Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Helaman 5:12 The Rock

I am still getting ready for my class- so I am going to go back and study Helaman 5:12 some more. I want to study the word "rock."

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

I want to study how Christ is the Rock.

I like this scripture in Deuteronomy:

4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

And then there is the symbolism in numbers, when Moses got water from the rock: Numbers 20:11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.

Psalms David always puts it so nicely...

Psalms 18:2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

In the sermon on the mount, Christ likens a rock to the gospel of Christ, a sure foundation on which to build- Luke 6:48“like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock; and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”

2 Nephi 4: 30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation. - and verse 35: the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

Isaiah spoke particularly of the Lord as “a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.” (Isaiah 28:16)

D&C 11:24: “Build upon my rock, which is my gospel;

D&C 18:17 Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation.”

In studying John, rocks take on a little bit of a different meaning- The small rock (Peter) was to become a “seer” who would receive revelation from the large rock (Jesus Christ)—the Rock of Revelation

And so- Christ is the Rock because he is :

  • perfect

  • just

  • right

  • our source of living water

  • our fortress- our protector

  • my deliverer

  • my strength

  • my buckler (a means of defense, support, protection, a shield)

  • my salvation

  • my high tower (the point of best perspective for protection)

  • a stable trustworthy foundation

  • of his unwavering character

  • Christ's gospel is also called his rock

  • A sure source of revelation

  • Christ never changes- I can count on Him to bless me when I keep his commandments
    • • •

Romans 8: 38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

No one can separate us from Christ except ourselves. So- if I feel as if Christ is more distant at some times than others, it is me that has some moving to do.

A Rock of Faith
By Paul R. Gentry- Liahona October 1988

Paul R. Gentry, “A Rock of Faith,” Tambuli, Oct 1988, 5
When I was a boy in Primary, I believed whatever my Primary teacher told me. One summer day she taught us about prayer: “Remember, if you need Heavenly Father’s help, just ask Him. He’ll always answer.” I skipped home thinking of nothing more than playing ball with my brothers. I didn’t know that the next day I would test my teacher’s words.
The following morning began with the sun scorching the sandstone cliffs and rocky hills that circled my town. Into the warmth of that perfect day my friend Eva and I started off on one of our adventures. Clutching a bag of small, sharp fish-hooks, two spools of thread, and our lunches, we hurried toward the fish-pond.
At last we arrived. We paused and looked at the pond and the willow trees surrounding it, feeling as though some great ocean lay before us and that we had come to bury stolen treasure.
We sat down, slipped off our shoes, and dangled our dusty feet lazily in the cool water. Tying our thread to the hooks, we dreamed of catching a big fish. Then we realized that we had brought nothing to use for bait! It was unthinkable to use any part of our lunches, so the homemade lines just hung loosely in the water, our excitement sinking as rapidly as the bare hooks.
We soon found something new to occupy the morning. Close to the pond was a sand hill. One side of the hill was a smooth slope, but the other side dropped off steeply, forming a cliff as high as a house. At the bottom of the cliff was a pile of jagged sandstone rocks. We started up the smooth side of the hill, pretending to be the world’s greatest mountain climbers, courageously tackling the tallest mountain.
As we climbed, we could see an old wooden post on top of the hill.
“I’ll race you to the post!” I shouted to Eva.
We ran up the hill, sinking at times into the soft, warm sand. Small avalanches trailed behind us and could be heard falling on the rocks beneath the cliff. Soon I was crawling, hurrying toward the post as fast as I could—but I didn’t realize that I was climbing by myself. I reached the top, pleased with my victory, and turned around with a smile to speak to Eva. But she wasn’t near me! As she had climbed, she hadn’t been watching where she was going, and she had run into deep sand. Unable to lift her feet, she had panicked and started swinging her arms wildly—sliding sideways and backward toward the edge of the cliff.
Eva was very frightened, and tears streamed down her cheeks. I shouted to her to turn around and go down the hill on the safe side. But her only answer was a sobbing, “Help me!” We both knew that if I went straight down to her, the sand moving before me would push her over the edge. Desperate, she cried out again, “Help me!”
Suddenly, I remembered my Primary teacher’s words from the day before, and I prayed with all my strength. Eva stopped sliding. Something beneath her small feet was holding firm. I carefully went down a different way to where she was, and helped her turn around. Once she was on safe ground, I reached down to where she had stopped sliding and picked up a rock no larger than the palm of my hand! Somehow that hard bit of sandstone had kept Eva from falling. I put the rock into my pocket, and we went home. We had had enough adventure for one day.
When I got home, I put the rock on a shelf in my room to remind me of my wise Primary teacher’s words: “If you need Heavenly Father’s help, just ask Him. He’ll always answer.”

Monday, September 29, 2008

3 Nephi 4 Faith and Doubt

The first Sunday of every month, at BYU, the students get together and go to the Marriott Center for the CES fireside. Boys love to ask girls to go, as it is the least expensive date on campus. With that said, I rarely seemed to be asked, but all of my gorgeous roommates were asked every time, leaving me looking for someone to walk there with. (I was fine going by myself, but then my roommates would feel bad for me, and insist that I go with them and their date- I was pathetic, I know) (I think I am still a little bitter:) This time, however, I did have a date. We were going to see President Hunter speak. Facing the speaker, we were sitting on the left side, about 2/3 of the way up. The fireside began like usual. The choir sang, the benediction was given, the speaker was introduced. Not long after President Hunter stood up to speak, a psycho in a white suit stormed the stage area, and, carrying a suitcase that he said contained a bomb, tried to get the prophet to read a letter, saying that he (the psycho) was going to lead the church. It was so bizzar. I remember when he first stood up, and threatened those in the fireside with the bomb, it was really scary. It wasn't until someone in the audience started singing, "We Thank Thee Oh God for a Prophet"- that everything changed. We all started singing, and the entire atmosphere in the Marriott center changed. The man, (Cody Judy) still had the briefcase, but he had lost his power, because we had lost our fear- it was replaced with faith.

3 Nephi 4:7 And it came to pass that they (the Gadianton Robbers) did come up to battle; and it was in the sixth month; and behold, great and terrible was the day that they did come up to battle; and they were girded about after the manner of robbers; and they had a lamb-skin about their loins, and they were dyed in blood, and their heads were shorn, and they had head-plates upon them; and great and terrible was the appearance of the armies of Giddianhi, because of their armor, and because of their being dyed in blood.

Sometimes the challenges before me are scary. They can seem daunting, even impossible to overcome. I get the feeling that such was the case with the Gadianton Robbers and their blood-dyed loin cloths. Whenever great challenges come before me, the great question is how will I respond, with fear or faith in Christ?
Peter started walking on water, before some doubt crept in: Matt. 14: 31

31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
The Stripling Warriors were miraculously preserved, as they exercised their faith, doubting not. Alma 56:48 We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

Here is the Nephite's response to the Gadianton Robbers:

8 And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites, when they saw the appearance of the army of Giddianhi, had all fallen to the earth, (they fell to the earth- but not with fear, but rather as a way to put their faith in God- through prayer, for their deliverance.) and did lift their cries to the Lord their God, that he would spare them and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.

And so it was- they overcame and were preserved- here is their conclusion:

31 And it came to pass that they did break forth, all as one, in singing, and praising their God for the great thing which he had done for them, in preserving them from falling into the hands of their enemies.

32 Yea, they did cry: Hosanna to the Most High God. And they did cry: Blessed be the name of the Lord God Almighty, the Most High God.

33 And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction.

What a great example- they replaced fear with faith, and when they prevailed, they knew the source of their success, and gave credit and thanks to God.

I like this quote from Joseph Smith:

“But those who have not made this sacrifice to God do not know that the course which they pursue is well pleasing in his sight; for whatever may be their belief or their opinion, it is a matter of doubt and uncertainty in their mind; and where doubt and uncertainty are there faith is not, nor can it be. For doubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time; so that persons whose minds are under doubts and fears cannot have unshaken confidence; and where unshaken confidence is not there faith is weak; and where faith is weak the persons will not be able to contend against all opposition, tribulations, and afflictions which they will have to encounter in order to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ Jesus; and they will grow weary in their minds, and the adversary will have power over them and destroy them.” (Lectures on Faith, 1891 ed., 6:2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12.)

Back to the Marriott center- A man in the front row sprayed Cody Judy with pepper spray, and the bodyguards and some audience members overtook him. All it took was a song- and fear was replaced with faith. Sometimes, in my life, it doesn't seem quite so easy, but knowing that doubt and faith cannot exist in the same person at the same time, lets me know that I can overcome my doubts and fears, through exercising my faith.


The big wining costume at the Halloween party I attended the following year was a "Cody Judy" look alike.

I found Cody Judy in Wikipedia, and found out that in 2002 he ran for the House of Representatives and received 8 votes.

In 2004 he ran for Senate and received 16 votes.

In googling his name I saw a yahoo video saying that he was running for president in 2008.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

3 Nephi 3 Imagine if...

3 Nephi 3:19

Now it was custom among all the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains someone that had the spirit of revelation and also prophesy...

Imagine if that were the custom here in our country today. I would really appreciate someone that had the spirit of revelation and prophesy taking care of our countries' financial situation, and leading our foreign affairs today.

In Sister Beck's talk last night she gave us 3 responsibilities

  1. Increase in faith and personal righteousness

  2. Strengthen families and homes

  3. Serve the Lord and his children

Imagine if we had a president of the country who was laying out responsibilities for us as a nation? Imagine if we had a president who was leading, encouraging, and admonishing the people of this country to:

  1. Increase in faith and personal righteousness

  2. Strengthen families and homes

  3. Serve the Lord and his children

For now, I guess I can just do my best to follow the counsel myself, and share the message in any ways that I can. With the large number of women that attended the broadcast last night, I am sure that those women alone, in following the counsel given, can be a powerful source for good in the world.

Friday, September 26, 2008

3 Nephi 2, and Helaman 5:12 Remember Remember

3 Nephi 2:1 And it came to pass that thus passed away the ninety and fifth year also, and the people began to forget those sign and wonders which they had heard...

I got this far into the chapter, and it reminded me of Helaman 5:12, which begins, and now my sons, remember, remember...

I like reading old BYU devotional talks- this one caught my eye, as the title was "Remember, Remember."- the speaker, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, DENNIS B. NEUENSCHWANDER. (makes me glad for my short last name).

I liked how he started his talk:

During my first year of graduate school, I had an evening class on Slavic culture. On one occasion, after a day of intense study, I was hurrying to class to take an exam. Information, dates, and events were swimming around in my head. The closer I got to the exam, the more confused I became. On the way I happened to see one of my professors and asked him to clarify what for him must have been a very obscure matter. He looked at me and asked in a tone I still remember, "Is it important?"
Over the years I have pondered his question. It has helped me to distinguish the important from the trivial, to remember the important things and to forget the things that have little consequence or that would, by forgetting them, bring a blessing.
Remembering important things is fundamental to both our temporal and spiritual well-being. Confusing what we should remember with what we can or ought to forget creates difficulties for us. Much trouble in life originates from forgetting what we should remember and remembering what we should forget. One of Nephi's experiences with Laman and Lemuel is an interesting example of this. Nephi told his brothers that they were "slow to remember the Lord" (1 Nephi 17:45). They had seen an angel, and he had spoken to them. Though no response is recorded, I suppose that Laman and Lemuel could have looked at each other and said, "Oh, yeah, we forgot."
Remembering the kindness of others while forgetting their offenses is spiritually much healthier than forgetting their kindness and remembering their offenses. We should keep in mind that even the Lord, who is capable of remembering everything, has promised that He will forget our sins if we repent.
It seems to me that living the gospel has as much to do with remembering important things as it does with knowing them in the first place. Interjection- by me- I like that last sentence- "living the gospel has as much to do with remembering important things as it does with knowing them in the first place." The word remember and its derivatives appear hundreds of times in the scriptures--certainly a lot to remember! This repetitious scriptural reminder to remember takes on added significance when we understand that in Hebrew the word remember has a much broader meaning than does the English connotation of "keeping something in mind." In the Hebrew context, "doing" is an essential part of the remembering process. Thus, "to remember" is "to do," whereas "forgetting" is "failing to do." Interjection by me again- isn't that an interesting perspective- that "to remember" is "to do", whereas "forgetting" is "failing to do". I'll bet that those Nephites that "began to forget those signs and wonders" first began to forget to study the scriptures and say their prayers, and go to church.

Today, I will try to harder to be a "rememberer."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Helaman 5:12 It's the Service that Counts

I want to continue what I started two days ago about "foundations." (I tend to rotate my study between chronological reading, in an effort to keep up with the Sunday School class, and study for the classes that I teach- thus the lack of order :)

President Monson had mentioned three ways to strengthen the depth of our foundations in Christ. The first was prayer.

"My second guideline: Let us study the scriptures and “meditate therein day and night,” "

The basics, prayer, scripture study... they always seem to be the answer.

It makes me think of a favorite set of scriptures in Alma 37. Alma compares the words of Christ (study of the scriptures) to the Liahona. He tells us that they will point us on a direct course in our lives- and then he compares scripture study to the serpent that Moses put on a stick, to save the people that were bitten and dying, all they needed to do was look at it:

46 O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.

So simple, yet so easy to not do. Just this morning, I was laying in bed, sleep deprived, I was up until 11:30 last night, and 5:00 came all too soon. Today I got up to study, but there have been many similar situations where I had convinced myself that I could never survive the day on such little sleep. It is so easy not to do. "Do not let me be slothful because of the easiness of the way."

Joshua 1: 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

President Monson did not just say to study, but also to meditate. What a great promise for the meditatiors found in Joshua, "then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."

President Monson continues: "My third guideline for building a strong foundation of faith and testimony involves service.
While driving to the office one morning, I passed a dry-cleaning establishment which had a sign in the window. It read, “It’s the Service That Counts.” The sign’s message simply would not leave my mind. Suddenly I realized why. In actual fact it is the service that counts—the Lord’s service."

President Monson makes me want to pay more attention to signs. He gets some great analogies from signs in windows and on the road.

President Monson gives a terrific example:

Thirteen years ago it was my privilege to provide a blessing to a beautiful 12-year-old young lady, Jami Palmer. She had just been diagnosed with cancer and was frightened and bewildered. She subsequently underwent surgery and painful chemotherapy. Today she is cancer-free and is a bright, beautiful 26-year-old who has accomplished much in her life. Some time ago, I learned that in her darkest hour, when any future appeared somewhat grim, she learned that her leg where the cancer was situated would require multiple surgeries. A long-planned hike with her Young Women class up a rugged trail to Timpanogos Cave—located in the Wasatch Mountains about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah—was out of the question, she thought. Jami told her friends they would have to undertake the hike without her. I’m confident there was a catch in her voice and disappointment in her heart. But then the other young women responded emphatically, “No, Jami, you are going with us!”
“But I can’t walk,” came the anguished reply.
“Then, Jami, we’ll carry you to the top!” And they did.
Today, the hike is a memory, but in reality it is much more. James Barrie, the Scottish poet, declared, “God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the December of our lives” (paraphrasing James Barrie, in Laurence J. Peter, comp., Peter’s Quotations: Ideas for Our Time [1977], 335). None of those precious young women will ever forget that memorable day when a loving Heavenly Father looked down with a smile of approval and was well pleased.
As He enlists us to His cause, He invites us to draw close to Him, and we feel His spirit in our lives."

D2 is crying, she had a bad dream- catch you tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

3 Nephi 2 ...and delights to own and bless you..

3 nephi 2:2 and thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing.

There is that word hearts again- let's replace it with "thoughts." Possession of the thoughts of the people. interesting...

same chapter- verse 3: Satan did go about, leading away the hearts of the people, tempting them and causing them that they should do great wickedness in the land.

There it is again... "leading away the thoughts of the people..."

I'd like to see the flip side. So- instead of Satan taking possession of the thoughts of the people-

Mosiah 5:7 "your hearts (thoughts) are changed through faith on his name; therefore ye are born of him and have become his sons and daughters."

Again, the possession, or determining whose party you belong to, comes through thoughts.

Alma 34:35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

Alma- 34:35- re-mix- For behold, if ye have not procrastinated the day of your repentance , behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the Lord, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the devil hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and this is the final state of the righteous.

Alma 40:13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—

These verses are all denoting some possession or ownership. This is not to be mistaken for a lack of agency. The way I am understanding it, especially looking at Alma 40:13 and 3 nephi 2:2, we choose good works, or or evil works, and to the degree to which we do so, there is a part or portion of the Spirit of the Lord or the spirit of the devil that enters into us, and takes possession of our thoughts. The phrase "evil works" sounds so harsh, like something illegal or horrible- but I think the devil is more subtle than that. I would suggest that "evil works" could be as simple as making a poor choice with our television watching, or even more of a situation of omission, such as not praying and actively studying the scriptures. Again, it is just a part or portion, perhaps a small part or portion.
I love the hymn, "Dearest Children, God is near you, watching 'or you day and night, and delights to own and bless you, if your strive to do what's right. He will bless you, he will bless you, if you put your trust in him."

I think this gives me another idea how to get the Spirit of the Lord in my life in greater abundance- good works.
Art by students of the Creative Art Space for Kids Foundation.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Helaman 5:12 The Depth of my Foundation

I want to go back to Helaman 5:12-

Today- I want to study the words rock and foundation.

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

D&C 6: 34.
34 Therefore, fear not, little
flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

President Monson, in October 2006 general conference, gave a talk entitled, "How Firm a Foundation." He starts his talk with a great analogy:

In 1959, not long after I began my service as president of the Canadian Mission, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, I met N. Eldon Tanner, a prominent Canadian who just months later would be called as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, then to the Quorum of the Twelve, and then as a counselor to four Presidents of the Church.
At the time I met him, President Tanner was president of the vast Trans-Canada Pipelines, Ltd., and president of the Canada Calgary Stake. He was known as “Mr. Integrity” in Canada. During that first meeting, we discussed, among other subjects, the cold Canadian winters, where storms rage, temperatures can linger well below freezing for weeks at a time, and where icy winds lower those temperatures even further. I asked President Tanner why the roads and highways in western Canada basically remained intact during such winters, showing little or no signs of cracking or breaking, while the road surfaces in many areas where winters are less cold and less severe developed cracks and breaks and potholes.
Said he, “The answer is in the depth of the base of the paving materials. In order for them to remain strong and unbroken, it is necessary to go very deep with the foundation layers. When the foundations are not deep enough, the surfaces cannot withstand the extremes of weather.”Over the years I have thought often of this conversation and of President Tanner’s explanation, for I recognize in his words a profound application for our lives. Stated simply, if we do not have a deep foundation of faith and a solid testimony of truth, we may have difficulty withstanding the harsh storms and icy winds of adversity which inevitably come to each of us.

I think everyone who considers him or herself a Christian, has a foundation in Christ, but the question is the depth of that foundation. The bigger the adversity, the greater depth that will be needed.

So, how then, how is our foundation in Christ built? Let's go back to President Monson's talk for the answers:

"How can we build a foundation strong enough to withstand such vicissitudes of life? How can we maintain the faith and testimony which will be required, that we might experience the joy promised to the faithful? Constant, steady effort is necessary. "

I think that is sometimes the biggest challenge, making our effort constant and steady rather than sporadic and occasional. President Monson then gives us three steps for our everyday lives that will strengthen and fortify our foundations:

"First, fortify your foundation through prayer." He tells us to have prayers with meaning and sincerity, accompanied with listening, he says, as we do, "we will be strengthened and blessed. We will come to know Him and His desires for our lives. "

I like that-that through prayer we will come to know Him, and His desires for our lives. I have been seeking that lately, wanting to know God's will for my life, and trying to align myself with his will. It is so natural to seek my own will, and a bit of a spiritual struggle to discern the difference.

I will have to continue another day- I have kids to feed :)
Here is a link to Did You think to Pray, by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. When I was young, I used to hear this song and think that "Ere" was a person who kept forgetting to say his prayers.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Helaman 14 I Wonder When He Comes Again

In Helaman chapter 14, Samuel the Lammanite is prophesying of the coming of Christ. His prophesies include a time frame, 5 years.

When reading about the coming of Christ, it always makes me think of the second coming of Christ. I always was a bit jealous of the specificness of the 5 year time frame, but I think as the time comes closer, those watching for the signs will be no less caught "off guard" than those awaiting the first coming of Christ.

We have been given a rough time frame for the second coming. - In Revelation 8, it refers to the seventh seal, or the seventh thousand years of the earth’s temporal existence. (roughly beginning 2000 AD) During the early part of this period is when judgments come upon the earth in a final attempt to turn mankind’s heart to God; it will be sometime early in this period—how early is unspecified—when at last the earth will be cleansed, and Christ will return.

In Thessalonians, the time is described as a pregnant woman- you never know when she will go into labor- but you have a pretty good idea.

I like to remind myself to be looking for the signs, so that I can be prepared, not surprised.

This You Tube link boarders a bit on the cheesy, but it is still a fantastic song- "I Wonder When He Comes Again."- sung by Jimmy Osmond.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Helaman 12 Humble Becasue of the Word

I am still in chapter 12- I am not a big fan of verse 3 :)

3 And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him. (there is that word "remember" again- I need to "always remember Him.")

Instead, I like Alma, chapter 32, Alma is teaching the Zoramites, who were cast out of their synagogue because of their poverty.

14 And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?

To me, this verse (Alma 32:14)- is teaching me that I do not need to experience hardships to remember the Lord, I can be humbled through the Word of God rather than trials. This is what I want; this is what I am trying for.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Helaman 11 & 12 And thus we see...

Nineteen years before the coming of Christ, there is a long war going on, Nephi prays, " O Lord, do not suffer that this people shall be destroyed by the sword; but O Lord, rather let there be a famine in the land, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God, and perhaps they will repent and turn unto thee. "

Let me start by saying that I know that the Lord didn't cause the big stock market melt down. This week has been "the worst since the depression" they say, with big financial market problems. The result of the failure of these large financial institutions has been widespread fear and panic on wall street. Perhaps, though, like the famine in Nephi's day, something good can come of it. It is so easy to trust in the arm of flesh, until that fails, and the only place to turn is to trust in the Lord.

Helaman 11:
17 And it came to pass that in the *seventy and sixth year the Lord did turn away his anger from the people, and caused that rain should fall upon the earth, insomuch that it did bring forth her fruit in the season of her fruit. And it came to pass that it did bring forth her grain in the season of her grain.

18 And behold, the people did rejoice and glorify God, and the whole face of the land was filled with rejoicing; and they did no more seek to destroy Nephi, but they did esteem him as a great prophet, and a man of God, having great power and authority given unto him from God.

And so the cycle continued, they repented, turned to the Lord, and they were delivered from their suffering. Their righteousness, however, was short lived. Nephi summs it up so well in the begining of chapter 12 with a classic, "and thus we see..."

1 And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.

2 Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.

3 And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.

This a typical cycle, but one that I am continually trying to AVIOD in my life. I know that I can be blessed in my life, and still remember the Lord.

I look back to how the country, in large, turned to God after 9/11. Maybe we can have some of that in these uncertain days as well.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Helaman 10 Prayer

I studied in Helaman today. There is a lot that I can learn from Nephi's example. Today I learned about prayer.

Helaman 10-

3—and it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a voice came unto him saying:

4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.

5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.

If I want my pryers to be answered, I need to ask for that which is consistant to, not contrarty to the Lord's will.

3 Ne. 18: 20.
20 And
whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.

D&C 88: 64 (63-65).
64 Whatsoever ye
ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you;

Enos 1: 12.
12 And it came to pass that after I had
prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith.

James 4: 3 (1-3).
3 Ye
ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

2 Ne. 4: 35.
35 Yea, I know that God will give
liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness.

D&C 46: 30.
30 He that
asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh.

In summery, I need to ask for:

  • that which is right

  • I need to believe that I will receive

  • that which is expedient

  • I need to have faith

  • I need to ask for the right thing

  • ask in the spirit

  • ask according to the word of God

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Helaman 6:28-31 Always Remember Him

I am reading in Helaman 6 today, trying to keep up with Sunday School. Secret Combinations have started- - -

28 And also it is that same being who put it into the hearts of the people to build a tower sufficiently high that they might get to heaven. And it was that same being who led on the people who came from that tower into this land; who spread the works of darkness and abominations over all the face of the land, until he dragged the people down to an entire destruction, and to an everlasting hell.

29 Yea, it is that same being who put it into the heart of Gadianton to still carry on the work of darkness, and of secret murder; and he has brought it forth from the beginning of man even down to this time...

31 And now behold, he had got great hold upon the hearts of the Nephites; yea, insomuch that they had become exceedingly wicked; yea, the more part of them had turned out of the way of righteousness, and did trample under their feet the commandments of God, and did turn unto their own ways, and did build up unto themselves idols of their gold and their silver.

So- going with what what I was studying yesterday, if the word "hearts" is referring to "thoughts"- Then Satan is putting things in thier thoughts, and has great hold upon their thoughts. What I want, is I want the Lord to have "great hold upon my thoughts."

I did a search for "hold upon heart"- and all of the scriptures were talking about Satan- except for one- which was Alma the Younger talking about his experience after he saw the angel, was unconscious, and remembered what his father had taught:

Alma 36:17- 18 I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.

Enos had an experience with his thoughts: 3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.

I am not looking for an "experience" so much as I want a peaceful state of mind. I want to be able to have my three year old having potty training accidnets, my six year old not doing her homeowork, my five year old putting real food and drinks in her playroom kitchen, my baby taking too short a nap, my husband never installing the baseboards, and I want to be happy and peaceful inside. I am sure this is possible.

Isn't this what the sacrament is supposed to help me with "always have his spirit to be with me"- THAT is what I need. There must be some part of the covenant that I am not keeping up, becasue I feel like I "sometimes have his spirit to be with me" so- here is the other half:

  1. we witnessed that we were willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ,

  2. that we would always remember Him,

  3. and that we would keep His commandments.

My guess is that I am messing up on #2. I study early in the morning, like right now, and then go about my day, not always remmebering him. Funny how both Alma and Enos's examples involved "remembering."

My favorite hymn- my favorite version- this is from back when I was at BYU: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUhU0HgTq94&feature=related

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Helaman 5:12 Thoughts

I am starting a new blog- this is totally different then my Interior Design Blog- it has nothing to do with cupcakes. I am not sure exactly what this blog is going to be like, or even if I will keep it long, I am just going to figure it out as I go.

Today, I am just going to share what I have been thinking about the last two days.

I teach a Book of Mormon study class in my ward (that is my local congregation). I teach the women, once a month, at someone's home. It is generally not a large group- maybe ten people or so.

In October, I've decided to teach on just one verse, Helaman, chapter 5, verse 12.

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

So- anyway, I have been giving a lot of thought to that scripture lately, in preparation for my lesson, and yesterday I had a breakthrough!

My bad day:
cleaned the house
went to lunch with a friend
worked in the afternoon
went to Pilates
dinner with the family
spent the evening with the family- FHE
my favorite TV show that night

So- you ask, why was that such a bad day? It really shouldn't have been. My bad day wasn't about something that happened to me- my bad day was in my thoughts. It was regular stuff- my house (no matter how many hours a day I spend cleaning) is perpetually cluttered, which drives me insane, my kids don't obey well enough, and my thoughts started to lay into my husband and my lack of baseboards and my guest bath. (I won't get into that) Poor me, huh?

OK- so when you put things on paper, they sound ridiculous, but the day before someone hurt my feelings, and so everything was blown out of perspective for me. I was in a horrible mood. No matter how I tried -lunch with my friend was great- but my mood was too bad to shake-- I thought Pilates would help, but it couldn't.

By the end of the day, my mood was horrible, near depressed. I started thinking about my scripture that I had studied that morning:

12. And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Clearly, the devil had LOTS of power over me :) The phrase, "no power over you" made me think of the description of the adversary's lack of power during the milenium.

Nephi, says this:

1 Nephi 22: 26 And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth.

and in Doctrine and Covenants 45:55, Christ says:

And Satan shall be bound, that he shall have no place in the hearts of the children of men.

In Revelations, John teaches:

20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.

I liked a few clues. It sounded like there are two different ways that Satan would have no power. In Revelations and the Doctrine and Covenants, it sounds like Christ will bind him, and take away his power. Nephi, on the other hand says, "becasue of the righteousness of his people", saying that the people's righteousness will bind Satan. I do not doubt that it is both. But perhaps, through righteousness I can learn here and now, to let Satan have less power over over me.

In D&C 45- the phrase "in the hearts" was used.

Some other uses of the word "heart":

Helaman 13:5 And he said unto them: Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart

2 Nephi 4:For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them

Alma 31: 2 For it was the cause of great sorrow to Alma to know of iniquity among his people; therefore his heart was exceedingly sorrowful

I could go on and on- but in thinking about the word "heart"- in the scriputures it almost never seems to be referring to the blood pumping organ in my chest- that is not where words are put, that is not where I ponder, that is not where I feel sorrow- those things happen in my thoughts.

The Lord put words into Samuel's mind, in his thoughts. Nephi pondered the scritures in his thoughts. Alma felt sorrow in his thoughts.

So- going back to Doctrine and Covenants 45- Satan shall be bound that he shall have no place in my thoughts.

Back to Helaman 5- when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea his shafts in the whirlwind, yea when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon me, it shall have no power over me- no power to enter into my thoughts, to upset my mind, no power to make me feel sad, or frustrated, or depressed.

OK- so I don't have all the answers yet- but I am now thinking that this scripture is about thought control- what do you think?