Sunday, January 31, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 35:15

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 35:15
"Now Alma, being grieved for the iniquity of his people, yea for the wars, and the bloodsheds, and the contentions which were among them; and having been to declare the word, or sent to declare the word, among all the people in every city; and seeing that the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful."

I had to look at the footnote for the word offended. It takes me to the topical guide "Prophets, Rejection of". This made me ponder on how being offended makes you reject the prophets. I can't help to think its even more than that. A prophets speaks the will of the Lord and his council. If I reject the words of the prophet then I'm rejecting the Lord too. If I don't think the prophet speaks for the Lord then I'm rejecting both the prophet and the Lord. 

When I've seen changes I don't understand I always know its me with the issue and not the prophet or leader. I know they see things my hardened heart does not. I guess a hardened heart choses to be offended because they would never admit they are the one at fault.  I have been so blessed in my life to understand the danger signs of a hardened heart. I have always sought to humble myself and seek the Lords wisdom and understanding on matters I don't understand. I have never come away left in doubt. Those moments have borne witness of the Lord's plan and the reality of living prophets to me. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 34:26

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 34:26
"But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closet, and your secret places, and in your wilderness."

I am the most blessed person alive. I have my own closet to pour my soul out to the Lord. I had to sit and ponder on why my closet is so special to me. It's an old utility room long and narrow. So narrow that I cannot stretch my arms out all the way while I sit in my chair. I'm in the farthest corner of the house and you have to make an effort to come see me. I can leave my door open and people still don't usually see or hear me. I can close my door if I don't want to be disturbed. This is my computer room and office. It is the smallest room in the house but in my mind the most important room in the house.

In this quiet intimate room I have found a relationship with the Lord. No one sees me or hears me as I pour my heart and soul out in prayer throughout the day. This is where I read my scriptures and ponder them in my heart. Its only when you are alone do you come to know if your doing things to impress others or your doing it because you love God more. The walls are so close in here I feel like the spirit is burned into them. It's my sanctuary and my personal holy place. I am so blessed, I am so grateful, for the humblest of rooms. I understand why the Lord says to seek such a place. For he will come visit you in such a location. This is where I learn of God.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 33:19-20

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 33:19-20
"Behold he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live.
But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them."

These verses are referring to Numbers 21:9 "And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."

In a recent Relief Society lesson the teacher asked us "When you are offended how do you respond and forgive?" I could not help but think of these verses. When the people of Israel were bitten by the firery serpent all they had to do was look up to the serpent of brass Moses raised on a pole and live. Yet some people couldn't do that because it was to simply. They didn't believe it could work. Instead they wanted to find another remedy and couldn't do the one thing asked. I can see how looking at a serpent could make you feel foolish. Realizing the brass serpent was a type for the Savior, I see this differently now. It's taken time to no longer feel foolish turning to Christ and letting him simply heal me.

Being offended can feel like being stung by a fiery serpent. It's very painful. Overtime I have learned that that pain never goes away if I turn to others to comfort me. I can become consumed with the matter the more I retell my side of a story to gain support. There is no peace to my soul even when the matter appears resolved. My mind can torment me at the perceived offense, unless I can forgive.

I don't know why it took me so long to realize the simpleness of the way of looking to the Lord. The resolution is immediate, when I let him carry what he already agreed to do for me. When I leave the matter into his hands, for I know his judgments are just, my heart finds comfort and peace. He is the only way I can look and live.

This is not wishful thinking, I know from experience the simpleness of the way. When the DNA results came back that my youngest son's daughter was not his, there was a brief flood of emotion from being deceived. But, immediately as a family my husband and I sat down with our son to discuss this shocking news. All of us had been wronged but we knew what we had to do was forgive them. We could see the Lord's mercy in protecting our hearts during the whole 18 months of thinking we had a grandchild. We could all honestly say we had done everything required of us at the time. We would not change a thing. We felt we had passed that test. But, right now the best thing to do was go away. Leave them alone. To fade from this child's memory and let her bond with her real father. We would leave justice to the Lord and it was a simply as saying those words.

As we sat and discussed our decision the spirit flooded our home. What a sweet spirit surrounded us. It is amazing how much damage can be given you and it doesn't matter. The Lord brings a peace that no revenge can ever offer. We could even laugh at ourselves for being naive, because joy filled our hearts and there was peace. I have seen this family in the store while shopping, and it always amazes my heart that I have no need to run or pretend I don't see them. I can go up to them and embrace them as friends. Forgiveness is the greatest miracle of all. That is how you look to Christ and live.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 32:21-22

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 32:21-22
"And now as I said concerning faith - faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.
And now, behold, I say unto you, and I would that ye should remember, that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word."

I love these verses, they remind me that God is merciful to all that believe and love him. I don't have to be some wise gospel scholar, and memorizes tons of things. It doesn't matter to the Lord. What's important is that I love him and with that love I continued to serve him and seek his face. He will take me into His kingdom no matter where I am at on that straight and narrow road. As long as I'm continually coming towards him. How merciful and fair that is, that we all have an equal chance.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 31:8-10

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 31:8-10
"Now the Zoramites were dissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them.
But they had fallen into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God, and his statues, according to the law of Moses.
Neither would they observe the performances of the church, to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation."

Alma and others go to Antionum to preach the gospel to the Zoramites. The Zoramites had separated themselves from the Nephites and the fear was with them living near the Lamanite land that they would start corresponding and dealing with them. Which could endanger the Nephites safety. Preaching the word to them was a better way to change their ways then the sword. I would have thought the odd way the Zoramites had started to worship would have been what I pondered on today. 

Instead what caught my attention is how the Zoramites had fallen away to begin with. They were members of the church they knew better, but they lost their way. They stopped keeping the commandments, practicing the law of Moses and other performances of the church. But, I think the biggest thing that happened to them is they stopped their daily prayers. It just really stressed to me the importance of something so simply but must be done every day. Once we stop praying there is no connection to God. He can't help us in our lives. The spirit soon withdraws. I cannot even imagine my life without prayer. I would be utterly lost. I know the more I pray the closer I am to God. The easier it is to talk to him. It made me think of the verse in Alma 37:6 "..that by small and simply things are great things brought to pass". I think it is by missing or attending to the small things like daily prayer that great things can be taken away too.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 30:52-53

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 30:52-53
And Korihor put forth his hand and wrote, saying: I know that I am dumb, for I cannot speak; and I know that nothing save it were the power of God could bring this upon me; yea, and I always knew that there was a God.
But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me.

This is the story of Korihor, an Anti-Christ. that was teaching the people  there was no Christ. To be an Anti-Christ means they have a philosophy against Christ. Its not just one person, its a movement. There are people today that are Anti-Christ. From these verses I see that Korihor always knew there was a God but he was deceived by Satan to believe otherwise. I think that is a key, that an Anti-Christ once believed in God and now doesn't, because to do so is pleasing to the carnal mind.

What this chapter tells me he taught I see being preached among people today. It is a whole philosophy that teaches those that believe in a God are crazy. Korihor wanted a sign, and like all people asking for a sign what is given effects them alone. I'm sure he wanted some impressive wonderment in the earth or heavens to appear. Instead he is struck dumb as a testament of God's power, and to remove his ability to preach false doctrine again. It is never a good thing to ask a prophet of God for a sign.

What I found interesting and pondered over is how odd this interaction was with devil. First off Korihor did not apply the principle in Doctrine & Covenants section 129, to try an angel or spirit that appears to us. If it be an angel with a resurrected body you will offer to shake hands and you will feel their body. If it be a spirit messenger from God, which is not resurrected or having a body, when you offer your hand they will not move to shake it, but deliver their message instead. It is against the order of heaven to deceive. If it be the devil appearing as an angel of light, he also has no body, so when you offer your hand he will shake hands but you will feel nothing. I'm sure in the Book of Mormon time they had this knowledge. I know there are people now that don't have this knowledge and could be so deceived, maybe Korihor was one of them. But, it really makes me grateful for revealed truths so I know not to be deceived by an angel of light - which is the devil. Not that I ever want to see one.

The other thing I ponder on was the message. The devil tells him that people have all gone astray after an unknown God, then he tells him what to preach. Even if I didn't know how to test this angel I would have questioned who this person was and where he came from. Wouldn't the very presence of an angel tell you there is some greater power than man. There are people outside of our world?  The angel says don't believe in God, but believe me? Then Korihor teaches there is no God at all to people. To me that is crazy. Who did Korihor think was teaching him? About the only thing I can think of is people having aliens appear to them and just buying what is told them, even if it is to tell them there is no God. I wonder if the people in the Book of Mormon times had people trying to figure out aliens in their day. I do believe in other worlds and planets with people on them. I just don't believe they interact with our world. The ones deceiving us are the devil and his angels, residing here on our earth.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 29:14

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 29:14
"But I do not joy in my own success alone, but my joy is more full because of the success of my brethren, who have been up to the land of Nephi."

I have been pondering on having joy for others successes for several days now. It touches my heart to read about it today. I have been pondering on what a pure heart you would have to have to feel joy for others successes. To honesty praise them for a good job done or some fortune to come their way. I know I have not done that in the past because it would threaten me and hurt my pride to have someone succeed or be praised and not me. That is so very wrong of me. I have been trying to do better. I know when I offer sincere praise my heart feels so very different. Now I see from Alma a great example of having joy for others. I want to be like that, I know that is a Christ like attribute, and a desirable thing to possess. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 28:8-9

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 28:8-9
"And this is the account of Ammon and his brethren, their journeyings in the land of Nephi, their sufferings in the land, their sorrows, and their afflictions, and their incomprehensible joy, and the reception of safety of the brethren in the land of Jershon. And now may the Lord, the Redeemer of all men, bless their souls forever.
And this is the account of the wars and contentions among the Nephites, and also the wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites; and the fifteenth year of the reign of the judges is ended."

No sooner are the people of Ammon safe in the land of Jershon then the Lamanites come upon the Nephites. They had followed their brethren in the wilderness and came upon those that protected them. Tens of thousands of people were slain. It just grieves my heart. Why do good people have to die? Why do they have to suffer so? It is because God can not take away the free agency of man even if their desire to destroy. All he can promise is to take those a live in Christ into his bosom. I truly mourn for all these good people and those that lost a loved one, even though it was 2091 years ago. The Book of Mormon will be heading into the war chapters. Many are being called to the Lord and others are turning away. All of this prepares them for the coming of the Lord. What they experience prepares the generations that follow.

Day 302 Tami Fitzgerald Harris

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 27:27

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 27:27
"And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end."

I just can't keep from crying reading this story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. They were no longer safe in their land. Ammon inquired of the Lord and was told to take them back to the land of Zarahemla. On their way back they meet up with Alma, and together Ammon and he go to talk to the chief judge. The people of Zarahelma are then informed of what has taken place for the Anti-Nephi-Lehies and their desire to join them. The people give up the land of Jershon so they can dwell there. Then they set armies around them to protect them. The Nephites call them now the people of Ammon. The love the people of Zarahemla show for them just swells my heart. Would I be willing to give up the land I live, so people being persecuted would have a safe place to dwell? I really hope my answer would be yes. The one thing I do know is that this people were a blessing to those that protected them. I so love both the people of Zarahemla and the people of Ammon. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 26:11-13

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 26:11-13
"But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things, yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?"

I can feel Ammon's pure joy in being of service to God and seeing the miracle of conversion of some many of his Lamanite brothers. I have never thought he boasted but can totally appreciate the joy in seeing the miracles of God at hand. It is wonderful and marvelous the ways of the Lord. I can almost hear Ammon breaking out in a song of redeeming love. To just be in that moment, to witness miracles and having to just confess it is all God's doing. Nothing was of your strength, you were blessed to be an instrument in his hands. I can sing Ammon's song because I have marveled in God's power in my own humble life. He just went through an amazing experience and praising God just needs to be expressed. This chapter just lets me rejoice with Ammon and praise almighty God too. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 25:1-2

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 25:1-2
"And behold, now it came to pass that those Lamanites were more angry because they had slain their brethren; therefore they swore vengeance upon the Nephites; and they did no more attempt to slay the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi at that time.
But they took their armies and went over into the borders of the land of Zarahemla, and fell upon the people who were in the land of Ammonihah and destroyed them."

Now I see how the story of Alma and Amulek and the sons of Mosiah, which include Ammon and Aaron converge. The people of Ammonihah were so hard hearted that not only did they reject the gospel when taught to them from Alma, that they burned the women and children that believe in God. Alma was calling them to repentance or their city would be destroyed. It was two years later when this event of the Lamanites falling upon them unaware happened, wiping them out in a matter of hours.

What I pondered on is the rage these people were feeling. The Lamanites had just started to slay the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi and found no resistance. Some Lamanites heart were softened and they laid down their weapons and converted. Some Lamanites did not convert, most of them were descendants of the wicked priest of Noah. Instead of realizing the slaughter of their brethren the Lamanites were due to their own actions they blame it on the Nephites for converting them. Yet, the people they destroy rejected God themselves. What a horrible mess when we don't acknowledge our own responsibility in events that take place. Pointing blame at someone else only leaves more destruction. What wickedness consumes a heart that is unrepentant. The wicked truly do destroy the wicked.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 24:17-18

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 24:17-18
"And now it came to pass that when the king had made an end of these sayings, and all the people were assembled together, they took their swords, and all the weapon which were used for the shedding of man's blood, and they did bury them up deep in the earth.
And this they did, it being in their view a testimony of God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man's blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands."

I cried reading this whole chapter. I always do because it touches my heart so. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies were so throughly converted that when they learn their brother Lamanites are coming to destroy them they refuse to take up arms to protect themselves. They are so worried that to take lives after having repented of the murders they have committed in their pasts that they would rather die themselves. That takes such an amazing love for God to never want to sin again.

The people gathered together and buried their weapons of war. This is where the old Indian tradition of "burying the hatchet" comes from when making peace treaties. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies laid down to die when their enemies came upon them, instead of breaking their oath to God to never take up the sword again. Their very act of calling out to God as they were slain, broke the hearts of those killing them, and they too were converted. The scene just makes me weep. Never could a more righteous and beautiful people have ever walked this earth.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 23:6-7

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 23:6-7
"And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them - yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.
For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren."

With the conversion of king Lamoni's father the way was opened up for the gospel to be taught to the Lamanites. Many were converted and that conversion was so complete they "never did fall away". What choice people they were. They lay down their weapons of war to never fight again. They no longer called themselves Lamanites, but Anti-Nephi-Lehies instead. I could not help but ponder on how the gospel heals all wounds. It will heal all nations, if we but come unto Christ. I just had to sit and weep at the thought of their conversion and the goodness of their hearts. Enemies no more and now they were industrious and friendly to the Nephites. They opened up a correspondence with them and the curse of God no longer followed them. That is just so beautiful.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 22:18

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 22:18
"O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead."

This chapter continues the mission of Aaron and his brethren. Ammon has left to go teach the people of Lamoni. Aaron is led by the spirit to preach the gospel to king Lamoni's father. Before preaching to him he offers himself to be his servant, very similar to what Ammon had done to king Lamoni. We find that Lamoni's father the king has been pondering on the words of Ammon since they last spoke. He sincerely wants to know the meaning of those words. The spirit has been working to soften his heart.

Aaron begins to expound the scriptures and plan of redemption to the king's understanding. The king then asks "Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy."

Aaron tells him to bow down before God and repent, which he then does. His experience is very similar to that of his son Lamoni's. The light of Christ had prepared his heart to receive the Holy Spirit and be filled with joy. The other key thing I see is the king was willing to give up all his sins to know God. This made me ponder on the importance of giving up all my sin to know the Lord. Nothing should be held back. When a sincere heart lays it all on the alter the Lords response is quick and powerful.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 21:16-17

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 21:16-17
"And they went forth whithersoever they were led by the Spirit of the Lord, preaching the word of God in every synagogue of the Amalekites, or in every assembly of the Lamanites where they could be admitted.
And it came to pass that the Lord began to bless them, insomuch that they brought many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, they did convince many of their sins, and of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct."

This chapter begins telling the story of Aaron and his brethren that had been imprisoned in Middoni. I notice that they were not having much success is sharing the gospel. It speaks of how the Amalekites and Amulonites had very hard hearts and had hardened the heart of the Lamanites. These are descendants of the priests of Noah. 

What a contrast between Aaron's success and Ammon's The difference is how they served. Ammon served the people before he preached. Aaron and the brethren preached right away. It wasn't until they were freed from prison and Ammon is with them, that it mentions something different. They went being led by the spirit. 

The Amalekites, who we were told were hard hearted, now listen to them. The difference is having the spirit guide them to those with softened hearts and seeking the truth. I also think the experience Aaron and his brethren went through in prison changed them. I'm not thinking Aaron was bad in any way. I just think he had something to learn about preaching the gospel. It's not like they had a MTC for missionary training before they left home. I do think the contrast between the ways they preached the gospel is important for any missionary, and also for myself.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 20:2

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 20:2
"And the voice of the Lord came to Ammon, saying: Thou shalt not go up to the land of Nephi, for behold, the king will seek thy life; but thou shalt go to the land of Middoni; for behold, thy brother Aaron, and also Muloki and Ammah are in prison."

King Lamoni wanted to take Ammon to the land of Nephi to show him to his father the king. Instead the Lord speaks to Ammon and tells his to go to the land of Middoni to save his brother and others in prison. What I sat and pondered over was why was he sent? Why didn't the Lord just destroy the prison to release them like he did with Alma and Amulek?

The Lord even told Ammon not to go to the land of Nephi because the king would seek his life. So he obeys and by chance Ammon and Lamoni on the road to Middoni meet up with the king and he still seek Ammon's life. I had to ponder on why this course of events.

I think what I'm seeing is that sometimes the Lords sends us on his errands because there is something we need to learn from the experience or the experience will change others. If the Lord had just destroyed the prison and set Aaron and the others free, Ammon would have never had the perfect chance to show Lamoni's father the love he had for his son. How he wasn't out to steal or take from them, but was there to serve.

When the king tries to kill Lamoni and Ammon stops him, and then the king tries to kill Ammon and finds out Ammon is more capable of killing him, the king pleads for his life and offers Ammon anything, even half of his kingdom. Ammon response was only to help others, nothing for himself. This impresses the king and makes him desire to learn more of what Ammon has to say. I think if Ammon had meet the king in any other way the desire to learn more and listen would not have been there. The Lord's ways are not our ways. He knows the best course of action and will always prepare the way. The important thing is to listen and obey.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 19:6

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 19:6
"Now, this was what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness - yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God-" 

I just love this story in the Book of Mormon. How so many people were overcome with the joy of the glory of God. I see the pattern throughout this chapter on how their natural frame being overcome with joy, causes them to lose all strength and fall to the earth. I pondered on this effect. I have experienced such an overwhelming love for God that my body has been made weak. I have never fainted but have gone to lay down. Often making myself think of something else because it is to overpowering to ponder on the gospel any further. These experiences have given me just a tiny taste of what they must have been feeling. The one thing I had never considered is what to call that feeling. Now I know that the feeling of an overwhelming love of God and my Savior Jesus Christ is what true joy is. It is very enlightening to finally have a name. I think I will treat this sacred experience much differently now.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 18:5

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 18:5
"Now this was the tradition of Lamoni, which he had received from his father, that there was a Great Spirit. Notwithstanding they believed in a Great Spirit, they supposed that whatsoever they did was right; nevertheless, Lamoni began to fear exceedingly, with fear lest he had done wrong in slaying his servants;"

In this chapter Ammon speaks to king Lamoni after having preserved his flocks by fighting off the Lamanites that laid in wait to plunger them. He killed seven with his sling and sword and then smote off the arms of others. The servants that witnessed the power Ammon had, gathered the arms and took them to king Lamoni and told him all that had happened. They said he had a power that he could not be killed. Then Lamoni wonders if Ammon is the Great Spirit.

What caught my eye was the part of the Lamanite tradition, "they supposed that whatsoever they did was right'. That is basically the same lie that Zeezrom told Alma in Ammonihah. These are two separate groups of people. I wondered where that false doctrine came from? Then I recalled who their source was, it was Satan. That is who inspired them to believe is such untruth. 

What really struck me and caused me to ponder was reading that even with this false tradition Lamoni begins to fear exceedingly that he had done wrong slaying his servants. He fears seeing Ammon thinking he could be this Great Spirit. In fact when Ammon came into the room Lamoni is at a loss for words and doesn't speak for an hour. 

I wondered why did Lamoni fear if it was his belief that he could do no wrong? Then I saw it, it was the light of Christ telling Lamoni in his heart that he had done wrong. Everyone is born with the light of Christ in them. It is the guiding light that testifies to all men right from wrong. It is our moral compass, a gift from God that guides us to do right even if we never heard the gospel preached to us.

The light of Christ needed to prepare Lamoni's heart in order for the Holy Ghost to enter, and witness to him the truth of the gospel as Ammon spoke it to him. This is why Lamoni had such a deeply powerful and immediate conversion after hearing the plan of redemption. So much so that he fell to the earth as if he were dead. It wasn't that Ammon's words were so powerful or great. It was the fact that Lamoni's heart was ready to be taught by the Holy Ghost truth. It is the spirit that does the converting and his conversion was complete.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 17:25

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 17:25
"But Ammon said unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant. Therefore Ammon became a servant to king Lamoni. And it came to pass that he was set among other servants to watch the flocks of Lamoni, according to the custom of the Lamanites."

This chapter begins the story of the sons of Mosiah. Alma during his ministry finally meets up with them at the end of their 14 years of missionary service to the Lamanites. He rejoices exceedingly to see them and know that they are still his brethren in the Lord. They then begin to tell the story of their missionary service.

What struck me in this verse is that even though they are there to spread the gospel to the Lamanites, before teaching them anything, they serve them. This service helps them understand their customs. It helps them be an example of good, and show faith. This gives them love and concern for those once their enemies. This act of service opens the door to many Lamanite conversions. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 16:9

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 16:9
"And thus ended the eleventh year of the judges, the Lamanites having been driven out of the land, and the people of Ammonihah were destroyed; yea, every living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness."

It's not a favorite verse to see what happened to the people of the city of Ammonihah, but I had to sit and ponder over it. It was only two years earlier that their hearts were so cold they burned the women and children that believed the words of Alma and Amulek. They had been warned by a prophet to repent or their city would be destroyed. They thought that a crazy foolish thing. Then totally unaware their enemies the Lamanites came upon them and destroyed them in a single day. The destruction was so fast that the Nephites could not even bring up an army to assist them. The Lord's protecting hand had been removed, it could not prevent them from being attacked. The wicked will destroy the wicked if given the chance. They do it to themselves. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 15:18

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 15:18
"Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord."

That verse just touches my heart. I mourn for Amulek even though I never meet him. While serving the Lord he has lost everything, but he is never left alone. Compassion and charity should be given to all. Even leaders have times they need to be strengthened. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 14:10-11

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 14:10-11
"And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day"

It always makes me cry to read this chapter. The people of Ammonihah harden their hearts against Alma and Amulek, even against Zeezrom who tells them he was wrong. They cast the people out that believe their words, which I have to think are all the men. They bound Alma and Amulek and then made them watch as they burned the women and children that believed in their words.

What breaks my heart is that Amulek is probably watching the death of his own wife and children, at least some family members. For later on Alma will take Amulek into his own home to strengthen him. How badly he must have wanted to use his priesthood power to save them. But, the Spirit tells Alma that the will of God is different. They must not stretch forth their hands and save them. That must have been such a hard test of faith to do God's will and not their own. I pondered on how hard it is in life to give up doing my own will and instead seek to do the Father's will. Sometimes when I think what I am asked to do is hard, I know it is nothing compared to what Alma and Amulek were made to witness. They had to leave justice in the Lord's hand. Doing so would be the only way they could live with what they saw. Isn't that the only way we can overcome any wrong that has been done to us? I know leaving justice in the hands of the Lord is the only way I have been able to find peace. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 13:12, 24

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 13:12, 24
"Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered in the rest of the Lord their God.
For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory."

This is another really good chapter. I noticed a pattern, Alma speaks of entering into the rest of the Lord five times. I recalled him using the phrase in the previous chapter so I had to go back and check and it was mentioned four times. This theme was really strong on his mind, so I sat and pondered on that. Then I recalled in chapter 8 the incident where Alma being weighted down with much grief over the people of Ammonihah, had an angel of the Lord appeared to him. I think that is the moment Alma entered into the rest of the Lord. From his own experience he is able to tell us how to do the same and has been doing so in these two chapters. 

He also tells us that angels are appearing unto many to prepare their hearts for the coming of the Lord. I know Alma, the sons of Mosiah, and Amulek have all been visited by an angel at this time. These verses make me wonder who else? The angels are preparing his servants to preach repentance to the people. What an amazing time they lived in. So many years before Christ's coming yet they were blessed. This is taking place in 82 B.C. Alma said about the Lord's coming "Would to God that it might be in my day; but let it be sooner or later, in it I will rejoice." Alma might not have lived to see the signs of the Savior's birth. Some children at his time might have. But none of them would have been still alive after the Saviors resurrection and appearance to them in the Americas. The Lord can take a long time to prepare hearts to receive him. He will take the heart of a father and turn it to his children, and the children in turn will have the hearts of the fathers. There is a pattern here.  

The other thing I pondered on was the phrase "could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence". I had a discussion in family scripture study with my son on this very thing. We were both remarking how our taste in videos had changed since reading the scriptures. Movies we once thought were ok and with good ratings we now found we could not watch them. The acceptance of immorality could no longer be overlooked. It ruined the whole movie for us. We needed to go through our collections and get rid of things we once loved. I know I have a long way to go to look at every sin as abhorrence, but I do have a sign that my heart is changing.