Posts Tagged 'God’s Plan'

2 Kings Chapter 21

Hezekiah, was the king of Judah in a time when most of the land of Israel was taken over by other nations. Hezekiah had ruled in righteousness and had the blessing of the Lord’s protection for himself and the people of Jerusalem. At one point, he allowed himself to give into the temptation to be prideful and showed all his treasures to the Babylonians. In response, the Lord promised Hezekiah that the people of Judah would be taken captive into Babylon. These things would effect his descendants in the days of his sons. When Hezekiah died, his son, Manasseh, became king. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzi-bah.
2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.
3 For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.
4 And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem will I put my name.
5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.
6 And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
7 And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the Lord said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:
8 Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.
9 But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel.

At the age of twelve, Manasseh became king. He ruled until he was about 67 years old, or for about 55 years. He did not follow after the ways of his father, who had destroyed all the idols and repaired the temple of the Lord. Instead, he followed after the ways of many others who had ruled before Hezekiah, building the temples, altars and groves for other gods. He also built other altars within the temple of the Lord, which were designed to worship other gods there. He sacrificed his own sons and did all manner of wickedness associated with idolatry. He placed an idol in the temple, in the sacred place where great promises had been made to the faithful kings of the land, such as David and Solomon. He desecrated the Holy temple of the Lord. Manasseh led the people into greater evil than even the heathen nations that were found in the land before the children of Israel arrived there. (see also 2 Chronicles 33)

It is hard to think that the son of one who had lived so righteously, would live so wickedly. His father had only been an influence in his life for twelve years, he was young and I am sure that there were still many people who were wicked, who were able to influence his impressionable mind. It all would come down to his individual agency, or the kinds of choices he made, because of the influences he had. This teaches how important it is to influence our youth for good. Our youth will one day become those who lead the world. All future generations will be influenced by our children and their choices. We can make a difference in the future, by being the right kind of examples and giving our youth the tools they need to make good choices for themselves.

10 And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying,
11 Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols:
12 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.
13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of
Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.
14 And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies;
15 Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.
16 Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

Prophets were called by God, to speak to the people. The prophecy and word of the Lord, was that Manasseh had done greater wickedness than all those before him and had caused Judah to do these things along with him. Because of this, a great evil would come upon all of Judah and those who heard the prophecy would feel their ears tingle, a witness of its truth. The people of Judah would be destroyed and forsaken, delivered into the hand of their enemies to be killed or made slaves. The Lord also said that Manasseh had shed so much innocent blood, that it filled Jerusalem. A lot of blood can be shed by one man in a reign of 55 years.

17 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
18 And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.

These were not all of the acts of Manasseh, but more were recorded. Manasseh died and his son, Amon, became the king.

19 Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.
20 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh did.
21 And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them:
22 And he forsook the Lord God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the Lord.

Amon reigned from the age of 22 to 24, continuing in the wickedness of his father. He did not follow after God, but chose to follow after idols and continue to lead the people in idolatry.

23 And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house.
24 And the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.
25 Now the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
26 And he was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza: and Josiah his son reigned in his stead.

His servants conspired against him and killed him. The people of Jerusalem killed those who had conspired against the king and then made Josiah, the son of Amon, the king.

This chapter causes me to think about the Lord’s timing. There had been many years now, in which great wickedness had been allowed to continue, even after the first prophecy of the destruction of the people of Jerusalem and Judah. In their great wickedness, I am sure they would not have believed it was ever going to happen, since they had been allowed to continue to live as they were. But, how often do the wicked believe in the prophecies of the Lord? Nevertheless, the Lord has always done things at the time that was right for his purpose. His purpose being to allow the greatest number of souls to be redeemed as possible, in order to have eternal life. Moses 1:39 reads, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” The prophets seem to have been proclaiming a warning call, giving the people of Jerusalem every opportunity to repent and return to the Lord. Likewise, there was also going to be a day when a Savior would come, and the timing of their destruction would influence the lives of all the generations that would someday come from these wicked and idolatrous people. The word of this prophecy would eventually be fulfilled , and only those who heeded the word of the Lord, would be able to avoid destruction. We can learn about at least one group who avoided this specific time of destruction in The Book of Mormon (see 2 Kings 24 and 1 Nephi 1). Recognizing this, should help us to see that we have the opportunity to heed the warnings of the prophets as well. Will we follow after the world and be led to destruction, or will we follow after the prophets and avoid it?

Ponderizing – Week 7 Thoughts

The verse I have chosen to ponderize this week, is
John 13:20 (see also D&C 39:5, D&C 84:37).

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

These are the words of the Lord, Jesus Christ, to his disciples during what we call the last supper. Men would be chosen by the Lord to represent Him throughout the world. In the church that he had established in his earthly ministry, and just after his resurrection, the Lord chose apostles whom he sent throughout the land. Among them were Peter, John, and later Paul. These men bore strong witness of the Lord, to men of their day. Their missions and writings were recorded by inspiration, and we have some of them today in the Bible. If the Lord were only speaking of those who would be chosen in that time, which I don’t believe he was, we have the opportunity to follow his admonition as well. If we choose to receive them, by receiving their words, we receive Christ and His Father, who sent Him.

Likewise, I believe that the resurrected Lord appeared to men in the Americas, and he called disciples to preach among them. Their stories are found in the Book of Mormon, and when we choose to receive those words, we receive the Lord also.

The Lord’s mission did not begin with his mortal birth, but rather in the heavens before earth began. Since that time, He has chosen many men, to do His work, to lead His people, and to testify of Him. We can find some of their stories and teachings throughout the rest of our holy scriptures. We can choose to receive their words as well, and when we do so, we receive God.

Furthermore, I believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth, just as was promised in ancient revelations. I believe that the Lord has chosen modern prophets and apostles, along with many others who have been called to bear witness of the Savior in our day. I believe the promise remains the same. If we receive them, their writings and their words of revelation and testimony, we receive the Lord.

How do we receive them? We start by reading and listening to the words of the scriptures and messages given today. Then, we believe in them, believe that they are indeed chosen and called of God, and we hearken to their council. To receive them, we need to experiment upon their words, test them at the things they promise, and watch for the blessings to follow. We receive them, by gaining and strengthening our personal testimonies through their examples and teachings. As we do these things, our hearts will be softened and opened to accepting the Lord and His atonement into our lives. This has been His purpose from before the creation, because when we accept the Lord, we choose to align our lives with God’s plan for us. Ultimately, we are choosing to take the path, which will lead us back to our Father in Heaven. When we receive those whom the Lord has chosen and sent to guide us, we choose to receive our Father in Heaven. This is what God wants for all of His children, even eternal life for all.

I know that this is an idea that is becoming less popular in the world today. Following the words of ancient and modern prophets, is seen as archaic and traditions of the past. However, I have a testimony that their words are true and that they were and are truly prophets and apostles of the Lord. Their mission has been and will continue to be, to bring souls to Christ. I am so grateful for their teachings and the amazing blessings that have come to my own life through listening to their words. My prayer, is that more people will choose to receive them and accept the gifts and blessings they offer to us.

The Creation

This is the fifth chapter of the Gospel Principles manual for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To view the entire lesson, go here: The Creation

God’s Plan for Us – Why did we need to come to the earth?

This question is one I have reflected on quite a bit lately. It is the purpose of our life. We came so that we can learn, grow and progress. We came so that we could become like our Father in Heaven. We came so that we could gain a body and experiences we could not have in the immortal state of heaven. We came so that we could have salvation and exaltation in eternity. God said, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39)” To read more of my thoughts on this, go here: What is the Purpose of Our Lives?.

Why do you think we shouted for joy when we learned of the plan of salvation?

In the scriptures we can read of when Job asked God how the earth was created. In Job 38:7 he asked, “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” In the counsel in heaven, the hosts of heaven shouted for joy at the presentation of the plan of salvation. I think that we understood that we could go no further in the eternities without this amazing opportunity. I think we rejoiced in the ideas of what would come as a reward for living a good life. I think we rejoiced to know that we could prove ourselves to our Father in Heaven.

Carrying Out the Creation – What are the purposes of the Creation?

As part of the plan, the earth had to be created physically for us to inhabit. All living things on the earth had to be created as well. Jesus, under the direction of Heavenly Father, created the earth and all that grew and lived on it. In Moses 1:33 we read, “And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.” I believe also, that many souls had the opportunity to serve in the creation, under the direction of the Savior. This earth was created in most simple terms, for the use of man.

However, there is so much more to the purpose of the creation than purely giving us a place to live in our mortal bodies. An even greater purpose of the creation, is to give us knowledge and wisdom. That may seem an odd thing to say, but I believe it is true. Everything we ever do, in our entire existence, has to do with creating. Understanding the creation of the earth and all things on it, helps us to learn of our own potential. In Doctrine and Covenants 132:20 we read of our potential, “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” We are working towards being able to create our own worlds, as gods in heaven. As we learn of the creation, we learn that order, work and rest are eternal principles that must be applied in all areas of our lives. When we take the time to learn about the creation, we learn to see the eternal value of all things. We can be more grateful and love with a greater love.

The earth was created to teach us how to properly take care of our own. In Doctrine and Covenants 104:13 we read, “For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.” This is part of what we will be judged on when we return to Him someday. The creation teaches us the responsibility and divine traits of caring and nurturing that we need to strive towards.

The creation teaches us that the principle of delegation is also an eternal principle. God delegated to His Son, and the creation was the result. We can see that as parents we need to allow our own children the opportunity to create so that they can reach their own potential. We learn that allowing others to help us, gives everyone the opportunity to grow. These are just a few of the reasons that the earth was created.

God’s Creations Show His Love – How do God’s creations show that He loves us?

God’s creations are for man. In Doctrine and Covenants 59:20 we read, “And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.” We learn in the scriptures that mankind has been given dominion over all of God’s other creations on earth. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26)” In a way, God has given all his creations to us as gifts. They are all for our good, and ultimately for our joy. In 2 Nephi 2:25 we read, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” Even those things that are annoyances to us now, are for our learning and growth, which will lead to an even greater joy in heaven.

What are some things you appreciate about God’s creations?

One of the things that I appreciate most about God’s creations is beauty. Ecclesiastes 3:11 reads, “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time . . .”. There is so much beauty in the way things have been made, as well as in the appearance of those things. I think that the way the human body works, with so many little parts working perfectly with other parts, is a beauty that cannot be duplicated by man. I think that the world in its different seasons, has beauties that are magnificent and inspiring. I saw a huge rainbow over my home this weekend and it was beautiful and amazing to see. I also appreciate the individuality of everything, even when things seem similar. The individuality makes me feel a personal love from God that is touching. I appreciate how things have been created to have relationships with others. The trees having need for us to live, and our need for the trees, is one relationship that amazes me often. The way the water cycle works to replenish the earth is incredible. There are purposes to things that we don’t even recognize yet, I am sure of it.

I am so grateful for the creations of my Father in Heaven. I am honored to be among such beautiful things each and every day. I hope that as I grow, I can become a better creator, and that someday I will be worthy of creating worlds as well.

What is the Meaning Our Lives Have?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

The declaration reads, “We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction.” I think that one of the things this means, is that our lives matter. We are each valued children of God. There are times in life when we feel insignificant and small. That is a feeling that Satan wants us to have. It leads us to making the wrong decisions because we feel that it has no bearing on anything or anyone else. This is completely against God’s plan. The scriptures teach us that we are more than that. In Moses 1:39 we read, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” The word man in this scripture means mankind. In 1 Corinthinas 15:22 we read, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The Savior atoned for all of us to save all of us. God’s plan is not specific to those who are well-known or well-off. It is not specific to those who are the poor and needy either. It is not specific to men or women alone. It applies to all of us; old and young, rich and poor, male and female, sinner and saint. We are all included because each of us has meaning.

The Savior taught us the value of the one in the following parable found in Luke 15:

3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

To truly understand why we each are of value to a God of so many souls we cannot number them, one must come to an understanding that we are children of God. He is our Heavenly Father. (See my earlier post: How Do We Know We Are Spiritually Born of God?)

I think that any Christian would agree with me when I say that God loved His Son. Otherwise, why would he introduce the Savior as His Beloved? In Matthew 3:17 we read, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus Christ was beloved of God, and He was given as a sacrifice for each individual who has ever lived on this earth. John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Why would God, who is so much greater than us all, give His only begotten Son to us, if we did not matter? The point is, that we do matter. In Doctrine and Covenants 18 we read these words:

10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.

One of my favorite talks given, was by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In a talk titled “You Matter to Him” given in the last general conference, he said the following:

And while we may look at the vast expanse of the universe and say, “What is man in comparison to the glory of creation?” God Himself said we are the reason He created the universe! His work and glory—the purpose for this magnificent universe—is to save and exalt mankind. In other words, the vast expanse of eternity, the glories and mysteries of infinite space and time are all built for the benefit of ordinary mortals like you and me. Our Heavenly Father created the universe that we might reach our potential as His sons and daughters.

This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast. We have the incomprehensible promise of exaltation—worlds without end—within our grasp. And it is God’s great desire to help us reach it.

. . . Brothers and sisters, the most powerful Being in the universe is the Father of your spirit. He knows you. He loves you with a perfect love.

God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him.

I could not say it any better than that. An apostle of the Lord, called for our days, teaches us here that our lives truly do have meaning. We matter to our Father in Heaven. We should live in a way that shows Him that we understand that we matter to Him. I am so grateful for an understanding, small as it is, that I am a daughter of God, that he loves me, that even though I am seemingly insignificant in the expanse of time and space, I have great individual worth and my salvation is just as important as any other creation of God.

Our Father in Heaven

I recently studied the last chapter of the LDS Gospel Principles manual, but I realized that when I had studied the first few chapters back in 2010, I did not post about them. I want that category to be complete, so I am going to do a few posts from the beginning of the book. To view the entire lesson, go here: Our Father in Heaven.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that there truly is a God. I believe that there is only one true God and that He is our creator and Father of our spirits. I believe that he loves us and that he wants us to become like Him and live with Him again someday.

What are some things that testify to you that there is a God?

There is evidence of God all around us. In my opinion, it is impossible to look at the expanse of the stars in heaven and doubt that something wonderful created them for us. There is evidence of a creator in the amazing things of nature that are all around us. How the planets move is evidence to me. The cycle of water is evidence to me. The way our bodies work is evidence to me. Just the other day, I was watching a flock of birds in their v-shaped pattern. There was one in front making it easier for the rest to fly and then moving gracefully together. As I watched, I thought of how perfect the natural instinct to work together was for those birds and how there must have been a God to create such beauty and skill. My favorite scripture passage is about nature in relation to God. In Doctrine and Covenants 88 we read the following:

42 And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons;
43 And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.
44 And they give light to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years—all these are one year with God, but not with man.
45 The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.

This is a testimony of the power and majesty of God. I have grown up in the church, so I’ve heard of God for as long as I can remember. This however, is not the reason for my belief in God. I have felt the witness of the spirit in my own heart, confirming that God is real and that he loves me. The spirit testifies to me that there is a God.

The scriptures, which I believe to be true, testify of God. In Moses 7:4 we read, “And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; and he said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations.” Moses saw God and talked with him face-to-face. Also, in Genesis 32 we read the following:

29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

Jacob also saw God face to face. These are just two witnesses of a physical manifestation of God to man on the earth.

What are some of God’s attributes?

God is eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, wise, loving, merciful and kind. As a member of the LDS faith, I believe that there is a great deal we can understand about God’s physical attributes as well. God is our spiritual Father, and therefore we are created in His image. In Genesis 1:27 we read, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” This means that God has a body with flesh and bones, just as we do. In Genesis 32:30 we read, “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” God has a face, just as we have a face. In Exodus 24:10 we read, “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.” He has feet, as we have feet. In Exodus 31:18 we read, “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” God has hands with fingers, just as we do. Then in Matthew 3:17 we read, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” God speaks as we speak. He is not always understood by mankind, but he does speak to us.He is a resurrected, perfected being Himself, so he does not have the blood of mortality, but I believe that He did at one time. His body is one of glory, which has been described with words such as fire and light. In short, God is not some unknown mass in his physical nature, but we can know what He looks like, because He created us to be like Him.

He is a separate being from His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Spirit, the Holy Ghost. When He appeared with His Son, to the prophet, Joseph Smith, it was witnessed that they were two personages. In Joseph Smith-History 1:17 we read the account, “It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” Likewise, we read in Acts 7:55, “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,” God, the Father, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Savior of all mankind. God is a being of order and has a plan laid out for all people, so that we would have the best opportunity to have eternal life and salvation. In his great love, He does all that He we allow Him to do, to bring us back to dwell with him forever. He is the master teacher and gives us every opportunity to learn of Him. He knows us better than anyone else and therefore knows just how we will learn eternal principles the best. He gives us the gift of His Spirit to be with us and help us in so many ways. God is the giver of agency and awesome spiritual gifts as well. I am so grateful for the gifts that God gives me.

Why is it important for us to understand the nature of God?

If we are able to understand the nature of God, we can better understand His plan and why we should do what is right. When we understand that God is a loving and kind father, we know that all things that make us feel unloved and mis-treated are not from Him, but are counterfeits of Satan. God’s ways are always good because that is the nature of God. In Alma 7:20 we read, ” 20 I perceive that it has been made known unto you, by the testimony of his word, that he cannot walk in crooked paths; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said; neither hath he a shadow of turning from the right to the left, or from that which is right to that which is wrong; therefore, his course is one eternal round.” When we understand that God is the same now as he was in ancient times, we will not be led astray by those who say we need to change with the times. When we understand that God is a being that we are created after, we can better see ourselves coming closer to Him, and eventually being able to be like Him. When we understand that his plan is to give us joy and happiness forever, we can make choices that will lead us down His path of righteousness. In John 17:3 we read, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Knowing God is what will bring us salvation. If we do not try to understand and know Him, when the opportunity has been placed before us, then we bring about our own destruction here and damnation in the spirit world.

How can we come to know God?

In Doctrine and Covenants 93:1 we read, “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;”. These are the ways that we come to know God: repentance, faith, prayer, and obedience to the commandments. This may sound like the typical Sunday School response, but sometimes the simplest answer is the best. I believe that this is true. We come to know God by following His words, which we find when we study the scriptures and listen to the prophets today. His words teach us these principles of repentance, faith, prayer, and obedience. We cannot expect to live with God again, if we do not take the time to understand the ways of His kingdom. When we live His word, we will become more like Him and will be deserving of His glory when we face Him again someday.

Jesus taught his disciples that if we would look to Him, we would come to know God, the Father. In John 14:6-9 we read the following:

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

We know the Father, by following His Son. I am so grateful that we have the example of Jesus Christ to look towards, so that we can become more like God. I know that God lives and that He loves each of us. I know that we can truly know Him, by following His commandments. I am so grateful for the gospel which teaches us these things, and that the scriptures are made available to us in so many ways today. I hope that all people can discover the nature of God and experience the blessings of joy that come from living to know God.

Moses Chapter 4

In the preceding chapters of Moses, the Lord has taught Moses face to face, about the creation of all things on the earth, that these things existed before their earthly creation, about the first commandments given to man, and about eternal marriage. He continues to teach Moses about the things that happened in the pre-mortal existence:

1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.
2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.

God refers to the confrontation that Moses just had with Satan, who had tried to tempt him to obey and worship him. The Lord teaches Moses that this same spirit sat in the council in heaven with us. In the premortal existence, we heard the plan of God, which included having a Savior to redeem us, so that we could return. Satan, or Lucifer, volunteered to bring all the children of God back to the presence of God. I think we see here the selfishness of Satan. He wanted the honor of God to be his, and he wanted to be the one with the power to save everyone else. Satan was not the “Beloved and Chosen from the beginning”, but he wanted to have the greatest purpose. Instead, our Savior said that He would do the will of God, and the glory would be God’s. Satan wanted to make us all return by taking away the gift of agency, which had been given to us for our learning and progression. The will of God, our Father in Heaven, is that we should use our agency to decide for ourselves how to live in this life and the eternities. A lot of unrighteous things come from wanting the best for people, but trying to get the result by doing the wrong things. This is a tactic that Satan has used from the beginning, to get us to fall away from God.

When Satan rebelled, he was removed from the presence of God and became the devil of this world. His desire is to lead men astray. When we fall into temptations, we hand over a portion of our agency to Him and become his servants. Satan will continue to attack those who are trying to live righteously and we will be better prepared against him, if we know what his purposes are.

5 And now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which I, the Lord God, had made.
6 And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him,) and he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world.
7 And he said unto the woman: Yea, hath God said—Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (And he spake by the mouth of the serpent.)
8 And the woman said unto the serpent: We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
9 But of the fruit of the tree which thou beholdest in the midst of the garden, God hath said—Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
10 And the serpent said unto the woman: Ye shall not surely die;
11 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
12 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it became pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and also gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat.

Satan began his work to destroy God’s plan for man, with Adam and Eve. As the Father of all lies, he has a way of taking the truth and distorting or manipulating it so that people will think it is true. Eve had been given the commandment not to eat the fruit, but Satan lied to her and told her she would not die as God has said. Satan was trying here, to make God look like the liar. I think that he would have hoped that she would trust Satan over God if she believed this lie. We know that God was the one who spoke the truth, because we now experience both spiritual death (separation from God) and physical death (separation from our bodies).

Satan was able to convince Eve to partake of the fruit, and even though this is what he wanted in hopes of destroying God’s plan, he made the remainder of God’s plan possible. Satan did not know that this fall would be necessary for the plan of God to go forward. Satan told Eve about the gift of knowledge and wisdom that would come from eating the fruit, which did come. This knowledge makes us more like God, because we can have experiences, learn and grow. I think that Satan wanted Eve to feel like God’s commandment was meant to stop them from being like Him. Eve had a desire for wisdom, and so she partook of the fruit. Then she gave some to Adam so that he would also have wisdom. In the LDS church, we do not believe that Adam and Eve sinned against God by partaking of the fruit. Rather, we believe that they made a transgression of the law that God had given them, because if they had not done this, the plan of God would have been frustrated. I am so grateful to have the knowledge of what happened with Adam and Eve, and to celebrate Eve’s decision, because it means that I could live my life and learn and grow to be more like my Savior and Father in Heaven.

13 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they had been naked. And they sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons.
14 And they heard the voice of the Lord God, as they were walking in the garden, in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife went to hide themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

Partaking of the fruit, gave them the ability to have feelings and emotions that they did not know before then. One of these was the feeling of shame. Because of their shame, Adam and Eve covered themselves with leaves. Then, they hid themselves from God when they heard him coming. I think they did this out of shame and the feeling that they were not worthy to be in the Lord’s presence. We will all have the opportunity to face the Lord after this life and if we have not made use of the atonement through repentance, we will also feel unworthy to be in His presence.

15 And I, the Lord God, called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where goest thou?
16 And he said: I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I beheld that I was naked, and I hid myself.
17 And I, the Lord God, said unto Adam: Who told thee thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, if so thou shouldst surely die?
18 And the man said: The woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat.
19 And I, the Lord God, said unto the woman: What is this thing which thou hast done? And the woman said: The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Part of the repentance process is confessing our sins and transgressions to God. This is the pattern that we must follow in order to being the repentance process. First, we must realize that we have done something wrong, and feel sorrow for it. Adam admitted that he felt ashamed for his nakedness, and acknowledged his unworthiness. Then, we must admit to the things we have done wrong and acknowledge our participation in them. Adam admitted to eating the fruit. I like that our example has an explanation of why he did this. It is not wrong for us to explain why we have done things wrong, as long as we are truthful and take proper responsibility for our own actions. When we blame our actions entirely on others, we are not going to be able to truly repent or be forgiven for what we do. Recently, because of my own children, I have been able to understand the reason God asked Adam if he had done this thing. As a parent, I understand that our children learn more from an experience, when they can explain what they did or what they learned from it. When we give all the answers, they are not being given the chance to ponder it for themselves. God knew exactly what had been done and why, but He needed to give Adam and Eve the opportunity to think about what they had done so that they could be completely honest and therefore learn the most from the experience.

20 And I, the Lord God, said unto the serpent: Because thou hast done this thou shalt be cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life;
21 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; and he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
22 Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said: I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
23 And unto Adam, I, the Lord God, said: Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying—Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
24 Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.
25 By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground—for thou shalt surely die—for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou wast, and unto dust shalt thou return.
26 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living; for thus have I, the Lord God, called the first of all women, which are many.
27 Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them.
28 And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten: Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand and partake also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever,
29 Therefore I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken;
30 For as I, the Lord God, liveth, even so my words cannot return void, for as they go forth out of my mouth they must be fulfilled.
31 So I drove out the man, and I placed at the east of the Garden of Eden, cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.
32 (And these are the words which I spake unto my servant Moses, and they are true even as I will; and I have spoken them unto you. See thou show them unto no man, until I command you, except to them that believe. Amen.)

There are always consequences for our actions. In a lot of instances, the consequences reach a lot farther than just ourselves. In the case of Adam’s transgression, the consequences affect every person who has ever come to the earth since that time. Women bear and raise children through sorrow and pain. We all have to work our “by the sweat of [our] face” in order to survive. We have to deal with temptations of Satan and with the weeds and other obnoxious things in our lives. And finally, we all will experience physical death because of Adam and Eve’s choice, but we choose for ourselves if we will experience spiritual death. Our strength comes in knowing that God has given us the power to be stronger then these things, especially the workings of the devil. We just have to realize that this strength comes from our Father in Heaven and so we must turn to Him. More specifically, the power to bruise the head of the serpent comes through the posterity of Eve, or of woman, because the Savior came and He saves us all from anything that Satan can do. The Savior has made it so that we will all overcome physical death through the resurrection, and we all have the ability to overcome spiritual death through repentance.

Even though Adam and Eve had transgressed, God was still there for them. He had clothes made to cover them and then they were kept safe from partaking of the fruit again, be being sent out of the garden and by the tree being guarded from them. Even though the consequence was to be away from the presence of God, God was still there as their loving Father in Heaven. All of the consequences given to Adam and Eve, are actually the ways that cause us to learn and grow the most. I am grateful for the opportunity to have children even though there is a lot of hardship and pain that comes from it. I am also very glad to have hardships and to have the ability to make mistakes in life, because these are the things that I can get the most out of later on. I am most grateful for my Savior and that He has made it possible for me to find strength, hope, and guidance in every area of my life.

D&C Section 85

Historical Background

There had a been a question among some of the saints, regarding the Missouri saints who had not received their inheritances as expected. W. W. Phelps was one of those who had been sent to Independence, Missouri. The prophet, Joseph Smith, sent this revelation in a letter to brother Phelps.

Importance of Record Keeping in Missouri

“IT is the duty of the Lord’s clerk, whom he has appointed, to keep a history, and a general church record of all things that transpire in Zion, and of all those who consecrate properties, and receive inheritances legally from the bishop (v. 1); And also their manner of life, their faith, and works; and also of the apostates who apostatize after receiving their inheritances (v. 2).”. There have been many times in the scriptures, where the Lord has reminded the prophets of the importance of keeping records. There have not been many exceptions to what should be written, other than some wondrous visions that were reserved for the prophets. Other than that, we should always keep records of our lives- testimonies, promptings, callings and so on.

Why Were Certain Genealogies Not to Be Kept?

” It is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law, which he has given, that he may tithe his people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God (v. 3). Neither is their genealogy to be kept, or to be had where it may be found on any of the records or history of the church (v. 4). Their names shall not be found, neither the names of the fathers, nor the names of the children written in the book of the law of God, saith the Lord of Hosts (v. 5). . . . Therefore, it shall be done unto them as unto the children of the priest, as will be found recorded in the second chapter and sixty-first and second verses of Ezra (v. 12).”

The unfaithful of the church, will be removed from the records of the church that will be used in the day of judgment. In Ezra 2:61-62 we read, “And of the children of the priests . . . which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name (v. 61): These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood (v. 62).” Those who did not keep their covenants would no longer have the priesthood or be recorded with the church. This continues to be a warning today, for all those who have made covenants with the Lord. God does not look kindly on breaking covenants made with Him. If we choose to be disobedient and refuse to repent of our wrongs and return to him, we will also be cut off from His church.

Who Is the “One Mighty and Strong”?

“Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest, saying (v. 6): And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances 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 (v. 7); While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning (v. 8 ).”

In the time of this revelation, many of the saints who had been called up to live the law of consecration in Missouri, were not living righteously and were not receiving their inheritances. Specifically the man who had been “called of God of God and appointed”, Bishop Edward Partridge, was not magnifying his calling. He was living his own way and he was in effect trying to steady the ark of God. In this revelation, it was said that “one mighty and strong” would set things right and this was a warning of the one who would be called to replace the bishop. According to the institute manual that I am studying, this warning brought repentance to Bishop Partridge and he returned to following the words of the prophet instead of doing things his own way.

It can be pretty easy to look at the lives of the early saints and point out the flaws and the things that were sure to cause falling away, but we do these exact things today. There are many times when members of the gospel, act as though they would do things better than those who are called by the Lord. When we begin to behave this way with our church leaders, even our local leaders, we are also trying to steady the ark. The Lord has called that person, so that they can do His will. They have been blessed with the right to have inspiration from God in that calling. We may think that we know better, but it is probably not true. If our leaders are faithful people, we need to follow them without assuming that we know better.

Why Are Individuals Still Claiming to Be the “One Mighty and Strong”?

Those who have fallen away because they believe they know better than the church leaders, often times try to lead others astray. In the manual I am studying it says that many of those people, have claimed that they are fulfilling this revelation and putting the church right. I think that this claim is just a way for them to justify their own sins. I have received the personal revelation to know that the general leaders of the church and my local leaders, are called of God. I know that I may not understand why things are done a certain way at all times, but I also understand that my focus needs to be on doing my calling the way that I have been asked to do it. I trust that if anyone takes it upon themselves to lead in a way that is not according to the will of God, that they will be removed from that calling. I have faith, that God will keep his promises and I will not be lead astray as long as I remain faithful.

How Can a Person’s Claim to Revelation for Church Leadership Be Tested?

The promise has been given that no one, other then the person who has been called to a position, will receive revelations for that calling. Only the prophet will receive the revelations for the directing of the entire church, because that is his calling. If anyone else ever claims to have this authority, they are trying to deceive others. The promise of this can be found in D&C 43, “For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church, through him whom I have appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations from my hand (v. 2). And this ye shall know assuredly—that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me (v. 3). But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead (v. 4). And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments (v. 5); And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me (v. 6).”

What Does It Mean to “Steady the Ark of God”

“And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die (Numbers 4:15).” Those who were called to bear the ark of God, were told that they were not to touch it, or they would die. In 2 Samuel 6 we read, “And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims (v. 3). And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart (v. 4). . . . And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it (v. 6). And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God (v. 7).” I do not thing that Uzzah had bad intentions when he tried to steady the ark, but in that moment he felt that his actions would be better than the commandment they had been given and the power of God. God, being just and true, followed through with his promise and Uzzah died.

The manual I am studying goes further to explain that the ark of God represented God on the earth and as such, could not be touched by anything that was not clean. I think that if any person was to enter the presence of God and not be clean, the result would also be death.

Regarding those who try to “steady the ark of God”, section 85 continues, “And all they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers, where are wailing and gnashing of teeth (v. 9). . . And they who are of the High Priesthood, whose names are not found written in the book of the law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off from the church, as well as the lesser priesthood, or the members, in that day shall not find an inheritance among the saints of the Most High (v. 11);”.

Anyone who feels they know better then what has been revealed as the purposes of God or who apostatizes from the church, in a sense attempts to steady the ark of God. They try to make the work of God better in their own way. God will not allow any man to get in the way of His work. The consequences would include no inheritance in life or death.

I know that this warning is for all people even today. We need to learn and remember that there is nothing that we could do that would make the plan of God better. He is all knowing and all powerful and there is no need to change what he has revealed because it is truth and it is beautiful and perfectly eternal. Our duty in this life, is to move His work forward, not to change it. The righteous are to be instruments in His hands, to bring the gospel truths to all people and to work continually toward the salvation of souls. It is not work that we follow blindly, as some may say. Personally I continue to pray for revelation that what I am doing is the right thing and I have received the confirmation that following the prophet, other general authorities, and my local leaders, is just that. I am not perfect. I have had difficulties at times in doing what I have been asked and it has definitely been a learning process, but I know that I will be blessed if I do what has been revealed to the servants of the Lord.

2 Nephi, Chapter 9 (Part 1)

The power of the Atonement

In my study guide, Joseph Fielding Smith is quoted to have said that this chapter “should be carefully read by every person seeking salvation.”  I’m seeking salvation, so this will take more time in my posting.  I think I will split this chapter into to two posts.

To start off I read the chapter heading.  This chapter has importance because it maps out the rest of the plan of salvation, which is still to come (i.e.. the gathering of Israel, the resurrection, the judgment, and the reward in Heaven).  The greatest motivator for living a good life is the knowledge of what will come after death.  The Atonement is mentioned twice in the heading of this chapter, showing just how important it is to the Lord’s plan.  Understanding the atonement is a lifelong process.  I pray that I will continue to learn and strive to use the atonement in my life.

What if there were no resurrection?

Earth  –>  Paradise/Hell  -and-  The Grave  –>  The Resurrection  –>  The Judgment

When a person dies, their body and spirit are separated. The body lies in a grave and their spirit goes to Spirit Paradise or Hell to await the Resurrection.  There must be a resurrection because we will all be judged and at that judgement we must appear before God in our body.

Jesus-Portrait

What did Jesus Christ do for us because “all men” will die?  The Savior atoned for our sins and died for all mankind.  We all will die and His death brought the resurrection to everyone.

Verse 7 says, “Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.”  The atonement is infinite because it applies to all men for all time.  What would happen to our bodies if Christ’s infinite atonement had not brought the “power of the resurrection”?  Our bodies and spirits would remain separated after our physical death and their would be no way for us to progress in the life to come.  We would also be subject to Satan, because he couldn’t be with God and Christ.  This separation from God would apply to all men, good or bad.

How to escape the monster death and hell

When I think of what a monster is, I think of something scary that is likely to hurt or kill.  Death is like a monster because it can be scary, it can hurt, and it kills.  Verse 10 discusses the monster of death and hell, which are physical and spiritual death.  Physical death is separation of body and spirit and spiritual death is separation of spirit from God.

Where do spirits go when the body goes to the grave?  They go to spirit hell/paradise while the body goes to the grave.

Why do some spirits go to hell and some to paradise?  Spirit paradise is for the righteous souls, and spirit hell is for those that are not righteous.

What happens to our spirits and our bodies at the resurrection and how will the resurrected body be different from the mortal body?  At the resurrection, the spirits and bodies of all who ever lived, will be reunited in their immortal perfect state with a perfect knowledge.

Why did Jacob exclaim “O how great the goodness of our God?”  Without the plan, which included the Savior’s atonement, the resurrection would not be.  God wanted to give us the chance to live with Him again, which brings the greatest happiness to His children. (v. 10-13)

What happens after the resurrection?

After the resurrection there will be a judgement.  We will have a perfect knowledge of all the right and wrong we’ve done.  The things we’ve repented for have been forgiven and forgotten by the Lord who is the Judge of us all.  Those who are righteous will see all the good they’ve done and be happy.  Those who are not righteous will know all the bad they’ve done and will feel unworthy in the presence of the Lord, possibly even frightened because of His purity. (v. 13-15)

The power of the Atonement

What is the world’s way of taking care of sins?  The world’s way is to rationalize why they are done.  For example, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die”.  The world would have us think that there is nothing after this life, so we should enjoy this life with no thoughts of the eternal consequences.

How do we justify sin?  We justify it by saying there is a reason for it.  (For example, I live this lifestyle because of love.)  People justify sins everyday. (“I only did it once”, “Everyone was doing it”, “I needed a break”, etc..)

If we allow the Savior to take care of our sins with the atonement, He removes them from our list of sins.

What must we do so the Atonement will take care of our sins?  In verse 23 we learn that in order for the atonement to work for us, we must have a perfect faith in Christ, repent and be baptized.  If we repent, we will inherit the kingdom of God, have a fullness of joy, be delivered from spiritual death, Satan and eternal damnation, and we will be saved. (v. 18-19, 23-24)

What did Jesus do to make this possible?  Jesus suffered the atonement for this to be possible.  “And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam (v. 21).”  My Savior, has saved my soul.  I have to be willing to accept it now.  He truly loves me, to suffer not only for me, but for my loved ones also (Not to mention every person that ever lived or will live).

2 Nephi, Chapter 2

How can afflictions bless our lives?

In 2 Nephi 1:1, Nephi discusses the his many tribulations.  In these verses (1-4) Lehi discusses the many tribulations suffered by Jacob.  Nephi realized he and been greatly blessed and Lehi tells Jacob that he will be greatly blessed also if he follows the Lord.  We are made stronger through our trials just as Lehi said, “He (God) shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.”  In D&C 121:7-8 we learn that the afflictions are for a small moment in time and we an be exalted if we endure them well.  I think I have to pay more attention to how I endure my trials.  I am not sure if I have been enduring them “well”.  Enduring them well is facing them with the faith that the Lord will be there to help us through them.  Those who endure a trial and complain as they go, are not enduring well.

How are Jesus Christ, Adam and Eve, and the devil a part of God’s plan?

Adam and Eve chose to partake of the forbidden fruit (v. 19).  Consequently they were driven out of the garden and had to work the land.  Then they were able to have children and they had the ability to repent (v. 20-21).  In Mormon 9:12 and 14, we read that Jesus Christ was needed and brought redemption of man and the judgement could now take place.  Also man could now have joy (v. 25)  If they had not eaten the fruit, they would have stayed in the garden, in the same state forever.  They would not have had children and would never have known joy or misery, good or sin.  In Moses 5:10-11 we learn that Adam was grateful to have his eyes opened and Eve said if they had not fallen they would not have had children, known good and evil, known joy from the redemption and eternal life.

The Savior Jesus Christ brought salvation to us, prepared the way to salvation, provided the redemption of man, offered himself a sacrifice for sin, gives us mercy and grace, laid down His life for us, was resurrected, makes intercession for us to be saved, created the world and all on it, allowed us to be enticed, gave us the chance to repent, did all things in wisdom, offered us joy, redeemed us from the fall making us free forever if we choose, and therefore gave us agency.  Also, in Mormon 9:13, we learn that He made it so that we can return to God’s presence and be resurrected.

Satan was a “fallen” angel from heaven and sought evil before God to become the devil (v. 17)  He is miserable because he fell from heaven and he wants us to be miserable as well (v. 18).  We can avoid the misery by choosing liberty and eternal life provided by the Savior (v. 27).  He told Eve she would not die, which was a lie (v. 18).  If we tell lies we are like Satan, because he is the “father of all lies” (v. 18).  I think living in the presence of Satan is called “eternal death” because you become captive to his will and cannot choose for yourself.  And in this captivity you can never dwell with God and you suffer a spiritual death, separating yourself from God.

The purpose and necessity of law is that through law we are cut off from God’s presence.  Law gives reason and need of the Savior to offer redemption.  The law gives us reason to prove ourselves worthy to live with God again.

The role of opposition is to bring righteousness to pass.  It balances the things in life and gives reason for life, otherwise the creation was for nothing and for no purpose (v. 11-12).  We need opposition to have a choice because without opposition there is no way to know one thing from another.  If nothing was hot and everything was cold, their would be no choice to have hot, we wouldn’t even know what it was.  Both have to exist to have a choice (v. 13, 16).  We have been given the awesome ability and responsibility to choose our own path in life.  It is so important to make the right choices and repent for those we know are wrong.  I pray that my brothers and sisters (and parents) will try to continue to make good choices so that we can all be together in the eternities.  I pray that my children can learn the importance of choices.  I hope that I can be a good example to them.

How do we know good from evil?

I think that every person is born with a conscience and knows right from wrong.  I think that how they are raised, trained and the choice they make, persuade their conscience.

What choice did Adam really have?

If I was asked to make a choice, but I only had one option to choose, I would realize that there is no real choice to make.  In order to make a choice, you have to have two things to choose between.  Adam’s choice was between the forbidden fruit and the tree of life.  God gave Adam the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth, but forbid him to eat the fruit that would make it possible through mortality.  Adam had to choose the fruit to fulfill the plan of God.

What are our two great choices?

We may choose liberty and eternal life or captivity and death.  Liberty and eternal life are the things the Lord would have us choose, where captivity and death are the things that Satan would have us choose.  Lehi says he’s chosen the good part, liberty and eternal life, and he wants his sons to choose the same.  I should hope that everyone wants eternal life, especially those I love who I plan on living with through the eternities.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
Testimony

Testimony

I made an album with my dad in 2011. Check it out!

Testimony

NEW!!! Digital Downloads (mp3) available directly from the site.

Current Study

Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

Learn More:

The Book of Mormon

You can order a free copy of the Book of Mormon here:

Book of Mormon Request

Archives

Follow me on Facebook:

My Wonderful Husband and Artist


%d bloggers like this: