord and was a special witness of Him and yet he is called doubting Thomas.  What was it like to be the first apostles, with only just a very short time to watch the Master and see how things work.  They did not have generations of apostles to show them things.  They were not raised with the knowledge of apostle since they were born.

Do any of you understand what Thomas was going through?  Tell me about Thomas.