Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nephi is Perhaps the Only Person Besides John the Baptist to have Seen the Holy Ghost

Today I read 1 Nephi 11.  As I was reading I had a thought.  As best as I can recall, Nephi is the only person in the history of the world that has seen the physical appearance of the Spirit or the Holy Ghost.  There may have been others, but they are not recorded.  Millions and billions have felt His influence, but aside from John the Baptist seeing the Holy Ghost in the sign of the dove after he baptized the Savior, Nephi is the only person in the recorded scriptures that records he saw the Holy Ghost.  There have been a few people throughout history that have seen God the Father, Stephen when he was stoned, Joseph Smith at the First Vision to name two, and the appearances of the Savior are littered throughout the scriptures, angels appeared until thousands, but never the Holy Ghost.  I had never noticed that before when reading this chapter.  What a singular experience!  Truly something worth noting.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Lord Does Not Change

Today I read 1 Nephi 10 where Lehi prophesies to his children about the people in Jerusalem.  What struck me though was the last few verses where Nephi reminds us that the Lord does not change nor does He change His pattern.  He will always use the same pattern to communicate with His people.  It is only us people that change and that are tricked by the evil one into believing that He changes and what He did in the past is no longer what He does now.  I am reminded of Moroni who states that if miracles have ceased it is only because we have ceased believing in them.  The Lord will always try and help us, we just have to let Him.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Trust in the Lord

Today I read 1 Nephi 9 and it is refreshing to see how Nephi has such perfect faith in the Lord.  He freely admits that he doesn't know why the Lord commanded him to make a separate set of plates, but he knows it is for a wise purpose.  Nephi understands that the Lord doesn't just give strange commandments without a plan in place.  Sometimes it can be hard to remember that, especially if we are commanded to do something that makes no sense to us.  But like Nephi, I know that the Lord has a purpose for everything He does and if we will just have the faith to believe in Him, we will be better because of it.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sometimes We Just Have to Follow the Savior and Not Know Where We are Going

Today I read 1 Nephi 8 which is Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life.  A couple of things stood out to me as I read this chapter today.  The first was that when Lehi found himself in the dreary waste he saw a figure in a white robe that bade him follow.  But even though he was following the Savior, he was still shrouded in darkness.  This really hit home to me today as I am trying to make a very important life decision with my family that will literally change the course of our lives.  And like most decisions, I cannot see the end from where I stand.  I have to have faith that while I follow the Savior and involve Him in my decision making, He will guide me to the right place.  Just like with Lehi, even though he was doing the right thing by following the Savior, he still didn't see more than a few steps in front of himself.  Sometimes we have to put it all aside and just trust in the Lord that He will guide us when we allow Him to lead us. 

The second thought I had was, what is the purpose of this vision that Lehi was given?  In the book of 1 Nephi until this point, every vision that Lehi had been given was either for the direct benefit of his family, such as going to get the brass plates and getting Ishmael's family, or for the benefit of those around him such as the commandment to preach to the people at Jerusalem.  But this vision, did it really benefit his family?  Or was it entirely for our benefit in the latter days?  I'm not sure.  It is very possible that Nephi and his people studied this vision as part of their scripture reading during their day, but it is just as possible that this vision was given to Lehi for one purpose only; so that we would have it in the Book of Mormon for OUR benefit in this time.  It's one of those questions I will have to put on the back shelf until I meet the Savior face to face and can ask Him.  But I do know that we do have it now and it would benefit us greatly to study it and to learn the lessons we can from it.  Otherwise, the condemnation is on our heads.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nephi Has True Charity for His Brothers

Today I read 1 Nephi 7 and as I was reading it, some things stood out to me.  For example, this chapter was an argument between Nephi, his brothers, two of the sons of Ishmael and two of the daughters of Ishmael who wanted to return to Jerusalem.  I can't help but wonder what the other family members were doing during this?  Especially once it came to physical violence.  Were they so cowed by Laman and Lemuel that they were too afraid to come to Nephi's aid?  I can imagine they very well might have been.  It is difficult to intervene in some one else's argument.

I can also feel the love Nephi has for his brothers in this chapter.  How easy would it have been to allow Laman, Lemuel and those who wanted to go, to just return to Jerusalem?  It's not as if they were trying to stop Nephi and the others from journeying into the wilderness, at least not that we are told.  But Nephi loved his brothers enough that he did not want to see them get killed.  So he risked their wrath and violence, yet again, to try and talk some sense into them. 

I can empathize with Nephi quite a bit in this chapter.  I love my brothers and my sister.  I personally think that family is the most important thing in this life.  I could not just stand by and let them walk off a cliff that they were not aware of either.  Despite his temper, Nephi's love for his family was so overwhelming that even after trying to kill him, sort of, he still reaches out to them in love and tries to help them see the folly of their course of action.  That is true charity.  That is doing good to those that hate you and spitefully use you.  It is no wonder that when Mormon read the small plates he was pleased with what he found and saw no need to add anything to them.  We can learn so much from Nephi!  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Nephi Writes the Things of God

Today I read 1 Nephi 6 where Nephi states that he does not write the things that would be pleasing unto the world but rather the things that are pleasing unto God.  Ever since I was little, I have loved Joseph Smith and been fascinated by his life.  I have also tried very hard to learn the lessons his life can teach us.  One of the most profound lessons his life teaches us is to fear God more than man, as he learned the hard way with the lost 116 pages he loaned to Martin Harris against the wishes of Heavenly Father.

Heavenly Father has told us many times that His ways are not our ways.  He understands that the world is very different from the way He lives His life and has tried to tell us that.  In this chapter, Nephi is displaying his understanding of that principle.  He knows that what the world wants and what God wants are different.  He knows that the things that are important to God are not the same things that will be important to mankind.  I am very grateful that God has provided us the scriptures and that we have them to understand His will concerning us.  Without them, we would be a very lost society.  I am also grateful that Nephi feared God and obeyed Him.  Without Nephi's diligence in keeping the commandments of God, we would not have the scriptures we do today.  Thank goodness for prophets that obey the word of God and help keep us on the strait and narrow path to righteousness.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Do We Treasure the Scriptures Like We Should?

Today I read 1 Nephi 5 and it got me thinking, what must it have been like to live in a world without access to the scriptures?  I can hardly even fathom such a world as that, but truth be told, for most of the history of Christian churches, the general population did not have direct access to the scriptures.  And it seems like in Nephi's time it was also true that the general public did not have access to the scriptures whenever they wanted.  Knowing this makes me feel really bad that I don't treasure my scriptures more, that I take for granted that I have 2 sets of scriptures in the house for me, 2 for my wife and the standard works on my phone and my tablet.  I know I should do a much better job of searching the scriptures and treasuring them up in my heart and in my mind.  It is something I will work on for sure.  Until tomorrow.