Pre-Christmas Sacrament Meeting Talk – 12/16/14

Baby-Jesus

When Bishop Noble presented the topic of Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6 for my talk, and asked if I would be willing to speak today, I happily accepted because the topic is one of my favorite to contemplate. However as I began to prepare my thoughts I realized that we could spend much more time discussing this amazing topic than I had been given. Approaching Heavenly Father, I asked what He would have me discuss and felt impressed with the following. I pray that I can share the peaceful spirit of the message, and evoke in you the feelings of hope and wonder that it brings to me.

The anticipation of Christmas morning conjures up emotions of excitement from our childhood! We imagine the gifts of treats, toys and clothing that our parents and loved ones have prepared for our enjoyment! This tradition of giving and receiving of gifts, originated to remind us of the ultimate gift from our Heavenly parents.

In Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6 we read: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given …”

Unto “us”! Unto YOU! A gift to you and to me individually, intended to be very personal to each of us! When someone gives a gift they are giving a part of themselves. It represents their time, their effort, their thought, their interest in you. In this case the gift is a “child”! What more precious could be given than your own “child”?! Possibly only a life! That Son’s life.

“… and the government shall be upon his shoulder: …”

Heavenly Father’s Son has been given all power and authority to govern God’s plan of salvation. In Doctrine & Covenants 50:27 it says “Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son.”

This use of the term government, may not mean what you may think it means! In this telestial world that we currently live in, the word government may hold a negative connotation. We are taught in the gospel, that in the pre-mortal realm, satan angrily committed, to; “… reign with blood and horror on this earth.” And he does through the actions of many men.

However, in the Book of Mormon, in Zenos’ allegory of the olive tree, we are taught by the prophet Jacob; “… I will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive tree, which a man took and nourished in his vineyard; … And the Lord of the vineyard caused that it should be digged about, and pruned, and nourished, … And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard and the servant of the Lord of the vineyard did nourish all the fruit of the vineyard.” (Jacob 5)

This “Son” that God has given all power and authority to govern; desires to minister, cultivate, nourish and nurture! His intent is to save, not to destroy!

His yoke is easy and His burden is light!, if we will accept it. (Matt 11:28-30)

He proclaimed, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We must not only believe that His words are true, but that they apply specifically to you!

“… and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

“… Wonderful …”

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.

I tremble to know that for me he was crucified, That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine, To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,

That he should extend his great love unto such as I, Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt! Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?

No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat, Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me, Enough to die for me!

Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

These words do pertain to each one of us! This truth has been confirmed to me over, and over again. Even in opposition to the arguments and dissuasion of the adversary that, it may be true for others, but you are not worthy.

“…Counsellor, The mighty God …”

Please forgive and indulge me if I share a very personal story to try and illustrate these titles?

I was an imperfect and insecure 12 year old boy.

Not many weeks before, I had received for my birthday a beautiful pocket knife.

It was my most treasured possession, and I carried it in my front pocket everywhere I went.

In my young insecure desires to escape a difficult world, it was my habit to run the 1 the mile home from church and school. I would cross the highway, jump the ditch, and disapear, safe into the hay fields and ditch banks that led me home.

As I was running home one warm Sunday afternoon, jumping head gates, I came to the realization that my knife was no longer in my pocket, panic struck my heart.

Where in the past 1 mile of over grown ditch bank ,high with grass, could my knife have come out of my pocket and be lost. I didn’t know what to do and I was heartbroken.

In that instant, a Sunday lesson on prayer forced itself in my mind.

I wanted to believe and in faith jumped into the dry ditch. I knelt and began to pour out my broken heart for my lost treasure.

As I spoke, a picture appeared in my mind and I could see my knife in a bare patch of ground.

I marveled, and was filled with hoped! I scrambled out of the ditch and ran back in anticipation. When I had run about a half mile I could see the clear patch of ground ahead of me, I thought I saw it! Disbelief, wonder, awe, joy!!!

I approached and picked up the lost treasure.

Instantly my mind was focused on what had just occurred. I began to recognize. I marveled. As the reality of the experience sunk in I was overcome with gratitude! I scrambled back down into the dry ditch and resumed my yet unfinished prayer. As I gave recognition, my heart was filled with the confirmation of the HG. Amazing, wonderful, marvelous!

At that moment, for the first time in my young life, I knew! There was no doubt; He was My councilor, My Mighty God, My Everlasting Father, My Prince of Peace.

Life was still hard, I remained an imperfect and inattentive boy, I am still an imperfect man, I have sometimes doubted myself, but I know Him.

“… The Everlasting Father…”

Jesus Christ said in 3 Ne 1:14 “Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfill all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.”

My Everlasting Father is one of love, mercy, forgiveness and, has provided a way to receive protection, guidance, peace, joy, and even to know Him in this life.

“… The Prince of Peace …”

There is no equivalent peace and happiness like that which comes from the embrace of the Prince of Peace! Have you experienced it? Are you experiencing it frequently? Have you experienced it today? Jesus Christ himself said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Rev 3:20

We have to invite Him into our lives; daily, hourly, in our time of need, for comfort, peace, council and power, believing with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, having hope and faith in His word. Do we have faith in His power to redeem us even in our fallen condition? The words of the sacramental hymn say “That He should extend His great love unto such as I, Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.”

Did we listen closely to the words spoken today, “O God, … we ask thee … to bless and sanctify … to the souls of all those who partake … that they may witness … that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and … remember him … ; that they may have his Spirit to be with them.”

That we may have His spirit, His peace, His comfort.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Since that fateful day in my youth, 44 years ago, I have had many other personal experiences with my Savior. I testify that He is quick to forgive, mighty to save, and He loves each of us with a love we cannot fathom.

What a wonderful season to remember this wonderful gift. May we chose to believe in God’s intense personal love for each of us, may we chose to believe in Christ’s individual atonement for us, and may we seek this relationship with broken heart and contrite spirit that it will have affect in our daily lives.

I pray this in His name, Jesus Christ,

Amen

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