Monday, February 29, 2016

Mark 10

The scriptures that stood out to me this week were in Mark 10:35-45 where James and John ask Jesus to sit on the right side and the left side of Him. Jesus answers them by saying that they don't what they are asking for and that they must "drink of the cup that [He] drinks of" and be baptized the way that He has been baptized. They answer Him by saying that they have already done this but Jesus answers them by saying it is not his place to grant that reward. This scripture makes so much sens to me because there are specific doctrinal truths that are explained here. First of all, when Jesus says that we have to drink the cup that He drinks of means that we have to live the way that Christ did and experience our own Gethsamane. I think it was Elder Holland says that every missionary will go through their own "gethsamane," however that may look like. Not only do we have to endure hard times but we have to endure them well and show forth Christ-like attributes. It requires a lot of humility and faith to "drink of the cup that [He] drinks of." Second, He says that we have to be baptized the way that He was. That means that we have to baptized by the authority of Jesus Christ and we have to make those specific covenants in order to inherit eternal life. Christ was provided us an example when He was baptized-- that all men have to be baptized to enter the kingdom of God. Making the baptismal covenant is the gateway to eternal life. Third, it is not Christ that judges us, it is the Father, but Christ is our advocate with the Father and will plead our cause if we have repented.

The last thing that I want to point out was what Jesus taught His disciples in the later verses of those passages. He says that whoever is chiefest among you, let him be your servant. I didn't know what this meant until my mission president said that the primary purpose of leadership is to serve; it is merely a greater opportunity to serve and to lead by example. We were called to be servant leaders. I am so grateful that my mission president taught us that because that is an eternal principle that we can take in every calling that we have outside of our missions. I am so grateful for that concept.

3 Nephi 17

In my Book of Mormon class this week, a key concept stood out to me in 3 Nephi 17. In the beginning verses of the chapter, Jesus perceives that the people don't have a full understanding of what He has taught them. He commands them to ponder about the things He has taught them and ask Heavenly Father, in His name, for understanding. I think that is amazing. And then He says to them that through praying for understanding, they will prepare their minds for the morrow when He will speak again to them. A few key principles stood out to me. First, in order for us to understand things on a spiritual level, we must seek them through spiritual tools and methods. For we will receive everything according to their likeness. Evil for evil and good for good. We can only receive answers to spiritual things through prayer and scripture study. Heavenly Father has provided us these tools so that we can know for ourselves the truth of all things and to understand the mysteries of God. We receive these answers through the power of the Holy Ghost ("and by the power of the Holy Ghost ye can know the truth of all things." Moroni 10:5). Second, we have to prepare our minds to receive revelation. This is an eternal principle. When I was on my mission, our mission president would have us prepare for zone conferences and other meetings by fasting and praying to prepare to receive revelation for our areas, for the people that we had stewardship over and for ourselves. Every time I did that the spirit poured out upon me in ways that I had never experienced before and I received and recognized eons of revelation. It became a pattern on my mission to prepare for these meetings through prayer and fasting along with reading the assigned material our mission president wanted us to read. Prayer really is the portal of revelation.

Monday, February 15, 2016

By their fruits ye shall know them

There have been specific things that I have learned for myself this week as I have been studying and seeking revelation on knowing what decisions to make in my life right now.. It's amazing how the scriptures can be brought to life regardless of what chapter we read, because the Spirit knows what questions and concerns we have about our lives and there are specific words and phrases that stand out to us during different circumstances. I have had some inner turmoil this week as I have been faced with a cross road where I couldn't which road would produce better fruit. I was really frustrated and discouraged. As I was praying, I remember specific life lessons that I learned on my mission that continued to come to my mind even after my mission. The life lesson was "by their fruits ye shall know them." In the Bible where this phrase is mentioned, it is mostly referred to coming to know whether or not a Prophet is truly called by God. But I have receive a lot of revelation on this concept that has helped me make a lot of important decisions in my life. This phrase can be a great discerner in knowing whether or not the road that you are currently is bringing you closer to Christ and enabling you to become the person that the Lord wants you to become. We can know this by the fruits of the Spirit that are described in Galations 5:22-23 such as love, joy, peace, long-suffering etc. The path that I was on earlier this week with certain activities that I was involved with weren't producing those fruits, they were producing the opposite. I knew from those indications that the activity that I was participating in wasn't bringing me closer to Christ or to my family. It finally clicked and I was able to make a decision based upon the fruits of the Spirit. Ever since I have made that decision I have been feeling so good and so light. I know that this is the path that Heavenly Father wants me to be on.
I am so grateful for the scriptures and that I am able to discern truth as I study from them each day. I can also know for myself whether or not my activities are bringing me closer to God or taking me away from Him. Truly, I have been "led to believe the holy scriptures... which leadeth [me] to faith on the Lord,and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart..." (Helaman 15:7). I leave my testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.