Follow After Father Abraham January 31, 2014

2013-12-17 11.51.27

 

A while back I talked to a young missionary who said he just didn’t think he would ever be “good enough” to receive all the blessings of exaltation.

 

The mission president was worried about the discouraged young man. He looked into the faces of the forty young missionaries gathered before him.

 

Today I want to teach you what “good enough” means.

 

He began by teaching from the scriptures:

 

By faith, Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country…” (Heb 11:8-9)

For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

 

Abraham was “called out” from the land of Ur of the Chaldees, from the residence of his father, Terah, from a people who worshiped idols, to a place he should after receive for an inheritance. The land of promise was as a “strange country,” a place where he only sojourned, or lived temporarily. It was not his inheritance. His inheritance was a heavenly inheritance, which he should receive after this life.

 

These all[Abraham and other prophets] died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

 

Abraham was faithful until his death. He had seen the promises “ afar off “ because the promises of the purpose of our lives are not for this life, but for the life to come. He was persuaded of them because he knew he belonged there; he belonged in the holy city of God. He embraced the promises; he reached out for them, he brought them close, he held them dear. He confessed that he was a pilgrim; because a pilgrim is one searching for a land that has religious meaning. He confessed; meaning he was willing to share his testimony with everyone.

 

The country from which Abraham came out; from which we all came out, is the pre-existence. If we could remember that “country” we would do all that we could do to return. But when we come to understand the glories of exaltation promised to those who successfully pass through the training ground called earth, we desire “a better country.” We desire the exaltation and glory of the holy city of God.

 

John the Revelator described the Holy City of God in great detail. He talks about gates and walls and foundations. He gives specific measurements. He describes its glory using the most precious of jewels as the best examples he can use. In verse 18 of Revelations 21, he described the city as of “pure gold, like unto glass.” He repeats the description in verse 21, saying “the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” Can you imagine the beauty and glory of gold so highly refined and purified so as to be transparent.?

 

John the Revelator describes the city in great detail with such vivid images because it is real. It is the actual description of an actual real place. It is not a fairy tale.

It is the city where the Lord means for us to live. Its inhabitants are all exalted beings. Eternal life is not a vague hope. It is a specific, real, attainable goal.

 

The Topical Guide to the Scriptures lists some 36 references to exaltation. We learn from the scriptures that Abraham has been exalted. He sits on his throne. He has received the promises. (See D&C 132:29-32)

 

The President stopped and looked carefully at the assembled missionaries. He continued to read the above scripture with emphasis.

 

“This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham…

Go ye therefore and do the works of Abraham.”

 

You are “good enough!”

 

Be persuaded that these promises are for you. Accept from the Spirit a deep conviction of the purpose of this life; let the fire of the covenant burn in your heart.

Embrace these promises- reach out for them, bring them close, hold them dear.

Confess that you are pilgrims here on earth. Be willing to be “called to go out” from the things of this world that you might receive a “better country, that is, a heavenly” country. God is speaking of you when He says He “hath prepared for them a city.”

 

“Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.”

                             *****

The Mission President’s workshop was inspired and uplifting. It has always been easy for me to see how others might qualify for the blessing of exaltation. But the motes of discouragement and depression often cloud my vision of my own potential.

 

The next afternoon I opened my scripture bag with the thought that I should make another copy of the tattered patriarchal blessing that I keep with my scriptures. I took the copy out, unfolded it, and laid it face down on the copier. Only then did I remember that the electricity was out. There was a planned outage, which had started at 7 AM and would go until 5 PM. I shook my head at my foolishness and picked up the paper. My eyes caught the second paragraph of my blessing.

 

Abraham obtained the love of the Lord and became the Father of Israel. He left the land of his nativity and his people and journeyed to a far off place to obtain the blessings of the priesthood, and you do not err in seeking your blessings and with a desire to know what the future has in store for you.

 

I caught my breath and reread the paragraph. It was as though a quiet voice said with a gentle smile, “Daughter, I do want you to be in my holy city. I atoned for your sins, too, you know.”

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Follow After Father Abraham January 31, 2014

  1. Elaine

    I think of you often and imagine the experiences you are having. I love to read your blog. It brings back a flood of memories… various and sundry memories. I pray for you often and know that you will be blessed and comforted in your journey.

    Thanks for the opportunity to walk this road with you.
    Love and prayers,
    Elaine

    Reply
    1. Verla Hall

      Thanks, Elaine. We appreciate all the help you gave us as we prepared to come here. I remember the days when we were raising our children together, and they were younger than our grandchildren are now!

      Reply

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