Saturday, October 31, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 16:1, 5, 7, 12

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 16:1, 5, 7, 12
"In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Then said I: Wo is unto me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.
And he laid it upon my mouth, and said: Lo, this has touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
And the Lord have removed men far away, for there shall be a great forsaking in the midst of the land."

Jacob is once again quoting Isaiah. I am finding as I am reading, what usually is a hard part of the Book of Mormon, a new understanding. I am trying to see if through Jacob's eyes and how it applied to him, before I apply it to me.

I know Jacob, like Isaiah saw the Lord. He appeared to him and they talked face to face. I can imagine what a connection this gives him to Isaiah. What he must be feeling as Isaiah describes his experience in being in the presence of the Lord. How unworthy you feel, yet are made clean.

Then I could see Jacob finds mention of themselves in the words of Isaiah. They are the men that were removed far away. Isaiah saw Lehi's family and others leaving Jerusalem many years before it happened. So how does this apply to me? I know as I am removed from the world, I can be made clean before the Lord. All that Isaiah saw, and all that Jacob saw, is all that I can see.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 15:20

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 15:20
"Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"

Jacob is still quoting Isaiah and this verse I have absolutely no problem likening it to my day. This world has become so confusing. Words I always thought I knew the meaning of have become corrupted. It makes you afraid of opening your mouth.

I recall the first time I realized what was taking place. It was when our current president took office. All of a sudden because I did not agree with his policy I was labeled prejudice. That isn't even what the word means. It didn't even come into my equation the color of his skin. Since that moment of awakening I have seen a flood of political correctness, that has changed the definition of every long standing value on once this country stood. Never would I dream that being a Christian would make you considered judgmental and full of hate.

So I asked myself why did our words have to change? I began to see that to change a word, is to change its value. Values are on what our moral compass can be built. To change the definition of a thing changes its whole value and meaning. When we redefine something we open up what master it will follow. To change a meaning opens up the flood gate to who becomes in control. If you did not change its meaning Satan could not put his mark of influence upon it. When you call what was once good evil, and evil now good then the master being followed has changed. Something as tiny as a word begins to define a people.

The result of changing words makes you afraid to open your mouth. That is the very chains Satan wishes to place around me. So now that the environment has changed I must not. I can be wise, but I must not be deceived between truth and error, right from wrong, and good and evil. I must have the spirit to ever be with me. To guide me around the land mines placed in my way, waiting to destroy. More than at anytime on this earth is there a greater need to have the Holy Spirit as my guide. This is why I take the sacrament. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 14:2

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 14:2
"In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious; the fruit of the earth excellent and comely to them that are escaped of Israel."

Jacob is still quoting Isaiah and I wanted to see it in his eyes. How his people would look forward to the millennial that this chapter speaks of. How does it apply to them? Then I saw them. They are the branch of Israel that had escaped. He could see them being restored and the blessings that await them.

So now I asked myself what does that mean for me? Then I could see myself. At the time of Lehi's departure from Jerusalem the people there had become part of the world. They needed to escape from them to be preserved. Is this not what I need to do too? To be preserved I must separate myself from the things of the world and come to Christ. In that beautiful millennial day all things will change and what I have become will be most desirable. I will be made beautiful and glorious because of my love for the Lord. In return all that the Father has, the fullness of the earth, will be there for me to partake of. What blessings lie ahead.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 13:4-5, 12

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 13:4-5, 12
"And I will give children unto them to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.
And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor; the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honorable.
And my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of they paths.

Jacob is still quoting Isaiah and the point he is making is to liken it to our day. These three verses have in common the fact that children are oppressing and ruling over adults. I see that happening to a greater and greater extent as time is going on. I asked myself why is that? I think it is because parents have sought the advice of the "learned" in raising their children and not the Lord. When you take the Lord out of the equation then the only one being listened to is the inspiration of Satan. In direct result the destruction of the family and its roles is taking place.  

I remember when I brought my first born child home from the hospital, I found in my goodie bag a one year subscription to Parent magazine. I was a new, inexperienced parent and nervous and afraid about my role. I was thrilled to get that magazine every month and devoured it. One piece of advise I remember reading was the importance of not saying no to my child. How I struggled with that as he got into things. I used every word I could think of in order to never say the word no. I found my son simply wouldn't listen to me.

I sat myself down and had a good hard look at what I was doing. Then I talked to the Lord. The answers came on how to discipline and talk to my child. I learned it was ok to say no sometimes. I learned that my child was not born with an instruction book written by man. He was born with a mother than had a God given right to seek instruction from the Lord on how to raise him. Each child is different and they don't fit into a cookie cutter mold. I found mother's intuition is alive and well when the instruction book comes from the Lord. I could not have raised my children, and continue to do so today, if I did not let the Holy Spirit guide. I honestly believe a change in who's instruction book parents and adults are following would alter the direction we are headed. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 12:2

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 12:2
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it."

I love the temple and I know this is the meaning of Isaiah's quote that Jacob is referencing. Prophets of old would go up into the mountains to speak with the Lord. I think its because of the isolation you get so high above the ground. Being so high above the earth your perspective changes, giving your a sense of your nothingness. It's very humbling to go up on a mountain. Even more so if your going to speak to the Lord. 

Prophets of old, at times had tabernacles or temples, but the majority of time so few had access to these blessings. Once again the heavens are open and the Lord's house has been established in the tops of the mountains. Most LDS Temples around the world stand in prominent raised places. But I think Isaiah is referring to the great rocky mountains and what I see along the Wasatch Front. If I drove up the Wasatch Front from Payson to Brigham City I would pass ten, soon to be eleven temples. It is a marvelous sight.

I pondered on how regardless of race, creed, nationality or sex everyone now can enter the temple, if they are found worthy. Indeed temples are dotting the earth and all nations flow into them. These are the days that Isaiah saw. These are the days to prepare for the Savior's second coming. Temples dotting the earth are blessing the earth.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 11:2-3

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 11:2-3
"And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah, for my soul delighteth in his words. For I will liken his words unto my people, and I will send them forth unto all my children, for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have see him.
And my brother, Jacob, also has seen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true. Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and he proveth all his words."

Nephi is testifying that not only has Isaiah seen the Redeemer, so has his brother Jacob and himself. Their words stand as a witness of the reality of Christ. I could not help but ponder on the the power of witnesses because of something, very unrelated to the gospel, that happened earlier today. I told my family that I would stand as a witness of the effects of what just happened. For some reason the Lord wants me today to understand the role of witnesses. So I pondered on why witnesses are important.

With three or more witnesses the truth can be established. There is stronger evidence when you have even more witnesses. What I went through I felt very much so that I would not be the only one to experience this situation. The more of us experiencing this cause and effect the greater evidence of changes that need to be made. Even though I am reading the scriptures I can see how this message fits in my personal life. Sometimes things happen to us so we can play the role of a witness. The unity of witnesses can bring about change.

In my spiritual life I have to come back to what Nephi says regarding the witnesses of Christ. That God will send more witnesses. I reflected on how many since Nephi's time have also testified of seeing Christ. There have been many witnesses. Today on the earth there are 15 living men that can also testify of seeing him. The prophet Thomas S. Monson, his counselors and the twelve apostles, for they are his special witnesses. Yet, I know there are more. I know more and more humble followers of Christ will see him. Their role may not be to preach this knowledge to the world, but rather to play their role in helping to establish Zion. The unity of these witnesses will help bring change, a Zion people prepared to receive our Lord at his second coming. This is the type of witness I want to be.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 10:3

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 10:3
"Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ - for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name - should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him - for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nations on earth that would crucify their God."

This verse made me ponder on God's timing of sending his children to earth, and where he places them. At the same time he sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ to this earth, he sent others that would be willing to crucify him. How interconnected the roles we all play. We have our free-agency on how we will act, but like any parent can tell you, they know how their children will behave. Given the right combination of people together, you know what the end result will be. God knows us even better than ourselves, this is why he knows when is the best time to send us to this earth.

Why was I sent here upon the earth at this time? What role do I play? I know I have been blessed in my life by both the wicked and righteous people I have come across. Each encounter has helped me on my path towards Christ. Each role others have played in my life has blessed me. I almost think dealing with the unrighteous has taught me the most about myself and changes I needed to make. First, I had to learn that we are all hopelessly flawed. Each one of us needs the Lord. I have come to cherish my enemies for I would have never learned what I have learned any other way. There has been pain along the way, but through that pain I've learned to rely on the Lord, and find true peace. I am sure people looking back at my life will say I was both wicked and righteous, I am so flawed. But, the final sum needs to be, I was redeemed. I would not change a thing.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 9:12, 14

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 9:12, 14
"And this death of which I have spoken, which is spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness."

This was such an odd thing for me to ponder on today. I don't usually focus on what happens to those that are not righteous. It's not a place I want to go. Jacob speaks about physical and spiritual death and the power of the atonement. It is through Christ's resurrection that all men will have their bodies and spirits reunited, to go from mortal to immortal, never to die again.

I pondered on why those that were unrepentant and doomed to spend the eternities with the devil have a need to be resurrected. Why would they obtain such a gift? Then I remembered that at the time of judgment all men will bow down and confess that Jesus is the Christ. The fact that they had been resurrected would be undeniable to them what Christ did for them. That He suffered in Gethsemane and took upon him their sins, all they needed to do is repent, and yet they did not. 

Their fate is to live forever in their sins, with a perfect knowledge of all their guilt. I guess you couldn't have perfect knowledge of the reality of the gospel plan if it was not evident in your life. Having an immortal body would be evidence. I pondered on what more this would do for them, but I could only imagine horrors. The place they shall go to live with the devil would be everlasting fire. If they were still a spirit then fire would have no effect on them. To have a body would mean to still suffer, but be incapable of dying to be removed from it. That would be horrible.

I also thought about the enmity that God placed between Satan and his angels and the seed of the women, mother Eve. This was a protection to man so Satan could not posses their bodies. The enmity that existed will be gone once we are all resurrected. Satan would be bound and have no effect on the righteous that obtained eternal life. So those left to live with Satan would have no enmity between them and him. Satan and his angels could have full possession of their immortal bodies. Could that be the very reason why he wanted them to follow him to hell? How unthinkable that torment would be, to always feel fire with no relief, your guilt, and no absolute control over your own body.

Anyone that thinks because they follow Satan that he will love them is so deceived. Satan will forever hate them, for they are the very ones that caused him to not win the war in heaven. One-third of the spirits followed Satan, if more had followed him then he would have won. Those that decide to follow him on this earth are the very ones that caused him to lose everything he wanted. They have a body and he does not. In reality they could have more power and control then him, if he did not blind them from that possibility. It causes Satan no sorrow to see one of his earthly followers exposed and taken down in shame. They are just a pawn for his purposes and not his friend. He is no kind or loving master, he has no loyalties, his chains are meant to punish. He is not a master I would want to serve. My heart will ever belong to the Lord.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 8:7

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 8:7
"Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart I have written my law, fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings."

I love those words "whose heart I have written my law". I pondered on how God knows my heart and that is how I am judged. I can go through all the actions I want to "look good", but if my heart is rotten, and only seeks the praises of man then I have every right to be afraid, very afraid of the Lord. I can never deceive him, when he sees my heart.

This made me think of the time I went to a bar because that is where a co-worker's surprise bridal shower was going to be. I loved her and wanted to bring my gift. I had no fear of anyone seeing me there. My co-workers knew where my heart was. I was never made fun of or forced to drink. I also didn't stay the whole time either, it simply was not my environment. I focused on my friend and was able to wish her well, be pleasant to my other co-workers, then left as soon as they all started to get drunk.  

I don't know why this verse made me think about that experience. I certainly didn't like going to a bar and wouldn't want to go again. But, I also have no fear of those that act differently than me either. I can be in the world and not part of it. I can have God's law in my heart and honor him, but be kind to those who mock it or believe differently. I'm ok if I'm the only one in the room that loves my God. 

I think when God's law is in your heart and not in your head, you don't worry about what other people have going on in their heads. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 7:4

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 7:4
"The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season unto thee, O house of Israel. When ye are weary he waketh morning by morning. He waketh mine ear to hear as the learned."

Jacob is quoting the words of Isaiah, who is speaking messianically about the Lord. It made me think of the boy Jesus at the temple sitting in the midst of doctors, that are both hearing and asking him questions. They were so astonished that one so young could be so learned. Next I pondered on what it would have been like to sit not far from the Sea of Galilee, listening to the Lord give the Beatitudes. How I would have loved to hear his voice. Then I thought of the times that I have.

I have woken in the middle of the night to a single word which opened up the gospel to me. The timing I can never plan, but its always perfect timing. The Lord knows the best season to help me grow. He will speak in a language I can understand. I really think the mysteries of God are really how simple the gospel really is. You can lock yourself into a room and study and study all you want and all you will become is weird. But if you read, ponder, and pray, and then get to work living the gospel, exhaust yourself in the work, the spirit will make things known in their proper season. Is that not what Isaiah means when he says ye are weary. The Lord's way of instruction and learning is different than a man's way. It really is a better way.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 6:17

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 6:17
"But thus saith the Lord: Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for the Mighty God shall deliver his covenant people. For thus saith the Lord: I will contend with them that contendeth with thee-"

I pondered on that last part of this verse "I will contend with them that contendeth with thee". After hearing Elder Oaks talk given the other day, it reinforced that I should not be contending with others. I see now the Lord says he will contend with them instead. He doesn't say when or how, just he will do it. There appears to be no role for me in contending with others. This would go hand in hand with being told not to judge. The role of judgment and justice is the Lord's. He will give people enough time to repent and ask for forgiveness. If the Lord is going to contend with those bothering me, then I have to leave the matter in his hands. Forgiving would be my role.

It made me think of Satan and how he wanted to take away the agency of man. When I contend and want to force a person to my way of thinking, then I would also be guilty of taking away a man's agency. Satan also took away God's right to offer the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil to Adam and Eve on his time table. Satan caused havoc with his interference. So I am thinking now that contending is a role the Savior has. If I take it out of his hands then I would be guilty of not only taking free agency from another man, but also God. I would not want to take over a role that Lord has a right to. I have no business in judging others. When I have a window open to express a vote for or against a matter I will do so, but to another man I will leave his opinions to himself. 

We happened to discuss Elder Oaks talk this evening in family scripture study. My son asked me what I would say to people that I disagree with. I told him I have learned to say "You can believe what you want to believe." Then I simply move on, it's not of my concern what they believe. Even if its false things against me. The only opinion that matters to me is the Lord, and he will judge me on my heart. People that want to butt heads rarely change their minds. If I give people an option to hear what I have to say, then those really wanting to know will inquire. Otherwise, my life is peaceful just moving on, because the spirit will remain with me. Now I feel a stronger confirmation that contending is the Lord's right and not mine. I just don't ever want to be on that receiving end.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 5:32-33

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 5:32-33
"And I engraved that which is pleasing unto God. And if my people are pleased with the things of God they will be pleased with mine engravings which are upon these plates.
And if my people desire to know the more particular part of the history of my people they must search mine other plates."

In this chapter we see the separation of the brothers. Nephi and those that will follow him leave, taking the brass plates, sword of Laban, ball or compass and travel many days journey away. They settle and prosper in the land. The Lord is with them. They practice the law of Moses and build a temple in the manner of Solomon. Nephi does not desire that his people have a king, but he is instead a ruler and teacher over them. He teaches them to be industrious and labor with their hands. Those that follow Laman are cursed with a darkened skin and become idle, seeking beasts of prey in the wilderness for their existence. There could not be a bigger contrast between two groups of people.

It's about 30 years after Lehi's family left Jerusalem. This is actually when the Lord tells Nephi to write this separate record which will contain the more spiritual things. The other record up unto this point contained a history of the people. As I was reading this verse the part "search mine other plates" jumped out at me. I wondered is it saying that is something we actually need to be doing?

I pondered on what it would be like to have the historical background to the Book of Mormon. Which in turn made me think about the historical background I hear about the Bible. I enjoy hearing the history behind the scriptures it makes their day come more alive to me. But, when I am reading and pondering the scriptures the historical background is not so important to me. In fact at times it can be a distraction to me. I find there is a deeper layer and meaning when I look past the historical background. The gospel message will reveal itself past the other noise. 

I have given up reading commentaries about the scriptures that other people have written. I have learned far more reading and pondering by the spirit all on my own. Seeing this side of it I am afraid if we ever did find the "the other plates", the ones with the historical background to the Book of Mormon, it would be a distraction to the true gospel message.

Then I realized what Nephi was actually saying. If you are pleased with the things of God, then the spiritual record, the Book of Mormon, will be pleasing too. When your pleased, your full, you have all you need. This is the needful part. Is it possible that the desire for the historical part means there is something lacking in the spiritual part of your life?  I don't know but it makes me wonder. But, after pondering what I have seen happen with the Bible I am not so desirous to see the historical background found in the other record. I'm afraid I would get lost in the noise. What I have in front of me is the good part and that is my desire to understand now. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 4:17, 27

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 4:17, 27
"Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?"

Nephi records the final words of his father Lehi before he dies. Not many days later his brother Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael are angry with Nephi, because of the admonitions of the Lord.

This is when we see Nephi morn for his father, morn for what is to come, and morn for his own iniquities. He pours out his soul to the Lord in such moving and beautiful words. I pondered on what iniquities could Nephi have. He seemed so faithful I could not think of him sinning. Then I see the sin he mentions - anger. I could just picture his brother driving him to the point he just looses his cool and gets angry back. I guess you couldn't blame him for getting angry. Isn't that part of the grieving process for all of them? I think that the reason it grieves Nephi so much about getting angry is that it destroyed his peace. Anger would make the spirit leave causing him to be so grieved.
Nephi is human, but from this he shows us the way to overcome our afflictions. He turns to the Lord in prayer. His words are like a song or poem, beautifully moving and inspiring, you can tell he is praying. Throughout he is repenting in the depths of humility and praising God. You see him become so full of the spirit during this process. It really is a powerful lesson on how to handle things when I get angry and need to get peace back into my life.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 3:13

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 3:13
"And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord."

Lehi is quoting from the brass plates the prophesies of Joseph, son of Jacob in the Old Testament. Much of what is quoted isn't in our bible today. How I wish I could read all of Joseph's prophesies and writings. He speaks of someone that would bring the writing of the tribe of Joseph forward in the latter-days. His name would be like his own, Joseph, and also named after his father. That man would be Joseph Smith, Jr.

I pondered on what his weakness were that needed to be made strong. He had no formal education, he was unlearned and could barely write. He needed scribes to write for him as he translated from the gold plates. He was very much like Moses needing Aaron to assist him in speaking.

The Lord does make weak things strong. Isn't that just amazing. I pondered on the various times I have been blessed to do things I was not physically able to. When I have been weak yet made strong. It's always so I can bless or help someone else. Playing a part in doing God's will. It is truly humbling to see what God can do, with even me. I think it moves you from faith in God to having a knowledge of the power of God, and our dependency on him. There is an amazing partnership you can be part of if we only seek to serve Him. I can see why Joseph Smith was given this first assignment when he was so weak in the abilities needed. He needed greater humility and trust in the Lord. When you know who's work this is, it gives you the faith to do all that is required.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 2:13-14

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 2:13-14
"And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act not to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.
And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon."

These verses remind me of the discussion we had during last night's family scripture study. I related that during my life I have experienced moments when I question what I believe. I wonder what if everything I know is wrong? What is there is no God, and no plan for me? What if there is no purpose to my life? I can tell you that a terrible depressing darkness just surrounds me when those thoughts have come. There is panic and fear, and I can't breath. I feel lost and so horribly afraid, thinking this is nothing, and when I die I know longer exist. I cannot even finish the though of thinking there is no God. 

I will then reaffirm in my mind all that I know, that there is a God, there is a purpose to life here on this earth. Then my soul is full of incredible light and hope. I have long since decided, so may years ago, that I would much rather believe in a God then not one. Then at the end if I was wrong I at least had peace while I was here. I could not live without my God otherwise. I would much rather be the most ignorant fool and have joy over my God, then to ever live in the darkness that surrounds me when I even think for a moment, what if there wasn't one. I have joy seeing the beauties of the earth and known there is a God that loves me and made this all for me. I know I am loved and watched over and never, ever alone. The peace His gospel brings me means everything to me.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 1:20

Today's Favorite Verse: 2 Nephi 1:20
“And he hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence."

I pondered on why a land that no longer served God and kept his commandments would not prosper? Now I see that we are cut off from His presence. With that goes the spirit, the inspiration needed to actually prosper. Satan makes men blind and dumb. They can no longer think and see things as they should. They will get carried away with so many falsehoods and beliefs. Would they not become overly politically correct to the point nothing makes sense and they run into one continue round of arguing. This stunts any type of growth or advancement.

As our nation has turned from God we see these very things happening. We do not prosper as we used to. I’m not talking about just material wealth. It’s everything, even the intelligence of our children in schools. The light of all knowledge comes from God. To be cut off from his presence is the worse that can happen to us. How I don’t want that. How I want this nation to be great again. Then I thought how I’m not alone in the desire. There are many  good God fearing people in our land. This is helping to preserving us as a nation. If only more would turn to God and keep his commandments we would be great again, and prosper. Greater light and knowledge would make us strong again. My little role in this is to remain faithful and not turn my back on God. Not only does my actions bless my life, it blesses my nation. I think it matters not to God what political party I belong to as long as I serve him.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Nephi 22:25, 28, 31

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Nephi 22:25, 28, 31
“And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth; and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep, and in him they shall find pasture.
But, behold, all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people shall dwell safely in the Holy One of Israel if it so be that they will repent.
Wherefore, ye need not suppose that I and my father are the only ones that have testified, and also taught them. Wherefore, if ye shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last days. And thus it is. Amen."

Nephi explains the words of Isaiah he quoted previously to his brothers. He speaks of the scattering of the House of Israel and how the Gentiles will nurse and nourish them with the gospel. It talks of what will happen to the wicked, and the righteous. I want to focus my life on being righteous.

Regardless of being a Jew or a Gentile the message of the gospel is for the every person on this earth. This is the time of its fullness. How I long to counted as His sheep and reside in his pasture. All he asks is for me to repent. I pondered on why that would be so hard for so many of us. All that the Father has he will give us if we just come unto Him. We must be obedient, keep the commandments and repent. What would stop me from doing that? It would have to be pride. The belief that I am greater than the Lord, my will, wants and pleasures mean more. How would one turn it around? What have I done to turn it around?

I don’t know what changed me because its been a lifetime of changes. I do know that I am ever so careful about anything that will cause the spirit to leave me. I want, I need it, as my constant companion. I guess I had to recognize first what I was doing that brought the spirit to me, then increase in doing those things. Then I could be sensitive to when the spirit has left and turn away from those things. As I recognize those things in my life that took me away from the Lord I repent, forsake then, and learn a better way. It’s a lifelong journey, its a path I walk every day of my life, and I am happier and have more peace in my life because of it. I get it wrong so many times. But, I know the Lord knows my heart. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect, just to keep getting better. He makes up all the difference for what I am lacking. He is a loving shepherd, and feeds his sheep, may I always hear his voice and follow it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Nephi 21:6

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Nephi 21:6
"And he said: It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth."

Nephi is quoting Isaiah 49. I know Nephi was likening the scriptures unto himself. So I tried really hard to understand how Nephi saw this chapter as speaking about themselves. I could actually see it. Nephi and his family are now on the American continent, separated from the rest of Israel. As Isaiah speaks to those on the isles I know Nephi was thinking of themselves, sent there to be preserved. I'm sure he was seeing connections to the scenes the angel opened up to him earlier, the future events to come. The restoration of the gospel in the latter-days. 

Next what I tried to do is picture how this chapter was meant for me. Then I saw how even I fit in. As Nephi sees his writing as being a light to the Gentiles, he means a light to me. This is what he has given me by keeping his record. What a light it has been for me to understand the gospel. In turn I am trying to follow his example and share my thoughts about the scriptures with others. So few read my words, but this wasn't only meant for me alone to do. Each time a testimony is shared about the Book of Mormon it brings the words of Christ as a light to the world. That is why we all need to liken these words to ourselves. It's a message for each one of us and for those we love. It will bring salvation to the ends of the earth. Isaiah was not just talking to Nephi he was talking to everyone, even me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Nephi 20:10, 18, 22

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Nephi 20:10, 18, 22
"For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments - then had thy peace been as a river, and they righteousness as the waves of the sea.
And not withstanding he hath done all this, and greater also, there is no peace saith the Lord, unto the wicked."

Nephi is quoting Isaiah 48, which is translated a little different than in the Holy Bible. The meaning is still there. 

As I found these three verses I could not help but ask myself, "How can I be in the furnace of affliction and have peace?"  The answer is given here, keep the commandments. I know the truth of this promise.

As I have tried so much harder to keep the commandments, to be worthy of the spirit as my constant companion, the peace in my life has increased. I have come to know that when I feel stress, panic, or become overwhelmed, that something is amiss in my life. I can take my grief, pain and sorrow and turn it over to the Lord and he will give me His peace instead. He not only carries by burdens but I allow him to do so sooner as time goes on. Why have pain when relief is found in the Lord.

The furnace of affliction will always be with us, no one is immune. Part of life is to be tried and tested. Yet, we can have the most beautiful peace, like a slow and constant river, to calm and comfort us. If we stand righteous, keep his commandments the waves can crash upon us, but we will only become stronger, and more faithful. We will be consistent in our devotion to the Lord. He will ever be with us, we will have his peace always. This I know because I've witnessed it in my life. May I always have that peace.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Nephi 19:20, 24

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Nephi 19:20, 24
"For behold, I have workings in the spirit, which doth weary me even that all my joints are weak, for those who are at Jerusalem; for had not the Lord been merciful, to show unto me concerning them, even as he had prophets of old, I should have perished also.
Where I spake unto them, saying: Hear ye the words of the prophet, ye who are a remnant of the house of Israel, a branch who have been broken off; hear ye the words of the prophet, which were written unto all the house of Israel, and liken them unto yourselves, that ye may have hope as well as your brethren from whom ye have been broken off; for after this manner has the prophet written."

I just wept this whole chapter. What a powerful testimony Nephi has. I can feel his spirit even though he is long since speaking from the dust. He was so full of the spirit as he wrote this section. I experienced physical weakness in myself from the power of the spirit, it was that strong. I know what he writes is true. 

Nephi is a scriptorian he lays out beautifully the prophesies from prophets before him. Some of those named are not even found in the Old Testament. How I wish I could read those writings too. 

I have learned from Nephi the importance of likening the scriptures unto myself. I always ask myself how does this apply to me today? What can I learn from their experiences? Are these same things happening today? Are there patterns being taught? I don't care if he lived over 2600 years ago it is just as applicable to me today as it was to them back then. Those that don't even believe in a God feel that history repeats itself. Well it does and the Lord has set that pattern that we may learn from it. With the spirit we can see what is coming, change our course and right ourselves with God. I love the scriptures. I am so grateful for Nephi that he obeyed the Lord and recorded this history it has blessed my life.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Nephi 18:2-3

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Nephi 18:2-3
"Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men.
And I Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things."

As I have been thinking about keeping the Sabbath day holy, one thought that keeps coming to me is the need to send time pondering the direction I am going in life. Are there changes that need to be made, can I work smarter and do things in a better way? I feel the longing for a time of reflection in all areas of my life. The Lord's day of rest from my normal labors can be spent in sabbath worship and as a time of reflection. I have such a desire to plan and write things out, but I don't even know what they are yet.

Nephi may not have said he went to the temple when he goes into the mount. But often that is what is meant when prophets say that is where they go. Nephi went there to worship the Lord and receive inspiration and guidance.

I am already going to the temple every week to worship the Lord. I have received great spiritual strength, and inspiration in my life. What I haven't been doing so well is using the Sabbath day as spiritual preparation for taking things to the Lord. I think if I take what I pondered on Sunday and seek the Lord's inspiration for direction in the temple, a beautiful new way of doing things will open up. I most likely will never build a ship like Nephi, or hardly anything anyone else would use, but what I need to build in life would be helpful to the welfare of my family and myself. The wisdom I seek for answers in my life need to come from the Lord and not from the thinking of man. I wonder how many new and marvelous inventions could really be out there if gifted men worked in such a manner?

Using the power of the Sabbath day and the power of the temple, I think I could do marvelous things. I know the Lord has blessed me spiritually and I always want those blessings. Now I think he can speak to me in the temporal areas of my life. Maybe no one else will care about how I organize and manage things, but to the Lord all things are important if it helps his children grown and develop their talents. It is with those very talents that we can serve Him.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Nephi 17:45, 49

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Nephi 17:45, 49
"Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye are past feeling, that ye could not feel his words; wherefore, he has spoken unto you like unto the voice of thunder, which did cause the earth to shake as if it were to divide asunder.
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto them that they should murmur no more against their father; neither should they withhold their labor from me, for God had commanded me that I should build a ship."

I love this story after eight years in the wilderness they come to the seashore. The voice of the Lord tells Nephi to go up to the mountain and there tells him to construct a ship. Nephi's reply, where do I go to find the ore to make tools, the answer is revealed to him. I love his faith and dedication to the Lord's commands. 

When Nephi's brother find out he is building a ship they mock him. Nephi gives a very powerful discourse and in this I see what I picked up on yesterday. The voice of the Lord did speak to Laman and Lemuel. That is what the voice of thunder that shook the earth in this verse is. How powerful that must have been. Yet, we still see them without faith, believing what the Lord required of Nephi in building a ship could not be accomplished. So much so that after Nephi's discourse they want to toss him into the sea.

With that, the power of the Lord comes over Nephi and he commands them to touch him not or they would wither like a dried reed. For several days the brothers avoid going near Nephi for fear of him.

Over and over again I ask myself why did the Lord keep Laman and Lemuel around? So many times they wanted to go back to Jerusalem, so many times they wanted to kill Nephi and stop the Lord's work. Why didn't he just let them go? In this verse I see why, they were needed. Their labor was required to build a ship and then sail it to the land of their inheritance, to the promised land.

How many times do the wicked serve a purpose in getting doors opened for the Lord to do his work. I was reminded of the effect World War II had on opening the missionary efforts to the Japanese after the war. The young military service man had the experience needed in order to preach the gospel there. Yes, we don't like wars, wickedness and rebellion, but the Lord will work it all for his greater purposes. Even Laman and Lemuel with all their murmuring and threats served a greater purpose for the Lord. I also think of all the gospel lessons I have learned having to deal with difficult rebellious people. They have actually blessed my life because of what I learned. I would not change my experiences for the world. The Lord is wise and knows best how to teach his children.