Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 87: Ether 12-13

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are having a fabulous week!  It's been a strange week here in Oklahoma.  We have had a lot of earthquakes in the past few days which we aren't used to.  We had over a dozen in just one day!   They aren't really bad, just shake you up a little.

Only 4 days left with our reading the Book of Mormon!  Thank you for reading it with me!  I know that some of you are just joining us and we are so happy to have you!  You can start at the beginning by clicking HERE.  Please e-mail me at any time if you would like your own copy of the Book of Mormon (no charge, of course).  You can also read along with us online by clicking HERE!

Today I read an amazing story on Deseret News about a group of Sister Missionaries serving in the Philippines.  If you have a time to read the article I know that you will be uplifted by their faith and courage.

Reading this story just strengthened my testimony about the gospel of Jesus Christ and His servants.  I don't know what I would have done under these circumstances but I hope that I would have shown as much faith and strength as these sweet sisters did.

You can click HERE to read how the Mormon church is involved and what you can do to help assist those in need.

I also wanted to share the following video from the Mormon Channel on Youtube.

Today we are still reading in Ether.  We will soon read about the destruction of this entire civilization!  So crazy how this can even happen…..  but it did!

I really love chapter 12 in Ether.  So many favorite scriptures.  Here are some of them…

Ether 12:4
"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."

There are many wonderful nuggets of wisdom in this one verse.

Hope:  I found this video on Hope that I have shared before.  What a great reminder of what it means to have hope!

Faith:  Of course hope cometh of faith and we are nothing without faith.  Jesus Christ, our Savior, is just asking us to trust in Him and we will be okay.

Anchor:  Jesus Christ must be our anchor.  If we center our lives on our Savior, we can do all things through Him.

  • Jesus Christ in dark robes

    Ether 12:4. “An Anchor to the Souls of Men”

  • President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught concerning the need to center our lives on Jesus Christ: “We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much of rejoicing and gladness, good health, and gracious living. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know. But one thing we do know. Like the polar star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith”
Steadfast:  Elder Bednar said the following…

How do we become steadfast and immovable?

"A building or structure that is stable and immovable must be built upon a strong foundation. If you and I desire to become steadfast and immovable disciples of the Master, we must build appropriately and effectively upon Him as our foundation.

“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12; emphasis added).

The Lord Jesus Christ is the sure foundation, and you and I cannot and will not fall if we build upon Him as our foundation. This is a truly remarkable and faith-promoting promise.

The steps we must follow in building our devotion to and our character upon the foundation of Christ are identified simply and clearly in Helaman 15:

“And behold, ye do know of yourselves, for ye have witnessed it, that as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth, and to know of the wicked and abominable traditions of their fathers, and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them—

“Therefore, as many as have come to this, ye know of yourselves are firm and steadfast in the faith, and in the thing wherewith they have been made free” (vv. 7–8; emphasis added).

Please notice the specific steps outlined in these two verses. The first step is (1) belief in the teachings and prophecies of the holy prophets as recorded in the scriptures. Such belief (2) fosters faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in the Savior leads to (3) repentance. Faith in Christ and repentance bring about (4) the mighty change of heart. As many as have diligently and faithfully followed these steps are (5) firm and steadfast in the faith. That is the Lord’s blueprint for becoming steadfast and immovable. I testify that as we ponder and follow in faith the building blocks described in these verses, we will be strengthened and blessed to become steadfast and immovable."

In verse 6 of chapter 12 in Ether Moroni has very wise counsel to give us.

Ether 12:6
"And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."

    Ether 12:6. “The Trial of Your Faith”

  • Trials of faith do not always come in the form of adversity. Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that sometimes “the trial of [our] faith” is simply a matter of exercising our faith: “You can learn to use faith more effectively by applying this principle taught by Moroni: ‘Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith’ [Ether 12:6; italics added]. Thus, every time you try your faith—that is, act in worthiness on an impression—you will receive the confirming evidence of the Spirit. Those feelings will fortify your faith. As you repeat that pattern, your faith will become stronger” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2003, 79; orEnsign, May 2003, 76).
  • Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote of the various levels of faith we experience and the prerequisites for the expression of them: “Preparatory faith is formed by experiences in the past—by the known, which provides a basis for belief. But redemptive faith must often be exercised toward experiences in the future—the unknown, which provides an opportunity for the miraculous. Exacting faith, mountain-moving faith, faith like that of the brother of Jared, precedes the miracle and the knowledge. He had to believe before God spoke. He had to act before the ability to complete that action was apparent. He had to commit to the complete experience in advance of even the first segment of its realization. Faith is to agree unconditionally—and in advance—to whatever conditions God may require in both the near and distant future” (Christ and the New Covenant [1997], 18–19).
  • President Gordon B. Hinckley illustrated this principle of receiving our witness “after the trial” of faith:
    “Let me give you a story of a woman in São Paulo, Brazil. She worked while going to school to provide for her family. I use her own words in telling this story. She says:
    “‘The university in which I studied had a regulation that prohibited the students that were in debt from taking tests. For this reason, when I received my salary I would first separate the money for tithing and offerings, and the remainder was allotted for the payment of the school and other expenses.
    “‘I remember a time when I … faced serious financial difficulties. It was a Thursday when I received my salary. When I figured the monthly budget, I noticed that there wouldn’t be enough to pay [both] my tithing and my university. I would have to choose between them. The bimonthly tests would start the following week, and if I didn’t take them I could lose the school year. I felt great agony. … My heart ached. I had a painful decision before me, and I didn’t know what to decide. I pondered between the two choices: to pay tithing or to risk the possibility of not obtaining the necessary credits to be approved in school.
    “‘This feeling consumed my soul and remained with me up to Saturday. It was then that I remembered that when I was baptized I had agreed to live the law of tithing. I had taken upon myself an obligation, not with the missionaries, but with my Heavenly Father. At that moment, the anguish started to disappear, giving place to a pleasant sensation of tranquility and determination. …
    “‘That night when I prayed, I asked the Lord to forgive me for my indecision. On Sunday, before the beginning of sacrament meeting, I contacted the bishop, and with great pleasure I paid my tithing and offerings. That was a special day. I felt happy and peaceful within myself and with Heavenly Father.
    “‘The next day I was in my office; I tried to find a way to be able to take the tests that would begin on Wednesday. The more I thought, the further I felt from a solution. …
    “‘The working period was ending when my employer approached and gave the last orders of the day. When he had done so, with his briefcase in his hand he bid farewell. … Suddenly he halted, and looking at me he asked, “How is your college?” I was surprised, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The only thing I could answer with a trembling voice was, “Everything is all right!” He looked thoughtfully at me and bid farewell again. …
    “‘Suddenly the secretary entered the room, saying that I was a very fortunate person! When I asked her why, she simply answered: “The employer has just said that from today on the company is going to pay fully for your college and your books. Before you leave, stop at my desk and inform me of the costs so that tomorrow I can give you the check.”
    “‘After she left, crying and feeling very humble, I knelt exactly where I was and thanked the Lord for His generosity. I … said to Heavenly Father that He didn’t have to bless me so much. I only needed the cost of one month’s installment, and the tithing I had paid on Sunday was very small compared to the amount I was receiving! During that prayer the words recorded in Malachi came to my mind: “Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). Up to that moment I had never felt the magnitude of the promise contained in that scripture and that this commandment was truly a witness of the love that God, our Heavenly Father, gives to His children here on earth’”.
I have to share this video about Al Fox who is also known as "the Tatooed Mormon.  What a GREAT story of faith and about her conversion story to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  If you are interested in learning more about my church you can click HERE and have the missionaries visit you, too!

Ether 12:9
"Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith."

The following verse is one that I have highlighted in most of the copies of the Book of Mormon I sent out to you guys.  It is very powerful and meaningful to me.  I know that the Lord gives us weaknesses so that we can be made strong and that we can rely on the powers of the Atonement to overcome them.

Ether 12:27
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.  I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me;  for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Weakness comes to men and women through the Fall of Adam. The physical body and mind is susceptible to disease and decay. We are subject to temptation and struggle. Each of us experiences personal weaknesses. Nevertheless, the Lord clearly teaches that as we come unto Him in humility and faith, He will help us turn weakness into strength. His grace is sufficient to make this transformation by lifting us above our own natural abilities. In a very personal way, we experience how the power of the Atonement overcomes the effects of the Fall.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of how the Lord can help us overcome our weaknesses. “When we read in the scriptures of man’s ‘weakness,’ this term includes the generic but necessary weakness inherent in the general human condition in which the flesh has such an incessant impact upon the spirit (see Ether 12:28–29). Weakness likewise includes, however, our specific, individual weaknesses, which we are expected to overcome (see D&C 66:3Jacob 4:7). Life has a way of exposing these weaknesses” (Lord, Increase Our Faith [1994], 84).
Furthermore, Elder Maxwell described how recognizing our weaknesses is one way that the Lord has chosen to increase our learning:
“When we are unduly impatient with an omniscient God’s timing, we really are suggesting that we know what is best. Strange, isn’t it—we who wear wristwatches seek to counsel Him who oversees cosmic clocks and calendars.
“Because God wants us to come home after having become more like Him and His Son, part of this developmental process, of necessity, consists of showing unto us our weaknesses. Hence, if we have ultimate hope we will be submissive because, with His help, those weaknesses can even become strengths (see Ether 12:27).
“It is not an easy thing, however, to be shown one’s weaknesses, as these are regularly demonstrated by life’s circumstances. Nevertheless, this is part of coming unto Christ, and it is a vital, if painful, part of God’s plan of happiness”.

Ether 12:33
"And again, I remember that thou hast said that thou hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men.

"And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of me is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father."

The Savior showed the most perfect charity or sacrificial love when He gave His life and atoned for each of us. We must pray that we “may be filled with this love” so we can inherit eternal life (Moroni 7:48). Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915–94) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained what it means to have charity:
Charity is, perhaps, in many ways a misunderstood word. We often equate charity with visiting the sick, taking in casseroles to those in need, or sharing our excess with those who are less fortunate. But really, true charity is much, much more.
“Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself. And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again. It makes the thought of [putting others down] repulsive.
“Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other”.

I have to close with this post today.  I want you to know that I have felt the sweet peace of the Spirit as I shared with you.  I hope you all take a minute today to ponder the truths that you've read and ask your Father in Heaven for yourselves if they are true.  I know that He is listening and will answer you.

Have a great night!  Big hugs!

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