Posts Tagged 'Work'

2 Chronicles Chapter 2

During the reign of Solomon, the temple of the Lord was built in Jerusalem. This chapter is about the beginning of that work, which was a huge task in that day.

1 And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the Lord, and an house for his kingdom.
2 And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.

Solomon was obedient to the commands of his father, David, who had charged him with this great task. Not only did he plan to build the temple, but he prepared to build a palace as well. 70,000 men were tasked with bearing loads, 80,000 were tasked with cutting stones in the mountains, and 3,600 were assigned to oversee the work they did.

3 And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David my father, and didst send him cedars to build him an house to dwell therein, even so deal with me.
4 Behold, I build an house to the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the Lord our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel.
5 And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods.
6 But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?
7 Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide.
8 Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon; and, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants,
9 Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great.
10 And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.

Solomon sent a request to Huram, king of Tyre, to assist him as he had helped his father to build his house (see also 1 Kings 5 regarding Hiram). Huram was a friend to both Solomon and his father David. He told Huram, that he planned to build a house to the Lord, which would be dedicated to God for burning incense and making offerings according to the ordinances in Israel. He explained that this house was to be great, because God is great and above all other Gods. Solomon was not equal to the task he had been given and he needed help, so he asked Huram to send craftsmen who were skilled with working with gold, silver and other metals, as well as other materials they would need. These men would be needed to help those he had already in Judah and Jerusalem. He also asked Huram to provide trees of cedar, fir and algum from Lebanon, along with skilled me for doing the work of cutting the trees along with the servants of Solomon. Solomon was going to need a great amount of wood, in order to build the temple. In return for their work, Solomon was prepared to given the servants wheat, barley, wine and oil.

11 Then Huram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, Because the Lord hath loved his people, he hath made thee king over them.
12 Huram said moreover, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the Lord, and an house for his kingdom.
13 And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father’s,
14 The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David thy father.
15 Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants:
16 And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem.

Huram sent a response, which said that the Lord made Solomon King of Israel, because He loved the people. He glorified the Lord for blessing David with a wise, prudent and understanding son. It seems that Huram knew David had wanted to build the temple and praised the Lord for allowing the son of David to do that work. He sent a very talented and skillful artisan and designer or architect along with the letter, just as Solomon had requested. He mentioned that this man was the son of both Tyre, by his father and Israel through Dan, by his mother. He also would be adding the help of cutting trees needed and sending it to Joppa, which Solomon could then have brought up to Jerusalem. Huram, or Hiram, is an example of the kindness of friendship. This was not a small thing for his kingdom to do, but was a great service and kindness extended to Solomon, his friend.

17 And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, after the numbering wherewith David his father had numbered them; and they were found an hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred.
18 And he set threescore and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand to be hewers in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a work.

Solomon had a count done of all the strangers or foreigners found in Israel, which were in number 153,600. As mentioned above, he assigned 70,000 to carry loads, 80,000 to cut the materials needed from the mountain, and 3,600 as supervisors of the work. With this the preparations for building the temple had begun and Solomon could begin the task his father had given him.

Why would this information be included in the records of the Bible? To understand this, it seems there is a need to understand just how significant the temple was. The Lord commanded the people of Israel to have the tabernacle in their midst, so that there would be a sacred place the people could go to, and know that the presence of the Lord was in their midst. The tabernacle led them in the wilderness for over forty years and was the physical representation of the people coming unto God. This temple that Solomon was to build, would continue to represent that promise to Israel, so long as the people continued to be sanctified and bring sacrifices to the Lord. The temple was a place which was sacred, holy and dedicated to the Lord. Knowing the work and sacrifices it would take to build such a place, shows the dedication of the people of Israel, and of Solomon, to put the Lord first. It should be an example to us in modern times, of the efforts we should be willing to go to, to make a place for the Lord in our own lives.

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1 Kings Chapter 5

King Solomon had established his kingdom in peace. His father, David, had been given the promise that the time for a more permanent house to the Lord would be after his reign, and during the reign of his Son, when their was peace. Solomon was now going to be the one to build the temple. Up to this point, the Israelites had worshipped in the tabernacle as they had commanded by the Lord. This chapter begins:

1 And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David.
2 And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying,
3 Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the Lord his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet.
4 But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.
5 And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.
6 Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.

Solomon asked Hiram of Tyre, to help him get the wood he needed, in order to build the temple. Hiram had loved King David as a good friend. He provided supplies for David to build his house years before, and sent his servants to Solomon when he heard he had become king. Solomon was able to begin preparations for building the temple, because the Israelites had peace with all of their neighbors. Solomon was prepared to have his servants work along side the servants of Tyre, and to pay them for their work, because he knew the best woodwork would come from the trees of Lebanon cut by the Sidonians.

7 And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the Lord this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people.
8 And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for: and I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir.
9 My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household.
10 So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire.
11 And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year.
12 And the Lord gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together.

Hiram agreed to help Solomon with the wood, in exchange for food for his household. The two continued in this agreement for years and had peace between them.

13 And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men.
14 And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.
15 And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains;
16 Beside the chief of Solomon’s officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.
17 And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house.
18 And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house.

A group of 30,000 Israelites were sent to work in Lebanon with the men of Hiram, under the direction or payment of Adoniram, who was over the treasury. In groups of 10,000, they would alternate between spending a month working and then returning home for two months. The men cut stones and trees in the mountains, and carried them down for the building of the temple. I have heard of the early saints doing the same kind of things in order to build the temple. Many of the men would devote a certain number of days from their work-week, to the building of the temple. They would cut stones and trees in the mountains just as the Israelites of old. They did these things out of their devotion and love for the Lord. I am sure that the Israelites committed their time out of love for the Lord and for their king.

As I read this short chapter, I am reminded also of the detail given to the Israelites regarding the building of the Tabernacle, and just how much of that information has been recorded in the scriptures. It is evidence to me of the great importance of temples in the work of the Lord. So much of these writings are devoted to these descriptions, and they teach me that the Lord wants His people to have temples to worship and to serve. I am so grateful to live in a time, when the work of building temples continues under the direction of the Lord’s living prophets. I know that temples are the Lord’s holy houses and that the service and work done in temples is key to the work of the Lord. The salvation of all mankind, is made possible by the work done in the temples. I have the privilege of living near a temple that is under construction now. I look forward to its completion in 2017. I am sure that Solomon and his people, felt greatly blessed by the opportunity to build the temple, just as I feel it now.

Ponderizing – Week 1 Thoughts

Moses 1:39

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

I chose this scripture this week, because my family has been focusing a talk given by Elder Rafael E. Pino during the April 2015 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His talk is entitled “The Eternal Perspective of the Gospel“, and it references the verse I chose.

I have been looking at the bigger picture this week. This is not something new to me. In fact I do it quite frequently. But I have had some specific thoughts about it. First of all, I believe that part of the purpose of life, is to align my will with the will of God, so that I might become more like Him. If my will is to become aligned with God’s will, then my work needs to be a part of His work, the work “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”.

First, I need an understanding of what this means. What is immortality? We live in mortal bodies, in a mortal world. This means that we all will some day die. This physical death became a part of the life of mankind, when Adam and Eve fell from the presence of God in the Garden of Eden. God’s work was to create a way for mankind to become immortal beings, in order to physically live forever. The atonement of His Son provided the way back. In the Bible Dictionary we read, “All are covered unconditionally as pertaining to the Fall of Adam. Hence, all shall rise from the dead with immortal bodies.” (Bible Dictionary:Atonement) Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, all people are unconditionally provided with resurrection after this life, and therefore, all mankind will overcome physical death and become immortal beings, with bodies of flesh and bone. (Bible Dictionary:Resurrection)

How can I be a part of this work of bringing to pass the immortality of man, when the Savior has already made this possible? I can be grateful for this blessing, because it gives me hope of life after death. I can share my testimony of this with others, and most especially, I can teach this gospel truth to my children. In doing this, I can bring greater hope to others.

What is eternal life? In the Guide to the Scriptures, it is defined as, “To live forever as families in God’s presence. Eternal life is God’s greatest gift to man.” Jesus Christ made Eternal life possible through his infinite atonement. In the Bible Dictionary, we read, “his grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.” (Bible Dictionary:Grace) Eternal life is a gift, that unlike immortality, must be gained. We use our agency in this life, to choose if we will accept this gift. All are blessed to live after this mortal life, but it is up to us to choose how we will live.

How do I make this work a part of my work? First, I must choose to accept His gift of the atonement in my life. How do I do that? Eternal life is accepted when I live my life according to the commandments of God. The Savior has told men to come unto Him and to follow Him. He has shown me the importance of making covenants, such as baptism and temple covenants. The covenants of baptism are the gateway to eternal life and the temple covenants provide the blessings of eternal life, through the sealing power. In the Bible Dictionary we read, “Whenever the Lord has had a people on the earth who will obey His word, they have been commanded to build temples in which the ordinances of the gospel and other spiritual manifestations that pertain to exaltation and eternal life may be administered.” (Bible Dictionary: Temple) I have made these covenants for myself, and have taken the necessary steps to claim the blessings. Jesus taught many, the importance of renewing covenants by partaking of the sacrament, which I have the opportunity to do each week. The scriptures also teach me that I need to believe that He is the Christ, and live according to that belief. I do this most, when I live a life of charity towards others. When I do these things, I will come to know Him. In John 17:3, Jesus prayed, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Second, I make this work my own, when I share this knowledge with others. I need to teach my children that they can have the ability to return and live with God again. I know these things to be true for myself, but if others are not taught, how will they know? I send my children off to school, so that they can become prepared for the rest of their lives. I want them to be successful, happy and have all the blessing that life has to offer them. God sends all people here, to the earth, to become prepared for the rest of their eternal lives. Now is the time to prepare. Now is the time to help others to know what amazing blessings await them. I will continue to make this my work, by helping others to know of Christ, to know the importance of baptism and temple covenants, and to know the blessings of repentance and partaking of the sacrament. Also, I have the opportunity to be a source of strength to others as they strive to endure to the end.

I hope that as part of this work, my testimony and thoughts shared on this blog, can help others to learn of these things.

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

This life is so much more that our current situations. It is so much more than even birth to death. We have so much to live for. I am so grateful for this understanding and I hope that I can have the courage and strength to do my part in the work of the Lord, that I might partake in His glory.

Conference Questions – Doing Our Part

Recently, I watched the 182nd Semi Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I watch conference, I am always filled with the spirit and a desire to be a better person and draw closer to the Savior. I love to take notes. When I first started being a note taker for learning in church settings, I would write everything I possibly could down. Including what the speakers said, as well as the little lessons the spirit would teach me during the talks. Once that became a habit, I learned that I should really be focused on writing down the things that I am personally taught by the spirit. So, with that as my focus for note taking, I found myself writing down questions that I should be able to answer. The thought then came to me that these are questions that I could attempt to study on this blog. To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke in the Saturday afternoon session, about the honeybees from his father’s peach orchard. He talked of how so many of them worked together to make the honey. What Elder Ballard said was that each honeybee only contributed about one-twelth of a teaspoon of honey to its hive. It seems insignificant alone, but put together with the contributions of from all the bees in a hive, it amounted to much more. He related the work of each individual bee and the outcome of the work of the entire hive, to our work as saints in the church of God. My third question in this series, is am I doing my part in the beehive-like community of the church? (See “Be Anxiously Engaged”.)

What is the duty of those who have become a part of the Church of Christ? Our duty is to magnify our callings. Our callings within the church can be many. This is because the purpose of the church is so huge. President Monson said the following:

I would hope that we would not lose the real objective of our cherished opportunities to serve. That objective, that eternal goal, is the same spoken of by the Lord and found in the Pearl of Great Price: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39)

May we ever remember that the mantle of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cloak of comfort but rather a robe of responsibility. Our duty, in addition to saving ourselves, is to guide others to the celestial kingdom of God.

… I pause when I think of the words of President John Taylor (1808–87): “If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor (2001), 164.)

Just as the honeybees, we are all tasked with specific responsibilities within the church. If we have not received any callings, we should seek to have one, so that we can serve as the Lord would have us. Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, requires playing an active role in our salvation, as well as the salvation of others. As for myself, I have the calling of being what is called a visiting teacher. This means I have been given specific women to watch over and serve. I have also been given the responsibility to assist the president of our women’s organization, the Relief Society, as her secretary. In addition, all members of the LDS faith, accept the duty of sharing the gospel with others as moved upon by the spirit. I also have the callings that come with being a wife and mother, which are included in my duties as a faithful member of Christ’s church. What should we be doing in those callings to magnify them and truly do our part?

In 3 Nephi 27:21, the Lord taught the people of the Americas, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;”. What did the Savior do for others? He looked for the needs and then helped to bless and heal them. He taught the gospel to them. He helped others to see the potential they had by giving them opportunities to serve. Most of all, he loved others with the greatest love, the Love of God. The Savior’s call was to do these for all. I believe that we are given specific callings over certain people or groups in the church, so that we can learn how to do these things on a lesser scale than the Savior was called to serve. As the Son of God, He had the power of God, and was physically able to handle serving masses. God will help us to be able to serve those we have been called to serve. When we come to understand and fulfill our callings, we will be given the capacity to reach beyond those specific people, to others who are in need.

We, as disciples of Jesus Christ, need to be doing all that we can wisely do, to look for the needs of those we are called to serve. One of the things that Elder Ballard said related to this teaches us how we can strive to do our part. He said, “In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help. Stay focused, just like the honeybees focus on the flowers from which to gather nectar and pollen. If you do this, your spiritual sensitivities will be enlarged and you will discover opportunities to serve that you never before realized were possible.” Prayer is only the first step. The Lord knows others better than we will ever know them. He also knows us best, and knows what we can handle. He would not ask us to do anything, that He cannot help us to achieve. We can strive to do our part, by honestly asking how we can serve and have a heart that is ready to follow the inspiration that He gives us in answer. Then we show the faith, as we focus our minds on that possibility for inspiration and the results of it.

I think that one of the things this talk really made me think about is how much I serve with a willing heart. It is easier to serve when someone else asks us for help, but the greater service, is to really put my heart into it each day. We need to keep some scriptures in mind related to this. First, Mosiah 2:17 says, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” When we serve others, we serve God, because we help Him to fulfill His work. Second, the greatest commandments are given to us in Matthew 22.

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Love for God and love for fellowmen will give us the drive to do our part. We need to develop a Christ-like love for others, so that our care and concern for them, both physically and spiritually, will give us the desire to serve them. I think that if we can keep these principles in mind, and truly ask with a sincere desire in our hearts, we will be doing our part. I know that there are a lot of times in my life, when the business of everyday gets in the way and I loose this focus. It’s a good thing that this is a life of progressing line upon line and not reaching perfection in a moment. I am grateful for the mercy of a loving Heavenly Father, who has afforded me the opportunity to repent of my selfishness and turn back to doing His work. I know that it is a blessing to live a life of commitment to doing our part. I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for his church. I am so glad that I have the opportunity to serve within the church. I know that I grow the most, when I am devoted to doing my part and being mindful of others. I know that my little acts may not amount to much on their own, but that if I continue faithful, the work of the Lord will move forward as the great and marvelous work it is.

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

A Charge From the Book of Mormon

In preparation for our Relief Society lesson this week, I read the Ensign article titled “A Witness“, by President Henry B. Eyring. This talk is a really good one about the charge that every member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been given. We find this charge in the words of the Book of Mormon. The charge has to do with being a charitable witness who endures to the end. The two ideas I am taking away from this article are first, we each have a way that is fitting for us to show our charity for others. I believe that charity, in its purest form is how we show the love and care we have for others. Not all of us do this the same way, but we have each been blessed with the ability to have charity. I think that I’ve always thought there was an exact way that everyone was to be charitable, but I am now thinking that it really can and probably should be different for each of us. Part of the learning process in this life, is figuring out how we as individuals can be more like the Savior in our own charity for others. Now is the time to discover how I can use the gifts and talents that have been given to me, to be charitable to others.

The second idea, is that we need to be ready each day to do the work of the Lord. This requires having a prayer in our heart and mind as much as possible, that we will be ready and willing to do the will of the Lord. It means being worthy at all times, so that we can hear the whisperings of the spirit. It means getting out of bed each day and getting dressed and prepared to do something, even if we don’t have anything planned. It means recognizing the needs of others around us and more. It is a charge to be alert, attentive, willing, and able to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, at all times. This is something that I feel I fall short in most days of my life, but we all have things we need to work on, and this is one of mine. I am grateful for the messages of the general authorities of the church, specifically the apostles and prophets of the Lord. Their words offer me great insight and encouragement in my own life. It is such a blessing to live in a time when these words are so readily available to all people. I hope that I will remember these things and try harder to have more charity and be ready to do the Lord’s work more often.

Genesis Chapter 3

In Genesis, the first two chapters have taught about the creation of the heaven and earth, all things upon the earth, and the creation of man and woman. It taught about the establishment of marriage and the law given which forbade the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Chapter three continues teaching about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The serpent, who is the devil, planned to deceive Adam and Eve and cause that all mankind would be miserable through his purposes. The devil was sneaky and sly in his plan, which he is in all things even now. He knows how to twist our understanding and perception of righteous things, and we must be constantly on guard for his deceptions. Satan wanted to play on the desires of humankind to know more and to want for more. He belittled God, by questioning what God had commanded of Adam and Eve. He truly is the father of lies and he proved this by saying that eating the fruit would not cause death, which it most certainly did. This lie was hidden in the truth that the fruit would cause them to know good and evil, which it did. This is a typical tactic of Satan, to distort truth and hide it among lies and false teachings, which are designed to lead us astray.

Satan did not know that he was being allowed by God to tempt Adam and Eve. Because they were given the opportunity to choose between the eternal nature of the Garden of Eden and a life of mortality on the earth, we are all here living today. Because Adam and Eve saw that the only way for mankind to increase was by their remaining with one another, they made the choice to transgress the law and be separated from the presence of God for a time. I am so glad that they made the choice they did and that I have the opportunity to prove myself worthy in this life. I love the explanation we find in 2 Nephi about the purpose of this choice. In chapter 2 we read the following:

22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

I believe this to be true. The transgression of Eve followed by the choice by Adam to transgress, meant life for all of us. This choice meant that we may all have the opportunity to find joy in this life and in the eternities.

7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Adam and Eve experienced an immediate change, and became aware of themselves in a way that they had not known without the knowledge they received through partaking of the fruit. With this knowledge came the understanding of shame, which caused them to want to hide from the Lord. After giving an explanation of their choices to the Lord, Satan was cursed for his deceptions. God blessed mankind that we would have all power over the devil. He can tempt us and persuade us, but we have agency and the power to choose if we will follow Satan or the Lord. If we choose to follow Christ, Satan has no power over us, because the power of Christ will save us and destroy Satan. Satan’s temptations will not bind us, if we make use of the saving power of the atonement.

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

Women were given the role of bearing children through sorrow and pain. This does not mean that we are to be sorrowful in bearing children, but rather that the physical experience would not be easy. I can attest to this fact. Pregnancy is painful, uncomfortable and causes women to grown physically and spiritually in a way that other things cannot. Men were given the role of working to provide. Husbands, are the established patriarchs and leaders of the home. This responsibility is the way that men are able to grow both physically and spiritually. Becoming responsible providers and leaders causes men to mature from the natural child-like state of mind, and pushes them to put others ahead of themselves. Life is not easy. There is constant struggle for many men, to be able to be the providers for family. It requires a great deal of strength and faith to do this well. Husbands and wives work in union, side-by-side with their wife, to create and provide for their children and family. Eve became the first mother on the earth and Adam became the first patriarch and father on the earth. However, they were not left to fend entirely for themselves at this point. Before they were cast out of the garden, the Lord made clothing for them, so that they would have some protection from the world. We are given the tools for our own protection, because God loves us. We need only seek out these tools and we will be able to find the protection that we need.

22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Mankind was given the ability to know and discern between good and evil, just as God has knowledge and discernment. In order to prevent Adam and Eve from eating of the eternal fruit of the tree of life, which would give them an eternity of separation from God, the Lord cast them out of the garden and put Cherubim and a flaming sword in place to guard the tree of life. We all must live a life of trial and hardship, learning for ourselves that their is opposition in all things and that we have the agency to choose how we should live, before we can be allowed to partake of the fruit of the tree of life. It is through our turning to Christ and repenting of sins, that we may choose to return to be with God again someday. The purpose of this life is for us to learn and grow, so that we may realize the true joy of salvation and eternal life or the great sorrow and pain of eternal separation from God. I am so glad that we have the power to choose for ourselves how we may live. I am glad that the Savior made the choice to sacrifice himself for my sake. I know that their are great blessings that come through proper repentance and I have felt the joy of turning over my burdens to the Lord.

Work and Personal Responsibility

View the entire lesson here: Work and Personal Responsibility

Work Is an Eternal Principle

In the book of Moses, as we do also in Genesis, we learn that work is something that God has engaged in, and therefore it is an eternal principle. Moses 3:2 reads, “And on the seventh day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested on the seventh day from all my work, and all things which I had made were finished, and I, God, saw that they were good”. The work of God continues on and did not stop with the creation. In Moses 1:39 we read, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” This work continues on through eternity.

What experiences have you had that have shown you the importance of work?

I grew up in a home where work was part of being a member of the family. Each person had work to do in order to make the home nice and comfortable. This taught me the value of work early on. I could see that when one person slacked in their responsibilities it made it harder for everyone else. We were all important and needed. I could also see that sometimes it was necessary to help one another in order to accomplish a goal for all of us. This taught me how work would be out in the world. This taught me how to be a valuable employee and how to feel joy in my accomplishments as far as working went.

I have also seen the opposite to be true. I have witnessed others who were raised with someone else doing all the work for them. These people become lazy and have a greater sense of entitlement. It has been difficult to depend on those people to help out and to do what is needed of them.

We Are Commanded to Work

Jesus said, “There are six days in which men ought to work” (see Luke 13:14). I looked up the meaning of ought and everything I find says that it implies an obligation or a duty. It does not say that “we can work on these six days if we want to”; it says that we should work on six days. Paul taught the gospel of work to the Thessalonians, when he said, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (see 2 Thessalonians 3) I believe that it is through work that we grow and learn. Therefore, we must work to do that which we have been sent here to do.

Family Responsibility

The Savior gave us the best lesson in this, by example. In John 5:17 we read, “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” The Savior knew and understood the value of work, even though His father could literally have done all for Him. If the Savior found it necessary to go to work and do all that He could in His position, how could we possibly think it is less than necessary for us to do the same.

What are some responsibilities that fathers, mothers, and children have to maintain a home?

In order to maintain a home, there must be some who clean, some who fix, some who nurture those in the home, some who work to pay for the things a family needs and more. I think that ideally a father should be the one who earns the money and the mother should be the nurturer, but this is not always the case. For each family, these specific duties should be given to the parent who can best handle those things, or who is able to do them. Children should be given responsibility of helping to clean and fix things around the house.

What can family members do to share in the work?

There are plenty of things in a home that can use the work of all who are there. They can share in the work, by taking on their own duties and helping others when they are able. Everyone can share in the work of strengthening the home spiritually, by participating in family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening and so on. I think that even though these may not always seem like it, they are part of the work necessary to maintain a home.

We Can Enjoy Our Work

The scriptures teach us that we need to work, and they also teach us that we are (or that we exist) so that we might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25) Logically, this means that we should be able to have joy in our work. This should apply to all of our work.

How does our attitude affect our work?

I believe that it is our attitude that turns work into a chore. Chores are not fun. They are something we do because we have to do them and they tend to drag and they do not bring us joy. Work can be fun. We make it fun, by finding what we love about it or by focusing on serving others. When we serve others, we forget ourselves and we find happiness in even the most mundane tasks.

How can we improve our attitude about work?

I think it starts first with how we start our day. If we start the day by dedicating our duties and actions to the Lord, our work will take on a different tone. We do this through prayer. If we find ways to add some fun to a typical chore, it will help. Doing things like playing some music while we work, or getting others to help us will help the work to go quicker and to make it more enjoyable. If we take the approach of “blooming where we are planted”, we will find greater success in our work. When we find we can be better at work, or we do it well, we should find a greater joy in doing it.

God Condemns Idleness

In Galatians 6:4, we read, “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” In our time of judgement, we will not rejoice over the work that someone else has done, with the exception of the Savior. Our reward will come from our own works. To depend on others to work, when we are able, is not the way that God wants us to live. In 2 Nephi 9:27 we read, “But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!” When we are idle, we waste the days that the God has given us on this earth.

How does idleness affect an individual? a family? a community?

Idleness in an individual is an invitation for Satan to bind us. When we are idle, we are being selfish. This sometimes leads to mindless entertainment, depending fully on others to do everything for us, sleeping away hours of the day, not taking care of ourselves, and more. Most of all, idleness halts our progression. We are on this earth to learn and grow, but being idle is doing neither of these things.

In a family, idleness causes contention, negative feelings, a lack of unity and harmony, and failure to take care of all the things the Lord has blessed us with. On a larger scale, idleness can do these same things in a community. I think that idleness breeds sin and all negative behaviors and thoughts. In a community, this can lead to crime and a lot of fighting. Idleness is bliss for Satan, but is completely against the standards of God.

Work, Recreation, and Rest

In Moses 3:3, we read, “And I, God, blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it I had rested from all my work which I, God, had created and made.” Even though work is important, we must also give ourselves the time for rest. There is also a place for recreation. Elder D. Todd Christofferson said, “Having spoken in praise of labor, I must also add a kind word for leisure. Just as honest toil gives rest its sweetness, wholesome recreation is the friend and steadying companion of work. Music, literature, art, dance, drama, athletics—all can provide entertainment to enrich one’s life and further consecrate it.” (See “Reflections on a Consecrated Life,” , (October 2, 2010) General Conference.)

Why is it important to keep a balance in life between work, recreation, and rest?

A healthy individual, family, or community, has found a good balance of these three things: work, recreation, and rest. None of these things is completely bad, in fact they are all necessary for happiness. Each of these however, can be horrible if they are not carefully balanced in our lives. When we rest too much, we become idle and we do not learn and grow. When we play or work too much, we allow those things that are not the best things in life, to become the priority, and we loose our eternal perspective and goals.

What can we do to keep a good balance between work, recreation, and rest? How can parents help their children maintain this balance?

This balance will be different for each and every person. For me, it is always helpful to have someone I trust to be open and honest with me, to tell me if I am doing something a little too much. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in living that we may not see the imbalance. I am often the person who will work too much and not take time to rest. I am glad that I have my husband and best friend who will tell me if they can see that I need to take some time to rest or to play. It is even better, if we can recognize for ourselves when we may be taking on too much in one area over another. In Doctrine and Covenants 11:12 we read, “And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good”. When we are close to the spirit, it will guide us in knowing the right balance for us.

The Blessings of Work

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be (Revelation 22:12).”

What are some blessings that come from honest work?

We can learn a lot from honest work. When we are happy in our work, we will want to learn and to improve. We can be blessed with greater confidence and self-worth. We can be blessed with joy as we serve. Honest work will open up more doors for inspiration. Honest work helps us to be better examples to others, which gives us greater opportunities to share the gospel. A good example of this can be found in the Book of Mormon, when Ammon went to do missionary work. He became a servant of the king, and through his diligent work, he was able to convert many. (see Alma 17-18)

I find great happiness in work, when I am looking for that happiness. If we are seeking for joy, it will come to us. This life is for our learning and growth. If we are neither learning nor growing, then we need to find what needs to change in our work, so that we can. I think that most often this change will come when we change our attitude and focus. I know that great things will come to us if we involve ourselves in good work. I am so grateful for the blessings that good, honest work has brought to my life.


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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