Saturday, November 27, 2010

Choose Ye This Day


1 And now, it came to pass that after Abinadi had spoken these words he stretched forth his hand and said: The time shall come when all shall see the asalvation of the Lord; when bevery nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall cconfess before God that his djudgments are just.

The time will come when all men will know that the words spoken by the prophets are true, that Jesus Christ is our Savior and the Redeemer of all mankind.   Denial will no longer be a luxury they can maintain. 

12 Having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires; having never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them; for the arms of mercy were extended towards them, and they would anot; they being warned of their iniquities and yet they would not depart from them; and they were commanded to repent and yet they would not repent.
I think of my Savior, His arms outstretched, inviting.  I think about the times I have received His invitation and thrown myself into His arms in tears.  I think about how every time, He has comforted and healed me.  I know that each time I come unto Him, He will comfort and heal me.  And then I think of all the people who "would not."  Those who choose their own willfulness over the rest He offers.  It makes me feel sad. 

The gospel is simple.  The plan of happiness is simple.  Love God.  Turn to His Son.  Do your best.  Love others.  Be happy, be happy, be happy.

Today, I choose to be happy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

How Beautiful Upon The Mountains Are Their Feet

Mosiah 15

9 Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon ahimself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and bsatisfied the demands of justice.

Imagine that you are hearing these words for the first time (perhaps you are).  Jesus Christ, motivated only by love for you, descended below all and redeemed you.  No longer must you be weighed down with sin, for He has already borne them for you.  No more need you fear death, for He has conquered it, and you will live again.  He has offered you peace and joy in this world and in the world to come.

How do you react?  My heart fills with joy, hope, gratitude, and love.  Others -- as we will see later in this section of Mosiah -- react in anger.

Anger?  I do not understand it.  I am glad it is beyond my comprehension, because it means that someone is so deeply entrenched in their sins, that they have chosen evil so many times that they have grown to love it.  I cannot say they are happy in their ways; that is contrary to eternal truth.  But they are addicted to the satisfaction of it, the thrill, the adrenaline rush perhaps.  They choose to remain lost and rebellious.

14 And these are athey who have published peace, who have brought good btidings of good, who have cpublished salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!
15 And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet! 
Thank you to the missionaries who first came to my father's house when he was a teenage boy.  And thank you to the missionaries who came to see my mom when she was a very young mother.  Thank you to my parents who taught me the truths that they knew, and helped me learn to love those truths.  Thank you to the prophets who testify of Him still.  Your feet are beautiful upon the mountains to me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

With His Stripes We Are Healed

Mosiah 14

  3 He is adespised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
  4 Surely he has aborne our bgriefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
  5 But he was awounded for our btransgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are chealed
I can read these verses over and over again.  They make me feel so much love for my Savior.  A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, who has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.  Sometimes, in my darkest trials, the Spirit whispers to me that there is someone who understands exactly what I'm going through.  Only one.  He alone knows just how painful this is, just how much strength and courage it takes to get through this day, or even through this one moment.  He has already borne this grief.  He knows.

There is something amazingly comforting knowing you are not alone, that you don't have to carry your burdens alone.  It is like being yoked to Him; He takes the weight off your shoulders just enough that you can bear it.  Without Him, it is crushing.  Just too much.

This is what I think about when I try to understand the atonement.  This is how I strive to apply the atonement in my life.  I come to my Savior, Jesus Christ, with my burdens, and I lay them at His feet.  He whispers to my heart, "I know.  I understand.  Follow me, and we'll get through this."  And then the miracle occurs.  I am healed.

I've explained to my children the miracle of the atonement isn't just that Christ has taken away our sins.  It is that He heals us from the pain in our lives that drove us to sin in the first place.  The evil that we do, the sins that we commit are usually a poor attempt to muffle the pain in our lives.  It is because we are healed that we have no more desire to do evil, that we can find joy in doing good continually.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Steadfast and Immovable

Mosiah 5

Description of being born again:

mighty change
no more disposition to do evil
great views
know the Savior's voice
abounding in good works

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Beware of Pride

Mosiah 4
Beware Of Pride by Ezra Taft Benson

"Pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many are sinning in ignorance. (See Mosiah 3:11; 3 Ne. 6:18.) In the scriptures there is no such thing as righteous pride—it is always considered a sin. Therefore, no matter how the world uses the term, we must understand how God uses the term so we can understand the language of holy writ and profit thereby. (See 2 Ne. 4:15; Mosiah 1:3–7; Alma 5:61.)

"Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.

"The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means 'hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.' It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us.
Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of 'my will and not thine be done.' As Paul said, they 'seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.' (Philip. 2:21.)"

It's interesting how, when you are studying a topic, you are led to other sources that help you understand, that deepen the meaning of what you are learning.  I have been wanting to know by what yardstick I can measure my journey in coming unto Christ.  And I think I've been largely on track: I will know if my love towards others is increasing, and it will be evident in the service I render to others.

The article I found on pride reveals the obstacles that Satan places to distract me from that goal.  Pride makes me feel superior to others, justifies me in not reaching out to people who "deserve" their situation.  It keeps me from humbling myself and submitting to my own circumstances, no matter how challenging they may be.  It encourages me to push my own agenda rather than listening to find out what God has planned for me.

Funny, how much you find that needs to change once you decide it's time to change.

Action items:  Pray to be humble.  Ask to know God's will, and accept it.  Pray to see opportunities to be kind.  Identify judgmental thoughts and correct them.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Natural Man

Mosiah 3

I was listening to a radio talk show host yesterday, and he mentioned how most people are naturally pessimistic.  It's really easy to focus on the negative things in your life, the miseries, the sufferings, and to let them overshadow the abundance of good that is there, also.  I know that I am torn constantly between the two camps.  I try so hard to be brave, to endure my illness with grace and dignity, to rise above the suffering every single day.  But it is every single day.  That's the nature of a chronic illness.  It's chronic.  It never goes away.  There is a despair that is always lurking just outside the door, waiting for a moment's weakness to creep in and overtake my heart.  I admit that I give in to it sometimes.  Lately, more often than I'd like to admit.  Such is the natural man.

v. For the anatural bman is an cenemy to God, and has been from the dfall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he eyields to the enticings of the Holy fSpirit, and gputteth off the hnatural man and becometh a isaint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a jchild, ksubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

The natural man is an enemy to me, too.  It robs me of my joy, my peace of mind, my sense of accomplishment.  I think I am circling back, as is often the case, to things I already know:  I need to invite the Spirit into my life; I need to hear it and yield to its enticings.  I need to apply the atonement of Jesus Christ more fully in my life.  I need to let Him heal me.  I need to remember to be submissive, meek, humble, patient, and full of love.

v. 7 And lo, he shall asuffer btemptations, and pain of body, chunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can dsuffer, except it be unto death; for behold, eblood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his fanguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.

Jesus Christ has already suffered what I am feeling now, and greater.  My pain is not as great as his; my fatigue is not as great, either.  He knows exactly how I feel.  He can succor me, comfort me, show me the way to be able to bear these burdens.  I need to come unto Him, open my heart, humble myself, and let Him teach  me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Mosiah 2

As I started my scripture study this morning, I was thinking about how I could tell if I am "coming unto Christ."  What changes would I expect to see?  How would I be different?  The answer that came to mind would be that I would have a greater love for people.  The way that I would show my love would be through service.

v. 17  And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn awisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the bservice of your cfellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

So, I think that my desire to be kinder, to find ways to act kindly towards others is a step in the right direction.  Another way that I think I can tell if I am coming unto Christ is if I grow in gratitude.

King Benjamin pointed out that we are already indebted to God because He gave us life and all the opportunities that life brings.  Then, God has commanded us to keep His commandments, which if we do, He immediately blesses us.  So we remain indebted still.  I think that coming unto Christ would awaken a sense of that indebtedness.  Especially as I think about the atonement and the great sacrifice that my Savior made for me.  It makes me feel of His love.  It makes my own love grow.

This month, with Thanksgiving approaching, reminds us of the many blessings we are grateful for.  But I don't think I should need a reminder.  I should feel gratitude the way that I feel love for my husband and children, naturally and without force.

Hm.  Something to think about, something to watch.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Enos 1

v. 27  And I soon go to the place of my arest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall brest. And I rejoice in the day when my cmortal shall put on dimmortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the emansions of my Father. Amen.  

I love how this chapter ends.  The chapter begins with Enos's  "wrestle" which he had before God.  He prayed all day and into the night for forgiveness of his sins, and then he heard a voice that told him his sins were forgiven.  Then he continued to pray first for his own people, and then for his enemies. 

After this great experience, he spent the rest of his days laboring for the Lord.  And it wasn't easy.   The people were quick to do evil, hard-hearted.  It took a lot of work, a lot of preaching and testifying to keep them turned to God.  He must have been weary after so many years.  His rest was well-deserved.

I know what it means to yearn for rest.  My illness has taken rest away from me.  I never feel rested, not after many hours of sleep at night, not after my nap during the day.  I wake up unrested, I pass my days unrested, a constant weariness is in my bones.  This is the nature of the disease.  And so this verse speaks deeply to my heart.  Rest.  It is my greatest desire.

But through my suffering, I do find rest in my Savior.  Not a physical rest, but a spiritual and emotional rest.  I love reading the scriptures in the morning.  It lifts me from my morning fog, it helps me over the despair of facing another difficult day.  My burdens do not weigh so heavily upon me.  I am lighter.  I feel loved.  I feel encouraged.

There are many labors, many fights we must fight in this life.  I'm grateful for Enos's testimony of what is waiting for us at the end of it all, if we fight the good fight and stay true. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Doctrine of Christ

2 Nephi 31-33

2 Nephi 31:13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall afollow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no bhypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real cintent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are dwilling to take upon you the ename of Christ, by fbaptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the gbaptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the htongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
The doctrine of Christ is simple, and taught by Jesus Christ himself.  Have faith in Him.  Repent of your sins.  Follow Him into the waters of baptism.  Then receive the Holy Ghost.  Finally, endure to the end.

Many people believe it is enough to stop at the first step: to believe in Christ and His power to save.  They deny themselves the power of the process, the lifetime of healing and growth that He offers us.

The Holy Ghost tells us what we should do next.  It inspires us to live Christ-like lives.  It leads us to do good.  It illuminates weaknesses and inspires us to change.  It turns us to our Savior, the only one who can make the necessary changes to our hearts, to our nature.  Jesus Christ did not save us just once.  He saves us over and over again, as many times as we sin, as many times as we fail, as many times as we fall short of the person He knows we can be.  It is by drawing on that process -- having faith and repenting of our sins and weaknesses -- that we draw upon the power of the atonement.  It is that process that makes us more like Him.

I know that I want to feel the Holy Ghost more powerfully in my life.  Nephi taught the way is by prayer.  Pray always, morning and night, and sometimes in the middle of the day, too.  I know I do this.  A thought comes to mind -- oh, Johnette has a test today -- and I'll say a quick prayer in my mind, "Bless her to do her best."  When I'm suffering, I pray, "Lord, I'm having a really tough time."  When I think about our business struggling, I'll ask him to bless my husband and send an interesting customer to make him happy that day.  When somebody mentions that they or a loved one is sick or having a hard time, I pray in my mind, "Lord, bless them through their afflictions.  Help them like you've helped me."  Just quickies.  But I can make these prayers more frequent, and I can ask for help and invite the Holy Ghost to lead me better.

I want to be kind.  I want to find opportunities to do acts of kindness, even though I am pretty much housebound and isolated from the people I would normally be kind to.  I'll try to remember to say some quick prayers to help me see those opportunities.

Kind of along those lines, I've been praying for the family I don't much like in the neighborhood.  It's helping me to step away from my judgments.  What do I really know about them, anyway?  Only what I've seen from a distance.  My prayers are softening my heart, I believe.  It's a good step forward.