Posts Tagged 'Hope'

1 Samuel Chapter 28

King Saul was not living as a righteous man at this point in the Bible. He had originally been chosen and anointed by the Lord, but through selfish choices, he had lost favor with God. In his role as king, Saul had spent much of his time seeking after his own selfish pursuits, in particular, he had spent several years seeking to destroy David. This desire came from a great amount of jealousy he had towards David, and his feelings that he, King Saul, deserved to be held to a higher esteem than his servant, David. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men.
2 And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever.

The Philistines prepared for battle against the Israelites, and Achish called David to fight with the Philistines. David asked him if he knew the things that David could do for him, and Achish said he would make him “keeper” of his head, which I think means that he would have his as the captain of his personal guard.

3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.
4 And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa.
5 And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.
6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

Since the prophet Samuel had died, Saul had sent all people who were wizards and witches out of the land. Banishing these people, and I think even stoning them, was part of the law of Moses. The Philistines gathered against Saul, and he gathered his armies together as well, but he was afraid when he saw the host of Philistines they stood up against. He tried to ask the Lord what to do, but the Lord did not speak to him directly or by means of his dreams or to any prophets who could speak to him.

7 Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at En-dor.
8 And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.
9 And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?
10 And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.
11 Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.
12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.
13 And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.
14 And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.

Saul, is his desperation, asked his servants to find a witch from which he would be able to find answers. They told him there was a witch in En-dor. Saul put on a disguise and secretly went to talk to her in the night. The woman knew that the king had had all the witches and wizards sent out of the land. She did not know who Saul was when he came to her, but she thought he was trying to trap her and have her killed. Saul made an oath that no harm would come to her. He asked her to call upon the spirit of Samuel. When the witch saw Samuel, she was afraid and realized that she was speaking to Saul. He told her not to be afraid, and asked her what she had seen. She saw gods ascending from earth, and that there was an old man with a mantle, whom Saul knew to be Samuel. Saul bowed himself to the earth.

Interesting to note, the footnote in verse 14, says that this spirit was not brought about from God, but was purely a result of the work of the woman.

15 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.
16 Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?
17 And the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:
18 Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day.
19 Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.
20 Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.

Samuel, or the image of Samuel through the work of the woman, asked why he had been brought out by Saul. Saul told him that the Philistines were prepared to fight them and that without the support of God, he needed help to know what he should do. Samuel asked why he would ask him, since the presence of the Lord had departed from Saul. Samuel told him that the Lord had fulfilled his earlier promise, which had been made by revelation to Samuel. The promise was that the kingdom would be taken from Saul and given to David, because Saul had not been obedient to the Lord. Samuel told him that the Lord would Saul and his kingdom of Israel, into the hands of the Philistines. He also told him that Saul and his sons would die, and his host would fall into the hands of the Philistines. When Saul heard this, he fell to the earth, or collapsed in fear, weak from a lack of food, possibly from fasting for hopes of revelations.

In keeping with the thought that this was not a message from God, there is evidence to this in the message given to Saul. God would not produce a spirit whose purpose was to destroy the hope of that individual. When we see visions from God, even those that teach of destruction and tribulations, there is always evidence of the hope of God through repentance or through believing in the power of the atonement of the Lord, Jesus Christ. God desires his children to return to Him, not to feel that they have no hope. Those feelings only come from once source, and that is the adversary. Saul had allowed an evil spirit to influence him a lot over the course of his role as king, and this message to Saul was surely one of despair rather than hope.

21 And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me.
22 Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way.
23 But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed.
24 And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:
25 And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.

The woman saw that Saul was troubled, and she said to him that she trusted him with her life and did all that he had asked of her. She offered him something to eat, so that he would have the strength to go on his way. He refused to eat, but his servants helped the woman to convince him. She prepared a meal for Saul while he rested on her bed, then she brought it to him. Saul was able to eat and leave that night.

This is an interesting story in the life of Saul. I wonder if part of the fear which Saul had when he first faced the host of Philistines, was the knowledge that David was likely to be somewhere among them. He knew that the prophesies of the Lord through Samuel would one day happen, and he feared loosing everything to David some day. Even knowing this, he sought for answers from the Lord. I think he may have felt that the Lord would be on his side, because he was fighting for Israel, but Saul had made himself an enemy to God. The Lord will not support those who rebel against him. The Lord does not answer the prayers of those who are willingly disobedient to his commandments. He does answer the prayers of those who want to keep his commandments and will follow the inspiration they receive as answers. The Lord is always there, and is ready and willing to bless those who repent and return to Him, but He cannot bless the wicked for their wickedness and remain the perfectly just God that He must be.

Throughout the scriptures there is an idea about the Lord being slow to hear the prayers of the wicked. It seems that often times, those who are wicked and yet know of God and his ways, will not listen to the councils of the Lord when they are doing fine on their own. Then, when life gets hard, they plead for the Lord to listen to them and help them out of their troubles. If this is the way the Lord worked with us, He’d have a world full of spoiled children who never learn the hard lessons of life. God knows that it is better to allow us to learn from our choices than to bail us out at every turn, when we have willingly done things that were wrong. Even the best of us, should remember this principle. We need to be willing to follow the council of the Lord in all seasons of our lives, because if we choose only to listen when we have troubles, God will not be as quick to give us the answers and deliverance we seek.


Notes on Patience – Light at the End of the Tunnel

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

18 And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.
19 And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.
20 And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.
21 And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.
22 And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land. (Genesis 26:18-22)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. (John 16:20)

32 But all things must come to pass in their time.
33 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. (D&C 64:32-33)

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

  • Sometimes life throws curveballs at us and it seems like the trials come in groups. I may have to try the same thing several times, before seeing a positive result. There will always be a light at the end of the tunnel, or a blessing after times of trials. The good will always prevail, the prophecies will be fulfilled. I have great hope and faith in that. Having patience, even when things seem completely out of my control, will be the way to see the good and the light that is just around the next corner. If I fail at something that I know is good for me or my family, I need to continue in patience and try again, as many times as it may take for that thing to happen. I do this, because the Savior has already overcome all that there is that stands against that which is good, and is ready to help me if I am willing.
  • Notes on Patience – Bearing Offense with Hope

    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

    23 Now, I speak unto you concerning your families—if men will smite you, or your families, once, and ye bear it patiently and revile not against them, neither seek revenge, ye shall be rewarded;
    24 But if ye bear it not patiently, it shall be accounted unto you as being meted out as a just measure unto you.
    25 And again, if your enemy shall smite you the second time, and you revile not against your enemy, and bear it patiently, your reward shall be an hundred fold.
    26 And again, if he shall smite you the third time, and ye bear it patiently, your reward shall be doubled unto you four-fold; (D&C 98:23-26 emphasis added)

    4 And again, verily thus saith the Lord: Let the work of my temple, and all the works which I have appointed unto you, be continued on and not cease; and let your diligence, and your perseverance, and patience, and your works be redoubled, and you shall in nowise lose your reward, saith the Lord of Hosts. And if they persecute you, so persecuted they the prophets and righteous men that were before you. For all this there is a reward in heaven. (D&C 127:4 emphasis added)

    But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:39, see also 3 Nephi 12:39)

    Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work. (Proverbs 24:29)

  • There are some people who will offend me or hurt me time and time again in the course of my life. I need to remember that I need to continue each time, to be patient and move on without reviling or criticizing them, and without revenge of any kind. Just as my reward for being constantly patient will be great, the result of not being patient will be justly placed against me. Anything that someone may do against me, is not worth the effort put into holding it against them. The “golden rule” teaches me to do unto others as I would have them do unto me, not do unto others as they have done unto me. There really is nothing so great in offense as salvation is great, so I need to bear all things with patience and hope in that blessing.
  • Notes on Patience – Hope in the Blessings to Come

    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

    35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
    36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:35-36)

    But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psalms 37:11; see also Matthew 5:5 and 3 Nephi 12:5)

  • Having the hope in the blessings to come, means acting upon the promptings of the spirit and living according to the will of God. If I do the will of God to the best of my ability and understanding, I must have patience for the reward. Having patience, shows my faith that God will keep His word. Having patience in trials is to become meek, and if I am meek, I will be more willing to do the will of God. It is promised that those who are meek will inherit the earth and great peace. I have hope in these blessings. (see also Guide the Scriptures Meekness)
  • Conference Questions – Our T-shirt Statement

    I think I am going through withdrawals from my Relief Society Declaration question series, because I just had to add a new little series to my posts. This past weekend, I watched the 182nd Semi Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a televised conference where all people can watch or listen to the counsel of our modern prophets, apostles and other church leaders. General Conference happens twice a year and I look forward to it with great anticipation every time. I am always filled with the spirit and a desire to be a better person and draw closer to the Savior, when I watch conference. I love to take notes. When I first started being a note taker for learning in church settings, I would write everything I possibly could down. Including what the speakers said, as well as the little lessons the spirit would teach me during the talks. Once that became a habit, I learned that I should really be focused on writing down the things that I am personally taught by the spirit. So, with that as my focus for note taking this weekend, I found myself writing down questions that I should be able to answer. The thought then came to me that these are questions that I could attempt to study on this blog.

    So, to kick off this Conference Questions series, I wrote a question down while listening to Sister Ann M. Gibb, the Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency of the church. She spoke of seeing a young girl wearing a bold t-shirt that said “I Am a Mormon”. It had caused her to think about what she would want to wear on her own t-shirt. In response I wanted to focus on this question today. What is the (gospel) statement we should proudly wear on our own shirt for others to see? My thought as she spoke was that my own declaration would read: I’m a mormon and a disciple of Jesus Christ. I love Him and I love His gospel. I am happy. There is so much more to be said though and that is why I wanted to look a little further.

    This question brings to mind the scripture mastery found in Romans 1:16, where Paul writes, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Before I can even approach the question, I have to wonder if I am the kind of person willing to make such a bold statement for the world to see. As disciples of Jesus Christ, are we making such a statement of ourselves, or are we ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Do we go to church on Sunday, and then turn around into our daily lives and worry about what others might say about our beliefs and standards? Do we openly share our testimony, or keep it to ourselves? If you wonder about these things, I would suggest you put this theory to the test in some way. I tested this theory in my own life once, when I was going to college right out of high school. I wanted to be like Paul. I wanted to be able to say that I was not ashamed. So, I began to take my scriptures to school with me. Anytime, I had a moment before a class began, I would pull out my scriptures and read them. I would read in the hallways, in the classroom, as I ate lunch and so on. I found that I was happy to show others that I loved the scriptures and as an added blessing, others began to ask me about what it was that I was reading. I was not ashamed of the gospel.

    In today’s worldliness, we cannot afford to hide away our beliefs. We need to stand as a light to the world. Another scripture story that this thought reminds me of, is the story of Lehi’s vision of the tree of life. In his vision, found in 1 Nephi 8, Lehi he saw a glorious tree with desirable fruit. He ate the fruit of the tree and was filled with joy. In his desire to have his loved ones also enjoy this fruit, he saw a great number of people making their way towards the tree. Some worked really hard to get to the tree and eat the fruit. Then in verse 25 we read, “And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.” These people had the truth of the gospel and experienced its joy, but then looked to see what others might think of their acceptance of it. When they looked around, they became ashamed of the gospel and it led to them leaving the tree for the ways of the world. They gave up the reward because of shame. In Mark 8 we read the following words of Jesus Christ:

    35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
    36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
    37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
    38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

    We give up the glory and honor that the Lord has promised to us, when we choose to turn to the world because we are ashamed of the gospel. So, how do we avoid becoming ashamed of the gospel, so that we can proudly declare it to the world? We trust the Lord, as it says in Psalms 31:1, “In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.” Developing a love and trust in the words of the Savior, will help us to not be ashamed. In 2 Nephi 6:13 we read, “Wherefore, they that fight against Zion and the covenant people of the Lord shall lick up the dust of their feet; and the people of the Lord shall not be ashamed. For the people of the Lord are they who wait for him; for they still wait for the coming of the Messiah.” We will not be ashamed if we make covenants and look to the Savior. Our hope in Jesus Christ will keep us strong. In Romans 5:5 it says, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Hope in Christ, gives us greater love for Him and for all mankind. Additionally, we will not be ashamed if we can become humble and teachable. In Doctrine and Covenants 90:17 we read, “Be not ashamed, neither confounded; but be admonished in all your high-mindedness and pride, for it bringeth a snare upon your souls.” We need to recognize our imperfections, allow the Lord to show us our weaknesses and then teach us the ways in which we can be made stronger and eventually perfect through the atonement.

    When we find that we are not ashamed to make some bold declaration of who we are and what we believe, we should think about what that statement should say. I thought I would study some of the things the prophets have taught us to declare found in the scriptures. Paul writes of some of the things we may declare in the following verses to the saints, found in 1 Thessalonians 5:

    14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
    15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
    16 Rejoice evermore.
    17 Pray without ceasing.
    18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
    19 Quench not the Spirit.
    20 Despise not prophesyings.
    21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
    22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

    This declaration could read: I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I see the good in all things. I find joy in life and in the gospel. I love to pray. I am grateful to God for all that I have. I follow the modern prophets. I believe in revelation.

    In 1 Chronicles we read the following:

    8 Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
    9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
    10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.
    11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.
    12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

    15 Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;

    23 Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.
    24 Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.

    I think that this declaration could say: I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I thank Him for all that I have and all that I am. I pray in His name. He is my Savior and Redeemer. I seek for the Lord. He is my strength. I make and keep my covenants.

    The resurrected Savior declared his doctrine to the Nephites on the American continent when he said the following found in 3 Nephi 11:

    31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
    32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
    33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

    38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
    39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
    40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
    41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.

    This declaration could read: I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I love His gospel. I believe in Christ. I have been baptized in Christ. I believe in the Holy Ghost and revelation. I am saved by Christ through humility and repentance.

    The declaration we make, sounds a lot like a testimony and we have a lot of really great examples of testimonies in the scriptures. The prophet Job said, in Job 19:25, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth”. His declaration reads, I know my Redeemer lives and will come again. Alma, the Book of Mormon prophet, said, in Alma 7:13, “Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.” This declaration says, I know Jesus Christ was the Son of God. He suffered and died for mankind. He saves and delivers us all. In Matthew 16:16, Peter, the apostle to the Lord said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” His would have read, I know that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. He is God’s Son. John, a disciple of Jesus Christ testified, in 1 John 4:14, “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” His declaration could have said, The Son of God was sent to be our Savior. Joseph Smith (and Sidney Rigdon) bore a testimony in Doctrine and Covenants 76:22, saying, “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!” Joseph’s declaration here says, Jesus the Christ lives. The Savior, Himself, testified in John 17:3 when he said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” His declaration was, I am Jesus Christ. I have been sent by God. Come unto Me and come unto Him. Through us you can have eternal life.

    Besides the blessings that come to us for making them, why else should we want to wear such declarations? In Doctrine and Covenants 11:21 we read, “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.” We want to seek after the gospel and then share it to convince others of the truth of the gospel and the blessings that come from following it. It is the duty of every disciple of Jesus Christ, who has made covenants of baptism with the Lord, to share the gospel with others. In Doctrine and Covenants 19:29 we read, “And thou shalt declare glad tidings, yea, publish it upon the mountains, and upon every high place, and among every people that thou shalt be permitted to see.” Finding our way and partaking of the fruit of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is only a part of the purpose that we have in this life. Sharing the gospel with those around us, will bring us great joy in this life and in the life to come.

    I want to seek all that is good, so that I can be one to make bold declarations for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, because I believe in Him and the salvation He has promised to those who follow Him. I delight in the fruit of the gospel and I want to share it with others. I want to check the figurative shirt I wear each day and make absolutely sure that I am portraying those things that Jesus would have me show to others. I hope that others can look to the declarations that I make and see the light of Christ. What would you declare?

    To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

    Notes on Patience – Faith and Hope in Jesus Christ

    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

    Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; … (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

  • I have never been shown any physical proof that Jesus Christ lived or that he lives now. I have not seen evidence of the atonement or seen it make someone pure and clean enough to enter the presence of God. I do not have a full knowledge that there is a life to live after this life, where I can be with my spiritual Father or loved ones again. I believe in these things because of my faith and the hope I have in Jesus Christ and the possibility of seeing God again someday. I believe that as a member of the church of Christ, I must patiently live in hope of these things, or I cannot receive the things that I long for now.
  • Do We Rejoice in the Blessings of the Temple?

    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.
    Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
    Rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.

    The next question in this series is do we rejoice in the blessings of the temple. I absolutely love the temple. In the LDS church, we have temples all over the world, which are dedicated to the work of salvation. There are certain saving ordinances that can only be performed in the temple, both for the living and those who have died. All are invited to enjoy the blessings of the temple and can do so, if they are found worthy to enter the holy and sacred house of the Lord. In Psalms 24 we read the following:

    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.
    5 He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (emphasis added)

    To answer the question for today, we have to understand what some of the blessings of the temple are. The first one I think of, based on my description above of what the temple is ultimately for, is the eternal blessings that come from the ordinances performed there. With the covenants made in the temple, we have promised blessings that await us. The one that I look forward to the most, is eternal families. We believe that through the work in the temple, our earthly family relationships can be ours for eternity. In Doctrine and Covenants 138:48 we read, “Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.” It may be hard to see this as a blessing to rejoice in right now, but there is great hope that comes from this knowledge. It is a huge blessing to be able to look at my loved ones and feel that even if we are parted because of death or distance, we will see each other again some day and enjoy the blessings of heaven with one another.

    The temple is a house of glory. When we make covenants with the Lord, the faithful are promised to receive great glory. In the LDS faith, we believe in an order to the kingdom of God. That order divides His kingdom into three degrees of glory. They are the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial glories. The one we are aiming for, which is the glory in which the faithful, covenant, and righteous will dwell, is the celestial glory. We believe that within that glory, there are three degrees. All the faithful, who have made their first covenants (baptism by water and the spirit), will qualify for the lowest degree in that glory. Those who have made greater covenants will be worthy of the greater degrees of glory. Ultimately, we believe that the covenants of celestial marriage, will allow the faithful to be worthy of the highest degree of glory within the celestial kingdom. Doctrine and Covenants 131 starts with the following:

    1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
    2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

    I find additional hope in this knowledge. This highest degree of glory, is where our Father in Heaven dwells. In Doctrine and Covenants 97 we read the following:

    15 And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;
    16 Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God.

    I see it as a great blessing to have hope in living with God again someday, because I have made and kept the covenants in this life to be worthy of His glory.

    So, I guess when I think of these two things I have already mentioned, the blessing in this life is hope for things to come after this life. In Romans 8:24 we read, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” Do we rejoice in the blessing of hope? I certainly do. My life has so much more purpose because of this hope. I find that I devote more energies to my family than that natural woman inside me would give. I am more devoted to learning about and living at the level of personal righteousness that God would have me live. This gives me more strength and a greater desire to face each day and challenge with courage and confidence.

    The temple is a house of prayer. I cannot even begin to number the blessings that come from prayer. But prayer is something that is not excluded to the temple. Why rejoice in the blessings of prayer from the temple then? The temple is the house of the Lord. Aside from our homes, there is no place that is more sacred on earth. The peace of the temple shuts out the volume and distractions of the world. It is in that setting that we can feel closest to the spirit. Because of that peace, we can show the greatest reverence in our conversation with our Father in Heaven. There, we should be able to hear the answers we are seeking, with ease. There is a video I watched yesterday, which went right along with this topic.

    Our Eternal Life

    There were a few things that I got from this, worth mentioning here. First, I know that most people are seeking for happiness. We want to have our own ‘happily ever after’. Most people do not realize where the real, lasting happily ever after can be found. I know that this can only be found through the temple. In Isaiah 56:7 we read, “Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” God wishes to bless us with the things that we desire physically and spiritually. When we are worthy to enter the temple, our desires will naturally be more focused on the things of an eternal nature and our dreams will be what God wants for us as well. When we take our dreams and desires with us to the temple and ask God in sincere faith, he will give us answers and will bless us for our faithful obedience. These answers and blessings will lead us to our dreams becoming a reality. They will lead us to becoming the person that God would have us be. Who wouldn’t want to rejoice in the blessings of getting what they truly desire, or in knowing (not just believing) that those dreams will be fulfilled someday?

    Doctrine and Covenants 110:7 reads, “For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.” Another blessing of the temple, that goes right along with answers to prayers and fulfillment of our dreams, is the blessings of revelation received. What I mean by this, is that we can receive inspiration we were not even seeking. There have been many times when I have been blessed with some unexpected inspiration, that once followed has led to incredible blessings in my life. One of those thoughts that came from watching the video above, was that the temple is God’s way. Therefore, in the temple, He will guide us to do His will, and to be an instrument in His hands in ways that we had not thought of before. The Lord will manifest his will through the inspiration we receive in the temple.

    The video reminded me of additional blessings that come from the temple, for which I am always grateful. When I’ve talked to others about the feelings they get in the temple and from temple service, they often talk about the renewed strength they feel.When we serve in the temple, God blesses us with the fortification and energy of strength to face the world outside. In the temple, we focus on the eternal perspective of life, and that alone gives me greater faith in living my daily life according to God’s desire for me. That faith crushes the fears that I am faced with every day. I am a natural worrier and my tendency is to look always to the worst case scenario first. When I am in the temple, God helps me to recognize that be aware of what that worst case can be is fine, but focusing faith on my Savior will give me the power to have everything work out for the best. In Exodus 15:2 we read, “The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” What a blessing it is to be renewed with a greater faith in Jesus the Christ, and to put aside the worries of life to focus on the power of Him who wants me to succeed and be happy.

    Another thing that this video caused me to think about, was the blessing of time. In Alma 40:8 we read, “. . . all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.” The eternal perspective we gain in the temple, teaches us that this life is really just a moment in the never-ending life that we are living. Because of this knowledge, there are two lessons that bring tremendous blessings, if applied. First, the experiences of this life have greater value. A blessing of the temple, is learning that we need to spend the time we have focusing on what is most important. This includes things like our relationships with family members, gaining knowledge of all things, and nurturing a greater love for others, which are the things that we will take with us into the eternities. Second, the lesson that we don’t have to be so hard on ourselves. Acts 15:11 reads, “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” The grace of God is eternal. We need to trying our best, but God does not expect us to achieve perfection in this life. The path to perfection is eternal. We will continue to progress after we leave this mortal world. If God expected perfection in all things right now, or rather if we all could achieve it in this life, we wouldn’t need to be here. The blessing of time, or rather a better understanding of what time is, brings me so much peace and happiness.

    The temple truly is a house of learning. There is so much to be gained there. In Isaiah 2:3, we read, “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” There is an infinite amount of knowledge that we do not have. In the temple, we are given an understanding that we cannot receive in other places. The more often we go, the more we realize just how much we do not know. God blesses us with a knowledge line-upon-line, as we are prepared to receive it. 2 Nephi 28:30 reads, “For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” The things that I have learned in the temple, are a blessing beyond measure to me. Gaining the knowledge is empowering and humbling at the same time. In addition, we learn through the covenants we make, that we must use that knowledge for good. We have a duty to build up the kingdom of God and we will not retain that knowledge unless we use it in our lives. The blessings of learning from the temple continue as we live according to the things that we have learned there, to the point that we cannot even realize just how great they are.

    I think that the list of blessings from the temple could go on for a while. Deuteronomy 26:11 reads, “And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee . . .”. As people of faith, we should rejoice in the blessings that come from the temple. If you are worthy to enter the Holy House of the Lord, I would hope that you would have a desire to go often and be reminded of these amazing blessings. If you have not yet been to the temple of the Lord, I encourage you to put your life in order to be able to enjoy these blessings for yourself. I am so grateful for the temple. I cannot imagine living in a time or place where this privilege was not available to me. I am inspired by many stories of people who have sacrificed so much to be able to go just once in their lifetime. I am blessed to have several temples close enough to drive there in a matter of hours. The temple that is closest to me has been closed for renovations for a while now, but will be rededicated this coming month. I am excited to take my children to the open house, which is a time before the dedication when anyone can enter the temple and see what it looks like and where we perform our sacred ordinances. I hope that many people will take advantage of this opportunity to see this beautiful temple and feel the spirit that is there.

    I feel so much joy when I am in the temple. It is one of the places that I can feel the closest to heaven, and I know that the blessings that I receive from it cannot be numbered. I know that God loves His children. He has given us this great blessing, to give us a place where we can draw closer to Him, make sacred covenants and promises to Him, and show Him just how much we love Him in return.

    Here are some additional posts I have done regarding the temple and related topics:

  • Temple Work and Family History
  • Eternal Marriage
  • The Family Can Be Eternal
  • Are We People of Faith?

    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. We are women of faith . . .

    Faith is a Sunrise

    The next question in this series is, are we people of faith? If we want to honestly answer this question, we have to truly understand what faith is. The Bible Dictionary says, “Faith is to hope for things which are not seen, but which are true, and must be centered in Jesus Christ in order to produce salvation.” We read in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” A common example of faith in something, is to have faith that a plant will grow from a seed we place in the ground. We cannot see the progress it makes or that it is even a good seed, but we plant it with the hope that it will sprout. People of faith have a hope that we will be saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ, even though we cannot see Him and did not witness the atonement for ourselves. We cannot see our salvation, but we have faith that Jesus Christ has made it possible for us. Faith in Jesus Christ will make us whole, just as it did for some of those living in his time. In Matthew 9:22 we read, “But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.”

    Faith cannot be placed in man, or in the wisdom of man. In 1 Corinthians 2:5 we read, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” Faith in man will only produce those things that man is capable of on his own. But with Faith in God, we can do anything. The Savior taught this principle in Matthew 17:20, which reads, “And Jesus said unto them . . . for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” People of faith, put their trust in Jesus Christ and His power. People of faith are not perfect, and therefore, must use that faith to repent and be perfected in Christ. In Alma 34 we read the following:

    17 Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;
    18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.

    We act in faith, to go through the process of repentance with a hope that our sins will be forgiven.

    The definition of faith in the Bible Dictionary goes on to say, “Faith is kindled by hearing the testimony of those who have faith. Miracles do not produce faith, but strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ; in other words, faith comes by righteousness, although miracles often confirm one’s faith.” I have believed for some time that faith is an action word. After all, the scriptures teach us that “. . . faith, if it hath not works, is dead . . .” (see James 2:17). It isn’t just a thought in our heads, or even our hearts. Faith must be started and then it has to receive constant nourishment in order to survive and grow. People of faith live a life obedient to the commandments of God, which have been taught by Jesus Christ. Whenever there is a principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that we are trying to learn, we cannot gain a testimony of it unless we actively put it to the test. We must be obedient to it, even if we do not understand why. It is through this obedience that our faith is able to grow. People of faith, have a hope that the desired outcome will come if we do as we have been commanded. A good example of a person of faith is Nephi. 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.”

    When the desired outcome of our obedience is fulfilled, we can gain the knowledge from experience and have a greater faith in Jesus Christ and his gospel principles. This faith and knowledge will build line upon line, until we are able to come to a perfect knowledge and we no longer need faith. In Alma 32:21 we read, “And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” I think that for most of us, this perfect knowledge will not come in this life, but rather we will continue to grow in faith until we see God face-to-face and our knowledge can then be realized. People of faith, have a hope for that perfect knowledge.

    I am a woman of faith, because I look forward to the perfection that can come through Jesus Christ. I try to live obedient to the commandments of God, because I have faith that there is a reward that will come after this life. I study the gospel with faith to live it, because I believe that the principles there are better than anything that mankind could come up with for me. I recognize my imperfections and try to make amends for them by going through the repentance process and returning my heart and mind to the Lord. I do not know with a perfect knowledge that any of the principles of the gospel will lead to the promised blessings, but I have faith that they will come and that I will gain a perfect knowledge of them some day.

    Genesis Chapter 7

    Noah was commanded to build the ark and to preserve his family and animals during the coming floods. The Lord’s instructions to Noah continue:

    1 And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
    2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
    3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
    4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
    5 And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.
    6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.

    The time came, when the ark was prepared and the Lord commanded Noah to enter the ark. I don’t exactly know what the difference between a clean beast and not clean, but my best guess would be that those which were clean were the animals that were needed for things like food and sacrifice. Then it makes perfect sense that they would need more of them, because they were going to be on the ark for a while. I am sure that God also had in mind how long each species would survive after they had been able to wander on the earth again. Noah was told at this time, that the rain would come in a week and that it would continue to rain for forty days and nights.

    7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
    8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
    9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
    10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.

    Noah did not do all this alone. He had his family with him, who all were righteous and obedient to the Lord’s commandments. We have no record of murmuring as we do with the family of Nephi in the Book of Mormon. The family of Noah must have been really striving to do what was right by the Lord, and I imagine that they were a strong and unified family. I know how I feel on days of rain and the cold and darkness that come along with it. For me, this experience would have been a true test of my faith. I am sure that I would have been relying heavily on the comfort of the Lord and the hope of what was to come. Noah and his family were good examples of faith, obedience, and endurance through difficult trials before, during, and after the floods. His family are a great example of strictly following the prophet and being blessed greatly for it.

    11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
    12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
    13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
    14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
    15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
    16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.
    17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.
    18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.
    19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
    20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
    21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
    22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
    23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
    24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.

    It rained just as the Lord said it would. This wasn’t just some light rain. It was a downpour. The verse says the water was broken up or burst open. I remember the heavy sheets of rain that came down during El Nino a few years back. The rain was so heavy that you couldn’t see ahead of you. That was nothing in comparison to the rain that came during the time of Noah. It lifted the ark off the ground and the ground was flooded and washed clean. Forty days and nights were not the end of this experience for Noah and his family. After the rain stopped, the waters remained on the earth, and everything was covered for another 150 days. There was nothing left living aside from those that were inside the ark that the Lord had shut up for them. That means that at this point they had been in the ark for over 6 months. I cannot imagine they could have gone through this without their faith. I am so glad to have their example and to be able to recognize the amazing blessings that I have in my life. I am glad that I have been blessed to be a member of the posterity of Noah, and that I have a knowledge of the scriptures to learn and grow from.

    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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    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.

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