Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Seeking the King

In my last post I talked about seeking after the Kingdom without the King. In this post I want to talk about seeking and finding the King (Matthew 7:7). 

When I first began this journey to Jesus 13 years ago it began with a prayer I would pray over and over and over. My prayers at bedtime had become burdensome to me. I felt like there was this brass ceiling above my head and prayers could not ascend. So I would just pray the same thing over and over and over. "Oh say, what is truth?". 

One day, a close friend shared with us that they heard of a person who had seen the Savior. Oh how my mind soared with hope. A regular person could see the Savior?! It was all I wanted and I let the Lord know it and I would get up in the middle of the night and wait for Him to come to me. As I've said in other posts, He gave me a dream that let me know I was too much in the world to approach Him at that time but that I could continue on following Him, "line upon line, precept upon precept". So I did.

In my last post I told you not to obsess about all those terms ("calling and election," "calling and election made sure," "Second Comforter" and so on). I said to let the Lord know what you want and then move on and just seek His will and do His will.

What does letting the Lord know your desires and then, "moving on" look like?

First, you tell the Lord He can have anything of yours that He wants. You tell him that He doesn't have to take it because you give it to Him freely. And then you tell Him that you want to see His face. D&C 93:
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
Follow D&C 93:1. Obey His voice - keep His commandments (seek and do His will). Offer everything to Him and then you will experience being drawn to Him. 
John 6:

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.
Here is a beautiful story of what it looks like to be drawn by the Father to Jesus: One For Israel link

In the church we teach to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. That's how we are able to get back to the Father. So we focus on the Father and Jesus is just the bridge to get to Him. But as you go on this journey - I encourage you to start talking to Jesus directly. I can't tell you why (it's summertime and the kids are home and my braincells are running on fumes at this point), I can only tell you to try it. 
John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
Jesus calls you "Friend". So act like one - talk to Him like one. I was blessed in life to have two best friends that surpass this world. One I had in high school and she is still my best friend today. She is an angel in human form. And the other is my husband. Besides Jesus, he is the greatest person in all of creation. There is nothing I could ever say that would bore them. They delight in every thought I have (which is beyond impressive because I am not that interesting and I lack a lot of intelligence. Not trying to be self-deprecating, I really didn't pay attention in school. My kids have these intelligent conversations and I'm like, "Are you sure? Where did you learn that? I never heard of that." And they show me their textbooks or fact books I bought on Amazon and squint my eyes and look far off into the distance and concede to myself I'm part idiot). 

I have come to realize these kinds of friendships are a rarity and maybe that's why my relationship with Jesus came so naturally. I already knew of the goodness of a Heavenly Friend so coming to learn that He calls me Friend and that He really means it - I believed.

Do you believe?

Or are you stuck in the false traditions of the church which teaches that you can't really know God, not like that anyway (see my post on that here).

I've had more people than I can count tell me that their prayers aren't great and that they don't enjoy praying and they keep them short. To that I say to take a page out of Tevye's book (from Fiddle on the Roof). If you haven't seen it in a while, watch it! Tevye is always talking to God. Get in that kind of familiarity with the Lord. Because when you are talking to Him throughout your day, you'll begin to realize He's talking back...and He always was. 

Back to my journey...after I had the dream that showed me I was too much in the world to approach the Lord at that time - I moved to living my everyday life seeking His will and doing His will. I succeeded! And I failed. And I succeeded! And I failed (repeat thousands of times). I was deceived many times.

Despite all this, the Lord was gentle and kind and I learned from ALL of those mistakes and deceptions because I invited Him into them to teach me. I had been filled with pride or other times selfishness or other times my longings for the Lord were capitalized on by the Enemy. It was hard for me to distinguish the Lord's voice from the adversary. Sometimes I needed a friend on this journey with whom I could tell what I was hearing and get their input and ask them to pray for me while I prayed for me too. Discernment should always be the first spiritual gift we seek after when we embark on this journey to Jesus.

Each person's journey to Jesus is as different as a fingerprint. No two are alike! Never compare your experiences with another, that only leads to the Enemy's whispers. My husband and I followed the promptings we received and we felt the Father drawing us to Jesus. For us we felt to arise at 3am to pray and worship separately. This went on for many, many months. And we felt to fast often. That also went on for many months. I would go in my closet and sing to the Lord, pray to the Lord, plead on behalf of others for the Lord, fall asleep on my knees with my forehead to the ground and awake and start again. I would read the sacrament prayer and ponder on His sacrifice. One such 3am morning I was praying in my closet and I had been fasting for multiple days. I was so hungry and it distracted me greatly. All I could think about was food as I read the sacrament prayer and I imagined a perfect loaf of bread Jesus might bake in heaven. I said to the Lord, "Jesus, I bet Your bread tastes amazing." And then - there He was in front of me. He held out His hand and said, "This is My Bread." Whether in the body or out I do not know (2 Corinthians 12:2). But I know I felt His hand for as long as I wanted to and I could hardly breathe I was so amazed.

I've had other unexpected experiences with the Lord since then that are priceless to me. I don't believe I could ever look at an experience and say, "Well, now I have arrived." I always want more. I believe that what was said to me at one time does not mean I am still holy today and that there is nothing I can do to break it. That just isn't so. To imagine that I have achieved anything or arrived anywhere is foolish. All I can tell you is that I feel as Abraham did when he said, 
12 Now, after the Lord had withdrawn from speaking to me, and withdrawn his face from me, I said in my heart: Thy servant has sought thee earnestly; now I have found thee; (Abraham 2)
I also felt, "Now I have a relationship" and a peace came that washed away all my eagerness to achieve the special names we have in the church, "calling and election," "calling and election made sure," "second comforter," and so on. I don't care about those terms anymore. I don't think they matter, really. He matters. He's calling us to Him and that's all I want forever and whatever that means technically, cool. Fine. Whatever. 

Just give me Jesus. 

The sacrifices I, my husband and my children made along the way were far different from what others have sacrificed. We sacrificed Christmas for many years - no tree, no gifts, just Jesus. We sacrificed our home for gatherings to take place where people could feel the spirit of the Lord. We sacrificed our desires for comfort and for vacations and for stability and so many other things. He required much because we had much of the natural man that needed sacrificing. 

All this took place over many years and there were a lot of tears and I felt the roots of tradition being ripped, truly ripped out of my heart

A.W. Tozer said it best:
"We must in our hearts live through Abraham's harsh and bitter experiences if we would know the blessedness which follows them. The ancient curse will not go out painlessly; the tough old miser within us will not lie down and die obedient to our command. He must be torn out of our heart like a plant from the soil; he must be extracted in agony and blood like a tooth from the jaw. He must be expelled from our soul by violence as Christ expelled the money changers from the temple. And we shall need to steel ourselves against his piteous begging, and to recognize it as springing out of self-pity, one of the most reprehensible sins of the human heart."
You can't imagine the valley of the shadow of death that a true and faithful seeker of Jesus Christ will be asked to pass through. But yes, there is a valley and the weight of it is heavy. Unless you feel the Father drawing you to Him, don't attempt to manufacture a worthy sacrifice of your own making. When you are ready to be drawn by the Father - ask Him. Ask Him to draw you to Him and then continue on seeking and doing His will. He will do the rest.

When Jesus came to Bountiful it took them three times to understand what the voice was saying to them (3 Nephi 11). Don't expect it to be any different for you. It will all be muddled at first and so you just have to be patient and expect to make mistakes. When I told the Lord of my concern for how many people who were on this path seemed to be wandering down strange roads He said, "Those who seek Me will all their hearts will find Me." That made my heart feel both peaceful and sad. Peaceful because I was given a promise that they will find Him! And I felt sad because many truly don't want Him. They like parts of Him but they seek after the Kingdom without the King.

Why do I share this? Do I hope to get something out of this? Most definitely. I want for you to have Jesus too. I want friends on this journey - friends who sought Him with all their hearts and found Him. I want fellow watchmen with whom I can lift my voice and together will we sing for we shall see eye to eye (Isaiah 52:8). I want to see eye to eye and we can only see eye to eye when we have an eye single to His Glory.
D&C 88:

68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. 
So let us continue seeking and doing His will.

Seeking and doing His will.



Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there. In Jesus' Name, Amen.  (A.W. Tozer)

One For Israel

Give Me Jesus
L.L. Flemming