Follow the Prophet Jonah

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What can we learn from following the prophet Jonah?

Jonah is perhaps the most contradictory prophet in the Old Testament.

A man who praised the Lord as the creator of earth and sky and yet apparently thought he could run off to another country and be beyond the Lord’s jurisdiction.

Who; when the people he preached to repented, instead of being happy he went up on a hillside to watch the celestial fireworks destroy their city. When that didn’t happen, he sulked and grumbled to the Lord.

Who; is the subject of what appears to be a practical joke, and a gentle ribbing by the Lord. Kind of a “Hey get over it. We saved 120,000 people not to mention the cows.”

Who; was afraid to preach repentance to a wicked city, but convinced reluctant sailors to throw him overboard to save themselves and their ship.

Who; accomplished the impossible according to the experts. He got vomited out alive after spending three days in the belly of what the Bible calls “a great fish” (more likely a big shark than a whale incidentally. Their throats are bigger.)

Who; has an experience that is compared twice in the Bible to Jesus death and resurrection. Who makes the comparison? Jesus himself.

All these contradictories should intrigue us to go read Jonah’s story again, sing his verse in “Follow the Prophet” and believe the Lord will help us do hard things. Even if we are as reluctant as Jonah was.

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Follow the Prophet Samuel

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Follow the Prophet Samuel
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What can we learn by following the prophet Samuel?
Hanna and Elkanah longed to have a son. Finally Hanna promised God that if he would grant their wish, they would dedicate their child to serve in the Lord’s tabernacle.

And so it came to pass, and they named their son Samuel.

Even as a young boy Samuel was a good and faithful servant. One day while working in the tabernacle he thought he heard his supervisor Eli call his name. But Eli said, “It wasn’t me. I believe it was the Lord. If he calls again, say ‘Speak for thy servant heareth.’” Samuel did that, and his life was changed forever. The Lord later called him to be a prophet to the nation. Again he served faithfully.

It wasn’t easy.

Israel wanted to have a king. Samuel warned them not to. They ignored him and soon saw the wisdom of his words. Saul the first king regressed from being a humble servant of the people to an unstable psychopath. He hated David the national hero who with his sling had killed the giant Goliath. David had since become a greater warrior than Saul. Insane with Jealousy, Saul tried to kill David, but couldn’t catch him. Saul committed suicide. David was anointed king.

But high office also corrupted David. He committed adultery, then had the woman’s husband killed in battle to cover his sin.

As Samuel had foretold, the king thing never did work out very well for Israel.

Through all this and more, Samuel remained the conscience of Israel chastening the powerful, and ministering to the poor and needy. His heart was as pure as it had been that day when God called his name, and he answered, “Speak. Thy servant heareth.”

Samuel’s life shows us the Lord speaks to people of all ages. He will speak to you and me, and anyone who sincerely prays to him. We may not hear his voice, but we will feel his spirit. Then, like Samuel we can weather the storms of life and one day hear the Lord say to us as he undoubtedly said to Samuel, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

Follow the Prophet Moses

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What can we learn by following the prophet Moses?

It takes 11 days to travel from Egypt to Israel on foot. Unless you are travelling on an educational field trip. Then it can take 40 years and even then you may not arrive.

That is the story of the children of Israel’s exodus in the wilderness. Not that the curriculum was all that difficult. The Israelites only had to learn one concept, and pass one test. The concept from the Lord was simply, trust me, and trust my servant Moses.

To show them his awesome power, God parted the Red Sea, and let them cross without even getting their feet muddy. To feed them he sent manna six days a week. Perhaps to help them remember where their food was coming from, the Lord made the manna last for only one day. Every morning when they gathered their manna for breakfast they would be reminded that the Lord was providing their food. But the manna they gathered on the day before the sabbath lasted for two days. so they would be reminded to keep his commandment to rest on the sabbath day. Over and over Heavenly Father showed them they were his covenant people, and Moses was his prophet.

If you trust me, and keep my commandments I will care for you. It was a clear and simple agreement. But they never got it.

They paid lip service to the arrangement. They even paid leg service by wandering to and fro through the wilderness. But they never got the flesh pots of Egypt out of their minds and memories. They never totally committed to their covenant. As they old saying goes, they wanted to serve the Lord without offending the devil.

As a result, the Lord kept them wandering until that entire generation had passed away. Their children and grandchildren inherited the land they had been promised.

But before we shake our heads at their thick headedness, let us examine our own lives. Are we receiving all the protection, direction, strength, and blessings the Lord has prepared for us on our travel through this life toward the Promised Land?

Are we fully following the Lord’s anointed prophets? That’s the question echoing down through the ages from Moses, and the other prophets of old to our present prophet today. The Promised Land can be not only in the hereafter but the here if we follow the prophets.

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Follow the Prophet Abraham

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What can we learn from following the Prophet Abraham?

Abraham has been called the father of nations, and father of the the faithful. His life and character show us what it means to be a good and faithful father.

There are three kinds of fathers. The same holds true for mothers.

The worst father mistreats or abandons his children. The better father loves his children and provides for their needs. The best father loves and trusts the Lord. He shows his faith to his children by precept and example.

Such a father is worthy to receive guidance and help from heaven in his sacred responsibilities to preside, provide, and protect, his children. He knows and shows that his children are also God’s children, and he treats them as such.

There is no greater need in the world today than the need for good, faithful, loving, wise fathers.

The greatest example of Abraham as a father was when the Lord commanded him to sacrifice his son Isaac as an offering to God. Surely Abraham was stunned. This went against all he had been taught and experienced about God. But he had the faith to obey. Only the intervention of an angel at the last moment stopped him from killing his precious son.

What was the point of this exercise teetering on tragedy? The Lord explained it later in his first commandment. “…thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” Nothing, not even love for other people can come between us and our Heavenly Father.

And what of Isaac. Why was he willing to die as a sacrifice? Because he trusted in his father, and his Heavenly Father.

Doubtless Abraham also taught Isaac the gospel handed down through his fathers even from Adam the father of us all.

Abraham taught Isaac the doctrine that God our heavenly Father himself would one day allow his only begotten son Jesus the Christ to be tortured, sacrificed and die so that all of us could live forever.

The best fathers teach these truths to their children by precept and example.

There is no greater need in the world today than the need for fathers such as Abraham.

Follow the Prophet Noah

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Follow the Prophet Noah

What can we learn from following the Prophet Noah?

Certainly no Bible story is more famous than Noah and the ark. It has been the subject of serious science, cartoons, plays, movies, and uncountable Sunday school lessons.

Noah was a good man from his youth. At the age of ten he received the priesthood at the hands of his grandfather Methuselah. And he was faithful his whole long life of 950 years. The Bible records some of his life on earth.

Modern revelation also tells things Noah did in the preexistence before this life. He was a valiant spirit named Gabriel.

He later appears as the Angel Gabriel to strengthen Daniel in vision and prayer. In the New Testament he announces to Zacharias and also to Mary the imminent birth of Jesus.

Living almost a thousand years may require some patience. Noah had to wait 450 years until his first son Japheth was born. Then another 42 years until Shem blessed their family. Ham must have seemed almost like a twin to Shem when he came only eight years later when his father was 500 years old.

All three boys were true to the faith, and so were called, “Sons of God.” They married women who were likewise faithful, and as a result they and their wives were saved on the ark. Unfortunately the daughters of the “Sons of God” married disbelievers who mocked the Lord and were known as “sons of men.” Apparently they all perished in the flood.

The scriptures record that a few others besides those in Noah’s ark escaped the flood. These believed and followed Noah. The Lord took them up to be with him as he did the city of Enoch.

Perhaps the most vital message Noah leaves us is don’t procrastinate. Follow the prophet when he speaks.

Noah gave the people of his day 120 years of warning. We know not what the future holds in today’s unstable society. But we are promised if we follow the words and example of the Lord’s prophet and prepare, we shall not fear.

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Follow the Prophet Enoch

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What can we learn by following the prophet Enoch? We can approach the environment of Heaven if we emulate his city of Zion.

When Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden they went from a world of food and flowers to one of weeds and wickedness. More like what we live in. Worse than that, they no longer walked and talked with Heavenly Father. They and their descendants could pray of course, but how could the Lord let his will be known to many people? He called prophets. The first was our great, great, great, great grandfather Adam.

Adam later was inspired by God to call his great grandson Enoch as a prophet. Enoch wasn’t sure he could do the job. He said, “I don’t speak well. The people hate me, and I am only a lad.” He was 65 years old when he said that.

Probably 65 seemed young to Enoch because some people in those days lived a long time, like hundreds of years. But not everybody lived a long time. Some people lived a short time because wickedness, murder, wars and bad living took them early.

Enoch trusted in the Lord, and became a great prophet. At his word mountains moved, rivers changed their courses, the wicked people, even giants who lived in the land were afraid to attack him and his people. He founded a city that became so righteous that no one was poor, or unloved, or left out. The city became so pure and holy that The Lord took it up to heaven. It will return when Jesus reigns over the earth in the millennium.

Follow the Prophet Adam

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What we can learn from following the Prophet Adam
Adam was not only the first man and the first prophet. In the spirit world before this one Adam was the archangel Michael. In the Great War in heaven, he commanded the spirits who followed Heavenly Father and Jesus as they fought the forces of Satan.
Michael then helped Jesus create this earth and all the plants and animals so we could live on it.
Then Heavenly Father and Jesus created Adam’s body as the first man on earth, and Eve as the first woman and his wife. They were given two instructions: To not eat the forbidden fruit, and to multiply and replenish the earth. As it turned out, they could not have children unless they ate the fruit.
They chose to eat the fruit so that we could come to this earth as part of families, and members of Adam and Eve’s great family.
Heavenly Father sent his Son Jesus to pay the price for Adam and Eve’s transgression, and to pay for our sins if we repent and accept Jesus as our Savior. Then we can live forever with our families in heaven.
Heavenly Father has a plan for this world and for each of us. If we pray to him sincerely, we can learn what He wants us to do, and he will help us do it.
After Adam and Eve left the garden Adam built an altar and offered sacrifices on it. An angel came and asked him why he did this. Adam said, “I know not save the Lord commanded me.” He then learned the reason why. Sometimes we may not know why the Lord commands, but if we obey we will be blessed.
Oh, and in case you’ve heard this story, that lump that men have in their throat which is called their “Adam’s apple,” it is not because Adam couldn’t swallow the original apple.
These are some of the things we learn by following the prophet Adam.
Duane Hiatt
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Follow the Prophet Intro

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In 1987 the Church music committee asked me to write a song for the new Primary song book. They wanted three elements in the song: 1. It should be about the Old Testament prophets. 2. It should sound like a Jewish folk song, and 3. It should be a happy song so the children would enjoy singing it. I told them I would give it my best. The third element was the biggest challenge since Diane my first wife, the mother of our 15 children had died of cancer just two weeks before. I didn’t have much happiness in me at the time, but the Lord blessed me to put joy, and even an occasional chuckle into the song.

Over the years Primaries and other groups have asked my wife Sharon and me to tell them the story of how it was written, and other stories about the song. We have enjoyed doing this, and thought these videos would help us reach others who might be interested in the song, and the subject.

I asked our children and grandchildren to participate, and some of them tell us how they feel about following the prophet.

The video is a little much to put on You Tube, so I have divided it up into ten segments, one for the introduction, and one each for the nine verses.

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I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.

Duane Hiatt
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Epistle: Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

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You may remember the theme music for the modestly produced, and enthusiastically received motion picture, Chariots of Fire. I’ve never figured out what the title referred to, but I’ve never forgotten the effect it had on me. Eric Liddell a Scotsman with world dominating athletic abilities and a chance for Olympic glory, facing crushing pressure from his countrymen and king to go for the gold in the 100 meter yet he refuses to compromise his Christian principles and run on Sunday.

The happy ending is, the power figures finally allow him to compete in the 400 meter on another day, and he wins the gold.

We had our own charioteer of fire named Eli Herring. One of America’s premier offensive linemen. On graduation from Brigham Young University he was offered a contract in the pros for one and a half million dollars with probably millions more to come. He turned it down and became a high school math teacher for $22.000 a year. Because he would have to play on Sunday.

Unlike Eric Liddell, there is no happy ending in terms of money or glory to Eli’s story. But twenty plus years later the husband and father of seven is convinced he made the right decision for him. He also stressed he is not passing judgement on what other Christian athletes may choose to do.

Today there is much discussion about how to keep the Sabbath day holy. Some people think Sunday is a day just for fun. They sometimes quote the Prophet Isaiah’s admonition to make the Sabbath “a delight.” Surely it is a good idea to plan and do interesting, good, and yea verily even delightful things on the Sabbath and every other day. But reading the rest of the scripture, it becomes apparent that on the Sabbath our goal should be not to bring delight to ourselves, but joy, and may we even say delight, to our Father in Heaven.

He then will provide us with blessings and joys beyond our expectations. They may not include Olympic gold medals, or millionaire football player salaries, but they will include golden days and memories, and eternal riches beyond our comprehension. In every case no commandment from the Lord we keep will go unrewarded.

Epistle: Scarlet Ribbons and Red Sports Cars

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Do you remember the song Scarlet Ribbons about a child who prays for scarlet ribbons, and the sad parent who can’t provide them? But in the morning they miraculously appear on her bed. That’s a lovely old song. With a heartwarming ending.

But what about the times when the scarlet ribbons don’t appear?

That is one of the oldest questions philosophers, theologians and non-believers have wrestled for as long as there have been philosophers, theologians, and non-believers. Who knows how many people have lost their faith when their view of God as a cosmic Santa Clause didn’t come through for them? When we send our grocery list up to heaven, and the bag comes back half full or empty, what then? What about when we pray for things to get better, and they get worse?

Even Job in the Bible famous for his patience cries out as his woes multiply. He finally demands of God why is there such injustice in the world?

The Lord responds in a whirlwind, asking Job, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38) He follows with other equally difficult questions. Job realizes he is a freshman taking a post graduate level test in eternal principles. Essentially the Lord tells Job, “You can’t even understand the questions much less the answers.”

The saving grace of Job, and all of us, is this declaration, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” (Job 13:15)

That approach will also get us closer to understanding the apparent uncertainties, injustices, unfulfilled dreams and seemingly unanswered prayers of our lives.

Once we lock into an unshaken faith of the ultimate wisdom and goodness of God; once we take a perspective that continues beyond the grave into eternity then the world makes more sense.

Otherwise, as the song says “If I live to be a hundred, I will ever know from where came those ribbons, lovely ribbons, scarlet ribbons for her hair”

Nor will I know why my prayer didn’t put a new Maserati sports car in my garage. But I trust the Lord had a good reason.

What do you think?
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