Friday, September 19, 2014

Pray is the way

Continuing with what was discussed yesterday at the end of 2 Nephi 32 it speaks of how we can know we are being led by the Holy Spirit.

For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.

The way is simple. We are able to discern truth from error, right from wrong, good from evil when we receive the Holy Ghost.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tell you all things what you should do

"...feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."

To what extent is this statement true? My initial thought is that the "words of Christ" or the scriptures will tell us everything that we are to do. However if this is the case than the ability to choose would not need to be exercised. Every time I had a concern, question, or doubt I could go to the scriptures and it would tell me what to do. This would destroy the purpose of growth and becoming by extinguishing choice. So what does this passage mean?

Continuing a couple of verses later Nephi teaches us that "...if ye will..receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do." Now we are not only being told what to do by the scriptures, but we are also being shown all things we are to do by the Holy Ghost. Is it really so simple? Are we meant to live a life so closely associated with the scriptures and the companionship of the Holy Ghost that it will show and tell us all things that we are to?

With that in mind I would like to return to the thought that we do not have an ability to choose if we are given all knowledge. The exercising of agency comes long before the knowledge arrives though. When I exercise my will to feast upon the words of Christ, I have exercised agency. Along with that in order to receive the Holy Ghost I must choose a life of holiness and purity.

When we read the words of Christ with eyes of controlling our own lives we become overly sensitive to losing control. We miss the mark. Heavenly Father does not say I am taking control of your lives, but is saying that if you choose to follow my Son, I promise you direction in all things. He wants us to choose. He wants us to make good choices. He promises us blessings for choosing righteously.

The perfect example of one who gave up control to do the Father's will was the Savior, Jesus Christ. I fear that I regard him too much as a poster boy of good but not as someone I want to be like. I crave being in control. I despise not knowing or understanding what is happening in my life. Unfortunately, I see the Savior as a healer of my inconvenience not the way to perfection.

His invitation is loving and clear. Take the only thing you have control of, agency, and use it to feast upon the scriptures and live worthy of the Holy Ghost. As we do so He will bless us with direction and peace toward eternal life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Be True To What You Know!

This is just a personal insight from my New Testament class today. In our class right now we are just beginning the Pauline epistles and these are a couple of verses my teacher shared with us. Paul's epistle to the saints in Thessalonia he reminds them of how they came to know the truth of the Gospel. He says,

"For our agospel bcame not unto you in cword only, but also in dpower, and in the eHoly Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what fmanner of men we were among you for your sake.

And ye became afollowers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much baffliction, with cjoy of the Holy Ghost," (1 Thessalonians 1:5-6)

This is a reminder to the saints that the core of our testimony is made manifest through the Holy Ghost. Our testimony is not, and should not be, based on the word only, nor by the reasoning of the scriptures. We are to always remember the pure witness that we have each received concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If one has not received such a witness, then seeking it out and asking God for one is the step to take. As we remember the special moments in our lives when the Spirit has communicated with our Spirits of eternal truth we will be more confident in our faith. This faith will prevent us from being like the children described in Paul's other epistle to the people in Ephesus.

"...henceforth be no more achildren, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of bdoctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." (Ephesians 4:14)

This hope and faith provides an anchor for our souls as the tempest and storms of life rage on around us.

The Prophet Ether, from the Book of Mormon, taught this exhorting his people, and us today, to believe in God. I find a great deal of comfort in the words which he wrote.

"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with asurety bhope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which chope cometh of dfaith, maketh an eanchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in fgood works, being led to gglorify God."

Ether is talking about a sure hope for a better world at the right hand of God. Clearly, as is spelled out here, Ether is talking about the life to come and not this life. Ironically though as we have a hope for a better life in the world to come we will naturally go about "always abound[ing] in good works" in this life. As more and more of us have this anchor to our souls, fastened firmly to the faith in our testimonies, not only will we hope for a better world but we will create that better world here and now!

I know that as each of us has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repents, is baptized in the true church of Christ, receives the gift of the Holy Ghost by one having authority (see Act 8:12-17), and then endures to the end, that this better world that is so often hoped for and spoken about by politicians will become a reality. It will not be done through public policy, or government programs. It will be done as the children of God gain and are true to their personal testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Care to read?

Two posts in one day? Maybe this will become a new hobby of mine...I guess a small disclaimer on my part to begin, people who know me well describe me as being fairly blunt and/or curt. I enjoy being open with others, I just hope that I can keep the things that are very personal to me within the appropriate arena, while sharing other things that can promote reflection and discussion. A quote in Preach My Gospel by Elder Richard G. Scott says that “spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it." I truly believe that this is a powerful way to show the Lord how much you appreciate the knowledge that one gains through the Holy Ghost. How often do I kneel before my Father in Heaven and thank Him for the truths that I have learned throughout the day? For example, yesterday in church my bishop dedicated a portion of his talk to the word "strait" as Nephi used it to describe "the path which leads to eternal life." (2 Nephi 31:18) My bishop stated that we often confuse the word strait with straight. Straight is a path that moves in one direction with no curve or bend. Strait on the other hand is a narrow or tight path. I have heard this distinction made before on other occasions, but yesterday was the first time that I visualized what was being taught. With the word being strait it changes much of the meaning for that verse. The path of life is not meant to be a straight line from point A to point B. It is meant to have turns, and bends, valleys and climbs. Our own individual journey through life may be so unpredictable and changing that it causes our nauseous spirits to plead for the ride to stop. However I believe that as we hold faithful to the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we will remain on this tight path and find eternal happiness. The journey may appear less thrilling with the guidelines that surround moral and clean living, but someday we will look back and realize how much protection those standards provided us. I believe in Jesus Christ, and hope that I can be a more consistent and true follower of him at all times.

It's official, I blog

This is my first post in a blog. For my family relations class we have been asked to start a blog and write down impressions and ideas that we have about topics regarding families. To tell you the truth I am really excited about this. I love to keep a study journal of things I learn, especially from the scriptures. I see this as an opportunity to take the things I love and share them with others. Having a personal journal is great, but in the past I have had many times when I wanted to discuss my ideas with others to get a different perspective. This has been the first homework assignment in a while that I have been excited about.