Posts Tagged With: Faith

A Lesson from Nephi and King Lamoni’s Father

As I read in 1 Nephi 3 last Friday, I had a surprising revelation.

Nephi and his brothers have failed in their first attempt to retrieve the brass plates, and now Nephi has made what was probably a shocking suggestion to his brothers (in verses 16, 22-24):

Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the commandments of the Lord. …

And it came to pass that we went down to the land of our inheritance, and we did gather together our gold, and our silver, and our precious things. And after we had gathered these things together, we went up again unto the house of Laban.

And it came to pass that we went in unto Laban, and desired of him that he would give unto us the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, for which we would give unto him our gold, and our silver, and all our precious things.

Keep in mind what was on the brass plates – a genealogy of Lehi’s family, the five books of Moses, “a record of the Jews from the beginning” to the reign of Zedekiah, and all the prophecies from Adam to Jeremiah.

They were willing to give up all their wealth for the word of God.

That reminded me of King Lamoni’s father, who was willing to give up all he possessed – his sins, even his kingdom – to have the promised joy and companionship of the Spirit.

And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? 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.

But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.

And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying:

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.

That got me thinking. What are we willing to give up for the word of God? I mentioned this to my mother, and she helped me discover more. I’ve been blessed to have the word of God in my life. So, what am I willing to give up for a greater spiritual connection to Heavenly Father? To improve my relationship with Him?

As a beginning, our family has gotten back into the habit of daily family scripture and prayer. We’ve started over in the Book of Mormon, and have managed to do it for three days. We also pray every day for my youngest brother as he studies Spanish and… whatever it is that missionaries learn in the MTC. We pray that he’ll be protected and strengthened as he serves Heavenly Father, that he can be an instrument in bringing more of our Father’s children to the light of the gospel of Christ.

Do you have something you’d like to give up in order to have a stronger relationship with God?

Edited later: After some thought, I’ve come to realize that one of the things I would like to give up is procrastination. I keep putting off so many things – scripture study, planning my Sunday School lessons, homework for school. I’m going to improve on that during 2015.

Categories: Book of Mormon, Come unto Christ, Faith | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Faith Really is Powerful

These past few weeks, my personal scripture study has primarily been out of the Personal Progress program.

Faith is the first value listed in the Young Women theme. I don’t know if there is a reason for the order in which the values are listed, but after starting the value project for Virtue – to read the Book of Mormon (a project which can begin anytime) – I decided to begin with the first value experience in Faith, which encourages us to learn about faith from the scriptures and from General Conference talks.

One of the scriptures that first experience sends us to is Hebrews 11. I am extremely grateful for footnotes that can help us understand when we read.

Hebrews 11:1-2 – Now faith is the substance (JST assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence (GR proof) of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report (GR – received witness, testimony).

The Oxford English Dictionary, one of the dictionaries on my Kindle, defines assurance as a “positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise; certainty about something: ex. assurance of faith depends on our trust in God.” It also defines proof as “n. evidence or argument establishing fact or truth of a statement; adj. able to withstand something damaging; resistant: the marine battle armor was proof against most weapons.”

Looking at those two definitions, then, that first verse says “faith is the assurance/promise of things hoped for, the proof of things not seen.” Just because we don’t see something or know something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or won’t happen.

Now, the third verse really struck me.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

In all the times I had read this chapter, these verses about faith, I had never noticed this verse. I decided to turn to the New Testament institute manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ.  In that book, Joseph Smith is quoted from the first Lecture on Faith. He says:

By this we understand that the principle of power which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and that it is by reason of this principle of power existing in the Deity, that all created things exist; so that all things in heaven, on earth, or under the earth exist by reason of faith as it existed in Him. 

Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed neither would man have been formed of the dust. It is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute – for it is an attribute – from the Deity, and he would cease to exist.

“Wait a minute,” I thought, “everything that exist, exists because of faith?” I don’t know why that had never occurred to me before. Faith is so powerful, worlds can be created. After I thought about it a while, it made sense to me. I’ve heard that it is by priesthood power that worlds were created. (And I can’t recall where I’ve heard that.) But a man needs faith to be able to use that priesthood power, doesn’t he? Otherwise, what’s the point of using it?

Faith really is that powerful. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “And as God created all things by faith, even so his created handiwork can be known and understood only by the same power, the power which is faith.” (emphasis added)

I look forward to more study about faith, that I can understand and increase my own faith.

 

If you have studied this chapter of Hebrews, or even this Young Women’s Faith experience, what have you learned about faith?

Categories: Christlike attributes, Faith, Personal Progress, Scripture Study | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Purpose of Scripture and The Book of Mormon in 30 Days

Nephi knew that there would be people who would harden their hearts against sacred things, against the Holy Spirit, and would “esteem them as things of naught.” (2 Ne. 33:2) He continues:

But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.

And I know that the Lord will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers, and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal. (vv 3-4)

Just eight chapters earlier, he explained the reason he and other prophets write of Christ:

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Ne. 25:26, emphasis added)

The major reason we have scriptures – writings of prophets containing the words of God and histories that we need to learn from – is so we can return to God. It is Christ who is our Mediator, our Advocate with the Father, the Source where we can receive remission of our sins by accepting His Atonement,  having faith in Him, repenting, being baptized for the remission of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost as our constant companion (according to our obedience and righteousness), and enduring to the end to receive eternal life.

Book-Of-Mormon-30-Day-Reading-Schedule

Every once in a while, I’ll see or hear about someone who has been challenged, either by themselves or someone else, to read the Book of Mormon in 30 days. And every time, I wonder how such a thing is possible. 531 pages in 30 days? That’s 18 pages of scripture reading a day. How is it possible?

As I write this post, I suddenly wonder (more likely the Holy Ghost talking to me): What’s so hard about that?

After all, I’ve read big books over a weekend or a single day before. I stayed up till long after midnight several years ago reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Stayed up till 3 a.m. reading the sixth book in Gerald Lund’s The Work and the Glory series.

There are 24 hours in a day, 6-8 of which (or less, for some people) are spent sleeping. I’m a college student, but I can recognize right now some free time to spend reading those eighteen pages throughout my school day. (It helps, too, that this is the second day school has been canceled due to bad weather.)

On Sunday evening my mom decided that she would try it too. Knowing that she was making the effort, I decided to take up the challenge, too. When I began – in earnest – on Monday, I was almost to 2 Nephi 28, the last chapter expected for Day 6 of this challenge. I decided that I wouldn’t start over, but that I would continue on in the schedule, reading until I finished the Book of Mormon, then start over until I’m back where I was when I began. I’m about to start Jacob, so I have 9 pages left in today’s reading.

I look forward to this adventure.

Have you ever done a reading challenge like this? Tell me about it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be The Book of Mormon in 30 days. It can be any book in any length of time. What was the challenge? Why did you choose to take it? What did you gain from it?

Categories: Book of Mormon, Scripture Study, scriptures | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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