Posts Tagged 'Perfection'

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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Notes on Patience – Progress on the Path to Perfection

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

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected. (Doctrine and Covenants 67:13)

  • I think that even though I have a long way to go to perfection in patience, I need to recognize that I do have it. I have it enough to faithfully continue to try to do what is right and to turn to the Lord for forgiveness when I do wrong. I have not given in to many of the things of the world. I have enough patience and faith, to recognize that my life (my eternal life) is better when I keep the commandments. I’m on the right track. I should be worried if I think life’s good enough and I don’t need to work so hard any more. I loved a talk given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf back in 2011 called “Forget Me Not”. In it, he had this to say to the sisters:

    God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect.

    Let me add: God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not.

    And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does.

    Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

    It’s wonderful that you have strengths.

    And it is part of your mortal experience that you do have weaknesses. (Forget Me Note)

    Celebrating the good efforts and having patience with ourselves is great and should push us to work through our weaknesses. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, of the Quorum of the Twelve, also spoke of this when he said the following:

    We should learn to be patient with ourselves. Recognizing our strengths and our weaknesses, we should strive to use good judgment in all of our choices and decisions, make good use of every opportunity, and do our best in every task we undertake. We should not be unduly discouraged nor in despair at any time when we are doing the best we can. Rather, we should be satisfied with our progress even though it may come slowly at times. (Patience, A Key to Happiness)

    Remember to keep the faith and keep the commandments, and blessings will come.

  • Notes on Patience – The Power to Perfect

    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

    2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
    3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
    4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4)

    40 And now my beloved brethren, I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions; that ye do not revile against those who do cast you out because of your exceeding poverty, lest ye become sinners like unto them;
    41 But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions. (Alma 34:40-41)

  • I should find joy in the trials of life, because they require patience. Patience has the power to perfect me. If I can learn to have patience in life, I will be made whole and all the things which I desire will be mine.
  • Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 9

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

    One of the all-encompassing attributes of God for us to strive towards, is perfection. God is a perfect being. His plan for us is perfect. 2 Samuel 22:31 says, “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.” Likewise, in Proverbs 30:5 we read, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” There is purity in everything He has ever spoken. As we learn in Deutornomy 32:4, God is right and true to perfection. “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.” We can fully depend on what He has said, to protect us. In 1 John 1:5 it reads, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” God is the creator of light and the source of all light. In his perfect light, he is the dispeller of all darkness. He is perfectly good and perfectly whole. We have been given a charge by the Savior in Matthew 5:48 which says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” While to some this verse may seem daunting, to me, this verse gives me great hope in the person that I can become. I can be perfect, otherwise why would the Savior have said this. The key is remembering that our perfection will come over time and through eternity. In Doctrine and Covenants 67:13 we are taught, “Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.” This life is just a life of preparation, we cannot become perfect now. We can however, strive towards perfection, by working on our shortcomings with patience in ourselves and with God. We have the example of Jesus Christ to look towards and we have been given the laws to follow, which help us to perfection. Christ’s love, charity, is pure. Colossians 3:14 reads, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” We need to have the love of Christ in our hearts, in order to become more perfect. Just as God’s words are pure and we can trust in Him, we should strive for all that we say to be pure, right and completely true. We can strive to live in the light each day and do our best to dispel the darkness of our lives. This means, that we need to put ourselves in the best situations to have light, and avoid those things that we know are evil and wrong. As imperfect beings in mortality, God knows we are going to make mistakes, so in order for us to reach the potential of perfection, we have been given repentance through the power of the atonement. Doctrine and Covenants 76:69 teaches us about those who are a part of the first resurrection, when it says, “These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.” If we want to strive to be like God, we need to make use of repentance and the atonement every day of our lives.

    God is a worker. We cannot number the works of God because they are so many. In Job 37:14 we read, “Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.” He started the work of our earthly existence, with the creation of our world. I am amazed every time I ponder on one of the amazing creations and works of God. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;”. His work is beautiful and leaves me with feelings of great reverence and awe. His work has continued throughout time and goes on today. We are a part of his work. The purpose of His work for us is learned in Moses 1:39, which reads, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” We live in an amazing era in the work of God. The prophecies of old are being fulfilled, such as that said in Isaiah 29:14. “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” Likewise, in 3 Nephi 21:9 we read, “For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.” The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is God’s marvelous work. God’s work is without end. God is not a being of idleness. If we are to work towards our potential to be like Him, we cannot be idle. Instead, we need to be an active part of the work of God. We need to be looking for ways to serve others. We need to be creating things of value in our lives. We need to further the work of God through building our testimonies, sharing the gospel, and doing work in the temple, so that all people can have the opportunity to choose eternal life.

    These recent posts about our potential, are just a sprinkling of all that God is and all that we can become as His spirit children. I am grateful to have the opportunity to improve upon the person that I am and to become more like Him. It is so important for us to spend time learning the attributes of God and reflecting on our own lives to see where we are. We have been given the great opportunity to make the most of our time on earth. God did not send us here to idle away our days, or to wander aimlessly. He has shown us the way. He has given us the gospel and most especially His Son, Jesus the Christ, so that we might learn how we could live to be the best we can be. God as given us a glimpse of our eternal potential and just how amazing we can be. There are so many times in life, when I get down on myself for who I am or how I am behaving. I am so glad for the gospel and the ability to study the scriptures, which gives me a greater hope of who I will become someday if I am willing to try a little harder. I truly hope that more people will see their potential and turn to God where they can find hope, peace, love and joy.

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

    Genesis Chapter 17

    It seems like forever since I was reading this book of scripture. My family has officially moved into our new home, after several weeks of working on it, and now life is getting back to normal again. As a reminder of the last chapter I studied, Hagar had given birth to Ishmael, the son of Abram, who was 86 at the time. This chapter begins:

    1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
    2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
    3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
    4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
    5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
    6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
    7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
    8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

    Thirteen years after Ishmael was born, the Lord, Jesus Christ, appears to Abram and commands him to walk before him and be perfect. When I think of walking before the Lord, I think it means walking in faith before the blessings of the Lord are received. The footnote for the word perfect references integrity and walking in truth at all times. If we are honestly obeying God’s commands, we walk in faith, truth and integrity. When we knowingly sin, we cannot have integrity and truth in our hearts. The Lord has shown us the way to live and if we can walk before Him, just as Abram was commanded to do, we will not go astray from that which is perfect and true.

    In the Joseph Smith Translation of this chapter we read the following:

    3 And it came to pass, that Abram fell on his face, and called upon the name of the Lord.
    4 And God talked with him, saying, My people have gone astray from my precepts, and have not kept mine ordinances, which I gave unto their fathers;
    5 And they have not observed mine anointing, and the burial, or baptism wherewith I commanded them;
    6 But have turned from the commandment, and taken unto themselves the washing of children, and the blood of sprinkling;
    7 And have said that the blood of the righteous Abel was shed for sins; and have not known wherein they are accountable before me.

    Abram prayed to the Lord and his prayer was answered. The Lord told Abram that the people had fallen away from Him and had no longer been baptized as they had been commanded. The people had started to pervert the righteous ways of the Lord and were no longer understanding the reasons for the commandments they had been given. But Abram was recognized for his righteousness and his desire to follow the commandments of God. The Lord has already made promises to Abram several times before this, which are related to his seed. Here is where the covenant is officially made and Abram is given the name of Abraham. If Abraham and his seed would walk in the Lord’s way and become perfect through Him, they would inherit the promised land forever. Abraham was promised to have his seed multiplied and that he would be the father of nations and kings. This covenant and promise is what we know as the Abrahamic Covenant. We know that his seed was multiplied, or rather that he was fruitful, because the twelve tribes of Israel came from his line and the seed of Abraham can be found all over the world today because of the scattering promised by the Lord. In addition, the seed of Abraham grows every time someone chooses to come unto Christ and be baptized, even if they are not a literal descendant of Abraham. I believe that the time will come, when the righteous and covenanted descendants of Abraham, will receive their inheritance of the promised land and it will be theirs for eternity.

    Verse 7, also references some verses from the Joseph Smith Translation of this chapter, which read as follows:

    11 And I will establish a covenant of circumcision with thee, and it shall be my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations; that thou mayest know for ever that children are not accountable before me until they are eight years old.
    12 And thou shalt observe to keep all my covenants wherein I covenanted with thy fathers; and thou shalt keep the commandments which I have given thee with mine own mouth, and I will be a God unto thee and thy seed after thee.

    The covenant was established, or rather the physical ordinance related to this covenant was circumcision, and it was made known that children would not be held accountable until they were eight. This is something that is not a common understanding among Christians, and may possibly be only recognized as true doctrine in the LDS church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). We believe that children are still not to be held accountable until the age of eight, and therefore are made perfect in Christ through the atonement, without the need for repentance. This is why we believe that children do not need to be baptized until they have become accountable and are eight years old.

    9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
    10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
    11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
    12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
    13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
    14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

    The ordinance of circumcision was established for every male who was eight days old who was a part of the family of Abraham, or the family of children of God. This was a part of the law preceding the law of Jesus Christ. When Christ was crucified, the law was fulfilled and as I understand it, this token of the covenant was no longer commanded by God. In Moroni 8:8 we read, “Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.” Those who are uncircumcised today, are not breaking any covenants with God.

    15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
    16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
    17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
    18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
    19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
    20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
    21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
    22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.

    Abraham’s wife was also to be called a new name, Sarah. Then she was blessed and told that she would have a son, even though she had been barren thus far. By the wording here, Abraham seemed a bit shocked by this because of their age, but the Joseph Smith Translation of the word says that Abraham fell upon his face, and rejoiced. Being a man of God, I think this sounds much more fitting for our understanding. This makes the thoughts of Abraham seem less like questioning the words of the Lord, and more like being amazed at the possibility. God confirmed that she would indeed have a son, when Abraham was a hundred years old, and the son’s name would be Isaac. This was probably an amazing thing to reveal to Sarah, who had wanted to be a mother and was not able to be. I have witnessed the heartache that comes to those who want to be mothers who cannot. I am sure this was an overwhelming blessing, even in her older age. Her son, Isaac, would be blessed with an everlasting covenant for him and his seed.

    It sounds to me like Abraham wished that Ishmael, his first son by Hagar, would be blessed by God. Ishmael was also blessed to be the father of many, but he would not be the bearer of the covenant with God. The Abrahamic covenant was not passed on to Ishmael, but we learn later in the scriptures that Ishmael did become the father of twelve sons and of many nations.

    23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.
    24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
    25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
    26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.
    27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.

    Abraham immediately followed the commandments of the Lord and required that all the males in his household be circumcised. One of the many good examples set by Abraham, is that we should follow the commandments of God as soon as we have knowledge of them. If we procrastinate, it becomes increasingly difficult to follow His ways and we allow Satan the ability to place distractions in our path, which draw us away from the things that are righteous and good. I know that we can receive the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant. I know that we need to follow God’s commandments in order to receive these blessings and I look forward to the day when all the blessings will be given to the righteous and covenant people of God. I hope that I will be among those people in that day.

    Finding the Love of God

    My Ensign article for this week is “What the Book of Mormon Teaches About the Love of God” by Elder Russell M. Nelson. It is a description of how we can find the love of God in the words of this sacred book. It discusses how we become sons and daughters of Christ when we make covenants with Him and are born of Him. It also discusses how we are given the opportunity to become like Him and that He desires this for us. There are two ideas that I am taking from this article. First, I want to read the Book of Mormon and look for the evidences of the Love of God for mankind and hopefully apply this to my own life. I want to recognize the tender mercies in my own life and to be more grateful for all that I have been given. Second, I can put my past behind me and try not to focus on who I was. Rather I want to focus on who the Savior can help me to become through his grace. I want to focus on the ways that He has shown me to be the best person I can, and have hope in his grace to help me become perfected. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the testimony and teachings that it brings to my life.

    3 Nephi, Chapter 12 (Part 2)

    (Compare to Matthew, Chapter 5)

    How was the law of Moses fulfilled in Christ?

    “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfil (v. 17, see also Matthew 5:17);  For verily I say unto you, one jot nor one tittle hath not passed away from the law, but in me it hath all been fulfilled (v. 18, see also Matthew 5:18 ).  And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled (v. 19).”

    The Savior told the Nephites that he had fulfilled the law of Moses.  In Alma 34 we read, “Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away (v. 13).  And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal (v. 14).  And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance (v. 15).  And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption (v. 16).”  Christ fulfilled the law when he paid for our sins and paid the ultimate price of his life for us.

    “Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven (v. 20).”  Now the Savior gives the Nephites His law, which is the higher law in comparison to the law of Moses.

    “Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God (v. 21, see also Matthew 5:21);”  This is part of the law of Moses.  “But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire (v. 22, see also Matthew 5:22).  Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee (v. 23, see also Matthew 5:23)—Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you (v. 24, see also Matthew 5:24).”  Obviously, we should not kill others.  But Christ is teaching us that we cannot allow ourselves to be angry with others, but we need to forgive them and not allow anger to take hold of our hearts, so that we may focus our intentions on the Lord.

    “Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery (v. 27, see also Matthew 5:27);”  This is how it was written in the law of Moses.  “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart (v. 28, see also Matthew 5:28 ).  Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart (v. 29); For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell (v. 30, see also Matthew 29-30).”  The Savior is teaching us that our thoughts must be controlled.  We must avoid the thoughts of lust, or we are already sinning.

    “It hath been written, that whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement (v. 31, see also Matthew 5:31).”  The Savior adds, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery (v. 32, see also Matthew 5:32).”  If we do not intend to keep our covenants of marriage, because we want to ‘play the field’, then we are the cause of sinning in our lives as well as those lives we use to do this.  Divorce is not to be used as a way for us to make light of the covenants we make to God in this way.

    “And again it is written, thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths (v. 33, see also Matthew 5:33);”  The Lord adds, “But verily, verily, I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne (v. 34, see also Matthew 5:34); Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool (v. 35, see also Matthew 35); Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white (v. 36, see also Matthew 36); But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever cometh of more than these is evil (v. 37, see also Matthew 5:37).”  The Savior teaches us that when we swear by anything, outside of the oaths and covenants we make to the Lord, we are sinning.  We do not have control over such things, and to use words of swearing on or by something makes our commitments a lie and therefore something of the devil (he is the father of all lies).  We should not swear oaths on anything, but should keep our oaths simple with a yes or no.

    “And behold, it is written, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth (v. 38, see also Matthew 5:38 );”  This is part of the law of Moses that I hear very often.  The Savior teaches, “But I say unto you, that ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also (v. 39, see also Matthew 5:39); And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also (v. 40, see also Matthew 5:40); And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain (v. 41, see also Matthew 5:41).  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away (v. 42, see also Matthew 5:42).”  The Law of Christ is not about being fair.  It is about giving all that we can and more in service to others.  If others seek us out to hurt us, we must not respond with revenge, but realize that they will have our reward and we have been commanded to be the better person.  Also, if others come to us in need, it is nice to do what is asked of us, but better to do it and more.

    “And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy (v. 43, see also Matthew 5:43);”  Another part to the law of Moses, however, the Savior adds, “But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you (v. 44, see also Matthew 5:44); That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good (v. 45, see also Matthew 5:45).”  The Savior teaches us to love everyone.  We need to make an even greater attempt, and love those who may do hurtful things to us.  God is not a respecter of persons.  We all have faults and He loves every one of us.  It is His job to forgive whom he will forgive, and we have been commanded to forgive everyone and therefore love everyone, no matter what.

    “Therefore those things which were of old time, which were under the law, in me are all fulfilled (v. 46).  Old things are done away, and all things have become new (v. 47).”  Every thing about the gospel is done in steps to becoming better and more like Christ.  The law of Moses was given to man to prepare us for the law of Christ.  Then once Christ paid for our sins and was crucified, he fulfilled the law of Moses and the law of Christ became the new and higher law.  The law of Moses had a lot to do with the outward evidences of our faith and beliefs.  On the other hand, the law of Christ is centered on changes within us to becoming more like the Savior.

    What does it mean to be perfect?

    There is a potential in all living things.  “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect (v. 48, see also Matthew 5:48).”  Perfection is to be without any flaws, sins, mistakes, and so on.  The footnote for this word says it means complete, finished, or fully developed.  God is perfect.  He is also our spiritual father, or the father of our spirits.  As his children in the spirit, we have the potential to become like him, which means that we have the ability to become perfect as well.  We can become perfect through the atonement of the Savior.  He wants us to be perfect, just as He is, and just as His Father is.  The Savior has already fulfilled his part in our perfection.  All that is left, is for us to use the atonement in our lives through the process of true repentance.

    I had a glimpse into what being truly perfect may feel like some day.  Just last month, my family went to Tithing Settlement with our bishop and he said such a wonderful thing that has stuck in my heart and mind since.  He was explaining tithing to my young daughter, and he told her that by declaring a full tithe, my husband and I were perfect in that one commandment of the gospel.  It was awesome to realize that I am doing all that is expected of me to be perfect or complete in that principal.  Now it is just a matter of continuing to be perfect in it.  The joy that I felt in this realization, is only a small sliver of the great joy I have the potential to feel as I become complete and perfect just as God is.

    In Moroni 10:32-33 we read, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God (v. 32).  And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot (v. 33).”  We have the potential, if we are willing to try our very best in this life.  If we try to love and serve the Lord, with everything that is in us (all our might, mind and strength), then the Savior will make up any difference that is left, through His atonement.


    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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