Sunday, February 22, 2009

Moroni

Scripture Study Insights

Moroni 1
Things don’t always go according to our plan, but we can adjust. Just stay close to the Lord.

Moroni 2
Great blessings come through the priesthood and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Moroni 3
It’s important to know that our leaders are called of God by proper authority.

Moroni 4 & 5
I should be grateful that I get to renew my baptismal covenant on a weekly basis. What a blessing we've been given to be able to remember.

Moroni 6
It takes determination to serve God always, but if we’ve been baptized, we’ve covenanted to do so. Why do we attend church? To worship, fast & pray, partake of the sacrament, remember, give and receive fellowship, feel the Spirit.

Moroni 7
good = God, evil = devil
Cleave unto good. Our works show our hearts. With faith in Christ, we can do anything. Work and pray for gift of faith, hope and charity.

Moroni 8
Be mindful of and pray for others continually. Love casts out fear.

Moroni 9
Labor diligently to conquer wickedness. When we’re faithful to Christ, he will strengthen and lift us during trials.

Moroni 10
Exhort means to urge, recommend or warn. Moroni exhorts us to #1 - read the Book of Mormon, #2 - receive it (take it into our hearts), and #3 – pray about it. We can receive a testimony of its truthfulness through the power of the Holy Ghost. Holy means saintly, godly, pious, devout, sacred, spiritual, pure and divine. To become holy we need to deny ourselves of all ungodliness and then the grace of God sanctifies us. Here’s a good quote by Elder Christofferson:
This personal persistence in the path of obedience is something different than achieving perfection in mortality. Perfection is not, as some suppose, a prerequisite for justification and sanctification. It is just the opposite: justification (being pardoned) and sanctification (being purified) are the prerequisites for perfection. We only become perfect “in Christ” (see
Moro. 10:32), not independently of Him. Thus, what is required of us in order to obtain mercy in the day of judgment is simple diligence. As the Prophet Joseph Smith counseled from the dank prison of Liberty, Missouri: “Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed” (D&C 123:17; see also Mosiah 4:27).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles once expressed our obligation this way: “Everyone in the Church who is on the straight and narrow path, who is striving and struggling and desiring to do what is right, though far from perfect in this life; if he passes out of this life while he’s on the straight and narrow, he’s going to go on to eternal reward in his Father’s kingdom. “We don’t need to get a complex or get a feeling that you have to be perfect to be saved. … The way it operates is this: you get on the path that’s named the ‘straight and narrow.’ You do it by entering the gate of repentance and baptism. The straight and narrow path leads from the gate of repentance and baptism, a very great distance, to a reward that’s called eternal life. … Now is the time and the day of your salvation, so if you’re working zealously in this life—though you haven’t fully overcome the world and you haven’t done all you hoped you might do—you’re still going to be saved” (“The Probationary Test of Mortality,” Salt Lake Institute of Religion devotional, 10 Jan. 1982, 12).
When we stand before the Savior to be judged of Him, it will be “according to our works and the desires of our hearts” (“The Living Christ,” 3; see also
D&C 137:9). Where we can act, where we have the capacity and the means, we must act if we are to retain a justified and sanctified status. But where we legitimately and truly cannot act, the Lord will accept the desire for the deed.
(D. Todd Christofferson, “Justification and Sanctification,” Ensign, Jun 2001, 18)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ether 8-15

Scripture Study Insights

Ether 8
Watch out for Satan’s plan to lead us away by fair promises. He’s a liar. God doesn’t work in secret combinations. Nations that uphold wickedness will be destroyed. We’re given records of wicked people so we can learn from then, repent , and do good.

Ether 9
The Lord blesses those who choose the right.

Ether 10
When we take the time to remember, it’s easier to choose the right. It’s a commandment to work and be industrious.

Ether 11
The cycle continues. The people don’t hearken to prophets. Wickedness leads to war and famine. Repentance brings the Lord’s mercy.

Ether 12
Faith leads to hope which leads to charity which brings us to Christ and eternal life.

Ether 13
The New Jerusalem will be built by the house of Joseph and inhabited by those whose “garments are white through the blood of the Lamb.”

Ether 14
The Lord keeps his promise. Those who are fully wicked will be destroyed.

Ether 15
It’s possible to reach a point, because of hard hearts and allowing Satan control, to not have the Spirit personally available.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ether 1-7

Ether 1
Prayer is important. “Cry unto the Lord.” “Cry again unto the Lord.” “Inquire of the Lord.”

Ether 2
We live in a wonderful land. What do I need to do to keep it that way? I need to remember the Lord, pray, seek forgiveness and “go to work.” The Lord expects us to come up with our solutions to solve problems.

Ether 3
What do I need to do to increase my faith? It’s possible for faith to turn into knowledge. We need to treat our spiritual experiences as the great treasures that they are.

Ether 4
All good things come from God. Remember to pray.

Ether 5
It’s important to share our testimony of the Book of Mormon with others.

Ether 6
Some things we can learn from the Jaredites year-long adventure crossing the great waters: The Lord is in charge, we should sing praises and express gratitude to him night and day, look for the multitude of tender mercies that he sends, remember to be humble.

Ether 7
It’s good to be “mighty in strength,” but it’s better to be “mighty in judgment,” and best to “execute judgment in righteousness.”

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Gift of Discernment

Last week I re-read the phrase "quick to observe" in Mormon 1:5 and was reminded of a talk given by Elder Bednar that really made an impact on me. It's so important to notice things, and that's something that I struggle with. However, as I re-read his talk, I discovered another quality that is even more important than noticing, and that is developing the gift of discernment. That's something else to work on! But here are some of his thoughts that helped me understand this a little bit better.

"President George Q. Cannon (1827–1901), who served as a counselor to four Presidents of the Church, taught powerfully about the gift of discernment:
'One of the gifts of the Gospel which the Lord has promised to those who enter into covenant with Him is the gift of discerning of spirits—a gift which is not much thought of by many and probably seldom prayed for; yet it is a gift that is of exceeding value and one that should be enjoyed by every Latter-day Saint. …
'Now, the gift of discerning of spirits not only gives men and women who have it the power to discern the spirit with which others may be possessed or influenced, but it gives them the power to discern the spirit which influences themselves. They are able to detect a false spirit and also to know when the Spirit of God reigns within them. In private life this gift is of great importance to the Latter-day Saints. Possessing and exercising this gift they will not allow any evil influence to enter into their hearts or to prompt them in their thoughts, their words or their acts. They will repel it; and if perchance such a spirit should get possession of them, as soon as they witness its effects they will expel it or, in other words, refuse to be led or prompted by it.'"

Elder Bednar continued,
"We learn that the gift of discernment operates basically in four major ways.
"First, as we 'read under the surface,' discernment helps us detect hidden error and evil in others.
"Second, and more important, it helps us detect hidden errors and evil in ourselves. Thus the spiritual gift of discernment is not exclusively about discerning other people and situations, but, as President Cannon taught, it is also about discerning things as they really are within us.
"Third, it helps us find and bring forth the good that may be concealed in others.
"And fourth, it helps us find and bring forth the good that may be concealed in us. Oh, what a blessing and a source of protection and direction is the spiritual gift of discernment!"

"I repeat again for emphasis the truth that discernment is a light of protection and direction in a world that grows increasingly dark. You and I can press forward safely and successfully through the mist of darkness and have a clear sense of spiritual direction. Discernment is so much more than recognizing right from wrong. It helps us distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant, the important from the unimportant, and the necessary from that which is merely nice.
"The gift of discernment opens to us vistas that stretch far beyond what can be seen with natural eyes or heard with natural ears. Discerning is seeing with spiritual eyes and feeling with the heart—seeing and feeling the falsehood of an idea or the goodness in another person. Discerning is hearing with spiritual ears and feeling with the heart—hearing and feeling the unspoken concern in a statement or the truthfulness of a testimony or doctrine."

Aren't those some neat thoughts? I particularly liked the thought that we can be given the ability to see the good in ourselves and others. So, when I'm feeling down and discouraged, I just need to remember that I can pray for help to see myself as God sees me.

Mormon 1-9

Scripture Study Insights
Mormon 1
Elder Bednar gave a great talk at a BYU Devotional. W
hen we are quick to observe, we promptly look or notice and obey. Both of these fundamental elements—looking and obeying—are essential to being quick to observe. I want to do better at being observant!
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psalm 34:8). Taste means “to become acquainted with through experience.” Have I “tasted of the goodness of God?” What about His love and mercy? Yes, I have – many, many times. See also Mosiah 4:11 and Alma 36:24, (cross reference to Mormon 1:15).

Mormon 2
Our greatest safety comes as we gather together. As we stand strong with firmness, wickedness has to flee away. We can have assurance that even if we’re the only one to do so, it’s possible to choose the right – Mormon did it.

Mormon 3
It’s in our best interests to be prepared for judgment day, because it’s going to come whether we’re ready or not.

Mormon 4
The judgments of God will overtake the wicked.

Mormon 5
One of the purposes of The Book of Mormon is to persuade us that Jesus is the Christ.

Mormon 6
Remember that our actions do affect others.

Mormon 7
To redeem means to recover or buy back. That means that at one time we enjoyed whatever it is we’re trying to achieve now.

Mormon 8
In spite of the “sad tales of destruction” we can have hope. God hears our prayers and his purposes will all be fulfilled. We can help by noticing others’ needs and doing what we can to help them.

Mormon 9
God is a god of miracles. They still exist if we’re looking for them. I loved the comment in David’s email summarizing his first year on his mission, “Looking back on the last year, and without taking too much time to summarize my experience, I will do it in one sentence. I could go on for days, but in all sincereity and gratitude this should be enough . . . I am not a stranger to miracles.”
Verse 21 contains a wonderful promise to ALL: if you pray in faith and don’t doubt, you will receive.
I loved Linda’s post on “he that is happy will be happy still."
Do I really believe that I will take my habits and attitudes with me when I die? Because I will.
Don’t condemn others for their imperfections, but be grateful that you can learn greater wisdom because of their examples. Don’t yield to temptation but choose to serve God always. “Be wise in the days of your probation.”