Moroni 8: 17 – 20, 21 – 24, 25 – 26, 27 – 30

Verse 17:  And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.

Verse 18:  For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.

Verse 19:  Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in Him because of His mercy.

Verse 20:  And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of Him and the power of His redemption.

            How eloquently Mormon identifies the pureness of little children and the mercy of God in His treatment of their innocence. Charity for little children is part of perfect love. God’s view is stated clearly and concisely by Mormon.

Verse 21:  Wo unto such, for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me. Listen unto them and give heed, or they stand against you at the judgment-seat of Christ.

Verse 22:  For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing

Verse 23:  But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of His Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.

Verse 24:  Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.

            The purpose of repentance is to help those who break God’s laws. Little children and those who cannot understand God’s laws or commandments do not need repentance for they cannot disobey what they are not capable of understanding. What comfort for parents who have children who are mentally challenged. Like little children, these innocents, are saved because of the mercies of Jesus Christ.

25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and

baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and

the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;

26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and

because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost,

which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love,

which love endureth by diligence unto prayer,

until the end shall come,

when all the saints shall dwell with God.

            Mormon’s explanation of faith, repentance, baptism, commandments, and remission of sins is helpful to understanding how they work together. When we follow the Savior and He remits our sins, we realize how much we owe Him individually. This helps us be meek and humble for without Him we cannot return to Heavenly Father.

            This humility and broken heart allows us to be visited by the Holy Ghost who fills us with hope and perfect love and the ability to endure and we continue in prayer. When the end comes, those who love God and have kept His commandments will dwell with Him. To be able to dwell with God after this life is over or even to abide in His presence during this life, we must seek the qualities that will help us feel comfortable in His presence.

Verse 27:  Behold, my son, I will write unto you again if I go not out soon against the Lamanites. Behold, the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction except they should repent.

Verse 28:  Pray for them, my son, that repentance may come unto them. But behold, I fear lest the Spirit hath ceased striving with them; and in this part of the land they are also seeking to put down all power and authority which cometh from God; and they are denying the Holy Ghost.

Verse 29:  And after rejecting so great a knowledge, my son, they must perish soon, unto the fulfilling of the prophecies which were spoken by the prophets, as well as the words of our Savior Himself.

Verse 30:  Farewell, my son, until I shall write unto you, or shall meet you again. Amen.

            Mormon wants to hope for his people, but he knows what they must do to be saved and they have rejected God’s power and authority. Salvation comes from God through Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ, no one can live in God’s presence after this life is over. The path is the same for each person who comes to earth.

            I’m grateful for Mormon’s letter to his son, because he teaches so plainly important truths for us to understand. These prophetic words bless my life because of increased understanding they give me. I know more clearly what I must seek for in attitudes and actions to prepare to life with God as well as to enjoy more fully His Holy Spirit while on earth.

            May we each be meek and humble so we can hear what the Lord would have us understand.

Dani

 

Moroni 7: 14 – 17, 18 – 19, 20 – 22, 23 – 26

Verse 14:  Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

Verse 15:  For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

Verse 16:  For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

Verse 17:  But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

            How easy to know good from evil: good is of God and brings to Christ; evil believes not in Christ and persuades men to do evil and not to serve God. This knowledge is as clear as daylight is from the dark night. This principle has helped me many times over the years in discerning whether a person or situation is as it seems. I look for the result or purpose. I see the fruits. Good comes from God and brings us to Him. It invites us to believe in Jesus Christ who is our only way Home to God. It is good to judge in God’s way.

Verse 18:  And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

Verse 19: Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.

            To become a child of Jesus Christ, we must lay hold upon every good thing. To become a child of Jesus Christ seems to be a description of becoming a humble, obedient follower of His teachings and commandments. To do good, we are taught to judge righteously through the light of Jesus Christ. As we search diligently in the light of Christ, we are promised that we will be able to determine good from evil. As we choose good, we become children or disciples of Christ.

            Humble searching for good and choosing it over those things that take us away from Jesus Christ is what makes us His follower or disciple. All good comes because of Jesus Christ. He is the source of the good that comes to us. His Atonement for us is what enables our natures to change from the natural man to His child. As He was submissive in all things to Heavenly Father, His Father, we must learn to be submissive to Him in all things.

            In this way, we choose for ourselves to follow Jesus Christ Home to Heavenly Father where we may live with Them forever. A simple path, not an easy one, but surely worth all the effort we can make in this life.

Verse 20:  And now, my brethren, how is it possible that ye can lay hold upon every good thing?

Verse 21:  And now I come to that faith, of which I said I would speak; and I will tell you the way whereby ye may lay hold on every good thing.

Verse 22:  For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, He sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.

            How do we lay hold or encompass every good thing in our lives. God prepared messengers, angels, to minister, or make clear to the mind, the purpose of Jesus Christ’s coming. In Jesus Christ comes every good thing. Faith is the bridge that reconciles our natural selves to every good thing that comes through Jesus Christ.          

When we have faith in Jesus Christ, we strive to live His commandments, we learn of Him through scripture study, the words of His prophets, and prayer. We let the Holy Spirit teach us personally how to choose good in every situation and relationship of our lives. We have faith in Jesus Christ by choosing His word and His way over any other.     

            As a child learns and grows slowly over time, by choosing faith in Jesus Christ, we grow up spiritually over time as we learn and do His teachings line upon line, precept by precept. We are not expected to become ready to enter Heavenly Father’s kingdom in one giant step but to grow into it as we learn to live the various principles of His gospel step by step.

Verse 23:  And God also declared unto prophets, by His own mouth, that Christ should come.

Verse 24:  And behold, there were divers ways that He did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good; and all things which are good cometh of Christ; otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them.

Verse 25:  Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ.

Verse 26:  And after that He came men also were saved by faith in His name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth He spake these words unto our fathers, saying:  Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.

            Without Jesus Christ, we would not have good. All good comes because of and through Jesus Christ. He gives His words to us so we can exercise faith in Him and receive all good things He would share with us. All who choose can be saved by faith in Him. We can have our prayers and righteous desires answered through Him.

            Let us choose Jesus Christ and His ways while on earth so that we can be with Him and Heavenly Father forever after this life is over.

Dani

Ether 4: 2, 7, 9, 10

Verse 1: And the Lord commanded the brother of Jared to go down out of the mount from the presence of the Lord, and write the things which he had seen; and they were forbidden to come unto the children of men until after that he should be lifted up upon the cross; and for this cause did king Mosiah keep them, that they should not come unto the world until after Christ should show himself unto His people.

Verse 2: And after Christ truly had showed Himself unto His people He commanded that they should be made manifest.

       We cannot always stay in spiritual experiences but the Lord does want us to write of His dealings with us so that we can remember them and so that we can share them with our posterity so that they can remember them and thus remember Him.

Verse 4: Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.

Verse 5: Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And He commanded me that I should seal them up; and He also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.

Verse 6: For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.

Verse 7: And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.

            The Lord wants to manifest revelations unto us. When we exercise faith in Him enough to obey the commandments, and seek and do His will, we are preparing ourselves to receive the knowledge He would share with us.

Verse 9: And at my command the heavens are opened and are shut; and at my word the earth shall shake; and at my command the inhabitants thereof shall pass away, even so as by fire.

Verse 10: And he that believeth not my words believeth not my disciples; and if it so be that I do not speak, judge ye; for ye shall know that it is I that speaketh, at the last day.

Verse 11: But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.

Verse 12: And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me—that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.  

            God’s power operates on faith and truth. He has given His word to His disciples. Those who believe the words of the disciples will believe Jesus Christ. Those who believe Jesus Christ will believe Heavenly Father who sent Him. Father – one who takes care of, supports, takes responsibility for helping others. Jesus Christ is our spiritual father and represents Heavenly Father to us. He is the light, the life, and the truth of the world. He gives to us that which Heavenly Father has asked Him to give. He shows us the way Home. He loves us. His suffering for us is the bridge which we each need to cross to go back to Heavenly Father and stay there. Will we choose faith in Jesus Christ and in His words. Will we treasure the things of God?

Verse 13: Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.

Verse 14: Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.

            Jesus Christ’s invitation is to each one of us to come unto Him so that we can see the things of eternity. Our willingness to believe Him makes the difference to our hearts and minds. Our small efforts to have faith in Jesus Christ change the outcome of our eternity.

            We come unto the Savior, Jesus Christ, through faith on His name, repentance, baptism as He was baptized, the Gift of the Holy Ghost which teaches and testifies of Him, prayer, obedience to His commandments, serving others, and enduring to the end. These things turn our hearts and minds to He who will lead us Home to Heavenly Father.

            We came to earth to learn and choose the things that would take us back to Heavenly Father so we could spend eternity in His kingdom. Will we choose to fulfill our mission to go Home or will we let the distractions of the world keep us from everlasting happiness? It is a choice we make daily.

            May we each seek Jesus and follow His invitation to Come unto Him.

Dani

Ether 3: 2, 4 – 5, 12 – 14, 15 – 16, 19 – 20, 25

Verse 2: O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.

Verse 4:  And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea.

Verse 5: Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.

           In this prayer, Jared’s brother identifies his faith in the Lord and His abilities. He is seeking to obey the Lord’s commandments in spite of his weaknesses. He recognizes his responsibility to do the best he can in obeying the commandments while trusting the Lord’s power and purpose.

            This faithful prayer helps strengthen my faith in the Lord and His purposes. I’ve also sought to rely upon the Lord in my challenges and seen His power in my behalf despite my own weaknesses. My very specific prayer requests have often been answered to the detail within a short period of time. As I reflect upon them, I am humbled and grateful that the Lord cares about me in such a personal way.

            I know that He cares about every person. He desires to bless us. When we show our faith in Him, we enable Him to bless us. Let us be faithful unto the Lord and willing to receive His blessings.

Verse 12: And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.

Verse 13: And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

Verse 14: Behold, I am He who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.

            Belief brings miracles into our lives. Believing the words of God enough to follow them, allows us to be redeemed from the fall of Adam. Adam fell from God’s presence. Being redeemed from that falls means being back in God’s presence. Jesus Christ was prepared from the premortal life to redeem those who will believe on His name. In His role as a spiritual father to us and in his role as an obedient Son to Heavenly Father, He invites us to follow Him Home to Heavenly Father by being one with Them.

            Learning to be one with God is the process of a lifetime and brings the greatest joy man can experience. Freely giving up our own wills to choose Their way is the sacrifice that will allow us to live in Their presence forever after this life is over. It also allows us to have the Holy Ghost’s continual presence and guidance in our lives.

            We become sons and daughters of Jesus Christ by choice through our obedience in choosing His Way. As His disciples, we follow His path Home to Heavenly Father. These choices brings miracles to our lives.

Verse 15: And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.

Verse 16: Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.

            Mankind is created after the image of God. One of our challenges in life is to use our physical bodies as God intended us to use them to do His work. Our spirits which make our bodies alive are in the image of our bodies. Death is the separation of body from spirit. Resurrection is the eternal reuniting of body and spirit to live forever.

            The choices we make in this life determine the kingdom level we will live in during the next life. We will live where we are most comfortable. If we are comfortable because we chose God’s ways on earth, we will be comfortable living in His presence and will be worthy to do so.

            This plan of happiness is so clear and simple. It isn’t necessarily easy to do because of the distractions that get in our way. We do have the power to choose. We can repent when our choices aren’t obedience. Sincere repentance will bring the required changes to our hearts and actions. It is a process of learning to love righteousness and choosing to live it.

Verse 19:  And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting.

Verse 20: Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and He did minister unto him.

            I appreciate Moroni’s comments about Jared’s brother’s experience with the premortal Savior. It feels like Moroni had understanding of knowing what it felt like to have seen the Savior, as if he knew also. What a wonderful state to have a perfect knowledge of God.

            Life’s journey can lead us that way if we choose it to. We can know Him better by our own choice to follow His ways. We can walk the path that leads to Heavenly Father and through our experiences on the way, we can know Him through Jesus Christ His Only Begotten Son.

Verse 25: And when the Lord had said these words, he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and He withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth.

           Jared’s brother had the experience of seeing all the people who would live on the earth. He saw us and our time. He saw his ancestors and descendants and their choices. He saw the ends of the earth. It is comforting to me to know that God knows the end and the beginning. There is a plan in place to which we contribute.      

            God is an influence in our lives to help us complete the missions He has given to us in His plan. He knows each of us. Imagine the billions of people who have inhabited this planet. He knows each one. He loves each one. He wants us to return Home to Him. This earth life is a school for us and we choose our grade.

            We choose by our daily choices the degree which we will obtain. Our course work is individual. Our subject experiences are service, relationships, and obedience. Our influence is great in our individual sphere and has eternal impact.

            May we each choose to follow Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, Home to our Heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to come to Him.

Dani

Ether 2: 11 – 12, 14, 15

Verse 4:  And it came to pass that when they had come down into the valley of Nimrod the Lord came down and talked with the brother of Jared; and He was in a cloud, and the brother of Jared saw Him not.

Verse 5:  And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as He stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel.

            The time period of the book of Ether was the Tower of Babel from the Bible. It is about one group who asked God not to confound the language of family and friends and the Lord’s dealings with them.

            We live in difficult times. I have experienced answers to my prayers when I have turned to the Lord in my struggles and difficulties and asked for His help. I know that the Lord will help us to do His will when we ask of Him and have faith to do what He tells us. Like the brother of Jared, we can talk with the Lord even though we do not see Him.

Verse 7:  And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but He would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.

Verse 8:  And He had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve Him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of His wrath should come upon them.

Verse 9: And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of His wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of His wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.

Verse 10: For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.

Verse 11: And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.

Verse 12: Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.

            These verses tell us that this land of America has a specific role. It was a land reserved for those who believed and served God. Lehi’s family, the Mulekites, the Jaredites, the Pilgrims, and groups from other countries have been allowed to come here to serve God in freedom. The Lord’s promise to those on this land is that as long as they serve Him, they will be free. If they turn from Him, when they are ripe in iniquity, they will lose that blessing.

            How simple a requirement to remain free from bondage, captivity, and from all other nations. Why does society not choose this freedom which comes from serving Jesus Christ. His arms are outstretched to each of us, to come unto Him and be saved. Salvation includes freedom in this life as well as eternal life in the next.

Verse 14: And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord.

Verse 15:  And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands.

           This verse helps me understand many principles. I like the example of the way the Lord disciplines. After the great blessings He had given to Jared’s family through Jared’s brother’s prayers, Jared’s brother didn’t pray for four years. Prayer is talking with the Lord. It is a commandment to bring the Lord daily into our thoughts and lives. For four years, the brother of Jared didn’t take time for the Lord. When the Lord appeared to the brother of Jared after that time, He chastened him for not “remembering” to call upon Him.

            Prayer helps us remember the goodness of God in our lives. It helps us focus on His commandments so we can live His way. Repenting, or changing, of this evil, the brother of Jared prayed for his brethren. The Lord was merciful and forgave them with the reminder that to keep His Spirit with them, they needed to not sin and to worship the Lord and keep His commandments. This loving chastising from the Lord was teaching not punishment. We can teach others, especially children, the ways of the Lord, with love. That is His way.

Verse 25:  And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?

            The Lord had a plan that included a great undertaking for the people of Jared. It required their obedience, their faithfulness, and their prayers both in preparation and the almost year time it would take to accomplish it. He helped them with the preparation and asked them for ideas in meeting the needs they would have. This teaches us the ways the Lord helps us in our trials and challenges. Some things He just gives as a result of our prayers. Some things He wants us to think about how to solve and ask for His confirmation and help in accomplishing.  

            I’m grateful for these verses on learning how to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for the truth that teaches me to trust Him. It brings peace to my life. It helps me trust Him when I don’t know the outcome of a situation.

            The Book of Mormon prophets bless my life every day because they took the time to keep records of their interactions with God. Our daily journals will also bless our descendants.

            Let us obey the commandments and look to the future God has for us and our families.

Dani

3 Nephi 27: 28 – 29, 30 – 31, 32 – 33

Verse 28: And now I go unto the Father. And verily I say unto you, whatsoever things ye shall ask the Father in my name shall be given unto you.

Verse 29: Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

            Sometimes being humble enough to ask for the right things is harder than the asking and knocking. I have found it helpful to ask to want the right things and the right outcome as well as to be the right person and the right influence. So many things get in the way of willingly giving our heart to God. I have found that it begins with desire. What I truly, sincerely desire motivates me.

            Sometimes I need to evaluate what my desires are because the emotions surfacing in my heart are camouflaging them. It is a wrestle to identify where I am and where my desires are. But seeking the Lord’s help and understanding after days of struggling brings clarity and peace. It brings the knowledge of what to do and how to do it His way. It brings joy. It opens my mind and heart to understanding of what to do and how to do it.

Verse 30: And now, behold, my joy is great, even unto fullness, because of you, and also this generation; yea, and even the Father rejoiceth, and also all the holy angels, because of you and this generation; for none of them are lost.

Verse 31: Behold, I would that ye should understand; for I mean them who are now alive of this generation; and none of them are lost; and in them I have fulness of joy.

            I would that I could so act that the Savior, Heavenly Father, and all the holy angels rejoice because of my choices. Then I would know that I truly am an instrument in God’s hand in doing His will. The controversy and contention that exists in the world makes it harder to find the joy and peace of the Savior: road rage, mud slinging, jockeying for first, etc. overcrowd “Do unto others as you would be done by,” “love your enemy,” “pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you,” etc. Each individual chooses which way to live his or her life. How we treat one another shows our discipleship. We are the ones who choose our own words and actions. These show what is in our heart and mind.

            Do we participate in seeking those who are lost? Do we have fullness of joy in our relationships with family, friends, and strangers? It isn’t an easy perspective or attitude to develop and live by. It is possible when we desire the things of God and seek them day by day. Oh, the difference between peace and adversity. I prefer the peace.

Verse 32: But behold, it sorroweth me because of the fourth generation from this generation, for they are led away captive by him even as was the son of perdition; for they will sell me for silver and for gold, and for that which moth doth corrupt and which thieves can break through and steal. And in that day will I visit them, even in turning their works upon their own heads.

Verse 33: And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings He said unto His disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work.

            We can let ourselves be led away captive by satan, the adversary of mankind. We can sell ourselves for those things that are of this earth by letting them be our focus, our motive, and our pursuits. Or, we can choose to enter the strait gate of Christlike behavior, building wholesome eternal relationships, enlarging our spiritual knowledge, and giving temporal service that leads us Home to Heavenly Father. We choose each day, and our words and actions show our choices.

            Sometimes, this choice for me has been a battle. Sometimes it still is. But my effort will continue to be to give my heart and my will to God. To seek to be an instrument in His hands to help and bless those around me, especially my family. I have much selfishness of the “natural man” to overcome. I’m seeing progress. I’m letting the Spirit of God change me. I love the peace that comes to my heart and mind when I submit to God’s will in my actions, my words, my heart, and my soul.

            May each seek to let our Savior be the guide for our daily choices. I know that as we do so, we will receive His peace in our hearts. He can calm the seas and He can calm us.

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

3 Nephi 26: 12 – 14, 15, 16, 17 – 21

Verse 12:  Therefore I, Mormon, do write the things which have been commanded me of the Lord. And now I, Mormon, make an end of my sayings, and proceed to write the things which have been commanded me.

Verse 13: Therefore, I would that ye should behold that the Lord truly did teach the people, for the space of three days; and after that He did show Himself unto them oft, and did break bread oft, and bless it, and give it unto them.

Verse 14: And it came to pass that He did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude of whom hath been spoken, and He did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than He had revealed unto the people; and He loosed their tongues that they could utter.

Verse 15: And it came to pass that after He had ascended into heaven—the second time that He showed Himself unto them, and had gone unto the Father, after having healed all their sick, and their lame, and opened the eyes of their blind and unstopped the ears of the deaf, and even had done all manner of cures among them, and raised a man from the dead, and had shown forth His power unto them, and had ascended unto the Father—

            Mormon summarizes what Jesus did for the first days in which He visited the people of Ancient America. Jesus visited them often and shared the Sacrament with them. He taught and ministered to the children and allowed them to speak. They taught their parents greater things than Jesus had. He healed the sick, lame, blind, deaf, and other illnesses as well as raised a man from the dead.

            The people felt the power of His love and care during His visits. He opened to their understanding the fullness of His Gospel. He taught them how to treat each other. The Book of Mormon teaches us how to deal with one another according to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It teaches us, through His words, the deeper obedience to the Gospel than the simple observance of living the Ten Commandments, such as treating others as we want to be treated and not just not doing evil but not even think evil. We are not to do “tit for tat” but to give good for the trespasses people make against us. I feel the power of His love through the attitudes that His teachings improve within me.

Verse 16: Behold, it came to pass on the morrow that the multitude gathered themselves together, and they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things; and the things which they did utter were forbidden that there should not any man write them.

Verse 17: And it came to pass that the disciples whom Jesus had chosen began from that time forth to baptize and to teach as many as did come unto them; and as many as were baptized in the name of Jesus were filled with the Holy Ghost.

Verse 18: And many of them saw and heard unspeakable things, which are not lawful to be written.

Verse 19: And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another.

 Verse 20: And it came to pass that they did do all things even as Jesus had commanded them.

Verse 21: And they who were baptized in the name of Jesus were called the church of Christ.

            From believing in Jesus Christ’s words and being baptized a member of His church by His disciples, being filled with the Holy Ghost, and seeing and hearing unspeakable things, to hearing the children and babes say things too marvelous to be written would have constituted a great day. Changing experiences of goodness for the tribulation and destruction experienced at Jesus Christ’s crucifixion would have been awesome teaching experiences. Surely this helped put the testimony of the Gospel plan deep into the people’s hearts.

            Seeing our Savior with the marks of wounds in His hands and feet and hearing Him teach and testify of Heavenly Father’s plan would soften the hearts of people. The One who makes it possible to return Home to Heavenly Father visited them, spoke to them, prayed for them and loved them. His pure love would have healed their souls, gladdened their hearts, and strengthened their lives. I look forward to the time when He comes again and we might have a similar opportunity.

            My faith in the Savior is strong. My belief in Him and His part of the Plan of Salvation has strengthened me, healed me, and provided miracles in my life. I’ve tried His way and it works. Love and kindness are enlarging to the heart. Humility and obedience are strengthening to the spirit. Clean and pure heart and hands give confidence before God and man.

            Goodness grows and worthiness increases when a person seeks God’s ways. These attributes work miracles in people as hearts and minds are changed from self serving to sacrificing for others. Selfishness is replaced by selflessness when one sincerely seeks Jesus of Nazareth. One rejoices in the experiences and lives of others. Giving unselfishly brings joy. Words cannot describe the wholeness I’ve feel as I seek to live the Gospel plan every day. I make mistakes. I repent. I know that repentance cleanses and heals. Jesus Christ is the way of truth, righteousness, and happiness. He is the way of Eternal Life.

            May we each strive sincerely as we seek Him and learn to live His ways. May we help others with pure motive as He helps us.

Dani

 

3 Nephi 20: 14, 15, 18, 20, 21 – 24, 25 – 26

Verse 14: And the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you this land, for your inheritance.

Verse 18: And I will gather my people together as a man gathereth his sheaves into the floor.

Verse 15: And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people—

Verse 20: And it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day; and except they repent it shall fall upon them, saith the Father, yea, even upon all the nations of the Gentiles.

            Those who love the Lord will be gathered into His kingdom and be given a promised land. He gathers together all those who love Him and will covenant with Him. Those who will not covenant with Him, who do not repent of iniquities, will feel the judgment of God. This life is the time to prepare to live with God. Those who do not choose to prepare through their choices, including repentance, forgiveness, and service to others, will feel the Lord’s justice upon them. Wickedness never was happiness and will not provide safety.

            The Savior is sincere when He invites all to come unto Him. He knows that He is the only Way through which mankind can be saved. He loves each of us and desires each of us to accept His Atonement to prepare our hearts and minds to live with God again. His pleadings to us are a result of His love for us and for us to receive the blessings God has for us. Those who refuse His invitations will also receive the consequences of their choices.

Verse 21: And it shall come to pass that I will establish my people, O house of Israel.

Verse 22: And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you.

Verse 23: Behold, I am He of whom Moses spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people.

Verse 24: Verily I say unto you, yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have testified of me.

            There is a purpose for earth life. There is a plan and our choices have an influence on that plan for ourselves personally as well as for those around us. However, the plan is God’s and He has set the bounds which man cannot pass. When we act within His plan, we are assisting Him with His work of goodness and righteousness. Those who oppose the plan will not receive the blessings they might have had by choosing to follow the plan.  God’s people are those who hear Him and choose to live His way.

            The plan will be accomplished. It is our choice and the consequence of our participation in the plan that will affect our eternity. The plan of salvation is the plan of happiness. It was the plan Heavenly Father presented to all of us before this world was created. It is the plan that will enable those who chose to follow it to enjoy the greatest blessings of heaven, for they will have developed comfort with and enjoyment of the laws that govern there.

            There is a place prepared for all of God’s children according to their choices. What people chose to be comfortable with on earth will establish where they will live in eternity. Each part of heaven is greater than earth life as we know it now. What we seek for is what we will receive. That is why our choices on earth matter so much. What do we use to govern our lives? These are the laws that we will feel comfortable with in the next life.

            Heavenly Father will not force us to receive all that He has. He does invite us to join Him in His abode. No unclean thing can dwell with Him. To become clean, we must choose cleanliness on this earth in our lives now. We must use the Savior’s Atonement every day of our lives to change to become the best we can. His grace will be sufficient for us to overcome sin and weakness.

            Our intent must be real. It must be sincere. Our efforts must be the Best WE can do. Where there is weakness, our Savior will strengthen us. With our willingness, His grace will abound. He will plead to Heavenly Father for us. All things are possible for those who love God.

            Oh, let us love Him with all of our hearts, might, mind, and strength. Let us love one another as we love ourselves and be kind and help each other. The effort will be so worth the sacrifice.

Verse 25: And behold, ye are the children of the prophets; and ye are of the house of Israel; and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

Verse 26: The Father having raised me up unto you first, and sent me to bless you in turning away every one of you from his iniquities; and this because ye are the children of the covenant

            God has promised great blessing to the house of Israel. These of His children will be a blessing to all the people of the earth. There is a responsibility here, a covenant to keep and fulfill. Will we stand and fulfill the covenant our fathers made with God? He will bless the righteous descendants of Israel with the fulfillment of the promises made to their ancestors.

 

            It is a wonderful opportunity to work with God in accomplishing His plan.  As we obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ, make and keep sacred covenants, serve and help one another, repent and change, listen for and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we are being righteous participants in the Plan of Salvation.

            May we look to Jesus Christ and learn to live His way and be part of His plan of happiness in these last days.

Dani

3 Nephi 19: 24, 25 – 26, 27 – 30, 31 – 36

Verse 24: And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, He came unto His disciples, and behold, they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto Him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire.

        From this scripture I learn that learning to pray for the desires of our hearts without many words is possible. The feelings and thoughts of our hearts can be expressed concisely with clarity to God. The Spirit of God can guide us what to pray for. Then truly our prayers are experiences of sincerity and unity.

Verse 25: And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto Him; and His countenance did smile upon them, and the light of His countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof.

Verse 26: And Jesus said unto them: Pray on; nevertheless they did not cease to pray.

            I am grateful when I feel the Savior smile upon me. When my heart is right, my efforts the best I can give, I feel His gratitude and joy. I want to feel His smile more often and so I continue to seek His will and ways in my daily choices. I know that He always loves me. I want to show that I always love and remember Him.

            I also feel His smile even when I turn to Him in my weaknesses and failures. His smile of love and encouragement helps me to keep striving (to get back up after falling). He doesn’t criticize but encourages.

            I want my obedience to Him to be as complete as I can make it as evidence to Him that I love Him and will always remember Him and keep His commandments. Sometimes life gets in the way of my remembrance. I keep trying. It is my deepest desire to be a true disciple of my Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ.

            Jesus wants us to continue praying because it is through our prayers that we can understand, change, and receive Heaven’s help because we seek it.

Verse 27: And He turned from them again, and went a little way off and bowed Himself to the earth; and He prayed again unto the Father, saying:

Verse 28: Father, I thank thee that thou hast purified those whom I have chosen, because of their faith, and I pray for them, and also for them who shall believe on their words, that they may be purified in me, through faith on their words, even as they are purified in me.

Verse 29: Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them.

Verse 30: And when Jesus had spoken these words He came again unto His disciples; and behold they did pray steadfastly, without ceasing, unto him; and He did smile upon them again; and behold they were white, even as Jesus.

            Jesus’ prayer to Heavenly Father teaches us a few things. When Jesus choses disciples or servants, they are or become pure vessels to do His work. It is a person’s faith in God which allows them to do God’s work as disciples of Jesus Christ. God’s work is to save souls and His disciples are instruments in teaching His words for that purpose. People who believe on the words of God’s servants may also become purified in Jesus Christ because of their faith.

            The words of God whether by His own voice, or by the voice of His servants, has the same power to increase our faith in God and to, as we follow His words, purify our hearts and minds. With faith in God and purified souls, people come out of the world, in other words, choose God’s ways over the world’s ways. They do His works. They help others. They become His disciples. They seek God through prayer, studying His words, and doing His works. This brings the smile of God upon His disciples. When they make mistakes, they repent, and keep striving.

            Surely God’s smile is joyful as He watches His children increase in their love for and desire to follow His ways. He loves each one of us but joy comes as we progress toward Him through following His words and obeying His ways. Let us bring joy to God by striving in our daily lives to listen to His servants, live His word, increase our faith, and live His way.

Verse 31:  And it came to pass that He went again a little way off and prayed unto the Father;

Verse 32: And tongue cannot speak the words which He prayed, neither can be written by man the words which He prayed.

Verse 33: And the multitude did hear and do bear record; and their hearts were open and they did understand in their hearts the words which He prayed.

Verse 34:  Nevertheless, so great and marvelous were the words which He prayed that they cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man.

            To hear and understand words so marvelous that they cannot be uttered by others or written would indeed be a marvelous experience. To be taught by Jesus Christ’s example of service would impact the hearts of humble people. Because of their experiences, these people had broken hearts. They were ready to be taught. They had opportunity to learn in marvelous ways both as Jesus taught those He called to serve and as He served the multitude.

            Do we value the marvelous words of God which He gives to us in our day and that are written in the scriptures? Do we value the words of His called servants? Are our hearts humble and our spirits contrite so that we are able to hear the great and marvelous things of our time?

Verse 35: And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying He came again to the disciples, and said unto them: So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief.

Verse 36: Verily I say unto you, there are none of them that have seen so great things as ye have seen; neither have they heard so great things as ye have heard.

            The experiences the called Ancient American disciples of Jesus had in the few days that He was with them were a result of their faith. Jesus compared it to the lack of faith among the Jews whom He spent His whole life with. If we are not experiencing great miracles in our own lives, we need to look inward. Do we use faith to navigate our days or do we dwell in unbelief?

            The gathered multitude observed what Jesus did and how He taught the disciples. They had their sick and infirm healed and their young children surrounded by angels and spoke marvelous things. They heard Jesus pray marvelous words. They had many sacred experiences that touched their hearts, deepened their faith, and would change their actions.

            Jesus Christ can visit us as well. In the scriptures, the words of living prophets, the voice of His Spirit in our hearts and minds, and in answer to our prayers, we can feel His presence, His love, and His invitation to Come Unto Him. As we seek Him, we will find.

            We can know that He is aware of us individually and loves each of us. I know this is true because I have experienced it in my life. I have seen it in others’ lives. It is our willingness to walk along His path, and to be open to receive His words, that allows changes to happen in our hearts and minds.

            It is a marvelous thing to see one’s life changed day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, and decade by decade because of the choice to have faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, individually one by one.

            May our desire and our faith lead us to the miracles of Jesus in our hearts, minds, and lives.

Dani