Chapter 4--Revelation and Spiritual Gifts


          Many times we are confronted with problems that seem beyond our own capability and understanding to overcome. Our need for help leads us to God for guidance and direction. We have been counseled, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5). God desires to answer our prayers and will speak to us.    
          Although we wish for our loved ones to come unto Christ and be healed, this is something they must do for themselves. Heavenly Father waits patiently for them to exercise faith and take the necessary steps toward recovery. We too must be patient and align our will to God’s. We can search and ponder the scriptures, which can be a means through which the Lord can speak to us and help on our journey of peace and healing. As we ponder the scriptures, we can look for guidance from the Spirit to understand how to seek healing from the Savior. The Holy Ghost is called the Comforter. (see John 14:26). There are numerous descriptions throughout scriptures about the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes, they are interchangeable depending on the translator.
Who is the Holy Ghost?  What is the Holy Spirit?  Are they the same?

           The purpose of the Holy Ghost is to impart information and pure intelligence. The Holy Spirit can also be called the Light of Christ.  It has a relationship with every living thing, whether plant, animal, human or ecosystem.  They are all borrowing power from the Holy Spirit to live, move, breathe, remain organized and do things.  The Holy Ghost resides inside of us and receives intelligence from God.    
How can the Holy Ghost be your "Comforter"?

 Who is the Second Comforter?

          Discerning the whisperings of the Spirit may be challenging, especially during the emotionally charged situations we sometimes face with our loved ones. At times we may question whether the impressions we receive are our own feelings or the promptings of the Spirit.  Often heavenly messages come fleetingly, softly and gently.  They glide into the subconscious, so subtly that if we are not open to receive, we might not recognize they have come, or we may even ignore them.
Art by Amberle Stoffers
          Learning to discern what the Holy Ghost is telling us is a spiritual gift. Spiritual gifts are like a muscle that is used over and over, these gifts strengthen if used regularly. Developing our gifts can bring us closer to the Savior because we become more receptive to promptings. 
          As we pursue the development of our talents and gifts, it can bring satisfaction, growth, and positive change in our own lives.   It may take time and effort for us to discover and further develop our gifts, but all of us have much to contribute through our God-given abilities.
What are some of your gifts and talents?

          In addition to recognizing and being grateful for our own gifts, it is essential that we recognize the divinity within others, especially our family members. In our relationships, the things we focus on largely determine how we feel about a person. It may be difficult to imagine now what our loved ones would be like without their addiction. However, an important part of our own healing process is to look past their addiction to who they really are: a beloved son or daughter of God. Despite the difficult situation we are in, we can make the choice to be grateful for the good characteristics and deeds of our loved ones. If we make an effort to listen and observe with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we can see the divine potential in everyone, even those who have hurt us. 
What helps you see the good in your loved one?

          Beginning the process of learning to receive revelation may be confusing. We ask questions and wait to hear something, but what are we expecting to hear? Will it be an audible voice? Will it be a warm feeling? Many have been conditioned by years of Sunday School to expect a “burning in the bosom” or some miraculous event. Many waiting to get that feeling simply give up, until they start crying because somebody shared a sentimental story and they wonder if they now have a spiritual witness. Typically, revelation comes as a soft, mild voice in the mind and a clear knowledge that rests upon the soul “like the dews from Heaven.”
          Our brains act as receivers for the mind in much the same way a television translates waveforms into pictures and sound.  Compare this to trying to take a TV apart to see how it makes old reruns of I Love Lucy. If we throw our new digital set out the window and watch it smash into a million pieces, our favorite programs will still be floating through the air, even though we can't detect them with our senses.  So it is, with what many call non-local mind, which implies that thoughts, memories and perspectives we hold will continue after our physical receiver shuts down and is buried in the ground.  There is also a similar point made with a cell phone.  Phone calls from millions of people are streaming down from satellites, going everywhere, but we do not hear any of them.  However, a phone is tuned so that it can register a certain pattern, start ringing and initiate communication.  It serves as antenna, tuner and amplifier.

          Most of us have to “grow into the principle of revelation.”   Start by asking closed-end questions that can be answered with either a “yes” or “no” answer. If the answer is unclear, repeat the question a second or third time to see if the same answer is received. If there is a confused feeling, rephrase the question or ask a different question until a response comes.  A question that is too broad may not be answered. We need to ask questions that the Spirit can properly answer. Often the Spirit will lead us to know what and how to ask the actual question. As our understanding of the Spirit grows we can receive more than the single word response.

What are some examples of questions that you might ask?

           Ask LOTS of questions, humbly, patiently, and expect to get an answer to each question. It requires concentration of the mind and heart working together in harmony. As we progress into the principle of revelation, we will begin to receive more than just “yes and no” answers. Phrases will come to us, and phrases will grow into sentences, and sentences into conversations, as we find ourselves speaking by the Power of the Holy Ghost to someone on the other side of the veil.

          Our spiritual experiences can be anything from feeling a moment of gratitude to receiving an answer to prayer.  We may energetically "feel" a touch that is not physical, such as the "feel" of spiritual arms around us.  Take notice. It may be pure intelligence flowing into you. We may get sudden strokes of ideas. We may get goose bumps or have tears well up in our eyes. Take care to distinguish them from "emotions". We can get emotional watching a movie or hearing a story or witnessing a race or listening to our children perform.  These are not the Holy Ghost.  Emotions often come as a RESULT of information that you are given from the Holy Ghost. Thoughts may come into our mind that are filled with love and compassion.  
          The gift of Seeing shows itself as images (which may be fleeting), dreams, visions or déjà vu experiences.   Visual experiences usually occur with the spiritual eyes which is sometimes referred to as the Third Eye. We can discover these gifts by discerning how we have had spiritual experience in the past.  Perhaps it was a strong KNOWING.  When reading scripture and receiving the witness of its truth, look at how that happened.  Did a KNOWING just envelope you?  The gift of Knowing  is when we don’t particularly hear or see anything, but somehow just immediately KNOW.
          The gift of Hearing may manifest itself as voices of loved ones speaking to us or music, or we may hear our name being called.  Or we may hear the spirit whisper to us, “It’s true”. We may even hear an audible voice. Be attentive of emotions as truth is heard.  Truth doesn't always give warm fuzzies.  Truth might bring discomfort or even sorrow because truth might fly against beloved traditions and/or bring awareness of the need for repentance.  
          We can experience more than one or many gifts.  As with any of the gifts, pray for help in deciphering their meaning, to be guided using intuition. Sharing these experiences with a spouse or friend can help to anchor them in the physical realm and validate them. If we are drawn to wanting a particular spiritual gift, but don’t believe we have it, more than likely, we already have it, and have just forgotten. There are specific things we can do to remember our gifts.  Giving gratitude is extremely important.      “Ye must give thanks unto God in the spirit for which whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with.”

What are some ways that you have experienced one or more of these gifts?


         

          Invite stillness into everyday life. "Be still and know that I am".  Pray constantly during everyday activities.  Some people surround themselves continually with noise.  
Now, with Ipads & cell phones, it is possible to never have the sound of silence. Become aware of the "sound of silence." It is a background for the whispers of the Spirit.   There is a definite energy and vibration to good music, but stillness can be an opening to our gifts.  It may begin with listening to the crickets chirp or birds warble.  Or the sound of a waterfall or babbling brook.  Being out in Nature can facilitate our gifts, as can meditation in sacred places.   On a long drive alone, turn off the radio.  If we are still, we may be surprised who might be our invisible passenger using the stillness for a teaching moment.  
          Trust is essential for building our gifts.  When we feel or hear inspiration, act on it, even though it may not appear to be the logical thing to do. Develop faith in the process and trust God. Many times we analyze things with our logical mind and doubt.  This will lead to burying our gifts and not experiencing anything but negative chatter of the mind.
         
          God may also reveal His will to us through dreams, visions, the scriptures, and the words of other people. Often the experience is more than a casual impression, more vivid, and makes a profound impact. But again, it is always good to check with God. “Is this revelation from you? Is this truth?” And then we must forge ahead and believe.  The conscious mind is the mind of the body. To gain mastery over the body, one must learn to listen to that still, small voice, even when it is in direct opposition to the thoughts of the conscious mind.


Personal Learning and Application

Keep a journal of your thoughts, feelings, insights, and plans to implement what you learn. As the needs and circumstances in your life change, repeating these answers will provide you with new insights.  Go back to the questions in the chapter.  Write your answers.  Each time you go through a chapter, your answers might change.

1.  How do you receive personal revelation? What does it feel like? How does it come? 

2.  What things distract you or hinder your ability to receive revelation?

3.  What actions will you take to help you obtain revelation

4.  What promptings have you received from the Holy Ghost? How will you act on them?
If the Holy Ghost gives us information, how can that provide peace?

5.  Try this.  Have a pencil and paper to write the answers as they come. Perhaps even write questions beforehand so they can be read to the Lord while praying. Closing the eyes and kneeling are not always necessary. Try sitting down on the ground to get comfortable. As answers come, write them down. Perhaps, spend more time pondering than speaking the prayer. The Lord will often present visions in the mind as our ponderous thoughts focus on the topic

6.  When is the ideal time to have a "conversation" with God?


7.  What are some barriers that can arise between you and your Higher Power?

8.  Practice noticing more using the five senses.  How does the air smell? What sounds do I hear? What textures can I touch?  What animals show up?
Write about what you notice.




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