Moroni 7: 1 – 4, 5 – 9, 10 – 13

Verse 1:  And now I, Moroni, write a few of the words of my father Mormon, which he spake concerning faith, hope, and charity; for after this manner did he speak unto the people, as he taught them in the synagogue which they had built for the place of worship.

Verse 2:  And now I, Mormon, speak unto you, my beloved brethren; and it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and His holy will, because of the gift of His calling unto me, that I am permitted to speak unto you at this time.

Verse 3:  Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with Him in heaven.

Verse 4: And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men.

            Moroni quotes his father’s words. He honors his father. He believes his father, the prophet. He gives the setting where his father spoke to the people gathered to worship in their synagogue. Mormon identifies his audience, his calling, and his motive. He might be speaking to a gathering of holders of the priesthood as he refers to them as brethren. His listeners are covenant followers of Jesus Christ. He identifies how he knows them.

            Mormon testifies of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. His belief and faith in Them is felt as is his testimony of Their plan of happiness. How succinctly this is all conveyed in four short verses. Can we as clearly express our beliefs?

Verse 5:  For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.

Verse 6:  For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.

Verse 7:  For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.

Verse 8:  For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.

Verse 9:  And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.

            Mormon is remembering God’s words. He is identifying the scriptures and even perhaps some of the revelation he received during his lifetime. His clearly stated truth teaches us the relation between good and evil and how what is in our hearts affects our actions. The choice to be good or evil is made daily over one’s life time. What we do affects what we become. Motive of action has a lot to do with what we be.

Verse 10:  Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.

Verse 11:  For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.

Verse 12: Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against Him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

Verse 13: But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve Him, is inspired of God.

            As I have read these words many times over the years, this chapter of the Book of Mormon has become one of my favorites. It has guided me when I was unsure of people and actions I should take. It has helped me look beyond people’s words to their actions so that I can understand them more clearly.

            As I have evaluated the teachings given in this chapter, I have come to know myself better. I have tried to live more honestly what I feel in my heart. I have made greater efforts to choose actions that produce good feelings. I still make mistakes and have to pray hard for help from God to replace bad feelings with good feelings. I struggle to let good have place in my heart and it works.

            My experience in the past has shown me that He helps us in our efforts to be good. It is one of the ways that makes me sure that God lives and loves each of us. He has changed my heart after much pleading and effort on my part. Not just once, but many times over the years. I know He wants me to be good. He helps me to be better.

            I want to follow Jesus Christ in all ways. It is hard to let go of the sins that prevent me from following Him fully. He has helped me with many of my weaknesses and continues to help me today. I don’t wait as long to repent as I used to because I trust in His ability to help even the most stubborn places in my heart to change.

            Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have been kind to me during this long process of changing. They are patient as I struggle to understand what I need to change and in my attitude of really wanting to change, as well as helping me make the efforts needed. Sometimes I need to relearn lessons. They continue to show loving patient with me. I also learn to be patient with others in their changing. I think this process is one of the greatest miracles I’ve seen during my life. People who want to can change and become good in their hearts. This hard process refines us.

            God doesn’t force us to change but He does invite us to do good continually. His motive is to bring us Home to Him to live with Him in His Kingdom forever.

            Let us not resist good and God. Let us accept His invitation and follow Jesus Christ Home to Heavenly Father. It is my prayer that we will.

Dani

Ether 13: 2 – 3, 4 – 5, 8, 9 – 12

Verse 2: For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve Him who dwell upon the face thereof;

Verse 3: And that it was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.

      Ether taught his people the history of the earth from its beginning. He taught that after the flood of Noah that the land which is known as the Americas became a chosen land by the Lord. It was chosen as a place where God would be served by those who dwelt upon it. It was the place where a New Jerusalem would be built and where the righteous would dwell with the Lord.

Verse 4: Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land.

Verse 5: And he spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come—after it should be destroyed it should be built up again, a holy city unto the Lord; wherefore, it could not be a new Jerusalem for it had been in a time of old; but it should be built up again, and become a holy city of the Lord; and it should be built unto the house of Israel

Verse 8: Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away.

            The Jerusalem of Jesus’ earthly life would be destroyed and built again to be a holy city unto the Lord for the house of Israel. The house of Joseph would be given the land of the Americas for their inheritance. They will build a New Jerusalem, or holy city, unto the Lord on the Americas. For the Thousand Years of the Lord’s Millennial reign, the house of Joseph will live in the New Jerusalem and the house of Israel shall live in Israel’s Jerusalem. 

Verse 9: And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old save the old have passed away, and all things have become new.

Verse 10: And then cometh the New Jerusalem; and blessed are they who dwell therein, for it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph, who were of the house of Israel.

Verse 11: And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old; and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, and from the north countries, and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant which God made with their father, Abraham.

Verse 12: And when these things come, bringeth to pass the scripture which saith, there are they who were first, who shall be last; and there are they who were last, who shall be first.

            After the millennial reign, the heaven and earth shall become new. Those who dwell in the Jerusalems will be those who love the Lord, have repented of their sins, and have used His Atonement to become clean. They will be the descendants of Abraham from, the whole earth, who made and kept covenants with God during their lives. Those who, throughout the history of the earth, loved the Lord and sought to serve Him and obey His commandments, both before and after His coming, will dwell in the two Jerusalems. Their righteous choices and lives will make the cities holy. They will be worthy to dwell with the Lamb.

            Will we choose to be among them? Will we choose Jesus Christ over everything else earth life offers? Will we be willing to change and choose to love God with all of our hearts, might, minds, and strength. Will we participate in His work of bringing to pass the immortality ad eternal life of man?

            I pray we will choose eternal happiness. I pray that we will choose Jesus Christ above all material things. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Only Way Home to Heavenly Father.

Dani

 

Ether 7: 26 – 27; 8: 23 – 26

Verse 26: And because the people did repent of their iniquities and idolatries the Lord did spare them, and they began to prosper again in the land. And it came to pass that Shule begat sons and daughters in his old age.

Verse 27: And there were no more wars in the days of Shule; and he remembered the great things that the Lord had done for his fathers in bringing them across the great deep into the promised land; wherefore he did execute judgment in righteousness all his days.

            This is the prescription of safety for dwelling in the land of America. It is to remember the great things that the Lord has done for our fathers in bringing them to this promised land. It is to repent of our iniquities and idolatries and worship the Lord Jesus Christ. It is to live in righteousness all of our days.

            If our society will do these things, we will prosper safely all of our days and accomplish the great work the Lord has for us to do in the world. We will be led by His Holy Spirit in what we do. The Book of Mormon teaches us these truths. It is one of the reasons it is needed in these last days. Other societies who have dwelt on this continent have perished because they didn’t follow this formula the Lord gave them.

            We are in the last days before the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth. Will our nation be ready to receive Him? Will we, in gratitude and humility, worship the God of this land? Will we have accomplished the mission He gave to all who are brought to and dwell in this special land? Will we have listened and acted more on what the still small voice of the Spirit whispered to our hearts than to the loud, pushy voices of the media and promoters of chaos? Daily the choice is ours. At the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the consequences of our choices will tell for us and those we have influenced.

Chapter 8

Verse 23: Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

Verse 24: Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

Verse 25: For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

Verse 26: Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.

            Moroni outlines clearly the need of our day. He describes it as if he were here now. He describes it as he saw it by the power of God. He shows it with his words to us. The choice is up to us. We have let liars and murders gain power in our land. Will those who love right and justice stand up against those who are working destruction among us.

            Are we awake to our awful situation that the secret murderous combinations are in power? If we do not act for good, the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon our nation. Let those who love the Lord stand together in righteous purpose to strengthen each other and govern our communities, states, and nations with God’s work as our desire. Let us help each other. Let us turn to the Lord and plead for His deliverance. Let us stand in His name for good in our daily words and actions.

Dani

3 Nephi 22, 4 – 5, 7 – 8, 10, 13 – 14, 17; 3 Nephi 23: 1, 3 – 5, 9, 14

Verse 4:  Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed; neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.

Verse 5: For thy maker, thy husband, the Lord of Hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israelthe God of the whole earth shall He be called.

            This verse comforts me because it helps me realize that no matter the circumstances of my life, when I put my focus into following Jesus Christ, all things shall work for my good because He is my Redeemer. Jesus Christ had power to overcome not only His trials, but also the trials of all who put their trust in Him. With faith in Him, the earthly cares and circumstances won’t matter in the eternities. He is the healer of hearts and souls. He will make all things right for those who put their faith in Him and follow Him.

Verse 7: For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee.

Verse 8: In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.

Verse 10:  For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.

           The promises to those who are faithful are for eternity. No matter the trials and adversity experienced in this life, those faithful to their covenants with the Lord, shall have His reward of kindness, peace, and mercy. If repentance and change to learn and do God’s will is our effort and focus, the things we experience in this life will be for our blessing and eternal growth in the next.

Verse 13:  And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Verse 14:  In righteousness shalt thou be established; thou shalt be far from oppression for thou shalt not fear, and from terror for it shall not come near thee.

            During the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, wrongs will be made right.  Righteousness and peace will exist upon the earth. The Lord’s ways will govern. Children, and everyone, will be safe. Learning and living God’s ways now also brings safety and peace to our hearts and lives.

Verse 17:  No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall revile against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.

            The Lord’s servants, the prophets, and His faithful people will succeed in accomplishing the plan of salvation, the purpose of life. Even though there is adversity for all upon the earth, individual choice to follow Jesus Christ during hard and easy times, will enable us to pass through it and receive His blessings in the end. Righteousness and faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ will bless His followers forever. Obedience to His commands and ways, give us the best outcomes in all circumstances. Kindness, charity, forgiveness, and prayer for others are tools of strength we can use daily in our hearts and actions to bring about God’s purposes.

Chapter 23:

Verse 1:  And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.

            Jesus points to the words of Isaiah for study and learning because of the application they have to our lives and to the happenings of our day. They help give us courage and faith as we live our lives preparing for the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. He is the One who gave them to Isaiah and they apply to our day as well.

Verse 3: And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake.

Verse 4: Therefore give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you; and according to the time and the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles.

Verse 5: And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved. Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things.

            Jesus gives a command and a promise to His disciples of Ancient America. Their writing of His words would be given at a future time in the last days to the Gentiles. Those who seek His words and obey them, repent, and are baptized will be saved. To be saved is to obtain the state in which one can live forever with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

            It is the greatest thing we can seek during our lives. It comes from learning and doing the things Jesus Christ taught. It comes from being His disciple, doing His work of obedience and service. It is a wonderful state that we cannot even fully imagine now. It is where peace and love and righteousness exist. It is Zion.

Verse 14:  And now it came to pass that when Jesus had expounded all the scriptures in one, which they had written, He commanded them that they should teach the things which He had expounded unto them.

            How awesome it is to sit at the feet of the servants of God who understand the scriptures and how they apply to our lives. The scriptures are given for one purpose – to help us understand and believe the things of God. When we know His will and ways, we can live better. We can make better choices in our daily lives and treat others with more care and love. We can put our time and efforts into the things that matter most.

            I enjoy learning more of Jesus Christ through scripture study and hearing the words of the prophets. My mind has been opened with light bulb moments as I have heard the words of God and understood better how to live them. I have been blessed through my life with the change I have made in living the words of Christ as given to His servants. I’m grateful especially for modern day prophets whose teachings I have chosen to follow and which have shaped who I have become. I’m grateful for their service and sacrifice in the work of the Lord.

            I look forward to the time when His words will cover the whole earth and all will seek to live them. Then will peace abide in our hearts, minds, and lives forever.

Dani

3 Nephi 21: 10, 11, 12, 14, 19 – 20, 22 – 25, 26 – 29

Verse 10: But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

            Those who seek to destroy the Lord’s servants may mar them but the Lord will heal them; however those who are instruments in the hands of the devil will find that he does not offer healing. Only Jesus Christ has the power to make things right.

Verse 11: Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.

            The Gentiles’ opportunity to join the House of Israel to be part of the Lord’s plan is given as a blessing of love. However, those Gentiles who reject it shall not receive the blessings of those who do accept the covenant of God.

Verse 12: And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.

Verse 14:  Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;

Verse 19:  And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away.

Verse 20:  For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel;

            Heavenly Father blesses His children. When people reject His word and His work and turn away from His ways, He cuts them off from His followers. This warning to the Gentiles applies to our day and includes this country particularly. Those who lead based on lyings, deceivings, envyings, strifes, priestcrafts, and whoredoms who do not repent will be separated from those who love righteousness. Heavenly Father will cut off all who will not repent and follow Jesus Christ.

Verse 22:  But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;

Verse 23:  And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.

Verse 24:  And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.

Verse 25:  And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.

            Heavenly Father wants us to follow Jesus Christ and be part of His eternal plan. We are each invited to repent and come unto Christ. As we do so we are blessed to be part of God’s covenant with Israel. We will receive His blessings.

            A wonderful promise given to those who choose to follow Jesus Christ in these latter days is participation in building the New Jerusalem in this land of America and to assist in the gathering work.

            This work is to prepare for Jesus Christ’s millennial reign. What a glorious opportunity to help prepare for the return of Jesus Christ as He comes in His glory to reign upon the earth for a thousand years. What joy to use our talents and abilities to help in this great endeavor.

Verse 26:  And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem.

Verse 27:  Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name.

Verse 28:  Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father among all nations in preparing the way whereby His people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance.

Verse 29:  And they shall go out from all nations; and they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward.

            The Lord’s work in the last days is to gather Israel through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every people will have the opportunity to hear and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who accept it will be gathered to Him and to the lands He will give them. The Gathering will be done by the hand of the Lord. He will be in it as He was in the setting up of this country.

            We can be part of that gathering by sharing the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Especially by sharing the Book of Mormon and the pureness of the Gospel it contains. I have been amazed at the journey this Testimony of Jesus Christ has led me on.

            My faith in Jesus Christ and my understanding of His ways has deepened and broadened as I have studied this second Testament of Jesus Christ. I am blessed daily by its truths. My heart and actions have been softened and changed. My motivation has become more pure. My love for others has increased and become more charitable. Repentance has become a balm.

            May our hearts be touched with understanding of the role we each have in the Lord’s plan of happiness. May we choose to help in preparing our part of earth for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dani

3 Nephi 20: 27 – 29, 30 – 39, 40 – 43, 46

Verse 27: And after that ye were blessed then fulfilleth the Father the covenant which He made with Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed—unto the pouring out of the Holy Ghost through me upon the Gentiles, which blessing upon the Gentiles shall make them mighty above all, unto the scattering of my people, O house of Israel.

Verse 28:  And they shall be a scourge unto the people of this land. Nevertheless, when they shall have received the fulness of my gospel, then if they shall harden their hearts against me I will return their iniquities upon their own heads, saith the Father.

Verse 29: And I will remember the covenant which I have made with my people; and I have covenanted with them that I would gather them together in mine own due time, that I would give unto them again the land of their fathers for their inheritance, which is the land of Jerusalem, which is the promised land unto them forever, saith the Father.

          The Lord’s plan and covenants will be fulfilled. Both the house of Israel and the Gentiles have place in His plan. Individuals choose their parts consciously or unconsciously, purposefully or thoughtlessly. Our choices affect our part in God’s plan because His plan includes each of us. Families are important. The whole plan of God involves families, individually, and as linked from one generation to the next. His timing will be met in His plan. Families can trust in the covenants made with Him.

Verse 30:  And it shall come to pass that the time cometh, when the fulness of my gospel shall be preached unto them;

Verse 31: And they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and shall pray unto the Father in my name.

Verse 32:  Then shall their watchmen lift up their voice, and with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye.

Verse 33:  Then will the Father gather them together again, and give unto them Jerusalem for the land of their inheritance.

Verse 34: Then shall they break forth into joy—Sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Father hath comforted His people, He hath redeemed Jerusalem.

Verse 35: The Father hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of the Father; and the Father and I are one.

Verse 36: And then shall be brought to pass that which is written: Awake, awake again, and put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city, for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

Verse 37: Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

Verse 38: For thus saith the Lord: Ye have sold yourselves for naught, and ye shall be redeemed without money.

Verses 39: Verily, verily, I say unto you, that my people shall know my name; yea, in that day they shall know that I am He that doth speak.

            Those who believe the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and pray in His name will have prophets to lead them, in unity will they be gathered, and they will have joy. They will see God’s hand in their lives and will see salvation in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father who are one in purpose and strength.

            When the covenant people of God are obedient and faithful to Him, they become strong and beautiful. They become clean through repentance and obedience. Those who love the Lord will recognize Him and His prophets. They will value His word from the scriptures, the living prophets, and through the Holy Ghost. This process is a marvelous thing to behold.

Verse 40: And then shall they say: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings unto them, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings unto them of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!

Verse 41: And then shall a cry go forth: Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch not that which is unclean; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.

Verse 42: For ye shall not go out with haste nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your rearward.

Verse 43: Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.

            In these last days, we are asked to leave the unclean ways of the world and become clean through our efforts of obedience and sacrifice. God asks us to sacrifice of our own will to His will so that we are able to bear His vessels and do His work with worthiness. We are to do as He asks with order and prudence. People will know truth through God’s ways. Jesus Christ will be known by His people.

Verse 46: Verily, verily, I say unto you, all these things shall surely come, even as the Father hath commanded me. Then shall this covenant which the Father hath covenanted with His people be fulfilled; and then shall Jerusalem be inhabited again with my people, and it shall be the land of their inheritance.

            God’s covenant with His people will be fulfilled and His people will inhabit their inheritance. His temples will be honored by those who love Him. Jesus Christ will complete the work that Heavenly Father gave Him. Those who love Him and keep their covenants are participants in fulfilling the sacred work of saving individuals and families.

            What an opportunity we have in our lives to immerse ourselves in the Lord’s work of saving His children. We can help each other. We can make and keep sacred covenants. We can connect our families through family history and temple work. We can build temples unto the Lord and use them daily.

            We are preparing for the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. We are preparing for HIs great millennium reign upon the earth. We have been given the opportunity to be His hands and do His work in these last days.

            Oh, let us be willing and work diligently and with joy to be ready to receive our King, Jesus Christ, as He comes again!

Dani

3 Nephi 19: 1 – 3, 6 – 9, 10 – 14, 15, 16 – 18, 19 – 23

Verse 1:  And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the multitude did disperse, and every man did take his wife and his children and did return to his own home.

Verse 2: And it was noised abroad among the people immediately, before it was yet dark, that the multitude had seen Jesus, and that He had ministered unto them, and that He would also show Himself on the morrow unto the multitude.

Verse 3: Yea, and even all the night it was noised abroad concerning Jesus; and insomuch did they send forth unto the people that there were many, yea, an exceedingly great number, did labor exceedingly all that night, that they might be on the morrow in the place where Jesus should show Himself unto the multitude.

            What conversation families must have had as they talked about the marvelous experiences of the day. To have heard the teachings of Jesus and seen the miracles He performed would have been so joyful. After the destruction of the earth, Jesus’ touch would have been so healing replacing terror and fear caused by darkness and storms with peace and joy.

            The people who had experienced the day with Jesus were talking about it and sharing with those who had not been there. Many labored all night – most likely on foot in the dark – to get to where Jesus was going to be the next day. What an experience of joy to anticipate and prepare for.

Verse 6: And the twelve did teach the multitude; and behold, they did cause that the multitude should kneel down upon the face of the earth, and should pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus.

Verse 7: And the disciples did pray unto the Father also in the name of Jesus. And it came to pass that they arose and ministered unto the people.

Verse 8: And when they had ministered those same words which Jesus had spoken—nothing varying from the words which Jesus had spoken—behold, they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus.

Verse 9: And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.

            The leaders whom Jesus had chosen began leading the next day. They organized the people into twelve groups so they were small enough to hear what was told them. The leaders, the twelve Jesus called, taught the people and prayed for and with them. There were new people to hear and teach – those who had traveled all night to be there.

            I like the statement that they prayed for that which they most desired. To pray for what we most desire in righteousness is a good thing. To receive the gift of the Holy Ghost is the greatest gift a person can have to help them during their life, as the Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead and helps individuals in the ways of God for their specific needs. To have individual tutoring and guidance and comfort and healing through the Holy Ghost is a strength and help of marvelous proportions.

Verse 10:  And when they had thus prayed they went down unto the water’s edge, and the multitude followed them.

Verse 11:  And it came to pass that Nephi went down into the water and was baptized.

Verse 12: And he came up out of the water and began to baptize. And he baptized all those whom Jesus had chosen.

Verse 13: And it came to pass when they were all baptized and had come up out of the water, the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

Verse 14: And behold, they were encircled about as if it were by fire; and it came down from heaven, and the multitude did witness it, and did bear record; and angels did come down out of heaven and did minister unto them.

            The desires of their hearts were fulfilled as the disciples were baptized and received the Holy Ghost. The people saw what seemed like fire encircling the disciples. Angels came down out of heaven and ministered to them as well. What a joyous experience for those who had been there the day before and what amazement for those who had labored all night to get to the place where they could have this heavenly experience. Imagine literally seeing the completed baptism of water and spirit!

Verse 15: And it came to pass that while the angels were ministering unto the disciples, behold, Jesus came and stood in the midst and ministered unto them.

            Jesus came and ministered unto them. To have His presence, to have His care and teachings. What peace and joy and love must have surrounded this multitude. The leaders prepared the multitude through their ministering and teaching for the multitude to have marvelous experiences and to prepare for Jesus Christ’s visit.

            This is what the leaders whom are called to lead should do. Their service should prepare those they are called to serve to receive Jesus Christ. Our service should strengthen and teach people. It should lead them to Jesus. Each of us is a leader and a follower. Each of us has responsibilities to serve and to be served. Both roles are important in the learning process.

            There is something to be learned individually in following Jesus Christ both as a leader and as one of the multitude. Each role leads to more complete understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Verse 16: And it came to pass that He spake unto the multitude, and commanded them that they should kneel down again upon the earth, and also that His disciples should kneel down upon the earth.

Verse 17: And it came to pass that when they had all knelt down upon the earth, He commanded His disciples that they should pray.

Verse 18: And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God.

            The multitude were willingly obedient to Jesus Christ’s commands. They worshipped Him. Good questions for us each to ask ourselves are, “Am I willingly obedient to Him who provides the only way Home to Heavenly Father?” and “Do I reverence He who suffered personally for each of my hurts, mistakes, and sins?”

Verse 19: And it came to pass that Jesus departed out of the midst of them, and went a little way off from them and bowed himself to the earth, and he said:

Verse 20: Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world.

Verse 21: Father, I pray Thee that Thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words.

Verse 22: Father, Thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and Thou seest that they believe in me because Thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them.

Verse 23: And now Father, I pray unto Thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as Thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.

            Then Jesus did as He taught and He prayed to Heavenly Father. He humbly thanked Heavenly Father for the blessings being experienced, then asked for blessings upon others who would be influenced by His chosen servants’ words of testimony. He prayed for unity of purpose of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and those who believe.

            I love unity. I am grateful for the strength, understanding of purpose and people it gives. I also recognize that being One takes sacrifice and humility by seeking God’s will instead of our own. It takes willingness to cooperate with others to fulfill a greater role than one’s own purposes. It brings a wonderful feeling of closeness to others and to God.

            May we each seek Jesus, hear Him, and let Him lead us to our Father Above together.

Dani

3 Nephi 13: 19 – 21, 22 – 24, 25 – 34

Verse 19: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;

Verse 20: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

Verse 21: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

            What do we treasure? We can tell because where we put our time and what we think about show our priorities. Heaven’s treasures are not material things but are eternal things, or things that God values. To learn to value what God does helps us lay up treasures in heaven.   We learn what He values by seeking His truth from the scriptures and the words of His prophets. Daily immersing ourselves in His words helps us to recognize what is important to Him. Doing what we learn helps it to increase in value to us. This is a day by day process which changes us and continues through one’s life.

Verse 22: The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

Verse 23: But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Verse 24: No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.

            What is light? That which helps us see, understand, or know. Jesus Christ is called the light in the scriptures. The eye helps us see light. The light being single means motive is pure which helps our whole selves be full of light, seeking that which is good and pure. If a person’s purpose is evil then his eye is filled with darkness.  

           Darkness and light do not exist together. We choose which we serve. This seems to imply motive to me. What are the reasons we do what we do? Are we seeking God’s will and His purposes or something else? Evaluation of ourselves helps us know ourselves better and enables us to choose what we truly desire.

Verse 25: And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words He looked upon the twelve whom He had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Verse 26: Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Verse 27: Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

Verse 28: And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;

Verse 29: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.

Verse 30: Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will He clothe you, if ye are not of little faith.

Verse 31: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

Verse 32: For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

Verse 33: But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Verse 34: Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.

            These words to the Lord’s chosen servants help me realize that as we participate in His work that our motive needs to be to serve, or help, others. We don’t need to worry about ourselves but can trust God to take care of our needs as we do His work. What we eat or wear is not the priority; how we minister and seek God’s ways should be the priority for His servants. Seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and letting our physical needs work out in the Lord’s ways is His instruction for those who do His work.

            God is capable of doing His work. He invites others to assist in His work because of the way it blesses them. Learning to do His will His way is a good goal. It helps us be malleable in His hands and allows Him to bless us and those we serve. A desire to do His work enables Him to work through us. He wants our hearts to be one with His. He wants us to learn to love those we serve as He loves them.

            Learning to be servants of God is a daily long term work. It feels good when we are able to see His efforts work in us to help others. Joy comes from learning to let His will work through our hands and efforts.

            May we seek to bring peace and relief to those around us.

Dani

3 Nephi 12: 14 – 18, 19 – 20, 21 – 24, 25 – 26

Verse 14: Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Verse 15: Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;

Verse 16: Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Verse 17: Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfil;

Verse 18: For verily I say unto you, one jot nor one tittle hath not passed away from the law, but in me it hath all been fulfilled.

            Those who have the light of truth, the testimony of Jesus Christ, are to live so that the gospel in their lives might bless others’ lives. We are to be an example of His way in the ways we live so that our knowledge will bless others. We are to be living examples of His teachings so others can know how to live righteously.   We are to honor God by the way we live.

            Jesus Christ came to the earth to fulfill all that the prophets had testified regarding Him and His mission on the earth. He is the One who came to make Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness operable. His Atonement fulfilled the Plan. All the words that He has spoken will be verified even to the tiniest one. He speaks truth. His truth will be completed. His Atonement enables the completion of the purpose of life on earth.

            What marvelous thoughts and ideas and truth were spoken by Jesus to the people of ancient America as well as to those in Jerusalem. His words have blessed people through earth’s history. They have blessed my life and continue to do so. They bring me light and peace and hope and love and strength. I want to be part of His work. I want to live and do as He taught. I love Him and our Father in Heaven.

Verse 19:  And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled.

Verse 20: Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

            I feel the Savior’s love in these verses. He tells us that the commandments He gives are of His Father – our Father. The commandments and the law are to help us believe in Him. Believing in Jesus Christ and keeping the commandments help us to want to repent of our sins.

            Believing, obeying, and repenting is the process of coming unto Jesus. These help our hearts to be broken because we realize that we need Him to change, to obey, to believe, and to be healed. We need Him to get Home to Heavenly Father.

            He obeyed Heavenly Father in every commandment. We must strive to do the same in order to fulfill Heavenly Father’s law and to go Home to Him. Fulfilling Heavenly Father’s law for us is to seek Jesus and to learn how to fulfill our individual missions given to us in the premortal life. It is learning to submit our will to His because we love Him.

Verse 21:  Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God;

Verse 22: But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of His judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Verse 23: Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—

Verse 24: Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.

            The commandments are given to help us become pure and clean. It is through our obedience and the Savior’s Atonement that we choose to become ready to live in God’s presence. It is not just our actions, but also our motivations, we need to change. When our full purpose of our heart is to be willing to do all Heavenly Father asks of us, then we are preparing to be received into His presence.

            Changing the heart takes a lot of work especially in our relationships with each other. No matter my desires to do right, it is my thoughts, words, and actions that show the degree to which I’m living my desires.

Verse 25: Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him, lest at any time he shall get thee, and thou shalt be cast into prison.

Verse 26: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence until thou hast paid the uttermost senine. And while ye are in prison can ye pay even one senine? Verily, verily, I say unto you, Nay.

            Verse 25 confused me for many years. Finally, I have understood it to mean to settle disagreements as they occur and not to leave them festering. Relationships need to be as positive as we can make them. It is our responsibility individually to make them as whole as we can. To resolve problems immediately frees us, and others, to continue individual growth. To leave them festering in hearts and minds imprisons our emotional and spiritual growth.

            May we seek His light and truth to bless our lives.

Dani

3 Nephi 12: 7 – 12

Verse 7: And blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

            Webster’s 1828 Dictionary’s first definition of mercy is “That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant.”

            Grace is the nearest synonym to mercy implying benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity, or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Clemency is mildness; softness; or mildness of temper.

            These definitions immediately drew my thoughts to the Savior Jesus Christ. He treats us each better than we deserve. He offers to forgive our trespasses and to forbear punishment if we will accept His Atonement. He is tender and loving toward our weaknesses, hurt, and challenges. He wants to save us from the justice our own actions will bring upon us. He lovingly offers to share our burdens and to comfort us.

            He teaches us that if we are merciful, we shall obtain mercy. If we will forgive others, He will forgive us.   To me this means that if we will be patient with others’ weaknesses, He will be patient with ours. If we are mild, soft, and patient with those we interact with, He will be mild, soft, and patient as He interacts with us. I believe we will obtain mercy through the learning experiences of being merciful. By learning to forgive and empathize, which is not necessarily easy, we will begin to understand the depth of what the Savior offers us. Our characters will grow more like His. Our interactions will become merciful. These ten words of the Savior’s teachings are powerful and broad and deep. Pondering upon them will stretch our souls.

Verse 8: And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

           Who are the pure in heart? Why is the consequence of their purity, the privilege of seeing God?

            Pure means separate, clear, or free from heterogeneous or extraneous matter; free from mixture; free from moral defilement; genuine; real; true; incorrupt; innocent; chaste; free from vice or moral turpitude; free from any thing improper; absolute.

            This definition refers to those who choose goodness, purity of thought, words, and actions. Those who are sincere in doing right because they love right.

            All the pure in hear shall see God. God is pure. He is sincere in doing right. All goodness, truth, and purity comes from Him because that is what He is. He is completely, absolutely free from sin and evil. He is perfectly pure, completely pure. Those whose whole motive is to be good and right in all things shall have the privilege of seeing God.

            I think they will see God in others, in the beauty of the earth, in their daily lives. I believe they will feel His love and help and tender mercies. Yes, I also believe they will see Him with their eyes but before that they will know Him because they are choosing to live His way and having His presence as a result of their choices.

Verse 9:  And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

            Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. Peacemakers are following His attributes in their interactions with others. Peace, a state of quiet or tranquility, freedom from war, freedom from internal commotion, freedom from private disturbance or quarrels, freedom from agitation, heavenly rest, harmony, concord, or public tranquility, is an often sought state of sense or being. Jesus is the Prince, or Sovereign or Ruler, of that state. Living His way brings peace within and in relationships.

            Establishing peace on earth requires His peace in our hearts and minds. Learning to live in peace takes effort and selflessness. It takes following rules and thinking of others before ourselves. It means learning together how to meet each other’s needs. It takes communication and practice. It means literally living in God’s way as His followers – His children.

Verse 10:  And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Verse 11:  And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake;

Verse 12:  For ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.

            I think it is common to complain when people don’t like us.  When people treat us wrong because of our belief in the Savior, the Savior understands.  He who came to enable all men to be saved was despised and persecuted and eventually killed by those whom He came to help.  Even in our day people reject Him and falsely accuse Him and some have ulterior motives as pretend to serve Him.

            The Savior promises those who are persecuted because of their belief in and efforts to follow Him, that they will have great reward in heaven. B lessed means happiness or a means of happiness.  Sacrifice for those we love is good.  Sacrifice for those who persecute, revile, falsely accuse because we love the Savior is a means to happiness.  Happiness because the pure love of Christ towards others is the greatest of all attributes. It brings true oneness with God.

            No, one is not glad during persecution; however, the ability to love and do good to those who hate us shows unselfishness in great degree.  In this, we can have great joy and gladness as we share depths of love for others with the Savior.  Sacrifice is giving up something for something better. How marvelous to be able to give up human weakness and nature for Godlike kindness and love.  Joy is in developing Godlike qualities.  When we stand with the Savior in thought, behavior, and love, especially toward our enemies or those who persecute us, we will feel His joy.

            May we each choose to let our love extend to everyone through the love and grace Jesus Christ offers each of us.

Dani