Thursday, January 21, 2010

An Answered Prayer

Today I came across an old journal entry that is definitely worth remembering and being posted as a "whispering of the Spirit." Do you remember this, Brad, because I certainly didn't? 2/3/2006

I had a prayer answered yesterday in an unusual way. Well, really it was the usual way, but an unexpected answer. On Tuesday Brad asked me to get a doctor appointment for him concerning his ringworm. I wasn't sure how serious he was and I felt it was kind of late anyway - that there was no way a doctor could treat and clear ringworm in a couple of days. I questioned him on it Wednesday night and discovered that he really was serious. In my Thursday morning prayer I prayed specifically to know what to do, remembering the promise in 2 Nephi 32:5 that we can know what we're to do. The answer was very clear: "This is what Brad's prayed about and you need to make the apointment." I still didn't think it would work, but I figured I better be obedient, so at 8:00 AM I made the call. It turned out they had a 9:45 appointment so I took Brad down. Now, here's the amazing thing - there is a drug that can kill ringworm quickly - and it takes 36 hours. So, the doctor signed the note saying Brad is not infectious as of 9 AM Saturday, which is exactly when he needs it (well, 10 AM Sat.). I am so grateful I didn't procrastinate any longer. I've done what I can do. Now it's up to Brad & Jeff to get themselves qualified for regions.
(They did qualify for the regional tournament.)

This is an amazing example of the scripture I re-learned this week: 1 Nephi 17:13 - "I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments." We can't see beforehand what the Lord is placing in our paths, but we can be assured that he's watching over us carefully and wants to bless us.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Redeeming the Dead

Doctrine & Covenants 137-138

I love doing family history and going to the temple. Maybe that's why I love these sections as well. They validate for me that time spent in those activites is valuable and of great worth.

When I glance at these sections, the words that jump out are "joy" and "rejoicing" and "peace." That's great encouragement to not give up when I hit a roadblock in research or trying to find time in a crazy schedule to make it to Orlando on a regular basis.

Okay, I probably should have spent more time pondering this subject. After all, it was because President Smith took the time to reflect and ponder and pray that we even have Section 138. I'm glad I was able to complete my goal to read the Doctrine and Covenants in 2009, but now it's time to once again move on to something else.

Practical Commandments

Doctrine & Covenants 136
  • Be organized.
  • Provide necessities for yourselves.
  • "Do as I have told you."
  • Use edifying words.
  • If you borrow something, return it.
  • Take care of your things.
  • Pray to turn sorrow into joy.
Remember that if we're diligent and faithful in keeping the commandments, we will be blessed.

Joseph Smith

Doctrine & Covenants 135

I always love reading John Taylor's testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. And I'm grateful that I have a testimony as well. Mine came during a seminary class when we watched "The First Vision" movie. If you have a copy of the Church History Collection dvd, you can watch it too.
It's #3 - The First Vision. This is the original video dramatization of the events that led Joseph Smith to pray in the Sacred Grove, where he received the First Vision. This video can be used to teach the importance of obtaining and sharing a testimony of the First Vision. (14:42)


Doctrine & Covenants 134
"A Declaration of Beliefs"

"We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man."

"We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers" (but they should be equitable and just).

"We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside. . . . Sedition and rebellion are unbecoming."

"All men should step forward" and work towards peace and tranquility, bringing offenders to justice, and encouraging leaders to be righteous.

It's nice to be reminded that good citizens are proactive.

An Appendix

Doctrine & Covenants 133

I couldn't remember why this section was called the appendix, so I went searching and found an explanation in the institute manual:

Elder John A. Widtsoe explained that “the ‘Appendix’ [ D&C 133 ], supplements the introduction [ D&C 1 ]. The two sections together encompass the contents of the book in a condensed form. An appendix is something which the writer thinks should be added to amplify that which is in the book, to emphasize it, to make it stronger or to explain the contents a little more completely.” ( Message of the Doctrine and Covenants, p. 17.)

The scriptures form a great latticework of gospel concepts. Rather than collect gospel concepts by topic, the Lord chose to scatter them throughout the sacred writings, here a little and there a little. Only by diligent searching and studying can we come to a fulness of understanding. The more we immerse ourself in the scriptures, the more familiar we become with language and concepts that trigger a host of associations.

Section 133 contains an unusual number of such concepts that presuppose a knowledge of other scriptures. If one is not familiar with such principles as the Lord coming to His temple (see D&C 133:2 ), Babylon (see vv. 4–7, 14 ), the parable of the ten virgins (see v. 10 ), the story of Lot’s wife (see v. 15 ), the Lamb standing on Mount Zion (see v. 18 ), or the time when Jesus will stand on the Mount of Olives (see v. 20 ), one will miss significant insights into what the Lord says in this section.

Well, that helped me and I hope it helped you. Here are some of the phrases that jumped out to me on this reading:

verse 3 - "make bare his holy arm" - We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work!

verse 4 - We prepare for the future by gathering together and sanctifying ourselves now.

verse 19 - It is our responsibility to GO to meet the Bridegroom. Am I always striving to be in the right place at the right time?

verses 39-40 - Prayer and worship are important.

verse 71 - We can't expect to be rescued if we're not willing to be obedient.

Eternal Marriage

Doctrine & Covenants 131-132

There's a lot that could be said about celestial marriage, and I'm grateful that I've been taught this principle. And I'm grateful for a husband who has the same goal to spend eternity together. But I'm not very eloquent myself, so here are some talks by people who are:

Elder Bednar - "Marriage is Essential to His Eternal Plan"

President Hinckley - "The Marriage that Endures"

President Kimball - "Temples and Eternal Marriage"

Elder McConkie - "Celestial Marriage"

And here's a favorite quote from President Spencer W. Kimball:
"Marriage is perhaps the most vital of all the decisions and has the most far-reaching effects, for it has to do not only with immediate happiness, but eternal joys as well."

Items of Instruction

Doctrine & Covenants 130

I like that concise phrase in the section heading; what a simple way to describe what could be considered a hodge-podge of doctrine. And all of the doctrine is profound. We can tell that this was given near the end of Joseph's life when he had great maturity and understanding. So, here are a couple of things that stood out to me as I read this section.

Cross references for D&C 130:7 - Moses 1:6, D&C 38:2. Here are the scriptural references for the doctrine that Joseph Smith taught (see here) that God can behold the past, present and future all at once.

Revelation and answers to questions come "while praying earnestly."

Knowledge is important.

Blessings come after obedience, not the other way around.