Moroni 6: 1 – 3, 4, 5 – 6, 7 – 8, 9

Verse 1: And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.

Verse 2: Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.

Verse 3: And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve Him to the end.

            These verses teach well about the role of the priesthood holders of the Church of Christ. The leaders as well as members followed the same guidelines for baptism. Baptism has requirements both of heart and actions. Each person seeking baptism had to act to show they were worthy of it. Worthiness was guided by actions, humility, and repentance. Church membership required wanting to take Jesus Christ’s name upon one and committing to serve Him to the end of one’s life.

            Why is there requirement for membership in the Church of Jesus Christ? Two things come to mind. One is that baptism is a covenant with God. Covenants are solemn promises and have consequences. To make a covenant without sincere intent mocks God. The other thing is also sacred. Jesus Christ suffered and died for each person. He loves each one. To take His name upon one’s self is to remember and honor that suffering with reverence. We will be accountable to God for how we keep our covenants. Our best effort is required of God.

Verse 4: And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their name were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.

            This verse adds insight into baptism and membership in Christ’s church. Baptism is a two part process. First, it is immersion in water and coming up out of the water in symbolism of coming up out of the grave into a new way of living a Christ like life. It is cleansing through the power of the Holy Ghost because one has repented of wrong doing and is committing to live Christ’s way from then on.

            Membership in the church of Christ is like membership in a family. Each person is noted, each is numbered and cared for. Baptism is entry into God’s kingdom. There is much to learn about living God’s ways. Members are to help each other to continue to grow in faith in Christ and righteous living of His way. We pray for each other, read the scriptures, and trust in Jesus Christ as we keep His commandments in our daily lives.   This is the day by day process of growing spiritually.

            It also just occurred to me that as we help each other, none of us is perfect. We are all along different places in the path of following Jesus Christ. Those who are further along the path are helpful to those just beginning or not as far along as they are. I have found that learning to live Jesus Christ’s Way is a multi layered process. Understanding of truth and eternal principles are layered to gain insight at different times in our individual lives and to be relearned at deeper levels.

Verse 5: And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.

Verse 6: And they did meet together of to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ.

           As church members, frequent contact to encourage, strengthen, and help each other is important. It is important to also meet for spiritual renewal of covenants and to remember Jesus Christ and His gifts to us. Having eternal understanding doesn’t make life’s challenges go away. As people, and as members of the Lord’s church, we need each other. The strength we gain from others as we face challenges binds our hearts to one another. Empathy and love grow when we help lift one another in our daily lives and in hard circumstances. Kindness strengthens ties between people.

Verse 7: And they were strict to observe that there should be no iniquity among them; and whoso was found to commit iniquity, and three witness of the church did condemn them before the elders, and if they repented not, and confessed not, their names were blotted out, and they were not numbered among the people of Christ.

Verse 8: But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.

           It takes humility to recognize weakness and sin, to acknowledge within ourselves that we knew better or that we could do better. Repenting is necessary for our spiritual growth. As humans, we make mistakes and have choices to make about our thoughts, actions, and direction. When following Jesus Christ is our desire, we must make course corrections regularly as we realize our shortcomings.

            Repentance is a great gift from Jesus Christ to each of us. We, through His grace, can change. We can put off our old selves and become new creatures through Him. It is an amazing gift He has given each of us that we can seek forgiveness and repent with real intent, and then be forgiven by Him.

Verse 9: And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done.

            I have been in many meetings were I have felt the leading of the Holy Ghost through word, prayer, and song. The Lord’s Spirit has enveloped my soul with learning of truth and feeling of joy and comfort, love and faith. The teaching or preaching of others has often opened my mind to the things of God that has felt like a great spiritual feast of goodness and light. It is an amazing process and experience to learn of God through His Spirit while listening to words spoken or sung by others who have prepared with His Spirit to share and testify.

            May we each seek to learn the Lord’s way through repentance and covenants and strengthen one another.

Dani

Mormon 9: 21 – 25, 26 – 28

Verse 21: Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

Verse 22:  For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto His disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all His disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;

Verse 23: And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;

Verse 24: And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;

Verse 25: And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.

            What marvelous promises are these for those who believe in Jesus Christ. Those who ask the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, doubting nothing, shall have it granted to him. Have you taken advantage of this promise? Have you received through your faith in Jesus Christ what you have asked of Heavenly Father in His name?

            I have had answers to my prayers, both large and small. I know God hears and cares about what matters to us. He has heard my pleas and given me so many things for which I have sought. I haven’t received everything that I have wanted, but I have received a majority of my requests. Sometimes the answers have come almost immediately; some answers have come within a week or a month. Some answers have come after years of prayers. Each has been a miracle to me. I have recognized God’s hand in the answer received. In His wisdom, He has given the answer that was best for me.

            These many experiences with prayer to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ have become a solid foundation to my faith in Jesus Christ and my testimony of God’s love and goodness. I know that God cares about each of us. I know that as we seek, we will find. I know that we can trust in His timing. I know that we can get through hard experiences with increased understanding and improvement by seeking God’s help.

            We change and grow through our sincere prayers to Heavenly Father. Our souls expand, our understanding increases, we learn to trust Him through our experiences of prayer in the name of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

            His words have been confirmed in my soul through my life’s experiences. He lives. He loves us. He wants us to come unto Him.

Verse 26: And now, behold, who can stand against the works of the Lord? Who can deny His sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish.

Verse 27:  O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before Him.

Verse 28: Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.

         Moroni identifies that those who fight against and despise the Lord’s work will perish unless they change, or repent. The simple act of sincere prayer and desire to believe will help people begin to come unto the Lord. The way is laid out in the scriptures. Humble study of the scriptures will lead to the Lord. This will aid in understanding how to serve God. Following this path helps one learn that God is true and He does live.

            I have utilized this proccess in my life, and I know it works. Simple humble prayer and honest sincere study of the scriptures has helped me know what to say and how to act in God’s way. The changes these daily activities have brought about in my heart and mind have brought me closer to God. Continued seeking over decades has brought me many answers to prayers, tender mercies of the Lord, and knowledge of His goodness. I know God lives and loves us because I have followed His plan and it has brought me closer to Him. I’m not perfect but I have become more worthy than I was.

            We can each change if we come unto Jesus Christ with broken hearts and contrite spirits. He will make more of us than we can make of ourselves. I know this is true.

Dani

3 Nephi 27: 16 – 21, 22 – 26, 27

Verse 16: And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.

Verse 17: And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.

Verse 18: And this is the word which He hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause He fulfilleth the words which He hath given, and He lieth not, but fulfilleth all His words.

Verse 19: And no unclean thing can enter into His kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into His rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.

Verse 20: Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.

Verse 21: Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;

            The gospel of Jesus Christ is to follow Jesus Christ through obedience to Heavenly Father’s will exercising faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism in Jesus Christ’s name renewed through weekly partaking of the Sacrament, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost which allows us to be sanctified, and enduring to the end of our lives. Through our efforts of living the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, we learn and grow more like our Savior. The Holy Ghost, through our efforts of repentance and obedience, is able to sanctify our hearts and minds.  

            The focus of living the Gospel through almost six decades has brought me closer to goodness, helped me prefer to doing Heavenly Father’s will than my own, and increased my love for the Savior as well as for other people. My peace has increased as has my patience. I have daily joy because of my Savior and His gifts of obedience, sacrifice, faith, and charity. Despite my mistakes, I have hope for eternity with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ because I’m seeking His will instead of my own. I’m choosing to give my will to Him through loving Him with all of my heart, might, mind and loving my fellow men as myself.

            There are so many layers of feeling and doing in these commandments. It takes lots of practice, change, and seeking over and over again through daily living to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and teach us. It is an amazing process. The change this process has wrought in my life is a miracle. To have no more desire to do evil but to do good continually is a state of happiness which does still include opportunities to improve.

Verse 22: Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

            The promise of seeking and focusing our lives on the gospel of Jesus Christ is to be lifted up at the last day. To be lifted out of sin and mistakes and sorrow to the clean place of heaven in which God dwells.

Verse 23: Write the things which ye have seen and heard, save it be those which are forbidden.

Verse 24: Write the works of this people, which shall be, even as hath been written, of that which hath been.

Verse 25: For behold, out of the books which have been written, and which shall be written, shall this people be judged, for by them shall their works be known unto men.

Verse 26: And behold, all things are written by the Father; therefore out of the books which shall be written shall the world be judged.

            Writing, that wonderful process of learning to think as we put what we feel into written words. We are to write of our experiences, a journal or personal history.   I have found that rereading my writing helps me in lots of ways. I can see my own growth and can be reminded of challenges I experienced. I can see that I am progressing toward my goals. I am reminded of good times with loved ones. Writing of my experiences enlarges my memory.

            We will be judged out of the books that are written. Writing not only of our experiences but of our thoughts, motives, and feelings fills in the meat of our lives. We will be judged by what our Heavenly Father has written with love, mercy and justice. The world will be judged and our place in it. Do we improve our own circle of influence; do we serve the people around us? Do we bring joy to the lives of our family and neighbors? Do we help people in need?

Verse 27: And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.

            The Lord’s called leaders judge His followers. They are there to give us His word, to help us understand it, and will eventually judge us as to whether we followed it. He tells His leaders to be as He is. I like to think of the judgment day as a great gathering of those we have known on the earth. The Savior is the judge and we each stand before Him where the things of our lives shall be reviewed. Then I imagine that the people we have known will be invited to speak about our relationships to them and how we particularly influenced their lives.

            I believe we will be surprised at the influence we had with others whom we were not aware even noticed us. I believe we will be able to tell how others helped us, strengthened us, and made our lives easier. I think for most of us it will be a time of rejoicing and reunions with people whom we have known and interacted with during our lives.

            Let us seek Jesus, come unto Him, repent, be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end of our lives humbly doing our best to obey God’s commandments and help others along the way.

Dani

3 Nephi 27: 2, 3 – 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 – 10, 13, 12 – 15

Verse 2:  And Jesus again showed Himself unto them, for they were praying unto the Father in his name; and Jesus came and stood in the midst of them, and said unto them: What will ye that I shall give unto you?

            In answer to the disciples’ prayers, Jesus not only came to them, but He asked what they wanted Him to do. Jesus knew what they had been praying, but He wanted the disciples to identify their need or request. This helps me realize how important praying is for us as individuals. It is we who need to identify what we want the Lord to do for us. We need to think through our concerns and problems, pray about them, and listen for the answers.

            The Lord doesn’t do for us what we can do for ourselves. He is willing to assist us in what we want to accomplish that is right. When we know the outcome that we want, it is good to make our petitions to the Lord specific so that the answer to His question is plain. We need to identify what we want Him to do for us. This allows a specific answer to our prayers.

Verse 3: And they said unto Him: Lord, we will that thou wouldst tell us the name whereby we shall call this church; for there are disputations among the people concerning this matter.

Verse 4: And the Lord said unto them: Verily, verily, I say unto you, why is it that the people should murmur and dispute because of this thing?

Verse 5: Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;

            Why do people murmur and dispute instead of read the scriptures? Why do they look for their own interpretations instead of seeking the Lord’s words and will? Jesus Christ is our teacher; He is truth and right. He is the way and the light. Let us not murmur or dispute but look to Him and live.

Verse 6: And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.

            What a powerful promise to live by. Let us learn and take upon ourselves His name and live His way every day of our lives (with service and love). This process will save us at the last day because we will be changed by His Spirit and His will.

Verse 7: Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that He will bless the church for my sake.

            Jesus taught us to pray in His name to our Heavenly Father. He teaches that His church is called in His name and will be blessed by the Father for Jesus Christ’s sake as members seek Heavenly Father’s help.

Verse 8: And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.

       The Savior’s church is called in His name and built upon His gospel. Seeking to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and obey His commandments and do His will is following Jesus Christ.

Verse 9: Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call, in my name; therefore if ye call upon the Father, for the church, if it be in my name the Father will hear you;

Verse 10: And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.

We can know the Church that is built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ because God’s works will be done in it. God’s works are good and consistent with His commandments. His works strengthen individuals, families, and communities. The gospel of Jesus Christ promotes peace, respect, change, work, compassion, and service. It is taught in the scriptures for all to read.

Verse 13:  Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.

            This total submission to His Father’s will is an example for me. Jesus Christ didn’t need any other reason for coming to the world to experience earth life other than His Father sent Him. Jesus Christ was in complete harmony with the plan of salvation given by Heavenly Father for the benefit of all His spirit children. He was willing because Heavenly Father asked. He was also willing because He loved us. He didn’t have His own agenda or a personal one. He was doing His Father’s errand.

            My will is strong enough that it wants to enter in when others ask me to do something. My perspective of how to do the task is important to me. Giving up my perspective to try to do someone else’s completely is hard to even know how to do it. My will gets in the way of most of what I do.

            I am learning, though, that I do want to do Heavenly Father’s will even when it is most difficult. So I plead for His help do to His will and have found the miracle of change for me. I want to understand His requirements and do them in all things. It isn’t easy and I struggle daily with it. But the effort is changing me. I feel closer to my Savior because of my effort to follow His example in doing Our Father’s will in my own life.

Verse 14:  And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—

Verse 15: And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.

            Heavenly Father sent Jesus Christ to die for us through a difficult process that would allow all the rest of Father’s children to live forever. His sacrifice enabled His judgment of our lives.

            Because He lived on earth as we do, then suffered and died for us as individuals and knows our pains and hurting in earth life, He was given the opportunity to judge our lives at the end. He knows whether we gave our honest effort, were sincere, sought to do Heavenly Father’s will as He showed us, and whether we developed faith, hope, and charity through our choices of words and actions and service.

            May we each seek Jesus Christ and come unto Him, that we might know Him and feel His love for us.

Dani