Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Straight and Narrow Path

Isn't that a great picture! I wish I could say I have walked where this was taken. Since I am not a photographer or much of a traveler, I get to view such beauty from another thanks to Google.
1 Nephi 8 The vision of the Tree of Life and the iron rod running alongside the straight and narrow path. At times my path in life may be just as beautiful and awe inspiring as the photo above, if I choose to look up from the dusty trail.

Other times the trail I tread is barren, rough in terrain and made increasingly difficult with stumbling blocks along the way.

Then there are the times when the path is darkened and may require entrance into the unknown.
Jesus Christ taught that He is the only path or “the way” that will lead to the Father (see John 14:6). Elder Lowell M. Snow of the Seventy testified of the constant direction the Savior provides:
“Life is full of many intersecting roads and trails. There are so many paths to follow, so many voices calling out ‘lo, here’ or ‘lo, there’ [ Joseph Smith—History 1:5]. There is such a variety and volume of media flooding our personal space, most of it intent on herding us down a path that is broad and traveled by many." In reading this quote I could see in my minds eye a wide, dusty road with many distracted travelers. Elder Snow continues,
“My witness to you is that Jesus Christ continues to mark the path, lead the way, and define every point on our journey. His path is strait and narrow and leads toward ‘light and life and endless day’ [Hymns, no. 195]” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2005, 100; or Ensign, Nov. 2005, 96).
I know Jesus Christ lives. He continues to bless lives just as he did when He walked the earth.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

“Ye have choice”

1 Nephi 7:15

Finally Utah is getting some snow this winter! My kids are so excited to play in it. I am content just watching it out the window as it covers the earth.
Today's scripture 1 Nephi 7:15. Laman, Lemuel, their new sweethearts and a few others begin to rebel. They want to return home. Moment of honesty-can you really blame them? With the riches they gathered to persuade Laban it would seem that Lehi's family lived comfortably, for that time period. I like being born in this day and age where living is quite comfortable with its many conveniences. I might have "rebelled"/wanted to go back too. This is where faith and knowledge come in. Nephi had the faith to follow a prophet. This faith was then rewarded with a sure knowledge that the journey they were on was indeed inspired by the Lord.
Laman and those influenced by him were not captives on the journey toward the land of promise. Nephi answered their desire to return to Jerusalem by declaring a fundamental doctrine, “Ye have choice”. I never noticed those three little words in this scripture before. The little "if" before caused me to glide right over them. They spoke differently back then and I kept thinking there was a question in there somewhere.
President Thomas S. Monson stated, “Each of us has the responsibility to choose. You may ask, ‘Are decisions really that important?’ I say to you, decisions determine destiny."
(“Pathways to Perfection,” Ensign, May 2002, 100).
I love President Monson. I know he is God's mouthpiece for this day. Decisions determine destiny. Ye have choice.

Friday, January 20, 2012

It must be addressed

Nephi and Laban
Ok, this part of the Book of Mormon bothers me everytime I come to it. I am a person that shuns violence. I have a deep love for newborns. I cannot resist them, partly because of their smell and partly because I love how I feel holding them. Each life is a gift from God.
So today I tackle this event and hope for additional understanding and light. My studies took me to the Book of Mormon student manual(available at LDS Disribution).
It's important to note that before Nephi reached this point, Laban was given two chances to part with the brass plates without requiring his life. Also, let's not forget the crimes Laban committed against Nephi and his brothers. Laban was a liar and a robber and at least twice sought to murder. These crimes were at that time punishable by death. Ok, but he was King and we all know how kings are when they are evil ones. They usually don't recieve the death punishment unless issued by God.
This is where Nephi comes in. Upon finding Laban passed out drunk, Nephi hears the voice of the Lord. First note, Nephi knows, really knows the voice of the Lord. He hears the command to take Laban's life. He questions(who would not question this?). What justification is there for a righteous man like Nephi to take the life of another? The Lord wanted Lehi and his descendants to have the scriptural record "even if one man should perish" for it to happen. The brass plates blessed Nephi and his descendants. Long after, when translated to the Book of Mormon, the brass plates has blessed and will bless nations. All of this was at stake when Nephi stood over Laban and followed the voice of the Spirit. Did Nephi understand this, I believe he did not know completely the implications of that moment.
Now what have I learned from this added study today? First, do I know(really know) the voice of the Lord? What in my life is too loud that keeps me from hearing it? Second, without knowing the results of my decisions, can I follow through with whatever it is the Lord asks of me? Do I have faith to obey? I know Jesus Christ lives. What am I willing to DO for Him? And how will my choices affect another? I will never be asked to take a life to save nations, but what seemingly small, prompted acts do I shun because I lack faith and courage?
Perhaps this is not anything new and insightful, but from this added study my heart and mind have been more inclined to the God I love because of the pondering. After all, isn't that what daily scripture study is for?
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Have I "murmured" any good in the world today?

Please excuse the iphone pics, I am not a photographer. Merely someone who enjoys writing and has only one fan following(thanks mom). I hope to get better at many things. A picture always adds to any entry. This one seems fitting merely for the fact that my cute 3 year old(complete with her Rudolph nose) looks like she is saying the word 'murmur' right in your face.

By definition, to murmur is a mumbled or private expression of discontent.

I am reading the Book of Mormon, again. Cover to cover. From the beginning there is murmuring. First from Laman and Lemuel then, much to the readers surprise, the good prophet Lehi even murmurs. Insert moment of personal justification, I can still be a good person even though I murmur at times.
So why is this murmuring bad? Elder H. Ross Workman of the Seventy explained that “murmuring consists of three steps, each leading to the next in a descending path to disobedience.” First, when people murmur they begin to question. They question “first in their own minds and then [plant] questions in the minds of others.” Second, those who murmur begin to “rationalize and excuse themselves from doing what they [have] been instructed to do. . . . Thus, they [make] an excuse for disobedience.” Their excuses lead to the third step: “Slothfulness in following the commandment.”
This final step, this slothfulness, stumps progression. No good came when Lehi was murmuring. He did not progress,and neither did those in connection with him.
President Ezra Taft Benson put it most poignantly when he said, ‘When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998; or Ensign, May 1998, 82).
This is one of my favorite quotes. It is written on the inside of my scriptures to remind me to keep striving to be obedient, without complaint, because truly I cannot do any good in the world today with murmuring.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I didn't stand in that line

The thoughts for this post began a while back, but since school started life has been full of PTA, homework, scouts, piano lessons, dance lessons and then the joyful Holiday season thrown in the muddle of everything. This is my shallow excuse for not choosing to drink in the teachings of the scriptures. My daily scripture reading has been more of something to check off the list, or get to tomorrow, or the next day. But with a new year comes new dedication. Truthfully I had thoughts of deleting this blog. My lack of "stick-to-it" has left many things undone and by the wayside along my walk of life. Each individual is blessed with certain gifts and talents. Let's just say that I didn't stand in the "stick-to-it" line in heaven when God was handing out talents. I loved this picture taken by my mother and thought it fit my thoughts this evening. It has my daughter and niece's shoe choice for the day. It was June and the sun was shining and it was snowing. Both were correct in their choice even though the choices were so different from each other. Like the shoes, each individual may choose which talents or gifts he/she will develope and help grow. There are still going to be things I give up on, but after a phone call from my dearest mother(who stumbled onto my blog, and may well be the ONLY person besides me to ever read it) I decided that this was not something I wanted to leave undone on the trail. So here is to 2012 and continuing on! May I learn somethings along the way.