Sacrament Meeting Notes, 2 Aug 2015

From a ward on the east end of Springville, Utah – Testimony Meeting Highlights

Tom blessed his baby, Matt

Story of the old truck. Two teen boys wrote on truck, “save me, I’m a good truck” so it is with many of us.

Aisain sister read in the scriptures “jesus is my son.” God testifies of his son.

“I am blessed to know that this church is true, despite the opinions of others. ” Amanda’s little brother.

 

Family Gospel Teaching Plan

Yesterday’s fast ended with a prayer and a plead to remember what I had learned in the fast.  The fast was centered on the spiritual well being of my children. My wife also has the responsibility of taking into her own hands their spiritual preparation. That responsibility is also mine fully. It’s not happening though.

The children need gospel instruction according to the plan of salvation, and the things that Christ taught. Rachel needs to be trained. I need to be self-trained. I need to develop a plan to see that Gospel instruction, and gospel centered invitations are being taught and received.

I want to tackle the task of teaching youth the Gospel plan.

To do: Meet with Rachel to discuss a Gospel Teaching plan based  on invitations to act, with follow up on invitations.

The Purpose of the Church

The purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ is to serve as a vehicle for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Without the teachings of the Gospel of Christ being applied in the lives of the members of the Church, the Church has no purpose. It becomes a mere social organization.

We could also say that the Church of Jesus Christ only works for those who are following the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.  For those who are honest, they will find honesty among the members. For those who are forgiving, they will find forgiveness.  For those who are willing to repent, they will find priesthood power and authority to complete the cleansing process, and to recommit by covenant to follow the Savior and his teachings.

The Church is a perfect vehicle for living the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It will give you opportunities to develop your faith,  give service freely, and ultimately obtain salvation.

Yet as divinely designed as it is, the Church doesn’t seem to work for everyone.  In fact, the effect that it has upon some people is so offensive that it repels them from wanting to have any part with its organization as a whole or its individual members.  For example, for those who lie, they will think that they are being lied to in the Church. For those who are hypocritical, they will encounter what they deem to be hypocrisy in the Church. Adulterers would seek for signs.  What ever the unrighteousness, they will be affected by it.  By and by, they are offended and they leave the Church.

For those who would cleave to  and persist in their own pride and selfishness, the Church will always be to them a thing of great offense, a stumbling block that just seems to keep getting in the way of their fun. It will never work for them.  Yet there are those who, clinging to their selfish sense of self, will try to continue to be associated with the Church and its members. These are socialites.  That is, these are people  “who [are] well known in fashionable society and [are] fond of social activities and entertainment.”

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that the Church should exclude anyone from participating in its activities and programs. But those who are not truly converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and try to participate in the church for some other reason, will eventually find themselves offended because of something somebody said or something somebody did.  The social, intellectual, or emotional  appeal will wear off. Their own lack of spiritual preparations at that point will become painfully apparent as it leaves them empty with nothing to hold on to.

“Mormonism,” as true Christianity, “subdues selfishness, regulates the passions, subordinates the appetites, quickens the intellect, exalts the affections. It promotes industry, honesty, truth, purity, kindness. It humbles the proud, exalts the lowly, upholds the law, favors liberty, is essential to it, and would unite men in one great brotherhood.” (Quoted by Pres. David O. McKay, Conference Report, Apr. 1927, 105.)

 

 

FHE – The Sabbath Day

Yesterday was actually a good day for Sabbath Day observance, everyone did at least two or three things that helped them to keep the Sabbath Day holy.

Emma – Went to Church, she got the LDS Youth App on her Ipod, and she spent time with the family in the evening.

Aaron – Also spent time with the family in the evening yesterday, he listened to a couple of conference talks in the morning, and he also wrote and sent an email to friend.

Dallin – Went about being a secret sibling yesterday evening, he also listened to conference talks by the prophet, and he began learning some church songs on the piano.

Joseph – Helped others to make a cake for the family, he listened to Dad read from the Book of Mormon at the end of the day, and looking at family photos yesterday.

Jacob – Was also very excited with his challenge to be a secret sibling, he gave the article of faith for primary yesterday, and he participated in the Family History activity where we asked questions of Uncle Tom about his childhood.

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It’s not hard to keep the Sabbath Day holy,

Sign: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

Meaning: Sabbath = Hebrew for Rest

Purpose: to rest from our Labors and to worship God.

Creation story – 6 days, or periods of time, God created the earth. On the 7th day he rested.

History: The Sabbath Day use to be on Saturday.

Sabbath was a sign to the Children of Israel that they were God’s covenant people.

Up until his Resurrection, Jesus and his disciples honored the seventh day as the Sabbath day. But after the Resurrection, it was switched to Sunday to remember the Resurrection on that day.

How to Keep the Sabbath Day Holy?

– Do the things that God asked us to do, such as:

  • attend church,
  • reading scripture and word of church leaders
  • visit the sick, aged, and loved ones
  • Listen to uplifting muic
  • Pray to Heavenly Father
  • Work on Family History
  • Tell stories that promote faith
  • sharing our testimonies and spiritual experiences with each other
  • Writing letters to missionaries or family
  • Fasting
  • Share time with children and family in the home.

Why? Blessings of the Sabbath:

The fulness of the earth will be ours! Prosperity in all its forms is the blessing of the Sabbath day.

 

 

FHE – Receiving a Testimony of Light

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/receiving-a-testimony-of-light-and-truth

– watch and discuss the video at the beginnings of the link:

  • What did people use to think?
  • What do we know now?
  • What changed between belief and knowledge?

Activity:

– Pretend we went back in time 130 years. Take turns describing the following inventions/technologies:

  • Jumbo Jet Airplane
  • Microwave
  • Smart Phone
  • Pinterest
  • Google or Facebook

It can be hard for us to believe what we cannot see. The same is true with our Spirits.

We have to have the right instruments:

Scientists had a hard time believing that there were more galaxies beyond our own until they had the right tools to see.

The Apostle Paul taught a parallel principle regarding spiritual knowledge. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God,” he wrote to the Corinthians, “for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”12

In other words, if you want to recognize spiritual truth, you have to use the right instruments. You can’t come to an understanding of spiritual truth with instruments that are unable to detect it.

How to obtain spiritual truth and light:

  1.  Read the scriptures
  2. Ponder on the goodness of God, from Adam until now.
  3. Ask God with the intention to obey.
  4. Do the things that God is asking you to do.

Fear of Men and Fame

“Which Way Do You Face?” Elder Lynn G. Robbins, October 2014 General Conference

In this talk, I’ve learned that I struggle with this particular challenge to make sure that I am facing the right way.  Both in my personal ministering and in professional/business activities.

The reason for which Christ told those that received miracles at his hand to “tell no man” was to avoid as much as possible the fame and praise of the world.

We seek for approval from God, not of man. This feels so right and true! There is not a media institution in the world that subscribes to this truth.

“Finding Lasting Peace and Building Eternal Families”

“Finding Lasting Peace and Building Eternal Families,” L. Tom Perry, General Conference Oct. 2014

Applying the formula of faith to this talk:

  • Hearing the word of God, finding points of action
  • Taking action to experiment upon the words heard
  • Sharing what I’ve learned as a result of that action

 

Men and women are shaped partly by those among whom they choose to live. Those to whom they look up and try to emulate also shape them. Jesus is the great Exemplar. The only way to find lasting peace is to look to Him and live.

Action Item:  Make a list of admirable attributes from the life of the Savior. Maybe focus on ten distinct attributes.

Result: TBA


 

A steward managing the field must, with all his or her power, nourish that which is good and make it so strong and beautiful the tares will have no appeal either to the eye or the ear.

Action Item:  Build up your wife, and each of your children. Build up each and everyone around you.  Always build up, never tear down.

Result: TBA


How blessed are we as members of the Lord’s Church to have the precious gospel of our Lord and Savior as a foundation on which we can build our lives.

Action Item: Discuss ways with my children on how we can as individuals and as a family build our foundation on “the precious gospel of our Lord and Savior.”

Result: TBA

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).

The Last Week of the Savior’s Mortal Ministry

I have been brought to consider, personally, the events and geography of those events leading up to the Savior’s final days in mortality.  This study, as guided by the Spirit of the Lord, has illustrated to me in clear terms the “how it happened” and “where it happened” of these critical events in the history of the world, which thing has never been given to me before in this manner.

I am asking myself why now, why so strongly, why so clearly, are these things being show to me? I am ever so keenly aware of my imperfections and unworthiness to really be receiving such, and yet for the Lord’s own purposes He is instructing me now.  I am so very much not worthy.

I don’t even know quite how I can begin to change myself to bridge this gap in my understanding. It is not a lack of mental knowledge that keeps me from changing. It is as if there is yet some part of me that refuses to believe what I know to be true, and I don’t know how to change that. Is it an ailment of the heart?  What void of darkness must yet be removed from my soul so that I may act and remember to act and desire to act in harmony with so much light? How much more intimate must become my relationship with Him and why? Why me?

I am reminded now of how to change. The answer is in the preparation of the ground to receive the word of God.  “Hear ye the parable of the sower.” Change and progress lies in the preparation of the soil to receive the seeds of truth.  The work of preparation is of great importance. If I want to change something within myself, am I preparing myself to make that change?

Well, I suppose that it make sense that if the Lord has set me apart to do some particular thing for Him, that there would also be at same time an increased sense of relationship and connection to Him.

There is work to do now for the day, but I will leave off with this point: a very substantial part of the Lord’s recorded ministry in several of the Gospel accounts is dedicated to his final week of events and teachings that the Savior shared at Jerusalem.


 

Coming back to it on a new day now, it impresses me that there is no other week in all the word’s history that is more heavily documented in scripture than is the final week of the Lord’s mortal ministry. 29 chapters focus on that final week, from his descent into the Jerusalem region to his Resurrection.

Matthew 20:17-19 – In these verses Jesus tells the twelve that they are now going to Jerusalem and that he would be betrayed and condemned to death, delivered into the hands of the Gentiles to be mocked, scourged and crucified.

It is interesting to note the direction in which he came down was from Jericho. Before entering into Jerusalem it seems that he made a detour by way of Bethpage and possibly even Bethany, which were beyond  the mount of Olives to the southeast of the city.

Matthew 21 to 28 (8 chapters) then entails the final week of his mortal ministry.  There is much contained in these chapters which essentially constitute nearly one-third of the recorded gospel according to Matthew.  Events included:

  • Triumphant entry into Jerusalem
  • Cleansing of the temple (second time)
  • Extensive period of teaching in the temple.
  • Then much of the more well known events surrounding his death and resurrection.

In the book of Mark, chapter 11 is where the Triumphal Entry is recorded.  So chapters 11 – 16 of Mark (6 chapters) also consist of about one-third of the recorded Gospel in Mark.

In Luke, chapters 19 -24 (6 chapters) constitute the Savior’s final week. This is one-fourth the account of Luke.

Then in John,  it is chapters 12 – 21 (9 chapters)that encompass that final week, essentially one-half of the book of John. John’s account is quite dramatic and different than the other accounts.

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Again, a new day, my questions are these:

  • Why the second cleansing of the temple?
  • What teaching were taught in these final days before his crucifixion?

The first question is worthy of consideration. Why was the temple cleansed? It was an effectual clearing of the ground, turning off the noises of the world, preparation that ought to occur before spiritual instructions are received. Missionaries understand this principle well.

I am reminded of the priesthood meeting that I attended where Elder Holland showed up 40 minutes late and how it was that it afforded us a time to prepare through the singing of hymns for the messages that we received. I remember how some left in frustration, while others stayed and sung the hymns of Zion. We were richly rewarded for so doing and taught a great lesson in patience.

The second question will require turning to the scriptures.

Teachings start in Matthew 21:14.

On the first day, upon his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus goes to the temple and cleanses it. He heals the blind and the lame. Babes speak praises to him. Then in the evening of the first day, he leaves Jerusalem and spends the night in Bethany. Perhaps this is Monday.

The following day he returns to the temple (Tuesday?). He curses a fig tree that bares no fruit, and then it immediately withers. He disciples are amazed at this thing, and then the Lord goes on to teach them about prayer, stating “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.”

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (vs. 21 & 22)