Why is There a Holy Ghost?

December 1981 by Robert W. Murdock 

     The Scriptures from both continents speak of men who have said, “And my father taught me in all the ways of God.” Their lives demonstrated they had been well taught. They understood not only the organizational patterns of his church but all the ways of God concerning his Spirit and power, how to approach him and begin to know him. Because he loves us, God has promised that everyone who comes into the world shall have his Spirit to be with them, to teach them of the covenant. Those who accept Christ and enter the covenant shall receive a special gift, the Holy Ghost. It has many functions: a comforter, a teacher, a revealer, a power. It shall speak of all truth. By obedience and the Holy Ghost, all things are possible under the direction of God, the Father. 

     God promises that everyone who comes into the world is also to receive another gift as he wills. From the presence of God, there flows out a Spirit and power that fills the immensity of space. This Spirit is in all things and through all things, and is the power by which all things live and move and exist. This Spirit gives life and light and order to all things. It is the power by which the sun, moon and stars exist and give forth their light to sustain the lives of men. This same Spirit also enlightens the minds of men. When we respond to this Spirit of enlightenment, we are drawn to God. In the process, we also receive light and truth in matters pertaining to our lives and all that is around us. Intelligence, then, comes to us as a gift from God. To those who are obedient to God and hearken to his voice, he promises to eventually reveal all things. The revelation given is in proportion to the strength of our response to his Spirit. Therefore, some are very wise while others have less wisdom because they neither obey him nor listen to him. 

     There is opportunity in our lives to use and exercise the gifts of God as we please within bounds set by God. We can gain knowledge and understanding and use it for good or evil. It is God’s promise that if we use our gifts for evil, they will turn to our condemnation.  If we escape the consequences in this life, we shall not escape condemnation in the next life. 

     We are born into a condition where God set everything in order. Yet it is an environment where we can choose to grow and develop in righteousness or adopt the ways of evil and its expression. As far as we know, this is the only earth in the creation of God where wickedness and good are allowed to exist side by side. In this situation, we can learn to distinguish good from evil and see the full effects of each on the lives of men. We can choose, by our own volition, the pattern our life shall follow. Therefore, in this environment, we can misuse the things of God and appear to get away with it. God allows us this opportunity within the realms of time. When time no longer exists and eternity holds sway, this dual condition no longer holds true. We then serve whomever we have listened to: God or Satan. 

     Satan was cast out of heaven and placed in this environment with us. He knows the laws and workings of God well and can use them to suit his own evil purposes right here in our midst. If we listen to satanic powers and choose evil, we too are misusing the gifts of God for our foolish whims and so-called gain. In doing so, we call down upon our souls the punishment of a just God. The limits of power we exercise under Satan appear to be almost boundless, yet they are limited by God himself. The scope of these limitations is probably not known to man. Satan knows the powers and limits assigned to him and those who follow his voice. However, man is continually growing in his understanding and use of the powers of wickedness. By listening to Satan, wicked men are able to search for greater expressions of power to suit their own personal desires. God warns that their powers shall become so great as to perform miracles and great wonders. It has been written that, ultimately, they shall even call down fire from heaven in the sight of men to deceive and cause them to bow down and worship that which is evil. 

     In the presence of such powers that constantly surround us and whisper within our souls to “follow me,” we choose whom we obey, God or Satan. God provides many things for our benefit that can help us respond to him. Included in the list is the fullness of the gospel of Christ, the ministering of angels, his own voice out of heaven, dreams, visions and gifts of the Spirit. In addition, there is the gift of his Spirit that can speak into our hearts and minds. It brings a full revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost, testifying of God, Christ and all truth. Satan can also speak into our hearts and minds by way of a multitude of evil spirits. He will also use the voice of any who will serve him and promote his will among men through words and deceiving power. 

     We then have an enormous challenge and responsibility to determine within our souls the voice to which we will listen and seek with all diligence to understand: God or Satan. By obedience to God and Christ, we receive marvelous promises of understanding and truth. These blessings are delivered by his Spirit, the Holy Ghost, to teach us all knowledge of righteousness and truth as well as grant us all power expedient for our good. By disobedience, we are instantly left to the powers of evil, which may fill us with wonder, awe and even the assurances of power and glory for ourselves. 

     We then come to the problem of knowing for certain whom we serve. If we choose to serve God, what is his Spirit?  How do we know and understand it? How do we receive it fully into our souls for our deliverance, salvation and our blessing?  How do we receive it for the enlightenment of our mind and the working of Godly power for the blessing of all those about us? We know that by full obedience to God, we are promised the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands by those in authority before him. This Holy Ghost speaks into our hearts and minds, ministering comfort to us with power and much  assurance that we may be able to perform much righteousness. However, Satan also has power to speak in much the same way and even to appear as an angel of light!  How, then, do we determine with certainty to which spirit we are listening? 

     God tells us he is eternal; the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change. He speaks to us today by the Holy Ghost the same as he did to Adam and all holy men since then to our day. His voice, his Spirit, does not change. If one man identifies the Spirit of God and describes it, then it ought to be the same in all ages to all men. The Scriptures verify this to be true; always the same, nothing wavering.

     The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, speak of this Spirit. However, a more concise and easily understood description of the Holy Ghost, its functions and the manner in which we detect its presence, is given in modern day revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants. In this book is given a plain and concise listing of the signs that serve as evidence by which we may identify his Spirit. The list of primary identifying elements includes:

1. Fills our souls with joy.

2. Enlightens our minds.

3. Burns within our bosoms.

4. Gives assurance or causes us to know the truth. 

     Other effects of the Holy Ghost may serve as evidences of its presence but are considered “fruits” of its presence. When the Holy Ghost rests upon us in power, we may have other manifestations of its presence. Some may cry and become unable to speak while others may be made beautifully free in their speech, thought and actions. Some may become weak, unable to stand, or even faint. At the same time others may be made exceptionally strong and stable. Many things may happen due to the emotional impact upon us. Even the more familiar spiritual gifts are given as God wills. They include faith, knowledge, wisdom, tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, healings and miracles. However, all Godly spiritual manifestations, except one, can be easily duplicated by Satan. The one exception is the combination of the four basic manifestations of the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost!  They are God’s mechanism and his alone by which he assures us of truth. Satan cannot fully counterfeit the testimony of the Holy Ghost. Again, the four elements are joy of soul, enlightenment of the mind, a burning within the bosom, and an assurance or feeling that the experience is true. These four together serve as evidence of his voice, power and Spirit in our lives. Any one element alone or any combination less than the four elements should cause us concern and cause us to give further prayerful consideration before we accept the experience as authoritative from God

     The Spirit of God is given to every soul that comes into the world. It is manifested primarily by joy within the soul and enlightenment of the mind. Obedience to God includes being baptized in water by those having authority from God. Following the water baptism, there is also a baptism by the Holy Ghost, again by the laying on of hands by ones having authority. Scriptures describe this baptism as being baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost. With obedience, the person baptized can expect the full testimony of God as represented by the four manifestations of the Holy Ghost. He or she may begin to expect not only joy within the soul and enlightenment of mind, but also the burning within the bosom and a feeling or a sure confidence of all truth. This full witness is given of God to bring the obedient into his very presence through the grace and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

     Because of the grace, mercy and love of our Heavenly Father, there are some who have the Holy Ghost to minister to them even before the covenant is made and this precious gift is bestowed. This occurs, as in Acts 10, only in response to very earnest seeking and as an isolated experience and cannot be expected to remain. After one is obedient and is baptized, then the Holy Ghost is received as an abiding comforter, a permanent gift, if we allow it to remain. If we ignore it by continuing in our old ways, it remains only as a little seed. If, at any subsequent time, we make a renewed effort to respond to God with obedience and prayer, it will begin to grow and manifest itself again. If we make no such effort, it will make itself evident only on occasion, which we then call a “mountain top experience.”  After having this kind of testimony, we too frequently fall back into our valley of complacence. Then the manifestation of the Holy Ghost returns to being a little seed within us. It will again wait for us to seek it out in study, prayer and searching. We must look within and, as God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” We must search and listen for the still small voice. It requires time and practice to identify and learn about it. Desire and diligence nourishes it to grow in beauty and holiness within us. In this way, we learn to have communion with our Heavenly Father by the gift of the Holy Ghost. This Spirit manifests all truth and speaks of all things pertaining to the Father and Son. 

     Jesus commands us to draw near unto him and he will draw near unto us. We are commanded to pray that we may have his Spirit to be with us at all times. We must seek, knock, ask and it shall be opened unto us. We must believe his word when he says he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. As we ask for his Spirit, it is granted so that we may live, move and have our being in him, doing always that which is pleasing to him as it is made known to us by the Holy Ghost. We may also, then, give thanks while in the Spirit for all that is received. As we grow in grace and in Spirit before God, we have the promise that the time shall come when we can ask whatsoever we will and it will be granted unto us. We are also told, “Know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask.” It should be with joy and anticipation that we draw near to God, learn of him, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and learn to hear his voice, for it is Spirit. We must understand well the identifying marks of the Holy Ghost, so that we can say with certainty, “I know he is with me,” confident that we are not deceived by any other spirit or wind of doctrine. God promises we can be so near to him that we may have his Spirit to teach us his will and that we may then receive anything we ask that is according to his will!  Why, then, should we not be an obedient, seeking people?   What excuse can we offer for not being a people who will learn of God and his ways so clearly and fully that we can rule out the deceiving powers. These evil powers  only seek to imitate our God and to destroy all righteousness. Beyond all question, the powers of deceit and all their marvelous counterfeit manifestations are being searched out and learned by men all over the world. They study, seek, learn, teach and master this opposing power. In order to confront this evil with a greater divine force, righteous servants must seek their Heavenly Father more diligently. They must join together in study, in seeking, in learning and teaching one another the ways of God and the identification of his Holy Spirit. He tells us that only in this way may we take his Spirit for our guide. By being so tuned to hear all God communicates, with the full assurance we shall not be deceived, his servants work the works of righteousness to the Glory of God and the blessing of all men. 

     Until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, our main teacher and revealer is the Holy Ghost. This Spirit, the voice of God, speaks of those things which come from the Father. It bears record of all truth by manifesting the four elements of the Spirit. We should seek to know this Spirit very well and make it functional so that we become one with not only God and Christ, but with all others who seek to be one with them. Since the Holy Ghost is so important, we should look for its identifiable manifestations within our lives. By making it readily discernible and understood, we can walk and talk with our God and be his Saints and servants for the world’s sake. However, before his people can become a firm and endowed extension of the arm of God, the Holy Ghost must become a constant and identifiable Spirit abiding with them always. Only in this way can all the marvelous promises of God find fulfillment in our lives. If we are in his Spirit, we can ask for and receive anything expedient. Through diligent preparation and by this Spirit, we may have anything necessary for the moment. We can speak or prophesy of all things expedient for our good. We can receive light and truth from God until the light grows brighter and brighter unto beautiful perfection. Mysteries of the Kingdom of God can be revealed to us, even those that can be understood only when we are filled with the Holy Ghost. By this means, we can obtain the condition promised by Jesus when he said, “I no longer call you servants, but friends, for a servant knoweth not what his Master doeth.” This type of close communion with God and Christ is what it means to stop walking in darkness and, instead, walk in the light of God with knowledge and assurance. 

     This understanding of the Holy Ghost is the means by which we come to know God. We begin by learning how to identify and interact with the Holy Ghost in our daily lives. Our Heavenly Father can then speak to us by the still small voice of his Spirit and confirm it by the Holy Ghost. Then again, he may reveal light and truth or give us direction in any manner he chooses. The form of spiritual gift used is apart from the fact that he bears witness of the truth of the experience by the power of the Holy Ghost affirming that it is his word and will. In this way, he reveals to us and confirms from heaven, the light and truth that is expedient for us. He can also, then, reveal to us by the Holy Ghost that part of an experience which is truth and that which is not truth. Partial light and truth is often used by the evil powers to deceive. Thus, by the Holy Ghost, God can affirm what is truth and empower us to do those things which are his will to bless, heal and save all men. 

     We are told that we must have faith and that without faith we cannot please God. Through scripture, we understand that faith is assurance. Where our assurance comes from, then, determines largely our faith. Assurance can come from many sources. We may receive assurance from our parents, teachers, books we study, our friends, the church, our own thoughts and from Satan or any evil spirit. Many spirits of the adversary are  abroad in the land and can speak into our souls to deceive, yet attempt to assure us. However, the best assurance comes directly from the voice of God, the Holy Ghost. If we take his Spirit to be our guide as he asks us to do, learn it well and, by obedience, have his Spirit to be with us always, it will continually bear witness of truth. It will also give us the full assurance of righteousness. God has said there can be no greater assurance than this. When our response is directed by this divine assurance, our faith is pleasing to him. Both we, as well as those around us who believe, are blessed in righteousness. We are told that by faith many marvelous things can be done. Our faith must begin in small things and grow toward perfection in Christ until it becomes knowledge. The sooner we seek God and rely upon his word and the confirmation of the Holy Ghost, the sooner we receive knowledge, light and truth in a more perfect fullness. 

     We can choose from where our assurance comes. The written word of God is marvelous assurance to us. Testimonies, dreams and visions are also marvelous, but the most wonderful is the voice of God, his Spirit, for it bears witness of all truth. It will even bear record to us about some event in life at the very moment we are involved in the experience. This goes above and beyond all other assurances. God says that nothing greater will be given. This is the ultimate assurance, that which cometh from above. 

     An excellent example of faith by assurance is when Jesus walked on water toward his disciples while they were having difficulty in the storm-tossed boat. When Jesus identified himself, Peter asked the Lord to bid him come to him. Jesus responded by bidding Peter to come. On this divine assurance, Peter walked on the water, until he let his logical thinking bring fear into his heart. Then he began to sink. If he had kept his eye single to God and the assurance given by Jesus, the results would have been different. Jesus said, “Ye of little faith.” We must learn to trust in the divine. With diligent prayer, we can begin to really know our God and Christ, and learn to understand and identify positively the Holy Ghost which is our assurance. Then we must learn to listen to the assurance given to us and to put our trust in it just as Peter trusted Jesus’ assurance. Normally neither the elements will be stilled for us, nor the doubts of others about us. Yet in the midst of all this, we must turn from our traditional ways, learn to hear God and put full trust in him. As we do so, faith increases. Then our works become the works of God to his glory; the blessing of those about us as well as ourselves. 

     Our greatest example is Jesus Christ. He states emphatically that he did only that which his Father commanded him. He knew the will of God and did it in the face of all surrounding opposition and doubt. He tells us we can do the things which he did and even greater. However, we must first have communion with God and receive from him the assurance of what we should do. Then as we act upon this divine assurance, the results shall be as with Jesus. In scripture, Jesus states very emphatically that even if we have no more faith than that of a grain of mustard seed, we can move mountains and trees. He assures us that if we believe, we can pray for our desires and receive them. In latter day Scripture, he tells us we can ask and receive, but if we ask for that which is not expedient, it shall turn to our condemnation. Therefore, we must be sure we are asking according to the will of God, even as Jesus did. We must have the Holy Ghost with us, be familiar with it and, therefore, conversant with our God. This requires obedience, purification of our lives, and diligent searching for the things of God. Then come the rewards of enlightenment. We begin to receive our desires from him. Because our desires are based on God’s will, we begin to know him. 

     Jesus tries to warn us by telling us that, by faith, many things can be done. He says, “Whosoever has faith” and “Many shall come before me saying”. Yet he also warns us that not all who say, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter in. To some he shall say, “Ye never knew me,” or “I never knew you.” Therefore, where we place our trust and from what source we receive our assurance, make a difference of life or death. We are told that we have power within us to do much good. Many books have been written on the power of positive thinking; the powers within man, etc. Just how far man can go by having faith himself or by listening to “familiar” spirits is hard to say. However, it appears certain many shall go so far as to believe they are serving God; yet they shall not be. If we are familiar with God and the Holy Ghost, we shall know by divine assurance that we are with him and he with us. The Spirit also carries the promise and assurance of eternal life. With the assurance of eternal life and the faith that comes as a result, Jesus tells us all things are possible with God. Our potential growth becomes unlimited. We can eventually come into the presence of the Eternal Father, through the ministry and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Until Christ comes, we are blessed and ministered to by the Holy Ghost, sent from the presence of God. We have this gift as obedient children. How vital it is that we seek for it and learn of it. We are told what to look for. We are given a divine description of this gift. We probably all experience a great outpouring of it on occasion and call it a mountain top experience. We can and must learn to so live that we are able to identify this Spirit in our daily lives, even at times when it is not in such power and force upon us. It must become an abiding experience, not an occasional one. When we seek diligently in our souls, then, according to the promise of God, we are rewarded. This Spirit becomes discernible, ever present with us and grows within us in assurance and daily power until we can say assuredly, “I know he is with me.” It begins as a little seed within our heart so small that we must pray and seek earnestly for assurance that it is even there. Once identified and nourished with obedience and prayer, it continues to grow and grow until it becomes very easily discernible. In this way, we can commune with our God both day and night. Then the great promises of latter day Scripture can come to pass. In Zion, everyone shall speak in the name of the Lord asking what they will and they shall receive. This truly testifies of communion and oneness with God. They will be obedient and know the Holy Ghost. We must come into such a condition because we are the children of the covenant. When we are obedient unto God, we receive the Holy Ghost. Now we must learn of it and make it useful in our lives to our salvation according to the will and grace of God. 

     As we become obedient before God in all things, including the laws of the land, we find the Holy Ghost beginning to make itself more pronounced in our lives. We feel greater joy entering our soul. Enlightenment of our minds becomes more evident. The seed swelling in our chest increases until we can readily recognize it as a burning within the bosom. And finally, assurance comes as an ever abiding experience. If we maintain our diligence through seeking, study, prayer and fasting, these four elements will continue to increase upon us. Eventually they reach a level, apparently set of God, that makes them easily discernible to us throughout all our activities. Then, to our joy, they become an abiding day and night experience with us. Through this gift, we find that we can begin to have real communion with our Heavenly Father and the Son, Jesus Christ, until it becomes so much a part of us that we truly walk and talk with God. 

     As we begin to learn to use the Holy Ghost to commune with God, probably the easiest way to start is to ask for a simple “yes” or “no” answer. If we ask of God for confirmation of anything we believe to be true, he will manifest the truth of it by the Holy Ghost. His Spirit burns within our bosom, and we feel, or know, it is right. Since we already have a burning in our heart, a “yes” answer is affirmed by an increase in the burning. If the answer is “no” or lack of confirmation, the Spirit ceases to burn within our bosom, and we are caused to forget the thing we asked about. Then the Spirit returns to the normal level we have become accustomed to as an abiding Comforter. By this same manner, he reveals the truth of all things we ask of him. When we grow to the point of receiving, he requires us to seek and study a question out in our heart and mind. This becomes more difficult, yet we learn to examine each thought, always seeking his Spirit for confirmation as we progress. If his Spirit continues to burn within us and we feel assurance, or even if it increases, we know we are right before God. If we watch closely enough, which we must learn to do, we can soon learn when his Spirit indicates we are wrong. It will begin to withdraw. Then we pray and study further until enlightenment and assurance come, then we go on. It makes no difference how the enlightenment comes: by our thoughts, by inspiration, by dreams, visions, the written word or the testimony of others. When truth is given to us in any manner or from any source, his Spirit bears witness!  With an expanded foundation of greater truth, we can continue our study under God until we reach the conclusion of our searching. Then, as a final testimony, we may ask of God and his Spirit will burn within to assure us of the truth of the entire matter. Then it becomes the word of God to us. 

     There may come a time when we become content to remain on a certain level. If this happens, we begin to lose our gifts. We must continue to grow before God to maintain this marvelous gift. Usually God will require that we ask him what is necessary in our lives in order for us to begin again to grow. Most generally, he will reveal a need to cleanse our lives more perfectly. He may require obedience in something we are lax in. It may be something as simple as being obedient to a 25 m.p.h. speed limit when we are in such a zone. If we then fail to be obedient and grow even this much, we lose our gift until we repent and ask forgiveness. As we labor in prayer, fasting, study and obedience, we continue to receive faith, power and the beauty of holiness before God and man. Light and truth become a continuous growth experience with our souls, until we realize that we have begun to think, act and speak more perfectly day by day as God has called us to do. Soon we realize a great truth, that we are friends unto Jesus!  We no longer walk in darkness, but all that is expedient for us is given for our good and joy and salvation. 

     Another characteristic of the Holy Ghost we will learn is that it ministers to the entire soul of man, both the spirit and the body. As we receive more and more from God, we can truly expect the mysteries of the Kingdom to be revealed if we ask. These experiences will often be given in spirit so that what we receive we “see” with the spiritual eye. As the Holy Spirit moves to give us enlightenment and understanding, we find that the effects are also felt and experienced in our bodies. Because this ministry affects our whole soul, not only does the light and truth touch our spiritual eye, but our body is also cleansed and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Moses’ experience is typical for all of us. He was caught up and saw God with the spiritual eye, for he says he could not see God with the physical eye and live. After revealing many things to Moses, God informed him that was all he could show him if he were to remain in the flesh. The Father explained that no man can behold all the Glory of God and afterward remain in the flesh on the earth. The work of the Holy Ghost is to reveal and to bring us into the presence of God. We can be transfigured and see with the spiritual eye and, at the same time, our body is ministered to. The Spirit prepares our body for entry into the presence of God, which necessitates a change from mortal to immortal. That means death to us, whether it be in the twinkling of an eye or by burial and resurrection. Therefore, after such marvelous experiences, we find our body is affected after the manner of Moses. It took him several hours before he again received the natural strength of man. Most of us do not go that far in experience, but some of us do find our body is weakened for quite some time afterward. We can trust God to set the limits of our experience, so that after receiving ministry, we can perform necessary tasks at the time required. He always ends an experience in time for us to regain sufficient strength to perform necessary tasks when they need to be done.   

     As we search for understanding about the function and movement of the Holy Ghost upon us, we find God to be a marvelously loving Father. He is very concerned about our desire to know him and to find him. Especially in the beginning of our search, we find ourselves very doubtful and uncertain. We may even question the source of the spirit we receive and the identifying marks. We quickly learn that God loves us so much, we can ask for his Spirit over and over again. He patiently understands our need for repeated confirmations from him of any light and truth we receive until we gain faith and trust. He promises that his Spirit will not always strive with man. Yet he is so marvelously loving, patient, and kind to those who earnestly seek him, that we have little to fear from him. We can safely ask over and over again until we learn to trust and grow in understanding and the ability to receive. This is what God wants us to do and he loves us in our searching. To aid our understanding of how his Spirit works, we can ask for his help. He encourages us to experiment and make determinations for ourselves about many things that come into our hearts and minds. We can even make requests of him during an experience of power and glory under the Holy Ghost. For instance, we can ask God for understanding about what happens to us both spiritually and physically under the effects of his Spirit. God is so patient and loving, he will let us watch the Spirit grow within us until the effects are felt throughout our body. We find that the joy of our soul increases, light comes and the burning, cleansing power expands from the bosom to include all our flesh. It continues to increase until it penetrates the bones and their joints. Finally, the effect of the Spirit upon our body begins to distract from the enlightenment being given our spiritual eyes. Then, when we are transfigured before God, we see the full experience without the distraction of the physical. We can then appreciate the reason why we must be transfigured. In the natural body we cannot comprehend. In Spirit, we can see clearly, yet our bodies continue to receive ministry also. When the experience is over and we are again left to ourselves with the usual degree of his Spirit, we find our souls blessed. We discover we have received light and truth to our understandings, joy to our souls and a cleansed purified, yet weakened, body. We feel holy all over. Our strength of body rapidly returns and, with joy, we bear witness of such a loving God. He is very willing and anxious to teach and draw us unto him, if we only ask, seek, knock, study, fast and pray, and be as obedient to him as we know how. We find that our continued growth soon depends not only on our obedience to the laws and commandments, but even upon our obedience to his voice to us by the Holy Ghost. If he requires something of us by his Spirit, we must obey or find his Spirit withdrawing from us.   

     At what level the Holy Ghost will reside with us is difficult to describe. We have joy within our souls that is not common among men. We have our minds enlightened as need arises or as we feel to seek for it. We have assurance of truth and receive comfort in that assurance all the time. The burning within the heart or bosom is continuous. It remains centered in the bosom and increases until it spreads out to all the flesh, generally from the waist up, as a daily abiding effect. This includes the arms and hands. As ministers, we find the burning is detectable as a flowing power from us into those to whom we give ministry. It may be the blessing of a baby, a confirmation, a healing or an ordination. The Spirit flows from us to the one receiving the ministry. Sometimes we feel the Spirit flow in very small amounts, while at other times it may be very pronounced. Jesus spoke of feeling virtue flow from him as the woman touched the hem of his garment. This experience becomes familiar to those of us who have the Holy Ghost within us: recognizable and functional. We have been taught as ministers that we shall officiate according to the Spirit within us. It is very assuring to us, as well as all concerned, when we have the Spirit, know it, feel it and can impart it to others in a loving, blessing ministry. This burning quality of the Holy Ghost causes us to have much assurance for we know he is with us. It causes us to feel clean and whole. Until our body becomes accustomed to this new sensation, it is slightly uncomfortable because it is a distinct burning. However, we take joy in knowing we are mortal and yet we are privileged to have God with us always. We may become so busy in our daily lives and occupations that we forget the feelings of joy. However, at any moment day or night, we can be assured of his presence with us by the continual burning. When we know we can identify it at any moment, the full impact and joy of the Holy Spirit is instantly brought to our full attention and we rejoice before God.  

     We also find that the Holy Ghost, as it abides with us, assists and directs our use of the gifts and talents God has given us. It is not limited to this, but does work more easily and efficiently with us in our particular gifts. Thus, we always need the gifts of others to become one in Christ and to show the world the full nature of our God. 

     There is one other lesson most of us need to learn that will assist us in our growth, in our reception and understanding of the Holy Ghost. Jesus tells us we are to fast and pray often. He fasted forty days once. Many holy men of old also made great efforts in fasting. Since then, fasting has become less burdensome. In latter day Scripture, we are told to prepare our meals with singleness of heart, that our fasting may be perfect or, in other words, that our joy may be full. This is fasting and prayer or, in other words, rejoicing and prayer. Fasting, as we understand it, is to abstain from food, for the purifying of our souls. In conjunction, we should expend every effort to repent and be clean before our God. When we are rewarded for our efforts by receiving the Holy Ghost and blessings from above, the purpose of fasting is accomplished. Then we should continue in rejoicing and prayer because, to God, this is fasting and prayer, even rejoicing and prayer. Our goal of communion with God is achieved. We should then cease to afflict ourselves and begin to rejoice.  

     It would be marvelous if we each could order our lives to do as Jesus did; go out alone to search intently for God with whatever it takes to find him. Most of us find our efforts involve several efforts of shorter duration. This lengthens our need for fasting, purifying and perfecting our lives for the reception of the Holy Ghost. 

     After we attain some success, we find our souls occasionally slipping back. We find it necessary to fast again from food in an effort to become clean to receive. Also, we may find, at times, that it is necessary to grow more in power and understanding before God. Again we fast from food, until we receive. Then we rejoice and pray. Whether we fast from food or not depends, then, on what we are experiencing. If we are receiving from God and are rejoicing in the experience, we gladly refrain from eating or any other activity that would distract from such marvelous communion. However, when we are in touch with God and are rejoicing before him, we find that to abstain from food for too long a time causes the body misery, which, in turn, distracts from the beauty of the experience. Therefore, we should tell our loving God of our need. We may then prepare our meals with singleness of heart and eat them with temperance. Then we can return to our God refreshed and, in joy, find him waiting for us to continue in our rejoicing. Oh, the beauty and love of our Heavenly Father is marvelous to behold!  He loves us so much, he promises us life and that more abundantly through his Son, Jesus Christ. He requires sacrifice and affliction in our search to obtain, but when we prove ourselves before him, he rewards us with joy, peace and much assurance. This gives us freedom in him that does away with affliction and fills us with an abundant joyful life in him. 

     We must learn that he is a loving Heavenly Father. In our search for him, he wants us to ask, seek, knock, search and study. We must understand and be assured that to ask is pleasing to him. Walk and talk with God; he wants to share everything with us if, as a little child, we will only trust him, ask, seek, and receive from him. Everyone who comes to God partakes of the covenant and receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. They then have this marvelous potential to come into the presence of God and to rejoice in communion with him. We are all made free and partakers of the Heavenly Gift. 

     Jesus tells us faith is required of us and that the fullness of the gospel includes many things we could consider props, which help us to increase our faith. We are stimulated by worship services and ordinances that symbolize before us spiritual implications for our lives. Such things as baptism or the physical burial of the old self, the laying on of hands for several purposes, the Communion Service with the emblems, are all ordered to help us see and comprehend our physical needs as well as the relationship to spiritual blessings given. As we grow in grace and holiness before our God, we are made free and we no longer need such props in order to develop our faith. Instead, we find ourselves in communion with him and rejoicing in a richer, more perfect experience. For healing, we know Jesus gave us consecrated oil as a symbol of his outpouring Spirit to bless us. It is a prop intended to increase our faith. We see and feel, then we compare and understand and, finally,  accept, rejoice and are blessed. However, there are some who still miss the point and put their trust, not in God or the ordinance or the priesthood, but in the oil. Their faith in the oil alone still brings them blessings!  They use consecrated oil for everything and seem marvelously blessed. They only need the priesthood to bless the oil. Jesus says without the priesthood and the ordinances thereof we cannot see God and live. By full obedience, we are not only healed, but our sins are also forgiven. If our faith is so misdirected as to trust in the oil, it apparently becomes a sufficient prop for our faith. Blessings are received in that people are healed, but there is no promise of the forgiveness of sin. Faith makes their bodies well. Only if our faith is centered in God, his will and ways are we made well and whole both in body and spirit. If priesthood are not available and we rely only on our faith and whatever props it takes, we may be made well, but we are not blessed.

     We may have faith to do many marvelous things, but we are warned that except we have charity, the perfect love of God, we are as nothing. Again, the source of our assurance makes all the difference. If it is the oil that assures us, we may have faith, but where will it take us?  If we rely on God through the Holy Ghost and our faith is in his word as confirmed by the Holy Ghost, then our blessing is full and complete. God shall then confer joy and full salvation for our souls. We hope that some day everyone shall completely trust in God and be in close communion with him. Then all the props and even all the gifts shall be done away in our perfect freedom of trust and obedience to his voice, his word to us in personal communion. The priesthood are to be leaders and servants, ordained of God, for the perfection of the Saints. When the priesthood accomplish their task, both priesthood and members will be partakers in the freedom of God, together in joy. 

     Many holy men of old testified with gratitude that their fathers taught them in all the ways of God. Their ministry was of such nature as to affirm they were truly the servants of God. The people were so stimulated by their power and authority that they responded by establishing Zion and God was able to walk and talk with them. During other periods of scriptural history, people flocked to endowed ministers for healing. Some even healed by sending blessed objects to those in need. Some carried such power in their ministry that even having their shadow pass over someone was sufficient for healing. We are told that holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Because of obedience and the outpouring of that Holy Ghost, people saw eye to eye and became as Jesus commands us, one with God and Christ.   

     We still have the calling today to establish Zion even in the face of such wide spread division. How greatly we need the Holy Ghost to make us one so we can all see eye to eye!  This is our heritage and our commission. Zion is what God asks us to be about. We need to be taught as they were of old. Then we could grow in grace, power and understanding even as did they. Paul was taught by the best teachers of his time. Yet, when confronted by Christ, he spent years reorienting his thinking  to comprehend the ways of God rather than the traditions of men. Then he commenced a ministry that developed into a marvelous manifestation of power and oneness with God by the Holy Ghost. Schools were established to help those who sought earnestly the ways of God. 

     We, too, have the Holy Ghost. However, if we don’t know we have it, or how to identify it, or be obedient to it, of what good is it?  We perpetually wait for mountain top experiences or for the future endowment. We walk with the potential light and power of the gospel within us by the Holy Ghost and know it not. God is no respecter of persons. He will manifest himself by the Holy Ghost to any who will come seeking diligently for him. We are not taught about the four characteristics by which we can identify the Holy Ghost. We are not even taught to look for it in our daily experiences. The only exception might possibly be that, as we look back on our lives, we are able to say surely he must have been with us, because of that which has happened to bring us to where we are now. We have the right to expect to be taught and to have the opportunity to understand. In this way we can be blessed by the Holy Ghost as much as anyone in any age who has sought for God. Men of old recognized this and taught very effectively. We must also do that today. The Holy Ghost is given to many. Those of us who know and understand it, must teach others and help them to make this marvelous gift of God effective in their lives too. If we will learn of him, we can become of one heart, receive his choicest blessings, fulfill his will in all things and assist in bringing many unto God. All this because we choose to do so, not by force or coercion. We move to persuade in brotherly love and tenderness under God to his glory. Only in this way can his will and his righteousness be manifest in the eyes of all men.  

     The nature of God is love. Out of this love he grants to every person born into this world a portion of his Spirit. This guiding Spirit will teach right from wrong and lead that person to God, if he or she will only listen. He also tells us to see his hand in all things. He draws all mankind unto him. He seeks, by the Spirit given to each one, to lead, to teach and to draw men to him. In latter day Scripture we read that some men who came to the church had been blessed of him in their early lives. His Spirit had been with them as he promised to be with everyone. When they responded to the covenant and the fullness of the gospel, they received the greater reward. This included a greater measure of the power and gift of the Holy Ghost. Not all responded; some turned away. To those who turned away, God said he would do with them as he would. He still loved them and no doubt kept ministering to them. He continued to search after them and still tried to bring  them into his presence whenever they repented and responded. Since God does reach out to all men, we should not be quick to condemn. They may also be searching for him and slowly finding him. They may not be as advanced, but may be on the right road. We may recall the occasion when the disciples forbade one who was not of their number to minister. Jesus said to forbid him not. God will judge who is growing, whether they continue to grow, or if they stop and are satisfied with themselves. Unless we judge by the Holy Ghost, we cannot truly determine where others stand with God, for God is constantly working with them. If they speak in the name of the Lord and do mighty works in his name but know him not, they will face him in judgment. Therefore, we must, for their sakes, present the fullness of the gospel of Christ to them that they may have the Holy Ghost. Then, with full assurance and authority, they can speak and work in his name as they are directed by the Holy Ghost. 

     Satan also seeks to win all people to him and tries to get them to obey him rather than God. Where each man stands in obedience to Christ or to what extent he lets Satan deceive him, only God knows. In any event, God works with all men, even those we consider most uncivilized or primitive. Their response to his Spirit may appear too simple or foolish to us. We may feel that if someone is being led by God, it is unrecognizable under so much Satanic influence. However, we can be certain that God is trying and we must also.

     We observe men from the most primitive to those ready to receive the gospel, who demonstrate power in many ways by preaching, teaching, healing, leading and helping their fellow men. Some of the most primitive appear to help others in ways that seem very strange to us, yet the influence of God’s Spirit is there. Satan can take light and truth from us by causing us to be disobedient to God and by teaching us false tradition. He can certainly have this affect on others who are attempting to minister. 

     The laws and power of God created us and sustain all we see about us. His Spirit is given to help us use the creation around us as it was designed of God to be used. At the same time Satan teaches us to use it his way. We see the ability of men to understand the laws governing the physical. We witness the use of atomic power for good according to God’s will or for evil as Satan suggests. In the realm of the unseen, this same principle holds true as well, to the extent permitted by God. Faith is a basic principle for all men to use. We can learn faith and apply it for good, as God desires, or use it to serve satanic ends. Satan knows how to use the laws of God for selfish, wicked purposes and does just that. He can put into our minds to do the same. If we listen to his voice, which is temptation, and we believe him enough, he becomes our assurance. When we respond on that basis, many marvelous things happen and we are easily deceived. We believe we are great and can even imagine we must be of God. However, we are not of God if we listen to Satan, any of his angels or any other spirit abroad in the land. It is difficult for us to say who is following God or the devil and who is following both to some degree unless we are shown by the power of the Holy Ghost. We are warned that, in the last days, those who serve Satan shall call down fire from heaven to deceive. Also, we know that righteous men shall serve God and do marvelous things as well. Therefore, to see the powers exhibited and judge them accurately will be very difficult. Moses faced a confrontation of spiritual powers and did all he could for God. The opposing forces were able to duplicate divine miracles up to a point and then they failed. However, under God, Moses found it was possible to do all things by the power of God and he continued. Today, Satan has put it into the hearts and minds of men to study, teach and join together in learning how to develop faith to perform works for their own desires. How far can they go?  God knows, but this much is certain. It will be much more difficult for a servant of God to face them today in the same way Moses did. The adversary has taken men a lot farther now. However, they are still limited by God while the servants of God can do all things by the Holy Ghost. How great is our need to know the Holy Ghost and to be sure in our knowledge!  How great is our need to be taught how to identify the Holy Ghost, follow it and thus serve our God in power and in all righteousness and holiness!  Only in this way may his glory be made manifest to all mankind and the powers of wickedness and evil be identified. Those of the world who are responding to God will come unto him. Those who allow Satan to deceive them and seek for self glorification and power will be content with what they have and see no need to come to the fullness of God. Maybe, if we listen to the Holy Ghost and let God use us as he wills, a few of those who are content may be moved to consider the ways of God and repent. God loves them and will seek in every way possible to reach them. However, his hands are tied to some extent if we continue to walk in darkness in the midst of the power and light of God granted to us in this heavenly gift. We have not sought to know or use this great gift as a blessing for ourselves or anyone else. 

     As children of God, we should be of one heart and one mind. Instead, we find ourselves divided, redivided and subdivided. We are weak, not powerful. We are of poor understanding, not full of the light of God. We have scripture withheld from us because we do not believe that which we have already received. The Holy Ghost is as a seed in us to be developed. May God help us to obey him, to seek him, to teach one another of his ways. May we recognize the Holy Ghost and learn how to become  Saints of God. May we learn how to be a friend to God and Christ. May we walk in the light of God and stand before the world as a true light, shining into darkness to help all men come unto God.

-Robert W. Murdock

Leave a Reply