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Saturday, October 24, 2015

2 Old Coots

How to BECOME like Christ...

Last week we talked in class about the importance of the creation, the fall, and the atonement.  Each is necessary for our Father in Heaven's plan to be fulfilled.  The creation was necessary for us to be able to progress beyond the spirit world. For the same reason the fall was required.  We could not remain in the Father's presence and progress. We had to come to earth and experience mortality and because that separation was necessary, an atonement had to be made so that we could become perfected and be able to once again be in our Father's presence.

2 Nephi 9:7 tells that it had to be an infinite atonement and that without it none of us would be able to return.  That's right - none of us are worthy.  We all need help.   We all need a Savior.  Infinite means that it is for everyone, everywhere and it covers all sin and all fear and all doubt - there is no end to His willingness to sacrifice for us. There is no end to His love for us.

Last night I was able to attend a fireside with Dawn Armstrong, from "Meet the Mormons".  It was a truly moving experience.  She spoke about things that she had experienced in her childhood.  She talked about how darkness was scary and light was hope.  She had a horrifying childhood and was homeless for 3 years. She went through terrible things as a young woman and made some bad choices probably because she didn't know any better.  I felt for her.  I have some understanding of how it feels to be a child, unloved and afraid but not as severely as her.  I knew who I was and I was not alone.
I had the gospel  of Jesus Christ. She had nothing.

She told us how much the gospel meant to her and how excited she was when she was baptized.  Despite all she had been through, she felt God's love for her.  She accepted the atonement and became new and clean.  She embraced everything the church had to offer her.

Then someone made an ugly comment and she started to wonder if the atonement really had cleansed her.  You see, she had a kid and she wasn't married.  There will always be someone(often many more than one) who thinks they have the right to even for a second think to judge someone else.

These people don't understand the atonement at all.  I really believe the only people who truly understand it are those who have partaken of it.  Sister Armstrong understands it well.  She told us how she would go through those terrible things all over again because they taught her how to be able to better serve and care for others.  Isn't that why we are here? What more can we do to become Christlike?

That is what the atonement does.  It makes us more like Christ.  It makes us humble and teachable and it allows the Spirit to guide us.  When we become softer, God can mold us into what He wants us to be.

So, we all need to partake of the atonement in order to BECOME what He wants us to be.  None of us are perfect.  We all have things to work on.  Take stock.  Identify things that you need to change.  Take advantage of the atonement.  It is a gift but you need to make some effort to receive it.

Oh, yeah, and don't ever presume to judge anyone else.  I can tell from personal experience that if you look beyond the surface and get to know someone, you will be surprised at what is underneath.

Get to work.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

1 Nephi 15-22 ish

I contemplated a lot this week about the faith of Nephi.  Elder David A. Bednar gave a talk about inspiration.  He said that it often(usually) comes gradually, one step at a time and line upon line, precept upon precept.  This is significant because when the Lord asked Nephi to do something, such as risk his life and go back for the brass plates, or build a boat although he had no idea how to do so, he didn't question.  He just went to work.  He knew Laman wanted to kill him but he started walking back anyway because he knew that God was with him and the way would be revealed one step at a time.

When he was told to build a ship, he started looking for the materials needed and one thing at a time did what was revealed to him until the ship was complete. He didn't know how to build a ship but God did so he didn't worry.

On the ship on the way to the promised land, his brothers tied him up and he waited there for days while the storms nearly destroyed the ship.  His wrists and feet were sore from the ropes he was bound with, yet he did not say a word.  He waited there for the Lord to show His power because the Lord's promises are sure and He had promised to protect Nephi as long as he was faithful.  As soon as he was released from the bonds, he dropped to his knees and thanked the Lord for his blessings.

It takes incredible faith to walk into the darkness and trust the Savior to provide the light. Nephi understood that action was required before inspiration could come.  He didn't believe that God would provide.  He knew it.  He had a perfect knowledge.

In order to gain that kind of knowledge, we must be willing to step out of our comfort zone, act when we are uncertain of the outcome, step into the darkness, so to speak, and trust the Lord to bring the light, and show us the way one step at a time.  It can be uncomfortable but growth is often uncomfortable and the blessings are so worth it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Straight and Narrow Paths

This week we talked about the Iron Rod.(1Nephi 8-12ish)  Someone mentioned that iron would not have been the easiest material to work with in ancient times.  They would have been more likely to use wood to make a rod.  Iron must have been chosen as a symbol for a reason.  It is strong, hard and unyielding.  One cannot hold to the iron rod and reach out to embrace things of the world.  The rod will not bend to allow that.  In order to go for worldly things, one must let go of the rod. 

The rod of iron in Lehi's dream represents the Word of God.  In the confusing world we live in it is so necessary that we cling to the word of God as the standard by which we measure the philosophies of the world.  God's laws never change.  The rod is unyielding. 

The next day I was reading and came across 1 Nephi 12:17.  Here an angel tells Nephi about those who let go of the rod and get confused by the mists of darkness and are led away to travel  on broad roads. 

So, what is wrong with a broad path?  Why must the way to eternal happiness be a straight and narrow path.  It is because the only way to exaltation is by holding on to the iron rod which is the word of God.  The path is only an arm's length width from the rod.  Like the rod, it is straight and unyielding.  Our paths become broad when we let go and wander too far from the rod.

I love the scriptures.