By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Some Things to Think About

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:2-5)

"Being human, we would expel from our lives, sorrow, distress, physical pain, and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort. But if we closed the doors upon such, we might be evicting our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery. The sufferings of our Savior were part of his education" (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 168).

King Benjamin's sermon about how God supports us from moment to moment as well as immediately blesses us (when we keep His commandments) was not designed to be a popular sermon in self-sufficient times like ours. For us to be called "unprofitable servants" and to be reminded that even our bodies are made of the dust of the earth that also "belongeth to him"—these are hard sayings that bruise our pride. (Mosiah 2:21-25.) Unless—unless, through humility and obedience, we can transform feeling owned into a grand sense of belonging, and being purchased into gratitude for being rescued, and dependency into appreciation for being tutored by an omniscient God, which He does in order that we might become more dependable and have more independence and scope for service in the future. [All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience by Neal A. Maxwell, chapter 2 (I have this book in GospeLink and on tape, so I'm sorry I don't have a page number for you.)]

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mosiah 3:19

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:19)

This scripture has been on my mind a lot lately. For a single verse, it contains a lot of gospel principles to ponder and to learn to apply to my life.

The term natural man (which, of course, includes women) refers to all types of worldliness, physical and intellectual. We have to learn to put off the natural man by yielding to the Holy Spirit and also by applying the atonement to ourselves. We learn to put God first in our lives and using His teachings as the guide for how we live our lives.

We also need to become as a little child in the sense of being trusting and humble and meek. All of these things are taught to us through the scriptures and the words of the prophets. In addition, we have the gift of the Holy Ghost to teach and inspire us and to confirm truth to us. Prayer--communion with our Heavenly Father--is also a chief source of learning for us.

I think it is interesting that the word patient is included in the list of attributes we should develop. I believe it is because the Lord works in His own way and time. He knows the end from the beginning and understands completely what is best for us, even if we do not. Patience is important, too, because it takes time for us to learn and apply all of these things. We do not change overnight, but we do change if we will put in the effort.

I've also been thinking about how being humble, meek, patient, and full of love can help us in our relationships with other people. We are all different, yet we do have a lot in common as well. If we can learn to be patient with the differences and to appreciate them, even as we enjoy what we have in common, we will improve our relationships with our brothers and sisters.

It's interesting how one verse can spark so many thoughts.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

More Randomness

It has turned cooler here in Oklahoma--80s instead of 90s for daytime highs. We were inundated with more rain last Monday, but have had sun since then. It's very welcome.

Confutus has been working hard at putting up more information at Sapience Knowledge Base. Bookmark it and drop by to see the progress. Register and discuss all sorts of things on the forum.

Drop by The Atlantic Monthly and read "A Reader's Manifesto" from the archives. I am sure I saw a recent post about this article in the Bloggernacle, but I can't remember where or when. If you know, tell me in the comments and I will add a link to it.

Life goes on and I continue studying the gospel in order to get a better grasp of all there is to know and do. Have a happy week! Don't forget Constitution Day on 17 September.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

On Relying on the Lord

I am feeling much better these days. Still not 100%, but not dead on my feet anymore!

I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying lately about being humble and obedient. It is a shame that these states of being have gotten such a bad reputation. They conjure up images of being weak doormats, which is far from what they are. Our pride gets in the way and we worry about losing our individual identity, forgetting that we have our agency and also that we are each a unique package of traits and gifts and abilities that will not disappear if we are humble and obedient.

Becoming converted to the gospel and living it all of our lives depends on our humbling ourselves before the Lord and recognizing that His will for us is what is best for us. Our uniqueness means that our service to the Lord will have its own individual stamp and will add something to the building of Zion that no other can add in quite the same way. We do not lose by being humble and obedient--we only gain. We gain faith and strong testimonies and a goodness that comes in no other way. We gain help and comfort and strength and blessings from the Lord. We gain in better relationships and love with other people. We gain knowledge and understanding and wisdom and confidence. We gain a completeness that we can find in no other way.

Becoming humble, obedient, and converted is not something that we come to in an instant. It is an ongoing process of growth and progress. We can help it along with prayer, scripture study, fasting, and service. We help it along, too, in fellowship with others and in developing such virtues as patience, integrity, charity, and so forth. We can allow the Lord to lead us and guide us without holding back parts of ourselves. We can recognize His omnipotence and omniscience and can trust Him completely.

Everyone has issues that they struggle with. That is a part of the testing, trying, and proving of mortal life. Becoming humble, obedient, and trusting the Lord can lead us to the answers we need. Sometimes those answers are slow in coming, but the Lord knows what He is doing. Sometimes we will have to wait until the next life to understand some things because of the mortal limitations we are living under now. This does not mean that there are no answers, just that we have to wait for them.

By putting the Lord first in our lives and relying on Him, we can live up to our potential and be the people that the Lord means for us to be. He does not hold us back--He urges us onward and upward. Not just for this mortal life, but for all eternity.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

September Begins

This past week could not end quickly enough for me. Last weekend, I started coughing a little (allergies, I thought). It progressed to the point of feeling like death warmed over. Slowly, I have become able to breathe again and this morning, I was able to gas up the car and go to the store without collapsing into a wretched little lump. I'm going to survive! I only missed work for 2 days, but 2 more wouldn't have hurt me. Still, I'm glad I went in yesterday so I could take care of the multiple emails and phone messages my agents had left for me. I won't have to deal with those things next Tuesday. (Hurray for 3-day weekends!)

The worst part about feeling so weak and miserable was that I needed (and wanted) to study and ponder some important gospel principles and I just didn't have the strength or the focus of mind to accomplish much. I did manage to write something of an outline of the most basic principles that I need to concentrate on incorporating into my life on a much more in-depth basis, and to write a list of questions to guide my scripture study for awhile. This should help me have some direction. I have also been reading a marvelous book,
Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy by Richard G. Scott. Elder Scott (of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) offers some thought-provoking concepts and counsel. Normally, I likely would have finished the book by now, but, in addition to illness slowing me down, I have read more slowly, thinking more carefully about what I am reading.

Paying attention--what a concept!

The weather has been a few degrees cooler here and the rain has slowed, although we are still about 20 inches ahead of what is normal for this point in the year.

This coming week, the first week of September, is always difficult for me. 5 September will be the 28th anniversary of losing my children in a car wreck, and 8 September will be the anniversary of their funeral. I know they are safe and happy and waiting for me, but it still hurts my heart to remember. There are many happy memories, of course, but there are sad ones, too.

I wish you all a happy holiday weekend.