Saturday, August 20, 2016

Jesus Wept

In John 11, the story of Lazarus, Jesus knew what was happening – Lazarus was gravely ill. When Mary and Martha sent for him, he said “This sickness is not unto death, but the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”

Jesus knew Lazarus would die. 

He knew he would raise him from the dead to glorify God. 

But we see that even knowing this, he still groaned within himself and wept. This shows what a tender, kindhearted man Jesus was. He knew, but still had compassion and love for the situation at hand.


There are many times when we ‘know’ what is happening and pass things off in a logistical sort of way. It would have been totally appropriate for him to come up to Lazarus' tomb and just perform his miracle, knowing there was no need to mourn his death. 

Why mourn a death that was about to be undone? 

This teaches me that we can take time and have compassion for situations and circumstances that may seem to not really need it. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Do You Importune?

Ask, seek, and knock. (Luke 11:9-10) 

We have all heard these verses a hundred times. I learned something interesting studying the parable in verses 5-8, when the neighbor, because of his “importunity” was able to wake his friend.

Importunity – the active verb importune means “to request with urgency; to press with solicitation; to urge with frequent or unceasing application.” …

God wants us to pray, plead, implore, and importune – specifically, frequently, and sincerely. …

Don’t give up or despair, keep asking. …

Joseph Smith said:Come to God [and] weary him until he blesses you.”[1]

I never thought it would be a good thing to “importune” the Lord with things that I wanted. I guess I likened it to a pleading, whiney child, begging until they wear down the parent who caves merely

to 

stop

the

incessant 

pleading.


Unlike weary parents, God won’t give in and give us whatever we ask for, however, he will bless us with what he sees fit to bless us with.

If you look at the JST* on vs. 5, it says “And he said unto them, Your heavenly Father will not fail to give unto you whatever ye ask of him.”

Importune your Father in Heaven. 

He will bless you.




[1] Ogden, Skinner, Verse By Verse The New Testament, pp 388-389

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Making Faith a Choice

In my continued study of faith, I read a talk by Neil L. Anderson called Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice

I was drawn to this talk because of the concept that in my journey to gain more faith, I can be, as Elder Bednar says, an agent “to act and not merely be acted upon.”[1]

Elder Anderson says that “faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright.” This is wonderful. Everyone has the same opportunity to develop faith.

“Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe and as we seek it and hold on to it.
Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker.”

These two sentences hold so many keys to gaining and keeping faith throughout our lives.

1.     It is a gift from heaven
2.     It comes as we chose to believe
3.     It comes as we seek it
4.     It comes as we  hold on to it
5.     It is either growing stronger or becoming weaker

Elder Anderson gives keys to increasing faith, or helping it to grow stronger.

How we live our lives increases or diminishes our faith. Prayer, obedience, honesty, purity of thought and deed, and unselfishness increase faith.
Without these, faith diminishes.

He then references Luke 22:32, and asks “why did the Savior say to Peter, ‘I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not?’”

 31 ¶And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

He answers “because there is an adversary who delights in destroying our faith! Be relentless in protecting your faith.”

First off, verse 31 is frightening. The idea that Satan wants to sift you as wheat is chilling. Then conversely, Jesus prayed for Peter, knowing full well that Peter was about to betray him; then told him to strengthen his brethren when he himself was converted. I wonder if that was alluding to the betrayal and subsequent realization of what he had done.

Just as Satan had “a desire to have” Peter, he wants us too. I find Elder Anderson’s admonition to be “relentless” in defending our faith interesting.

One of the words defining relentless is unrelenting, which is defined as: not yielding or swerving in determination or resolution, as of or from opinions, convictions, ambitions, ideals, etc.

Not only should we work to build and strengthen our faith, but we should be unrelenting in defending it. I believe unrelenting is a very appropriate term.

Satan is ramping up his game. 

We need to ramp up ours. 

The choice really is ours.



[1] David A. Bednar, Watching With All Perseverance, April 2010 

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

What Is In Your Heart?

I love the interchange in Matthew 15:1-20.

The scribes and Pharisees are giving Jesus grief that the apostles didn’t wash their hands before eating. Jesus turned it back on them and said:

“Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?”

BAM!!!

He is asking - why are you more worried about the old traditions of ritual washings than you are about the commandments of God?

He calls them hypocrites and reminds them that Elijah prophesied they say they honor God but not in their hearts. (vs. 8)

Then we come to one of the verses (vs 14) that I think shows a bit of humor on the part of Jesus when he tells the disciples:

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

In my mind it goes something like this:

 “Meh, leave em’ alone. 
*waves hand of indifference
Blind leading the blind; they’ll fall in the ditch.”

Then Jesus explains the parable he said to the scribes and Pharisees.

Basically, what you put into your mouth comes out the other end and doesn't defile you. What comes out of your mouth, on the other hand, comes from your heart and can defile you if your heart has evil thoughts.

It all comes back to what is in your heart.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Can Faith Alone Save Me?

Becoming Project Week 2

My goal this week was to study some verses I identified on Faith in the second half of the New Testament.

James 2:14-17
14.  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?
15.  If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food,
16.  And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17.  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

If we want our faith to be alive, we have to act. We must add works to faith. What does that mean? How can we know if our works are sufficient to keep our faith alive in Christ? I found this:

We hear much about benchmarks. A benchmark is “a standard of excellence [or] achievement … against which similar things [are] measured or judged.”10 There are four benchmarks that can help each of us know if our personal faith in Christ is being “made perfect” by our works. These benchmarks are:

1.      The choices we make
2.      The devotion we exhibit
3.      The obedience we practice
4.      The service we give”[1]

Ok, these are great benchmarks, but still, what is it we are supposed to be doing to meet these benchmarks? Peter seems to have answered the question well.

2 Peter 1:5-8, 10
5.      And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6.      And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7.      And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8.      For if things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
10.  … for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall

Although this lays it out fairly clearly, I thought it would be beneficial to make sure I really understood all these terms that are supposed to be added to faith. So, I turned to the inter-webs and got me some definitions.

First we need to be diligent in our faith:

Diligent: characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort.

The word energetic is interesting. While steady and earnest connote the turtle, slowly and determinedly plodding along, the word energetic indicates to me a frame of mind that has an excitement for the effort being made.

To faith we first add virtue:

Virtue: morally good behavior or character.

Then we need to add knowledge:

Knowledge: the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association.

This suggests to me the need to continually study the scriptures and the words of the prophets, and gain experience by living in a way that this knowledge dictates.

Next we need to add temperance:

Temperance: moderation in action, thought, or feeling: restraint.

Next comes patience:

Patience: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint; not hasty or impetuous; steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.

Yes, patience—easier said than done. My dad used to joke that he prayed to God for patience and God sent him six children. I guess we have to exercise patience while developing patience.

After patience we add godliness:

Godliness: believing in God and in the importance of living a moral life.

This definition surprised me. I thought godliness meant behaving like God. I read that the word godliness is translated from the Greek word for “piety,” which means “the quality of being religious or reverent.” Knowing this, adding godliness seems much easier than I had initially thought.

Now we add brotherly kindness. This one wasn’t so easy. Being a term and not one word to define, I had to do a little searching. After reading multiple commentaries on this term, I found one explanation: 

Brotherly kindness: after godliness (being religious or reverent), we have to add brotherly kindness so that your godliness isn’t sullen or morose, but kind and courteous.

But this seemed to be the main consensus:

Brotherly kindness: a love of those who are Christians.

Which makes the following virtue, charity, all the more important:

Charity: benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity.

We aren’t supposed to keep our good works just within the Christian community. We need to behave this way toward all humanity; exactly as Jesus would do.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone showed brotherly kindness to all of humanity?




[1] Bishop Keith B. McMullin, Faith and Worksin a Secular Society, BYU CES Fireside Address, Nov. 5, 2006

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

You Are Worried About a Speck of Dust?

We are learning some interesting scripture Study Skills in this class. This week I chose to use Flag Phrases. Basically, you look for certain words or phrases that draw attention to something in the verse.

Flag Phrases can be attention words, similes, absolutes, connecting words, summaries, repeated words, superlative statements etc.

I applied attention words to Matthew 7:4:

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Here, the attention word is: behold. This is telling you to pay special attention to the information that comes after.

It really changed the scripture for me!

We have all heard that verse many times. When you read the emphasis on behold, it is like he is saying to you:

 Look! 

Look at yourself. 

Stop judging other people and take a look at your own problems. 

You freaking have a BEAM IN YOUR EYE!!! 

And you are worried about a speck of dust???"

BAM!!!

This showed to me the difference between merely reading the scriptures, and taking the time to slow down and study them.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

If the Salt Have Lost His Savor

While reading Matthew 5:13 tonight

Matt 5:13
Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted: it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

I was reminded of a quote I read in my Book of Mormon class.

“Salt will not lose its savor with age. Savor is lost through mixture and contamination. Similarly priesthood power does not dissipate with age; it, too, is lost through mixture and contamination.” [1]

Another commentary on this is:

In an age before refrigerators, salt was the great preservative. In this memorable metaphor, Jesus calls his disciples salt; They would preserve his teachings and lifestyle among the peoples of the earth, but if they failed in their conscientious following of his example, they would be worthless in his kingdom and would be cast out, as useless salt is cast out.[2]

This makes it more understandable why it says “if the salt have lost HIS savour.” He is, in parable form, speaking about the apostles.

While this is a great metaphor in speaking to them, it is also a cautionary tale for us as members of the church and as Christians. It is important that we not allow “mixture and contamination” by the philosophies of men to become incorporated into the doctrine or our beliefs.

What a blessing it is to have the words of our Savior preserved for us by the hand of his disciples.





[1] Carlos E. Asay of the Seventy, April 1980 Conf.

[2] D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner, Verse By Verse The New Testament, p. 182

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Divine Nature

While studying in Matthew tonight, I was trying to find a quote in some old lessons I taught while I was Relief Society President. I read this lesson on Divine Nature and realized it was something I needed to read for myself.

It struck such a chord with me, I wanted to share it, to remind all the amazing women I know that we are wonderful and amazing, and we need to learn to love ourselves and stop comparing ourselves to each other.

It is kind of long but filled with a great message. It is amazing what the Lord can inspire you to put together. I hope you can stick it out to the end!

Divine Nature

While trying to prepare this lesson I decided it is much easier to write a talk than write a lesson from scratch.  I know what I want to convey to you but how do I put it into words.  How do I ask questions that will engage you?  How do I get the feelings of my heart to be expressed in a way that will resonate with you?  I am hoping that divine intervention and inspiration will attend me today because I haven’t been able to put this together as cohesively and thoroughly as I would have liked.

There are a lot of good quotes that totally convey what I want to cover.  I could just read conference talks to you and have the message given more eloquently and by more knowledgeable people than me.  What is it that I can offer to this lesson, to this group of women?  The only thing I can think of is my understanding and experience with what I want to talk about.

As women, we are hard on ourselves.  We expect ourselves to be perfect, to be everything to everyone, and impose almost impossible standards onto ourselves.  We look at women we see at church (represented by the woman in this statue); knowing what we look like when we wake up in the morning, how messy our house gets, that we are grumpy or lose patience with our kids; and think of ourselves and this unattractive gray rock.

We then compare ourselves to others and we usually come out on the bad end.  Why do we compare ourselves?

·         Life is hard
·         Depression
·         incorrect perspective
·         We don’t have all the facts.

What can happen when we compare ourselves to others?

·         We judge others
·         we feel bad about ourselves
·         we create an opening for Satan’s influence
·          possibly lose our Heavenly Father’s spirit

Example:

If I were me, sitting out there, looking up at the RS Pres. giving a lesson on divine nature or individual worth, I would think to myself “yeah, easy for her to say, she has it all together.”


I know it is very easy to feel like this rock. 


I don’t have it all together.  I know what I look like in the morning.  I struggle with my weight. I have dealt with depression for many years. I know that at 43 I still get pimples.  I know that I struggle with scripture reading.  I know that when we tell our kids we want to start having family home evening they ask "Why bother? Because it never works."

Now that you are wondering “why” they put “her” in as RSP? I ask:

How then, when I know all of these unattractive gray rock things about myself, am I expected to feel like this beautiful white statue;  full of individual worth and divine nature?

Is it possible that when we are comparing ourselves to others we are really asking “who am I?

If that is the case, then we need to know our identity.


Knowing our identity:

Julie B. Beck, Pres, Conf 2007

Knowing and defending the divine roles of women is so important in a world where women are bombarded with false messages about their identity. Popular media figures on the radio and television set themselves up as authorities and spokespersons for women. While these media messages may contain elements of truth, most preach a gospel of individual fulfillment and self-worship, often misleading women regarding their true identity and worth. These voices offer a counterfeit happiness, and as a result, many women are miserable, lonely, and confused.

The only place Latter-day Saint women will learn the whole and complete truth about their indispensable role in the plan of happiness is in this Church and its doctrine. We know that in the great premortal conflict we sided with our Savior, Jesus Christ, to preserve our potential to belong to eternal families. We know we are daughters of God, and we know what we are to do. Women find true happiness when they understand and delight in their unique role within the plan of salvation. The things women can and should do very best are championed and taught without apology here. We believe in the formation of eternal families. That means we believe in getting married. We know that the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. That means we believe in having children. We have faith that with the Lord’s help we can be successful in rearing and teaching children. These are vital responsibilities in the plan of happiness, and when women embrace those roles with all their hearts, they are happy!


President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

“You are second to none. You are daughters of God.

“There has come to you as your birthright something beautiful and sacred and divine. Never forget that. Your Eternal Father is the great Master of the universe. He rules over all, but He also will listen to your prayers as His daughter and hear you as you speak with Him. He will answer your prayers. He will not leave you alone” (“Stay on the High Road,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2004, 112).


How can we know our identity?

How can we learn our identity and understand the divinely appointed mission the Lord has for us?


·         a parent or a leader
·         patriarchal blessings
·         Prayer
·         serving others
·         attend your church meetings



Patriarchal Blessing:

Pres. Monson, Nov 1986

Your patriarchal blessing is yours and yours alone. It may be brief or lengthy, simple or profound. Length and language do not a patriarchal blessing make. It is the Spirit that conveys the true meaning. Your blessing is not to be folded neatly and tucked away. It is not to be framed or published. Rather, it is to be read. It is to be loved. It is to be followed. Your patriarchal blessing will see you through the darkest night.

Prayer:

Richard G. Scott, conf 2000

Let us encourage every woman who questions her value to turn to her Heavenly Father and His glorified Son for a supernal confirmation of her immense individual worth. I testify that as each woman seeks it in faith and obedience, the Savior will continually prompt her through the Holy Ghost. That guidance will lead her to fulfillment, peace, and a consuming joy through magnifying her divinely appointed, sacred womanhood.


Service:

James E. Faust  Conf. 2009

Serving others can begin at almost any age. Often the greatest service to others is one-on-one. It need not be on a grand scale, and it is noblest within the family.


Attend Church:

Susan W. Tanner, Young Women General President, Conf 2007

All over the world and in almost every language, young women ages 12 to 18 declare the same thing: “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him.”  Yet as they grow up, they often grow away from the confident knowledge . . . that they are very special. Youth often experience an identity crisis, wondering who they really are. The teenage years are also a time of what I describe as “identity theft,” meaning that worldly ideas, philosophies, and deceits confuse us, buffet us, and seek to rob us of the knowledge of our true identity.

One very good young woman said to me, “Sometimes I am not sure who I am. I don’t feel Heavenly Father’s love. My life seems hard. Things are not turning out the way I wanted, hoped, and dreamed they would.” What I said to her I now say to young women everywhere: I know unequivocally that you are a daughter of God. He knows you, He loves you, and He has a plan for you.


This is spoken to the Young Women but I share it with you because it applies to us equally.  We are going to start having the Laurels come into RS on the 4th Sunday.  We will be joining them in standing and saying the YW Theme.  I love the YW theme.  I love that daughters of God all over the world are standing and saying “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him.”  

I enjoyed being a part of that while serving in YW and I want you to be able to feel of that as well.


What can we do when we feel bad about ourselves?

Ok, great.  We all know this but how does this help me when I am stuck at home with a sick baby, a whiny toddler or a know-it-all teenager; if I am in the throes of depression; if I don’t have the emotional where-with-all to face a crowd at church; if I have a mountain of laundry to do, bills to pay, and meals to prepare?

Gray rock time:  I have had days where I haven’t come to church because I didn’t feel like I could be cheerful enough to be here.  Being in the midst of people who “have it all together” was too much.  I also struggle with temple attendance.  It causes anxiety in me. I am so afraid that I am going to do or say something wrong, that everyone will be looking at me or waiting on me, that I am a ball of anxiety and nerves. That makes it very hard for me to want to experience. It is something I am working on.


What can we do when we feel bad about ourselves?



·         Call a friend or a spouse
·         Pray
·         listen to good music
·         take a nap
·         go to the temple
·         read good books
·         take a walk
·         list our blessings
·         read your patriarchal blessing
·         serve others





James E. Faust  Conf. 2009

I wonder if you sisters fully understand the greatness of your gifts and talents and how all of you can achieve the “highest place of honor” in the Church and in the world. One of your unique, precious, and sublime gifts is your femininity, with its natural grace, goodness, and divinity. Femininity is not just lipstick, stylish hairdos, and trendy clothes. It is the divine adornment of humanity. It finds expression in your qualities of your capacity to love, your spirituality, delicacy, radiance, sensitivity, creativity, charm, graciousness, gentleness, dignity, and quiet strength. It is manifest differently in each girl or woman, but each of you possesses it. Femininity is part of your inner beauty.

One of your particular gifts is your feminine intuition. Do not limit yourselves. As you seek to know the will of our Heavenly Father in your life and become more spiritual, you will be far more attractive, even irresistible. You can use your smiling loveliness to bless those you love and all you meet, and spread great joy. Femininity is part of the God-given divinity within each of you. It is your incomparable power and influence to do good. You can, through your supernal gifts, bless the lives of children, women, and men. Be proud of your womanhood. Enhance it. Use it to serve others.


Silvia H. Allred, First Counselor, RS Pres, Conf 2009

I have witnessed the same miracle in the lives of many women in different parts of the world. They embrace the gospel, and Relief Society helps them strengthen their faith and grow spiritually by giving them leadership and teaching opportunities. In their service, a new dimension is added to their lives. As they progress spiritually, their sense of belonging, identity, and self-worth increases. They realize that the whole intent of the gospel plan is to provide an opportunity for us to reach our fullest potential. 


C. S. Lewis wisely said: “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship. … There are no ordinary people. … Your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses” (“The Weight of Glory,” in Screwtape Proposes a Toast and Other Pieces [1974], 109–10).


Gray rock time:  When I was going to counseling for depression several years ago, I had a counselor tell me that I should lower my standards.  Well, that just made me mad.  I thought “Why should I have to lower my standards!  Why shouldn’t my family have to raise theirs”!

It took a different therapist, to explain it to me in a different way, to understand his meaning.  I have to decide what really matters.  Will my children turn out horribly if there is dust on top of the fridge or dust bunnies under the sofa?  Will my eternal salvation be in jeopardy if the dishes don’t get done today?


We don’t have to do it all and we certainly don’t have to do it all TODAY!


We need to have some down time, some personal time, some me time.  I love the analogy of the bank account. (You have to make deposits before you can make withdrawals.)



Richard G. Scott, conf 2000

President Hinckley has eloquently captured what the Lord has repeatedly inspired His servants to say of His precious daughters:

Woman is God’s supreme creation. Only after the earth had been formed, after the day had been separated from the night, after the waters had been divided from the land, after vegetation and animal life had been created, and after man had been placed on the earth, was woman created; and only then was the work pronounced complete and good.

“Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth.” 1


True Identity Realized!

What happens when we realize our true identity?  When we stop comparing ourselves to each other and learn to love the wonderful things about us?


OPEN ROCK


We realize that we are beautiful in our own way.  This geode is beautiful in its own way.  It doesn’t diminish the beauty of this statue; the statue doesn’t diminish the beauty of the geode.


Be the best YOU!


The Lord said: “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; … for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).


This is our hope for you, as your presidency, that we can all realize that we are wonderful, beautiful, talented women.







Saturday, July 30, 2016

Becoming More Faithful

Becoming Project Week 1

My goal this week was to study some of the verses I identified in the New Testament which refer to faith.


I began with Matt 14:31 which is Jesus speaking to Peter after he had the faith to get out of the boat and briefly walked on water, but then faltered when he focused on the storm and began to sink.

And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Footnotes lead to Mark 4:40 (my third chosen verse) which Jesus said after He calmed the storm, to the Apostles who had feared for their lives, because “there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full” (vs 37).

And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?

Footnotes lead to Alma 44:4 in which Moroni speaks to Zarahemnah after the Nephites had surrounded the more numerous Lamanites in battle.

Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.

And thus we see: if Jesus can calm the storm, cause mortal men to walk on water, and support and keep safe a much-outnumbered army, then he can care for me and give me the support I need and keep me in his care, so long as I am faithful unto him.



Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not … if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

Verse 22 goes on to say

And all things (blessings), whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

And thus we see: God can move mountains. The Apostles could move mountains with enough faith. I need to have faith that God can give me the blessings that I need. My prayers need to have faith, I need to believe. I need to doubt not!



In verse 31 Jesus tells Peter:

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

Jesus then tells him in verse 32:

 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou are converted, strengthen thy brethren.

And thus we see: Jesus has got our backs! Jesus is greater and more powerful than Satan. Jesus wants our faith to be strong and fail us not. All he asks in return is that we will then go and strengthen our brethren.


The footnote to strengthen points to: Fellowshipping; Missionary Work; Sustaining Church Leaders. I believe sharing testimony of our trials, being strengthened through Christ, and what we have learned through the process, is also a form of strengthening our brethren.

Weekly Reflection

I love what Elder Oaks says about our canon being open.

Because of our belief in continuing revelation, we Latter-day Saints maintain that the canon (the authoritative body) of scriptures is open. In fact, the scriptural canon is open in several ways, and continuing revelation is crucial to each of them.[1]

He goes on to say:

Our belief in an open canon also includes private revelations to individual seekers of the meaning of existing scriptures. Such revelations are necessary because, as Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve observed, “Each pronouncement in the holy scriptures … is so written as to reveal little or much, depending on the spiritual capacity of the student” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985, p. 71).[2]

I feel I have experienced some of that personal revelation during my study this week. Some of the things that I have been impressed about:

Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. This stood out to me because I am going through some challenging circumstances with my family right now. This was a powerful reminder that a God who can cause both a barren woman and a virgin to give birth, can certainly help me find new employment, can help my daughter through this separation and possible divorce, and can rescue my wayward daughter. I just need to do my part and have faith in him.

Christ’s royal birthright was through both fathers. I either didn’t catch it or didn’t remember that he had a royal birthright through the lineage of David and would have been the rightful heir to the civic throne. He was King through all aspects of life.

The faith shown by Peter and Andrew when Jesus asked them to come follow him and they "straightway" left their nets, (Mark 1: 17-18) is a great example to me of the kind of faith I want to develop. That is my focus for my Becoming Project.

I believe that studying the life of Jesus Christ can only have a positive impact on me. I am excited to learn more about his life and to gain a deeper testimony of him.





[1] Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Scripture Reading and Revelation, January 1995, lds.org.
[2] ibid

Friday, July 29, 2016

Traits From His Mother and Father


In my scripture study, I focused on Setting. I wanted to learn a little more context through customs and traditions of the time.

We know of the Godly and divine traits Jesus obtained from God the Father. Someone in class posed the question "What traits did Jesus receive from His Mother and His Father?"

From what I have learned, according to Jewish tradition at the time, an unwed pregnant woman was subject to being stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21) Joseph had decided that he wanted to "put [Mary] away privily," (Matt 1:19) prior to the angel visiting him. (vs 20)

What this teaches me about Joseph is that he was a very kind man. He wanted to spare Mary the indignity of a public trial and divorcement.

What we know about Mary is that she was obedient and virtuous, she was "highly favored, the Lord [was] with [her]," and she was blessed among women. (Luke 1:28)

We can rest assured that they both were victims of much speculation and ridicule because of the situation in which they found themselves.


I think Jesus would have learned traits of humility, obedience, kindness, and love, to name a few. How much of that was inborn because of his divine parentage we don't know, but I am sure his parents were examples of those traits and helped him to incorporate them into his behavior and way of being.