“Plant This Word In Your Hearts,” Alma 33

I was drawn to this passage this morning in trying to comprehend the mercies of the Son of God upon me. So frequent are the powers of renewal that I have been able to access through faith on the Son of God, that it is amazing — truly amazing — that  he would care enough for me to give me another chance. (I feel like I’m paraphrasing the hymn “I Stand All Amazed,” but this is precisely how I feel this morning.)

After explaining to the people of the Zoramites that they should plant the seed of faith in their hearts, the people inquired further as to how or on what should they place their faith. The bulk of this chapter then is used to show, through the words of other prophets, how their faith should be centered on the Son of God.It is interesting that in these verses that Alma references, not only do they illustrate that we should exercise faith on the Son of God, but they also show that because of their faith in Him, these prophets were able to obtain mercy.

The first prophet quoted, Zenos, illustrates how this mercy was obtained through his prayers. There are keys within this passage as to why his prayers were heard:

  • Thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou wilt hear them.
  • Thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity.
  • It is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me.

And then the prophet Zenos, in this passage that was quoted, concludes:

Therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son.

I am now asking myself if I can do this. Last evening, I allowed myself to be weighed down because of a particular affliction that was purely circumstantial. Could I not have cried for help, and instead of judgments, obtain mercy?

“My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord”

Luke 1:46-55 & 1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Psalm 23)

See also “Low Estate

Make a detailed study of these two passages of scripture, notably both from women.In both of these stories there are temples, there are people of covenant with the Lord, there is meekness and lowliness of heart, and devotion to the most high God.

From 1 Samuel 2:

1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

The footnote on “rejoiceth” in this verse suggests that to rejoice in the Lord is to express thanksgiving. The Spirit of the Lord causes me to consider strongly the importance of this first verse, but it is not as I would assume.

I keep coming at this verse with an angle of vengeance because of references to “enemies.”  “Horn” is a figurative reference to “power” or “capacity.”  Elsewhere in the Old Testament, we read of horns of the wicked being destroyed and the horns of the righteous being exalted. So where there is this comparison between the wicked and the righteous in the same verse, there is a natural tendency to assume that this is something of a call to arms against the wicked. I run through my mind a list of who are current enemies and what should I do to destroy them. Evidence, this is then, that I am not yet of a mind to leave judgment to the Lord.

“Of you, it is required to forgive all men.” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:10) Judgment is the Lord’s and the Lord’s alone to make for all men. So where the spirit of the Lord can confirm to my heart that actions are not to be adopted that I see in others, at the same time, that same Spirit teaches a man to love his neighbor as himself.

In Hannah’s instance, she was being afflicted by the comments of her husband’s other wife who was blessed with children. She states that “my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.” Her strength to overcome her opposition was not to fight her opposition.  Her strength was in prayer (read the verse) and in looking to and rejoicing in the salvation of the Lord.

2 There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

On the first instance of “none” there are three other verses of scripture that reinforce that same statement, that besides God, there is none as holy or as strong. This was a new dimension of understanding on a particularly familiar verse from the Book of Mormon:

Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. (2 Nephi 2:7)

Now in this passage of scripture, I had always assumed that the “none” in this verse had reference to “those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” But because it was referenced as a supporting scripture to the above verse, I am lead to believe that it is in reference to Christ. For the verse itself says: “he offereth himself… to answer the ends of the law”. Hence, for  “none else can the ends of the law be answered.” Only Christ the Lord could perform this salvation, and there was none else.

3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

The actions of our words may be enough to condemn us. I have evidence presently before me in both the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 27:15) and the Old Testament(see immediately above) , and I suppose that I may find more elsewhere if I where to look for it that clearly states that God will judge man according to his works.

There is something else in verse three that is conclusive in this statement. To talk proudly, or arrogantly, is to assume knowledge of something in absolute. We speak as if it is the end to all truth on a subject when we speak with arrogance. Oh how humbling is the comparison, that “the Lord is a God of knowledge.” He is more than a well versed university professor, more than one of the great world philosophers. He is a God of knowledge. Omniscient is His understanding. Past, present, and future is His perspective. There is nothing except He knows it.

The next five verses offers a comparison between those that wait upon the Lord for direction, and those who attempt to become great of their own accord. In every instance, those who are well to do as a result of their own strength are removed from that prosperity. Those who are humble and follow the Spirit of the Lord are brought to strength.

4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.

 

5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.

 

6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

 

7 The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.

 

8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.

 

Now in the next verse, there is a continuation and a conclusion to the above group of verses.

9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

 

Do I believe the above passage of scripture? Of course, the reason why the wicked shall not prevail is because by strength shall no man prevail. The ultimate tests of faith are the works of peace to be performed by his righteous saints.

 

10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

This last verse is a reminder that in the end, Christ will be given strength or capacity to reign over all. He already has.

Morning by morning, I continue to come back to these passages of scripture. I’ve added to them now the words of Ammon found in Alma 26 where he rejoices in the missionary labors of him and his brethren. Yesterday, I spent the entire day basking in divine light. I am conclusively aware of the answer to my prayers in learning why it is that the Lord has brought me back to my home.

The Why of Home Teaching Service

Alma, that rebellious priest in the court of King Noah, when he came to his senses after hearing the words of Abinadi, repented of his sins and formed the Church of God. When he began to organize the Church, Alma used  the power of the baptismal covenant to unite the people by explaining it’s importance and significance. He taught them that if they were willing to bear one another’s burdens, to mourn with one another, to comfort one another, and to be a witness of God that they should be baptized.

Here is what Alma says: “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—” (second half of verse 9)

Our fulfillment of priesthood duties associated with home teaching in part help us to realize the fulfillment of this covenant.

One other thought, if you are having trouble with your home teaching assignments, consider seeking for the gifts of the Spirit through prayer to help you meet your assignment. This is the Lord’s work and he has prepared an arsenal of various tools and resources for you to use at your disposal if you will seek them.

to stand as cwitnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the dfirst resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

God Is My Father, I Am His Son

I always pray when I begin a study of the scriptures, and this afternoon as I began my study, I uttered only two words “My Father” when I was stopped in my tracks with a very strong impression. To try to put into words what I was feeling, it was something like this:

Indeed, God is my Father, He knows me, He is like me. I am created to become like He is. Oh, how he wants me to succeed!

What scriptures support this thought?

I have looked up several verses of scripture from the Guide to the Scriptures under the heading: Father in Heaven. I’ve have read several groups of scripture that address a present concern that I am facing. Such as 3 Nephi 13:26-33, Luke 11:11-13, and Doctrine and Covenants 123:1-3,6. None of these are logical statements, but are to be understood spiritually with the heart as well as with the mind.

So God has again answered my prayers and given me the instruction through his holy word for the challenges that I have been facing today. Though I wasn’t particularly questioning my relationship to Him, he knew that the answer through the scriptures to today’s challenges would be found through the topic of which I was impressed to study. What remains to be seen is how the two topic are related. That is for another day.

 Addendum

I’ve come back to this group of verses two days after the initial post. With a sabbath day in between and a renewal of faith, I am somewhat more willing to listen this morning. Behold, what it says in Doctrine and Covenants 123 verses 11 to 17:

11 And also it is an imperative duty that we owe to all the rising generation, and to all the pure in heart—

 

12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—

 

13 Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—

 

14 These should then be attended to with great earnestness.

 

15 Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.

 

16 You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.

 

17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

I do not understand how it is possible for me to continue in the harrowing course which I have set out to accomplish what I have felt to be the will of God for me. But that said, God is talking directly to me this morning through these scriptures. As the Savior aptly reminds me: “How much more shall your heavenly Father give good gifts, through the Holy Spirit, to them that ask him?”

Covenants are Tools

I’m studying the covenants associated with baptism. As I pray about the significance of covenants, it strikes me that covenants are tools given to us that clearly spell out the terms and bounds within which we are able to receive blessings and protection from God. They are instruments of safety fashioned by God to guide us safely through the confusing challenges of our days. Their power and strength are not able to be discerned by the proud and ungodly, but to those who have experienced their power know that covenants indeed are a shield, a safety net, and shelter from adversarial storms of our days.

“Low Estate”

Luke 1:46-55

I think that no where in all of scripture is a more profound statement of humility found than that given by Mary as she contemplates her part in God’s plan. The Spirit of the Lord is trying to tell me of something which is profoundly significant. I think it is in understanding who Christ is, partly because of who His earthly mother was, the humility and meekness possessed of a God.

I desire to be possessor of this humility and meekness.

A quote from David H. Burton:

Meekness is vital to becoming more Christlike. Without it one cannot develop other important virtues. Mormon indicated, “None is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart” (Moro. 7:44). Acquiring meekness is a process. We are asked to “take up [the] cross daily” (Luke 9:23). Our lifting should not be an occasional exercise. More meekness does not translate to weakness, but “it is the presentation of self in a posture of kindness and gentleness. It reflects certitude, strength, serenity; it reflects a healthy self-esteem and a genuine self-control” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Meekly Drenched in Destiny,” in Brigham Young University 1982–83 Fireside and Devotional Speeches [1983], 2). More meekness will allow us to be tutored by the Spirit.

 

Last night in my journal, I made this longing observation: “And then there are those who are humble enough to be truly effective servants in the work of God.”

The humble, meek, those of “low estate” are those that understand the reality of things as they really are, their utter dependence upon God, their own nothingness.

Reading “Meekness – A Dimension of True Discipleship” by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, I am realizing that there is something about the family life that I have created that is amiss.

I am taken back to this post about Mosiah 4:11-12. Then Moses 1:10 also reminds me of my own nothingness in comparison to God and his works. This reminder seems to be crucial to my understanding of meekness.

A Creed for Preparation

In light of new assignments, and stemming from recent conversations, and in light of scriptures such as this one:

But notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been given to the aelders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to bconduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit. (Doctrine and Covenants 46:2)

The need to be spiritually prepared is presently before me, as an ongoing and constant need. This need is not only in personal preparation, but now spreads to a larger realm of duty, for which I too must prepare.

To accomplish these ends, the proposed daily routine should include the following:

  • Review of General Handbook 2 instruction.
  • Review of Preach My Gospel instruction
  • General Conference Addresses
  • Scripture Mastery/Memorization

This should happen immediately following your half hour of personal study, on a daily basis for another half hour. Specific lesson preparations may be included as part of this time.