Favorite scriptures and quotes from Church leaders and other wise men and women
Lessons from Jonah and the great fish, the omniscience and omnipotence of God (Jonah; D&C 3; Joseph Smith; Maxwell)
15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish athree days and three nights.
Jonah 1:15, 17
Consider what this incident from the life of Jonah teaches us about the Lord, about His omniscience and His power to accomplish His purposes. The great fish that swallowed Jonah would have been "prepared" many, many years previously by the Lord, whether through His use of evolution, genetics, etc. or otherwise. In other words, we may safely assume that this fish was NOT just magically "poofed" out of nowhere just prior to its appearance in the water at the moment it swallowed Jonah. Rather, it was born and grew to maturity, over the course of many years...
In addition, consider the fact that this "great fish" was in the exact place and at exactly the right time to be able to swallow Jonah, save Jonah from drowning, etc. Had the fish been a few seconds too late, Jonah would have drown. The Lord perfectly knew and foresaw what would transpire in Jonah's life, including Jonah's decision to flee to Tarshish and the fact that the men on the ship would eventually throw Jonah overboard. The Lord knew exactly when and where Jonah would be thrown over the ship and had the fish there at EXACTLY the right moment.
We also are reminded here of the Lord's perfect omnipotence over elements and animals--both of which recognize Him as Lord of the Universe and obey Him with exactness. The storm that was the catalyst to Jonah being thrown over the ship was of course controlled by the Lord and the fish was in the right place at the right time because it was directed there by the Lord. Finally, consider how the Lord was able to accomplish His purposes, while still preserving the agency of Jonah. The Lord did NOT take away Jonah's agency, even though He might have given a few helpful nudges along the way...:) In any event, Jonah was at all times free to chose whether to follow or not follow.
1 The aworks, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be bfrustrated, neither can they come to naught.
3 Remember, remember that it is not the awork of God that is frustrated, but the work of men;
Doctrine and Covenants 3:1,3
"The great Jehovah contemplated the whole of the events connected with the earth, pertaining to the plan of salvation, before it rolled into existence, or ever 'the morning stars sang together' for joy; the past, the present and the future were and are, with Him, one eternal 'now'; He knew of the fall of Adam, the iniquities of the antediluvians, of the depth of iniquity that would be connected with the human family, their weakness and strength, their power and glory, apostasies, their crimes, their righteousness and iniquity; He comprehended the fall of man and his redemption; He knew the Plan of Salvation and pointed it out; He was acquainted with the situation of all nations and with their destiny; He ordered all things according to the council of His own will; He knows the situation of both the living and the dead, and has made ample provision for their redemption, according to their several circumstances, and the laws of the kingdom of God, whether in this world, or in the world to come." (emphasis added)
Joseph Smith, Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 249
“The Prophet Joseph Smith assured us, and the revelations confirm, that God lives in an eternal now, where the past, present and future are continually before Him. He does not exist in time as do we. He sees the end from the beginning. However, you and I are in what I call the ‘muddled mortal middle’ of that process. And when we are discouraged, the Prophet Joseph Smith has taught us that God has made (and this is a nifty phrase of the Prophet) “ample provision”. Ample provision to accomplish His purposes, even in the midst of human wickedness, it’s part of His plan, He has taken it into account beforehand. And so God’s purposes will all be finally achieved. It is in this way and with this faith that you can live comforted and assured in the midst of some of the devastating trends that will beset the times in which you live.”
Neal A. Maxwell, “Days Never To Be Forgotten”, C.E. S. Fireside 1995
The scriptures are our Father in Heaven’s letters; only He knows more than I did as a father what you and I would need. There are times in our lives when we need to open the letter and communicate with our Father in Heaven, and understand what He is like and His concern for us. I would like to share this morning, with you, four letters from my Father in Heaven that have been very important to me—that I hope will be indicative of the power that the scriptures can be for us as we face different trials and challenges of our lives.
The first letter is called "The Fourth Watch." That letter comes from the sixth chapter of Mark. The Savior has fed the five thousand that day, and in the late afternoon, early evening, He is sending his apostles down into the ship. He will dismiss the multitude. He wishes to pray that evening, and then He will meet the apostles a little later on the shore and they are to pick Him up. In late afternoon, early evening, the apostles get on the shi…
Bread or Stones: Understanding the God We Pray toDevotional Talk Given at Brigham Young University-Hawaii March 31, 2009 S. Michael Wilcox Religion Instructor & Author CES Institute of ReligionA number of years ago when my daughter was about your age, she was just out of high school, she went to one semester at BYU and then she got an opportunity to go to the Soviet Union (former Soviet Union) and teach English in Russia. Now this was before e-mail and cell phones, and communications between the United States and the Soviet Union were not going to be really good. She was eighteen; we were a little bit worried that there might be moments or times when she would need to talk with a parent, and not be able to because of communication difficulties. So I decided that I would write her a series of letters…
“Every person who lives in this world wields an influence, whether for good or for evil. It is not what he says alone; it is not alone what he does. It is what he is. ...Every person radiates what he or she really is. ...It is what we are and what we radiate that effects the people around us.”