Thursday, July 19, 2012


Keep yourselves in the love of God

Mercy, peace and love can be multiplied when we are "sanctified of the father and preserved in Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:1). In Jude 1:3 Jude counsels that we should "earnestly contend for the faith". To appropriately contend for the faith, we must share the gospel with others and strive to live our lives in accordance with gospel principles that we may be an example for good. We must stand up for what we believe in and do our part to uphold righteousness. The word contend means "to strive or vie in contest or rivalry or against difficulties : struggle." When I think about the battle between good and evil, it is crucial for us to remain faithful to the gospel. This reminds me of Mormon and Moroni who contended for the faith until the very end. In Moroni 8:6 Mormon writes to his son "And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God." No matter how difficult things are, we must remain faithful, keep trying and endure to the end.

In Jude 1:6 he refers to a "first estate". This refers to our pre-mortal existence. We know that those who kept their first estate and accepted God's plan were blessed to come to this earth to gain a body and be tried and tested in all things.

In Jude 1:9 he speaks of a dispute between Michael the archangel and the devil. From reading the student manual, I learned that this information came from and apocryphal book. Apocryphal means "of doubtful authenticity" . In D&C 91 which is a revelation given to Joseph Smith regarding the Apocrypha, the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that the Apocrypha is mostly translated correctly, but there are many things in them that are not true due to information being changed by the hands of man. Article of Faith #8 states "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." I therefore would explain this odd disputation in this way, that we may not have accurate information regarding this because as Bruce R McConkie stated these apocryphal books were not included in the Bible, because they weren't necessarily correct in every way even though they contained some things of value. So we may not have all the information we need or even all the correct information regarding this.

In Jude 1:14, Jude states that when the Savior comes again, he will be accompanied by ten thousands of his saints.

From my reading of Jude 1:17; 20-25 I have learned that in order for us to avoid the evils that come from false teachers, we must remember the words of the apostles. I think that this is so important for us to remember, because they are men called of God to guide us and lead us back to Heavenly Father. They speak the words of God and they will not lead us astray. We also need to pray and seek our own revelation and guidance from the Lord. Verse 20 states that we build up our faith through prayer and through the Holy Ghost. When we do these things, it keeps us from being lead away by false teachers because Heavenly Father has provided ways for us to receive the truth and guidance that we need to return to Him.

Another way that Jude teaches us to avoid false teachers is for us to look to the Lord for mercy. We must stay close to him and remember that He is the way for us to gain exaltation. We must turn from sin, repent and follow the Savior's example. Our Savior is the only one who can cleanse us from sin and present us back into our Heavenly Father's presence where we can have everlasting joy.

To complete this assignment, I read, ponder and studied the designated scriptures and section from the student manual. I also cross-referenced scriptures to gain deeper understanding.

I chose this particular assignment because I liked the topic and wanted to learn more about what Jude taught on this subject.

The best thing about this assignment was learning ways that we can avoid the evils from false teachers. I think that the dangers of being lead away by false teachers are increasing and we really need to be firm in our testimonies so that we are not deceived. The scriptures teach us how we can build a firm foundation and not be lead away.

I am not sure how this could be improved. I studied and pondered what I needed to and felt like I gained a lot from this assignment. I guess that I could have taken more time to cross reference scriptures a little more and perhaps this would help me to make deeper connections, but overall I really enjoyed this assignment.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

That ye may have fellowship with God.

In 1 John chapters 1-3, we learn from John's teachings that we need to gain fellowship with God and come to know Him. John teaches us several ways that we can have fellowship with God. The following verses teach us ways that we can accomplish this.

1 John 1:8-10
  • recognize our sins
  • confess our sins (repent)

1 John 2:3-6

  • keep God's commandments
  • follow the example of our Savior

1 John 2:9-11; 3:11-19

  • love others
  • help those in need

1 John 2:15-17

  • "love not the world, neither the things that are in the world"
  • keep ourselves from pride

1 John 2:20-21,27

  • we must be taught by the spirit
  • have a testimony of Jesus Christ

1 John 3:4-6

  • we must not continue in sin

As we do the things that John admonishes, we draw closer to God and we invite his spirit to be with us. We can have fellowship with him. As I look at this list and think of how I can implement this counsel in my life to strengthen my relationship with God, I want to focus on loving others. I can implement this in my life by praying for increased love for others as well as for opportunities to serve. I can strive to be more patient with my family and others and try harder to build people up instead of finding their faults. I can also focus on heeding the promptings that come to serve others. All to often I second guess those promptings or fail to act on them and I need to respond quickly and without question when those promptings come to me. I also can be more mindful of others needs and then serve with a joyful heart and a spirit of gratitude that I can share my time and talents with others. The scriptures teach us that in order for us to truly love God, we must love his children. 1 John 4:21 "And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."

To complete this assignment, I read the required verses to make a list of John's teachings.

I chose this assignment because I really liked these verses and it really stood out to me just how important it is for us to draw closer to our Heavenly Father and have that fellowship with him.

The best thing about this assignment was being able to reflect on areas where I can improve and draw closer to God.

I am not sure how this assignment can be improved other than to set goals that will help me focus on my desire to love and serve others and note the changes that happen within myself.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

Hebrews chapter 11 lists many people from the Bible who showed great faith. Here I have listed some of those mentioned as well as the way the showed their faith and the blessings that they received in return.
My table can be found

There are many examples of men and women who showed great faith throughout the scriptures. These are three other people or groups of people that I think could be added to this list.

  1. Joseph Smith. He had great faith that God would give him direction and tell him which church he should join. After reading James 1:5 he retired to a grove of trees and offered a humble prayer for direction. His faith led to the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ upon the earth in the latter days.
  2. Nephi’s great faith in returning to Laban to retrieve the Brass Plates. He knew that God would provide a way for him to accomplish his task that seemed near impossible to accomplish. "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."(1 Nephi 4)
  3. The 2,000 stripling young warriors who bravely went to battle to protect their homes, families and liberties with a great faith that God would deliver them. They were taught by their mothers. (Alma 56)

In Hebrews 12:1-2, Paul encouraged the saints to lay aside sin, and continue on with patience (endure), and look to Jesus Christ, the author and finisher (one who completes or finishes) of our faith.

Faith is different than belief. Belief in something is passive. It doesn’t require action on our part. Faith on the other hand includes a belief in something, but it is more than that, it leads us to action. We can believe in Christ, that he lived and that he exists, but faith in him requires us to trust him and follow his example. When we have faith, we believe that we can become like him and we have faith when we keep the commandments and live worthy lives to become joint heirs with Christ.

To complete this assignment, I read the required reading, created my chart and answered the additional questions listed in the assignment.

I chose this assignment, because the topic of faith was of great interest to me and in reading Hebrews 11, I was very interested in the examples of faith that Paul lists from the Bible.

The best thing about my assignment was pondering and distinguishing the difference between belief and faith. I also enjoyed learning from the examples of faith and thinking about how they could relate to me and my life. I am not sure how this assignment could have improved. I thought that it gave me lots of different ways to study faith.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Paul's affection for Timothy

Paul's counsel to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:1-7 shows the great love and concern that Paul had for Timothy. It is almost that of a father's love for his son. His counsel to Timothy is very similar to the counsel that Mormon gave to his son Moroni in Moroni 8:3; 9:6, 22, 25.

Paul's counsel to Timothy:

  • First, he refers to Timothy as his son
  • He prays for him without ceasing (night and day)
  • Filled with joy because of Timothy's faithfulness
  • Encourages him to continue serving in his calling
  • Admonishes that fear is not of God, but power and love are.

Mormon's counsel to Moroni

  • Prays continually for Moroni
  • Prays that Moroni may continue on in faith through the grace of God.
  • Encourages Moroni to labor diligently
  • Counsels Moroni to not be weighed down, but be lifted up with a remembrance of Christ, his sufferings, death and resurrection that Moroni may have hope of eternal life.

Both men expressed a great love, Paul to Timothy and Mormon to Moroni. Paul thought of Timothy like a son and Moroni was actually Mormon's son. They both prayed for them, encouraged them to labor and serve in their calling and both taught that they should not fear or be weighed down, but put their trust in God and exercise faith in Christ.

In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul notes Timothy's grandmother's and mother's faith. I think Paul makes mention of these two women, because perhaps they were very influential in Timothy's life and in teaching him the gospel. This reminded me of the 2,000 stripling warriors, who had such faith, because they were taught by their mother's and they did not doubt their mother's knew it (Alma 56:48).

Paul gave the assurance that the spirit of fear is not of God, but what comes from God is power through the Holy Ghost and a spirit of love. When I think of what was going on in the lives of these men at the time that Paul wrote this, I can see why it was important for Paul to give this counsel to Timothy. The saints were being persecuted and it was a troublesome time for the church as a great apostasy was beginning. But I think that Paul's counsel is very relevant for us today, because as the prophets of our day say, we live in "perilous times" as well. But we should not live with a spirit of fear either. We need to put our faith in God and continue to serve him and have a hope in Christ that if we remain faithful to the end, we can have eternal life.

In 2 Timothy 1:15-18 Paul speaks of the house of Onesiphorus and he blesses it with the Lord's mercy. He did this because of the hospitality and kindness that he showed to Paul. When Paul was in Rome, Onesiphorus sought him out and was not ashamed of Paul. I think that this is significant, because Paul was not a popular person in Rome at that time and it may not have been a good thing for Onesiphorus to be associated with him. Paul blessed him that he would find mercy from the Lord.

In Matthew 25:35-40, we learn that when we serve and care for others, we are in the service of our God. Just as Paul blessed Onesiphorus, we can receive similar blessings when we serve and care for others. When we serve our families, our neighbors, and in our church callings, we are serving God and he will bless us also.

In 2 Timothy 1:16 Paul states that Onesiphorus was not ashamed of his chain. Matt 11:29 and Jacob 1:8 can help us to understand what Paul meant by that. I believe that it means that we should endure all things for Christ's sake. That we should be true disciples of Christ following his example and being willing to stand as a witness of him at all times even though we may be persecuted for it. I think that when he says that Onesiphorous was not ashamed of his chain, it means that he stood by Paul even though Paul was suffering afflictions because of his preaching and belief in Christ. Onesiphorous was not ashamed to support him.

I read and pondered the required verses and cross referenced scriptures to help me understand Paul's counsel to Timothy.

I chose this assignment, because I was really touched by Paul's love for Timothy and the desire that he had to help him in his calling.

My favorite thing about this assignment was the counsel that the spirit of fear is not of God. As our world becomes more and more wicked, it is easy to become fearful, but we are reminded that we should not fear, but put our faith in God and press forward with a hope that we can have his spirit with us and if we remain faithful to the end, we can gain eternal life.

My assignment could have been improved by cross referencing other scriptures regarding fear to learn how we can eliminate that from our lives by putting our trust in God.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

We can find solutions to life's challenges in the scriptures

My assignment this week was to find solutions in the scriptures for some common issues that we or others may encounter.

1. People sometimes argue and complain over petty matters in church meetings or throughout the week.

Paul's counsel to the saints in Phillipians 2:1-8, 14-15 teaches us several things that can help us find solutions to this challenge.

  • We should be like minded
  • Compassionate
  • We should be of one accord (united)
  • No strife
  • Humble, esteem others better than themselves
  • Christlike

If we are striving to emulate Christ, we will treat others with respect, compassion and love. We will be humble and place other's concerns and needs above our own. I can see why this counsel was given, if all members of the church responded in this way, there would be unity and the petty issues would disappear. If we find ourselves in this situation, we can try to follow this counsel and respond to others who may disagree in a loving way so as not to ignite feelings of strife. This also reminds me of the scripture that states "a soft answer turneth away wrath." (Proverbs 15:1) Our response to these encounters can either fan the flames or quench them.

2. Many youth feel that their parents' testimony is sufficient for them. Since they have good parents, they rely on them for all their spiritual strength.

In philippians 2:12-15, Paul's counsel in regards to this situation is as follows:

  • We must work out our own salvation. (verse 12)
  • We must do all things without murmuring and disputing. (verse 14)
  • Paul teaches that as we become sons and daughters of God, that we can stand in the midst of a wicked generation and "shine as lights in the world".

We must each gain our own testimony. It is part of working out our salvation to come unto Christ. Without our testimonies, we cannot stand steadfast and immovable. When we gain our own testimony it changes who we are and what we do and we can shine as lights in the world by being an example to others and sharing our testimony with those who do not have the gospel or a testimony of their own; that we may show them how to work out their own salvation as well.

3. An investigator is considering joining the Church, but his family will no longer associate with him if he does.

This is a tough situation, but Paul gives some great counsel in Philippians 3:7-16 and 4:13.

  • He essentially teaches that it is worth giving up everything to "win Christ and be found in him"(phl 3:8-9)
  • In Phl 4:13 He gives the encouragement with his words, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me".

This would be a very difficult decision to join the church at the loss of ones family, but the blessings that come to us through accepting the gospel and making and keeping covenants through baptism are worth whatever sacrifice we need to make, and we can have the assurance that we will receive the strength that we need when we are obedient to God's commandments.

Writing this assignment is an example of the principle found in 2 Nephi 32:3, because Nephi teaches us in this verse that "the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." As we feast upon the words as Nephi suggests, we can receive revelation from God to lead us in our lives. The scriptures were written for us. We can find solutions to our challenges as we read, study and ponder them.

I completed this assignment by pondering the different challenges, studying the scriptures listed and finding the principles that would offer a solution to those challenges.

I chose this assignment, because I felt like it was a good opportunity for me to ponder the scriptures to see how we can find direction and solutions to our problems. These may not have been my own problems, but I know that when my challenges arise, I can seek guidance and direction through the scriptures, and I know that I will find it there.

The best thing about this assignment was relating it to 2 Nephi 32:3. This made this a little more personal to me because I know that when my challenges come, as they often do, we are taught to seek answers in the scriptures.

This assignment could be improved by keeping a journal of the challenges I face or the difficulties I encounter and the answers that I receive from reading the scriptures. I think that if I will do this, I will better see how the scriptures are alive and how they teach us what we need to do to return to our Heavenly Father. We will also see his hand in our life and we can strengthen our testimony of his love for us.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Live as Saints should live

Choice 1, Romans 12-16. Live as Saints should live.

In Romans 13:11 Paul states that our salvation is nearer. There are things that we need to continue doing to work on our salvation. In Ezekiel 3:20 we learn that we must warn others and not turn from our righteousness. D&C 14:7 teaches us that must keep the commandments and endure to the end.

In Romans 12-13 Paul teaches the things that we need to do that will lead us to salvation.
  • Romans 12:1, Self sacrifice. We must deny ourselves of all ungodliness and render all that we have and are to God.
  • Romans 12:12, Self mastery. We must not be conformed to the world or worldly things. Put off the natural man.
  • Romans 12:9. We must love sincerely (charity), abhor evil, and cleave to good.
  • Romans 12:13. We must take care of others (service) and be kind.
  • Romans 12:16. We must not be prideful. We need to be meek and humble, and not lift ourselves above another.
  • Romans 12:21. Paul counsels us to not be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good.
  • Romans 13:1. We must be submissive and obedient to God.
  • Romans 13:3. We mus do good.
  • Romans 13:8. We must owe no man anything, and love one another.
  • Romans 13:9. Thou shalt not steal, bear false witness, or covet. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

In Romans 14:1-13 and Romans 15:1-3, Paul gives us some counsel in regards to judging others. He cautions that we should not judge others. We are all on different levels, and none of us are perfect. Only God can judge. Judging others can be a stumbling block to others.

People may have different opinions and practices and we may not always see eye to eye, but it is important to remember that Christ is the judge. We should all strive to edify one another. Christ suffered and died for us, it is through his atoning sacrifice that we can be forgiven. He is the only one that can judge us and we will stand before Him and God and give an account of ourselves. It is important for us to focus on ourselves and not waste time judging others. We can gain additional insight into this principle in D&C 38:25. We learn that we must treat everyone fairly. God loves all of his children the same and he will judge fairly. When we judge others, we may not know all the circumstances that surround their ideas and choices, which leads us to judge unfairly. God wants us to be united and not caught up in disputations that may arise from judging unfairly.

Paul refers to the members of the church in his day as Saints. I found this interesting as we are referred to Saints in our day as well. His counsel was just as relevant for the members of the church in their day as it is to us in our day.

I completed this assignment by reading the required verses, cross referencing scriptures to gain additional insight, and pondering my response to the questions.

I chose this assignment, because I felt that it would be a great resource for me to create a list of things that I need to work on for my own salvation.

The best thing about my assignment was the insight I gained into what things we should be doing for our own salvation. I really enjoyed making this list and pondering on these things.

I struggled a little bit with understanding all of Pauls words regarding judging of others. I did my best to understand, and if I had had more time, I could have spent more time pondering each verse. to gain a deeper understanding of Pauls counsel.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation

Choice 1: Romans 1. The Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation,

Jesus Christ is the Son of David in the flesh through his lineage. He is the son of God in flesh and in spirit. Because of his royal lineage through David, he could reign on earth, but through his royal lineage, being the only begotten of the Father, he is the heir to all that the Father has. He has the authority to reign in heaven and on earth through that lineage. He has the authority to act in God’s name and to do his will.

It was essential for the Savior to be mortal in that he needed to gain a body and have to ability to die. He needed a mortal body to atone for our sins and to lay down his life for us. However, he needed to be immortal to have the power to lay down his life and take it up again. Being immortal would allow him to fulfill God’s plan.

In Roman’s 1:15-20 Paul gives us some insight into his feelings about the gospel. In verse 16, Paul states that he is not ashamed of the gospel. He was not afraid to share the gospel with others. Not only was he not afraid, but he had a great desire to share the gospel with others. He had a testimony that the gospel was the power of God unto salvation. In verse 18 he testifies that the gospel is truth.

I can show that I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ through my obedience to the commandments. It isn’t always popular by the world’s standards to live in accordance with the gospel, and another way that I can show that I am not ashamed, is by standing up for what I believe. I can share the gospel with others, use my right to vote to vote for things that are in accordance with my morals and principles, I can serve faithfully in my calling and I can keep myself unspotted from the world.

In Romans 1:21-32, Paul lists some of the sins of the people

• Knew God, but did not glorify Him
• Ingratitude
• Vain (corrupt in reasoning)
• Hearts were darkened
• Professing themselves to be wise (Pride)
• Worshipping idols
• Unclean through the lusts of their hearts
• Changed truth of God to a lie
• Worshipped and served the creature more than the creator
• Homosexuality
• Did not like to retain God in their knowledge
• Filled with unrighteousness
• Fornication
• Wickedness
• Covetousness
• Maliciousness
• Full of envy
• Murder
• Debate (strife/discord)
• Deceit
• Malignity
• Whispers
• Back biters
• Haters of God
• Despiteful
• Proud
• Boasters
• Inventors of evil things
• Disobedient to parents
• Covenant breakers
• Without natural affections
• Implacable
• Unmerciful
• Knew the judgments of God, but transgressed anyway, or sympathized with others who did

My assignment was then to put a checkmark next to the sins that are still a problem today and I marked every one. The problems that Paul saw in his day are still happening today. Paul gives some reasons why people commit these sins
• They knew God, but would not glorify him as God (vs. 21)
• Follow the lusts of their hearts (vs. 24)
• They don’t retain God in their knowledge (vs. 28)
• They pull away from God through sin. They withdraw from the spirit so that it cannot work in them for good. (vs. 24,28)

In Romans 1:25, Paul states that the people “worshipped and served the creature more than the creator”. In Romans 8:19 the footnote gives some additional insight into what is meant by the creature, it says creation or material universe, so I believe that this means that they worshipped the things of the world more than God who created all things. I believe that they failed to recognize God’s hand in their lives and failed to glorify Him.

To complete this assignment, I read and pondered the required reading, I also discussed some of the principles with my husband.

I chose this assignment, because I believe that when we study the scriptures about Jesus Christ, it helps our testimonies to grow. I knew this would be a good opportunity to study the Savior and his gospel.

I really like the list of sins that Paul mentioned were evident in his day and realizing that those are still continuing. It helps me to see what areas I can improve in. This assignment could have been improved by studying other prophets who were not ashamed of the gospel and how they manifested that.