Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What is it About Mankind that Breeds Violence?

Today I read 2 Nephi 10 where Jacob continues to talk with the Israelites.  It is so interesting that despite their strong testimonies of Him, that Nephi and Jacob did not know the Savior’s name while He would be on the earth until this chapter.  I guess they just always referred to Him as Jehovah.  Other thoughts I had while reading this chapter though were more on what verse 13 where it says that he who fights against Zion shall perish.  What it is it about religion that gets people so stirred up?  And I really don’t mind if you don’t agree with me, but why do some people get so upset that they fight and in fact go to war over it?  That is what I cannot understand.  Who would want to believe in a God that demands obedience enforced by the sword?  It is sad really that people feel the need to be so violent.  I guess it is part of being a natural man.  We are just prone to violence when something doesn’t go our way.  It is not in the nature of man to solve things peacefully.  Those that do, make a conscious choice to do so.  If only more of us did.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2014

When Does the Change of Heart Come?

Today I read 2 Nephi 9 which is one of my all time favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon.  But at the same time it makes me a little sad for myself.  Jacob says that his soul abhorreth sin.  Lately I have been thinking about my standing before God.  To my chagrin I find that my soul does not abhor sin, but rather it is a struggle to keep myself clean.  I say that, but it is not really the truth.  I do not struggle against sinning, but rather my soul desires to sin.  My weaknesses beset me and as such my natural man desires to return to my sins, to find carnal pleasure.  My soul does not shake at the appearance of sin but rather I have to make a conscious choice to not find pleasure in it.  Why is that?  I am making my choice by my actions, so why is it that my nature is not changing?  Why have I not experienced the mighty change of heart?  When does the Lord help me have the change of heart so my desires become righteous?  The truth is I don’t know.  I will just have to keep choosing the righteous path and hope that the Lord will one day reward me with a change of heart.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Put on Strength

Today I read 2 Nephi 8 where Jacob reads more of Isaiah to the Nephites.  I really liked one phrase in particular, "Awake awake and put on strength".  The phrase to put on strength is very well said in my opinion.  It means that we can do things to strengthen ourselves.  It reminds me of the scripture in Philippians 2:12 which tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.  It is up to us what we get out of this life.  If we want to become like God is, we have to work for that.  It we want to live in the mud and the filth of this world, then we don't need to do anything, it will drag us down on its own.  But if we want to awake and arise and put on strength, then we have to actually do something.  It's kind of like the escalator analogy I gave years ago.  This life is like walking up a "down" escalator.  If we do nothing, we will go down.  But if we put effort into it, we can rise above it and reach the top, but it will only happen if we put forth the effort.  That is why I like the phrase put on strength.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Keep the Commandments

Today I read 2 Nephi 7 where Jacob quotes Isaiah 50 to the Nephites.  I really like the imagery of God always being there to welcome us.  That it is not Him that turns away from us, but rather we who turn away from Him.  We do it little by little each time we sin.  As we choose incorrectly we turn away from Him.  It is not a conscious choice at first, but rather something that happens as we choose incorrectly.  It is a natural consequence.  We slowly but surely lose our sensitivity to the things of the Gospel.  Then one day we find we have wandered far off and that the things of the Spirit make us feel bad because we feel guilty.  The thing to do is not start on the wrong path at all.  Keep the commandments and repent as soon as you realize you have made a mistake.  In this way we will keep ourselves from going astray and making it harder on ourselves.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Jacob is an Interesting Man

Today I read 2 Nephi 6 which is the first chapter in the Book of Mormon where Jacob is the speaker.  He is teaching the people of Nephi about the words of Isaiah and helping them to understand that they are applicable to the people of Nephi because they are of the house of Israel.  Jacob goes on to let the people know that Jerusalem has already been destroyed and that they were saved by the faithfulness of Lehi in bringing them out of Jerusalem when he did.  Jacob always struck me as a very strong, stalwart individual.  I would really have liked to have known him and been his friend.  He was so strong in the Gospel but he doesn’t seem to be as overly righteous like Nephi always did.  Maybe I am doing Nephi a disservice, but he always seemed so unapproachable to me.  Jacob on the other hand, always seemed like he would be anyone’s friend and a really nice man to be around.  I look forward to meeting him one day.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nephi Flees His Brothers

Today I read 2 Nephi 5 where Nephi is warned to leave before his brothers cause him harm.  I just read this chapter the other day with my family for our family scripture study and I thought about it then too, but Nephi states that his sisters went with him into the wilderness.  What sisters is he talking about?  I remember Nephi stated he had sisters in 1 Nephi, but I thought they were married to the sons of Ishmael.  So did his sisters leave their husbands?  Or did Lehi and his wife have more daughters since they left Jerusalem?  I suspect the latter is actually what happened.  Even if Nephi’s sisters were wonderful women, which they clearly were, I can’t imagine them leaving their husbands and children to go with Nephi.

I also find this chapter very sad.  To know that Nephi and his followers had to fight their own family members.  That Laman and Lemuel were so evil that even after they had the leadership and after Nephi was gone, they couldn’t let it go and chased after him and his family with the intent to kill them.  That is true hatred and evil right there.  I have disliked some people in my time but once they were out of my life, I moved on!  I did not dwell on it and did not keep on letting it fester and boil in my mind.  But I have found that I am unique in that regard and most people are not like me.  It makes me sad.  I do wish we all could just get along, as cliché as that statement is, I do wish it.  Some day we will.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Teach Your Children Properly

Today I read 2 Nephi 4 and the beginning part of the chapter caught my attention.  Lehi is speaking to his grandchildren in this chapter before he dies.  He says to Laman's children that he knows if they are taught the right way, they will not depart from it.  It got me thinking while I was reading it, that as parents we have a terrific responsibility to teach our children the proper way to live.  To make sure they know and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If we don't teach them the right way to live, who will?

I have been listening to the April 1973 General Conference recently and one of the common themes I am hearing is that the Gospel needs to be taught in the home.  Leaders at church cannot do it alone without assistance.  We need to ensure that they are given the proper protection before they leave the home each day.  Just like in times of war a soldier needs his armor to stay safe, we are at war with the world over the Spirituality of our families.  We need to help our children put on the armor of God.  This is the best way to ensure their safety.  Teach them well.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why Was Moses Bad at Speaking?

Today I read 2 Nephi 3 where Lehi speaks to his son Joseph.  I find the context of this speech to his son, especially given how young Joseph was, very interesting.  Why would Lehi talk about Joseph who was sold into Egypt as the last thing he would say to his son on this earth.  The last speech he would give.  Now there is a lot to find in this chapter and it is all good to hear.  But as a final speech to his son?  The last things he said to Laman and Lemuel and Jacob were more fitting in my opinion.  Perhaps Lehi wanted little Joseph to know the reason he was named Joseph. 

As I was reading this chapter I got to wondering, why did the Lord make Moses mighty in writing but not in speaking?  Could it be He was trying to help Moses be humble?  I know it would be hard to be humble if you were good at everything.  Perhaps it was all meant to help Moses learn humility?  To ask for help.  Like most of the thoughts that come to me, I don’t have an answer, but I know that the Lord does everything for a reason.  We also know from the book of Ether that the Lord gives men weaknesses to bring them to Him, so it is entirely possible that He gave Moses this weakness for that very reason.  We do know that Moses was one of the most humble men to have lived so if that is why the Lord gave it to him, it worked!  Each of us needs to turn to the Lord when we have a weakness to make sure that we are relying upon Him and the Atonement.  He is the one who can help us overcome out trials and our weaknesses.  If we don’t turn to Him, they are almost impossible to overcome.  Until tomorrow.