Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No more turn aside their hearts

First Nephi 19:14-15

The day that The Holy One of Israel will remember the covenants he made to the fathers, and the day the gathering begins, won't happen because of his imposition on us, but rather, the turning of our hearts.  The event that triggers the gathering isn't some political event, war, natural occurrence, or even specific date.  It will only happen based on the turning of hearts to him.  This spiritual gathering must occur before the physical gathering, the former to enable the latter.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The God of nature suffers

First Nephi 19:10-14

The rending of the rocks and groanings of the earth didn't just happen to the people in the Book of Mormon.  As verse 11 says, when Jesus was crucified, he visited all the house of Israel - some with his voice if they were righteous, some with natural disasters if they weren't.  This verse adds "many kings", specifically of the isles of the sea, who also witness the calamities that happen when Christ dies.  I fully expect archeology to unearth one of these records, and read word for word that the God of nature suffers.  It would be some obscure island nation that made an account of this great destruction.  Perhaps many accounts in many different nations will be discovered.  Notice how the kings knew from the Spirit, exactly what was the cause of the earth's distress.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

They crucified the God of Israel

First Nephi 19:8-17
These verses reveal an important doctrine that is made plain in The Book of Mormon: Jesus Christ is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - the God of Israel.  The one who came down to suffer and die for us was God himself.  Who else knows this doctrine?  Ask any religion: who was it that was crucified?  If it is a Christian faith, they may say they crucified the Son of God, which is true.  However, there is another significant title that he holds.  No religion would answer that they crucified the God of Israel.  They crucified the one who led them out of Egypt, who gave the law of Moses.  

The God of the Old Testament is not some distant figure who leaves us mortals to fend for ourselves and figure out how to live on earth on our own.  He actually became a man himself and showed us how to live in this existence by example.  Not only that, but He, himself, suffered for our sins and sacrificed his life to conquer death.  This doctrine, that He was a God before birth, only enhances the significance of His relationship with us; it emphasizes his love and humility.  It also confirms the doctrine of pre-existence, a pre-mortal life.  Like all of Heavenly Father’s children, Jesus existed as a spirit before He came into mortality.  As a pre-mortal spirit, He was given the power to represent the Father as a member of the Godhead.  He created the earth with the Father, and many earths like this.  They are one in every sense of the word, except physically.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Great worth to the body

First Nephi 19:7

What are some things that Nephi esteemed to be of great worth - especially to the body?  He must have taken good care of his physical health, he certainly ate healthy - fruits, grains, honey, meat.  What do you esteem to be of great worth to the body?  Following the word of wisdom (D&C 89) is of great worth.  Avoidance of addictions, eating healthy foods, regular fasting, plenty of sleep - retiring and arising early, and regular exercise is of great worth to the body. Let's not be guilty of setting these things at naught and trampling them under our feet.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Our sacred writings

First Nephi 19:1-7

Using metal plates as a record probably took a lot of work and a lot of time.  It also implies that your writings are going to last far longer than you are.  This would instinctively color your words.  Certainly one would be more mindful when writing something assumed to be permanently available to future generations.  You would want to write your valuable lessons and sacred experiences, as Nephi did.  Lets follow Nephi's example and write sacred things for the knowledge of those who come after us, and let's make it widely known while we still live.

Murmuring is easy

First Nephi 18:15-16

If I were to ask what words come to mind when you think of Laman and Lemuel, I bet the word "murmur" would be one of the first.  Although their common lot as a family group was to be subjected to similar trials and afflictions throughout their journey, Laman and Lemuel were always quick to murmur.  Even Lehi gave in to murmuring when starvation was on the horizon.  Nephi never gave in.  

Now here is a trial that was given only to Nephi - being tied to a seasick ship for 4 days, rocking back and forth in the terrible storm.  His vivid description of his exceedingly swollen wrists and ankles is painful to even imagine, and the ties probably left permanent scars.  I imagine he would have a difficult time even walking for a period of time.  If anyone had reason to murmur among that group, it was him.  Surely if the roles had been reversed, and it was Laman and Lemuel with the exceeding swelling and soreness, they wouldn't hesitate to murmur.  Nephi exerts incredible mental discipline and not only refrains from murmuring, but does the opposite, and praises God all the day long.  

Murmuring is easy, praising God in our afflictions is difficult, and requires putting things into perspective.  Lets remember verse 16, and apply it to any affliction we feel we are facing.  Let us not murmur because of our afflictions, whatever they may be, but let us look unto our God and praise him all the day long.