Wednesday, May 19, 2010
With democracy you're not always guaranteed to have the best person leading the country either. People can make bad choices. And of course, not everyone agrees with the choices that are made. If you're in the group whose candidate is not elected, you generally feel that it was a bad choice. But the important thing is that we at least had the opportunity to make our choice. And in a few years down the road, we can make a choice again. In spite of any flaws American democracy may have, we're so lucky to live in a country with this system in place!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
I guess the memory of that lesson is why verses 29 and 30 struck me as especially important today.
29 Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also.
30 Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.
How reassuring is it to know that if you confess your sins, you can be forgiven? And especially comforting to me is verse 30, that says God will forgive and forgive and forgive. As many times as we make a mistake, God will continue to forgive. As someone who makes a lot of mistakes, that's very good to hear!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
But in the meantime, I was reading something at lunch that really struck a cord with me. The book I'm reading is The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. It about a man who decides to spend a year living his life very literally according to the rules in the Bible, including things in the Old Testament like don't wear clothing that is a mixture of linen and wool.
He starts to question why it is so important to obey this law. A very devout man replies that we don't know. And we don't have to know.
"This is a law that God gave us. We have to trust Him. He's all-powerful. We're like children. Sometimes parents have laws children don't understand. Like when you tell a child not to touch fire, he doesn't understand why, but it is good for him."
I think this is an incredible insight! And it's something that I believe, but I've just never heard it phrased quite this way before. It helps me with things like the Word of Wisdom. Sometimes people have asked me for very specific reasons - but why don't you drink tea? Why don't you drink coffee? Why can you have a Coke or a piece of chocolate if you can't have coffee? And I always try to explain that it's not really necessarily the caffeine and that's why chocolate is okay. And I have to admit that I don't really know all the reasons behind the things we're told to avoid - but I trust in my prophets' teachings and so I do avoid what they say to avoid. But that's always felt a little weak to me, even though it's really kind of the same argument as the man in the book gave.
I guess the difference is just that he's so much more eloquent than I am. So I'm going to remember this for the next time I come across something that I can't explain or have a hard time accepting. This is a law that God gave us. We have to trust Him. And if we trust him, we believe that following His law is what's good for us, and we do as He says.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
When I was in graduate school, I was a very busy girl. I was working about 60 hours a week (because my work was also my final project for my Masters degree, so I was putting in extra time to finish the project). I was also taking a double load of classes. I would get up at 8 a.m. and go up the hill to school for classes in the morning, then go to work after lunch. Between work and writing papers and other projects for class, I usually didn't leave the computer lab until 3 or 4 in the morning. I would go back to my apartment and get a couple of hours of sleep, then start all over again.
I was feeling the pressure already, then, just a few weeks before my final defense of my Masters project and then graduation, I received a letter from the registrar's office. Apparently there was some sort of problem with my graduation paperwork and they were telling me that I would not be able to graduate on time after all, just for want of this single piece of paper.
I cried. I cried and cried and cried. I was just so stressed and so tired and I just couldn't cope. It was after hours so I couldn't call the registrar's office to see what was going on. All I could think was that after all my hard work, I wasn't going to be able to graduate. It's not like it would have been the end of the world, really. At most, it would have meant I had to go through one more semester of classes and then graduate in the fall instead of the spring. But at that moment, it felt like the end of the world to me.
I got ready for bed, which included reading my scriptures. I read Mosiah 24 that night and when I came to verse 14, an incredible soothing calm came over me. I suddenly just KNEW that everything would be okay. That the Lord would help me bear my burden and that I could relax and leave it to him. I felt instantly better. I went to bed and was able to sleep well, knowing that I could deal with things in the morning.
The next day I was able to go to the registrar's office and get things straightened out. They didn't want to be helpful at first, but I was able to remain calm enough to think instead of just reacting. I enlisted the help of my professors and they were able to get things fixed so that I graduated on time. And I have always remembered the sense of relief and calm that I received when I read that verse.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
In later years, will people look at accounts of our time and wonder why we acted the way they did and why we couldn't see what we should have done?
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
Monday, March 29, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Verses 8 and 9 seemed especially beautiful to me today.
8 But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
9 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.
In my last post, I talked about sweet Isaac who died at such a young age (not even a year old). I don't think anyone could ever say that death had no sting in this case. But I love the way it is put in verse 8, that the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
Whenever someone you know passes away, it still stings and hurts and makes you sad, but you can let that sadness be swallowed up in Christ. You can choose to focus on the resurrection and endless light and endless life.
I think this perfectly describes how Isaac's parents have handled this tragedy. Of course they have been devastated and hurt and sad. But even at his funeral, such a short time after his death, they were doing their best to focus on Isaac's eternal life and how they will be together again some day. They are a great example of letting the sting of death be swallowed up in Christ.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
And little children also have eternal life.
This is especially poignant to me because of our friends who recently lost their youngest child. That funeral was the saddest thing I have ever been to in my life. It was devastatingly awful for Aaron and me; so much worse of course for little Isaac's parents and closest family.
And yet, for all the horrible sadness of that death and that funeral, beneath it all was a little current of hope. Because we knew that Isaac was not lost forever. And little children also have eternal life. Isaac was saved and will have eternal life. And when his parents and his brother pass on, Isaac will be there to joyfully greet them.
So even though it makes me cry a little all over again to think and write about Isaac, I am comforted by the verse: And little children also have eternal life.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I'm afraid I don't have anything deep and profound today. Once I read verse six, all I could think of was the memory of the time I went to a performance of Handel's Messiah. It was called "Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah." It's The Messiah redone in a gospel style. It's actually incredible and I enjoyed it so much I went again the following year.
But there was one passage... the one where they sing the line "All we, like sheep, have gone astray." And they sing that line over and over. Many times. And every time I heard them singing, "Oh we like sheep." Even though I knew what the line actually was, all I could hear was, "Oh we like sheep."
To this day, any time I hear that section in The Messiah, I think of, "Oh we like sheep." Probably inappropriate that I tend to laugh out loud during The Messiah! =)
Monday, March 15, 2010
We are given commandments to guide our behavior, to show us right from wrong, and to help us be better people. But no matter how we try, we cannot be perfect. We can - and should! - strive to obey every commandment, but inevitably we will make mistakes. Thankfully, "salvation doth not come by the law alone." It is not ONLY by obeying God's commandments that we will be saved. Because of the atonement, we are redeemed from sin and error. It is only because of the atonement that we will not "unavoidably perish."
Friday, March 12, 2010
King Zeniff was a good man. He was a righteous leader and his people were for the most part righteous. Unfortunately, after he died, King Noah came to power. King Noah was an incredibly wicked man. He installed other leaders (the priests) who were also wicked. With leaders and examples such as these, it became much easier for the general populace to slide down into wickedness also. Until in a very short time, the people who had been righteous and blessed and protected by God were no longer righteous. They were in danger from their enemies and would not be able to call on God to help them because of their wickedness.
It's not hard to draw parallels to events we have seen happening around the world in our own days...
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
In verse 17, Zeniff comments that he and his men went forth in the strength of the Lord. And because they did this, they were victorious in the battle they were about to fight.
Now hopefully we are not going into a literal battle the way Zeniff was, but we all fight battles every day. Battles against temptation and sin. Battles against our circumstances. Battles against anger or despair or hopelessness. These battles are of great importance to us because they affect our lives.
If we can remember to go forth in the strength of the Lord every day, in every battle, we will be able to come out victorious in our daily battles. Cry mightily to the Lord for deliverance... in other words, pray for help in your personal battles. The Lord will hear your cries and come to your aid.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
When we have faith and listen to God, WE can be a benefit to our fellow beings. WE can be the source of blessings and mighty miracles. What an incredible feeling and an awesome responsibility to do all that we can to help others.
Monday, March 8, 2010
This is a great verse to remember when you're having a rough time.
Lift up your head - To me that means don't wallow in your troubles. Don't spend your time dwelling on what has gone wrong or how you wish things could be.
Rejoice - Think of all the wonderful things you have in your life. Focus on your blessings and things that are good. Be grateful for the presence of God and the gospel in your life.
Put your trust in God - Turn your troubles over to God and trust that He will help you find the way through. Pray and have faith. Do all that you can do. And then trust God to make things come out for the best... even if it's not what you would have chosen.
Friday, March 5, 2010
2 And it came to pass that there was not one soul, except it were little children, but who had entered into the covenant and had taken upon them the name of Christ.
How incredible that there was NO ONE who did not believe and enter into the convenant. What an incredible experience it would have been to be there to hear King Benjamin speak.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I want to have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually! I've occasionally experienced this. You know how everything goes in cycles... and sometimes you're on a real upswing and on track with all your spiritual development.
When I'm in that mode, I really do feel no disposition to do evil. I'm not tempted to go off the right path, I'm clicking along doing the things I'm supposed to do. Sadly, I haven't been able to maintain that high place and eventually things slide downhill a bit. And while I can't say that I go around doing evil necessarily, I can say that I also don't do all things that I know I should be doing.
I just need to work harder to stay on that high end of the cycle and fight harder when I start the slide down to the lower end of the cycle...
Monday, February 22, 2010
verse 28: And I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you borroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also.
So I'll say again, Melissa... Sorry that I kept your DVD for so long! I didn't mean to sin. And I sincerely hope that I did not cause you to commit sin also. ;)
Friday, February 19, 2010
There are lots of important verses in this chapter. It talks about how Jesus will come to earth in a mortal body. He will atone for our sins. We can take advantage of the atonment to overcome our sins. So lots of great stuff.
But the thing that really stuck in my head?
verse 2: And the things which I shall tell you are made known unto me by an angel from God. And he said unto me: Awake; and I awoke, and behold he stood before me.
I just couldn't stop thinking about what it would be like to be woken from a sound sleep by an angel of God. I think about how startled and jarred I am when I am woken up by normal, everyday things like a cat or a child and imagine how shocked I would be if it were not something normal and everyday. Shock!! and then, of course, Awe. =)
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
This makes me think of various prophets and apostles that I have seen speak in conference. They are old and their bodies are frail. Sometimes they cannot stand. Sometimes they can barely speak. Yet there they are, speaking to us and sharing their wisdom, because they are supported by the Lord God.
Monday, February 15, 2010
I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.
This is just as true for us today. If it were not for the records that were so carefully kept and preserved for us, we would not have the knowledge that we have now. We would have believed in traditions that were not correct because that was all we knew. What a wonderful thing that our Heavenly Father has taken such care to ensure that we could get these truths all these many years later!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
verse 11: And they were handed down from king Benjamin, from generation to generation until they have fallen into my hands. And I, Mormon, pray to God that they may be preserved from this time henceforth. And I know that they will be preserved; for there are great things written upon them, out of which my people and their brethren shall be judged at the great and last day, according to the word of God which is written.
It's amazing to think just how long these records have been preserved and handed down. Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ people were writing these words and now people all over the world can read them. Incredible!
Monday, February 8, 2010
I also feel curious about the backstory that was not written in Omni... Why did Jarom's son Omni fall away from the gospel? And even more curious, after Amaron, Chemish, and Abinadom were all seemingly not religious men, where did Amaleki suddenly come from? How did he learn about the Lord and become faithful enough that he is "exhorting all men to come unto God, the Holy One of Israel" (verse 25)?
Not that it matters overall, of course, I just wonder about these things...
Friday, February 5, 2010
How lucky are we that again in our time we have leaders who are mighty in the faith of the Lord who will teach us the ways of the Lord?
Thursday, February 4, 2010
When Enos prayed in repentance, he was forgiven. He says that his guilt was swept away. I just picture it as a sweet breeze that comes in and sweeps away the guilt and pain of sin, leaving behind the sweet joy he had in forgiveness.
Later in the chapter, he talks about the struggle to keep the Nephites on the right path. It took "exceeding harshness" and "exceedingly great plainness of speech" to "keep them from going down speedily to destruction."
This is something to remember when our leaders speak to us and tell us things that seem too harsh or too hard. Maybe they are speaking to us this way because it is the only way to keep us from going down speedily to destruction.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
I wonder if he had any idea how many years later we would be reading his words? If he knew that his words would be read by people all over the world? If he knew how many, many people would be able to read his words?
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
O be wise; what can I say more?
Really, isn't that just the best advice? Jacob doesn't lay out endless lists of "Do this" and "Don't do that," he just gives us a guideline. Be wise.
Think about what you do. Think about the consequences of your actions. Make good choices. Just be wise.