Posts Tagged 'Good Works'

1 Chronicles Chapter 7

A Family Tree

So far in the book of Chronicles, the genealogy of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have been mentioned. The book has specifically mentioned the families of Reuben, Simeon, Judah, and Levi. The list has been far from conclusive, but has mentioned some of those who would have an impact on the lives of the children of Israel. Of the remaining tribes of Israel, this chapter will mention some of the genealogy of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh and Ephraim (both of Joseph), and Asher. It begins:

1 Now the sons of Issachar were, Tola, and Puah, Jashub, and Shimron, four.
2 And the sons of Tola; Uzzi, and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Jibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their father’s house, to wit, of Tola: they were valiant men of might in their generations; whose number was in the days of David two and twenty thousand and six hundred.
3 And the sons of Uzzi; Izrahiah: and the sons of Izrahiah; Michael, and Obadiah, and Joel, Ishiah, five: all of them chief men.
4 And with them, by their generations, after the house of their fathers, were bands of soldiers for war, six and thirty thousand men: for they had many wives and sons.
5 And their brethren among all the families of Issachar were valiant men of might, reckoned in all by their genealogies fourscore and seven thousand.

Issachar was the patriarch to Tola (of the Tolaites), Puah (Phuvah; of the Punites), Jashub (Job; of the Jashubites), and Shimron (of the Shimronites). (see also Genesis 46:13 and Numbers 26:23-24) Tola was the father of Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmi, Jibsam, and Shemuel. The men of Tola were valiant men of might and in the time of David there were 22,600 of them among the children of Israel. Uzzi was the father of Izrahiah, Michael, Obadiah, Joel and Ishiah. They were soldiers for war and their families were 36,000 men. The men of Issachar were about 87,000.

6 The sons of Benjamin; Bela, and Becher, and Jediael, three.
7 And the sons of Bela; Ezbon, and Uzzi, and Uzziel, and Jerimoth, and Iri, five; heads of the house of their fathers, mighty men of valour; and were reckoned by their genealogies twenty and two thousand and thirty and four.
8 And the sons of Becher; Zemira, and Joash, and Eliezer, and Elioenai, and Omri, and Jerimoth, and Abiah, and Anathoth, and Alameth. All these are the sons of Becher.
9 And the number of them, after their genealogy by their generations, heads of the house of their fathers, mighty men of valour, was twenty thousand and two hundred.
10 The sons also of Jediael; Bilhan: and the sons of Bilhan; Jeush, and Benjamin, and Ehud, and Chenaanah, and Zethan, and Tharshish, and Ahishahar.
11 All these the sons of Jediael, by the heads of their fathers, mighty men of valour, were seventeen thousand and two hundred soldiers, fit to go out for war and battle.
12 Shuppim also, and Huppim, the children of Ir, and Hushim, the sons of Aher.

Benjamin was the father of Bela (Belah; of the Belaites), Becher, and Jediael. Bela was the father of Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth and Iri. They were also men of valour and came to about 22,034. (The blessing from Jacob, described the children of Benjamin as fierce fighters, who would enjoy the spoils of victory.) Becher was the father of Zemira, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jerimoth, Abiah, Anathoth, and Alameth. When numbered, they were 20,200 men. Jediael was the father of Bilhan, Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Chenaanah, Zethan, Tharshish and Ahishahar. Ehud, of Gera, was raised up by the Lord to deliver the Israelites from the Moabites by killing the Moabite king. (see also Judges 3) They were also men of valour and totaled about 17,200 soldiers when numbered. Also, among the children of Benjamin, were Shuppim (Shupham of the Shuphamites), Huppim (Hupham of the Huphamites), the children of Ir, Hushim and the sons of Aher (Ahiramites). (In Genesis 46, it also mentions other sons of Benjamin along with the first three, namely Ashbel (Ashbelites), Gera, Naaman (Naamites), Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, and Ard (Ardites).) (see also Numbers 26)

13 The sons of Naphtali; Jahziel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shallum, the sons of Bilhah.

Naphtali was the father of Jahziel (Jahzeel), Guni, Jezer, and Shallum (Shillem), the sons of Bilhah (possibly referring to being her posterity through her son Naphtali). (see also Genesis 46:24)

14 The sons of Manasseh; Ashriel, whom she bare: (but his concubine the Aramitess bare Machir the father of Gilead:
15 And Machir took to wife the sister of Huppim and Shuppim, whose sister’s name was Maachah;) and the name of the second was Zelophehad: and Zelophehad had daughters.
16 And Maachah the wife of Machir bare a son, and she called his name Peresh; and the name of his brother was Sheresh; and his sons were Ulam and Rakem.
17 And the sons of Ulam; Bedan. These were the sons of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh.
18 And his sister Hammoleketh bare Ishod, and Abiezer, and Mahalah.
19 And the sons of Shemida were, Ahian, and Shechem, and Likhi, and Aniam.

Manasseh was the father of Ashriel (Asriel; of the Asrielites) and then Machir (of the Machirites) by his concubine. (see also Genesis 50:23) Machir was the father of Gilead (of the Gileadites). He married the sister of Huppim and Shuppim, whose name was Maachah. Manasseh, I believe, was also the father of Zelophehad, who had daughters. (In Numbers 26, Zelophehad was the son of Hepher who was a son of Gilead.) Machir and Maachah were the parents of Peresh and Sheresh. Sheresh was the father of Ulam and Rakem. Ulam was the father of Bedan. Gilead’s sister was Hammeloketh, and she bore Ishod, Abiezer, and Mahalah. Shemida (of the Shemidaites) was the father of Ahian, Shechem, Likhi, and Aniam.

20 And the sons of Ephraim; Shuthelah, and Bered his son, and Tahath his son, and Eladah his son, and Tahath his son,
21 And Zabad his son, and Shuthelah his son, and Ezer, and Elead, whom the men of Gath that were born in that land slew, because they came down to take away their cattle.
22 And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him.

Ephraim was the father of Shuthelah, Bered, Tahath, Eladah, Tahath, Zabad, Shuthelah, Ezer, and Elead. The men of Gath killed his sons when they tried to steal their cattle. Ephraim mourned for a long time, and his brothers tried to comfort him.

23 And when he went in to his wife, she conceived, and bare a son, and he called his name Beriah, because it went evil with his house.
24 (And his daughter was Sherah, who built Beth-horon the nether, and the upper, and Uzzen-sherah.)
25 And Rephah was his son, also Resheph, and Telah his son, and Tahan his son,
26 Laadan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son,
27 Non his son, Jehoshua his son.

He later had another son named Beriah. His daughter was Sherah, builder of Beth-horon the nether (below), the upper, and Uzzen-sherah. Beth-horon was a vital pass, or road, in Israel. Beriah was the father of Rephah, the father of Resheph, the father of Telah, the father of Tahan, the father of Laadan, the father of Ammihut, the father of Elishama, the father of Non, and the father of Jehoshua (Oshea, Joshua). Jehoshua was the successor to Moses and was responsible for leading Israel into the promised land, to claim the lands of their inheritance. (See also Numbers 11:28, Numbers 13:16, Numbers 27:18-19, and Deuteronomy 3:28)

28 And their possessions and habitations were, Beth-el and the towns thereof, and eastward Naaran, and westward Gezer, with the towns thereof; Shechem also and the towns thereof, unto Gaza and the towns thereof:
29 And by the borders of the children of Manasseh, Beth-shean and her towns, Taanach and her towns, Megiddo and her towns, Dor and her towns. In these dwelt the children of Joseph the son of Israel.

The sons of Ephraim inherited Beth-el, Naaran, Gezer, Shechem, and Gaza. Bethel was a sacred place, where Abraham built his altar when he first arrived and where Jacob had his well-known dream and built a pillar to the Lord. (see Genesis 12:8 and Genesis 28:18-19) Shechem was also a place where Abraham visited when he came to the promised land. It was the land where he received the promise of God that the land would one day belong to his seed. (see Genesis 12:6-7) Also, they inherited Beth-shean, Taanach, Megiddo, and Dor. These places belonged to the children of Joseph.

30 The sons of Asher; Imnah, and Isuah, and Ishuai, and Beriah, and Serah their sister.
31 And the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel, who is the father of Birzavith.
32 And Heber begat Japhlet, and Shomer, and Hotham, and Shua their sister.
33 And the sons of Japhlet; Pasach, and Bimhal, and Ashvath. These are the children of Japhlet.
34 And the sons of Shamer; Ahi, and Rohgah, Jehubbah, and Aram.
35 And the sons of his brother Helem; Zophah, and Imna, and Shelesh, and Amal.
36 The sons of Zophah; Suah, and Harnepher, and Shual, and Beri, and Imrah,
37 Bezer, and Hod, and Shamma, and Shilshah, and Ithran, and Beera.
38 And the sons of Jether; Jephunneh, and Pispah, and Ara.
39 And the sons of Ulla; Arah, and Haniel, and Rezia.
40 All these were the children of Asher, heads of their father’s house, choice and mighty men of valour, chief of the princes. And the number throughout the genealogy of them that were apt to the war and to battle was twenty and six thousand men.

Asher was the father of Imnah, Isuah, Ishuai, Beriah, and their sister, Serah. Beriah was the father of Heber and Malchiel, the father of Birzavith. Heber was the father of Japhlet, Shomer, Hotham, and their sister, Shua. Japhlet was the fatherof Pasach, Bimhal, and Ashvath. Shamer was the father of Ahi, Rohgah, Jehubbah, and Aram. Helem, the brother of Shamer, was the father of Zophah, Imna, Shelesh, and Amal. Zophah was the father of Suah, Harnepher, Shual, Beri, Imrah, Bezer, Hod, Shamma, Shilshah, Ithran, and Beera. Jether was the father of Jephunneh, Pispah, and Ara. Ulla was the father Arah, Haniel, and Rezia. The children of Asher were mighty men of valour. When they were numbered for battle, they totaled 26,000 men.

There were not many of note in these families of the children of Israel, but the one that may stand out the most is Joshua. In the history of the Israelites, he played a very important role. When nearly all of the generation of Israelites, who had been delivered from Egypt, had lost faith in the Lord’s power to lead them, Joshua was one of the two loyal and faithful men who were allowed to remain with those permitted to enter the promised land. He led the Israelites, under the direction of the Lord, to claim the promised land from other nations. Joshua was not the only righteous man among these tribes. Good men were raised from the different tribes of Israel, to do good works for the Lord. I am sure that among those, that we don’t really know anything about, there were probably a decent number who were good men, striving to do what the Lord wanted. We live in a time when those who are true followers of the Lord, Jesus Christ, are scattered throughout the world. We all come from different backgrounds, but with one common goal to do what is right. Most will not be of note in the histories of the world, but if we live our best, we can make a huge difference to the generations that follow, just as Joshua did in his day. Moreover, our good works will be known by God, no matter how insignificant they may seem today, and that is what really matters.

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Do We Stand for Righteousness?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one 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.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Stand for truth and righteousness.

The next question in this series, is do we stand for rigtheousness? When I wrote my post on standing for truth, I wondered if I should combine these two posts because they really are so closely related to one another. I felt that I should keep them separate, but it was pretty difficult. I think that you’ll find, when you stand for truth, righteousness is right there as well. (To read that post, go here: Do We Stand for Truth?)

As I said in my most recent post from this series, to stand for anything, means that we actively place ourselves in a position to defend, uphold and be a witness for it. Righteousness is the standard of God or in other words being morally right. Righteousness is not perfection in this life, but is the perfection of God that we should be working towards. Righteousness is holiness, good works, honesty, integrity, truth, uprightness, and all other things that allow us to walk the path that the Lord has walked. We live a righteous life, still erring as the mortal beings we are, as long as we are striving to turn to the Lord in humility and repentance for our wrongdoings so that we can be like Him. Standing for righteousness is to strive to be in the right in the sight of God, to support all that is right in the sight of God, and to witness for all that is right in the sight of God.

Standing for righteousness means to consciously place ourselves where righteousness is found and remain firm in defense of it. We need to be aligning ourselves with righteousness, meaning we need to be doing works of righteousness or good works. If we are not doing good works, we are doing the works of unrighteousness. In Proverbs 11:18 we read, “The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.” One of the great things about aligning ourselves with righteousness, is as we are trying, it will give us the power to stay firm and strong. Conversely, wickedness to those who stand for unrighteousness, has complete power over them. In Proverbs 13:6 we read, “Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.” There is great power in setting ourselves in the path of righteousness.

Those who stand for righteousness, strive to live the commandments of God. In Deuteronomy 6:25 we read, “And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.” The Savior, Jesus Christ, showed us by example just how important it is to follow the commandments of God. In Matthew 3:15 we read, “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” He lived a life of perfection as to the standards of God, and yet, to fulfill his mission of righteousness, he had to be baptized. We cannot consider ourselves above the Lord. We too must live according to the commandments of God, in order to stand for righteousness in our own lives.

The next step to standing in the place of righteousness by the way we live our lives, is to defend it. Moroni 9:6 reads, “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.” We are not taught in this verse to place ourselves right and then let Satan do his thing. We are instead taught that we need to be engaged in the defense to the point where we may conquer Satan, who is the “enemy of all righteousness”. To stand for righteousness, we need to be physically, and spiritually active in fighting against Satan and his powers of destruction. We need to be alert to his tactics and protect ourselves as well as others around us, so that he will not gain power over us. Recognizing how Satan is using the ways of the world to silently pull people his direction, is extremely important these days. One of these ways that has been on my mind of late, is how he is convincing people that the gospel should change with the times. He is putting the idea in the hearts of good people, that the gospel is wrong because it doesn’t fit in with the world today. This is plainly not true. The gospel will not change, because it is eternal. The gospel is all that is right and good. When we recognize that, then in order to stand for righteousness, we have to be willing to separate ourselves from the worldly views that Satan has produced. We need to be willing to represent those things that may seem old-fashioned to many and make them a priority in our lives.

One of the ideas I found used a lot when looking up righteousness in the scriptures, was the idea of seeking for it. In Zephaniah 2:3 we read, “Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” Again in Matthew 6:33 we read, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” In the sermon that the Savior gives to the Nephites, so much like the Sermon on the Mount, we read, “And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 12:6).” It is not enough to find righteousness on the way. We need to seek after it as if we could not survive (mortally or eternally) without it. It is then, that we will have the spirit with us to the point of being filled. When we find things of righteousness, we need to continue to follow them. In 1 Timothy 6:11 we read, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness. . .”. Where can we find things of righteousness to follow? We can find them in the scriptures, in the gospel taught at church and learned in the temple, and anywhere there are goodly works being accomplished. We stand for righteousness when we actively seek for and follow it.

In order to stand for righteousness, we cannot falter when we are faced with adversity. We must instead, remain on that path and continue doing good works. In Matthew 5:10 we read, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” There are so many good examples in the scriptures of people who continued to have patience through their persecutions, living righteously, and then were greatly blessed for it. I am mindful of the good people of Alma, who lived according to the way that Alma had taught them after leaving wicked King Noah. They were place under bondage of the Lamanites and had heavy burdens placed on them, because they were a righteous people. Mosiah 23:18 reads, “Therefore they did watch over their people, and did nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness.” They followed the teachings of Alma, turned to God and continued to live righteous lives. The Lord blessed them to be able to endure their trials, until it was time for them to escape to safety in Zarahemla. To stand for righteousness, we need to remain firm and upright in living it.

We stand for righteousness, when we stand for the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. In Romans 5:18 we read, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” The Savior, in his perfect righteousness, blessed every soul that would ever live. His righteousness is the pattern that we should look towards as an example. In Romans 10:4 we read, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” There is no greater example of it, because he is righteousness. Alma 38:9 reads, “And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness.” Live as he taught, teach others to live his teachings, and build up righteousness in the world around you. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ, is a sure way to stand for righteousness.

What then, are the blessings from standing for righteousness? Righteousness brings peace. In Isaiah 32:17 we read, “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” There is a peace of soul that comes to us when we stand for righteousness. I have felt it in my own life. It is a knowledge from the spirit, that things will be okay and that blessings will come that will be far greater than I can even imagine. In Proverbs 21:21, it teaches is that, “He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.” If we choose to stand for righteousness in this life, we will find eternal life and honor when our mortal life ends. This is because righteousness in its perfection, is of God and is eternal. In Psalms 111:3 we read, “His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.” The righteousness of God will exist for eternity, and we will be blessed with all that God has in store for us, when we choose to stand for it.

I look forward to the promise given in Doctrine and Covenants 76:5, which reads, “For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.” I pray that I will find myself in the mercy of the Lord, because I know that without his mercy, I am nothing. I know that in order to receive his mercy, I need to be seeking after righteousness, aligning myself with righteousness, defending righteousness, and being a witness for righteousness. I am so grateful for the example of the Savior, that I can look to and follow, as the perfect model of righteousness.

Do We Stand for Truth?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one 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.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Stand for truth and righteousness.

The next question in this series, is do we stand for truth? What does it mean to stand for anything? It means that we actively place ourselves in a position to defend, uphold and be a witness for something. In this case, we are talking about truth. Standing for truth is to rise above anything that is not truth and remain or endure in that upright position for truth, no matter what comes our way. It means to continue to defend and uphold it rather than to fall into destruction.

What is truth? In Doctrine and Covenants, section 93, the definition of truth is laid out for us along with a lot of information about truth that is helpful to consider.

24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.
26 The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth;
27 And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.
28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.
29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. …
36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
37 Light and truth forsake that evil one. …
39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.
40 But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth. (empasis added)

According to this definition, truth is knowledge of all things as they are, no matter where they can be found in time or eternity. Truth is eternal. We learn this also in Psalms 117:2 which reads, “…the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.” Truth is intelligence. Anything all all things that are not truth are of Satan, because truth is of God. All that is godly, is truth. Just as we are striving towards that reward of godliness, we are striving towards the fullness of knowledge and a glorification in truth. We cannot receive all truth, unless we keep the commandments of God. In other words, in order to stand for truth, we must be living according to the commandments of God. When we stand for truth, we stand against Satan, because he has no power in truth. Our disobedience to the commandments of God, takes truth away from our lives and removes the light of Christ. Finally, from this passage of scripture we learn that it is a commandment from God, that we rear our children in truth. We stand for truth, when we teach our children what truth is or rather what is true, and also when we stand firm to protect it in our homes.

There is no benefit in our lives, mortal or eternal, to lead a life of anything but truth. In Proverbs 12:19 we learn that, “The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” All that is false, falls away and we are left with nothing in eternity, but the ties that we allow Satan to bind us with because of it. In truth we find the freedom that is given to us by God, but in all that is false, we become subject to Satan and give up that freedom. We learn this principle also in John 8, where we read the following:

31 Then said Jesus … If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. …
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

In order to stand for truth, we cannot live with lies and falsehoods. While Satan is the father of lies and all that is false, the Lord is truth. In John 14:6 we read, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Jesus is THE truth. Therefore, Jesus is the “knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” as we learned above. Again in Ether 4:12 we read, “And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me—that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.” We can only stand for truth, when we stand for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We need to defend him and uphold all that his gospel stands for, looking to Him in all things. We need to persuade men to do good and believe on the words of Christ.

In John 3:21 we read, “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” To stand for truth, our actions must reflect that which is truth. We stand for truth when we are doers of the word of Christ, coming unto Him and all that is light. In 1 Nephi 16:2 we read, “And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.” We cannot stand for truth, if we are wicked or unrighteous, therefore in order to stand for truth, we must be living righteously.

The Holy Ghost is godly, and as such, is also truth. In John 15 we read the following:

26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

To stand for truth, we stand as a witness for the things that the Holy Ghost testifies to us. When we receive a witness from the Holy Ghost, we have a duty to stand for those things because they are true. We stand for those true things by not allowing things of the world to separate us from them. Rather, we stand for those things by nurturing our testimonies and sharing them with others through our thoughts, words, and actions.

One of those things that are true, which I know that the Holy Ghost testifies of, is the Book of Mormon. In Doctrine and Covenants 19:26 we read, “And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God—” Furthermore, in Doctrine and Covenants 84:45, it says, “For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” If we are to stand for truth, and have gained our own testimony of the Book of Mormon, through the witness of the spirit, than we need to stand for the Book of Mormon. I know that it is the word of the Lord. I know that it is light and witness of our Savior Jesus Christ. To stand for the Book of Mormon, is to stand for Jesus Christ and the truth. We stand for the Book of Mormon and its truth, by living and teaching its precepts to others.

There are many other things in this world that are true and of God, and we should be seeking for those things. But why should we be so concerned for seeking after these things and standing for truth in this life? We need to stand for truth in life, because our attitudes will continue with us after this life. We all will have to stand for something as we arrive at the judgment day. In Romans 14 we read the following:

10 … for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

In that day, nothing that is unworthy will be able to remain standing. In Pslams 1:5 it says, “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” My hope is that I will be able to remain standing so that I can receive the reward I am longing for, which is to be allowed to stand on the right hand of God and his Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that in order to do this, I must stand for all that is true now by continually striving to keep the commandments, teaching my children what is true, making truth a priority in my home, avoiding lies and falsehoods, looking towards and defending my Savior, persuading others to do good, believing the witness of the spirit, nurturing and sharing my testimony in word and deed, living and teaching the gospel as it is found in the scriptures, and seeking for truth.

I believe that God is truth. There is a lot in the world these days that pretends to be truth, that is not. I know that we can learn and discern what is truth, by asking ourselves if it is leading us to God. I believe that as followers of Jesus Christ, we have a duty to seek out truth and help others to find it as well. I know that we cannot do this if we give into the temptations of the adversary and the world. I believe that their will be great rewards for those who find their place in truth and then stand firm and endure in it as best as they can. I look forward to the day, when I will stand at the judgment bar and I hope with all that is in me, that I will feel that I am worthy to stand in the face of the Lord, because I have done my best to stand for all that is true in this life.

Notes on Patience – Persevering in Good Works

Patience is something that is tested in my life every day, as I am sure it is for most of us. I thought that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to begin a study that was a bit more in depth so that I could know how to gain a self-mastery that I do not have right now. I hope that my readers will enjoy following this series of posts on patience and that it may help someone else out there, as much as it has helped me. To see more posts, check out Notes on Patience

5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: …
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: (Romans 2:5-7, 10)

  • To live deserving of the glory, honor, and immortality that the Lord has promised me, takes persevering patiently in good works. This makes me think of two things. First, it reminds me of a time when I went out of my comfort zone to serve someone who showed nothing less then anger towards me continually. It was a time of great difficulty for me. It seemed like no matter what I chose to do for this person, something I did would offend or annoy them. To persevere patiently in good works, means to continue to serve others, even when it is difficult. Second, it means making choices to do what is right, even in the face of great temptations and a world that is pulling in the opposite direction. I need to take each day, hour, and moment, one step at a time and patiently do what I know is right.
  • Do We Delight in Giving Service and Doing Good Works?

    As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one 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.

    We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
    Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
    Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
    Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
    Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
    Delight in service and good works.

    To delight is to take great pleasure, satisfaction, or joy in something. I truly delight in several things in my life such as crossing off items on my todo list each day, making a new meal and my family enjoying it, studying the scriptures and understanding something new, hearing about something good my daughters have done, and so on. These things bring my great happiness. As disciples of Jesus Christ, and people who strive to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is nothing better then the joy that comes from doing what is right and good. This is not some new notion for modern times. The prophets of old wrote about this several times in the scriptures. In Psalms 40:8 we read, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” When we delight in the will of God, which is service and good works, we have a love for his commandments. This concept of delighting in service and good works, causes me to think about what it is I do and create with the time that I have been blessed with. In Isaiah 55:2 it says, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. (emphasis added)” We should feel completely satisfied by the good that we do and seek for in this life.

    I’ve thought a lot about the things that I create in my life. We are creating something every day and often times we are creating multiple things each day. I believe that even when we feel like we are doing nothing, we are creating something we should not want to create. When I choose not to do what I should be doing, I create something that Satan can use against me, such as a bad habit. We really should avoid this kind of creating, because it leads to sins of all types. We will not find true delight in sinning. In 2 Nephi 9:49 we read, “Behold, my soul abhorreth sin, and my heart delighteth in righteousness; and I will praise the holy name of my God.” Rather that creating things that support Satan and his cause, we should be creating the things that support God and his cause. We really should find delight in serving others and doing works that are good.

    Our duty as covenanted saints and disciples of Christ, is to give all that we can to the service of God. In Romans 12:1 we read, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” When we delight in these things, we willingly give of our bodies to the service of the Lord. In Ephesians 6 we read the following:

    5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
    6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
    7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
    8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
    9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

    We need to serve others, not as if we are serving them, but as if we are serving God. Know that God will bless accordingly, no matter who you are in this life. I think we should ask ourselves how God would serve this person or group? After all, “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17) If we think about doing a service for God, because we are indeed serving him when we serve others, then the effort to accomplish that service will bring the delight that comes from trying harder to accomplish something, as well as a knowledge that we are making our Father in Heaven proud of or happy with the things we do.

    When we serve with God in mind and seeking for delight, I think we are more inclined to do more than would ever be expected of us. In Doctrine and Covenants 4:2 we read, “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” When we give our all and don’t stop at only serving a portion of what is needed, our joy will be full at that last day when we stand before God.

    Our example of good works and service will bring others closer to God. In Matthew 5:16 we read, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Others will be able to recognize where the light within us comes from us, when we strive to do good works. Our influence is great. In Doctrine and Covenants 64:33 we read, “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” Great things come from every small good work we do. There is no greater satisfaction or delight that we can have, then in bringing others to God. In Doctrine and Covenants 18:15 we read, “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” And also in Mosiah 5:15 we read, “Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.” I know that when we do service and good works, others will see our light and we will seal the covenants we have made with the Lord. He will give us our salvation and eternal life, and this should give us something amazing to delight in, both in this life and in the kingdom of God.

    I feel that I have a lot to improve upon in my choices every day, to get to where the Lord wants me to be with this. I think that if I can change my perspective to choose more of things that I can delight in, which would also be a service to my Father in Heaven, then I will be on the right track. I am grateful for the divine attributes of womanhood, which help me to be more mindful of the needs of others, especially if I am living worthy of the guidance of the spirit. I have had so much delight in the service and good works that I have done in my life and I look forward to improving and filling my life with even more.

    How Do We Show Our Devotion to Jesus Christ?

    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.

    We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar.

    My next question in this series is, how do we show our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. Devotion is defined for some as love or strong affection, loyalty, dedication, worship, a willingness to serve, zeal, veneration, respect, or reverence (see online definitions). Devotion is love. The scriptures teach us ways that the Lord has taught us, to show our love to him. The first one that comes to mind is in John 14:15, which reads, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Doctrine and Covenants 42:29 takes that one step further and says, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments.” We show our love and devotion to Jesus Christ, by keeping his commandments and serving him. In Psalms 97:10 it says, “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil . . .”. This teaches us that to show our love and devotion to Jesus Christ, we must hate all that is evil. This must be the case, because anything that is evil is not acceptable to God. This tells me also, that if we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we must repent, because part of repentance is turning away from that which is evil.

    The Savior taught his disciples what to do to show our love and devotion to him. In John 21 we read the following:

    15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
    16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
    17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

    If we love the Lord, we must also feed his sheep. This means that we are to serve others and bring them to Christ by sharing the gospel with them. 1 John 4:21 continues this sentiment, “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” We need to be loving, kind, and caring towards others if we are going to truly show our devotion for our Savior.

    Devotion is to have loyalty. There are many examples in the scriptures of those who have been loyal to Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and made sacrifices to the Lord with devotion. In Moses 5:6 we read, “And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.” One of my favorite scriptures is one of devotion and loyalty. In 1 Nephi 3:7 we read, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” The Lord taught us about loyalty as well. In Matthew 6:24 we read, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” This idea is also taught in the book of Joshua 24:15, which reads “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Devotion to the Savior is to choose to fully follow Him and do the things that he has commanded. It means to jump into His service with both feet, totally committed, and not just occasionally do what he asks of us. It means that even though we may be faced with great opposition, we will stand firm in support of Jesus Christ, just as Joseph Smith did in his life. He knew he has seen Christ and had been commanded to do great things for the Lord. He showed his devotion, by remaining firm in his testimony when he said, “I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it . . .” (see Joseph Smith-History 1:25).

    Dedication is a form of devotion. To be dedicated to Jesus Christ is to make Him a priority in our lives. In Matthew 6:33 we read, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Throughout the scriptures there are many verses which tell us to be devoted by giving all that we’ve got to give. Doctrine and Covenants 4:2 reads, “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” Likewise, in Doctrine and Covenants 11:20 we read, “Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength.” To be dedicated to Jesus Christ, is to put aside our pride and allow Him to perfect us through the power of the atonement. In Moroni 10:32 we read, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ . . .”.

    When I think of the word dedication, I think of the way that the leaders of the church dedicate churches, temples and other buildings to the work of the Lord. These places are built, designed, and intended for the work of the Lord and nothing else. They are places that are to be kept holy and worthy so that the Lord can fulfill his purposes for us. When we show our devotion through dedication, we give ourselves (our bodies, minds, talents, passions, time and so on) to the Lord for his work and purposes.

    Devotion is worship. In Psalms 95:6 we read, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” To worship the Lord, we honor Him and give thanks for all that we have been given. I think of the wise men, who learned of the birth of the Savior. Matthew 2:2 reads, “. . . Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” They adored him on bended knee showing reverence, respect, and adoration to him as their king. We worship in our devotion to Jesus Christ, by believing in Him and recognizing his divinity and glory. We worship Jesus Christ specifically on the sabbath day, when we go to his house and partake of the sacrament. In Alma 15:17 we read, “Therefore, after Alma having established the church . . . seeing that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts, and began to humble themselves before God, and began to assemble themselves together at their sanctuaries to worship God before the altar, watching and praying continually, that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction—”. Our taking of the sacrament, is a formal expression of our reverence and gratitude for Him. We are devoted, if we have the same attitude as the Nephites who saw the Savior in person. In 3 Nephi 11 we read the following:

    16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
    17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.

    Being devoted to Jesus Christ, is also having a willingness to serve. As women in the gospel, we are asked to have charity and to do all that we can to serve. Sometimes this service comes in magnifying the callings that we are given. Other times it is when we go out of our way to meet the needs of others both inside and outside of the church. A really good scripture that relates to this is Mosiah 2:17 which reads, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”

    Having zeal towards Jesus Christ, is to be devoted. I think that being zealous requires being actively willing and ready to do what the Lord wants you to. It’s the fire that you can see in a new convert to the gospel. Zeal is the energy and enthusiasm to seek for His light and then share it with others. In Alma 27:27 we read of the members of the church who had been converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It says, “And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.” Paul, who was a great disciple of Christ, and who wrote a lot of the scriptures we have in the new testament was a great example of being devoted and zealous. In Acts 22:3 we read, “I am verily a man which am a Jew, . . . taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.” The Savior taught us to have zeal towards him. In Revelation 3:19 we read, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” When we are willing to humble ourselves, recognize our imperfections and need to be better, and actively repent, we are zealous towards Jesus Christ. Also, Doctrine and Covenants 58:27 reads, “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;”. The phrase “anxiously engaged in a good cause” equates to a person of devotion. A devoted person looks for the good they can do and does not wait to be called upon by another.

    Finally, devotion to Jesus Christ is to have veneration, respect and reverence towards him. I think that most of all, reverence towards the Lord is shown through our desire to pray and communicate with Him. We also reverence him and respect him when we do not take sacred things lightly. To be devoted is to recognize that there are solemn things that He has given us that we should honor and value above the things of this world. In Doctrine and Covenants 76 we read the following:

    92 And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things—where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever;
    93 Before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence, and give him glory forever and ever.
    94 They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace;
    95 And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.

    Things of an eternal nature are to be treated as such. When we follow this, and recognize that it is through Him that all things are, we show our devotion to Jesus Christ.

    As a member of the gospel and of the Relief Society, I am devoted to Jesus Christ, my Savior and Exemplar. I know that I am a work in progress and I am not perfect in this, but I am united with other women all over the world, who are striving to show their own devotion to Him. I have really enjoyed studying this topic this week. This feeds the flame in my soul, to be better and more firm in my faith. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He has made great and wonderful things possible for us. I am completely in debt to Him and I desire to give all that I can through my devotion to be worthy of the blessings that he has made possible.

    The Final Judgment

    The next lesson from the Gospel Principles manual is on the final judgment. To view the entire lesson from the manual, go here: The Final Judgment

    What are some different judgments that come before the Final Judgment? How do all these judgments relate to one another?

    There are judgments in a court of law, relating to the land in which we live. There are judgments in competitions of all types, in order to decide who or what is deserving of a title, reward, or prize. There are judgments made in order for us to be found worthy to be baptized, go to the temple, or hold callings in the church as well. These, along with all other judgments, will come before the final judgment, which relates to our eternal reward. In Alma 12:27 we read, “But behold, it was not so; but it was appointed unto men that they must die; and after death, they must come to judgment, even that same judgment of which we have spoken, which is the end.” There will be a final judgment for all men. All judgments have some kind of decision made by a judge, or someone who is considered qualified to give their opinion. In the case of the final judgment, God will be our judge. In Proverbs 29:26 we read, “Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the Lord.” No matter what we seek for in this life, the Lord will give the final judgment.

    From what records will we be judged? Who will judge us?

    In 1 Nephi 10:20 we read, “Therefore remember, O man, for all thy doings thou shalt be brought into judgment.” We will be judge for all that we do, from the records that are kept of those things. There are books that have been kept from the time of Adam, which keep a record of our works in this life. In Daniel 7:10 we read, “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” The footnotes refer to the book of remembrance and the book of life. The book of remembrance is a record of genealogy and history of the people and I believe it is the record kept on this earth. The book of life is a record showing those who lived faithful who made covenants with the Lord. Those who are not faithful are blotted out of this book and this book is kept in heaven. In Doctrine and Covenants 128:7 we have an explanation of Revelations 20:12 which reads, “You will discover in this quotation that the books were opened; and another book was opened, which was the book of life; but the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works; consequently, the books spoken of must be the books which contained the record of their works, and refer to the records which are kept on the earth. And the book which was the book of life is the record which is kept in heaven; the principle agreeing precisely with the doctrine which is commanded you in the revelation contained in the letter which I wrote to you previous to my leaving my place—that in all your recordings it may be recorded in heaven.”

    The lesson talks about a judgment which comes from the record kept within each of us. Just as in this life, we are our own worst critics, we will be a critic of ourselves at that time. When all things are brought to our remembrance, we will see our own works truthfully. We will then bare a record of our works, which may condemn or bless us. The judgment will ultimately be by God. In Ecclesiastes 3:17 we read, “I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” Our every work has a purpose, and that purpose will be in judgement by God. God, the Father, has given the right to judge this final judgment, to His Son. In Matthew 16:27 we read, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” It is my understanding that the Son, will have the assistance of those who have been called to judge in this life, such as the prophet, apostles, stake presidents, and bishops.

    How will our faithfulness during our life on earth influence our life in the eternities?

    In life, we act according to our faithfulness. If we are faithful to the Lord, we are obedient to his commandments. If we are not faithful, we are obedient to Satan. In Ecclesiastes 12:14 we read, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” We will be blessed for our faithfulness to God. This blessing will be the reward of glory, which we receive depending on the works of our lives. Those who are obedient and covenant people, in life or death, will be rewarded with the Celestial kingdom. Those who do not will receive either the Terrestrial or Telestial kingdom, depending on their choices in life. There is also the reward of outer darkness, which is reserved for those who choose to remain eternally bound to Satan and his works.

    Faith is a Sunrise

    According to Doctrine and Covenants 76:50–53, 62–70, what are the characteristics of a person who overcomes the world by faith and is valiant in the testimony of Jesus?

    In these verses, a person who overcomes the world by faith and is valiant in the testimony of Jesus is someone who will be resurrected with the just in the first resurrection. They will come to the earth with Christ, when he comes at the second coming. They will have had faith in Christ and will have been baptized in His church by the proper authority of God, which is the priesthood. They will have received the gift of the Holy Ghost. They will have lived good lives and been just and true, therefore deserving the perfection that is only received through the atonement of Jesus Christ. They will be found worthy by the desires of their hearts and will have been forgiven of their sins. In 1 Samuel 16:7 we read, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” We may not recognize the true heart of others, because as mortals, we cannot know the true heart of them. We are not qualified to be the judge. The Lord himself, was judged by men and then crucified by those who were not counted worthy to judge him. The Lord can see beyond our flaws and see the inner beauty in our hearts. He alone is worthy to be the judge of all mankind. Those who overcome the world, will have been judged of God and found worthy to live with Him again, in His holy city of Zion, receiving the celestial glory of God as their reward. These are the characteristics that we all should be striving towards.

    In one of my favorite chapters of the Book of Mormon, Alma 5, we read verse 15 which says, “Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?” I know that there will be a day when we all will be judged for how we lived our lives. I believe that our attitudes and desires will weigh heavy in that judgement. I believe that if we want to live with God again, we need to remember the bigger picture. We need to remember that we have a divine heritage. Be have been created to become all that our Father in Heaven is. We each have great potential. If we remember this, we should do our best to live up to that potential. We will make mistakes and we will have to go through the pain and sorrow of them. But, we can still reach that goal if we remember that the Savior is there for us. He is a just judge, but he is also full of mercy towards those who come unto him. A change of heart and a repentant, humble soul, will earn the greatest reward that we can ever hope to gain. God loves us. His greatest desire is for our return to Him. I hope and pray that I will be able to bring him the joy that a faithful child can.

    Genesis Chapter 1

    The book of Genesis is an account of the beginnings of the world. It is a book written by Moses. I believe that there were portions of this record that were altered over time. Therefore, I rely on the book of Moses and Abraham, found in The Pearl of Great Price, to clarify the truths in this book. Genesis opens as follows:

    1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
    3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
    4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
    5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

    The creation of the world as we know it, started when God, through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ, organized the heaven and earth. This creation was not the beginning of all things, but the beginning of time and this earth as we know them. We learn this when we study the book of Moses. In Moses 1 we read the following:

    33 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.
    34 And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
    35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

    The worlds that have been created, go on in number for eternity. The creation began with light and darkness – day and night. The book of Genesis continues:

    6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
    7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
    8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

    The creation continues with the atmosphere and waters of the earth and atmosphere being separated. The atmosphere was necessary first, so that all living things could be sustained by the air and moisture it provides.

    9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
    10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
    11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
    12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
    13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

    Next, God gathered the water on the earth, and created the land which produced grass, herbs, trees, fruit and all other plants. Plants came before animals and man because they are necessary to sustain us.

    14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
    15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
    16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
    17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
    18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
    19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

    In the fourth period of time, God created the stars, sun and moon to give light to the earth.

    20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
    21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
    22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
    23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
    24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
    25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

    Next, the animals were created physically on the earth, and each was patterned after it’s species in the animal kingdom. They came before man, I believe, to have the time to be a plentiful resource for man. Man would immediately have the need of what animals are able to provide for them.

    26 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.
    27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
    29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
    30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
    31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

    Finally, God created man to rule over all things that were living on the earth. We, mankind, have been created in the image of God. God has a being that we are patterned after, which means that he is not in some mysterious and unknown form. He made us like Him, because we are His children. I think that man was created last in part because the world needed to be established to provide the necessities of our lives. I think also that knowing we were created last helps us to realize that we are dependent on all of God’s creations and this can be a very humbling understanding.

    I love that as He created all things, he looked them over and saw that they were good. I have written before of how I feel about this. It makes me think about reflecting on my own creations and pondering on whether they are indeed good or if they need some kind of shaping or alterations. Knowing that God saw all his creations and saw that they were good, helps me to appreciate them even more. I am learning to see my own creations as good and find an appreciation for them rather than see every little thing as a possible flaw. I am so glad that we have the opportunity to be creators in our own lives. When God was finished with the creating periods, and was reflecting on all that He had created, he saw that all things were very good. I hope that someday when I reflect on the product of my own acts throughout my life, that I will be able to say that they are very good as well.

    I know that there was complete wisdom in the way this world was created. This gospel explanation of the creation makes complete sense to my soul, where any other theory does not. I am so grateful to the Lord for his creations and for the beauty of the world around me. I am so glad that he is a being of order because it gives me a foundation that I can stand on and trust in completely. I believe that God works in an orderly manner, because he is ruled by laws just as we are. There are laws of nature, space, and so on, that must be in place or all the purposes of eternity would be lost. We have laws to follow and a proper order to things. When I follow these laws and the order in my own life, I can feel safe and secure in the things I do. Finally, I know that all of God’s creations serve a purpose in the greater plan of salvation. I know that ultimately all of these things are designed to give us the means to be live on this earth, to create families, and to be able to work towards our goal of eternal life with our families.

    For more about the creation story as found in Moses, see my previous posts from The Pearl of Great Price.

    The Thirteenth Article of Faith

    As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

    We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

    We believe that we should be honest and true people. Our integrity is a precious thing. Being honest and true in all things, keeps our integrity intact. Proverbs 20:7 reads, “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” When I think of honesty, I think of what it means to be dishonest. All things that are meant to mislead others or raise ourselves up in a manner of false perceptions or lies, which are those things that are dishonest, are things of Satan. Satan is the father of lies. Satan wants to shadow the truth with a little dishonesty here and there, and when we give in to these things, we are following Him. Honesty on the other hand, keeps us following Christ. Honesty is a very worthwhile attribute, which leads to stronger relationships, building up of trust, and so much more. Personally, one of the most obvious blessings of being an honest person, has been that people have found me trustworthy. I have been blessed with greater responsibilities in work, opportunities to have higher positions, chances to do work that others are not allowed to do, and a feeling of value that has given me a sense of strength and courage.

    We believe in being chaste. The concept of chastity is fading away in the world we live in today. There are many who feel that being chaste is a thing of the past, and that we all need to change with the times. Chastity is purity. It is absolutely necessary for us to be clean if we hope to live with God again. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 we read, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” As temples, our bodies must be clean if we hope to have the spirit dwell in our hearts. Our cleanliness or purity will determine if we can dwell with God, because “no unclean thing can dwell with God” (1 Nephi 10:21). There is safety in this life and in the life to come, if we remain pure and chaste now.

    Benevolence is charity and kindness. We believe in being a people of service and love, and continually striving to live as Jesus did. We believe in living life with our minds set on helping others in whatever way that we can. The Lord blesses each of us with material things, talents, time, and energy. The best way that we can show our gratitude to Him for all that we have, is to use it for good. The world today, tries to focus a lot of attention on what we can do for ourselves, but this is not how the Lord wants us to live. We need to be mindful of those in need. In giving, we can share the light of Christ with all those around us. In James 1:27 we read, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” This is truly how we show our love and devotion to our Father in Heaven.

    We believe in being virtuous. Being virtuous is being morally clean. In the topical guide, the word virtuous references Psalms 24.

    3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
    4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

    One who is virtuous is worthy to be in holy places of the Lord, because he has clean hands and a pure heart. We believe that we should not involve ourselves in those things which keep up unworthy, especially those related to our morality. We believe that the Lord has established that physical intimacy outside of marriage, is against his laws. Being a virtuous person will allow us amazing blessings, in particular those that can be received through attending the temple, which are the greatest blessings of all.

    We believe in serving others. This is the type of life that the Savior patterned for us. We need to be continually engaged in doing good to others. This doesn’t mean that we should always be performing grand gestures of service, but mostly that we need to be constantly courteous and mindful of those around us. The good we do can be as simple as a smile or a hug. I think that it is extremely important, especially as we are living in a time where the world would have us take huge amounts of time to focus on ourselves, that we do our best to put the needs of others as a priority in our lives. We need to do kind deeds, teach whenever possible (especially the gospel truth), show sympathy and love, and pray for others. We believe that the reason for living this way, is that we will be eternally judged for our works in this life. If we live a life of good works, we will receive the greatest reward later. In Ecclesiastes 12:14 we read, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” I have experienced great blessing for the good works I have done in my life and I know that our lives will be greatly enriched through the service we give.

    Paul taught the followers of Christ, the way to be saints. If we, as members, hope to live up to the name of our church, which claims that we are saints of these latter-days, than we need to be willing to be saints. In his letter to the Philippians he said, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phillippians 4:8)” This is the admonition of Paul, of which we want to follow.

    Faith is a Sunrise

    We are believers or people of faith. There is a lot of what we believe that cannot physically be proven, but rather is felt to the center of our beings. Our beliefs are focused on the hope that God is there and will bless us for living righteously. In Jeremiah 17:7 we read, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” Our beliefs are centered on an eternity and the possibility to live with God and our families again after this life. We are Christians, in the pure sense of the word. We believe that we can only receive salvation through Jesus Christ, who gave the eternal sacrifice for our sins and died so that we could live again. As Christians, we have been in a constant battle against the enemies of God. The early saints suffered all things in standing up for the gospel of Christ. We believe that true saints of God will continue to face extreme trials at the hands of those who do not believe. We will have to endure all the trials of our lives in order to receive the great reward that God has offered to us. We believe that if we are faithful in our endurance, God will be there to support and sustain us through all things we face. We need to remain steadfast, strong and firm in our beliefs, so that we can learn from our trials and have the ability to grow and progress. If we continually seek to find and follow those things that are virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy, we will find happiness in this life and joy in the eternities. All things that are good, come from God. In Moroni 7:12 we read, “Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.” We believe that in order to come unto Christ and return to live with God again someday, we need to look for the good and avoid the evil at all costs.

    I am a believer. I have hope in my salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I want to live a life worthy of the rewards promised to all the children of God. I look forward with faith and hope in the blessings of eternal life. I am so grateful that I have the gospel in my life and that I have been blessed to believe in the truths found in the articles of faith.


    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.
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