Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lesson: Receive the Holy Ghost

Teachings for Our Time
Receive the Holy Ghost, David A. Bednar
Taught by Jill Fairchild

These four words
—“Receive the Holy Ghost”—
are not a passive pronouncement; 
rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction—
an authoritative admonition to act 
and not simply to be acted upon.

Priesthood injunction
Baptism by immersion is “the introductory ordinance of the gospel, and must be followed by baptism of the Spirit in order to be complete” (Bible Dictionary, “Baptism”). 
The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that “baptism is a holy ordinance preparatory to the reception of the Holy Ghost; it is the channel and key by which the Holy Ghost will be administered. The Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, cannot be received through the medium of any other principle than the principle of righteousness” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 95–96).

The ordinance of confirming a new member of the Church and bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost is both simple and profound. 
Worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders place their hands upon the head of an individual and call him or her by name. Then, by the authority of the holy priesthood and in the name of the Savior, the individual is confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and this important phrase is uttered: “Receive the Holy Ghost.” 
The simplicity of this ordinance may cause us to overlook its significance.

Ongoing reality
What should we do to make this authorized admonition to seek for the companionship of the third member of the Godhead an ongoing reality? 

Let me suggest that we need to (1) sincerely desire to receive the Holy Ghost, (2) appropriately invite the Holy Ghost into our lives, and (3) faithfully obey God’s commandments.

Sincerely desire
We first should desire, yearn for, and seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Comments during the lesson:
- He doesn't come and go from us...we are the one who is moving, by our choice.
- We learn to feel the Spirit over the process of time and growth.
- We have to figure out how it works for us, what it feels like.
- We need to share experiences with others to help increase their desire.

Appropriately invite
 We more readily receive and recognize the Spirit of the Lord as we appropriately invite Him into our lives. We cannot compel, coerce, or command the Holy Ghost. Rather, we should invite Him into our lives with the same gentleness and tenderness by which He entreats us (see D&C 42:14).

Comments during the lesson:
- Be in the right place, doing the right things.
- We invite through prayer, scripture study, temple attendance.
- Ask specifically, in prayer.

Faithfully obey
Faithfully obeying God’s commandments is essential to receiving the Holy Ghost. We are reminded of this truth each week as we listen to the sacrament prayers and worthily partake of the bread and water. 

Holy habits primarily are ways whereby we always remember Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son and are prerequisites to the ongoing companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Praying, studying, gathering, worshipping, serving, and obeying are not isolated and independent items on a lengthy gospel checklist of things to do. Rather, each of these righteous practices is an important element in an overarching spiritual quest to fulfill the mandate to receive the Holy Ghost.

Joseph Smith: 
It will whisper peace and joy to their souls, and it will take malice, hatred, envying, strife, and all evil from their hearts; and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness, and build up the kingdom of God. Tell the brethren if they will follow the Spirit of the Lord they will go right” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 98).
I pray we will sincerely desire and appropriately invite the Holy Ghost into our daily lives. I also pray each of us will faithfully obey God’s commandments and in reality receive the Holy Ghost. 

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