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Showing posts from 2016

2 Nephi 1:8-12

"And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, may nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.  Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves.  And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.  But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord - having a knowledge of the creation of the earth and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the crea…

2 Nephi 1:4-7

"For, behold, said he, I have seen a vision, in which I know that Jerusalem is destroyed; and had we remained in Jerusalem we should also have perished."

There is so much trust in visions and revelation.  It would be so easy to pass it off as a dream or the imagination of his heart.  But Lehi knew the vision to be what it was and did not doubt it.  What were his life experiences that led him to know and not doubt?  How did he come to this place?  It seems this kind of knowledge comes in baby steps.  It starts with following little promptings.  Then the promptings become stronger, more detailed.  Then occasionally you are able to hear the voice of the Spirit or the voice of the Lord with the promptings.  Then the voice becomes more regular and steady and very detailed.  Then you begin to see along with hearing.  You get images, small glimpses that are part of the prompting that is told to you by the Holy Spirit.  After a while, full views come along.  And so it is, slowly and…

2 Nephi 1:1-3

"And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of teaching my brethren our father, Lehi, also spake many things unto them, and rehearsed unto them, how great things the lord had done for them in bringing them out of the land of Jerusalem.  And he spake unto them concerning their rebellions upon the waters, and the mercies of God in sparing their lives, that they were not swallowed up in the sea.  And he also spake unto them concerning the land of promise, which they had obtained - how merciful the Lord had been in warning us that we should flee out of the land of Jerusalem."

Lehi is speaking to Laman and Lemuel and reminding them of the rebellions they have had all along this many-year journey from Jerusalem to this point where they had reached the promised land.  It seems he is reminding them just how merciful the Lord can be and all the Lord has done for them, despite their rebellions and sins.  The symbolism of their experience is a direct parallel to...yup…

Recap of 1 Nephi

What I am seeing as the over-riding message, this time around, is agency.  There is agency and there are eternal truths, immutable truths that cannot be affected by our agency therefore there are things that will happen according to the use of that agency. 

I see the distressing of Ariel as the blessing and kindness that it is.  I see the struggles and the trials as the beautiful, gentle hand that allows my heart to open in places I feared to open it before.  My distress actually gives me courage and makes me desperate to open those places and heal them.  What a wonderfully gentle way to allow me to heal.

I see that when I forget, I will be reminded.  Which leads back to agency, over and over in life.  It is a lovely cycle, the point of which is to allow healing to take place.  It encourages my heart to open and to turn to the Lord with my heart...the result being that my heart can be purified and I can come that much closer to Him. 

I think about Nephi's perspective and Lehi'…

1 Nephi 22:30-31

"Wherefore, my brethren, I would that ye should consider that the things which have been written upon the plates of brass are true and they testify that a man must be obedient to the commandments of God.  Wherefore, ye need not suppose that I and my father are the only ones that have testified, and also taught them.  Wherefore, if ye shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day.  And thus it is.  Amen."

This law of obedience is so essential.  It is the beginning of everything.  It is the process that starts all progression.  When we are obedient, for the sake of obedience, our hearts aren't in it very much.  But we see as we are obedient that the Lord is free to bless us.  As He blesses us, we feel such gratitude for how abundantly He pours out His blessings.  Then we step into the GLOW cycle.

Gratitude.  We feel gratitude for how the Lord imparts freely to us.  When we feel true gratitude, there are a couple of fruits. …

1 Nephi 22:27-29

"And not behold, I, Nephi, say unto you that all these things must come according to the flesh."

These things are "according to the flesh" - or are things that will be in this temporal sphere.  What is Nephi trying to say here, in between the lines?  Is there an easier, different existence that is attainable while in the flesh but is not subject to the flesh?  The things must come in the temporal world...he says nothing about any other world or existence.

"But, behold, all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people shall dwell safely in the Holy One of Israel if it so be that they will repent."

All who repent will dwell safely.  All.  What type of repentance is this?  It says that all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people...if they repent will dwell safely in the Holy One of Israel.  it does not give religious qualifiers.  Repentance = safe dwelling in the Lord.  If their hearts are turned to God - be it whatever name they call Him - they shall dwell safely …

1 Nephi 22:24-26

"And the time cometh speedily that the righteous must be led up as calves of the stall, and the Holy One of Israel must reign in dominion and might, and power, and great glory.  And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth; and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep, and in him they shall find pasture.  And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth."

As calves of the stall - such a tender and loving phrase to describe His constant, watchful, intimate care of those that belong to Him.  And because He has their whole hearts, He can purify and cleanse the vessel is become pure and whole - able to hold all things without breaking, or cracking, or leaking.  It is become perfected thro…

1 Nephi 22:21-23

"And now I, Nephi, declare unto you, that this prophet of whom Moses spake was the Holy One of Israel; wherefore, he shall execute judgment in righteousness."

Nephi declares the prophet to be the God of Moses and of the children of Israel.  In this one sentence we have a Jewish man interpreting Isaiah and understanding that Jehovah of his day would become Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.  How did Nephi understand that when so many of his contemporaries and those who came after did not?  What verses of Isaiah did he read that led him to understand that the Holy One of Israel was also the Messiah?

"And the righteous need not fear for they are those who shall not be confounded.  But it is the kingdom of the devil, which shall be built up among the children of men, which kingdom is established among them which are in the flesh - For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power …

1 Nephi 22:16-20

"For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous.  Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire.  wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire.  Behold, my brethren, I say unto you, that these things must shorty come; yea, even blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke must come; and it must needs be upon the face of this earth; and it cometh unto men according to the flesh if it so be that they will harden their hearts against the Holy One of Israel.  For behold, the righteous shall not perish; for the time surely must come that all they who fight against Zion shall be cut off"

There are so many truths in here.  Also, I've been…

1 Nephi 22:15

"For behold, saith the prophet, the time cometh speedily that Satan shall have no more power over the hearts of the children of men; for the day soon cometh that all the proud and they who do wickedly shall be as stubble; and the day cometh that they must be burned.  For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous."

First, I'm assuming Nephi is still quoting Isaiah at this point.  He doesn't specify which prophet, but the only prophet named in the last couple of chapters is Isaiah.  What does it mean, "speedily cometh?"  If this is Isaiah, then these words were written around 700 B.C.  And here we are today, almost 3,000 years later, and still this has not happened in the what does this look like in the spiritual?  What does it mean?

It makes me think about when Isaiah was called to be a prophet and he felt unable …

Going Beyond Reading

When I start reading my scriptures, I look for my personal reactions.  If I read a verse and think nothing of it or feel "right, I know this" then that tells me that I don't really understand what is going on.  I haven't sufficiently questioned the verse.  I find that it is very easy to read a few verses, put my scriptures down and go on with my day.

The truth is, I miss so much when I do that.  Some time ago I started asking myself questions when I'd read.  At first I wasn't sure what questions to ask.  I had no idea what I was looking for or what would make the verses be more than just words on a page to me.  It took a while of observing myself to learn the signs that there is more to be understood.  The biggest one is what I've already mentioned - when I'm feeling very blasé about the verse in front of me, it tells me that I'm not really letting the scripture in.

This is when I stop and ask questions.  Especially when it's a verse I've …

1 Nephi 22:12-14

"Wherefore, he will bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered together to the lands of their inheritance; and tehy shall be brought out of obscurity and out of darkness; and they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel."

This idea of bringing them out of captivity...again it is spiritual and temporal.  It is literal and physical.  There is the prophecy about the Savior coming to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and literally saving the people, for one off the top of my head.  It is also literal and spiritual in nature.  If I think of my sins or my errors are my captors, He leads me out of them by the lovely healing process that Isaiah teaches.  And after healing takes place and there is space in my heart for something other than my false beliefs, He tenderly helps us come to understanding and helps us to learn doctrine (Isaiah 29:24 "They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they tha…

1 Nephi 22:10-11

"And I would, my brethren, that ye should know that all the kindreds of the earth cannot be blessed unless he shall make bare his arm in the eyes of the nations.  Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel unto those who are of the house of Israel."
The Lord will make bare His holy arm in the eyes of the me this phrase speaks of the visibility of His power.  It will be clear that the Lord is leading his people.  It will be clear that His protecting, guiding, all-powerful arm is in control and that He is in the midst of the people - invested in the daily moments as well as the eternal plan.  To those who believe in Him and call on His name, His arm being made bare will be glorious and joyful.  To those who fight against Zion, it will be an awesome and terrible thing - one that fills with fear, dread, and trembling.  
There is only truth and everything else.  Pride leads …

1 Nephi 22: 4-9

"And behold, there are many who are already lost from the knowledge of those who are at Jerusalem. Yea, the more part of all the tribes have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea; and whither they are none of us knoweth, save that we know that they have been led away."

Nephi is continuing to tell his brothers things that were revealed to him.  It would be so easy to think Nephi a bit crazy at this point - he had no proof for the things he was saying.  The only proof he had was the verification given by the Holy Spirit.  

"And since they have been led away, these things have been prophesied concerning them, and also concerning all those who shall hereafter be scattered and be confounded, because of the Holy One of Israel; for against him will they harden their hearts; wherefore, they shall be scattered among all nations and shall be hated of all men.

It seems that every verse in every book of scripture is saying this one message -…

1 Nephi 22:1-3.

"And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had read these things which were engraven upon the plates of brass, my bretheren came unto me and said unto me: What meaneth these things which ye have read?  Behold, are they to be understood according to the things which are spiritual, which shall come to pass according to the spirit and not the flesh?"

My first thought in reading this verse is to question the difference between Nephi and his brothers.  Why is Nephi so different from them?  What made him learn to connect with the Lord and made his brothers assume they could not?  Here is a young man who, like his brothers, probably had the typical Jewish training for boys.  They went to temple.  They were taught from a very young age the Torah, and the writings of the holy prophets.  They knew the language of the Jews and the underlying symbolism that is profound in their language.  This is just basic elementary education for Jewish men in that age.  So why are t…

The Beginning

Over the years, I have had many ask me how I came to know and understand sacred writings the way I do.  For more than a month now, I have had a thought come to me at least once each day.  This blog is a product of that thought.

The question that comes most often is something along the lines of "How did you get all of that from one little verse?  I didn't see any of that there!"

After more than a couple of dozen of requests that I walk others through my process until they understand it, I've decided this blog is the answer.  I'm going to post each day what my scripture study looks like, from beginning to end.  The thoughts I have, the questions I ask, everything.

With every study, I begin in prayer.  I ask that I will be able to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit as I study.  I ask that my eyes will see, my ears will hear, and my heart will understand that which the Lord has for me to learn this day.  I ask to be taught by the Holy Spirit and to be able to underst…