divine destiny
Week 01 is scheduled for study Dec. 27 – Jan. 2, 2022. Are you just one of the nameless masses in history, or do you have a divine destiny? Let’s talk about your real identity.

Day 1

As you read what God said to Moses and to Abraham, ponder what He might also be saying to you.

Moses 1 – As a child of God, I have a divine destiny.

Where does one even begin to touch on the subject of us being children of God, and the divine destiny He has in mind for each of His children? All of holy writ is filled with His promises to His children, and replete with statements of His desires for our happiness and our exalted destiny.

In verse four God tells Moses, “And, behold, thou art my son”. At least three times (verses 4, 6, and 7) God calls Moses “my son.” I know we all look up to Moses. He is in his own little category among God’s children. His works, miracles, and accomplishments are almost unmatched among the children of men. But he is still human, just like the rest of us. If God calls him “my son,” then what does that make the rest of us? We are also the children of God. Whatever God promises one child, He also promises to every child, for God is no respector of persons, right?

Lest you think, even for a moment, that Moses is somehow special, that he falls outside of the rest of us being children of God as well, let’s look at Abraham. Abraham was raised by an idolatrous father who offered his own son up to Pharaoh’s priest for a human sacrifice. Abraham obviously didn’t have an ideal childhood. But it was his own personal choices that set him apart from those around him. He sought after the blessings of the priesthood. He yearned for greater knowledge of the Lord. It was his own individual worthiness that qualified him for the blessings he received. The covenant his personal worthiness won him is the same covenant we each make in the temple. All of us can be as worthy as Moses and Abraham. Worthiness does not require the calling of being a prophet, only obedience.

We are each like Abraham and Moses. As Abraham set himself apart from the world by his own choices, despite his upbringing, and Moses, who was raised by one of those Pharaohs who had sacrifices made to his own gods, set himself apart from others by his willingness to obey the commandments he received from God, we can each become worthy of the blessings of exaltation by our personal choices. Since we are each a child of God, all of the promises He makes to any of His children can be obtained by any of His other children through their choices to be obedient to God’s commandments.

In Doctrine and Covenants 137:5 Joseph Smith saw that Abraham was already in the celestial kingdom. In a way this completes the picture. Abraham was made promises in the premortal world (more on that later this week), had a rough time in mortality, but made good choices and endured his trials well in mortality, and has already been exalted, or been promised his exaltation in the eternities. This is a story that can apply to each of us, for it is our heritage as children of God to become like our heavenly parents.

Day 2

As you read what God said to Moses and to Abraham, ponder what He might also be saying to you.

Moses 1:12-26 – I can resist Satan’s influence.

Before I get into today’s topic, I recommend you read the following article – Why Is it Hard to Fear the Lord? The article discusses Joseph Smith losing the 116 manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon, but the topic directly relates to today’s discussion.

The big question for today’s lesson is “How do I discern Satan’s influence in my life?” In our example today, Moses had a direct confrontation with Satan. Hopefully, we won’t. But that doesn’t mean Satan isn’t after each of us just as much as he was after Moses. Satan hates us all equally, and will go as far as God will allow him to go to prevent us from returning to our home above.

In verses 12-26 we have, as far as I can tell, Moses’ first direct transfiguration and full on revelation of God. He stood in God’s presence and conversed with Him, and was allowed to ask his questions. He received on this occasion what is sometimes referred to “the vision.” This vision of the earth and all of its inhabitants is often shown to prophets when they have their calling and election made sure. There are several examples of this in both the Old Testament, New Testament, as well as in the Book of Mormon.

Verses 12-26 are the first half of the vision Moses received. After he saw God and conversed with Him, he was left alone to recuperate for a few hours. This gave Moses time to consider his change of perspective. He now realized that the conceit of man is not accurate. Man is nothing compared to God and His power, might, and majesty. It was then, during his time pondering that Satan was given his shot at derailing Moses from receiving his potential blessings.

When Satan came to Moses, one of the first things he did was try to convince Moses that he wasn’t a son of God, but just another mortal. He referred to him as a “son of man” instead of as a son of God. Reminding Moses of his divine heritage wouldn’t have served his purposes of having Moses turn away from God and serve him, Satan. Moses was no dummy. He still had God’s greatness in the forefront of his mind, and he told Satan to get lost, for he remembered that God had told him he was his son, and that he was made in the similitude of His Only Begotten. Moses could also see that Satan lacked any glory, a defining characteristic of God’s presence.

This is the part that ties into that article I recommended you read. When Moses told Satan to take a hike, Satan started to rant.

19 And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.

20 And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.

Moses had just seen God, had conversed with Him face to face. Yet when Satan threw a tantrum right in front of him, Moses became afraid, for obviously Satan is a powerful being, though not as powerful as God. It was only when Moses began to focus on Satan and his rage that Moses became afraid. And as he became afraid began to conceive of the bitterness of hell. It was then that he remembered and turned his focus back to his interview with God. It was only when he focused on God and called upon Him that he received strength to command Satan to depart from him.

Does this story remind you of Peter jumping out of the boat to walk on the water to the Savior? He could walk on the water only as long as he kept his focus on Christ. When he allowed himself to be distracted by the wind and the boisterous waves he began to sink. The stories of both these men apply to each of us. Satan has an almost infinite number of ways to distract us and get us to look at him and his ways. He uses every trick in the book to keep us so occupied with mortal concerns and the ways of the world he controls that it is very easy for us to lose our focus on Christ.

It is my personal opinion that Moses was able to recognize the bitterness of hell in Satan because he had freshly seen and experienced the joy and peace of being in the presence of God. He even told Satan that compared to the glory of God, Satan’s presence was darkness to him. Moses now had something by which to see and understand the difference between the two powers at play in this world. And it was after he recognized the difference between the influence of Satan and the influence of God that Moses chose God. And it was only then that God promised Moses that He would be with him forever and that the elements would obey Moses as if he were God, Himself.

We will all be tested. Each of us will receive the test that we require for us to recognize who we want as our true master, for a master we will all have, whether we like it or not. That is the nature of the universe during mortality. But God always gives us the tools we need, the experiences we need, to help us make good choices and to have the strength to overcome any and all of Satan’s temptations and diversions. He has promised us that He does not allow Satan to tempt us beyond our abilities to refuse him. But that means that Satan can make us feel like refusing him is too much to bear. If we fall for that lie, we will be lost, at least until we realize God’s grace and mercy is able to find us even at the gates of hell. We can always come back if the desire is in our soul. God will always give us the strength we need when we need it.

Day 3

As you read what God said to Moses and to Abraham, ponder what He might also be saying to you.

Moses 1:27-39; Abraham 3 – God’s work and glory is to help me gain eternal life.

One of the great truths of eternity is that we are as eternal as God, Himself. The whole plan of salvation is to get us from our eternal element called an intelligence, to the point where we can become like God is, an immortal being with a body of flesh and bones. One of the doctrines Joseph Smith taught is that every child of God is capable of enlargement. That is what earth life is all about, our enlargement. Besides being here to get our first taste of a mortal body, we are also being tested and proven to see what our true heart’s desire is. If we really want to become like God then we will do what is necessary and will be exalted to become gods ourselves. If we don’t then God has prepared lesser degrees of glory for each of us. But no matter what we choose, unless we reject Him outright, all of us will be gloried to some degree.

The whole universe revolves around this purpose to exalt God’s children. This has been going on for a long time, and will continue into the eternities. As one of His children, we should never become discouraged that we are meaningless or that our lives are futile, for God’s purpose is to exalt all of His children who really want it. We have already made it to mortality, so that means we have passed all our tests so far. Now we need to learn to stay focused on God’s manifestation of His personal love for each of us, His only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ. Christ came to show us how to live and behave so we can return to God victorious. This is mind boggling to think that everything in the universe is here to contribute to our personal progress to become like our Father in Heaven. What an inheritance!

Day 4

As you read what God said to Moses and to Abraham, ponder what He might also be saying to you.

Abraham 3:22-23 – Were others besides Abraham “chosen before [they were] born”?

Obviously it was only the prophets who wrote the scriptures. As a result, it was only their lives for which we have any detailed records. Consider this thought: Do you think that those who lived and died as the family who produced the living Christ, generation after generation, were placed as his forbears by accident? We have no record of them, but their names. Yet it was as one of their posterity that the Savior of all the worlds in the universe was born. God doesn’t do anything by way of accident. Everything is known before it happens, so if it happens it does so to complete His desires for something to happen. All of God’s words and commandments are fulfilled. Nothing He says comes to naught.

None of us know what our posterity will do. Nor do we know everything our forefathers did that we deserved to be here at this time in the history of the world. Each of us has a part to play in the preparation for the Savior’s second coming. All of those born into this generation have a special assignment to assist in the gathering of Israel on both sides of the veil. We aren’t here on accident, but on purpose. All of us have to answer to God for the fulfillment of His gifts to us in this life. Satan will do his level best to discourage us, to distract us from reaching our potential before the Lord. But God’s will is never frustrated. It always comes to pass, eventually.

Do I know what I am supposed to accomplish in this life? I am fortunate that my patriarch spelled out my mission in life in my blessing. But most are not so fortunate. Like everyone else, I need to discover what my talents are, learn what my capabilities are, and learn to be obedient and to feel my way through life trying to figure out what the Lord would have me do each day. This is what mortality is all about. But all of us were chosen for one or more reasons to accomplish certain tasks in this life. Some will have been given big things to do, while others of us will be greatly and eternally blessed for living good and righteous lives, because our example will set in motion special blessings for one or more of our posterity. All of us need to be constantly searching for ways to enlarge our abilities, talents, and our scope of righteous influence. That is how we give glory to God and further His work on earth.

FHE/Personal Study

Moses 1:18 – Judging between God and Satan

I’ll keep this short. The rule of thumb is this: everything that invites to do good in any way comes from God, while anything that will turn our attention and efforts away from God’s influence comes from Satan. This actually makes good sense, because God would never tell us to do something that would invite misery and sorrow, or that would hurt another person, and Satan would never tell us to be obedient to God or to bless the lives of others. It’s a pretty simple concept.

The difficult part in learning to judge between what comes from God and what comes from Satan lies in the shadows of life. Satan does everything in his power to make our first steps towards him appear to be in either your own or someone else’s best interests. Often it is only when we look at where our behavior leads to in the future that we see that there is a possible trap in our proposed course of action. Fortunately, the Lord has promised through His prophets that if we are staying close to the Spirit, He won’t let us get very far before He will help us see that what we thought was a good thing will really lead us into trouble if we continue our current course. Let’s hear it for repentance.

The Lord understands far better than we do how crafty Satan is. This is why God is always willing to accept the repentant soul, no matter when they choose to repent. As long as we are willing, He is too. Even when some of us completely reject God’s efforts in our life, He will still be here sorrowing for our loss of blessings. To Him our choices are very personal, for He loves us with a perfect and unending love. But even in His great sense of loss for the happiness we could have had, He will always honor our agency to choose to listen to someone else.

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OT01 – 2022 – This Is My Work and My Glory

Week 01