Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Quickly I'll Obey"

Doctrine & Covenants 94-96

Remember the children's song? "When my mother calls me, quickly I'll obey, for mother knows just what is best each and every day." I just discovered it's been changed! And I guess it's for the better.

Quickly I'll Obey

When my mother calls me,
Quickly I'll obey.
I want to do just what is best
Each and every day.

When my father calls me,
Quickly I'll obey.
I want to do just what is best
Each and every day.

Heavenly Father loves me.
Blesses me each day.
I want to do just what is best
Each and every day.

Anyway, in section 94 the saints in Kirtland are given the assignment to start building the temple. In section 95 they're rebuked because they hadn't started yet. There's less than a month between the two revelations! When the Lord asks us to do something, we better do it - right away, promptly, and without delay. To their credit, the foundation was started just a couple of days after the second revelation. They did "take heed that ye see to this matter" (D&C 96:4). And I should diligenty take heed to accomplish the matters I've been assigned.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Light and Truth

Doctrine & Covenants 93

Here's another section that is so full of instruction and insights that it would be impossible to even scratch the surface in a little blog post. However, I guess I can write something to share a few things I've learned.

Verse 1 is one of Wayne's favorite scriptures: "Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am." Prayer, repentance, obedience - the steps to knowing God are outlined for us so simply, aren't they?

Our family home evening lesson a couple of weeks ago (the best one ever) was on intelligence, and we read and discussed verse 29: "Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be." That was a wonderful discussion. And then just a few days after that I was flipping through an old Ensign and found a terrific article by President Eyring. After quoting D&C 93:28 ("He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light."), he noted that we need to build our lives on a sure foundation of truth. As we learn of Christ and obey his teachings, we gain even more truth and light and knowledge. The key is obedience.

I like this quote from that talk: "You will notice that the work is simple obedience. It is not complicated things; it is not fancy things or getting great spiritual manifestations. This is work within the abilities of the most humble and the least educated."

Verse 31 reminds us that we have our agency. We can choose to accept light and truth, and thereby gain even more, or we can choose to ignore it. We also have a responsibility to teach these things to our children (verse 40), in fact, it's a commandment. And that's the best way to prepare them for their futures, and ours as well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Work and Live

Doctrine & Covenants 90-92

One of my favorite phrases in the Doctrine & Covenants is found in one of the shortest sections - 92:2 - "You shall be a lively member." Isn't there a lot of meaning in that? Am I really a living, lively member, and not a dead, lifeless one? Am I doing my part to bring life and success to the kingdom of God? For some reason the phrase strikes me as being just a touch silly, which makes me want to ponder it more, and that's a good thing.

President Howard W. Hunter taught: "To answer affirmatively the question, 'Am I a living member?' confirms our commitment. It means that we now and always will love God and our neighbors as ourselves. It means our actions will reflect who we are and what we believe. It means that we are every day Christians, walking as Christ would have us walk."

And in Section 90 we learn some additional things that we need to do to be a contributing member of the church and of society -
  • set things in order
  • study and learn
  • search diligently
  • pray always
  • be believing
  • look for the good in all things
  • stay away from pride
  • "keep slothfulness and uncleanness far from you"

And so now I guess I should go clean the bathrooms, wash the dishes, and vacuum the floors!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Power Phrases

Jeff requested a list of the power phrases we used in seminary as a tool to help the students discover principles and doctrines on their own. I thought it might be a good idea to post them here so others can find them as well. As teachers we'd assign a short scripture block to each student or pair of students. Then they had to pick one of these statements and share with the class. It led to some terrific discussions. They really work, because even if the student didn't understand anything, they could fall back on #3.

  1. I want to make a comment on this verse.
  2. I have a question about that scripture.
  3. I don't understand that verse.
  4. Look! I found a principle.
  5. Hey, look down. There's a helpful footnote.
  6. There's a scripture mastery verse that goes with that.
  7. I want to bear testimony about the principle in that verse.
  8. I know another scripture that goes with that verse.
  9. I just had an epiphany.
  10. That scripture makes me feel good because __________.

One day we brainstormed some additional "power phrases" and when I find that list, I'll add them. In the meantime, feel free to add to the list yourself!

The Word of Wisdom

Doctrine & Covenants 89

What could I say that hasn't already been said hundreds of times before? Probably nothing, but I know obeying the Word of Wisdom brings great blessings. I love that it's "adapted to the capacity of the weak" and that we're to use everything with "prudence and thanksgiving."

Some may wonder why the Word of Wisdom isn't more detailed or explicit. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: The Lord has not given a revelation forbidding use of such harmful drugs as cocaine, LSD, hashish, marijuana, and others, because "such revelation is unnecessary. The Word of Wisdom is a basic law. It points the way and gives us ample instruction in regard to both food and drink, good for the body and also detrimental. If we sincerely follow what is written with the aid of the Spirit of the Lord, we need no further counsel. . . . Thus by keeping the commandment we are promised inspiration and the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord through which we will know what is good and what is bad for the body, without the Lord presenting us with a detailed list separating the good things from the bad that we may be protected. We will elarn by this faithful observance that the promises of the Lord are fulfilled" (Improvement Era, Feb. 1956, pp. 78-79).

It's actually a good thing that it's not more explicit. In the 50 years since President Smith made that statement, many more "bad" things have come on the scene. We just need to use some common sense, and listen to the Spirit, and we'll be able to obey the principles of the Word of Wisdom.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Olive Leaf

Doctrine & Covenants 88

This section, given during a time of turmoil for the saints, was entitled "The Olive Leaf" and so I thought I'd share some of the peaceful and comforting parts of it.

First of all, Jesus Christ is the light of truth. This light is in all things and "is the law by which all things are governed." We can have confidence that God is in charge.

Next we have the promise of the resurrection, and the knowledge that if we're worthy we can return to the presence of Heavenly Father and live on this earth forever, in a magnificent, glorified state. God understands everything. All we have to do is follow his laws, just as the earth and planets do, and someday we'll be able to understand as well.

"Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you." "He that seeketh me early shall find me." God keeps his promises.

We don't have to do things alone - "teach one another," "seek learning," "that all may be edified of all" - we're all working together.

I have the ability to establish a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, glory, order, God. It's comforting to know that praying comes before cleaning! Yet I need to have a house of order in order to have a house of God. That's strong motivation for me.

Lastly, charity is the bond of perfectness and peace. (See Colossians 3:14-15.) As I strive to become more Christlike by developing charity, I can find peace.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stand in Holy Places

Doctrine & Covenants 87

After prophesying about the "War between the States," Joseph Smith says, "Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved." I just love that reminder. We can find holy places in several locations, the most important of which is our home. To me, having our hearts are "fixed and established" on the Savior and his gospel means we're standing in holy places. (See also Psalm 15:5 and 112:6.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Importance of Genealogy

Doctrine & Covenants 85-86

Section 85 talks about the inheritance of "the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God." I want my name in that book!

It continually amazes me, although it shouldn't, how relevant the scriptures can be to our daily lives. Tomorrow is our stake's Spirit of Elijah Day and we're going to spend all day in the temple doing work for our own families. Reading this section helped remind me of the importance of that.

Verse 6 also has a wonderful definition of the Holy Ghost: "the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake."

Section 86 continues the theme with a reminder of the parable of the wheat and the tares, and our responsibility to be a "light unto the Gentiles" and "a savior unto my people Israel."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A New Beginning

Doctrine & Covenants 84
The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood

I took my scriptures on vacation, but not my computer. And now I know why it's taken so long to get back to this - section 84 is LONG. However, so I don't procrastinate any longer, here are just a few of my favorite phrases from this section:

verse 1: "united their hearts and lifted their voices" - Working together, whether as a family or ward or any other group, causes great things to happen.

verse 19: "key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God" - We had an interesting discussion on this a couple of months ago. We had always interpreted "knowledge of God" as knowing about God. However, it can also mean knowing what God knows. Isn't that a cool concept? (See D&C 107:19.)

verse 33: "renewing of their bodies" - Seeing how elderly prophets and apostles can continue to work hard is a testimony of this principle. But it can also be seen in our own lives.

verse 77: "I shall call you friends" - Who could be a better friend than Jesus?

verses 79-85: wonderful missionary blessings and promises!

verse 112: "searching after the poor" - We were reminded of this in our last Welfare Meeting. It's not enough to just take care of the poor and needy who show up at our door, we should be looking for those who need our love and help.