Spiritual Renewal, Spiritual Strength

I’ve struggled to get on my feet this morning. So I did what I some times do, when I don’t have the capacity of mind or physical presence to focus on a few minutes of scripture study: I watched a bible video.

This morning I actually watched three bible videos: The Widow of Nain, Jesus Walking on the Water, and “I Am the Bread of Life”.

I am reminded that Christ has all power of physical elements, power of death itself, but that Spirit can very much exist in a realm invisible or seemingly apart from this world. However it is the Physical world that is controlled and dominated by the Spirit, not the Spirit by the Physical World.

Another interesting side note is found “between the lines” in the account of Matthew where the Savior walks on water. Peter walks out onto the water, he falters as the winds begin to blow, then the Savior reaches out to him and hold him and chastens him for his lack of faith. Then, and this is what’s not written in the text, they continue to walk on water (defying all physical properties to the contrary) until the return to the boat. What’s more, the conditions continue to be turbulent until they return to the boat as well. Then we finally get the next verse, which informs us that when they returned to the boat the winds ceased to blow.

Thus we see, in effect, Christ walking side by side, hand in hand, with Peter until they return to the boat. Exterior conditions don’t improve, just because he’s close to the Savior, not until they return to the safety of the bigger vessel. There is a lot of strength,   compassion, patience, and love, hidden in between the lines of these few simple verses.

FHE Lesson – Overview of the Book of Mormon

Present the following:


Then ask the kids to pick one story to focus on.

– Provide them with drawing supplies and ask them to draw what they hear as I read the story that they have selected.

At the end of the reading, ask the kids to share what they have drawn and why they drew what they did.

Finish by sharing your testimony of the Book of Mormon, when you came to know it was true, how it has blessed you since then.

Of Mourning and Multitudes

Matthew 14

John the Baptist, through a terrible plot, is beheaded. When the news of his beheading reachs the Savior, Jesus crosses the sea and retires to a (remote) desert place. It appears that he is mourning and is looking for a place of solitude.

However, he is not permitted to do so because immediately upon arrival, a multitude of more than 5000 had followed him! What does Jesus do? He doesn’t turn them away. He administered to them first. Food is miraculously produced. At the end of the day, he compells his disciples to leave by boat, and then he himself “sent the multitude away”. I’m certain there were probably many personal exchanges in that dismissing of the multitude.

All this happened, while looming in the back of his mind was the death of his cousin, closest of kin.

And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to apray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. (vs. 23)

This footnote on prayer simply illustrates how even Christ employed this tool for strength and guidance.


Ser Caritativo

I’m at an interesting junction of revelation this morning. En mis estudios personales, buscé la tema de Caridad en el GEE. El primera referencia que buscé fue en 2 Nefi 26:30. Leí versículos 29 a 31.

A su vez, pensaba que ser caritativo solo se trataba de hacer buenas obras (como cuidar a los enfermos y necisitados), pero leo en estos versículos que tener caridad también efectua como respondamos al obrero en Sion.

Dios ha dado el mandamiento de que todos los hombres tengan acaridad, y esta caridad es bamor. Y a menos que tengan caridad, no son nada. Por tanto, si tuviesen caridad, no permitirían que pereciera el obrero en Sion.

Me resuena espiritualmente sumamente fuerte  esta pasaje. Leyo inmediatamente un recordatorio de la división entre los dos iglesias, que solo hay dos iglesias, la de Dios y la del diablo.

Y en el versículo que sigue, un recordatorio:

Mas el obrero en aSion trabajará para Sion; porque si trabaja por bdinero, perecerá.



Baptism and John the Baptist

I’ve been asked to speak this morning on baptism. I’ve attempted to seek the influence and inspiration of heaven on this topic in preparation of for these remarks. I would invite you each to offer a silent prayer in your hearts that the Holy Ghost might instruct us further while we are here together.

600 years before the time of Christ, Lehi and his family had left Jerusalem. The Lord had given Lehi a series of customized commands which by chapter 10 of 1 Nephi, he had successfully demonstrated his faithfulness in obedience to those commandments.  So consequently, the Lord begins to bless Lehi with visions and further understanding of essential doctrines. (This is a pattern that the Lord often employs: a test of obedience followed by an outpouring of greater light.)

One of those essential doctrines that was revealed to Lehi was a knowledge of the Savior’s mortal ministry, and key events there in.

Read 1 Nephi 10:7-10

In trying to understand the significance of the ordinance of baptism, let’s consider a little deeper the mission of John the Baptist, the only prophet in all of scripture and time to have an ordinance attached to his name.

Consider how the Savior Jesus Christ described John:

Read Matthew 11:7-11

John was the literal embodiment of the ordinance that he was called upon to perform, a living witness or symbol of baptism, its purpose being to prepare each of us enter into the Kingdom of God.

There is another principle or act that is frequently coupled with baptism,  and that is repentance. Sometimes repentance happens before our baptism, always among true disciples it happens afterwards as well, frequently and as often as needed to make progression in the kingdom of God.

God gives us both inward acts and outward ordinances to help us along the covenant path. There is a state of being that we hope that all who come to the waters of baptism would possess, it is this state of humility before God, and acknowledgement of his path, our own nothingness before him. This is what John the Baptist represented, this state of a humble, penitent, simple follower of Jesus Christ.  What John represented was the first steps of the Plan of Salvation.

(Matthew 11: 18 & 19)

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

But just so there was no confusion, Christ himself submitted to the baptism of John.

Matthew 3

Suffer it to be so now.

Considering as we have the life and mission of John the Baptist, can you imagine the surprise and amazement then, when Joseph Smith with his scribe Oliver Cowdery go into the woods to seek guidance and instruction about baptism, a messenger from Heaven who calls himself John and says that he is the same that was called John the Baptist in the New Testament.

Doctrine and Covenants 13

It is with this same authority from John who embodied the principles of baptism and repentance that you are baptized today.

FHE Courage

What is courage?

Courage – To not be afraid, especially of doing what is right.

Four Examples of Courage:

Who am I?

  • Nephi returns to get the brass plates.
  • Ammon goes to the Lamanites to preach the Gospel.
  • Moroni wandered in the wilderness because he would not deny the Christ.
  • Daniel faces the Lion’s Den because he refused to stop worshiping his God.

What do we need courage for? Can You think of an example when you had courage?


  • to do what is right when others are doing what is wrong.
  • to keep the commandments even when we don’t know what will happen by so doing.
  • to follow the prophet’s counsel even when its difficult or seems irrelevant.


Progress of Commandments

Matthew 19:16-26

It is interesting to note the progression of the commandments that the Savior notes here in the conversation with the Rich young ruler.

They are listed here in order of grossest offense to most exalted behavior.

  1. Thou shalt do no murder

  2. Thou shalt not commit adultery

  3. Thou shalt not steal

  4. Thou shalt not bear false witness

  5. Honour thy father and thy mother

  6. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself

Then as the rich man acknowledges his faithfulness in adherence to all the above, the Savior makes this final set of injunctions:

If thou wilt be perfect:

  1. go and sell that thou hast, and
  2. give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven:
  3. and come and follow me.


Goodness Is Its Own Reward

Music and The Spoken Word -Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Episode 4163

Goodness Is Its Own Reward – June 28, 2009

We live in a world where awards seem to be freely given and freely received. In fact, sometimes the award becomes such a strong incentive for good work and behavior that it overshadows the more subtle rewards that might be enjoyed along the way.

Especially with today’s youth, awards are often larger-than-life motivations. Children work busily to complete their household chores with the hopes that it will earn them a special treat from their parents. Meanwhile the satisfaction of a clean home goes unnoticed. Teenagers bring home a stellar report card but can’t recall what they learned about at school that day. In their pursuit of good grades, they’ve somehow missed the thrill of gaining and applying knowledge.

Perhaps we unintentionally reinforce this attitude by expressing love or approval with expensive gifts, when little children are often quite pleased with the packaging—or even just the visit. We may deprive our young people of the most enduring rewards if we fail to teach them that goodness is its own reward. We feel good when we are doing good.

Indeed, the means can be just as fulfilling as the end if our motivations for achieving personal goals are not just the awards that dangle in front of us. We make more lasting progress and feel more contented when we learn to enjoy not only the reward but also the path that leads to it. Some young people long to graduate or secure a high-paying job, only to find that their “dream” is not as gratifying as they thought it would be. “What comes next?” or “Is this all there is?” may be their unspoken feeling.

If, however, we pay attention to the more understated moments of success along the way—the times we completed a difficult task, the mornings we arose early to exercise or study, the people we’ve helped—we begin to understand that the true reward is what we’ve become, not what we’ve earned. The Proverbs teach, “To him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward” (Proverbs 11:18). Intuitively children seem to know that. They just need to be reminded that while a prize is pleasing, a sense of doing right is the truest joy.

Program #4163

Old Testament, Lesson 1 “This Is My Work and My Glory”

Moses 1, Gospel Doctrine Manual: OT Lesson 1

I’m preparing by reviewing notes that I have personally taken on Moses 1:


As a point of clarification, point out that it is Jehovah that is speaking the words of the Father to Moses in these verses.

To Print:

Class members should understand that Jehovah, not Heavenly Father, appeared to Moses in this vision. Jehovah was the premortal Jesus Christ and the God of the Old Testament. He is one with his Father in purpose and represents him in power and authority. His words are those of the Father, and sometimes, as in Moses 1:6, he speaks in the first person for the Father. (See James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, 12th ed. [1924], 470–71.)

You might also briefly share your conversation with Dallin about this passage. Jehovah is quoting his Father in these passages. May be read also:

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he aseeth the bFather do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. (John 5:19)

Part 1: Moses 1:1-11

Slowly read these first 11 verses. Ask for a row of readers, one verses each. Maybe pause after verse 7 and discuss the doctrine of being children of God.

How does the knowledge of our divine heritage as children of God affect how we interact with others? How can it or how does it affect our family relationships?

Can you think of an example of how knowing that you are a child of God has changed you or your situation, or how that has blessed someone else?

If needed, ask someone to read this quote:

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught: “Consider the power of the idea taught in our beloved song ‘I Am a Child of God.’ … Here is the answer to one of life’s great questions, ‘Who am I?’ I am a child of God with a spirit lineage to heavenly parents. That parentage defines our eternal potential. That powerful idea is a potent antidepressant. It can strengthen each of us to make righteous choices and to seek the best that is within us. Establish in the mind of a … person the powerful idea that he or she is a child of God, and you have given self-respect and motivation to move against the problems of life” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 31; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 25).

Continue reading verses 7 -11:

So we just established that man is the offspring of Diety. Now Moses concludes that “Man is nothing”.  How do we explain this gospel paradox?

How do you think this knowledge, “Man is nothing” prepare Moses for the work that was in front of him?

Part 2: Satan confronts Moses; Moses cast out Satan.

“Moses, son of man, worship me.”

Moses had learned that he had a specific work to accomplish.  So as a part of his rebuttal to satan he states that “I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him:” (vs. 18)

How does Moses repel satan’s influence?


Part 3: Moses learns of God’s work and glory.

What are the two questions that Moses asks God?

  1. aTell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them? (vs. 30)
  2. Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and atell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content. (vs 36)

Though actually, both questions are in verse 30:

  • Why these things are so? (What things?)
  • By what thou madest them?

Moses is again shown the earth and the inhabitants thereof.  Twice the Lord says “for mine own purpose have I made these things.” Then in verse 39, he finally explains what that purpose is:”To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”


INVITE AND PRACTICE: (Save 10 minutes for this.)

How are we going to apply this to our own lives.

Read this quote:

President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “We are here to assist our Father in His work and His glory, ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39). Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit of our duty touch the lives of others. To each of us in our respective responsibilities the Lord has said: … ‘In doing these things thou wilt do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory of him who is your Lord’ (D&C 81:4)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 94; or Ensign, May 1995, 71; see also D&C 81:5–6).

Ponder: How might a relationship that you may be struggling with right now be different with the perspective of being children of God?

Ponder: The church calling or callings that you currently occupy, how can you use it to further God’s work more effectively?