Scripture Study

Writing a Book is Sort of Like Running a Marathon

I’ve never run a marathon. I don’t plan to, ever. But Meg Dowell’s comparison between running a marathon and writing a book makes perfect sense to me. Both take lots of time and effort and patience and… I’m sure the list could go on. But I appreciate what she shares in this wonderful post. I hope you find it just as helpful as I do.

Novelty Revisions

“I want to write a book, but I don’t know where to start.”

I’ve seen hundreds of comments like this on writers’ forums. Basically, it means, “I want to write a book, but it’s a lot of work and books are long and I already feel too overwhelmed to do anything.”

Understandable. Writing a book is hard. Long-term goals are hard for a lot of people. They’re not really sure how to stack up a series of short-term goals to get to their end goal of writing a book.

If that’s you – think of writing a book as something similar to running a marathon. That’s running, with your own body and nothing else, a little over 26 miles all in one go. Running a marathon is also hard. But people, many of them just for fun, run them all the time.

You can’t wake up one morning, decide you…

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1 Nephi 1:1 – Recognize the Good

I love how every time I read the Book of Mormon, there’s always something else to learn, or rediscover. This time, I’m looking for things on joy and being prepared. And right off, what do we have?

“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make record of my proceedings in my days.” ~ 1 Nephi 1:1

Despite every trial he faced—and there were a lot—Nephi chose to keep his focus on the Lord, and on the blessings his family had been given. His life was not easy. Just look at what he had to go through:

  • He and his family had to flee from Jerusalem because the Jews were angry with his father for preaching against their wickedness and prophesying about the Messiah (1 Ne. 1:18-2:5).
  • Five separate murder attempts on his own life (four by his brothers, one by Laban) (1 Ne. 3:25; 7:16; 16:37-39; 17:48; 2 Ne. 5:3).
  • eight years wandering in the wilderness on a near-starvation diet and other hardships (1 Ne. 16-17)
  • the death of his father-in-law, Ishmael (1 Ne. 16:34)
  • nearly perishing on the boat ride toward the Promised Land (1 Ne. 18)
  • and other things that are likely not recorded

With all of that, what does he choose to do? He could have chosen to become as hard-hearted and bitter as Laman and Lemuel. But he didn’t. He recognized the good in his life, and he made a record of it. After they leave Jerusalem, Nephi seeks his own testimony of the things his father has been teaching, “having great desires to know of the mysteries of God” (1 Ne. 2:16).

I’m reminded of something that President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared in General Conference several years ago:

president-henry-b-eyring-lds-462519-mobile“When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. Let me tell you how that got started. I came home late from a Church assignment. It was after dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front door of my house. He was carrying a load of pipes over his shoulder, walking very fast and dressed in his work clothes. I knew that he had been building a system to pump water from a stream below us up to our property.

“He smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed past me into the darkness to go on with his work. I took a few steps toward the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: ‘I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.’

“I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. Grandpa didn’t have to do what he was doing for us. He could have had someone else do it or not have done it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenant disciples of Jesus Christ always do. I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it.

“I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: ‘Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?’ As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.”

What a wonderful reminder of where to keep our focus. It can be so easy to get discouraged and see only the bad in life. But President Eyring encourages us to do the same, to look back through our days and search for God’s hand in our lives. To find joy.

“More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened.”

What a wonderful blessing: a stronger testimony, more gratitude, a greater knowledge of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Atonement, and so much more!

What good have you seen in your life today? How has God shown His hand today? Write it down.

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National Get Caught Reading Month

I fell in love with reading as a kid, and will occasionally go back and read some of my favorites from when I was small – “The Very Bumpy Bus Ride”, “The Cross-with-Us Rhinoceros”, “The Mitten”, and more. When I saw this blog post, I just had to share! Get caught reading! Help others to fall in love with it, too!

Annette Rochelle Aben

Promote LITERACY!  Promote READING to CHILDREN!  Promote GIVING CHILDREN EVERY ADVANTAGE in LIFE from the GET-GO!  If these statements have you shouting YES! YES! YES!, then you will want to take part in National Get Caught Reading Month, May 2016. This was the brainchild of Pat Schroeder, the former congresswoman, and President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of Publishers (AAP) back in 1999, when the initiative was launched.

Everyone from authors to publishers, celebrities to teachers and schools to libraries are heavily vested in this endeavor as roles models for not only children but people everywhere. It has been proven that the earlier in a child’s life they are exposed to reading, the better that child will do in school.  All things being equal there can be no guarantees but giving a child the advantage of the interaction with books, stimulates…

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Scripture Sabbath Challenge

Throughout the scriptures, we find the command to study, to meditate, to teach, the words found in the scriptures.

*Scriptures in the Bible come from the King James Version.*

Deuteronomy 6:7 – “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

John 5:39 – “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

2 Nephi 32:3 – “Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”

Doctrine & Covenants 1:37 – “Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.”

 

There is also a day set apart as a day to gather together and worship our God.

The Challenge

 

Once a week, on your day of worship, whenever it is, share a scripture with your fellow bloggers. It can be one you’ve been studying for a while, one you’ve just rediscovered, an old favorite, etc.

Include the tag and/or category “Scripture Sabbath” in your post, so we can all share in what has made an impact on your life this week.

And, if you’re willing, come back here and share your post link in the comments, either on this page or any of my Scripture Sabbath posts.

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Howard W. Hunter

I am overcome with gratitude for the revelations which have established the marvelous system by which his Church is governed. Each man who is ordained an Apostle and set apart as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve is sustained as a prophet, seer, and revelator. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, called and ordained to hold the keys of the priesthood, have the authority and responsibility to govern the Church, to administer its ordinances, to teach its doctrine, and to establish and maintain its practices.

Howard W. Hunter

~ Mary

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Scripture Sabbath – John 20:11-18

Scripture Sabbath Challenge

Throughout the scriptures, we find the command to study, to meditate, to teach, the words found in the scriptures.There is also a day set apart as a day to gather together and worship our God.

The Challenge

Once a week, on your day of worship, whenever it is, share a scripture with your fellow bloggers. It can be one you’ve been studying for a while, one you’ve just rediscovered, an old favorite, etc.

Include the tag and/or category “Scripture Sabbath” in your post, so we can all share in what has made an impact on your life this week.

And, if you’re willing, come back here and share your post link in the comments, either on this page or any of my Scripture Sabbath posts.

My Scripture – John 20:11-18

mary-magdalene-tomb-1104114-tablet

© 2015 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

“And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

“And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

“And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

“Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

“Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.” ~ John 20:11-18, KJV

A morning that changed the world. A morning that fulfilled prophecy from the beginning of time.

It is the day when Jesus Christ broke the bands of death and made it possible for all of God’s children to be resurrected, to show that death is not the end of all things, but a doorway into eternity.

Because of the marvelous gift that Christ gave to us, from Gethsemane to resurrection morning, we are not cast off forever. We are blessed with gift of repentance, to ask God to apply Christ’s atoning blood to our sins that we might be washed clean and be able to come back into the presence of the Father.

Death is not the end. We will some day be blessed to see our loved ones who have gone beyond the veil. That day will be a day of joy and gladness.

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Scripture Sabbath – Psalm 119:103-104

Scripture Sabbath Challenge

Throughout the scriptures, we find the command to study, to meditate, to teach, the words found in the scriptures.There is also a day set apart as a day to gather together and worship our God.

The Challenge

Once a week, on your day of worship, whenever it is, share a scripture with your fellow bloggers. It can be one you’ve been studying for a while, one you’ve just rediscovered, an old favorite, etc.

Include the tag and/or category “Scripture Sabbath” in your post, so we can all share in what has made an impact on your life this week.

And, if you’re willing, come back here and share your post link in the comments, either on this page or any of my Scripture Sabbath posts.

My Scripture – Psalm 119:103-104

young-adult-lds-man-scripture-study-819882-mobile

“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding:therefore I hate every false way.” ~ Psalm 119:103-104

I’m so grateful to be blessed with the word of God found in the Holy Scriptures. There is so much that is “sweeter than honey to my mouth”.

There are some days where frustrations, anger, and other negative feelings threaten to overwhelm me and draw tears from my eyes. During those times, I have a reminder to read my scriptures. As I obey that thought, the Holy Spirit fills my soul with the peace and calm that I so desperately need. The problems or situations that brought on the feelings might not be gone, but I am better able to handle them thanks to that peace that fills my soul.

I know that – in a world full of contradicting, confusing views that lead mankind every which way – I can find the truth in the Word, and that it can guide me along the path I need to go.

A Question for the week: How are the scriptures sweet to you?

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John 3:16 – The Best Gift Ever, Any Time of Year

Scripture Sabbath Challenge

Throughout the scriptures, we find the command to study, to meditate, to teach, the words found in the scriptures.There is also a day set apart as a day to gather together and worship our God.

The Challenge

Once a week, on your day of worship, whenever it is, share a scripture with your fellow bloggers. It can be one you’ve been studying for a while, one you’ve just rediscovered, an old favorite, etc.

Include the tag and/or category “Scripture Sabbath” in your post, so we can all share in what has made an impact on your life this week.

And, if you’re willing, come back here and share your post link in the comments, either on this page or any of my Scripture Sabbath posts.

My Scripture – John 3:16

valentine postcard

I saw this meme of John 3:16 on Facebook and had to share. Because, it’s true! Jesus Christ is the greatest example of love we will ever find. Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all, and as we celebrate and worship on this special Sabbath, may we all remember the best gift ever given to mankind!

jesus-praying-in-gethsemane-39591-tablet

Jesus Praying in Gethsemane, by Harry Anderson; from LDS Media Library

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Scripture Sabbath: Exodus 19:5 – A Peculiar Treasure

Scripture Sabbath Challenge

Throughout the scriptures, we find the command to study, to meditate, to teach, the words found in the scriptures.There is also a day set apart as a day to gather together and worship our God.

The Challenge

Once a week, on your day of worship, whenever it is, share a scripture with your fellow bloggers. It can be one you’ve been studying for a while, one you’ve just rediscovered, an old favorite, etc.

Include the tag and/or category “Scripture Sabbath” in your post, so we can all share in what has made an impact on your life this week.

And, if you’re willing, come back here and share your post link in the comments, either on this page or any of my Scripture Sabbath posts.

My Scripture – Exodus 19:5

“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:” (emphasis added)

Elder Russell M. Nelson, recently called as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, once explained that “in the Old Testament, the Hebrew term from which peculiar was translated is segullahwhich means valued property or treasure. In the New Testament, the Greek term from whichpeculiar was translated is peripoiesis, which means possession or an obtaining. Thus we see that the scriptural term ‘peculiar’ signifies valued treasure made or selected by God. For us to be identified by servants of the Lord as his peculiar people is a compliment of the highest order.”

A valued treasure made or selected by God. We are told in the scriptures that we are created in His image. We have been given this wonderful promise. Out of everything in this world that He has created, we will be the peculiar treasure if we are obedient and keep His covenant and commandments.

What a special, divine worth.

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Reading every day

Today’s prompt from The Daily Post asks us to share our favorite daily rituals.

Mine? Reading my scriptures.

I’ve set a goal for myself this year to read the entire Standard Works (The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As I read, I’ve rediscovered the peace that travels with me because I have taken time to read my scriptures in the morning. Sometimes I’ll wait till the end of the day to read, and it’s not quite the same, though the peace of the Spirit still fills me when I read about the Ancient Israelites of the Old Testament receiving God’s law through Moses at Mount Sinai, or when I read in the Book of Mormon about Lehi teaching his sons about the redemption found through the Holy Messiah.

As I read, I find things that I need to spend time studying, such as when the Lord promised Israel that, if they would obey his voice, keep his covenants, “then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people” (Ex. 19:5). Just what does it mean to be a peculiar treasure to the Lord? I’ve begun finding some answers already, but I can’t wait to see what else the Lord wants me to learn.

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