Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I am Invincible!...(with Divine Help)

Everyone is familiar with at least one verse in Philippians 4--"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." This is, of course, an awesome verse. I was fascinated a few days ago when I read again the words preceding this verse.

Paul was aquainted with many different facets of life. He tells the Phillipians in verse 11, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." From this, I gather that he was not in a state of "want" at the time of writing, but that he had been in that state before. I have often read that scripture and found myself dwelling on the fact that one must be content with whatever little amounts one has. But truly, we are to be content whether we are abounding in the world's goods or we are basking in humble circumstances. (Or anywhere in between for that matter.) Is it not true that it is entirely possible to be extremely wealthy and not be content? The opposite is also true. Heeding Paul's advice to be content no matter what state we are in is imperative to our happiness.

In verse 12, Paul goes on to list various circumstances in which we must be content. It is an intriguing, thought provoking list. It doesn't just speak of rich versus poor. After listing many possible scenarios, Paul then proclaims the well known verse that makes each one of us invincible...but only because of Christ.

I was so fascinated with those verses I suppose because I realized that when Paul says, "I can do all things" he is really referring to ALL things! He means getting through very tough situations. He means having the Lord with us during extremely exhilarating times. He means putting Christ into mundane things. He means ALL things.

If we put Christ into all aspects of our lives, how blessed we are as He strengthens us in everyday things and in out of the ordinary things. We really can do all things through Christ and be strengthened because of it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Teach Ye Diligently

I have always loved a certain section of D & C 88 . I love it because I homeschool my children. I love it because it tells how we can edify others by learning together. I love the idea that teaching each other helps all involved to be prepared. I love how things are brought around in a full circle of learning in the middle of this section.

I think part of D & C 88 is made manifest through the goals of this blog. In D & C 88:74 the Lord gives a commandment to "assemble yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and sanctify yourselves;" And here we are--virtually assembled in an organized fashion trying to sanctify ourselves.

Then, in verse 77 "I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom." And what shall we teach? Verses 79-86 give a good outline.

Verse 78 lets us know that by doing this we can be uplifted by the grace of God in a perfect way. "Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in...(many things)...that are expedient for you to understand;" It is awesome to hear the testimonies of others, to know the insights that someone else has gleaned in their scripture studies. It promotes faith. It strengthens my testimony. It gives me reasons to go look up some things in the scriptures that others have talked about and learn more or confirm a truth for myself.

To me, verses 87 - 116 give the reason why we should teach diligently--the Second Coming.

Verse 117 and 118 sum things up, "Therefore, verily I say unto you, my friends, call your assembly, as I have commanded you." Then He tells us again in verse 118 to "teach one another" and includes a bit of what to teach.

Verse 119 and 120 takes us back to the beginning of the circle where we are reminded to "Organize yourselves;" and have all our incomings and outgoings be in the name of the Lord. What a great way to look at having the Spirit of the Lord always with you. And we can help each other along the way, especially in our struggles. After all, isn't that part of the Lord's plan--to have us "succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” (D&C 81:5)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eternal Family

One belief that Latter-day Saints hold dear is that of Eternal Families. We believe that through the power of the Holy Priesthood, families can be sealed for Time and All Eternity. Our families can be together forever. This is a wonderful blessing from our Heavenly Father.

At the October 1996 General Conference, Elder Robert D. Hales gave a talk about Eternal Families. The talk is filled with scripture regarding the eternal nature of families and God's plan for his children. The line that struck me most, however, was not scripture. It was a comment made by Elder Hales made after quoting Doctrine & Covenants 132:19. He said:

"As taught in this scripture, an eternal bond doesn't just happen as a result of sealing covenants we make in the temple. How we conduct ourselves in this life will determine what we will be in all the eternities to come. To receive the blessings of the sealing that our Heavenly Father has given to us, we have to keep the commandments and conduct ourselves in such a way that our families will want to live with us in the eternities."

This was such a powerful statement to me. My husband and I married in the LDS Arizona Temple. We are sealed and our children our sealed to us. But as Elder Hale pointed out, being sealed is not the only thing that we must do. We must 1) Keep the commandments and 2) Conduct ourselves in such a way that our family will WANT to live with us in the eternities! I knew the "keep the commandment" part, but had not thought about whether my family would want to be with me forever. Isn't that an amazing concept!

Are we treating our spouse in a way that they will want to be with us forever? What about our children? Do we show them love and respect? Do we treat them like the children of God that they are? Or do we abuse the role of parent? Will those darling children want to be with you for all eternity? Or would they rather be with their friend's family?

I love my family and I want to be with them through the eternities. I'm pretty sure that they want to be with me too. But even so, I am going to strive even harder to conduct myself in such a way that my family will want to be with me forever. To earn their love and respect. And to teach them the commandments, so that we can all make it back to our Father in Heaven together!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Recent Discoveries in the Book of Mormon

Reading The Book of Mormon this time around has brought new understanding to some of the things I've been reading. Here is a recent discovery I made while reading in Alma:

Alma & Amulek:

Reading in Alma 15, I saw Alma and Amulek's friendship differently than ever before. Until then, I just saw them as being brothers in the Gospel - teaching together, going through the same tribulations...

But then last night I came to Alma 15:16, which reads, "And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek, Amulek having forsaken all his gold, and silver, and his precious things, which were in the land of Ammonihah, for the word of God, he being rejected by those who were once his friends and also by his father and his kindred."

Amulek's tribulations went beyond the huge stuff from the previous chapter. He had to leave everything behind, much like Lehi and his family. But he also left behind friends and his closest family members, knowing they didn't want anything to do with him.

It would be a sad story if it ended there, but then we get to verse 18: "Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord."

What a true friend!!! This is the kind of friend I want to be! He saw that Amulek was struggling, so he took him to his own house and took care of him. But even more important than that, he "strengthened him in the Lord." Kind of like that saying, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Alma could have made him feel better about this single tribulation, but instead he taught him how to deal with ALL the tribulations he would ever have to go through. He taught his friend to look to God in times of hardship. What an amazing friend!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Not "Just" Testimonies

I just read the talk Elder Ballard gave at BYU-Hawaii last December, which is also in the July Ensign. As I was thinking about this blog as I read it, I realized that I'd like this blog to be more than "just" straight-forward testimonies. I'd like it to be filled with all things Gospel-related!

So to those who contribute to this blog, I invite you to use this blog as a journal of sorts for all the interesting and uplifting things you discover while studying and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Personally, I'm going to try to start studying specific topics from the Church website, and give small summaries on this blog. I would love for each of you to feel comfortable sharing the things you find that touch your lives for good!! I know that if it can touch your life, it will most likely touch many other lives, as well!
If you would like to contribute to this blog, please email me at blhvamos [at] gmail [dot] com to be included as a blog author! (If I don't know you personally, please include your blog address or some background information about yourself. Thanks!)