Scripture Sabbath – Alma 34:38

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 – Alma 34:38

“That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.”

I found this verse of scripture from the Book of Mormon a couple of weeks ago during my study about gratitude. It has been especially helpful this past week.

For three days following Christmas, rain fell in torrents practically nonstop. My family lives on the Arkansas River, and it rose quickly, faster and farther than anyone expected. The water completely covered my grandparents’ property, where we live, as well as the neighbor’s property on the west side of the creek near us, and even began to creep up the property on the hill across the road. The water even came up onto the porch.

But by the grace of God, the water did not rise high enough to come into the house! From January 30 until yesterday, we were completely surrounded by water.

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Panoramic of the front, from the west side of the house to the property across the street. (No, the railing is not broken. Just a strange thing the camera did.)

I praised God every day that He held back the water from entering our home. He kept us safe. And now we are able to get back out into town to get what we need. We just have a lot of mud in the yard.

How has God blessed you this week?

Categories: Scripture Sabbath, Scripture Study | 4 Comments

366 Days of the Book of Mormon Challenge

My Scripture Study Buddy is holding a “366 Days of the Book of Mormon Challenge”!

The book of scripture being studied in Sunday School in the LDS Church is The Book of Mormon. So, this blogger is sharing a group of verses from the Book of Mormon every day for those who want to read the Book of Mormon in a year. I’m definitely going to follow along with this one. Who wants to join me?

My Scripture Study Buddy

This coming year in our Sunday School classes in the LDS church, we will be studying the Book of Mormon. This makes me so excited. The LDS general Sunday School presidency is encouraging us to study the Book of Mormon every day, in order to draw closer to God. I wanted to extend this as a challenge to all my readers this year.

For the year 2015, I followed a blog that listed a section of verses each day, which helped me to stay on track with a goal to finish the Book of Mormon in one year. The blog went down, but I continued with it on my own and officially finished this morning. I’ve decided to do the same thing for my own readers, since it was something I enjoyed. So, starting tomorrow, I will be posting verses in a 366 day challenge. These posts won’t include…

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Some Christmas Thoughts

And it came to pass that in the commencement of the ninety and second year, behold, the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people.

But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel, the Lamanite.

And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain.

And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass.

But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.

Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.

Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.

And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.

And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:

Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.

Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.

And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.

1 Nephi 1:4-15 (emphasis added)

These verses really struck me tonight. The believers didn’t lose faith when the unbelievers said the sign of Christ’s birth wouldn’t come to pass. They were steadfast as they kept watching for the sign promised. And their waiting and their faith were not in vain. The words of all the holy prophets were fulfilled.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

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Merry Christmas!

merry Christmas

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Scripture Sabbath: Luke 1:30-32, 37-38

“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.

And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and being forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give him the throne of his father David: …

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

Such faithful obedience from this special, humble woman. Was she aware of Isaiah’s prophecy? “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa. 7:14) Did she perhaps realize that she was about to begin the fulfillment of that prophecy? Throughout the first two chapters of Matthew, we see repeated that Mary “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” She must have been such a spiritually strong woman, both in mortality and in premortality, to be chosen as the mother of the Son of God.

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Because of Him

We had the missionaries over for dinner tonight with a side of chicken tacos, with ice cream and homemade brownies for dessert. (Yum-yum)

After dinner, the elders shared this video with us:

The Church first released it at Easter. It was a perfect video to share tonight, especially during this time of year when we celebrate the birth of Christ. No other man in the history of this world has done what He did.

One of the elders shared a thought I’ve heard before, but it still makes an impact, even now. If I had been the only sinner to atone for, Jesus still would have done everything He did, just for me.

#BecauseofHim, I can be cleansed from my sins and become like Him. Because of Him, I can live again.

Best Gift Ever.

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1 Nephi 2

Lehi

What I learned from him: Lehi’s life is now in danger. The Jews had already killed or cast out the other prophets, and they don’t like it that here comes somebody else telling them that they’re wicked and that Jerusalem will be destroyed unless they repent. They want to kill him, too. So, the Lord tells Lehi to take his family and flee into the wilderness. Lehi obeys. And he doesn’t delay or make excuses:

“And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him.

“And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.” (v. 3-4)

He knew already what God had done for him so far. If he had delayed, or disobeyed and stayed behind, the Jews would have killed him. Or, if he had somehow managed to survive, there was the eventual destruction of Jerusalem where he would have either been killed or stolen away into captivity.

He is a prime example of the rule that the prophet Joseph Smith set for himself: “When the Lord commands, do it.”

And, when he and his family got to a place of safety, they pitched their tents, Lehi built an altar and offered sacrifices in gratitude to the Lord. God is looking out for us in everything. Through the good and the bad, we need to remember to thank Him.

 

Sariah

What I learned from her: I can empathize a bit with Sariah. When her husband was commanded to take his family and flee into the wilderness, she would likely have left friends and family behind (including the family of Ishmael, her future in-laws), along with all of their wealth. When my family had to move from Baltimore to Arkansas thirteen years ago, we left friends and family, and most of our stuff, behind. Unlike Sariah and her family, though, we knew where we were going. Like them, we had “a place prepared”.

It would have taken a lot of faith on Sariah’s part, to leave so much behind and travel with her family into an unknown land, trusting in the Lord to take care of them. If I’m ever asked to go through a similar situation, I hope I can have this same faith.

Laman & Lemuel

What I learned from them: We know almost immediately that these two think their father is crazy. They seem to be more materialistic in nature, grieving that Lehi took them from their home, leaving “the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, to perish in the wilderness. And this they said he had done because of the foolish imaginations of his heart (v.11).” Lehi tries to encourage them to follow the Lord and obey His commandments, but they won’t do it.

“And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.

Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets. And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.”

They won’t do anything to find out the truth for themselves.

Sam

What I learned from him: There’s no record of his reaction to the sudden departure from all they knew. But we know that, when Nephi told him that he had received testimony of what Lehi had seen, taught, and commanded is true, Sam  believes. In fact, as we later see, Sam stays faithful his whole life. He appears to be one of those mentioned in Doctrine & Covenants 46:14 – “To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful” (emphasis added).

Nephi

What I learned from him: He wanted to find out the truth for himself. So, he asked, and was blessed with a softened heart and an answer from the Lord that what Lehi had learned and taught was the truth. Sam believes him, but Laman and Lemuel don’t, which causes Nephi great grief. What does he do? He prays for them. If I want to know something, especially of great spiritual significance like this, I need to follow Nephi’s example and be willing to ask. The Lord is always willing to teach us if we are willing to ask and learn.

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Sunday Scripture: Ask and Ye Shall Receive

I discovered several scriptures today that connect very nicely and taught me an amazing lesson, so I’d like to share them all.

I’ve been reading W. Cleon Skousen’s book, Days of the Living Christ: Volume One, and came across something today that really hit home. Dr. Skousen said, “One of the great disappointments of the Lord occurs when his choice servants lose their spiritual curiosity. They become satisfied with a little when they could have a lot. They stop hungering and thirsting after righteousness and an increased knowledge of heavenly things. This happened to the  twelve apostles in Jerusalem.”

Jesus had just taught them that He is the Good Shepherd, that He knows His sheep, and they know Him (John 10:14). Then, He drops a really big hint:

“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)

Who are these other sheep? “Jesus wanted to tell them about the great body of Christians in America,” Dr. Skousen wrote, “but they wouldn’t ask.”

When Christ visited the Nephites after His resurrection – the “great body of Christians in America” Dr. Skousen described – he revealed that they were the “other sheep” that He spoke of, but no one would ask about.

“And now, because of stiffneckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them.” (3 Ne. 15:18)

Dr. Skousen said, “The Father years to reveal the secrets of heaven to his righteous servants. Therefore Jesus said: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened’ (Matt. 7:7-8).”

I suddenly realized – What does the Lord withhold from us today because we don’t ask? What does He want to share with us, to help enlighten our minds and spirits, but can’t give us because we don’t even live by what we already have? What am I missing out on when I don’t make the effort to study and ponder the message of the gospel found in the scriptures?

In the Book of Mormon, Nephi acknowledges and gives gratitude to God for “having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God (1 Ne. 1:1)”. When the Lord gave command to build a ship to take his family to the Promised Land, Nephi wrote:

“And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things.” (1 Ne. 18:3)

If we follow Nephi’s example to seek and “pray oft unto the Lord”, what “great things” could the Lord reveal to us?

Categories: Book of Mormon, prayer, Scripture Study, Scripture Sunday | 2 Comments

1 Nephi Chapter 1

I’m trying a different method of study this time around. I’m looking at the people in each chapter, and what I can learn from them. So far, in 1 Nephi 1, I’ve found:

Nephi

What I learned from him: Despite all the afflictions he went through, he felt that he was “highly favored of the Lord in all [his] days” because he had received the blessing of “great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God” (verse 1).

What knowledge do I receive from the things I go through? Or do I just make it an opportunity to complain about what I’m going through? Sadly, I think I spend more time complaining than recognizing my blessings.

Nephi also followed the commandment of the Lord to keep a record, which he does “in the language of [his] father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians” (verse 2).

Lehi

What I learned from him: He listened to the prophets when they began preaching throughout Jerusalem, calling the people to repentance with a warning that Jerusalem would be destroyed if they didn’t. Lehi was so concerned about it that he prayed to God, with all his heart, in behalf of his people. This wasn’t just a casual prayer; his concern for his people came from deep within.

The world today is moving further and further away from God. Every day, we see more and more ugliness and chaos and violence. We have the blessing of prayer. Who knows what it can do in today’s world?

After everything that he saw, both in this initial vision and the subsequent one after he returned home, Lehi could not be silent. He had to lend his voice to the other prophets in crying repentance to Jerusalem. Jesus told his apostles and other followers to go to all the world and teach what He had taught. Lehi is trying to do this among his own people, but they reject it and try to kill him. It may not come to that for us; but, as followers of Christ, it is our duty to spread His teachings to the world.

The Jews

What I learned from them: Yes, I even learned from the Jews who refused to listen to the prophets. They didn’t want to hear that they were doing anything wrong. They are angry enough that they now want to kill Lehi.

Eventually, of course, comes the destruction of Jerusalem, where many are killed and the rest are carried away into captivity. So the lesson learned from the Jews can best be summed up in the chorus of the Primary (children’s Sunday School) song “Follow the Prophet”.

Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet; don’t go astray.
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet; he knows the way.

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Ponderizing 2 Nephi 29:4

In the October 2015 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Devin G. Durrant, First Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency, challenged us to “ponderize” one verse of scripture every week.

I was browsing WordPress’s Blogging Events page this past week, and discovered that the ones that caught my attention the most were the ones on expressing gratitude. I realized that gratitude is something I needed to study more on and apply in my own life, and so went to the Bible Dictionary and wrote down all the topics and scriptures having something to do with thanks, or thanksgiving, and began right away.

One of the verses I came across in my study is 2 Nephi 29:4. In the previous verses, the Lord said that there would be many among the Gentiles who would reject the Book of Mormon, saying “We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible!” (verse 3).

Nephi then writes:

“But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?”

That second sentence struck me – “And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them?”

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image from LDS.org

How often do we thank the Jews for the Bible that we have? I know it hasn’t occurred to me until now. But how exactly do I thank them? I imagine that I can start by saying thank you to the ancient House of Israel for keeping the records that were eventually compiled to become the Holy Bible that is available to us today. And I’m grateful to God for commanding them to keep these records.

But I’m sure I can do more. I can actually take the time to study their words and learn how to better live by them. These sacred records, after all, help us learn how to become like Christ and Heavenly Father.

That will be one of my goals in this coming year: to learn the Bible and learn how to live by it, and by all the sacred records God has given to the world.

What will you ponderize on this week? What is something you are grateful for, that maybe you don’t express as often as you’d like?

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