We Seek After
These Things
Recently returned from serving the people of Honduras for 3 years

Monday, October 27, 2008

Message for my children . . . and anyone else who wants to listen in . . .

I have the great opportunity to attend the most wonderful Book of Mormon class every Monday. People come from near and far, and I feel so 'special' because it's right here in my own stake taught by one of my own ward members, Sister Sandy Name, who has the most marvelous insight into the Book of Mormon. I'm not always the most dependable in attending the class, but now that I teach Primary every week I really try not to miss. We always have the best discussions and I never attend that I don't come away with such gratitude in my heart for the opportunity to be there that day and increase my testimony of that great book and it's influence in our lives.

Now, I have a message that I want to share with all my children, and anyone else who would like to listen in. I think it's so timely with the uncertainty of the world today. I remember waiting with great anticipation for General Conference at the beginning of October. What would the counsel be during these times of uncertainty and negative news that we hear from the media everyday? (General Conference comments below . . .) It was a message of hope! Nothing negative but only the most positive and uplifting thoughts. It was such a wonderful conference!

Everyday we can have that same message of hope and inspiration when we study the words and teachings from the Book of Mormon. (Sorry this is so long but bear with me please . . .)

Imagine Nephi, a young man in similar economic circumstances to us, coming from prosperity and great wealth, then learning from his father, a visionary man, that Heavenly Father had a different plan in mind, and desired that they leave all their material wealth behind and journey into the wilderness and an uncertain future. In 1 Nephi 2:16 - 19 we can read the words of the Lord to Nephi at this time, an apply it to ourselves also. "And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying; Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart. And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands."

From that verse, what are the two traits that we should embrace also when we go to the Lord? To seek diligently, and with faith and humility, knowing that we will receive answers as we inquire of the Lord in obedience. And what was Heavenly Father's promise to Nephi and to us? "Keep my commandments, and you shall prosper in the land". It is the #1 ongoing and repetitive theme from the Book of Mormon! We know that Heavenly Father's definition of 'prosper' may differ from the worlds definition of 'prosper'. But I have to believe that while Heavenly Father may bless us with material and financial prosperity, he will most certainly bless us with a feeling of peace and comfort and that perfect brightness of hope, where we are confident that come what may, we will always be blessed in the end through our faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ. And when we have that perfect brightness of hope, that is really all that matters.

Moving forward in the Book of Mormon to 2nd Nephi, where Lehi leaves his last message and blessing upon his sons, the sons of Ishmael and Zoram; once again, the message that those who are obedient will continue to prosper in the land . . . despite that the environment all around them may be unrighteous. We can study - 2 Nephi 1:7. Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever." Another example, this time speaking to Zoram in 2 Nephi 1:31 "Wherefore, because thou hast been faithful thy seed shall be blessed with his seed, that they dwell in prosperity long upon the face of this land; and nothing, save it shall be iniquity among them, shall harm or disturb their prosperity upon the face of this land forever."

These are great scriptural messages! And also important is that through our faithfulness, our seed can be blessed forever, dwelling "in prosperity long upon the face of the land" if they remain faithful always.

I also have to mention another two of my favorite Book of Mormon scriptures that appear in this chapter - I love how these verses are beautiful but also give us a reminder to repent, and at least for me conjure up visions of righteous sons and husbands in the priesthood . . . 2 Nephi 1:21 "And now that my soul might have joy in you, and that my heart might leave this world with gladness because of you, that I might not be brought down with grief and sorrow to the grave, arise from the dust, my sons, and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity"; and 2 Nephi 1:23 "Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust."

Does that sound familiar? You might want to look back at these two excellent talks from October Conference, http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-947-19,00.html and http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-947-21,00.html both by President Eyring, 1st Counselor in the First Presidency.

Throughout the ongoing and familiar Book of Mormon "pride cycle" where prosperity leads to pride, which leads to the destruction of the people and then a humbling return to Heavenly Father and obedience . . . obedience always brings prosperity! It doesn't matter what the rest of the world is doing!

If you'll remember back to the Old Testament, and the example of Daniel - he was saved IN the Lions Den, not FROM the Lions Den. And it can be the same for us, to be saved IN the Lions den! Not that things will always be wonderful every moment, but through our obedience we can and will be blessed with prosperity from our Heavenly Father. Elder Holland shared a similiar inspiring message this past September 2008 at a CES fireside . . .(Lessons from Liberty Jail / Prison-Temple) It is so worthwhile to review, my favorite quote is that "man's extremity is God's opportunity".

Returning one more time to the Book of Mormon, Helaman 3 teaches us how we can live righteously as a church, while the contentions of the world rage all around. We can be so encouraged as we read and follow the examples in Helaman 3:35 "Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God."

When we "yield our hearts unto God" we have no need to fear, we have the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which will show and tell us all things that we should do. Which brings us back again to General Conference where the testimonies of the prophets contained not one ounce of fear. They were most joyful, excited, full of enthusiasm and exemplifiying a 'perfect brightness of hope'. I know that if we read and ponder the testimonies of the prophets - all things we need are within those pages - if we will but study them. I know that if each of us as individuals, families and members of the church will remember to pray, fast often, teach the word of God, serve and bless the lives of others, be united as a people and as families, be humble and obedient to the word of God, we will have no need to fear. Sure, there will be difficult times ahead and life will not always be pleasant (Nephi after all was strapped to the mast of a ship - but the Lord delivered him!), but we will continue to prosper individually, as families and as a church even during these trying and challenging times to come. This is all that matters. I love this message of hope! I know it's not an easy thing to do, and I hope that I can be valiant in my testimony of the Savior. I'm so grateful for the gospel in my life and so grateful for each of you and your influence and example in my life. You are my prosperity and I love you all!


Jackie said...

I listened in, and I'm sure glad I did. You are so insightful!

Cami said...

What a great insight. Love it! As for your question, the vinyl letter machine I have is just the cricut. You can buy vinyl in large rolls for like 10$.

mamasuisse said...

One of these days, I'm going to have to make it to that class! It sounds like something I need desperately. I'll have to rope Steve into keeping Sam and Leah so I can go.

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