Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Love, Limits, & Latitude

This is a great article in the August 2008 Ensign pg. 60. It is about parenting children and also has a few great FHE ideas. I highly recommend reading it with your spouse.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Where One Goes the Rest Will Follow

Alma 38:5
And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

... Thou shouldst have tended to the ministry wherewith thou wast entrusted.
... O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words.
12 And now the Spirit of the Lord doth say unto me: Command thy children to do good, lest they lead away the hearts of many people to destruction; therefore I command you, my son, in the fear of God, that ye refrain from your iniquities;
13 That ye turn to the Lord with all your mind, might, and strength; that ye lead away the hearts of no more to do wickedly; but rather return unto them, and acknowledge your faults and that wrong which ye have done.

It really stinks that you have to learn how to be a parent from your first child. That child is the one that can help to make or break the rest of the kids. If your first kid goes AWOL there is a good chance that many of the following children will follow suit.

I wish there was some sort of gaurentee that all of my children would follow the Lord's teachings and do the right things in this life. But there's not. Many prophets have had rebellious children: Lehi, Alma, Mosiah, Alma, Jacob, Adam. What chance do I have if these guys struggled with it. How on Earth did my parents manage to raise nine children and have them all active in the gospel? Beats me. I think I will read "Love, Limits, & Latitude" from the new Ensign. It's about raising kids and setting boundries. Maybe that article will have some good pointers. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Child Rearing Guide per Alma

Alma 37

I LOVED this chapter. First of all, it's a chapter where Alma is giving his son Helaman advice. Really good advice. I feel like it is a blueprint to how to raise your children. In 37:6 it says-

6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

Then he goes on to give an example of this and then compares the temporal thing to spiritual things. Here is a list.

Small & Simple things:
Teach your children to hate sin
To Repent
To have Faith in Jesus Christ
To be humble
To be Meek & Lowly in heart
To withstand temptation with their faith
To Never be weary of good works
Teach them to keep the commandments
To Pray for support
To Let the Lord guide your decisions
To Direct your thoughts to the Lord
To Pray to the Lord for support
To Pray to the Lord for guidance
To Pray before bed for protection
To Pray in the morning in thanksgiving
I would add:
Family Home Evening
To work hard
Let them experience consequences for their actions
Spend quality time with them
Delayed Gratification
Self Discipline

Great Thing:
Returning to our Father in Heaven

These are all of the small things that we should be doing to reach our ultimate goal aka the The GREAT Thing which is to return to our Father in Heaven. We may think to ourselves, "Oh, my kids are too young to start learning these things." or "I don't want my kids to have a poor self-esteem so I am not going to teach them to be humble yet." What is this accomplishing? When are you going to start doing it? There is no better time than the present to begin teach kids these things. There is a lot here that I need to start doing and it's nice to get little reminder periodically.

I love reading the scriptures. It has been so fun to dive in and do this blog. I love this gospel and our Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for this in my life. I know that I would not be happy and progressing in my life without the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pray and Have Charity

Alma 33-34
I highly recommend reading these two chapters. I'm not even going to tell you anything about them other than to pray often and to have charity for others.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Plant Your Seed

Alma 32
From 32:28-43 this chapter talks about faith being like a seed. Looking for some sign to prove to us that the church is true is not how we gain a testimony. We need to plant the seed of faith in our hearts and nurture it.

28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

I have been so grateful to have this blog to motivate me to read my scriptures everyday. I feel like this is the first time in a long time that I can feel that I am making some real strides in my spiritual growth. I feel like I am experiencing the highlighted part in 28. I feel like my soul is beginning to enlarge, my understanding is more enlightened and the scriptures are becoming delicious to me. I have always had faith in the gospel, it's just nice to feel like I am gaining some ground.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Family Home Evening

What Parents Have Learned from Family Home Evening July 2008 Ensign Pg. 34

This is a great article to read if you need some ideas how to get your kids more involved in Family Home Evenings. Here are some of the highlights:

1. During opening prayer ask that the spirit will touch the hearts of your children.

2. Have your children help prepare some of the lessons.

3. Using Preach My Gospel to teach your kids, especially if they are to be baptised soon.

4. If a person from your family is away during FHE get them on speaker phone so they can participate.

5. Spend one family night a month with grandparents or other family being sure to include lesson, music, prayer, & treats.

6. Bring discussion and questions into your lessons.

Thomas S. Monson

"I begin with Family Home Evening. We cannot afford to neglect this heaven inspired program. It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations which are everywhere. The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Count your Blessings

Alma 26:2
And now , I ask, what great blessings has He bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?

I think that it is so easy to forget the blessings that the Lord has given us, especially when everything seems to go wrong. Ammon and his brethren experienced all kinds of hardship while they were teaching the Lamanites. Imprisonment, watching people die, hunger, thirst, persecution just to name a few. Yet in this chapter Ammon spends the entire time saying how blessed they have been. This is an example that I think everyone can benifit from.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We are blessed

Alma 25

This chapter talks about some of the martyrdoms that occured. We are so blessed to live in this time when we are free to belong to any church we choose. We don't have to worry about mobs or being burned alive just because we believe what we believe. It makes me sad to think of all of the people who died standing up for what they believed in.
Why is it so hard for us today? A lot of times we have a hard time just telling our friends no or speaking up when conversation goes astray.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Why the hard heart?

So this is when the Anti-Nephi-Lehies covenant with the Lord that they will never shed blood again and then they bury their wepons of war. Shortly after an army of Lamanites come to fight them. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies refuse to fight back and the Lamanites kill 1005 of them. Then their hearts begin to soften and suddenly we see that a bunch of Lamanites become converted to the gospel. None of which are ex-Nephites aka Amalekites and Amulonites. The Lamanites who were direct descendants of Laman and Lemuel were less hardened than the ex-Nephites.

Alma 24
30 And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things.

Isn't that interesting. I guess that is why most of the anti-LDS stuff out there is headed up by excommunicated members.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A New Name

Alma 23
Many Lamanites are converted to the gospel. They are so commited to their new way of life that they disown the name Lamanite and take on a new name which is Anti-Nephi-Lehies. Saul of the New Testiment did the same thing after he was visited by the angel and was converted to the gospel. He wanted to completely forsake his past life and start out new so he changed his name to Paul. Maybe when we receive our new name in the temple it is for the same reason. A symbolic gesture to our Heavenly Father showing our renewed conviction to follow His gospel.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Give Half, Give All

Alma 20-22
Ammon and Lamoni are going to free Aaron and some others from prison and they come across Lamoni's Dad. His Dad is angry that Lamoni didn't come to the family reunion and finds out that he has been hanging around a Nephite. His Dad is so mad that he commands Lamoni to kill Ammon. Lamoni says no and then the Dad king goes after Lamoni. Ammon stops Lamoni's dad and over takes him and the king begins to beg for his life. He offers Ammon half of his kingdom (20:23). Ammon of course only wants him to leave Lamoni alone and to go get Aaron from prison. So the old King lets them go.

Later Aaron goes to meet with Lamoni's dad and to teach him about the gospel. Aaron teaches him about Heavenly Father and about the church and Lamoni's dad says to Aaron...
Alma 22:15
15 And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.

Sometimes when we grow up in the church we take for granted how blessed and happy we really are. Maybe it's because we have never had to live without it and we don't really know the difference. Lamoni's father was only willing to give half of what he owned when his life was at stake. When he wanted to know more about the gospel and be forgiven of his sins he was willing to give all that he had.

Are we that enthuiastic about the gospel? Do we feel that kind of passion when we are being tempted or when there is someone in our life that is ready for a little missionary work? How about just scripture study or daily prayer? Attending church?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Great Faith

Alma 19
This chapter is a great example of faith. The Queen believes Ammon without seeing any of Lamoni's interactions with Ammon.

9 And Ammon said unto her: Believest thou this? And she said unto him: I have had no witness save thy word, and the word of our servants; nevertheless I believe that it shall be according as thou hast said.
10 And Ammon said unto her: Blessed art thou because of thy exceeding faith; I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites.

Isn't that awesome. Ammon goes to this wicked people and he finds out that they aren't really all that wicked. In fact they are easier to teach than many of the Nephites.

Are we that trusting of the Lord? Or do we question the gentle pleadings of our Prophet and Apostles?

Bad Move

Alma 19:22-23
22 Now, one of them, whose brother had been slain with the sword of Ammon, being exceedingly angry with Ammon, drew his sword and went forth that he might let it fall upon Ammon, to slay him; and as he lifted the sword to smite him, behold, he fell dead.
23 Now we see that Ammon could not be slain, for the Lord had said unto Mosiah, his father: I will spare him, and it shall be unto him according to thy faith—therefore, Mosiah trusted him unto the Lord.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Everyone has the light of Christ

Alma 18
This is the chapter where Lamoni thinks that Ammon is the Great Spirit coming to punish him and his people for their sins. I thought this was interesting because I usually think of Lamanites as being heartless people who didn't really know the difference between right and wrong. But here it shows that they do know. Lamoni is worried that he will be punished for his sins and later he says that it was the traditions of his Fathers to do whatever you want and it's all good. You can basically do no wrong. But Lamoni has the light of Christ and he knew better than to do the things he was doing. Why else would he be so worried about the Great Spirit coming to punish him?
We all have the Light of Christ in our hearts. We all know what is right and what is wrong. We need to follow those promptings and chose the better part.