Friday, February 12, 2016

A Few Things I Learned In Pathway This Week

During the gathering I was the lead student and so walked around the classroom during the group study time and listened to each of three groups and participated a little in each. What I find interesting is the things that I found to say in each group.

One group was working on this question. What can you do to reach a point in your prayers where you do not ask anything that is contrary to the Lord's will? I pointed out that even asking for things that are good such a asking that God heal someone who has an incurable disease may not be the Lord's will to heal that person. The answer I gave to this question is that if we are in tune with the Holy Ghost then we will always know the Lord's will and will desire to do His will and so we will not ask anything that is contrary to His will.

Another group was discussing these question. If you had lived in the days of Samuel, would you have accepted these prophets? Would you have stood against the masses in their defense? The entire group felt they would accept the gospel because they were all converts to the church and had accepted the gospel. They also felt they would all stand against those who would harm the prophet. I pointed out to them that in their day prophets were stoned and standing by them to defend them could mean death. I asked them if they were prepared to give their lives to defend them.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Endure To The End

I am almost ready to launch my new blog which will focus on the scriptures and what I understand and learn from them. But I do not plan to start it with what I learned this week in Pathway.

This week we studied the last chapters of 2 Nephi. One of the things I liked the most and studied a good bit was about baptism, the straight and narrow path, and enduring to the end. In 2 Nephi 31:11 it is written, "And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son." In 2 Nephi 31:17-18 we learn that the gate to the straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life is repentance and baptism.

For all who have been baptized, the way Jesus was, are on the straight and narrow path. None got on that path by doing nothing. Effort was required. Part of that effort was exercising faith and making changes (repenting) to be ready for baptism. Doing was required before baptism and doing is required after baptism and much of this doing is part of enduring to the end.

"...Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." (2 Nephi 31:20) Next Nephi makes reference to the words he wrote about baptism and the above when he wrote in verse 21, "...this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God..."

Here we find that eternal life and being saved in the kingdom of God are linked. In my mind they represent the same thing but are described with different words. To gain more understanding of enduring to the end I looked up a few other scriptures which I will share here.

First we go to 3 Nephi 15:9 wherein we can gain more insight from words that Jesus spoke to the Nephites in the Americas when he visited them. He said,"Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life."

I find it interesting how with these words Jesus reminds us about the commandments by referring to himself as the law and how he reminds us that he is the light, a light to guide us to our Heavenly Father. Then he says, "Look unto me" He is the light and is always there but we must look unto him, pay attention to his words, and follow him for the rest of our lives; this is enduring to the end. He promises life to those who follow him and eternal life to those who follow him to the end of their mortal life.

Last I found more clarification to enduring to the end in Doctrine And Covenants 20:29 wherein we can read, "And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God."

We must endure in faith on his name. We have to exercise faith in Jesus Christ on a regular basis, not just on the day we are baptized. We should exercise faith on Jesus Christ daily until our very last breath which is the end and doing so is how we endure to the end.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

2 Nephi 9:7 - 9 The Importance Of The Resurrection As Part Of The Atonement

A couple things stuck with me during my reading and study of the scriptures this week. Even before this week I have been thinking about and working on figuring out how Jesus actually did the atonement. I have a few of the pieces but not as much as I want. I'll get more as I continue to focus on this.

One place that gave me more information is in 2 Nephi 9:7 - 9. Here it speaks of an infinite atonement and that if it were not then we could not be resurrected. I don't think I quite put things in such a light before. This seems to tie Jesus paying for our sins with our being able to be resurrected. My understanding was(is?) that because God is the father of Jesus body this allowed Jesus to raise himself from the dead and so too me this could have been done even if Jesus had not been able to pay for our sins. This scripture says otherwise and makes me ask the question why is resurrection linked with the rest of the atonement in this way? I don't have the answer yet and would love hearing from anyone who has thoughts on this question.

Another thing I noticed which I don't remember ever noticing before is in verse 8 where it says "... if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God ..." And verse 9 goes on to explain more about this. I get that if there were no resurrection that we would be miserable because our progression would be halted. But to say that we must become subject to Lucifer just because there is no resurrection seems to be a bit much. We are taught that who we are, including our attitudes and inclinations to do good or evil will be with us when we die because it is who we are. So if we desired to do good continually and lived an exemplary life I do not see how that would mean we must become subject to Lucifer if there were no resurrection. We would still be good people and we would not do as Satan does. Surely God would be able to provide a barrier between us and Satan and his followers just as it is written that during the millennium Satan will be bound. So why would this have been possible if there were no resurrection? There is probably a lot about this I don't understand yet.

I realize there is no need to worry because Jesus did complete the atonement which means we will be resurrected. But it seems to me this fits into how the atonement works and so is of interest for me.

I testify that Jesus paid for all our sins. He died for us. And he raised himself from the dead for us so that we would not be subject to Satan due to a lack of a body after death. Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ we will all be resurrected and if we repent we will be forgiven and thus ensure that Satan does not gain us as his subjects. It is imperative that we follow Jesus Christ to the best of our ability.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

In the lesson this week I watched a talk by Elder David A Bednar titled The Spirit of Revelation. In it he discussed the different forms of revelation to include dreams, visions, messengers, and inspiration. About these forms of revelation he indicated that there are two primary ways they come to us.

The first way is that the revelation is received immediately similar to how a room is completely lit up as soon as we turn the light on. He said that this form of revelation is rare.

The second way revelation is received is more gradual. He compared this way to the gradual increase of light as the sun rises in the morning. He said this form of revelation is more common.

In class we have a project called the becoming project which helps us learn more about a Christ like attribute and to incorporate that attribute into our lives. I chose an attribute that is not in the common list of attributes. Mine is Christs perfect communication with Godhead. He always understood communications from God perfectly and he knew how to pray. I feel a lack of this in my life and so made this my becoming project.

After hearing this talke from Elder Bednar I realized that the real focus of my becoming project was on receiving and understanding immediate revelations. The type he said was rare. I have not and will not abandon my project simply because he says what I seek is rare.

This leads me to question. Why is it rare? Is it rare simply because it is supposed to be? Or is it rare because few people do what is required to get it? I am of the opinion it is that latter question. It requires a lot of time, study, practice, faith, and desire to get to the point where you can receive immediate revelation.

Nephi in the Book of Mormon achieved this before becoming a prophet. This tells me it is not reserved just for prophets. I have had two such incidents in my life with one of them happening a week or two ago. For me, for now, it does seem rare. I believe that I am close to making it be not so rare for me. Close being the operative word here and too me, meaning within a year or two. Possibly months.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tender Mercies of the Lord

Since it has been a while since I posted to my blog and as way of introduction to what I am going to post I want to explain a little bit first. A couple weeks ago I started two university classes that are part of the Pathway program which is sponsored by BYU-Idaho. It is a one year program at the end of which I plan to matriculate at BYU-Idaho and get one of their four year online degrees.

One of my classes is a religious course. We are studying the first half of the Book of Mormon. One of the assignments this week is called putting it all together and one of the options in there is to post to a blog what I have learned this week. So I am posting to my existing blog.

I was very impressed by what I read in the directed study shared at the Pathway gathering this past Thursday. My group used option 2 titled Tender Mercies of the Lord. When I first read part B it didn't quite make sense and I was thinking that wasn't part of mercy. I reread it and soon understood. It says that tender mercies is described as "personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurance, guidance, deliverance, loving kindness,consolation, support, and spiritual gifts."

When I read strength that is where I become confused as I didn't and still don't see exactly how strength is a tender mercy of the Lord. Of course if Jesus grants me strength then I see how that can be a mercy but I was thinking more of strength beyond what is normal for me.

I never thought of assurance, loving kindness, consolation, and spiritual gifts as being part of the tender mercy of the Lord.

My daughter just turned on her music in her room which is beside me and I got up to tell her to turn it down. Too me, it is a tender mercy that she actually turned it off. I let her know that I was doing my class work. The music she put on would have become a distraction.

I look forward to learning more about the tender mercies of the Lord.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I'm back?

I noticed today that it has been over a year since I posted anything and this blog was meant to be part of my effort to create an online presence for myself before I published my book. Of course, I figured I would have the novel (Dragon Claws Rage) published already, but that hasn't happened yet. I haven't quite given up on the novel but with the effort to get it published have seen and understood things I didn't before. I now begin to see more clearly why many writers say that your first novel usually should not be published. I thought I was already past that step though, since some ten or more years ago I wrote a novel which I never published. I think I was wrong.

I've received favorable feed back from many people. I don't want to write just a good book, but a book people will want to read over and over again. So far Dragon Claws Rage is not that book. It lacks a lot of things, including character depth. Beta readers are not in a hurry to finish it. That tells me a lot. Good chapters do not over come bad ones. Bad ones lose the readers interest and then they never read the other good chapters that come later in the book. Character's without enough difficulties and challenges also don't help.

This past February an idea for a new story came to me. I find it interesting that I spent three months planning before I started writing this novel. One of the things that held me back was the nagging issue of character depth. Then I realized I actually had three or four characters that were very well developed from my youth when I played with action figures and ones that I began using again when my children were young. And so I overlaid these personalities over the main characters and now there is more to them than just some individual stats. Progress is much slower with this novel and I think it is because I don't have everything planned out yet. Maybe I shouldn't have started it yet.

We'll see if I am more consistent this time around. It may be time to retire this blog and/or start a new one when I am ready to be more committed to it. And it could well be that I am talking to cyber air since this blog has been inactive so long.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I Started Learning To Sail

For many years I've had a desire to learn to sail. Until a couple weeks ago it was only a desire. On 22 May 2012, I went sailing with a friend in a race and enjoyed i so much I looked for other opportunities to sail and found them. I went sailing on the 24th and the 26th and the 30th. The people I've been sailing with have been helpful and patient with me as I learn the terminology and how to sail and have been teaching me a lot.

I go to the Washington Sailing Marina which is near the National Airport and sail from there. I'm hoping to meet many people who enjoy sailing and be welcomed to go with them as one of their crew until I have my own boat (probably will be years before that happens) so that I can go out whenever I want.

I'm still trying to figure out just what about sailing has me so mesmerized that I'm consumed with seeking out opportunities to get on a sail boat and help sail it. I like learning about sailing and how different angles affect the speed and motion of the boat and the challenge of figuring it out so that I understand it better.