Category Archives: Personal Study

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.

 

 

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.

 

Gratitude and Humility: Two Sides of the Same Key

Through a series of thoughts that culminated in a family home evening lesson last evening, I am brought to consider the two-sided key, or two-sided coin, of gratitude and humility. I say two-side because, on comparing the definitions, they are the same thing only in different contexts. Here’s how I’m defining the two terms:

Gratitude – to expressly acknowledge God’s blessing in our lives. (see Gratitude for the Goodness of God)

Humility – to recognize our dependence upon God and desiring to submit to His will. (from Guide to the Scriptures)

Now as I write this post, I find myself more in a state of sin than that of obedience, but recognizing such, and knowing that through further study and understanding of the doctrines of Christ, I can put myself into a place (through the grace of God or the enabling power of the Atonement of Christ) where I can then repent and improve, I’m anxiously longing to make connections, to overcome these vices and improve my position.

An Attitude of Gratitude

What does the Book of Mormon teach of gratitude and humility?

That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you. (Alma 34:38)

Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day. (Alma 37:37)

See Topical Guide on Thankfulness

Paring gratitude with humility adds “depth” or dimension to the principle of gratitude. Take for example 2 Nephi 9:42:

And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.

Those that are puffed up because of their learning, wisdom, or riches — this sounds like a condition of ingratitude, but Jacob the prophet  is using this to illustrate the need for humility. Here and elsewhere the phrase “depths of humility” is used. It suggests to me that there is a distance to be traveled between the lofty and vain aspirations of men and the lowly road of the humble. Is there not a distance to be traveled on the path to greater or more profound gratitude as well?

The scriptures say that we are to walk in thanksgiving daily, that definitely describes a journey more than a one-time occurrence.

And what of our attitude as we embark on the lowly road of humility? If there is a distance that must be traveled, how shall we travel it? By rejoicing gratefully every step of the way!

How can I be more grateful for Jesus Christ: His life, His Gospel, and His Atonement?

I have done a search this morning that has been on my mind: “Freely ye have received, freely give.” It is found in Matthew 10:8 and is instructions to his disciples. Another scripture came up in the search result in 1 Corinthians 2:12, and this is a key to having expanded gratitude:

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (emphasis added)

The point here is that we need the Spirit of God to be with us to recognize the blessings that come from God. Especially as we take into account something as infinite and eternal as the Atonement of Christ, how can we even begin to appreciate or understand its significance for us without the Spirit of God to teach us? This is what Alma was getting at in Alma 34:38 already referenced above.

On Creation

Hebrews 11:3, Moses 1:32-33

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”  Hebrews 11:3

Then over in Moses we learn,

“And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.

And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.

So here, the Father is sharing with us a key to creation. We are also to learn to  create through the word of my power. Why?

God is showing us how he created all things.

See also Moses 5:7-8.


Create, Govern, Destroy (think greek origins, like deconstruct).

“I and My Brethren,” Alma 27

The reference is to Alma 27:15 where Ammon consults with King Lamoni about what he can do to help liberate the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. He offers to take the lead among his fellow servants to go back to the land of the Nephites to negotiate lands for their protection.

I read this at a time when I’m looking forward to the conversion of my own children, longing for, hoping for, almost beyond hope, that each of my children, even those lost in the paths of addiction and vice, might some day repent and return to God. It happened for Ammon and his brethren. It happened for Alma the Younger, miraculous as it was.

On the one hand, I don’t know why I would merit such a blessing. On the other hand, I have to hope and pray and fast that some day that blessing may be ours as well.

Reverence

How did Christ demonstrate a proper mode of reverence towards the Father?

I’ve reviewed the parable of the wicked husbandmen as recorded in Matthew 21. It talks of wicked leadership within the kingdom of God, and of how they ought to have reverenced the Son, but did not. The JST on verse 45 reveals that the Savior taught this parable twice in the same setting (similar to how he taught the Parable of the Sower), and that this shift in leadership was to occur twice: once at his coming, and again in the last days.

What is the issue? Why has there been a need for a replacement of leadership? a lack of reverence and a failure to produce fruit.

Reverence proceeds the ability to produce fruit. (This is what’s missing in my home.)

“Be Your Best Self”

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/04/be-your-best-self?lang=eng

Here’s the promise from President Monson:

In the world today we face difficulties and challenges, some of which can seem truly daunting. However, with God on our side we cannot fail. As we bear His holy priesthood worthily, we will be victorious.

Prior to this, in his remarks he gives simple instructions on the importance of learning and observing our duties within the priesthood.

As I contemplate my priesthood duties, there are many.  I am reminded of the most important being in the home.

Coordinating the Spiritual

2 Nephi 32 and John 3:2-21

I’ve spent the past few days working on implementing more organization into my life. Selecting organizational tools that will help me to unify the different aspects of my life. My concern was the lack of the Spiritual in the process. These two chapters have been a re-orientation of sorts, while allowing me to also see how the tools that I’ve been developing can work with this spiritual focus.

Prayer and the words of Christ will show me what I am to do. My organizational tools, when appropriate, will allow me to put into words those action items that the Spirit dictates to me. My personal aim and vision allows me to give focus to the Spiritual in my own life.  The term “giving Christian father” seems to embody my personal aim.

The fact that I am willing to bring all this before God is evidence of nature of these deeds. “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

I’m in a very good spot this morning!

Defining Myself: Father

The definition/title of a father has held little meaning for me. Thus the term of Heavenly Father, though this is the title of all the titles that God has choosen to assign himself,  holds a lesser significance to me because I do not understand it. I am fairly confident that I am not alone in this.

“A sacred title referring to a man who has begotten or legally adopted a child.” – Father, Mortal from the Guide to the Scriptures (emphasis added)

My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:

For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Proverbs 3:11-12

I am reminded that chastening is another term for purifying.  This causes me to consider that I only should correct a child in whom I delight! How different is that. How important then becomes the urgency to plead with heaven to have unbridled love and compassion for these my children.  Charity is essential to fatherhood.  It cannot be accomplished without it.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

This is similar counsel as what was offered by king Benjamin.

The next two scriptures talk of teaching children after “the learning of my father.” (1 Ne. 1:1, Enos 1:1) Here’s another point of departure from just doing what feels right, to honestly asking myself to define for my own family what I really want my children to learn, and learn well.

Here’s an additional thought from a private communication just received from President Smith (name was changed, but he is member of my current stake presidency):

Bishop Walker is a school teacher who earns a modest income and is striving to do fun activities with his family that don’t cost anything. Bishop Walker is striving to bring up his children with the understanding they don’t need money [to] have fun. So the children don’t feel pressured later when they’re raising their own children and they’ll know they can raise those grandchildren without chasing careers for money only, instead of choosing careers in which they feel fulfilled regardless of the income level. (Name also changed)

Finally, the importance of prayer on behalf of my children is repeated time and time again. (Mosiah 27:14, Moro. 8:2–3)


Action Items:

  • Constantly be praying for charity that I can love my children to a point that I delight in them.
  • Define what I want my children to learn from me.
  • Develop or create fun activities with my children that don’t require money.

Next time that I revisit this, I want to explore more the feelings, characteristics, qualities, and attributes of fatherhood. Focus more on the characteristic and qualities of Heavenly Father, and learn why he wants to be called a Father.