Posts Tagged 'Love of God'

2 Samuel Chapter 22

David was a man of faith. He was not perfect, none of us are, but we can see in his example that he tried to turn to God often. David was the king, chosen by the Lord, to lead the people of Israel. In the world, he was raised above others, reverenced and in a way, worshipped by his followers, and he could have been a man of great pride. Nevertheless, he remembered the Lord and had a humility that has not always been found in those who have ruled the nations. David was a writer of songs and psalms. In his youth, David had been brought to King Saul, to play for him in the hopes of raising Saul’s depressed spirit. This was a talent and gift, which he used throughout his life, and this chapter is noted as coming from him as well. In the header, it calls this a psalm of thanksgiving.

1 And David spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:
2 And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

A key to humility is gratitude. In this psalm David expresses the Lord’s hand in the things of his life. In particular, David was grateful for the Lord’s power of deliverance in his life. He recognized that God had been the reason for his life being spared when others, specifically Saul, had tried to kill him. He uses words to describe the Lord, which show that he felt the Lord was strong. Words such as “rock” and “fortress”, which were things that were firm and steadfast, dependable and unmovable. David felt the protection of the Lord in his battles. Anyone who knows of David in the bible, knows of David’s trust of the Lord in his fights. This is the same man, who went when he was young and unskilled in battle, volunteered to fight Goliath. He knew the Lord would fight for him then, and he knew he would continue to fight for him when the cause was right.

4 I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
5 When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;
6 The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;
7 In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
8 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.
9 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
10 He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
11 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
12 And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
13 Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.
15 And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.
16 And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
17 He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;
18 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.
19 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay.

David recognized that he could depend on the Lord and ask for help through prayer. He knew that he had personal weaknesses, including fear. Yet, the Lord had heard his prayers for help and delivered him from those he feared. In our own distress, we can call upon God. When we have fear, sorrows, doubts, sadness, loneliness, frustrations, or any kind of distress to our soul, we can pray to God for help. The Lord wants us to have joy and be happy. In our humility, he will help us find our way.

20 He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
21 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
23 For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them.
24 I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.
25 Therefore the Lord hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.

David knew that the Lord had blessed him for his righteousness. When he chose to do what was right, according to the laws and judgments of God, he was rewarded. As I initially read this, it seemed that this psalm was written before his decision with Bathsheba and Uriah, because he said that he had kept the ways of the Lord, and his actions at that time where not according to the laws and statutes of the Lord. Until that point of weakness, it seems that David had lived righteously and had been greatly blessed for his cleanliness. However, the companion manual in my current study states that these last few chapters of 2 Samuel, were praise offered at the end of David’s life. Perhaps, it is that David recognized what he had done, and had strived to repent and return to those things that were righteous. We are not characterized by the mistakes we make, when we choose to correct them, turn back from them, or move forward from them, especially when we do so with the help of the Lord. Although David had not lived a perfect life, he had tried in most things, to live in a manner that was pleasing to the Lord. He had suffered quite a bit for his choice, but his life as a whole had been greatly blessed for his righteousness.

26 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright.
27 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.
28 And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.

God extends mercy to those who are merciful and saves those who are afflicted, but He also causes those who are haughty, or lifted up in their own pride, to be brought down. There will come a day when it will not be pleasant for those who fill their lives with deceit and sin.

29 For thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness.
30 For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.
31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
32 For who is God, save the Lord? and who is a rock, save our God?

God provides light to those in darkness, and makes all things possible. David teaches us that the ways of God are perfect. I like the phrase used here, “the word of the Lord is tried”, because I think it reminds us that we can test the word of God, and it will always be perfect and true. God is the Lord and a rock to those who trust in Him.

33 God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.
34 He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places.
35 He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
36 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.
37 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.
38 I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.
39 And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet.
40 For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me.
41 Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me.
42 They looked, but there was none to save; even unto the Lord, but he answered them not.
43 Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad.
44 Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen: a people which I knew not shall serve me.
45 Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: as soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me.
46 Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places.

God is strength and power. He has the strength to do anything, and he will be there for those who remember Him. God has the power to help us overcome enemies, especially when that enemy is our own weakness to temptation and sin. His power can make us closer to what He is, which is perfect. When we are striving to do what is right, God helps us to stay grounded, firm on the path that will raise us up rather than that which leads us down to misery. He will bless the righteous with the things that they stand in need of, which in David’s case, was to have the strength in battle to defeat those that were trying to destroy him. In doing so, God gave David the power to rule over strangers.

47 The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.
48 It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me,
49 And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.
50 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.
51 He is the tower of salvation for his king: and sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore.

David reminds us that God lives. He praises God for his personal salvation and success against those that stand against him. David knew he and his posterity would be forever blessed by the mercy of the Lord.

It is so important for us to have gratitude in our hearts, and most especially for God who gives us blessings beyond our comprehension and understanding. I second the testimony of David, that we have a living God. He is good and loving, merciful and kind, strong and powerful. He will bless those that follow Him. He will give out just rewards when the time comes for all of us to be judged. He will welcome the faithful home, with open arms and blessings beyond measure, because He loves us beyond measure.

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Ponderizing – Week 10 Thoughts

The verse I have chosen to ponderize this week, is 2 Nephi 28:30.

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.

God is our creator. He knows how every particle of our being works together and allows us to breathe, move, think and love. He knows how we learn, and while we all learn at different paces and our learning is focused in different areas from one another, there is an eternal principle that applies to all people. We learn by building on the things we already know. This is why it takes time to build a vocabulary. This is why we study our alphabet and sounds for quite a bit of time before we start to read. This is how we are able to retain the basics in order to understand deeper concepts. In keeping with this eternal principle, and because God desires for us to learn and gain understanding and knowledge, God distills his teachings upon us in this manner: line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.

If God intended for us to have all knowledge at once, or even in just a short span of time, we would not have needed to live any longer than that short amount of time. Yet, we live and are learning to the day we leave this mortal life. And, I believe, that our learning may continue after this life, for as long as is necessary for us to gain a perfect knowledge. In his perfect understanding of His creations, God gives us time to learn and time to grow in knowledge.

This verse teaches us that we can choose what to do with the teachings that come for God. The first option, is to hearken to God’s precepts and to listen attentively to His counsel. The second option, is to decide that there has been enough knowledge given by God. The promised consequences of choosing the first option, are wisdom and more teachings to learn from. On the other hand, the promised consequences for choosing the second option, is that the knowledge one already has, will be taken away. This may seem unloving of God, to remove our knowledge from us. It is not, however, something that changes the perfectly eternal love of God for his children. In fact, it is a gift of love, because there will be a day when all will be judged. Those who have a knowledge of His teachings, will be held accountable for how they lived their life according to that knowledge. In His great and eternal mercy, God removes those things which we cannot seem to handle, so that we will not be held accountable for actions against those things that we clearly have not understood.

This life is a gift of preparation for our eternal lives. We were given this opportunity to work towards something. We choose if we will move forward in our personal progression, or if we turn away from that. There is no option for standing still when time continues to move forward. We have a blessed opportunity to learn from God each and every day of our lives, so that we can become better people.

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.

I am so grateful for the patience and wisdom of God. He is truly long-suffering with me. He is loving and knows me perfectly. I know that there are many things I am taking a long time to learn, but thankfully, I also know that God will only give me what I can handle at this time. When I have chosen to live according to what I learn, I know He will give me more to learn from. I hope that more of God’s children will have a desire to learn rather than to give up on God in His role as their teacher. I know He is our loving Father and that His greatest desire is for us to grow in the light and truth of His teachings, because it will bring us back into His presence and allow us to continue to progress in the eternities. He wants to see us grow into beings of great wisdom and knowledge. We need to be patient with God in what he gives us to learn. Likewise, we need to be patient with ourselves in our level of learning. Finally, we need to remember to be patient with others, who are also learning line upon line in their own lives.

Lost Sheep

Today is a bit of a departure from my regular study. I ask that my regular readers please forgive the more personal nature of this post. I have been pondering on thoughts of lost sheep today, because my extended family is experiencing this as a very literal moment in their lives. The feelings I have in my heart are a bit consuming and I feel the need to share some of my thoughts. I have a family member who is missing. My 16-year old niece ran away this week, and I feel helpless in the situation, because I am far away from my sister and her family. I have thought and prayed for her and her family, with a heart full of concern and love for this young woman. Because I have chosen to fill my life with a study of the word of the Lord, I can’t help but think of the lost sheep, so often spoken about in the scriptures. In Matthew 18, we read the words of the Savior:

11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Related to this particular personal situation, I know that my Father in Heaven is also her Father in Heaven. He loves her more than I can even begin to understand, just as He loves every one of his children. We are his little ones. For some reason, his little child has forgotten this. She has forgotten the love of God. She has forgotten what she is worth. I know this must be true, because I know that the closest thing we can experience to the love that our Father in Heaven has for us, is to experience the love that our earthly parents and other family members have for us. It reminds me of a song that my kids have learned at church, called “The Family Is of God”. The first verse and chorus have the following words:

Our Father has a family. It’s me!
It’s you, all others too: we are His children.
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth,
To live and learn here in families.
God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.

I believe these words, and that part of the reason that He has established families here on earth, is so that we can feel a portion of his love, in a way that cannot be duplicated by anything outside of family.

The Lord also speaks of lost sheep in Ezekiel 34:16, which reads, “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick:”. I know that the Lord knows where she is and is mindful of her. I also know that she has been given the amazing gift of agency, and that if she chooses it, she may continue to be apart from her family. However, I believe, that God desires for her to find happiness within her family. I know that He is there for her, to save her, to heal her, and to strengthen her. He is there for her, just as He is there for each of us, when we have moments of doubt or fear, when we loose our way, or when we think that there is some other pasture which will bring us the things we seek. He is our shepherd, and his greatest desire is to find us and give us everything he has to offer, especially his love.

I pray that my beautiful niece can by physically found and given the help and love that she needs. I have a hope that there is a portion of her heart and mind, that will recognize or remember the things I have pondered about. I have a wish in my heart, that a moment may come when she will open herself up more, to feel the love of the Lord. In the deeper sense, I know that only he can truly save her from whatever is causing her to be his lost little child. I also know that it may take the efforts, inspiration, and love of others, to help her recognize this. I pray that there will be people out there, who will follow the inspirations they receive to find and help this precious daughter of God. I hope there is someone out there, who can be an instrument in the Lord’s hands, and help to bring her home. I hope there are those out there who can help to do this in more than just the physical sense, so that she can feel an outpouring of God’s love for her.

I know that God is real. I know that we are His children. I know that He loves each and every one of us. I know that we are the sheep of his fold and He will do all that He can to show us that love.

Update:
As of last night, she has been found and as I have been told, she is getting some much needed help. My heart if full of gratitude to all those who offered prayers, support to the family, to those who offered tips that led to her being found, and especially to God, who I am sure was watching over her and helped all those involved.

Deuteronomy Chapter 11

Moses continued to instruct the Israelites on the laws, statutes, and ordinances of the Lord, in preparation for their gaining the promised land. These things were so important for them in that day, just as they are important for us to learn of now. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.
2 And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm,
3 And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land;
4 And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord hath destroyed them unto this day;
5 And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place;
6 And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel:
7 But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which he did.
8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;
9 And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

This message was directed towards those adults, who had experienced the miracles and wonders of the Lord during the long journey in the wilderness. Because they had witnessed so much and been greatly blessed by the Lord, He could have greater expectations of them. It is such a blessing and a huge responsibility to have made covenants with the Lord. When we do this, and learn truth through the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, we are held to a higher standard than those who have not. One of the things that gives me great peace of mind, is knowing that we will each be judged for what the Lord knows we have a knowledge of. I will not be judged for the same understanding as the prophets who have witnessed greater things, but I will be judged for an understanding that is greater than those who have gone without the gospel in their lives. The Lord was not going to hold the children of the Israelites to the same standard as those who had seen the waters of the Red Sea part, and had witnessed the ground open up when men had openly rebelled against Moses and the word of the Lord.

The Lord wanted the people to follow His commandments, so that they could be blessed with strength. The strength they needed was both physical and spiritual strength (strong of heart, strong in the faith, and strong in spirit). If they did this, the Lord could answer his promise to their ancestors and allow them to inherit the promised land. This was a promise of a loving God, who desired to give blessings. I believe this promise of the fathers, is still a promise today that will be fulfilled completely, when all the people will come to know that Jesus is the Christ, and will turn to Him in faith. Our Father in Heaven loves us also and desires to give us all the blessings He has. Likewise, we are expected to keep His commandments. Modern revelation teaches us of this same commandment to love the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 59:5 we read, “Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.” Our own promised land will be the blessing for those who remember to keep these things.

10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:
11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:
12 A land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.

The promised land was beautiful and had plenty of rain water to provide for the land and people. As the land of promise, the Lord watched over it and cared for it. I am sure that He continues to watch over that land today. I believe that there is a “promised land” awaiting us after this life. We are promised that the blessings of the celestial kingdom will be the greatest that God gives. He has prepared it for us, and is caring for it now, so that it will be a beautiful place of plenty for all those who earn that reward.

13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
17 And then the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you.

The children of Israel received a promise of the Lord, that if they would obey the commandments, particularly to love the Lord and serve Him completely, they would have rain in its season. The land would bring forth good harvest, and the fields would be good for their cattle. The people were warned to watch for being deceived in their hearts, to turn to other gods. Serving other gods would bring the wrath of God upon them and remove these promised blessings, leaving them to perish. I think that the fulfillment of either of these promises would show that the earth is the Lord’s and He has power over it and the elements which provide for it. He still has this power today, and I know that we can be blessed with rain and good harvest for our righteousness today.

18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

These great promises required that they remember and cherish the words of the Lord, teaching them to their children at all times of the day, and keeping memorials on their person and around themselves as reminders. In doing this, they would be blessed with a multiplying of their days in the land, as well as the days of their children. This is another power and gift from God that he offered to the Israelites and can provide for His people today. I think that we will receive great blessings if we treasure the words of the Lord, both from the ancient and modern prophets. I believe that we are also greatly blessed by teaching our children and keeping reminders of these things around us as often as possible.

22 For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;
23 Then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.
24 Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.
25 There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.

If they were obedient to the commandments, they were promised that nations would be driven out of the land. The Israelites would gain the land of great and mighty nations, wherever they would go. With the help of the Lord, nations would fear them even before they got there to drive them out of the land.

26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:
28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
29 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.
30 Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?
31 For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein.
32 And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day.

Obedience would bring a blessing from the Lord and disobedience would bring a curse. The Israelites were to place a blessing on mount Gerizim, and a curse on mount Ebal. They would do this later, by reading the law of Moses and in a sense, dedicating the land to the Lord and to righteousness. They would be able to cross the Jordan River, posses the land and live there, as long as they were obedient.

Their is an eternal law of blessings, which teaches that when the Lord promises a blessing for a commandment, He is bound to give that blessing. It is found in Doctrine and Covenants 130, where we can read:

20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

I think also, that when he promises a curse for failure to keep the commandments, He is bound to that curse, because the promises of God are perfect and complete. This is especially poignant for those who have made covenants with the Lord. Modern revelation found in verses such as Doctrine and Covenants 41:1, teach us this principle. “Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me; and ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings.”

The mercy of the Lord, however, can be extended when we turn back to Him and keep His commandments. That mercy does not mean that we will not suffer something for our initial disobedience, but it does allow for us to receive forgiveness and eventual relief from the suffering we bring upon ourselves. I am grateful for the hope that promised blessings brings to my life. Moroni 10:32 reads, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.” This gives me a great source of strength, when choosing to live righteously can seem so challenging.

Exodus Chapter 2

The children of Israel had been in bondage to the Pharaoh’s of Egypt for many years. In the previous chapter, it was learned that Pharaoh was afraid of the power and strength of the Israelites, so he had commanded the death of all the Israelite baby boys. The book of Exodus continues as follows:

1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.
2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.
4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.

A Levite couple had a son, who they were able to hide for the first three months of his life. Then the wife made an “ark”, which I think was like a basket, and put the baby in the basket and put it in the water. The baby’s sister watched over the basket to see what would happen to it. I cannot even imagine the feelings of the Israelite women when they would learn they had had baby boys. How heartbreaking it must have been to know their babies were going to be hunted. This mother must have been very brave to first hide her infant for 3 months, or at least hide that it was a boy, and then to place him in the water, not knowing what might happen to him there. She must have known that this was a better chance for a life, than being found and drowned in the water as other Israelite boys were, and trusted that the Lord would provide a way. How painful it must have been to give him up to the elements like this.

5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.
6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.
7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?
8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.
9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.
10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.

Pharaoh’s daughter went to the water to bathe and she found the basket. She found the Levite baby in the basket. Even though she recognized the crying baby as a Hebrew child, she had compassion and decided to keep him. She had her maid find the baby’s mother to be his nurse, which she did. When the boy was old enough, his mother took him to Pharaoh’s daughter to be raised as her son. She named him Moses which to according to the footnote, meant to beget, or to have a child. What a blessing this was for Moses and his family. The odds that the daughter of Pharaoh, who could command others to follow her will, would be the one person to find the basket and then would decide to save this infant even though he was a hebrew, is a miracle. To be the mother of Moses, and to find out that not only was your baby okay, but that you would be allowed to nurse him and watch over him until he was weaned, would have been amazing I am sure. I am also pretty sure it was much easier to give him to Pharaoh’s daughter, knowing that he would be kept safe and given all the blessings that life could have afforded him. Moses’ mother must have known that he would not be made to serve as all the other Hebrews were, and that his life would be much greater than she could offer to him at that point. I wonder if inspiration led her decisions through this difficult time as a mother. I think it would be interesting to know how his mother felt and to see what kind of woman she was. All I can figure, is that she must have been a woman of great faith in the face of great adversity.

11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.
12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?
14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.
15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.
16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.
17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
18 And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day?
19 And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock.
20 And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? why is it that ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread.
21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.
22 And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

Moses grew up and as he watched over the burdens of his brothers, he saw one of them being beaten by an Egyptian. I gather that he knew he was Hebrew heritage even though he was raised by an Egyptian, which I had not realized before. I thought he did not know until he was grown. In any case, when no one was looking, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid his body. It became known among the Hebrews, who did not seem to appreciate what he had done for them. Moses feared for his life because of what he had done. Pharaoh heard what Moses had done and sought to kill him for it. Moses ran away from Pharaoh, to the land of Midian. The daughters of the Midian priest came to the well where Moses was, so that they might water their flocks. As a sidenote, the footnote says that the priest, Reuel, was a descendant of Abraham as well, through Abraham’s wife named Keturah. Later in Exodus, it calls the priest by the name of Jethro. There were shepherds at the well, who tried to send the girls away, but Moses helped them and watered their flocks for them. The girls returned to their father and told him what had happened. Their father, asked where Moses was so that he could offer to feed him, probably a common gesture for helping protect one’s family. Moses stayed with the priest and married his daughter Zipporah. They had a son named Gershom and we learn in later scriptures that he had a second son as well.

This story of Moses is found throughout several passages of scripture in the Bible. In these verses, we learn that he cared for his hebrew brothers even though he was raised by Egyptians. Here it seems as though Moses’ initial intentions with the Egyptian man, was to kill him, but I have to wonder if he intended to stop him and perhaps hurt him, but that the death was not his intention. Another passage related to what happened seems to portray it as less than intentional. In Acts 7 we read the following:

24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:
25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.

This seems to say that he fought in defense of the Hebrew, supposing that the Hebrews would see that he was able to help them. I don’t think that Moses would have intentionally killed someone and turned out to become the man and prophet he eventually became. Rather, Moses was a man who would defend his brothers from the pain that was being inflicted upon them.

In the verses in Exodus chapter 2, we see again the desire in Moses to help those in need. He was a man of compassion. Just as he had done with the hebrew in Egypt, Moses defended the daughters of the Midian priest when they were being oppressed by others. We learn more of Moses in verses such as Number 12:3, which reads, “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” He was meeker than other men of his time. In Acts chapter 7 we read the following about Moses:

22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.
24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:
25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.
26 And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?
27 But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?
28 Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?
29 Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons.

Moses was a wise man, because he had been taught as a child of Egyptian royalty would have been taught. I believe that he was able and willing to be inspired by the spirit. It says that “it came into his heart to visit his brethren”, which I am taking to mean that he was inspired to go out and see them. Being raised as Egyptian royalty, I am sure not many of his adoptive family would go out and see how the Hebrews were doing. He must have felt the whisperings of the spirit and followed them. After killing the Egyptian, he came to some of the Hebrews who seemed to have been fighting with one another. He tried to be the peacemaker between these men, who turned their frustration and possible fears upon Moses.

Later, we read the following passage found in Hebrews 11:

24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Faith is a Sunrise

Here it teaches us that Moses was a man of faith. Even though Pharaoh could have killed him for it, he denied his adoptive family as his and turned to his Hebrew heritage. He could have continued to live a life of luxury in Egypt, but instead he left his Egyptian lifestyle and family. He chose instead to accept his Hebrew blood and the hope of blessings through the Lord. Moses was indeed a great man and he had some great qualities, which made him perfect for his mission to lead the children of Israel from bondage. He was a chosen prophet of the Lord and is a great example to us of Christ-like qualities that we should be striving to have.

Exodus chapter 2 continues as follows:

23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.
24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.

Meanwhile, Pharaoh died and the Israelites cried to God for help out of their bondage. God heard their cries and remembered the covenant He had made with their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They had been promised that their posterity would be led out of bondage and returned to their promised land. It was’t that God had forgotten his promise, but that he was aware of them and it was time to fulfill a portion of the promises made to their ancestors. They would soon be delivered form bondage.

God is always there for His people. The children of Israel were there in bondage for quite some time, but not without the loving care of a Father in Heaven. They were not left alone in their trials. I am sure that they continued to have the weight of their suffering made to feel as less than it was, according to their individual faith. In the perfect timing of the Lord, Moses was brought along, protected and guided to become the prophet of the Lord. He was preserved and prepared to be the man to lead them from the life of bondage in Egypt. I am so grateful for the living prophets we have today. I know that they are called to lead us out of our own bondage as well. I believe that God loves us just as he loved the Israelites in ancient times and I know that He desires for all his children to follow the prophet to safety and eventually to return to be with Him again.

Conference Questions – Purpose for Serving

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

On Sunday morning of conference weekend, Sister Linda K. Burton, the new General Relief Society President, gave a great talk entitled, “First Observe, Then Serve”. It focused on seeing the needs of those around us and serving in Christ-like ways to fill those needs. It reminded me a lot of one of the cartoons that I have watched many times with my kids. In the movie Robots, there is a phrase that is used throughout and is a main point for the film. It is, “See a need, fill a need.” Ever since I first saw that movie, that thought has often come to mind as I have tried to serve others. Anyway, the thought is along the same line as the message of Sister Burton’s talk. In her talk she said the following:

Sometimes we are tempted to serve in a way that we want to serve and not necessarily in the way that is needed at the moment. When Elder Robert D. Hales taught the principle of provident living, he shared the example of buying a gift for his wife. She asked, “Are you buying this for me or for you?” If we adapt that question to ourselves as we serve and ask, “Am I doing this for the Savior, or am I doing this for me?” our service will more likely resemble the ministry of the Savior. The Savior asked, and so should we, “What will ye that I shall do unto you?”

My next question in this series is do I serve for the Savior or myself? I hadn’t really put a lot of thought into this question before hearing this. Then I was talking to a friend afterwards and she said that she had been feeling selfish in her service, because she wanted to serve to make herself feel better. I had never thought one way or the other about it, but I know now that it is a great question to ask ourselves. True Christ-like service is not done to help us with our own issues. It is true that we can be greatly blessed because of our service and the blessings may be that our own problems seem easier to bear, but we cannot choose to do service with that as the goal. Rather the goal of service, should be to help another without expecting anything in return.

I love the scripture found in Mosiah 2:17, which reads, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” When we choose to do service for God, our entire perspective changes. We will begin to ask ourselves if this thing we are doing is something that God would do if He were standing there in that moment. We will open our hearts to greater direction from the spirit as well. When we do this, we will learn to have charity, or the pure love of Christ, for those we choose to serve. That is because we cannot serve as God would serve, without becoming more like God.

As I pondered this question, I was reminded of Matthew 6:24 when it says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Usually when I think of this scripture, I am focused on serving the Lord or Satan. However, I think it applies here as well. If we are serving to get something out of it for ourselves, we are serving ourselves. We are the master then. This verse teaches us that we cannot be serving God as well as another master, even if it is us. If our focus is doing good so that we can get something out of it, we leave no room for service to or for God. It’s in moments like these that I feel the Savior would say to us what he taught his disciples many times during his ministry. It would sound something like, “You wanted this to be the outcome, well then, you have your reward.” If only we would recognize the greatness of the blessings that the Lord will give us for serving for Him instead of for us. If we truly knew what could come as a result of serving for the right reason, I am sure there would not be this desire to do things for ourselves.

I know that sometimes we get caught up in life and as we repent we desire to do the things that God has asked of us. It can be difficult to jump right in with the perfect perspective on service to others. At times like these, we need to leave ourselves out of it, and make our service a matter of acting in faith to God. In Mosiah 7:33 we read, “But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.” We need to be diligent and do our best, then the Lord will provide for our needs.

Our service to God, is how we show Him that we love him. In Doctrine and Covenants 42:29 we read, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me. . .”. This thought is found all throughout the scriptures. In John 21:17 we read, “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” I know that I will be serving for the right reasons if I am doing it out of love for the Lord. In Deuteronomy 10 we read the following:

12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? (emphasis added)

We worship God, when we love and serve Him. I know that as we strive to serve and love God, the desire to serve others will come naturally to us. I am far from great at this, but I know that even service to those in our own homes is of great importance and should not be overlooked. This is where most of my service happens on a daily basis. I know now that I should really think about the reasons I choose to serve those in my home. If I am doing it to make myself feel better, then it is not being done for the right reasons. If we can be more mindful of the real needs of those around us, we will do better to serve them the way the Lord would have us serve. I hope that more of us can find a way to take the natural selfishness out of our daily acts of service, so that we can truly make this world a better place.

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 6

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

To continue the study of the attributes of God:

7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

These verses from 1 John 4, are about God being loving. God is caring and kind. In Isaiah 63:7 it is written as, “I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.” And again in Jeremiah 31:3 we read, “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” There is no greater love than the love that God has for us. We learn of this love also in John 3:16, which reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This was the ultimate sacrifice, which is evidence of God’s love for us. We can strive for that kind of love and the potential of having god-like love, by willing making sacrifices for others during our mortal lives. Sacrifices show that we are willing to put the well-being and happiness of others above our own selfish desires.

In addition, God shows his love by helping us to see the error of our ways. In Doctrine and Covenants 95:1 we read, “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you—”. The love of God, requires those loved to be chastened in order to become better and be kept safe. We show a greater and more god-like love, when we work to keep our loved ones safe from the destruction that Satan brings. It is important that we put aside the ways of the world (which would teach us not to say or do anything, and just watch our loved ones destroy themselves) and remember our duty to bring those who have strayed back to the way of the Lord, through loving persuasion and kindness.

One of the qualities that I hear of most as an attribute we should have is being charitable, which is the purest form of love. In 2 Nephi 26:30, we read, “Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.” To become like God, we need to develop our own charity. Charity, is having a heart full of love towards others. In 4 Nephi 1:15, after the Savior had left the Nephites, we read, “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.” Striving to live in a way where we do not cause contention because we have such a great love for others, will bring us closer to our godly potential.

Going right along with love, God helps us. In Psalms 54:4 we read, “Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.” God does not love us from afar, but rather, is there to help those who allow Him into their lives. I cannot count the number of times that I have felt the help of God in my life. He is there both in the hard times of my life, as well as the good. We can work on this potential of being the greatest helper, by being an instrument in His hands now. When we have the gift of the Holy Ghost, as are living our best, inspiration will come to us as to how we can help others around us. God gives us many opportunities to love and serve His children. We cannot reach our potential, if we choose not to follow the promptings He gives us.

(Coming tomorrow: Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 7)

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

Notes on Patience – Gaining Experience Through Trials

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

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 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. (Romans 5:3-5)

  • Patience is needed in times of trial. If I am patient in the difficult times of life, I will gain experience and knowledge, which lead to a greater hope in Jesus Christ, who is the love of God. Patience in trials, will help me to recognize the gift of the Holy Ghost in my life, and the Holy Ghost will strengthen my faith and hope in the Savior and the Atonement.
  • The Love of Christ

    I’m sorry to all of my readers who may have been waiting for a new post, but this last week was a bit crazy. First of all, I have a new calling at church as of the beginning of April which has me doing a lot of study and prep outside of my planned personal study. I am now teaching Sunday School for the 13-14 years olds. It is a bit of a challenge for me and until I can get a system figured out, I will most likely be posting one (maybe two) time(s) a week. In addition to that, I gave a talk yesterday, which had me super busy. I figured I would post it, seeing as how this made up a lot of my study this last week.

    I get asked all the time about what made us decide to move to Idaho, and to Meridian specifically, so I figured I’d tell our story. In the summer of 2010, we visited my best friend who lived in Kuna, Idaho at the time. Then a few months later, my husband told me he had the feeling we needed to move to Idaho. Even though I was sure I was a California girl and that we would never leave, the spirit confirmed to me immediately that it was where we were supposed to be. We decided that our girls and I would move up after the school year and live with my best friend’s family while we saved up some money. So last June, we left our families and headed up here. Meanwhile, my husband stayed there to work and help his parents fix up their rental home. In August, the girls and I moved with my friend’s family from Kuna to Meridian. A few weeks later, a sister in our new ward called to say that she woke up that morning with the inspiration to tell me about a job opening possibly for my husband, whom she didn’t even know. She had already called the business and they had told her they were already down to their final choices, and weren’t looking for any new applicants. She told me that she felt like he should send in his resume anyway, which he did and by the end of the day they were in contact with him. He got the job and was able to join us at the end of October, which was two months before he was planning on coming. In addition, we were blessed to be able to buy our own place and move into it this February. This past year and a half has been a challenge for us, but through it all we could not help but see the Lord’s hand in our life and feel the great love he has for us.

    The topic I was given was the love of Christ. I love the songs in the Children’s Song Book. One of those songs is “I Feel My Savior’s Love”, which says the following:

    I feel my Savior’s love in all the world around me. His Spirit warms my soul through everything I see. I feel my Savior’s love; its gentleness enfolds me, and when I kneel to pray, my heart is filled with peace. I feel my Savior’s love and know that he will bless me. I offer him my heart; my shepherd he will be. I’ll share my Savior’s love by serving others freely. In serving I am blessed. In giving I receive. He knows I will follow him, give all my life to him. I feel my Savior’s love, the love he freely gives me.

    Everything that Christ has ever done has been because of His love for us and for our Father in Heaven. His love was displayed as he helped to create this beautiful world we live in. His love was shown throughout the years before he came to earth, as he preserved and guided the children of Israel. We have great examples of His love from the records of his ministry in the old world. We read what the Savior said of himself in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” His love was made perfect or complete, as he gave the greatest sacrifice ever given for mankind, the atonement. This perfect love has been shared since His resurrection, as he has visited with His many people, including the Nephites who were blessed and ministered to personally by Him. It was shown to a young boy of 14, who had a desire to know what was true, and was given the amazing opportunity to restore His church upon the earth. He continues to give us of His love even today.

    The love of Christ, is truly a perfect, whole, complete and pure love. The greatest thing about it, is that he gives is freely to us, so that we may choose to receive it. Once we receive his love, we have the opportunity and duty to share it with others. The Bible Dictionary teaches us about the love of Christ. It says that “The highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, [which is] not merely affection [is] the pure love of Christ”, and we commonly refer to it as charity. We have been given a commandment, which we read in 2 Nephi 26:30, “the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love.” Elder C. Max Caldwell gave a talk in the October 1992 conference, in which he said the following:

    The phrase “love of Christ” might have meaning in three dimensions:
    [First] 1. Love for Christ
    [Second] 2. Love from Christ
    [Third] 3. Love like Christ”
    First, love for Christ. This concept proclaims Jesus as the object of our love, and our lives should be an external expression of our gratitude for him. . . .

    When we accept Christ into our lives, do we live in a way that shows him we are grateful for all that he has done for us? He gives us His love at all times, but I wonder how often I only show gratitude to Him when things are going well. When things are good, its easy to feel the love and have love in return. I tried something a few years ago, that ended up being a really good experience for me. I wanted to keep a gratitude journal of sorts, but I decided that instead of writing down the things that I could immediately recognize as blessings I was grateful for, I would think about those things that seemed like trials and difficulties. I would only write why I was grateful for those things in my life. It really caused me to recognize the tender mercies of the Lord in my life that had been easy to overlook. Through this experience, I was able to feel a greater love towards my Savior on a regular basis. If we take the time to recognize our love for Christ more often, the way we live will reflect that.

    The second meaning that Elder Caldwell spoke of was love from Christ. The Savior has given us his love. His hands are outstretched to us and it is up to us to accept Him and allow the power of his love to act in our lives. In Alma 19:36 we read, “And thus the work of the Lord did commence among the Lamanites; thus the Lord did begin to pour out his Spirit upon them; and we see that his arm is extended to all people who will repent and believe on his name.” The power of his love, is made possible through his atonement, which will not do us any good without our choice to receive it. We choose to receive it by willingly obeying the commandments, being worthy of the atonement, and then applying it. If we allow the love of Christ to sanctify us, we will be better prepared to share His love with others.

    The third meaning that Elder Caldwell shared was love like Christ. I think that this is the way that the love of Christ is able to be accepted by people, everywhere, no matter what they believe. We love like Christ by living how he lived. His life cannot be described accurately without the word love. How then, should we live? Christ ministered to, blessed and healed those who were in need. One of my favorite examples of this, is when he was with the Nephites. In 3 Nephi 17:5-7 we read the following:

    5 And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.
    6 And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you.
    7 Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.

    To love like Christ, we should be willing to recognize the needs of others and help in whatever ways we can.

    Christ helped others, no matter who they were. One example is when he sat to eat with the publicans and sinners (Matthew 9:10-13). When the Pharisees asked his disciples why he would do this, Jesus explained that he needed to be among those who needed him most. It is easy to serve those who we associate with most often, but is that truly where we are needed the most? Do we choose not to help people because of who they are?

    Christ allowed others to serve him, as he did the woman who came to him and washed his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair, kissed them and anointed them (see Luke 7:36-50). It did not matter who she was, he let her do this thing, to demonstrate his love for her. We love like Christ, when we graciously and willingly accept the service that is done for us.

    He mourned with those who mourned and comforted those who needed comfort. When Lazarus had died and his sister Mary wept for him, it says that the Savior “groaned in the spirit” and he wept (see John 11). We can show others the love of Christ, when we are there for them in times of loss and heartache.

    He taught the gospel to all who would listen, and was a witness of His Father at all times. When I think of how we can share the love of Christ with others when we share the gospel, I am reminded of how many return missionaries I have heard talk of how much they loved the people they served and shared the gospel with.

    Christ bore all of our burdens of sin, guilt, sorrow, sadness, pain, and more, as he suffered the atonement. We learn from Alma in Mosiah 18, that part of the covenant of baptism is that we are willing to bear one another’s burdens that they may be light. We may not be able to take away the pain of another, but there are plenty of things we can do. I have been helped by the smallest things in my times of need – a smile, a hug, help with my girls, even a note of encouragement. These things have all helped me to feel like my own burdens were lighter.

    He gave everything he had to give, even his life, for others. In 1 John 3:16 we read, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” We are probably not going to be expected to lay down our lives for another, but we need to have the attitude of giving all that we can to save another, physically or spiritually.

    Christ showed his love when he forgave those who wronged him. Even in his final hours he said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)” We love like Christ, when we fully forgive others for the things they do against us, even if they are not sorry for it.

    We love like Christ when we are willing to follow his teachings. In the sermon on the mount found in Matthew 5:39-40, we read the following:

    39 . . . whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
    40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.

    Then, in verses 44-45 he goes on to teach the following:

    44 . . . Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
    45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

    I found a story relating to this. The Prophet Joseph Smith had taught the early saints that they should “love others, even our enemies as well as friends.” One of those who heard this had had his own experience with this lesson, which President Howard W. Hunter shared in the April Conference of 1992. He said the following:

    After his father became ill, Vern Crowley took responsibility for running the family wrecking yard although he was only fifteen years of age. Some customers occasionally took unfair advantage of the young man, and parts were disappearing from the lot overnight. Vern was angry and vowed to catch someone and make an example of him. Vengeance would be his.

    Just after his father had started to recover from his illness, Vern was making his rounds of the yard one night at closing time. It was nearly dark. In a distant corner of the property, he caught sight of someone carrying a large piece of machinery toward the back fence. He ran like a champion athlete and caught the young thief. His first thought was to take out his frustrations with his fists and then drag the boy to the front office and call the police. His heart was full of anger and vengeance. He had caught his thief, and he intended to get his just dues.

    Out of nowhere, Vern’s father came along, put his weak and infirm hand on his son’s shoulder, and said, “I see you’re a bit upset, Vern. Can I handle this?” He then walked over to the young would-be thief and put his arm around his shoulder, looked him in the eye for a moment, and said, “Son, tell me, why are you doing this? Why were you trying to steal that transmission?” Then Mr. Crowley started walking toward the office with his arm around the boy, asking questions about the young man’s car problems as they walked. By the time they had arrived at the office, the father said, “Well, I think your clutch is gone and that’s causing your problem.”

    In the meantime, Vern was fuming. “Who cares about his clutch?” he thought. “Let’s call the police and get this over with.” But his father just kept talking. “Vern, get him a clutch. Get him a throwout bearing, too. And get him a pressure plate. That should take care of it.” The father handed all of the parts to the young man who had attempted robbery and said, “Take these. And here’s the transmission, too. You don’t have to steal, young man. Just ask for it. There’s a way out of every problem. People are willing to help.”

    Brother Vern Crowley said he learned an everlasting lesson in love that day. The young man came back to the lot often. Voluntarily, month by month, he paid for all of the parts Vic Crowley had given him, including the transmission. During those visits he asked Vern why his dad was the way he was and why he did what he did. Vern told him something of their Latter-day Saint beliefs and how much his father loved the Lord and loved people. Eventually the would-be thief was baptized. Vern later said, “It’s hard now to describe the feelings I had and what I went through in that experience. I, too, was young. I had caught my crook. I was going to extract the utmost penalty. But my father taught me a different way.”

    We love like Christ, when we choose a different way, a better way, Christ’s way.

    The Savior showed his love for God, as he was obedient to every commandment he was given. He has given us commandments as well and we can love like Christ by following them. In John 13:34 we read, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

    President Hunter said,

    The world in which we live, whether close to home or far away, needs the gospel of Jesus Christ. It provides the only way the world will ever know peace. We need to be kinder with one another, more gentle and forgiving. We need to be slower to anger and more prompt to help. We need to extend the hand of friendship and resist the hand of retribution. In short, we need to love one another with the pure love of Christ, with genuine charity and compassion and, if necessary, shared suffering, for that is the way God loves us.
    . . . Those who are filled with the love of Christ do not seek to force others to do better; they inspire others to do better, indeed inspire them to the pursuit of God.

    As followers of Christ and people who covenant to take his name upon us through baptism, we have a duty to have a love for Christ, accept the love of Christ, and then to love like Christ. I have been so blessed to recognize the love of Christ in my own life. I am so grateful for those people who have shared it with me. It seems like every time I have noticed that I am loved by the Lord, has been when someone has been inspired to do something for me or my family. I know that their is power in our sharing His love with others.

    The Creation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    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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