Monday, September 29, 2014

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 55]

Yesterday for our closing hymn in sacrament meeting we sang #157, "Thy Spirit, Lord, Has Stirred Our Souls."

And, I kind of love it? It was in my head the rest of the day.

The lyrics really spoke to me about how I feel when I'm really inspired by the Spirit:
1. Thy Spirit, Lord, has stirred our souls,
And by its inward shining glow
We see anew our sacred goals
And feel thy nearness here below.
No burning bush near Sinai
Could show thy presence, Lord, more nigh. 
2. "Did not our hearts within us burn?"
We know the Spirit's fire is here.
It makes our souls for service yearn;
It makes the path of duty clear.
Lord, may it prompt us, day by day,
In all we do, in all we say.
One time I really felt that this weekend (not that our testimony meeting was bad yesterday) was during the General Women's Meeting. I felt my soul for service yearn, saw anew my sacred goals. Maybe later (like next week or something) I'll talk about my takeaway messages from the meeting, but I need to check my notes again first. Just know that I really enjoyed it, and the Spirit whispered to me.

So way to go, person that chooses the hymns!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

obey your law [Scripture Mastery Times: Exodus 20:3-17]

A few weeks ago I was home for FHE. We were discussing the chapter in Preach My Gospel about commandments. Guys, there are a lot of commandments we need to keep.

The Ten Commandments were their own section (even though there are ten of them). The manual says:

"The Ten Commandments are still valid today. They teach us how to worship and show reverence to God. They also teach us how to treat one another."

It's no surprise that these verses in Exodus are still part of required scripture mastery. These commandments sort of form the basis of society and civilization.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of thefathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lordblessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 ¶Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
 I've been thinking about how following God's commands means we will be blessed. (And how not following them means we will be...not blessed. You follow?) In the Book of Mormon all over the place we read that "If ye keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land." I feel like that is a fair trade-off.

I also read something this morning about how sometimes our focus on keeping the commandments is so we can get to heaven (or so that we avoid going to hell), which, while that is part of it, I think that the best and most important reason to keep the commandments is because God asks us to, and we love Him. We have faith that He knows what is best for us, He wants us to grow and learn and treat others right, so He gave us commandments to help us along the way. Sometimes it's hard to remember that in the face of a long list of do's and don'ts, but ... we should try to remember.

Friday, September 12, 2014

and the words, they're everything [05]

It's back-to-school time! I guess last week was, more. And the week before that. Even late-starting seminary programs started at the beginning of the week, and now it's the end of the week.

But! The crispness is in the air and the homework is flying. That makes it a great time for a back-to-school edition of What-Would-I-Say!
The true point of education
Did I mention I'm kind of glad not to be in school? I'm a little glad.

And to finish up, here's a nice pattern that the bot came up with that I think all our students should aspire to:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Monday, September 8, 2014

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 54]

This morning on the train I happened to read Elder Holland's 2012 CES Devotional, "Israel, Israel, God is Calling." I am pretty sure I hadn't reread it since I first heard it, so that was a nice way to spend a commute.

Then for our department devotional we happened to sing the hymn of the same name! I realized that I was probably supposed to learn something from this. Or at least share something about it.

Babylon is all around us, and it doesn't look like it's falling. God shall all their towers o'erthrow, but not just yet. So now the question is, canst we linger still in error's gloomy ways? I think we'd better not. There's no justification for vain delays in repentance and coming to Zion in our lives.

Here's a nice paragraph from Elder Holland's address that really spoke to me:
It is easy to be righteous when things are calm and life is good and everything is going smoothly. The test is when there is real trial or temptation, when there is pressure and fatigue, anger and fear, or the possibility of real transgression. Can we be faithful then? That is the question because “Israel, Israel, God is calling.” Such integrity is, of course, the majesty of “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”—right when forgiving and understanding and being generous about your crucifiers is the last thing that anyone less perfect than the Savior of the world would want to do. But we have to try; we have to wish to be strong. Whatever the situation or the provocation or the problem, no true disciple of Christ can “check his religion at the door.”
Have a good day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

kingdom - an inheritance you can't deny [Scripture Mastery Times: Exodus 19:5-6]

This is a new Scripture Mastery scripture. Not saying I'd spent a lot of time thinking about the old ones, but I had to spend a little more time with this one, trying to decide why we chose to add this one to the collection:
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:5–6)
Luckily I don't have to figure everything out by myself. I checked out the Basic Doctrines page and it helped me know that the basic doctrine we learn about in these verses is Covenants.

Covenants are great. I'm sure I am not the only one that has noticed the major emphasis on keeping our covenants lately? Well, perhaps only women will notice because the true push has been in the Women's Meetings. (Not that men shouldn't get great benefit from watching and reading messages toward the women. And on that note...)

In 1971, Joseph Fielding Smith addressed the Priesthood Session at General Conference and said the following:
When we join the Church and receive the priesthood, we are expected to forsake many of the ways of the world and live as becometh saints. We are no longer to dress or speak or act or even think as others too often do. Many in the world use tea, coffee, tobacco, and liquor, and are involved in the use of drugs. Many profane and are vulgar and indecent, immoral and unclean in their lives, but all these things should be foreign to us. We are the saints of the Most High. We hold the holy priesthood. 
To ancient Israel, by the mouth of Moses, the Lord said: “… if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Ex. 19:5–6.)
This promise is ours also. If we will walk in paths of virtue and holiness, the Lord will pour out his blessings upon us to a degree we have never supposed possible. We shall be in very deed, as Peter expressed it, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.” (1 Pet. 2:9.) And we will be peculiar because we will not be like other people who do not live up to these standards. ("Our Responsibilities as Priesthood Holders," General Conference April 1971)
(I would like to thank for having my back on finding quotations based on scripture references.)

I really like the imagery of a peculiar treasure of a people, a holy nation, a kingdom of priests that worthily bless the lives of others. It makes me think of a small, shining bright spot in a world surrounded by gloom. When we live virtuous lives and keep the commandments, we stand out in an excellent way.

(And in return, we receive all the blessings of being the Lord's covenant people, which are pretty awesome.)