Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

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.

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.)

23 Years of Christian Discipleship

I’m reviewing a talk by Elder Jeffery R. Holland entitled “Knowing the Godhead” this morning. Near the end is this good apostle’s witness of Christ and His ransom for our sins.

I bear witness of Jesus Christ, the living Son of the living God, who paid the liberating ransom for your soul and my soul and the soul of every man, woman, and child from Adam to the end of the world.

I attempted to move on, but the Spirit of the Lord (as he often does to me) constrained me again to not look past this point. I then began to consider the duration of my discipleship. As of this writing, I am 23 years old as a disciple of Christ. I’m not nearly the christian that the name itself deserves, but I do feel today as clean and pure as that beautiful season 23 years ago, when I first exercised for myself the redeeming power of Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

In saying that, what I am reminded of is how long, how constant, how real that power to forgive sin that is in Christ has been with me.  I in no wise mean to suggest the my life has been perfect these 23 years, far from it! But what time has proven to be absolutely perfect is this Atonement of Christ. His love and constant ability to forgive sin is perfect. It is unfathomable to me how perfect that power is!

23 years. Ups and downs, rights and lefts, mistakes and mess ups and more.  How constant is this one reality in my life: that Christ’s loving Atonement is never failing.

“Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” Mark 4:37-41

Mark 4:37-41

The simple account of Christ calming the tempest reminds me that no matter the storm, with Christ in our ship, we shall not sink. It was hard for his disciples to understand that. It is hard for me to see that sometimes too. But faith and fear don’t reside in the same being at the same time. And with Christ, fear need never come near.

The Love of God

I am brought to consider the verses from the later part of the Book of John that highlight the love of God, chapters 13 – 17.

From the Topical Guide, Love of God:

 

  • he loved them unto the end: John 13:1 .
  • ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another: John 13:35 .
  • If ye love me, keep my commandments: John 14:15 .
  • he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father: John 14:21 .
  • my Father will love him, and we will come unto him: John 14:23 .
  • As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: John 15:9 .
  • Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved: John 16:27 .
  • world may know that thou … hast loved them: John 17:23 .
  • love wherewith thou hast loved me: John 17:26 .

I am brought to consider these passages and others as we begin into our stake conference activities this weekend. I am also reminded of Mormon’s teachings in Moroni 7:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— (vs. 46)

With this reminder to pray for and cleave to charity, the love of God, I am then brought to consider a profound invitation found in John 14:12-14:

 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

 

“Thy Will Is Done,” JST Matthew 27:54

JST Matthew 27:54 (click on footnote)

“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, saying, Father, it is finished, thy will is done, yielded up the ghost.” (emphasis added)

It impresses me that it was the Father’s will to have an Atonement made by one who would do so in love.

The temptation is to ask why would a loving Father want to do this horrific act to His Son, but then it seems to me that this is not about his Son, it’s really about the rest of us. All of his other children.  The Father was willing to take his one perfect child and sacrifice and subject him to this unspeakable suffering, torture, torment, and death, to save the rest of us. So it’s not about Christ, it’s about the rest of us. It was the Father’s will to save us. And Christ was the one who was willing to do it, and did it.

I’m use to hearing the words “Thy will be done” from the Lord’s prayer on the sermon on the mount. But here is the Savior, with power and authority (even on the cross) declaring “Thy will is done,” because he did it!

The Savior’s Discourse on the Signs of the Second Coming

Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 12:37–48; 17:20–37; 21:5–38JST-Matthew 1, Doctrine & Coventants 45:16-59

I am brought to consider the role of the saints, those that would publish peace as part of the fulfillment of the last days. 1 Nephi 13:37 gives clarity to this particular point.

For example, in Luke 21 there are great destruction and calamities foretold, then this set of verses from 12 to 19 that state that the Saints shall ride through these things, boldly testifying of the truth in the moment,  and yet unscathed, that not even a hair of their head shall be lost, and that “In your patience possess ye your souls.”

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(How do I articulate what I am feeling as I review these amazing prophecies of the Savior’s concerning the last days and the Second Coming of our Lord? )

Today is October 2, 2014, and I’ve started in Luke 21. Verse 26 says the heavens shall be shaken. The footnotes take me to Isaiah 34:4 and Psalms 102:26.  I am reminded that both the heavens and the earth shall pass away. What does this mean? Does this mean that the atmosphere, with its clouds, storms, and all that is in it, will die out, and be replaced? It seems a strange thing to consider, because unlike the earth, the heavens seem to be in a constant state of rejuvenation, ever changing.

These verses seem to suggest that whatever “hosts,” or forces that rule the heavens this space above the earth that truly does dictate much of our daily affairs, shall be brought to an end.  And God does not cease to be God, and his words even then will remain in place to be fulfilled.

Later in Luke 21, verse 32, an oft confusing verse states that “this generation shall not pass away,  till all be fulfilled. ” The JST footnote clarifies this point. This generation is not the generation in which Christ was then present. Rather, the use of the adjective “this” has reference to the time period in which all these other signs would come to pass. This generation shall not end, meaning that there will be no other time period after this time period (of which we are a part of today) before the Savior comes again. Our world as we know it today, our culture which in no other period of the world has become a global culture, will not end until Christ comes again.  WOW.

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3 October 2014 – I’ve added Doctrine and Covenants 45 to the lists of sections that talk about the Savior’s second coming. Zechariah 14 (from the Old Testament)  also gives details about the Savior’s second coming.  Particularly noteworthy is prophecy of light at the Savior’s coming to the Mount of Olives. A day and a night and another day shall pass without darkness when he comes again.  The Saints that have slept will be resurrected at that time and come with Christ in addition to the angels (or maybe they are the same).

“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?