Posts Tagged 'Light of Christ'

Deuteronomy Chapter 18

Moses continues his sermons to the Israelites as they prepared to enter the promised land. In the last chapter he shared teachings on the need for righteous leaders in their judges, priests and kings. We can learn from it, that the people have a greater chance at continuing in righteousness, when their leaders follow the laws of God and are just and true. Moses continues by teaching more about the priests of Israel.

1 The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and his inheritance.
2 Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the Lord is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.
3 And this shall be the priest’s due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw.
4 The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him.
5 For the Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for ever.

The Levites had a sacred calling, to be responsible for the tabernacle and sacrifices for the Lord. Because of their calling, they were not treated as the remaining tribes were, as far as inheritances were concerned. All that they had, was to be provided by the offerings of the remainder of the Israelites. In this way, those who were called to be the most holy in their duties, were also called to rely on the blessings of the Lord for all that they had. There is a lesson in this, and for me, that is that we draw nearer to the Lord, when we rely on Him in every part of our lives. We are not called to go without, but if we can recognize that we owe thanks to the Lord in all things, we will also be blessed to draw closer to Him. Moreover, the blessings we receive in return, will be the best portion of all that the Savior has to offer us, just as the Levites received the best portion of all that the Israelites had.

Also, the priests were then dependent upon a people who recognized the Lord in their lives. If the people began to go astray, and follow after other gods, the priests (and their families) would no longer be provided for by the sacrifices and offerings others would have given. It was important for the priests to have faith in the promises of the Lord, no matter how the people were, but it was also important that the people remained faithful in the commandments to give offerings. As disciples of Christ today, it is our duty to give all that we are able to provide for those who do not have their own “inheritance”. We give tithes and offerings in order to build up the kingdom of God on the earth, to live as Christ lived, and to help uplift other around us. When we give, we are recognizing that the hand of the Lord is in our lives and we can give of what he has provided to us.

6 And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the Lord shall choose;
7 Then he shall minister in the name of the Lord his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the Lord.
8 They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony.

Any man of Levite heritage, who desired to go to the tabernacle and serve in the name of the Lord, was to do so. He could come from any of the cities provided for the Levites, and was to be treated as any of the Levites in the service of the Lord.

9 When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
13 Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.
14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.

Moses goes on to teach the people that they were not to learn the ways of abomination, which other nations learned and practiced at that time. These things included the sacrificing of their children to false gods, divination, enchantments or sorcery, witchcraft, charms, spiritualism, wizardry, or necromancy. These things have existed through out the ages, and are a tool of the adversary to lead people after him, by giving them powers of wickedness. Because these were abominations to the Lord, he would cause the nations who practiced them, to be driven out before the Israelites were settled in the land. The Israelites were set apart to be a holy people to the Lord, and were not to practice these any of these things. There are still things such as this practiced today. There are some who live by superstitions and rely heavily on horoscopes and such. There are even some who do participate in the practices of what we would call today, dark magic. Satan uses these tools as he has through the ages, and brings many into bondage with them. Disciples of Christ should avoid these things as part of their lifestyles, and should find answers, comfort and peace through Jesus Christ instead.

The Israelites were given instruction, to be perfect with the Lord. This part of the law of the Lord is repeated by the Savior, during the sermon on the mount, when He said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” We grow in life, ‘line upon line and precept upon precept’. This applies to the perfection that is required of us as well. Eternal perfection will not be accomplished in this life, by any mortal man. It cannot. We cannot actually reach eternal perfection, until the atonement has been accomplished for us individually. We can however, keep the commandments that we have been given, to perfection. As we learn to be a little better each day, we become the kind of perfect that the Lord has asked us to be in this life. We do this, by relying on the Lord and having faith in Him. 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.” We can accomplish all things with His help. We can be perfect in what is asked of us here in mortality, and eventually, we will be made complete through Christ. In that eternal perfection, gained only by the atonement of Christ, we will be able to live forever in the presence of our Father in Heaven.

15 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
16 According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
17 And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?
22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Jesus-Portrait

A prophet would be raised from among the Israelites, who would be like Moses. This prophet, was the Lord, Jesus Christ. In 3 Nephi 20:23, the Savior confirmed these words to the Nephites. He said, “Behold, I am he of whom Moses spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people.” The Israelites were taught to hearken to Christ. Christ would be the mouthpiece for God on the earth, so that the people would know the will of God for them. This was the role, which Moses had taken for the people, because they had feared that hearing the voice of the Lord directly would have brought death upon them. Anyone, who was not willing to hearken to the words of the Christ, would be held accountable for it. Likewise, we are taught to follow the words of Christ, which he taught while in his mortal ministry. If we learn of His teachings, and choose not to follow after them, we will also be held accountable for it.

Any false prophet, who claimed to speak the word of God, as directed by God, would die. One cannot lie to God, or claim to do his will without his authority, and continue in leading people astray. They could know that a man was a false prophet, if the things he claimed in the name of the Lord, did not come to pass. They were not to fear or reverence any false prophets among them. False prophets have existed since the days of Adam. People desire to follow after those who claim to be called and directed by the Lord. We can know if they are true prophets, by the works of their hands. God will not allow men to continue to lead others astray in the name of the Lord. One of the greatest blessings given to men, is the light of Christ, which we all have within us. If we trust and believe in God, the light of Christ will help us to discern or to recognize a false prophet from a man truly called of God.

I am so grateful for the restored gospel on earth today. I feel so blessed to live in a time, when the Lord calls righteous men to lead and direct us. I am grateful for the Lord’s prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and for the apostles and other leaders which He has called to assist the prophet in helping us to do what is right. They have helped to shape my life into what it is today. I know that we should listen to the words of the prophets and hearken to them, as if from the mouth of the Lord. I know that peace and happiness in life, come from following the prophet. I strive daily to follow their teachings because it feels right in my heart and mind. I have felt peace and happiness in my life as a result of this and I would not want to live any other way. I hope that others will recognize that the Lord loves us enough to guide us today, just as he did in the days of Moses.

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Sharing the Sunshine

I was looking back through some drafts I had written in the past and I saw this one and wondered why I did not finish writing it. I think it may have been because I had a plan in mind for my study already. I am a planner. Sometimes I have an internal struggle with where I expect my study to take me, and where the spirit guides it to go. Right now I am trying to get through the Bible, but really that is a huge goal. And the way I study, it is going to take a while. A long while. So, today I am going to break away from it for just a moment.

There are many places throughout the scriptures, which teach us how we should live as saints. There is one in particular that stuck out to me a while back, because it describes basic principles of living the gospel. In 1 Peter 3:8 we read, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous”. What does this mean to me?

First, The Lord expects us to be unified. We need to be one, whether in our marriages, in our families, at church with other saints, or really anywhere else where we hope to have strength. We need to be working towards the same goal or at the least, walking in the same direction. In Peter’s epistle to the saints of his day, I think he was teaching how they should have been within the church. As saints and members of the church of Jesus Christ, we need to have the same goal in mind. That goal is the same goal of our Father in Heaven. We need to have a goal for the salvation of mankind. Do we desire for others to live with God again, as we desire it for ourselves? Do we knit ourselves together so that we can all reach that goal together? Mosiah 18:21 reads, “And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.” When I think of this, I imagine linking arms with the sisters in Relief Society. Knitting requires 2 needles to work. These two needles bring two sides of the work together. The work becomes one whole without separation. We can be one in our purpose when we meet together often as the yarn of our own work, and use our spiritual gifts and talents to link with one another. Then our hearts will become knit together and we will strengthen, enrich, and uplift one another. With that one eye, one faith, and one baptism, we can be strong enough to stand firm in the gospel.

The Lord wants us to have “compassion one of another”. We should care for the temporal and spiritual welfare of others. If one of us suffer, we all suffer. In 1 Corinthians 12:26 we read, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” This makes me think of family life. It is often said that a happy Mom, means a happy home. It is interesting to me, to watch how the attitude of one individual in the home, can determine if we all have a good attitude. Attending to the needs of others, benefits all of us. We should willingly give to the poor and needy. Paying tithes and offerings is one way which we can give to those in need. Also paying closer attention to the lives of others around us, we will be able to see and even discern needs that are there. The instruction given in these latter days can be found in Doctrine and Covenants 52:40, which says, “And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple. (empahsis added)” What else can we do? We can visit those who are alone, such as the widows. President Monson, our prophet today, has given us a great example of being there for the widows. When he was bishop, he made it a point to be there for the many women in his ward, and he remained loyal friends to them for the remainder of their lives. In addition, we can pray for others. As we pray and serve, we will feel deeply for those around us and the welfare of others will effect us in meaningful ways. That is the kind of compassion the Savior has for each of us. Compassion leads us to greater faith and service. It was recently my privilege to serve at a funeral for a gentleman in our church. I enjoyed doing the service, but even greater was the opportunity to watch as many gathered together in compassion one of another. I watched as every detail of the help was done with the upmost in care and consideration for what those in mourning would need. There was an incredible outpouring of love, even in the simplest things. This kind of compassion is so beautiful and is one of the best ways we can show the light of Christ to others.

Compassion leads to charity, the pure love of Christ. Disciples of Christ should love each other as brothers and sisters. The love I have for my siblings causes my mind to be focused on them often. I want them to have true happiness and joy. I want them to have peaceful family lives. I care deeply for how they are doing, even though I am far from all of them. We should love one another, whether our actual kin or not, with the desire to remain brothers and sisters in the eternities. Having a love like this will help us to fellowship one another continually. In Doctrine and Covenants 38:24, the instruction for us is to “let every man esteem his brother as himself…”. The Savior taught by example in this. In John 15:13, He said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He loved all people with the brotherly love, and He showed us that love, by giving His life for us.

To be pitiful is to be full of “the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others“. Followers of Christ should be tender hearted and compassionate. It is our duty to take on one another’s pains and burdens, or to make them lighter in whatever ways we can. We should be sensitive to others and easily moved to love when we see others in need. This epistle of Peter does not teach us to have a little pity for others, but to be full of it. Our hearts should be filled with care and concern for others who are having any kind of difficulties in life.

Finally, we are taught to be courteous to one another. Show others the honor and respect they deserve as children of God. Be genuinely polite to others. A difficult, but important way to remain courteous, is to refrain from gossiping. Our comments of others, should always be positive and uplifting. Showing others the kind of respect you would want them to give to you.

Being of one mind, having compassion one of another, loving as brethren (and sisters), being pitiful, and being courteous come with ease and grace when we have the light of the gospel active in our lives. A song which goes right along with this is “You Can Make the Pathway Bright”. I love the words, and often think of them in the mornings as I prepare for the day ahead.

You can make the pathway bright,
Fill the soul with heaven’s light,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
Turning darkness into day,
As the shadows fly away,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

I have experienced darkness in my own heart at times. There are many who suffer from deep depressions, feelings of hopelessness and much more. We can help them, by sharing our sunshine, which is the light of Christ in each of us.

You can speak the gentle word
To the heart with anger stirred,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
Tho it seems a little thing,
It will heaven’s blessings bring,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

There is so much power in kind words. Responding to others’ negativity in kind, does nothing to help any situation. If we choose to share our light with kindness, cold hearts will warm and hard hearts will soften.

You can do a kindly deed
To your neighbor in his need,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
And his burden you will share
As you lift his load of care,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

Thinking outside of our own lives is the key. When we serve others in need, we share the light of Christ. Small acts of kindness are not that hard to do if we just pay attention to others around us. Opportunities to serve are all around us.

You can live a happy life
In this world of toil and strife,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
And your soul will glow with love
From the perfect Light above,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

We will be happier, others around us will be happier, and life will seem easier, when we live and share the gospel light with others. Why? Because it is His light, the light of Christ. Everyone loves to have a little more sunshine in their life. I know I do. I hope that I can be less selfish and less focused on those things that do not matter in the grand scheme of things, so that I can serve Christ by sharing His gift that has blessed my life so much. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Conference Questions – Following Christ

Recently, I watched the 182nd Semi Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I watch conference, I am always filled with the spirit and a desire to be a better person and draw closer to the Savior. 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, 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. To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

My final question in this series, comes from a talk given by Robert D. Hales during the Sunday afternoon session of conference. His talk was called, “Being a More Christian Christian“. As the title suggests, his talk discussed what it is to be a Christian and how we can do it more in our lives. My question was posed by Elder Hales during this talk, and it is what kind of Christian am I? Likewise, how am I doing in my quest to follow Christ?

What is a Christian? A Christian is one who follows Christ. It was a title given to those who believed in Jesus Christ both in the New Testament times as well as in the times of the Book of Mormon. In Acts 11:26 we read, “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Likewise in Alma 46:15 we read, “And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come.” Elder Hales described a Christian as one who took upon themselves the name of Christ.

I love that his second question uses the word quest. A quest is a long and difficult search for something. To seek after Jesus Christ is a quest. Having the faith to continue hoping for something that cannot be scientifically proven is difficult. Maintaining a hope in the atonement when none of us were there to witness the events for ourselves, is not easy. If it was easier, there would be more people willing to believe in Jesus Christ.

How do we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, and then take the steps necessary to seek for him through the difficult and long journey of our lives? We do this by first making the covenants that we have been commanded to make. We start the quest with baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is the first steps the Savior took in his ministry and must be the first we take as well. Then, we continue in that quest, by following his example and living as he lived.

A true Christian strives daily to become more converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. This means looking at ourselves to see what things we need to change in us to become more like our Savior. This requires quite a bit of humility on our part. The Savior taught us the value of humility in Matthew 18:4 which says, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” We need to recognize that we are far from perfect. We need to gain a desire to change our natural ways and become better. Conversion comes in repenting and returning to the Savior whenever we find we have lost our way, even in the slightest. The quest to follow Christ is full of moments of reflection and repentance and we should check ourselves to see if we are doing this often enough to be truly converted to Christ.

Elder Hale’s talk caused me to question if I am one who responds right away. I would hope that I am now. I have had many times in my past, when I have been asked to do something that would show my discipleship to Christ, but I have hesitated to heed the call. Not that I did not respond, but I did hesitate. The more I learn of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more willing I am to listen and follow immediately. I have struggled internally when it has come to changing a habit I know to be wrong, but I have eventually followed through with feelings to change. I think that the parable of the ten virgins is applicable to this situation. We have to respond now and avoid procrastination. This applies to changes in our lives as well as to calls of duty assigned to us, or even simple inspirations. In Matthew 25:10 we read, “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” We miss out on the blessings now, when we hesitate to respond. Being a more Christian Christian means responding right away to those things that the Lord would have us do. I hope to be able to become the kind of person who can react immediately in all things that Christ would have me do. A true Christian, will act upon direction and inspiration immediately

A Christian Christian will do the work of the Lord. That work is to “bring to pass the immorality and eternal life of man” (see Moses 1:39). We do this by sharing the gospel with others. We do this by behaving as Christ would, and bring others to him by sharing his light. We do not have to share the gospel with words in order to this, but we do need to be living the gospel so that others can see by our example, the better way. In 3 Nephi 12, the Savior taught a portion of the sermon at the temple (see also the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5)

14 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
15 Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;
16 Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

We can do the work of the Lord at all times, in all things, and in all places. We start in our homes, with ourselves and then our families. Then we can do His work at church, at work, in the community and so on. The Lord will provide the opportunities for us, if we will look faithfully for them. As a seeking Christian, I must ask myself if I am standing as an example of the Savior’s light in each area of my life. Am I patient at home? Am I loving at church? Am I kind at the grocery store? Am I caring and considerate in my neighborhood? What can I work on today to be a better light to the world? Elder Hales proposed several areas for us to consider how we are doing. These areas are love, faith, sacrifice, caring, service, patience, peace, forgiveness, conversion, and endurance. These things will bring us closer to Christ. We should take a look at where we are, study how Christ was in that thing, make a plan or goal for ourselves, and then seek for the way to become more like Him. It truly is a quest and we cannot expect to become the perfect Christians overnight. It will be something that we spend our whole lives working on. The faithful Christian is one who recognizes this, doesn’t find failure in not being perfect right away, and strives each day to do more than the day before.

I am grateful to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I have faith in Him. I believe Him. I want to be like Him. I know that if I reflect on how I am showing my faithfulness as a Christian, the Lord will help me to see ways that I can improve and become more converted to Him. I am grateful for my weaknesses and the opportunities that I have to learn and grow. I am so glad that I have a Lord who is patient with me and allows me the opportunity to make mistakes, repent of my shortcomings and try harder each day. I know that it is a blessing to be a Christian and I hope to become more of a Christian throughout my life.

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 7

(To view the previous posts for this question, start here: Our Potential Part 1)

Another attribute of God, is that He is eternal. Moroni 7:22 reads, “For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.” There is no beginning or end to God. It is hard for us to understand the eternal nature of God, because we look at the world in relation to time on our earth. I think an important thing to realize in relation to God’s eternal nature, is that He is unchanging and faithful. 1 Nephi 10:19 says, “For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.” Likewise, in Doctrine and Covenants 35:1 we read, “Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round, the same today as yesterday, and forever.” And again in Doctrine and Covenants 20:17 it says, “By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them;”. We can depend on God to stay the same. 2 Timothy 2:19 teaches, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” There is a dependability that we can have with God, which we cannot have with any person on earth. The way to work on this attribute and strive towards this Godly potential, is to be a dependable person now. We need to be someone that others can depend on. More importantly, we need to be the kind of person that God can depend on. We need to work on our faith and stand firm in the gospel. This is not say that we don’t want to progress. Progression is a type of change. The good kind of change, is having a sure foundation and building upon that to become better. The kind of change that will have us leaving our path to our potential, is allowing our faith to waiver, turning back to the person we were before our conversion process began, returning to old habits, and so on. Becoming more like God, means that we have the kind of faith that will remain strong, even when the difficulties of life crash down upon us.

Through His eternal love for His children, God is a giver of gifts. In James 1:17 we read, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” A friend said once, that she imagines that God has a vast basket of blessings for each of and when we choose to live according to the laws He has given, the basket is turned over upon us, but that the blessings remain there is we choose not to have them through the way we choose to live. I believe that God desires to give us all that He has to offer us, which is everything really. As stated before, God gave the greatest gift to us in the giving of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. (See John 3:16) 1 John 5:11 reads, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” It is through this gift that we can receive eternal life. That combination, Eternal life through Jesus Christ, is the greatest gift of all the gifts of God. In Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 it teaches us, “And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” The gifts that God give to us, usually depend upon the life we choose to live. There are some gifts that are given to all, for being children of a loving Father. Every person is given the gift of some of the light of Christ within us. Every person is also given talents. We learn of this in 1 Corinthians 7:7 which reads, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.” When we seek for greater gifts in the spirit of seeking to be more like God, we will be given more talents and other gifts. In order to work towards the potential of Godliness, we need to be more willing to give of what we have to others. When our children behave as we have asked them, we should give them gifts. This doesn’t mean giving physical gifts all the time, but more often than not, it is giving a greater witness of our love and appreciation for them. Give a hug. Give a note of thanks. Give a smile. Give time. We really should be willing to give of our abundance to all mankind. Giving gifts is one of the great ways that we can show others we love them and care for them.

Another attribute of God, which we can strive towards, is that He is just. In Deuteronomy 32:4 we read, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” God is the ultimate judge of all mankind. In that judgement, He is perfectly just. In Mosiah 29:12 we are taught, “Now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just.” This is so true. Men are so easily swayed by their own backgrounds, beliefs and biases. Knowing that God is the one who will judge me in the end, gives me a much greater hope in receiving what I truly deserve. We can work towards becoming perfectly just as God is, by keeping our own judgements to righteous judgements. There are appropriate times for us to judge something or someone, but most of the time, we judge where we do not have a right to do so, and with motives that are anything but righteous. The Savior taught us a lesson regarding judging in his sermon at the temple, found in 3 Nephi 14.

1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he turned again to the multitude, and did open his mouth unto them again, saying: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother: Let me pull the mote out of thine eye—and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (See also Matthew 7: the sermon on the mount)

We cannot judge others for things, when we are not perfect ourselves. So we learn to be more like God, when we restrain from judging others this way. Instead, we need to focus on forgiving others and seeing the good in them. We can work towards our potential by trying to see others through the loving perspective of their Father in Heaven, and as the people that they can become through His power.

(Coming tomorrow: Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 8)

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

Facsimile 2 and 3

Abraham was taught and shown many great things by the Lord. He did not hide this knowledge, but was commanded to share with the people. I am sure that there were things that he was told to hold sacred and not reveal, but there was also a lot of doctrinal truths that he was expected to teach others. I think that the facsimilies, or the images that are included in the Pearl of Great Price, go along with my most recent post from Abraham 3. My study guide says that the explanations given along with the images, that are printed in the scriptures at this time, are not set in stone. They may be revised as modern revelation comes to the prophets of our day.

According to my guide, this image is of an item that the Egyptians would lay under the head of one who had died to make the individual divine. It is supposed to be a representation of what they believed of the afterlife and the item itself (called a hypocephalus) was the eye of God. I don’t know if this image was found with the mummy that was with the writings when the church came into possession of them, but if so, this gives me an indication that the mummy and writings they found were probably from a person who followed the teachings of Abraham. I write that because if the image placed under the head, included the teachings of Abraham, than that individual must have believed his teachings to be true. It is great that they would hold their religious beliefs so strongly that they would symbolically take them with themselves after this life. I wish that more people today, would think this much about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Abraham 3, we learn about Kolob, which is the creation of the Lord that is closet to God. In the figure, the number 1, which can be found in the center, is to represent Kolob. I think that it is fittingly placed in the center of this image, because it represents where our focus should be. Whether the character in the center is a representation of the physical location Kolob, which was the first place created by God, or of Jesus Christ, which was the first spiritual being created by God, we should be drawn to that center. We should be working towards having the intelligence to be brought closer to God physically and spiritually. Jesus Christ, should be the center of our lives, just as Kolob is the center of this image. In this part of the image, there are two figures on the side of Kolob (noted as 22 and 23), with circles above their heads. These circles represent light, and it is my understanding that they are representing stars, which receive their light from Kolob. I think that this represents that all light, both physical and spiritual, comes from Jesus Christ.

The second portion is located just above the center of the image, called Oliblish. The descriptions says that it stands next to Kolob and is next in line in the order of governing powers. It says that this was revealed to Abraham when he made sacrifice to the Lord. I think that from this I learn that there is an order in the planets and stars, which determine how all the creations of God are governed. I love knowing that there is order in all of God’s creations.

The third part is in the upper-right portion of the hypocephalus. The descriptions says that this is representative of God. The circle above his head, is his crown of eternal light. His light is forever. I feel like God is at the top because he watches over us all as our eternal Father in Heaven.

The part that is marked as number 4, is on the upper-left portion of the circle. It looks to me, like a bird on a boat. The description says that this figure answers the question of time. It represents the measurement of time for Kolob as one thousand. Abraham was taught by the Lord, that one revolution for Kolob is one thousand years for our time.

The fifth figure is located under the center figure of Kolob. It looks like some four-legged animal. It is another governing planet, which the Egyptians called Enish-go-on-dosh. The descriptions explains that it receives its light from Kolob, just as the stars. It seems to me that it is showing that the governing power of the priesthood, gives the planets their power. I think I learn from this, that the priesthood is the power that moves and governs all the planets, the sun, the moon and the stars. If Kolob represents Jesus Christ, then this may represent another of the great prophets who was called to be a righteous leader and a governing spirit under the direction of Jesus Christ. The prophets ultimately receive the power of the priesthood from Jesus Christ.

The sixth portion is to the left of the fifth, and the description says that it represents the earth and its four quarters. It looks like four different individuals as well as some different animals next to them. I think that it shows that all the people and animals of the earth are also governed by the Savior. Plus they are all turned towards the figure in the middle of that row of the image. We, as people on the earth, look towards the prophets. I believe that in the time after this life, we will continue to look towards the prophets, because their callings to lead us our eternal. In other words, they have been called to be leaders not only on this earth, but in the life after this as well.

The seventh figure is on the other side of what I believe represent the prophets. It seems that this row of images represents the order of revelation. This image (7) is God, who reveals the Priesthood and the gospel to the prophets (5), who then in turn reveal them to the world (6). There is also a bird like image next to the image of God, which we learn in the description in the scriptures is the form of a dove and the sign of the Holy Ghost. I think that their is an image of some type of guard standing between the prophets and God. There are things that we must do in order to return to be with God again. If we make covenants and do the ordinances that have been revealed to us through the prophets of God, we will be able to pass through the veil that keeps us from God’s presence. We can only do this through sacred ordinances and covenants that are made in the temple of the Lord.

The eighth figure is on the left side of the center image of Kolob. The description for this line says that these writings are not to be revealed to the world, but may be received in the temple. My understand would be that this represent the ordinances such as the endowment that are completed in the temple. When we make the covenants in the endowment, we receive further revelations regarding what we need to know to be able to return to live with God again. Our pathway to eternal life is incomplete without these things, but they are so sacred that they cannot be revealed to the world openly.

I believe that the figures for the ninth, tenth and eleventh images, located above the eighth, represent things that have been revealed to the prophets, but are not to be revealed to the world yet. Likewise, the figures for the twelfth through the twenty-first image are given the description that they “will be given in the own due time of the Lord”. We don’t know at this time if they have been revealed to anyone else, but I believe that they will be eventually. I look forward to the time of the second coming, when all things will be revealed and the righteous will be blessed for their works. I think that having this image in the scriptures, is a testimony to me that the gospel has been on the earth from the beginning. I cannot even imagine the number of people who have had the gospel in their lives and did their very best to live it and to follow great prophets such as Abraham. I think that the heavenly reunion of the righteous sons and daughters of God, will be amazing.

This image is also from the Book of Abraham. It is believable based on the teachings of Abraham from the revelations he received. Their are six numbers found on the image. The first one, is described as “Abraham sitting upon Pharaoh’s throne, by the politeness of the king, with a crown upon his head, representing the Priesthood, as emblematical of the grand Presidency in Heaven; with the scepter of justice and judgment in his hand.” It seems to show the Priesthood leadership role of Abraham, or the reward that awaited Abraham in the eternities.

The second is marked as King Pharaoh. I think that this shows that in the eternities, the Pharaoh would look towards Abraham for leadership. I think also that this shows that Pharaoh, the first righteous leader of Egypt, supported and sustained the prophet Abraham. (This is just my interpretation of it.) The other people in the image are the Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt (4), a waiter of the king, Shulem (5), and a slave of the prince, Olimlah (6). The plant-like character (3) represents that Abraham was in Egypt. I think that this facsimile, shows the story of Abraham’s experience in Egypt. He was the spiritual leader brought to Egypt by the hand of the Lord. When there, he or his teachings were not accepted by the leader of Egypt, Prince of Pharaoh, which is why his image is turned away. It seems to me that the waiter and slave of the prince may have been trying to listen and change the mind of Prince of Pharaoh, but he refused to listen. There are other interpretations of this image and as I have been studying it, I have read some. There is a lot of explanation on the way Egyptian customs were, such as Pharaoh would have allowed Abraham to sit in his throne to be a teacher of astronomy to those in the court and that perhaps this was customarily a right given to the son of the Pharoah. I don’t know this kind of historical information, so I will leave that to the scholars. In any case, I find both of these images or facsimiles to be very fascinating and I believe that they are truly inspired recordings from Abraham.

D&C Section 88 (Part 1)

According to church history, there was a conference of some of the high priests of the church during December of 1832. The brethren were concerned about what the Church should be doing, in light of revelations that had been received, which predicted difficult times ahead (see section 87). This revelation was given through the Prophet, Joseph Smith, in response to these concerns. The Prophet later wrote that this was the “olive leaf . . . plucked from the Tree of Paradise, the Lord’s message of peace to us.” In this section, we should therefore find ways for us to have peace as well.

1 VERILY, thus saith the Lord unto you who have assembled yourselves together to receive his will concerning you:
2 Behold, this is pleasing unto your Lord, and the angels rejoice over you; the alms of your prayers have come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded in the book of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world.

The Lord is pleased with us, when we meet together with those who are trying to follow Christ. When we earnestly pray together (or on our own) for answers, the Lord hears us and is glad to answer us according to His will. The prayers of the prophet and the other high priests were recorded eternally. I believe that if we pray with a sincere heart and with truly righteous desires, our prayers will be significant enough to record eternally as well. I think this is something to consider as we pray to our Father in Heaven. We should ask ourselves if we are praying to do the will of the Lord, with full intentions to do all that we are asked to do.

3 Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
4 This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;
5 Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—

These faithful men were promised the Comforter. They had already been baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost through confirmation. If we follow the scripture chain from the word “Comforter” in verse 3, we learn that this was the Second Comforter (see Topical Guide JESUS CHRIST, SECOND COMFORTER). The Second Comforter, is the promise of eternal life. Joseph Smith said, “When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter . . .”. This promise allowed these men, in their faithfulness, to have the glory, even the personage, of Jesus Christ in their presence. The glory of the church of the Firstborn, is the glory of Jesus Christ. In reading further on the word “Firstborn”, I learn that this glory is the same glory as Christ (the Firstborn of God), which is a celestial glory. It is the glory of the first resurrection, which is for those who are righteous followers of Christ.

I don’t know for sure, but I believe that this same promise has been given to other modern prophets and general authorities, who have devoted their lives to serving the Lord. This promise can come to all saints, if they can truly put their own desires aside and commit fully to being an instrument in His hands. It must have been a great blessing to receive this sure promise of the blessings of eternal life.

This section continues:

6 He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;
7 Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
8 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
9 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;
10 And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.
11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—
13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.

The light of Christ is in all things, both on the earth and in the heavens. He is the creator of all of these and His power is in all things. It is because of the light and power of Christ, that all things grow and progress. We owe all of our understanding and learning to His light. This light, is what drives people to discover new things they have not heard of before. This light is the thing that encourages people to look for truth in a world of wickedness and lies.

14 Now, verily I say unto you, that through the redemption which is made for you is brought to pass the resurrection from the dead.
15 And the spirit and the body are the soul of man.
16 And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul.

We owe the progression of all things to the Savior, Jesus Christ, just as we owe the power to be resurrected to Him. Christ was redeemed for all souls and has therefore made the resurrection possible for us all. During the resurrection our spirits will be reunited with our perfected bodies, just as Christ’s body and spirit were joined again. There are no conditions of the resurrection, now that Christ has been redeemed. Meaning, that all people who have ever, or will ever live, will be resurrected at some point.

I know that I owe my very existence and happiness, to the Lord and the priesthood power He holds. I know that I will never be able to give back to Him the way He has given to me, but I am trying each day to live the best that I can. I am so grateful for all of the amazing blessings that the Lord has blessed me with. I am grateful beyond words, for the ability to progress and the possibility to receive the glory of the celestial kingdom and live with my Father in Heaven again.

This section will be continued.

Moroni, Chapter 7

What is the setting and background of this chapter?

“And now I, Moroni, write a few of the words of my father Mormon, which he spake concerning faith, hope, and charity; for after this manner did he speak unto the people, as he taught them in the synagogue which they had built for the place of worship (v. 1).  And now I, Mormon, speak unto you, my beloved brethren; and it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy will, because of the gift of his calling unto me, that I am permitted to speak unto you at this time (v. 2).  Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven (v. 3).  And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men (v. 4).”

I know of several people that I would consider to be “peaceable follower[s] of Christ”.  I think that peaceable followers of Christ are those who truly believe the gospel of the Savior and who want to follow it in all they do.  Those who are not ashamed of the gospel and who want to bring the gospel of peace to others.  I think that my family is striving to be peaceable followers of Christ, but there is room for improvement.  As members of the church, we should be always striving to follow the Lord.  We should also have a great desire to share the gospel with others and bring them peace.  Mormon addresses his words here to those who are striving to do this.

What is good?

“For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good . . . (v. 6)”.  What is the good that Mormon is talking about here?  “For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also (v. 5).  For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing (v. 6).  For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness (v. 7).”  The good Mormon is talking about, is righteousness.  An evil man cannot do that which is righteous.  An evil man will not profit eternally from his works.

“For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God (v. 8 ).  And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such (v. 9).  Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift (v. 10).”  To do good is to give a gift to God with righteous intention, or to pray to God with real intent of heart.  Without the real intent, is not good or unrighteous.  One who chooses to do evil before the Lord, is considered evil to the Lord.  And one who is evil, cannot do good.

“For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil (v. 11).”  This scripture gives me comfort.  I am striving to follow Jesus Christ.  As long as I continue to strive to follow Him, I cannot be a servant of Satan.  If I find myself doing things that are good without the real intent, I know that I need to re-evaluate my attitude.  If I continually want to do good and have the intentions to follow the Savior, my works will be good and I will become what my Father in Heaven wants me to be.

How can we know and judge good from evil?

“Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil (v. 14).  For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night (v. 15).”  It is easy for most of us to see the difference between daylight and dark night.  Mormon tells us here, that judging between good and evil should be this easy.

“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 (v. 12).  But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God (v. 13).”  The fact is that everything good is of God and anything else is of Satan.  Or in other words, everything that is righteous is of God and anything unrighteous is not.

“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God (v. 16).  But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him (v. 17).”  All men are give the spirit as a guide to know what is good and what is evil.  This is not specific to those who have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Because it is the Spirit of Christ, it can lead us to Him.  If we choose to follow the Spirit and choose that which is good, we will find ourselves drawn closer to Christ.

“And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged (v. 18 ).  Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ (v. 19).”  We need to use the light of Christ to judge righteously between good and evil.  Once we see the difference between what is good and evil, we are obligated to choose the good.  If we choose the things that are good we can “be a child of Christ”.

I am glad that I have the ability to feel what is good or what is evil.  It gives me strength and confidence to know that I have chosen the thing that is right.  I have been blessed to see the truth amid the lies in the world around me because I have prayed for help to see.  The light in the world today is becoming blurred by all of the many temptations of Satan and I am grateful that I have things in my life to keep me aware.  I am so grateful for the scriptures and words of the modern prophets, as well as constant prayer, which keep my eyes focused on the light.

How do we obtain faith?  What are the blessings of faith?

Faith is a Sunrise

Following the Spirit can be a lot like trying to hear a quite voice when a loud voice is guiding us away from our goal.  We can distiguish which voice is the right voice, by where it leads us.  If every time we followed it, we ended up running into a wall, we would learn quickly that it was not the voice to listen to.  The voice of the Spirit will never lead us into walls or anything like that.  As we come to trust in the voice of the Spirit, we will be able to hear it better.  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.”  Also in Ether 12:6 we read, “And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.”  Faith is learning to trust the Spirit even though you have not seen for yourself.

“And now, my brethren, how is it possible that ye can lay hold upon every good thing (v. 20)?  And now I come to that faith, of which I said I would speak; and I will tell you the way whereby ye may lay hold on every good thing (v. 21).”  Faith is an action word.  We exercise faith when we follow the spirit and trust that it will lead us to that which is good and righteous.  The more confidence we gain from exercising this faith, the more we can be led to other good and righteous things.

Moroni goes on to teach more wonderful things based on faith.  He teaches that God sent angels to show men that Christ would come (v. 22).  Moroni tells us that God told the prophets that Christ would come (v. 23).  He tells us that everything good comes from Christ and without Christ we would remain fallen (v. 24).  He teaches that by faith, the people prepared for the coming of Christ (v. 25).  He teaches that many were saved by faith even after Christ came and that we can be blessed by faith even now.  “. . . And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you (v. 26).”

Moroni teaches that miracles, even the ministering of angels, can still happen as long as we have faith in Christ (v. 27-29).  Ministering angels are to show themselves to those with great faith and to guide people to repent and do the Lord’s will.  They also declare the word of God to those who are chosen by God, so that they will testify to all people of God (v. 30-31).  Moroni teaches us that by these testimonies, we may all be able to have faith in Christ and by the power of the Holy Ghost, we can be led to make covenants with God (v. 32).  “And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me (v. 33).”  Faith in Christ and His power to save us, will lead to repentance and baptism (v. 34).

Moroni teaches us that because of faith, miracles have not ceased.  He teaches that God has not held the power of the Holy Ghost from us.  And he teaches us that as long as there is man to be saved, He will never withhold the power of the Holy Ghost from us.  Without the power of faith, this life would be in vain (v. 35-37).  “For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made (v. 38 ).  But behold, my beloved brethren, I judge better things of you, for I judge that ye have faith in Christ because of your meekness; for if ye have not faith in him then ye are not fit to be numbered among the people of his church  (v. 39).”

Without faith, there is no reason to do anything good in this life.  Faith in the saving power of the atonement and in a life after this life, makes everything we do valuable.  I am so glad that I have the gospel, which teaches me how to use faith in my life.

The gift of hope

Recently, I went through a trial that was difficult.  I received a priesthood blessing and came out with the feeling that the Lord would give me the strength to handle things whatever way it turned out.  I had faith that the Lord knew what would be best for me and if I needed a lesson I would learn from the experience.  I leaned greatly on my hope that things would all work out well in the end.  Because of the strength I received from the Lord, I took steps that were out of my comfort zone and I am sure it is because of these steps that things worked out well in the end.  “And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope (v. 40)?  And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise (v. 41).”  Mormon tells us that we should have hope that our faith in Jesus Christ will lead to our exaltation through the power of the atonement.

In Alma 22:15-18, we read of Aaron teaching Lamoni’s father.  The king asked Aaron what he should do so that he could be filled with the spirit of Christ and be saved.  “But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest (v. 16).”  The king prayed to God in faith, for forgiveness, and was struck as if he were dead.  Aaron told Lamoni that his desire to know how to be saved and have joy was a desire to have hope.  In order to gain this hope, Lamoni’s father acted in faith by praying and pleading for forgiveness.

“Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope (v. 42).  And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart (v. 43).”  According to Mormon, in order to obtain hope, we must first be meek and lowly of heart.  Then through faith, the hope will come.  We live in a time of great wickedness.  We have wicked leaders and a great amount of sin and wickedness around us.  The gift of hope is needed so much to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Those who are “peaceable followers of Christ” can receive the gift of hope as they faithfully obey the commandments and follow the prophets.

Charity

There are many righteous people who faithfully attend church each week, pay their tithing and magnify their callings.  It is difficult to consider those people “nothing”.  In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 we read, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal (v. 1).  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing (v. 2).  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing (v. 3).”  Without charity we are nothing.

“If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity (v. 44).”  We can live the best we know how, and do all that is asked of us, but without charity, it is in vain.  What does it mean to have charity?  “And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things (v. 45).”  To have the pure love of Christ is to be long-suffering, kind, not envious or prideful, not greedy, not quick to be provoked, righteous minded, and to believe, hope in and endure all things that are given to you.  I can think of many people in my life who are examples of each of these things.  I am constantly working on these things in my own life and I hope to someday be able to say that I have mastered them.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail (v. 46)—But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him (v. 47).”  I think that having Charity is something that we work on literally each day of our lives.  It does not come easy to have the pure love of Christ, but it is something that we should all be striving for.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen (v. 48 ).”  We can obtain charity, through sincere, heart-felt prayer to our Father in Heaven.  When we pray to be filled with the love of Christ, with the intent to show that love for others, we will have charity.


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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