Wednesday, December 31, 2014

moroni 10

moroni 10 . . .the end
moroni seems to finally be grasping his role as prophet. the way he writes is changed a bit, more mature and assured.
moroni 10:4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
so much hangs on this promise. we hand people over to this promise when we give them a book of mormon to read.
then, in 9-17, moroni gives us an example of the gifts from God, our talents and how different we all are. we are all supposed to be different.
17 And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.
i love this verse-
31 And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.
get up! get moving! do missionary work! it is your duty, get moving!

moroni 9

moroni 9: 5 For so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth me that they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually.

i read this as my husband came in telling me that someone stopped to take a picture of his truck parked half on the sidewalk so he could take it to the police.   there were several other cars parked on the sidewalk, that didn't bother the guy, just the 4 door truck.   this just really brought home to me how much we as a culture are so vengeful, spiteful and nasty sometimes.

 6 And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.

yep, the world is harsh, nasty, wrong, and angry.   that is no excuse for us to be that way or stop trying to change it.  

moroni 8

moroni 8
this chapter does more than put straight the practice of baptism for children.
 8 Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.

Christ came for the sinner, that's me!   i am not whole, Christ came to heal me.
 25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;

 26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.

the other side of this that is really useful to me as a parent, is that God sees little children as without law, or not understanding the law, i have to remember this as i look at my roll as a parent.  my little guy is still learning.  it is my job to teach him.   he is going to make mistakes as he learns, so do i.   if i take this same view of my kids as God does.   it makes a difference in how i deal with them.   the difference is  this-
"you know better!   why would you do that?!" vs. "do you remember that we talked about this?   do you see how this wasn't a good thing?   what might be a better choice/way of doing things?"

this doesn't end with my kids as they turn 8.   yes, they are then held accountable before the Lord, but only for the things they have been taught.   it is my job to continue teaching them.   it changes my reactions when i remember this.

moroni 7

moroni 7
moroni is still not sure what to write. he decides to write something from his father. evidentially, there were followers in mormon's time even though he was forbade form preaching to the general public, he did have a group he was able to speak to that were faithful. and still are at moroni's time since he says that the lamanites are killing anyone who will not deny Christ. this little difference of words is important as we look at their day compared toours. often blanket statements are made in the scriptures that imply "all people" are wicked, "none" are left that follow Christ etc. the same type of language is used for prophecies in our day. even when exact numbers are used, it is often this blanket statement being made, (does Christ really mean we should only forgive to 7 x 70? no.) as we are looking at last days prophecies and symbols, keep these blanket statements in mind. in relation to 7,125,000,000 people in the world, 15,082,028 is a pretty small number. let's put it in perspective. that means that mormons are 0.21% of the population. two tenths of a percent. you would need 5 dollars to get 1 cent at that rate. 

5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.

mormon then talks about how our actions relate to our hearts and how that is counted in eternal terms.   i feel like this chapter is really relevant in everyday life.   this comes to mind when i do something for someone but i am not happy about doing it.   

 14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
this verse is really relevant to the world today.   there is so much pressure to accept political correctness as good when in relation to eternal correctness, it just isn't.

 18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

this one also a daily user too.   the way i look at others is how i will be looked at by God in the last judgement.   kinda makes me want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

 29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. . .  37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men

look for the miracles in your life, everyday.   look for the ministering of angels in your life, everyday.

 45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

i love this really open description of charity.  it is so much more than giving material things.   it is compassion, understanding, kindness . . .a way of thinking , not just a way of giving

Sunday, December 28, 2014

mosiah 18

mosiah 18:8-9 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; 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—

teachings of the presidents, joseph fielding smith, chapt 13- Who, among Latter-day Saints, is seeking a place in the telestial kingdom? Who, among the Latter-day Saints, is seeking a place in the terrestrial kingdom? With those kingdoms we should want nothing to do; it is not the intention of the man who is baptized into the Church, or ought not to be, to so live that he will not find a place in the celestial kingdom of God; for baptism, itself, is the way into that kingdom.

mosiah 13-15

mosiah 13-15
today, abinadi uses the little time he has to put as much info as he can into the heads of his critical audience. i am grateful to not be facing such inquiry. with my son 16, and the missionary age one year closer than it was before, i feel the same urgent need though. i have always liked the part about observing the law of moses but not understanding it. it makes me think of how some days i go through the motions, especially in sacrament. i think i have found more meaning in the sacrament since i started teaching it to my little guy. during sacrament, we look at pictures of Christ and talk about what the sacrament means.

mosiah 11

mosiah 11:  Yea, and thus they were supported in their laziness, and in their idolatry, and in their whoredoms, by the taxes which king Noah had put upon his people; thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity.
 Yea, and they also became idolatrous, because they were deceived by the vain and flattering words of the king and priests; for they did speak flattering things unto them.

this just made me think that the world is pretty deep in this same situation. 
more importantly, do i do this to myself? do i flatter myself to think i am doing enough when i could do more. it's just one more way to make excuses i guess.

mosiah 3

mos 3: 13- even as though he had already come among them.
every time i read this and other verses that refer to believing in Christ as though He had already come, i wonder how different it would be to be looking forward to a time unknown as opposed to looking back to a time that seems unreal. it seems easier to look forward to the second coming than to comprehend something that happened over 2000 years ago. it's funny how even the ones who lived during His time had a hard time really fathoming the whole thing. they mourned Him as though He wouldn't be resurrected. maybe it is just too much for our little brains to handle while the veil is still in place.

jacob 7

jacob 7: 5 made me ask myself about my own "be not moved" part of "stand in holy places and be not moved".   jacob is confronted by a guy named sherem.   sherem is going around trying to tear down the church, it's teachings and the faith of it's members.   " 5 And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken." 

i haven't seen angels but i have heard the voice of God speaking to me through the Holy Ghost.   the problem is that i like goofing off and being lazy too. then i read in the joseph fielding smith chapter 13 for my rs lesson, "Everything that we do should be done in the name of Jesus Christ." what!? man! that's pretty intense.    i mean everything? 

this has just started me thinking. i know that it does not mean we should be serious all the time. i know it does not mean we can't relax. i am just thinking about how i can better use my time but also, not be "on" all the time.

jacob 4

jacob 4 
jacob says that he can't write much of what has been said and done because it's difficult to write on the plates. it would take forever to just write it with a pencil much less carve it into metal plates!   jacob says that they will take the time and trouble to write those most important things on metal plates because the things on plates will last through time.   they have paper and use it to communicate with each other, they use it for scriptures etc.   paper is not really meant to last the centuries though.   just the really important stuff is being engraved on plates with the intention of it being read by future generations.

we had a little example of this done for us in seminary.   our seminary teacher made copper plates, ( i assume he bought some sheets of copper and cut them down to the size of the small plates.  around the size of a large recipe card).   he gave us some tools to write with and a list of glyphs. he told us to write what was most important to us. we had to write it in egyptian letters on the copper plate. we only got one plate and had to do it all in one 90 minute class. we wrote on paper first but then had to condense it down. then we had to press it into the plate. that was not easy! imagine gripping your pencil really tight and then pushing letters into metal. our fingers were sore. we ended up with only a few lines since the plates were small, (we got the small plates of nephi). it was one of the most spiritual lessons we ever had. several of us had personal prophecies revealed to us. our teacher did too.
if you have never boiled down your testimony to the bare bones, i recommend it. in your journal, write your testimony. then condense it down to the most important things. in just a few lines, tell your future generations what you want them to know. it is an amazing experience.

1 nephi 9-10

1 nephi 9-10
the thing that stuck in my mind that i wanted to actually ask all of you about is this. my son and husband don't think God "knows" everything but instead knows what can happen and is just calculating the outcomes. 

this is my take on it- the Holy Ghost is only one place at a time but can affect more than one place at a time just like the sun shines on more than one place on earth at a time while remaining in it's place. (for my science geeks- yes, the sun is moving through the universe and so on and so forth but in relation to the earth, the sun in in one place and the earth is moving etc . . . . but just stick with me here).    i told them that God is kind of like that with time, He sees more than one time at a time, that is why His day is a thousand years. He's operating on a different level.

1 nephi 5-8

as i read 1 nephi 5 -8 i thought a lot about the lesson a couple weeks ago on witnesses of the book of mormon. i thought about how the witness of the Holy Ghost is more powerful than even an angel coming and giving you heck for hitting your brother. laman and lemuel saw an angel and still were "not nice" yet the witness of the Holy Ghost can weave the knowledge into the very fiber of your body and soul.

i thought about the scriptures and treasuring them. "And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy." how much do i treasure them? 

i thought about how much i hold to their teachings, "And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree." do i press forward and cling to them? this paints a picture of struggle and work, grasping at the rod to hold on for dear life in the "whirlwinds" of life.

i thought about how i bore my testimony in class that reading the book of mormon is the most important thing that i do for me every day. some days i lose track of that, even though it is for me. in all of this, i thought back again to the lesson and the reading we are doing with the missionaries in the preach my gospel book. in chapter 5 of preach my gospel it says, Have confidence that the Holy Ghost will testify to anyone who reads and ponders the Book of Mormon and asks God if it is true with a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in Christ. This witness of the Holy Ghost should be a central focus of your teaching." this got me to thinking about how i read. do i read to have this testimony of the Holy Ghost? how would it change my reading if i read not only for peace, guidance and all of the other wonderful things that come from reading the scriptures, but if i read with the goal of having a witness from the Holy Ghost?

Monday, December 8, 2014

the gospel of Jesus Christ kniffel

family home evening on the fly here!
my little blonde curls had his turn at the lesson but just wanted to play kniffel.   (kniffel is kind of like yahtzee but with less rules for little kids)

ok, mom has this covered.   the missionaries asked us to use first five investigator lessons in the preach my gospel book for our family home evening for five weeks.

we used the building blocks lesson for the message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ

we used the plan of salvation game for the plan of salvation.   we simplified it but it was fun and gave a chance to talk about not only this life but temple work for the dead.

this week, was the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

the six sections are:
Through Christ we can be cleansed from sin
Faith in Jesus Christ
Baptism, our first covenant
the gift of the Holy Ghost
endure to the end

playing the game:
you will need the book, ( paper or online), to play or you can simply use the titles to lead a discussion

if you don't happen to have a kniffel game, you will need:

label 5 die with the six sections  . . .ok, just the simple one or two word version: Atonement, faith, repent, baptism, Holy Ghost, endure.   you can make them, glue or use stickers for labels or i just wrote on them and then wiped it off afterwards.

30 markers for each person, coins or buttons or whatever

a paper with 25 squares, 5x5.   it doesn't actually matter what shape it is but that is just easy.

you are trying to collect the first principles of the gospel.   sometimes we are stronger in faith or repentance or whatever.  
each person takes turns rolling the 5 die.   you get to roll 3 times.   whatever you have that matches, you put together.   you might have 2 x faith and then baptism, repentance, and endure.   save faith and have someone read about faith while you take your next two rolls.   just a few sentences, you don't need to read the whole section.   you could just talk about how you might build or gather faith in your life.  

how ever many matching principles you can collect in your three throws, you get one marker for each of them.   if you get all five to match, you get 6 markers.

roll until someone fills their 25 squares.   to be fair, if someone fills their squares, finish the round so that everyone gets to roll the same number of times.    after everyone has rolled, whoever has the most markers wins.

you could use this game for any of the values or anything you want to talk about.   you can play it more like yahtzee or the simple  version we played.   the point is really to talk about what you can do to build your knowledge and faith in the gospel and, of course, to have fun!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

3 nephi 4

3 nephi 4

who do you fear? (verses 7-10)

this is an interesting situation. the nephites have gathered up and blockaded themselves into one place. this totally screws up the plans of the robbers because they are not raising their own food, they are just stealing it. 

with all the land left abandoned, there wasn't anyone left to steal from. the robbers decide to come against the nephites so they might have a chance of getting some food. when everyone shows up, the robbers are sporting the latest in the fashions of war, lamb skins dyed in blood. spiffy!

the nephites see this terrible sight and fall to the earth. (bad fashion affects me the same way.) 

the robbers think the nephites are scared and figure they have this war already won. BUT - the nephites fall to the earth not in fear but to pray.

this made me think today about faith and who you fear. 

i feel like so often we don't do something because of how it might be perceived by others. the nephites didn't care that the robbers thought they were big chickens. they were more concerned about going to Heavenly Father in all humility to ask for help.

we are called to stand as witnesses at all times, in all places and in all things. every time we stand forth as a witness in what we say, do, post, how we dress, what we laugh at and propagate, in all we do we stand against the enemy when we stand for God's side. 

in that daily battle, who do you fear?

3 nephi 3

3 nephi 3

this is another one of those testosterone letters between opposing leaders.

think about this for a minute, we have the good and the bad. the evil, oath taking robbing, marauding gadianton robbers invite the good guys to come be one with them. come join our band that by oath helps each other to do evil and get away with it and we promise that you will get a fair share.
this just reminds me of this song in muppet treasure island-

3 nephi 2

3 nephi 2

the people are less astonished at a wonder of Heaven. do you think we are as blinded today? as the people recognized the miracles less, they recognized the work of satan less.

i am reminded of an episode of "x files" where these devils are sitting in a coffee shop talking about what they have been doing. they agree that people don't recognize them as what they are anymore. 

one says that he showed himself to someone in his true form and the person thought he was crazy and went on a rampage. 

they say that in the old days when a person saw one of them they yelled for them to get hence and be gone, but now, people just think they are crazy. 

do you think that we, as a society and personally, have stopped recognizing the works of Heaven and accordingly the works of the devil for what they really are?

3 nephi 1

3 nephi 1

waiting for a sign. 

it's like the x-games of faith. the people are waiting for a sign that a lamanite shouted from a wall and then disappeared. (the nephite prophets have of course had spiritual verification of this prophecy.) 

now, all they can do is wait. that wasn't so bad as waiting goes, none of us like to wait, but then there was this little thing that made it ever more fun. the wicked have decided to make it a waiting game of life and death. 

imagine the anticipation. getting ready to defend yourself, possibly hiding the night before, praying, listening for that calm and comfort of the spirit. imagine the trust and faith this involved. 

then, the prophet comes and says, it's all good and the sign will be happening just in the nick of time. imagine taking that deep breath and waiting. being prepared to still defend yourself and family because who knows what the other guys are going to do, and because just waiting idly is worse than waiting while busy. 

we are in that holding pattern now. not so near as tomorrow but we have been in the last days for nearly 200 years and the time has been "soon at hand" for quite a while now. so, now we busy ourselves. we prepare, we do all that we can while looking forward and waiting.

helaman 15-16

hel 15 -16

two missionaries working (presumably) unknown to each other, samuel and nephi. 

samuel climbs the wall, tells everyone to repent and they throw stones and shoot arrows at him. that is one tough crowd! God put a deflector shield around him so rocks and arrows are bouncing off of him like nothing. 

the reaction of the crowd is interesting. for some, it kind of wakes them up. they realize what they are doing and what he is saying and they repent. the majority though, get ticked because they can't hit him and decide to go up and get him. 

it's interesting that nephi has been preaching the same thing but none of these people had listened to him either. when they do wake up to the truth, they go to him to be baptized. they are not converted to the person but the word and they recognize that what is being taught is the same. 

i wonder if samuel knew that they left or that they converted. i would have liked to hear this story of some crazy lamanite climbing a wall retold to nephi as to the reason he just got a bunch of converts.

16:14 - 
And angels did appear unto men, wise men, and did declare unto them glad tidings of great joy; thus in this year the scriptures began to be fulfilled.around 3 b.c. angels appear to men, wise men, . . . . we know that the "3 wise men" came from the asian continent.   it is interesting that this was included in the book of mormon.   it must have been very cool for the faithful to hear that it had begun.   

helaman 14

hel 14
samuel the lamanite prophecies of Christ's birth and death. these prophecies must have been given or spread in all the land because it is by these prophesies that the wicked later decide to kill the believers if the sign is not given.

verse 16 is interesting. we are considered dead to God, disinherited, except for the intercession of Christ. i had never thought about it like that. it's not a new concept but i hadn't thought of it like this. 

imagine the sorrow of a Father knowing that His children were all dead. it explains why He and Christ were willing to give up so much. it had to be done so that we don't have to die. 

this mortal, lineal comparison makes it more clear to me. i know what the deaths in my family have caused, i can't imagine suffering it without the knowledge of eternity. God would have faced that without the plan of salvation for the billions of His children. 

i better understand His sorrow for the sins of the world. it's like His children committing suicide. what great pains do we inflict on our Heavenly Parents? it brings new meaning to doc & cov 18:16 - "And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" imagine the great joy of a parent who has seen their child dying and then brought back to life. such is the joy of our Parents. 

i understand better now.

helaman 13

helaman 13: 36 O that we had repented in the day that the word of the Lord came unto us; for behold the land is cursed, and all things are become slippery, and we cannot hold them.
37 Behold, we are surrounded by demons, yea, we are encircled about by the angels of him who hath sought to destroy our souls. Behold, our iniquities are great. O Lord, canst thou not turn away thine anger from us? And this shall be your language in those days.
38 But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.

helaman 12

helaman 12

these chapters have really shown the pride cycle and the wonderful highs and lows that happen in that cycle. this cycle has been happening throughout history but how do you break the cycle in your own life? the prophets have the answer-

helaman 11

helaman 11

you may remember that in the last post, God gave nephi the power over the land.    this time, nephi uses it. 

the people are killing each other so nephi goes to God to ask for a famine instead. nothing like a good famine to chill people out. at least they are not killing each other, they are starving instead. 

imagine how bad it had to be for him to ask for such a thing. imagine how hard it was for him to watch the people starve, knowing that he had brought it upon them.(reminds me of fast sunday, "mom, i'm starving. / we don't force anyone to fast in this house") 

the famine killed off thousands of people and finally brought the people to humility. everyone thinks nephi is awesome when he calls for an end to the famine. 

they follow him for a while, everything goes well which always leads to pride and people being jerks again. this cycle goes around a couple times in this chapter until it ends on a low note in the 85th year.

we see this pride cycle going around and around in the book of mormon. do we recognize it in our own lives? i know i have started to. i have really started to be more watchful for it in myself and have a little sit down with myself. because you can humble yourself, or God can humble you. the diy is much less painful.

helaman 10

hel 10

nephi heads home and is mulling over the things that just happened. kind of like when you get to the other side of an emergency and think, "whoa! what just happened?!" God tells him, "ya did good kid. and now, since you have been working so hard, i am going to give you some more responsibility" (like we do with our kids. God uses the same principle with us, His kids) 

God gives nephi the power to control the earth. ( no pressure ) then He tells him to go back into the mess he just left and let everyone know, while everything that happened is still fresh, that they need to clean up their act or else. (looks like the stressful day isn't over for your hero) 

he goes back and delivers the message which just makes them mad. he spends an undisclosed amount of time preaching and giving everyone fair warning. 

they keep trying to throw him in prison etc., but God has given him the power to control the earth, so prison isn't really a problem anymore. "thus ends the 71st year"

helaman 8-9

hel 8-9

as i hear nephi giving his speech about the sins of the people and then suddenly go into, "go check out what just happened to your judge", i wonder if he was surprised by this statement himself. i have made some large statements that were put into my mouth in the very moment i needed them and felt like that. "what did i just say?", "i just made this statement that i have no idea about".   fortunately, the Lord tends to give testimony to the person saying it well as the ones hearing it so we are left with the wonderment of what just came from our mouths without some reassurance.  

 it happens that nephi's life hangs on this surprise prophecy.   to top it off, it ends up with his life depending on further prophecy concerning the matter.    of course, he is given further signs for the people, really
 really specific signs.   i imagine nephi was relying heavily on the reassurance of the Spirit in this situation.

it reminds me of the prophecy of pres lorenzo snow regarding the drought and tithing. he prays and asks God why he was prompted to give this promise and prayed that it would be fulfilled. the church is young and having trouble. pulling it out of debt rests on his shoulders. the people are suffering because of drought but then he spits out this wild prophecy at conference. there was no warning, it's like God hijacks his mouth.   then even the prophet has to wait for it to happen, he has to sit back and watch and hope he hasn't lost his mind by saying something like this. his faith is required as much as the faith of the people.

helaman 7

helaman 7

nephi testifies and is rejected - do we listen to the voices of the prophets?

then, the people are blinded - elder ballard talks about why that happens and how to recognize it. "satan is a dirty fighter"

helaman 6 - WWJD

helaman 6

things start off good but then the good old pride circle continues. the nephites go bad but the lamanites stick with the gospel. 

i love the recurring example of the word of God being stronger than the sword. the nephites convert those who are tickin' them off. who is your biggest pain in the patootie? i often ask myself, "what would Jesus do?" only to come up with an answer along the lines of "strike them dumb" or some other power of Christ but not the ways of Christ.   often, i feel that "WWJD" isn't really helping me because i am just not Him.   so i have to do a little self adjusting first.

*personal testimony time-
i have some people that work my nerves and i have learned to pray for them. 

over the last few years, we have struggled with certain people. some have had progress and others not.  changing them isn't the point though.   that is probably the first point.   it's not about them.

here are some things we have done that have helped us.

prayer.   praying for them really helps.   this is really hard with some people.   we have had some people that have out right done some bad things to our family and it was hard to pray for them.   i don't pray for them to be better, just for them in general.   this is probably the most important thing you can do though.   praying for someone changes your heart.   that is the most important part.  changing your own heart.

(for family) expressing love for them.    saying i love you has made a difference in one in particular.   it is such a small thing but showing kindness to someone who is not kind to you, makes a difference.  if nothing else, you know you are doing the right thing . . .no matter how hard it is.

allowing them space, i know that seems like a cop out but there are some things that need time and space. we are finally seeing some more progress in another person.    it is slow and simply being able to talk to a person without a fight breaking out may seem a small thing but it is something that i wondered if it would ever happen. 

none of these changes came from me changing them. they came from me changing me. i changed how i dealt with them. i really found the WWJD.    i am sure He would be better and more powerful than i am, but i am doing what i can do. i am grateful for the little progress, the little things.    it takes patience . . .A LOT ....but it does make a difference. even if it doesn't make a difference in their lives, it makes a difference in mine.

back to the top, it doesn't take a preaching of the word as such. it takes a practicing of the word towards those around us to make a difference. might feel like it is never going to happen but look for the little tender mercies and change will come in you. that's really what matters, the rest has to just be trusted to the Lord.

helaman 5

helaman 5:5-14

these 9 verses contain the word remember 15 times! sounds like helaman thinks we need a remembrall. at least this time, we are being told what we might be forgetting, unlike poor neville and his smoke turning red for some forgotten reason
what does helaman want his sons and us to remember?

1 "remembered the words of their father." - that stuff that comes back to you when you are an adult and don't want to admit to your parents that they were right.   

2 keep the commandments and declare them unto the people.  no soap box needed.   just live what you believe.   don't keep your beliefs a secret.   don't be afraid to explain why you do what you do.   

3 remember your names. for the boys, it was the names nephi and lehi but we have taken the name of Christ upon ourselves as members of his church.   we need to remember His name because others see His name upon us and watch what we do with it.

4 when you remember your name you will remember them. remember the person or in our case, Jesus Christ.   not only do what He did.   we are not expected to be perfect.   remember His name and do your best.   when your best isn't great .. . or even good . . . .remember Him.  it is through His name that we can be forgiven.

5-6 when ye remember them, remember their works. what did Jesus do?

7-8 when you remember their works, know that it was good. what would Jesus do?   not only do what He did, but let His reasons for doing things be your reasoning.   

9 double remember here- the words of king benjamin. in our case, the words of the prophets.   they always try to turn our thoughts to Christ and His sacrifices for us.

10 remember repentance. it's the only way to come to Christ. remember those drops blood that were shed specifically for you. use them when needed and try not to do things that will make you need more.

11 remember the Atonement and that it is for the whole world.
12 remember the words of the personal teachers and personal experience that you have had.
13-14 another double whammy of remember - Christ must be the foundation. build upon His words. anchor yourself to His teaching and build there. if you do that, you can withstand anything.
15 they did remember the words and then put the words into action.

helaman 5

hel 5
1-4 - nephi and lehi, sons of helaman, get tired of the wickedness that has taken over the people. they have voted in wickedness, (makes casting your vote in the next election that much more important). 

the wickedness is actually tiring to them. i know that feeling. i have kids . . .kidding.   their being naughty sometimes is nothing like wickedness.   but being surrounded by ever deeper sinking moral and social values is tiring.  

lehi and nephi  didn't sit back and complain or just update their statuses to some political satire, they got active.   they got out there.

how do we do that?   first and foremost, be informed.   get the whole story and not just the one the media is presenting.   vote if you are able to.   write to your elected officials.   volunteer in the community.   live your beliefs publicly.   one voice may not change the world, but it can make a difference in one part of the world.   

helaman 4

helaman 4

the lamanites come up against the nephites again and again. 

when the nephites are faithful, they win and when they are not, they don't. 

verse 13 is great! it is so poignant and blunt.   kind of sums it all up -

13 And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites, until they had lost possession of almost all their lands.

this is one of the things i have struggled with and am trying to overcome. when i start to think i am pretty smart, i have a little talk with myself and remind me how i got to where i am and who put me there and that i would like to not be left to my own strength.

helaman 3

helaman 3

26-30 thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all. . . we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, . . And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven

i am teaching a lesson on genealogy this sunday and this is applied to both sides of the veil. so, if you haven't started your family history, please do. 

with that theme - i want to share a story about my grandmother. she served translating old german records and preparing them for the temple for many years. she was expert at deciphering the photos of old torn, damaged records kept by german priests. (this is before the digital age so she was working with photos of pages). she would carefully compare the handwriting from several pages so she could make out bad handwriting or damaged pages. once she spent a whole week working on a page before finally being able to process one name from it. one name!   someone asked her about it, why would she do that when others were submitting hundreds of names in the same amount of time. she told him she wasn't interested in numbers, but people. she said that to that one person who had been waiting 600 years for work to be done, that one name was everything. that is what mattered to her.

now, we have digital records, massive amounts of info at our fingertips.   we are still processing pictures or old pages, but it is much easier now.   we can work from computerized, high res pictures that we can change the light, color, and zoom on.   there are millions of people all over the world working on them all the time.   you can search through those records much easier now too.   no sifting through pages and pages or books on end.   we have handy search windows.   yay!

you don't even have to be a member to use the site so use it yourself and share it with others. family history is a huge missionary tool. pray for the opportunity and it will present itself. it will come up in conversation or words will come to you or something will open up for you to talk about family history. it can be the gate to bring not only that person to the gospel, but all their generations before them and after them as well.

helaman 2

i love helaman 2

the political issues that ended up killing off a few of the pahoran family continues. now, helaman son of helaman (the guy writing the book) is in the hot seat. 

he is fortunate to have some sly guys working for him though. kishkumen figures he can go in and take out the leader again. (he is just a nice guy that way. i don't think this is what is meant by being politically active) 

helaman has a guy that has figured out the secret signs of the gang. (at this point, i envision hagrid finding harry in knockturn alley and telling him he shouldn't be there. but then harry asking what hagrid is doing there) in both cases, it's a good thing these guys are in the wrong place at the right time. 

the servant finds out the plan, tells kishkumen that he will help and then stabs kishkumen in the back . . .no really . . .well, technically in the heart but he killed the murderous gangster anyway. i love this kind of irony! the servant tells helaman all about it. 

the leader of the gang at this point is gadianton. i don't know why, but this name sticks. the gang has been around for a while but gadianton is the name that stays. 

gadianton gets freaked when kishkumen doesn't come back and they get outta dodge so to speak. we know they will be back but the day, at least for now, is saved and fade to black . . . . . .

helaman 1 continued

helaman 1

15 - 21 Coriantumr is a really big and really smart dude. the king of the lamanites figures he can send Coriantumr in and he will totally wipe the floor with the nephites.
 he starts to because of all the chaos that has been taking place with the 3 brothers arguing over who will be chief judge. everyone is taken by surprise. Coriantumr marches right into the heart of the land and into zarahemla itself, finds the last of the 3 ring circus of brothers that caused this mess in the first place and kills him. (now, the pahoran family has lost 4)

23-29 Coriantumr figures he has the nephites on the run so he just keeps plowing the road. the leader of the nephites sees this and decides he better nip this thing in the bud. lehi and his army are sent to head off the lamanites and succeed in keeping them from doing further damage. whew! that was close! 

30-34 Moronihah, the nephite leader, comes in with his army behind coriantumr and together with lehi and his army, they totally kick lamanite booty. that was no easy task and it was pretty close.

i am all for plunging into things to try them out. some things are a totally fabulous and some are fabulous fails. at least i learn what not to do. somethings, are better left untouched though. we hear about addictions of all kinds spreading like wild fire. why is it best to stay clear? well, you'll end up in the middle of enemy territory and end up hurtin'. 
so . . . what if you are already in? you have plunged in, and now, you are knee to neck or more deep. the nice thing about the Atonement is there is always a way back out. it might not be fun and it will require a lot of work, but God is willing to pull you out. we have all gone into some kind of sin and needed back out. none of us will get through life without that situation happening often. it may not be addiction, but some kind of addictive sinful behavior. (some are not something you can actually stay away from. swearing, lying, unkind or unclean words come out of your own mouth! those are hard habits to break as well) so, just think of the big smart dude that still ended up dead and remember that you can still turn back, there is a way out, no matter how deep you get.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

helaman 1 secret combinations

helaman 1
secret combinations

gangs, drug cartels, and the mob is the obvious modern day equivalent of the gadianton robbers.
what other secret combinations do you see in everyday life?
business, politics, closer to home in smaller ways?

helaman 1 - brotherly love

helaman 1

*2-3 the chief judge dies and evidentially, the nephites have forgotten that the judgement seat doesn't have to pass from father to son. they are voting between 3 sons. 

*5 pahoran jr. (or pj ) wins the voice of the people. 

*6 pj's brother Pacumeni abides by the vote and throws his support behind the voice of the people. 

*7-8 the other brother, Paanchi, stirs up some trouble, is tried and executed because he has tried to start a coup. (brotherly love to the extreme going on in this family.   bet that was a great day to be the chief judge.   no matter how much trouble the brother starts, signing his death warrant had to really stink. ) 

*9-12 the execution of paanchi doesn't stop his followers from trying to continue his coup efforts. those who seek power and trouble will use any excuse.   they take up the good old secret combos and send kishkumen to kill the new leader, pj. (pahoran's family lost him and 2 sons in the space of very little time. wow! what is power worth when weighed against a life? i hope dear mrs. pahoran sr. wasn't alive to see all this going on among her children.) 

13-14 pacumeni actually gets the seat and reigns in the chaos of another lamanite attack. whee! here we go again

moral of the story? first, what is your family worth? what are you willing to give or give up for your family?

alma 62 - faith storage

alma 62:39-41
how's your faith storage coming?

alma 60-61 what are you thinking?

alma 60-61
what are you thinking?
i love the conversation between moroni and pahoran in these chapters.

moroni writes to the governor to ask him why the government isn't supporting the troops. he is pretty ticked off and can't really wait for a back and forth chat session. moroni admits that there could be a problem if the enemy has disrupted the power but more forcefully expounds what is expected and what is going to happen if his expectations are not met.

pahoran then replies. he has been chastised for something he hasn't done. he is grateful for moroni's willingness to defend the country and would like him to come set things in order with all the power he promised since the government really has been usurped by the enemy. 

why the conference talk? this convo between moroni and pahoran kind of reminds me of a marriage. now, i have learned that a long rant doesn't really do much when you're face to face except bore the person to death, but concept of a back and forth and misunderstandings is relatable to us all. 

how do we handle the misunderstandings?

do we accept that the other person might have a different view and try to work from that? 

both the convo between moroni and pahoran and the situation in elder zwick's life are a great example of working through difference of opinion, misunderstandings and general communication.