Monday, 29 December 2008

Doctrine and Covenants Section 1 - Part 1

This week's Sunday School lesson is on Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) section1. The way I study is to go verse by verse and break things down.

Verses 1-2:

1 Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.
2 For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated.

These verses represent the Lords call to not only members of the church, but to all men. Notice the use of the word hearken, which means to listen. He invites all men to listen three times (three calls; two or more witnesses--is there a relationship here?) and then explains that he is speaking to everyone, and we will all hear his voice and see his works rolling forth.

Verse 3
3 And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.
No hiding for the rebellious in the Lord's plan. They may have their "joy" for a time in which they think they are getting away with something, but sooner or later their "secret" actions will be revealed and everyone will know what they've been doing and how they've rebelled against God. I certainly don't want to be in that position!

Verses 4-5
4 And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.
5 And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them.
These verses clearly teach how the Lord works--through his disciples. Notice though, that it's not just any disciples, but "chosen disciples." What do we need to do to be chosen? D&C 4:5-7 tells us:
5 And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
7 Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.
Development of the attributes or qualities described in these verses is essential for disciples who wish to be a chosen part of the "warning voice" in these latter days.

Now, looking at D&C 1:5, there is a powerful promise there--"none shall stay them." To me this means that the Lord's work will roll forth in power and that the disciples who move the work forth will be blessed and protected. Joseph Smith said that "no unhallowed hand" shall stop this work and indeed his statement has proven to be prophetic. The Lord's work has rolled forth, is rolling forth and will continue to roll forth unimpeded. True, there will be challenges here and there as Satan tries desperately to stop it, but the work will go forth "boldly and nobly" as it has done for the last one hundred seventy-eight years. What a blessing to have the opportunity to be a part of it!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

28 December 2008 - Thought for the day

We've been admonished to keep a scripture journal. Well, this is my new attempt.

I've been teaching 15-17 year olds in Sunday School this past year. Given that we did a special Christmas lesson last week and we were already behind a couple of lessons, I had three lessons to cover today. Well, as many of you know, there's no way to do that. So, I used the class member study guides and took verses from a chapter in each lesson to discuss. It actually worked out pretty well. One of the verses that struck me, yet again, was Ether 12:4. It reads:
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.
I love this verse. After reading it in class I asked what the verse teaches us about blessings we can receive when we believe in God. The only girl in the class spoke up and pointed out that it talks about hoping for a better world. It is obvious from the verse that this is talking about a better world on the right hand of God. She, however, was talking about this life.

I had a "Well Duh" moment right then. I hadn't ever thought about it that way. I've always thought about the next life. However, with that thinking I've been mission out on half the picture. A belief in God in this life, surely makes this a better world. I can't imagine where I'd be without my knowledge of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'd be totally lost. How true it is that faith leads to hope which makes and ancor to the souls of men. Knowing that God is there, that he is my Father, and that he cares about me strenghtens me tremendously in the face of life's daily challenges. I love Heavenly Father and Jesus and want to be like them and to live with them someday. I want be an instrument in God's hands to bless the lives of my fellow man. That desire comes from the hope that is in me and I can't help but want to abound in good works.

We also studied 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.
What a wonderful verse. I have a strong testimony of this verse. Through personal experience I know it is true. I have felt the Lord's grace, his enabling power, in my life on multiple ocassions and have been able to accomplish things I never could have done on my own. He has helped me, is helping me, and will continue to help me in the future as I remain humble.