Posts Tagged With: Scripture Study

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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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.

Categories: Scripture Sabbath, Scripture Study | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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.

Categories: Jesus Christ, Scripture Sabbath, Scripture Study | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Categories: Scripture Sabbath, Scripture Study | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Book of Mormon – A Blessing to the World

I was surfing Facebook just now and saw an image announcing that the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ was published in Palmyra, New York, 185 years ago TODAY! Wow!

man-giving-book-of-mormon-225221-print

185 years ago the world was blessed with an amazing book, written by prophets of God in the Ancient Americas, whose words would come forth “as the voice of one crying from the dust” (2 Nephi 33:13) to Jew and Gentile. Working together with the Holy Bible, it testifies to the whole world that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, “who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20), to atone for each child of God, to become, in great love and mercy, as the intercessor in satisfying the demands of justice on the sins of the world.

I love this book. I read it again and again. I have several copies scattered throughout my bedroom and my school locker.

At the end of the book, the final author, Moroni, extends a challenge to his readers:

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how amerciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and bponder it in your chearts.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would aask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not btrue; and if ye shall ask with a csincere heart, with dreal intent, having efaith in Christ, he will fmanifest the gtruth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may aknow thebtruth of all things. (Moroni 10:3-5)

I’ve taken this challenge and have learned for myself that these things are true. But you don’t have to believe my words. Find out for yourself.

To request a free copy for yourself, head this-a-way. Or read it online here. Or find a copy for your device.

Categories: Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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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Gently Hew Stone

Arts. Education. Humor. Literature. Living Well. Politics. Religion. By a father of seven. "The rebel of the 21st century will be old fashioned."

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