Posts Tagged 'Testimony'

1 Kings Chapter 17

Ahab was the wicked king of the northern kingdom of Israel. He married Jezebel who worshiped Baal, and together they led Israel in great wickedness. The Lord had caused prophets, such as Jehu, to curse the kings of Israel for practicing unrighteous dominion over the people of Israel. The Lord was prepared to humble the people. Chapter 17 begins with the following:

1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
2 And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,
3 Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
5 So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
7 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

Elijah was a prophet, who went to Ahab and cursed the land with a drought and famine, which would only be ended by his word. I believe he was able to do this, because he held the sealing power from God, which allowed men the ability to close up the heavens by their word. Then, the Lord told Elijah to go into hiding, where the Lord would provide water from the brook Cherith and food from the ravens. Elijah, like so many other prophets, went into hiding and the ravens brought him bread and meat each day and he drank from the brook. However, because of the drought in the land, the brook eventually dried up.

The work of a prophet is to bring people unto the Lord, mainly by calling them to repentance. This is not meant to be words that are pleasing for the people to hear. People engrossed in sin, especially the great sins that were everywhere in the days of Elijah, are not going to take these words well. It is no surprise that Elijah would have a threat come upon him. The Lord had a work for Elijah to do, and because Elijah was faithful to His command to hide, Elijah was sustained with the necessities of life. Elijah had to be a man full of faith and hope. He had been willing to go to the king who was not living righteously and had the power to kill him, and speak of a curse. I am sure that he knew the people would feel that he, Elijah, had brought this curse upon them, rather than look to themselves and repent of their wicked ways. And then, in faith, trusting in the sustaining power of the Lord, he went into hiding.

8 And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,
9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
12 And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
14 For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.
15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.

The Lord told Elijah to go to Zarephath, where he would be sustained by a widow. Elijah followed the direction of the Lord, and found a widow gathering sticks at the entrance of the city. He asked her to get him some water to drink. As she went, he also asked her for some bread as well. She told Elijah that she did not have any bread, but that she had a small portion of meal (flour) and oil, that she was going to prepare for herself and her son to eat as their last meal. Elijah told her to faithfully do as she had said, but bring him a little first before making for herself and her son. He promised her that the Lord would provide meal and oil until the drought had ended with rain. She did what Elijah had commanded her to do, and the promise was fulfilled. Her flour and oil did not fail her by becoming empty. This was a huge blessing from acting with faith in a prophet and the promises of the Lord that he spoke.

Again, Elijah showed faith and trust in God, and the power to sustain him. He must have known that he was on the Lord’s errand because he had been helped to this point. As a man of God, I am sure Elijah was a man of compassion. I cannot imagine what it would have felt like, knowing his own hunger, to ask the widow to part with what she felt was her last meal and give it to him instead. I know he could not have asked it of her, unless he felt sure that the Lord would provide all that she needed to survive.

Greater faith would have been required by the widow in this story. She had not been sustained by the Lord during this season of famine. She was sure her death was soon at hand and she had such a simple desire to share a last meal with her son. To have a man come to her and command that she bring him food with that precious last meal, must have been a hard choice for her. This choice to sacrifice would have meant the difference between a few more days of living with her son. She trusted in the word of Elijah and had faith in his promises.

17 And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.
18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?
19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.
20 And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?
21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.
22 And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
23 And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.

After this miracle of provisions had taken place, the widows son was taken ill and died. She pleaded with Elijah, as the prophet, asking if he came to them to remind her of her own sins and then to take her son from her by death. Elijah commanded the widow to bring her son to him, which she did. He took her son to the place where Elijah slept, and laid him on the bed. Then, he prayed to God, stretching himself on the boy three times, asking that he would have his soul again. God answered the prayer of Elijah and allowed his soul to return to him. The boy was raised from the dead. Elijah took the boy to his mother.

24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.

The woman testified that she knew then, that Elijah was a man of God or a prophet, and that his words were the true word of the Lord. This testimony must have given her hope in her own future, and greater faith in the Lord. When we experience the hand of God in our own lives, we should also recognize what that means to us, and be willing to testify of those things to others. When we do this, we are uplifted and others around us can be edified and strengthened by our words.

What a sweet miracle this woman received through her faith and diligence in following the words of the prophet. This was a time of suffering for the people in the land, and she was provided for because she put the Lord’s servant before herself when asked. Then, God blessed her with the continued companionship of her son, even after death had separated them. This should be an example to us, that as we diligently follow the commands of the prophets, which are the word of God, we can have miracles in our own lives. Moreover, we can have our own faith strengthened and be able to bear a mighty testimony of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

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Numbers Chapter 16

In the wilderness of Paran, the children of Israel had been chastised for rebellion. They were given a promise that all those who were over the age of 20, would not receive the blessings of the promised land in their life. Those who led the rebellion had been destroyed by the Lord. The rest of the people began the years of wandering in the wilderness, which were a consequence of their faithlessness. The book of Numbers continues as follows:

1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:
2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:
3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?
4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:
5 And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the Lord will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.
6 This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;
7 And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the Lord to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the Lord doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.
8 And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi:
9 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?
10 And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?
11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?

Korah of the Levites, Dathan of the tribe of Reuben and Abiram also of the tribe of Reuben, gathered about 250 men against Moses and Aaron. They said that Moses and Aaron were putting themselves higher than the rest of the congregation. This sounds like they thought Moses and Aaron were claiming too much of the power over the people, and that since the presence of the Lord was with them all, they all deserved the power he held. The footnote for the phrase “rose up” references ingratitude. These men were ungrateful for the blessings that had been brought to them and were probably only thinking of the trials and difficulties they were facing. Moses, who was truly a man of God and the prophet of God, fell down, I am guessing in the humility of seeking an answer from God to his current problem. He told the men that on the following day, the Lord would show them who was His holy and chosen people. The men were to burn incense that following day. Moses asked the sons of Levi, if they felt the work they did for the Lord, in bearing the tabernacle, was too small a thing. The Lord had already raised them in their office of the Aaronic priesthood, and now they felt like they deserved the priesthood offices of the Melchizedek . He questioned why they stood against the Lord in this, and why they were against Aaron for the office he held. We learn from modern revelation that those who stand against the people he calls, will be cursed of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 121:16 we read, “Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them.” These men of Israel were bringing the Lord against them.

12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:
13 Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?
14 Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.
15 And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the Lord, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.
16 And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the Lord, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow:
17 And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the Lord every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer.
18 And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron.
19 And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the congregation.
20 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.
22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?

Dathan and Abiram, of the tribe of Reuben, were called to Moses, but refused. They said that they felt as Moses made himself a prince over them and had brought them out of a land of plenty, to kill them in the wilderness. These men felt much like Laman and Lemuel of the Book of Mormon, who felt that their younger brother Nephi had taken it upon himself to be their leader, when it was the Lord who called him to lead the people. These feelings are those of men who have lost a measure of faith in the Lord and His ways. Moses pleaded with the Lord, because this made him upset. Moses had not done these things to them, but the Lord had and Moses was purely the messenger of the Lord. Moses did not want these men to be accepted of the Lord because of the things the were doing. In response, Moses told these men to bring their censers of incense before the Lord on the following day, as well as Aaron who they stood against. The next day, each of these men took their incense and stood with Moses and Aaron at the door of the tabernacle. The glory of the Lord appeared and the Lord told Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from the children of Israel, so that he could destroy them. They pleaded with God, that they would not destroy the entire people.

23 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
24 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.
26 And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.
27 So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.
28 And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.
29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the Lord hath not sent me.
30 But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord.

The Lord told Moses to tell the people to go away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Moses went to these men who refused to speak with him, and the elders followed him. Moses told the people there, that the belongings of these men were wicked and should not be touched by anyone who did not wish to be consumed by their sins. The people left the tents of Dathan and Abiram. The two men came to the doors of their tents along with their families. Moses told them they would witness that he had not done any of these things of himself, but that the Lord had commanded him to do them. Either the men would die of natural causes or as normal men died as proof that Moses did this of himself, or they would be swallowed up by the earth along with all that belongs to them as proof that they had stood against the Lord and provoked his wrath against them.

31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.
35 And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

The ground opened under the men, and they were swallowed up along with all that belonged to them. Their families were also lost in the ground. Those that witnessed it, ran away in fear. The leaders who had brought the incense and were waiting for a witness from the Lord, were consumed by the fire of the Lord because they had rebelled against Him.

36 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
37 Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed.
38 The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before the Lord, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel.
39 And Eleazar the priest took the brasen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar:
40 To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the Lord; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the Lord said to him by the hand of Moses.

Moses was commanded to have Eleazar take the censers of these men, and scatter the fire. He was to make plates to cover the altar as a sign to the Israelites. No one was to seek after the office of the priesthood to which he did not belong. The seed of Aaron had been set apart to the work in the tabernacle and they were to remain the ones who served in that capacity.

41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord.
42 And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared.
43 And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.

The following day, the children of Israel had heard what had happened and many complained against Moses and Aaron for killing the men. They did not recognize the hand of the Lord in this, but blamed Moses and Aaron instead. Once again, the glory of the Lord appeared and Moses and Aaron went to the tabernacle.

44 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.

Moses was told to leave the congregation, so that Lord could consume the people for the faithlessness. Moses and Aaron fell down before the Lord again.

46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun.
47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.
50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.

Moses commanded Aaron to take burning incense into the congregation to make an atonement for them, because the Lord had caused a plague to go out among the people. Aaron did as he was commanded. He stood between those who had died and those who were living and stopped the plague from continuing. 14,700 people died, before the plague was stopped by Aaron and the incense.

This is yet, another example of the lack of faith among some of the people. How easy it seems for some rebels to cause an uprising of otherwise good people, leading to their destruction. It is sad to see how often the people did not trust in the word of the Lord. It is hard to read of how often they felt that Moses should not have been allowed to be the only prophet of God among them. They fell prey to the idea that they knew better than God. They accepted the temptation to ignore the word of the Lord as from the mouth of His holy prophets. I wonder how often we fall prey to these same things today. It is so important to gain a testimony that the prophet has been called of God today. It is also of great importance for us to not question the authority of the priesthood. There are some women today, who are striving to change church policy to allow women to hold the priesthood, as if this would change the will of the Lord. To me, this is evidence that people are not willing to see the Lord as the head of this church. It is his gospel and it does not belong to any man to control or adapt for the times. This kind of dependence on the ways of the world will not please God. We should not provoke the Lord in wrath against us, because the scriptures teach us that it will only lead to our physical or spiritual destruction. Instead, we should follow His chosen prophet and leaders and strive to gain a testimony that they are doing as the Lord commands.

Conference Questions – Our T-shirt Statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 1 Chronicles we read the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do We Stand for Truth?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Priesthood Power

In my preparations for teaching Sunday School this past month, I have been doing a study of the priesthood. My husband and I decided that we would do our couples study of the scriptures by starting in Alma 13, only to realize that what we read focused on the priesthood. A learning moment came for me as I thought about my Savior Jesus Christ and the amazing miracles he performed, including the gift he has given us of the Atonement. He and his priesthood cannot be separated. In his perfection, there was nothing he would have done wrong in his life, to have that great power removed from him. It is the power and authority he was given in order to create worlds, in the pre-mortal life. It is the power that was required in order for him to be resurrected. Verse 2 reads, “And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.” When we look to the Savior, we look to his priesthood power. Without his priesthood power and the authority of God, the Savior would have been simply a great man doing good. I’ve often thought of the priesthood as a piece of the gospel of Jesus Christ, like one of the appendages. Now, however, I see it as part of the umbrella that is over the gospel as a whole. I have a greater love for the priesthood now, where I think I had little understanding before. I know that Jesus Christ bears the priesthood and that because of it, we can look to Him for redemption. I know that the priesthood was restored to the earth to the prophet, Joseph Smith, and to Oliver Cowdery. I know that the work of God, which is the salvation of mankind, is something that we can participate in now, because of the restoration of the priesthood. I am so grateful for the blessings which I have and continue to receive from the priesthood.

Do We Follow Promptings of the Holy Ghost to Seek Spiritual Strength?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

The next question in this series is do we follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost to seek spiritual strength? What is strength? I think that we most commonly use strength in a physical sense, in which case it means a physical power, energy, or intensity. Other things related to strength are the ability to withstand force or pressure, the influence or power of something, the ability to be clear and logical, a source of support, and a number of people in a group like an army. I’d like to relate this question to these meanings, but looking more at our spiritual strength, because the “Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace”, we just need to seek for it.

Do we follow the promptings as we seek for power, energy, and intensity of spirit? In Acts 1:8 we read, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you. . .”. When we follow the promptings of the spirit, we build the power of our spirit in the same way doing physical exercise strengthens our body. Our spirits already have the potential of being all-powerful, full of energy and intense beyond our greatest understanding. This is because we are spirit children of God and have been created with that potential. It is our job in this life to stretch and work out spiritually, so that we can reach that potential. The Holy Ghost gives us promptings as to what exercise we should do in order to improve. When we follow them, our spirits gain understanding and testimony that it cannot gain any other way. The things we gain spiritually are not easily lost or forgotten, and unlike things of this world, they will go with us when we leave this life. Part of the reason for living this mortal existence, is to leave with greater power and energy than when we started. However, there is also the effects of not following the spirit. When we choose not to follow the promptings, we not only cannot learn from them, but we begin to loose the strength we already had. Just as the physical body will loose it’s power, energy and intesity if we do not remain physically active, the spirit will begin to become less useful to us. That is when we begin to feel in the ruts of life, as if we are just going through the motions. That is when life seems to go on without us. We need to follow the promptings of the spirit, so that we can experience all that life has to offer us.

Do we follow the promptings as we seek for help to withstand the forces and pressure of the world around us which affect our spirit? The world grows increasingly difficult each day. The forces of Satan stand against us with so much force and pressure that it could be completely overwhelming for someone trying to do what is right. Some of these negative forces that we need to withstand are peer pressure, influences of media, breakdown of marriages and families, temptations of all kinds, and more. The Holy Ghost has the power to guard and protect us from these evil forces that bombard us each day. Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” If we listen when the spirit tells us to change the song on the radio, that song will not have the power to put negative thoughts into our mind, which gives us that power instead. As we follow the promptings of the spirit, we will see that these forces will have little effect on us.

Do we follow the promptings as we seek for the ability to influence others with our testimonies, which are the feelings of our spirits? Once you have a true conversion to the gospel, it makes you want to share it with others that you care about. We can talk until we are blue in the face, but without the power of the Holy Ghost there to change the hearts of others, it will not influence them. In Doctrine and Covenants section 50, we read the following:

13 Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—unto what were ye ordained?
14 To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.

In order to influence others, we need to have an understanding of a principle and a firm standing in what we believe. It is necessary that we are worthy at all times for the spirit to prompt us as to what we should say and do in our everyday interactions with others. When we are worthy, we can hear and follow the promptings as to what we should say, which will touch the hearts, minds and spirits of others if they are open to it. If we do not follow the promptings, but choose to rely on our own wisdom and understanding, the effect will not be lasting, if at all. If we follow the promptings of the spirit, we can also influence others without making our words a preachy sermon. Others will recognize it is heart felt and genuine and it will be for their good.

Do we follow the promptings as we seek to have clear and logical understanding of spiritual truths? There is strength in understanding, because it provides us with the ability to have wisdom. The Holy Ghost is the greatest teacher of men, because it can reach us to our very core. In John 14:26 we read, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” It can stir the heart and mind up to remembrance of things we knew before, as well as deepen our understanding in a way that the world cannot. In order to gain this understanding that is both clear and perfectly logical, we have to be open to the spirit and it’s promptings. As we search, ponder, and pray, we will likely have impressions of things that we can do to test principles of the gospel in our lives. If we follow these promptings, we will learn from them. It may take time to gain the understanding, but in patience, it will come. I have done this in my own life, and I am always amazed at how perfectly things make sense, which I may have thought ridiculous or unbelievable before. I know that as long as we continue to strive to follow the promptings, this understanding will remain firm and undeniable, because it is truth.

Do we follow the promptings as we seek for spiritual support? The world is tough and can bring us down if we are not paying attention. Our spirit’s need support, just as our bodies do. In Alma 36:3 we read, “. . . for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” The Holy Ghost can be that source of strength for us, if we are willing to allow it to touch our hearts and minds. There is so much about life that leads to depression, apathy, and a sense that there is no reason to act rather than be acted upon. These feelings are spiritually damaging and will not lead to the growth that God has intended for us. As we follow the spirit’s inspirations, we will find a constant companion and friend, ready to buoy and build us up. When it seems like it may be entirely too difficult to make the right choice, the Spirit can give us the confidence to persevere.

Do we follow the promptings as we seek to be part of the spiritual army of God? When we look at the big picture of life, we have to recognize whose team we are on. Our eternal lives are a part of one of two teams, the Lord’s team or Satan’s team. We are either choosing good or bad, light or darkness, righteousness or wickedness. If we have the desire to be a member of God’s kingdom, we cannot help but want to fight against the forces of evil in the world, for ourselves, our families and loved ones, and for the world. When we follow the promptings of the spirit, we make the choice to be on the Lord’s side. When we consciously choose not follow the promptings, we choose to follow Satan. In Matthew 6:24 we read, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” We cannot be on both sides at once, because they are opposing forces which will never align.

To follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, is to be on the path that God wants us on, which is righteousness. In Proverbs 10:29 we read, “The way of the Lord is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.” There is strength in doing what is right and aligning ourselves with the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and that strength is a gift from God. I want to be stronger in spirit, so that I can be sanctified by the Lord and receive the blessings of God. I know that by following the spirit, we can have a greater power of spirit, withstand the evil pressures in the world, influence others with our testimonies and examples, gain a clearer understanding of truth, have the support we need to endure, and be a part of the spiritual army of God.

Do We Study the Scriptures to Increase Our Testimonies of Jesus Christ?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.

Do we study the scriptures to increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ? I was raised with the gospel in my life, but as I have learned over the years, that means nothing unless I make the attempt to gain my own testimony of it. When I read the scriptures growing up, it was purely because of a duty I had to be obedient to my teachers at one time or another. On one occasion I read the Book of Mormon because a missionary, that I thought was cute, had asked me to read it. It wasn’t until 2008, that I began studying the scriptures because I wanted to learn from them. My desire since then, has been to learn greater doctrine of the gospel. I have wanted to understand the gospel principles in a way to help me have the desire to live them at all costs. I can’t say that I have made the conscious decision to study the scriptures to gain a greater testimony of Jesus Christ, because it just seemed like that came with the study no matter what I was trying to gain. One of the things that I love about the scriptures, is that they truly do testify of Jesus Christ continually.

I don’t think that one can study the scriptures, with a real intent to be taught by the spirit, without recognizing that they are designed to teach us of Christ and the power of the atonement, which he has given to us. One of my favorite scriptures relating to this is found in 2 Nephi 25:26, where we read, “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” The prophets of all the ages, have taught their people of Christ.

Studying the scriptures for me gives me a greater hope in eternal life and exaltation, which are promised by God to those who faithful and make and keep their covenants. We can not attain these things if we are not made clean. In Matthew 1:21 we read, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Jesus Christ is the only way that the blessings are possible. Hebrews 5:9 says, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him”. He truly is that author of our salvation and without a testimony of Him, we cannot receive the blessings that he made possible through the greatest sacrifice of all time. A testimony of Christ is absolutely necessary if we hope to have the rewards after this life.

I can think of no greater way to strengthen our testimonies of Christ, then to learn of Him. The place to learn more, is in the Holy word of God, found in the standard works of the gospel and have collectively been written for our days. We can gain a testimony of his hand in the lives of mortals as we study the books of the Old Testament. We can gain a testimony of his earthly ministry and resurrection as we study the New Testament. We can gain a testimony of his ministry after his resurrection as we study the Book of Mormon. We can gain a testimony of the things he expects of us as we study the Doctrine and Covenants. And we can gain a testimony of his role in the entire plan of salvation, as it has been taught through the ages, as we study the Pearl of Great Price. I am so grateful for the scriptures in my life today. I am so glad that I live in a time when they are so accessible. I love that there are so many helpful guides to aid me in understanding what is written in the scriptures. I am eternally grateful for the spirit and how it teaches me so many wonderful things. I am so glad that these wonderful writings can teach me how to be a disciple of the Lord, Jesus Christ. I know that as we study the scriptures, we can strengthen our testimonies of Jesus Christ, and have a greater hope in his atonement and saving grace.

A Testimony of Me

Earlier this week, I read the following in Alma, chapter 17:

39 And when he had driven them afar off, he returned and they watered their flocks and returned them to the pasture of the king, and then went in unto the king, bearing the arms which had been smitten off by the sword of Ammon, of those who sought to slay him; and they were carried in unto the king for a testimony of the things which they had done.

This verse caused me to ponder on a question. What acts do I do which are a testimony of me? The things that people see us do in this life, will stand as a witness of the type of person we are. We can imagine what people might say about us after we leave this life, based on our actions and deeds. Ammon was strong and faithful in his actions, which the servants saw and bore record of to the king. Will others see who I truly am or want to be in the things I do? What do I need to change to improve what others witness of me? This is what I hope to think about more in the next couple of weeks, so that I can be a better person and stand as a witness of Christ more in my life. What is their testimony of me?

The Final Judgment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faith is a Sunrise

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

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

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

A Worthwhile Addition

In my reading this morning, I came across the following quote by George Albert Smith, eighth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Keep all the good things that you have, keep all that God has given you that enriches your life, and then let us share something with you that will add to your happiness and increase your satisfaction.

I know this to be true. My life has been made better through reading the Book of Mormon. I am a happier person and I am truly more satisfied with my life because I have read this book and applied it to my life. The gospel of Jesus Christ can be found within its pages and I know that it is another testament of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

To request a copy for yourself, go here: Free Book of Mormon


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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