Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 27

Darkness and apostasy will cover the earth in the last days—The Book of Mormon will come forth—Three witnesses will testify of the book—The learned man will say he cannot read the sealed book—The Lord will do a marvelous work and a wonder—Compare Isaiah 29. About 559–545 B.C.

I always wonder how Joseph Smith felt as he read about the very book he was translating, and about himself.

Vs. 1 ~ “This land” means the land of the Nephites. Notice that it is the apostasy which makes the world drunken with iniquity. “These prophecies are most often interpreted literally. I do not mean to suggest it should be otherwise, but usually prophecy has both a symbolic, or figurative, meaning and a literal one.” (Wilcox, “Hope: An Anchor to the Soul,” p97-98.)

The image of apostate Church/Christianity is always portrayed as a woman with a cup in her hand. The woman is portrayed as a harlot, and the drink she has in her hand is wine. Wine in the Old Testament was symbolic of doctrine, commandments, laws, and the gospel. If the woman is drinking grape juice wine then it is healthy for her.... it nourishes her. But she isn’t drinking grape juice. She has let the grape juice go bad. What happens when you let grape juice go bad? It turns into an alcoholic drink. She has let the grape juice turn bad and now she grows drunken in iniquity. The apostate church now gives it’s people wine which has gone bad... it gives them many lies, untruths, falsehoods. And if I drink in these teachings which are not true, then I become so drunk that I cannot walk a straight path. What is one of the first things a police officer checks to see if he believes someone is driving under the influence of alcohol? He has them get out of the car to see if they can walk a straight line. It is the same principle here. Lucifer lets some of the gospel truths remain... be distorts just enough to bring about apostasy. So, if some of the teachings are not true, then the Lord has to put back the TRUE doctrines.

Vs. 2-3 ~ Nephi is starting to quote Isaiah now. We read that Lucifer does not want the restoration to come, and he isn’t going to let it come without a fight. But all the nations trying to distress and fight against Zion are being fooled if they really think they can keep the restoration from coming forth.

Vs. 4-5 ~ What are the “eyes” of the Church? Paul compared parts of the body to the Church, and the eyes were the seers... (the “see-ers”... those who see far beyond what we see... the prophets and seers. ) How have they closed the eyes of the prophets? They have rejected and killed them.

Vs. 6 ~ “Since you won’t listen to the prophets anymore, the prophets are going to speak again to you through a book, and the restoration of the gospel will hinge on that book.”

Vs. 7 ~ What is in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon? A vision of the of the beginning to the end of the world. The brother of Jared saw this vision. Nephi saw it. John the Revelator saw it. As a matter of fact, John said, “If you want to know what’s in the sealed portion, read the book of Revelation!” But what do we say? “But we want the plainer version!”

After having been translated, the book must be sealed up again. Isn’t it interesting how chapter 27 seems to give us all of the details concerning most of the Book of Mormon and the restoration?

In the end of verse 23 is a very powerful phrase : according to their faith. The Lord offers so much to us- everything to us. BUT- our receipt of these things- of salvation- and all the assistance to obtain that salvation, is up to us. IT IS OUR CHOICE. It is our choices. Do we choose to have faith? If so, we will be rewarded and allotted thusly.

Vs. 24-25 ~ It’s interesting that the Savior, in the Sacred Grove, said this very thing. Any time we hear the Lord repeating Isaiah or any of the other prophets, it’s an immediate signal to sit up and take notice!

Vs. 26 ~ Of course, the marvelous work and a wonder is the entire restoration and the Book of Mormon.

Vs. 27-30 ~ The whole restoration and the Book of Mormon is going to allow the deaf to hear, the blind to see, and the joy of the meek to increase.

Vs. 31-35 ~ These last verses are just reiterating the fact that NOTHING will stop it from happening. Regarding v31-32, what does “who watches for iniquity? and “offender for a word “ mean? It is talking of those who are always looking for ways to discredit the Church and its doctrine ... those who listen carefully to the Brethren’s conference addresses, trying to find flaws, or just a word or phrase to twist around, distort, and condemn... They may even go through the lives of the Brethren searching for any tiny little flaw they can find. They go through the Book of Mormon, scrutinizing it and trying to find any word that will discredit it. They search for a flaw in Joseph Smith’s character and because the Prophet Joseph wasn’t perfect (as Jesus Christ was) they are willing to throw out the whole Book of Mormon.

Nobody can live up under the standard of the offender for a word, no matter who they are.

What did you think/learn today?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 26

Christ will minister to the Nephites—Nephi foresees the destruction of his people—They will speak from the dust—The Gentiles will build up false churches and secret combinations—The Lord forbids men to practice priestcrafts. About 559–545 B.C.

I loved this chapter.

vs. 3 ~ Nephi says, “After all of the wars and contention, you know He is going to come!” When it comes to the Second Coming, sometimes people think that the Lord wants to sneak up on us and catch us unaware in the midst of all our sins. But that is NOT the case. He never sneaks up on us. His whole message is, “I’m going to give you EVERY chance and reason to prepare. I’ll not tell the exact day, but I’ll give you all kinds of signs so that you’ll know the time is growing closer!”

Remember, back in school. We knew an assignment was due, and put it off and put it off, and then hurriedly complete it the night before it was to be turned in. Well, God knows human nature! He’s not going to tell us the date of His coming because He knows that’s exactly what many of us will do! So He says, “I’m not going to tell you. Just be ready. I’ll give you the signs. Just be ready.”

vs. 4 ~ This destruction will come because...

vs. 5 ~ ... they killed the prophets and the saints. I wonder if destruction will come in the latter-days because so many disregard the prophets. Something to think about.

vs. 6-7 ~ Have you ever imagined how very painful it is for Nephi to have to have witnessed the destruction of his own people? I don’t know if I could have done that.

vs. 8 ~ Notice that he doesn’t say those who won’t perish are perfect people. Rather, they are those who were righteous and who were willing to listen to the prophets. It is MOST important to listen to the prophets. You will notice that when we study 3 Nephi we will see that it is those who were willing to listen to the prophets and not slay them who were able to see Christ in the new world. They certainly weren’t perfect... but they WERE willing to listen to truth and they tried to live more righteously than others tried.

vs. 9 ~ The people will listen to the prophets, look forward to His coming, and after His coming they would live for three generations in perfect peace and harmony, and in the fourth generation they would begin to reject truth and begin to apostatize.

vs. 11... when the Spirit withdraws, destruction comes speedily.

vs. 12-13 ~ The same gospel which Paul and Peter taught will be taught to the Gentiles.

vs. 20 ~ Eventually what happened in Christianity? A lot of beautiful churches were built and they still believed in Christ, but they turned it into a wealth-seeking, power- seeking institutions.

vs. 21 ~ Eventually it would get so bad that “Christians” would justify slavery, war, and crusades all in the name of Jesus Christ! For instance, think of all the violence going on between the Catholic and Protestant sects.

vs. 22 ~ So it is complete. In chapters 25-26 we have all three major groups ... each of which had been taught the Savior’s teachings... rejecting the gospel. We see the whole world in the darkness of apostasy. What will Jesus Christ do? What kind of Being is He?

vs. 23-24 ~ In our personal lives, it is CRITICAL we understand and believe this principle: The Lord loves us and He won’t do anything which isn’t for our benefit!

vs. 24-26 ~ Now, has Christianity done any of this? What about Judaism? It’s a pretty exclusive kind of religion... one of the reasons which caused apostasy.

vs. 27-32 ~ Speaking a little about priestcraft... The Savior and true saints are never motivated to teach and preach priestcraft. What is priestcraft? “Three basic characteristics dominate Satan’s priestcrafts: (1) men set themselves up as a light; (2) men preach for gain and praise, or, as Nehor taught, ‘every priest and teacher ought to become popular’ (Alma 1:3); (3) men do not seek the welfare of Zion. “All three of these are motivated by selfishness. The man or priest himself is the focus of attention or praise; he seeks his own welfare. All three of these characteristics are foreign to the motive underlying the true priesthood of God.” (Wilcox, “The Power and the Priesthood,” p100.)

How do you fight back? Charity! Love really does make the world go round.

vs. 33 ~ There was a lot of great things in this chapter, but the one verse that stood out to me today was verse 33:...and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness..."

His invitation is to everyone, of every race, of every economic class, of every personality - every one. The Atonement wasn't just for the few or the righteous. We are all imperfect. We all need it. We all need him.

What did you think/learn today?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Salad Days 297, 298, 299, 300, 301,302, and 303

What a week!  Monday, January 23,  I had chicken tenders with salad greens and honey mustard dressing.  I know it wasn't the healthiest choice.... but it was a choice and a salad.
Tuesday, January 24, I had a taco salad.... of sorts.

Wednesday, January 25, I had more chicken nuggets and salad greens.  With Cinderella opening in a week I just can't find the time to make a real salad.

Thursday, January 26, I got a salad from the super market.  This one was a chef salad.  Not bad, really.

Friday, January 27, was one long day.  I spent 18 hours at the HS working on Cinderella.  This salad for chicken nuggets and salad greens was the only food I ate besides Reese Pieces.  I know.  Bad choice.  But what can you do.

Saturday, January 28, my friend Jo brought me a salad to my tech rehearsal.  My friend Jeff brought me more salad for dinner.  It was a much better eating day.  Good thing too.  I spent another 15 hours at the HS.  But the show is nearly ready and looks beautiful.  I'll blog about my art soon.

Today, January 29, I kept it simple and had 3 bean salad with my spaghetti sauce on quinua noodles.  I must say I am now tired and ready for bed!

Book of Mormon Study - conference Talk

Today I read Pres. Uchtdorf's talk, "Proving in the Lord's Way".

I try very hard to be independent, for the good or for the bad.  I'm not real good at asking for help.  This week many hands helped me with my projects.  I am blessed with good friends and a great family that all know how to help me best.

Today I made spaghetti from the tomatoes I canned from my garden... and I made garlic bread from scratch... even the bread part.  Self-reliance is something I continue to practice.

I love Pres. Uchtdorf's reminders that "welfare principles should be at the root of our faith and devotion..."

That "...the temporal and the spiritual are inseparable."

As I read, I realized that the best way to describe self-reliance is work.  We are to continually work and serve.  As we do, God will send the help and the means to accomplish every good thing we are working to achieve.

What did you read from Conference today?
Yesterday was a completely unsuccessful day. It all started on Friday with an 18 hour day at the High School… starting at 8 in the morning and ending at 1:30 in the morning. And then Saturday, I was back at it before 8 in the morning and didn’t get home until nearly 11 that evening. Cinderella opens on Wednesday and I was not ready (closer due to the friends and family that stepped up and helped at my all nighter! ).

Friday, I was able to read a few verses in 2 Nephi 25, but it is so long! Especially for the lack of time I had for the day. I decided to finish and blog about it on Saturday. (Not many people are following with me, so I was pretty sure no one would notice. Excuses, Excuses.) But Saturday rolled around and I was too tired and too busy and didn’t do it. No wonder it was a bad day.

I’ve been preaching to my seminary kids that if they put God first they will be given what they need to get through what the have for the day. When the going got tough, I failed the test. Time to repent!

So today I comment on 2 Nephi 25.

Finally! A chapter with language we can all understand!

2 Nephi 25:1-8 ~ I am beginning to think that the Book of Mormon is basically a book of speeches, Conference talks, if you will. I love these speeches! They explain everything! I wrap my mind around what is being read by writing brief statements at the top of the chapter, reminding myself where the speech-giver is going with his thoughts. Each time I come to a speech I say, “Where is he trying to go with this? What is he trying to teach me?” When I discover what it is he is trying to teach me, I write it down somewhere close by in my scriptures. I’m sure many people would look at my scriptures and wonder, “how can she read that?” My scriptures look more like my college text books with notes and quotes inserted on every page and sometimes on every verse.

Anyway, I think this chapter should be titled, “THE JEWS WILL REJECT JESUS CHRIST AND GO INTO APOSTASY.” … and sadly, so do many others.

I was struck by the comment in vs. 1, “Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many of my people to understand (you think?); for they know not concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews.” There is one key to understanding Isaiah. We need to study, not only the words of Isaiah, but the history and the customs of the people he taught. I understand so much more when I get out the maps and the history books, and sometime, the English poetry books. We NEED to KNOW. The truth is, Nephi (and Moroni) put these chapters in the book/abridgement for the future, for us! Then vs. 2 reminds me that there are something we just don’t need to know too. I think that is where the spirit is helpful in my study… to discover the need to know vs. that don’t need to know.

So, what do we need to know? The judgments of God (vs. 3); you can understand through the Spirit (vs. 4); God explains things in a plain and simple manner (vs. 4); and Isaiah’s words are of great worth, particularly to those who will read them in the last days (vs. 8). We are also promised that we will UNDERSTAND them, if we search them.

2 Nephi 25:9-10 ~ The term “Jews” usually has a larger meaning. It usually means the entire house of Israel. Even in the Doctrine & Covenants the Lamanites are called Jews. (And out of all the other ten tribes, the Jews will be the last to be destroyed because they are more righteous than the other tribes.) This passage says that before any of them were destroyed (broken, shattered, scattered), they were always warned. That will always be the case... they will get many warnings before destruction comes upon them, for the Lord wants to give them plenty of chances to repent. Isn’t it comforting that if shattering happens, the Master can gather and REPAIR the damage!?

2 Nephi 25:12 ~ When He finally comes in the flesh, they will reject Him because of their stiff-neckedness. This is the central theme of this chapter.

2 Nephi 25:14-15 ~Following his crucifixion and resurrection from the dead, what happens to Jerusalem as a nation? It is destroyed and its inhabitants are either destroyed (by the Romans) or scattered. Eventually Babylon ...a major nation... will be destroyed, too.

2 Nephi 25:16 ~ This sums up the basic history of the Jews from that time forward. There is a long, sad history of Jewish persecution; the latest of which is the Holocaust. Most of chapter 25 deals with the scattering of the Jews and their rejection of Jesus Christ. There is an end to all this sadness. It comes when they believe in Jesus Christ and in the atonement.

2 Nephi 25:17 ~ But don’t despair, for there is hope! There will be a restoration! (And you and I are a part of it!)

2 Nephi 25:18 ~ The Book of Mormon will finally help the Jewish people understand who their Messiah really is! It helps ALL of us understand. How well do we know the words of the Book of Mormon? I’d better keep working on them.

2 Nephi 25:19-22 ~ Jesus Christ is the ONLY way.

2 Nephi 25:23 ~ Nephi doesn’t want his people to reject Jesus Christ. My neither! I am desperate to persuade everyone I love to see Christ and His plan for who and what it really is! My heart aches at the blindness and darkness we all live in. So I write, as did Nephi. He is just better at it than I am.

Also regarding v23... We read, “... for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” Sometimes we read this to mean, “If we do all we can then Jesus Christ’s grace will do the rest. He’ll make up the difference.” It means that no matter what we do and no matter how righteous we are, even if we do all that is asked of us, we ALL will still need the grace of Jesus Christ to get us Home.... Even the prophet needs the grace of the Savior. Our hope lies in His willingness to grant it. Still, I “DO” because it is the only way I can express my thanks for His profound love an goodness and because He asks me too.

2 Nephi 25:24-25 ~Nephi says, “Even though we have the grace of Jesus Christ, our responsibility as parents is to teach our children the law of Moses, and keep that law ourselves, and look forward to the time the law is fulfilled.” Remember the story found in the gospels of Jesus healing a person on the Sabbath, yet He was condemned by many for doing so on that holy day. They were tying themselves too tightly to the law of Moses, and their hearts were hardened to Him and His teachings. Nephi draws from lessons of the past to try to prevent repetition of these types of problems. He’d say, “Don’t make their mistake!” commandments are given to us to help us continually LOOK toward Christ.

2 Nephi 25:26-27 ~ I LOVE these scriptures! All of Nephi’s focus is on how we should raise our children and influence our descendants. In our homes it is good to talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, preach of Christ, prophesy of Christ, and write these things down. Occasionally we should evaluate things and make sure our children realize that the gospel should be bringing them JOY! Sometimes in our teachings we end up making the Savior’s gospel something that doesn’t make them happy... something that gets in the way of their happiness. But the gospel should make them (and us!) happy, for it is good tidings ...wonderful news! Eventually Christianity became dark, hard thing, and it did not seem to bring people happiness. (In chapter 26 we see Nephi trying to turn this idea around so that children won’t reject Jesus Christ.) Sometimes children go inactive, and even leave the Church, I hope it’s not because I have failed to talk, rejoice, write, preach of Jesus Christ!

2 Nephi 25:28-30 ~ Then Nephi bears testimony. In the later part of this chapter, he seems to suggest that there is a perfect balance of grace and works, and that we must do all we can and then Jesus Christ’s grace is sufficient.

So that is what I learned.  What did you learn?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 24

Well, I love these verses in chapter 24! Here we have Isaiah talking to the king of Babylon (and of course, spiritually speaking he is talking to Lucifer), and Isaiah is doing the exact same thing! He's rubbing his nose in it!

Vs. 4 ~ In the end we'll get to sing a song to Lucifer... and not just any song, but a proverb, which is a satirical song. In a sing-song sort of way we get to go "Na-na-na-na-na-na! We beat you!" to the adversary. Lol. Well it sounds good anyway.

Vs. 5-8 ~ He stops talking to the king and is representing the victorious army now. The whole earth is at rest! Also, we can read v8 as an environmental statement or one along the lines of "Since the king of Babylon has fallen there are no more wars! No one is cutting down the trees of the forest anymore!"

Vs. 9 The king of Babylon (and Lucifer) is going to hell and everyone in hell is going to meet and greet him there. This will be the ultimate coronation as all the "great kings" line up to greet him, their king of kings. Who will he see? How about Caesar? Alexander the Great? Ivan the Terrible? Certainly Hitler... all lined up as their king of kings makes his entrance into hell to join all them.

Vs.10 ~ The "greats" will say to him, "What? YOU? Not even YOU could hold onto your power either?"

Vs. 11 ~ "YOU'RE defeated, too? Well, we're not going to roll out the red carpet, sound the trumps, and put the royal robe on YOU then! Let the worms have at you!" (Don't you just love Isaiah's great sarcasm? He is soooo sarcastic!)

Vs. 12 ~ "Lucifer" means "light carrier." He literally was once a carrier of light. But he fell from heaven to the earth, and now from earth to hell.

Vs. 13 ~ The "stars of God" are you and I. Lucifer wanted to exalt himself above all of us, even the Morning Star, Jesus Christ Himself. He wished to be the equivalent to the head god sitting on the top of Mount Olympus in Greek mythology. In reality the opposite will happen. He'll fall lower than all.

Vs. 14 ~ The god of hell wants to be the one on top.

Vs. 15-17 ~ This is the ultimate humiliation to Lucifer! Imagine two great armies fighting, and we're on the winning side. When the battle is over and we've won, we walk among the dead on the battlefield and come across the body of the enemy king. We look at him narrowly and with doubt, thinking, "THIS is the man who did such and such and such? We were worried about THIS pathetic little guy?" This is what those in hell will think of Lucifer/king of Babylon when he enters. "THIS is the guy the whole world was afraid of?"

In v17 above "opened not the house of his prisoners" means there was no exchange of prisoners.

Vs. 18-19 ~ Monuments are built to great kings when they die... great mausoleums and buildings and even pyramids house the bodies of these men. They lie in those tombs to be remembered. For instance, in Rome people can remember their past kings because they all lie in state. But here we read that Lucifer isn't even going to be buried at all! He's going to be like a blighted branch. It's like the winners coming across the dead body of the enemy king in the example above. Rather than being honored, the winners will say, "Ahhh.... just throw him in the pit with the rest of 'em!"

Vs. 20 ~ Lucifer won't be joined with the other "great kings" in burial. He won't even be thought about during the Millennium, and we won't be sitting around throughout all eternity, reminiscing about all the good times we once had with him in his Bud Lite world!

Vs. 21-23 ~ Kill his families so that this evil will not rise up again. All the evil which forever followed him will be destroyed, and they will no longer be able to threaten the Lord's kingdom.

Vs. 24 ~ What famous line do we think about when we read this verse? Don't you think about Yul Brenner (sp?) saying, "So let it be written, so let it be done." in the movie "The Ten Commandments"? This is the Lord's version of that statement! "Babylon WILL fall! Lucifer WILL fall! And I, the Lord WILL rule as King of Kings!"

Vs. 25-26 ~ Now the Lord broadens his vengeance. He says, "What I did to Babylon and Assyria I will do to every government and nation on the earth which opposes Me." Will communist China fall? It will. So let it be written. So let it be done. It WILL happen!

Vs. 27-31 ~ "Opposing nations, you're on your way out, too!" (Side note: Palestine is Palestina.)

Vs. 32 ~ "You tell the messengers of all the nations that the king of Babylon (Lucifer) has fallen, and the Lord will come and rule all the nations to the ends of the earth!

We WILL see the bamboo curtain fall. We WILL see communism fall. We WILL see Jesus Christ rule, and He will NEVER fall. He will only grow bigger and bigger and grow more influential!

What did you learn?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 23

In 2 Nephi 23 we see Isaiah begin to speak of the fall of Babylon. Studying this chapter of how basically Babylon is going to fall, be sure to compare ancient Babylon's fall to the world in which we now live, in these latter days... In other words, be aware that the term "Babylon" has both a literal and a spiritual meaning.

Vs. 1-5 ~ The Lord is summoning His forces from the ends of the earth in preparation for a "holy war."

Vs. 6-7 ~ In v7, "every man's heart shall melt" means that everyone will be afraid, for when Christ comes He will destroy the wicked. Remember that these verses can be takes literally as well as figuratively.

Vs. 8 ~ "Isaiah compares the trembling fear and shaking terror of the men to the anguish of a woman in labor. 'But whereas a woman in labour cries, men will only stare at each other aghast in horror and begin to sweat from fear.' [Kaiser, "Isaiah 13- 39," p16] (Ludlow, p184)

Vs. 9 ~ The reason the Lord is doing all of this is to purge the earth of its wickedness.

Babylon was easily conquered when the Medes came from Persia. In v10-16, Isaiah describes the physical consequences that will come upon Babylon and her people at this time.

Vs. 17 ~ Sometimes attackers can be bought off with money... but that is not the case here.

Vs.18-19 ~ Again, Isaiah is speaking literally (destruction of Babylon by the Persians) as well as in a spiritual sense (destruction of the worlds wickedness, which is Babylon). Who's REALLY behind all of Babylon's wickedness and who has REALLY ruled with blood and horror on this earth? It is Satan who is behind it all. He is the king of that world. The Old Testament says he rules from the rivers to the ends of the earth. ("Rivers" also mean big city centers, and also borders of countries. Lucifer is the king of wickedness and rules over all the tyranny, horror, bloodshed, greed, apostasy, and selfishness found on this earth.

What did you learn?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 22

In the millennial day all men will praise the Lord—He will dwell among them—Compare Isaiah 12. About 559–545 B.C.

Short but sweet chapter. It contains two songs of praise and thanksgiving for the millennial time.

Even though He scattered us, we will praise the Lord for His goodness and merciful forgiveness! Vs. 4 talks of praising the Lord and doing missionary work for Him. The excellent things include the whole restoration of His Church! We want EVERYONE to know about it, and vs. 6 says we will run out throughout all the world, spreading the message ... telling the world of how God lives and dwells among His people!

Verse 3 touched me: ...with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. In Michael Wilcox's book "Daughters of God" (p41), he compared this verse to the story of Rebekah in the Old Testament. Here's what he has to say about this verse... "Isaiah said, 'Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation' (Isaiah 12:3). We have all seen modern Rebekah's run to draw living water for a Primary or Young Women class. I have watched many of my students leave their studies and graciously draw living water for people of many different countries. Every time we see these modern Rebekahs coming up from the well with their pitchers dripping, we, like Abraham's servant, wonder at seeing such unrehearsed demonstrations of character."

I love visual cues, and this one worked for me. Salvation is so large, so massive, so deep, that I cannot fully comprehend it in its entirety. But, I can draw out a cup full here, a pitcher there, and sometimes even a sip now and then as I am learning more about the gospel and truly what salvation means.

What did you learn?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 21

Chapter 21 is a continuation of chapter 20.

Vs. 1 Jesse, of course, is King David's father, and one interpretation of the Branch is our Savior. As a Light will come out of the darkness, so shall a Branch come out of a stump.

Vs. 2-3 ~ Remember, "fear" in v2 means reverence for God.

Also in vs. 2 This Spirit shall make Jesus of quick understanding. When He looks on us, He won't judge by appearances or chasten us based on hearsay. And He will make His judgments QUICKLY! If you think about the government of the United States... it takes them FOREVER to decide something. It won't be so with the King of Kings, the Mighty Judge of all the earth! If all I thought about when making decision was, "Is it right or is it wrong?" how fast could I make most decisions? Quite quickly. So it is for Jesus Christ ... He will make His decisions quickly and with lively understanding.

Vs. 4 This King will insist up equity, honesty, and truth. He will be concerned about the weak and poor of the earth. His will be the rod of truth... the scriptures!

Vs. 5 Anciently the great kings would gird their loins with their swords. But the Lord will do things differently than any other. He will hold the rod to keep us on the strait and narrow path.

Vs. 6-8 As is the case with most of Isaiah's writings, this prophesy must be taken both literally and figuratively. We will miss much of the power behind these verses if we only read them literally, so let's examine them closer...

You'll remember that Daniel sees in vision the rising of great empires. He sees an idol with a lion head of gold (representing Babylon); the silver shoulders of a bear (Persia); the stomach of a leopard made from brass (Greece). These are all SYMBOLIC, and Isaiah wishes us to read the vs. not only literally, but also with empires and war in mind. In other words, ALL of those great, conquering nations who've behaved like carnivores, who've been predatory, conquering the weaker and meeker nations by brute force, will now lie down docilely with them. In Christ's kingdom there won't be any nations eating each other up. There won't be any Russias eating up little Lithuanias. All will live in peace! THAT is the beauty in these verses! What will cause them to do this? We find the answer in v9...

Vs 9 The spirit of the gospel will be brought to all the world, and THAT is what will accomplish peace!

Look at vs. 6 a bit closer...

Vs. 6 Who generally are the ones who lead? The Caesars, the Alexander the Greats, and all the great, powerful leaders of the world who ride around on great white horses and carrying banners! But in Christ's kingdom the greatest shall be the little child.

Vs. 7 Regarding "their young ones shall lie down together"... Why do we continue to have problems in the Middle East and all over the world? What is the problem? It is the same problem which occurs in nation after nation after nation... the children are taught to pass on the traditions of their fathers... the traditions of hatred and mistrust.

But the children of Christ's kingdom will lie down together. The children of Jews and the children of Palestine will lie down together, etc. There will be peace… not hatred. How nice!

Vs. 8 An asp is a tiny, poisonous snake. A cockatrice is also a small poisonous snake. They don't work by force to get their victims. What are snakes known for? We think of them as being subtle, sly, cunning, and crafty. And what are little children known for? They are known for their innocent, trusting nature. If I took a three-year-old child to the hole of a rattlesnake and said, "Look at the cute little animal! Listen to that rattle! Go get it!" ... would that little one go get it? Of course! He/She is completely innocent and trusting. And in Christ's kingdom, the clever and deceitful will stop preying on those who are trusting and innocent. The Leader who can change our present world into that form ... and without a sword! ... is certainly worthy of the titles "Wonderful!" and "Counselor!" "Mighty God!" and "Prince of Peace!"

Vs. 10 Christ is the ultimate sign of peace. His church is the ensign spoken of here. It will be an ensign of Jesus Christ. We gather together in HIS name and in no other. And the ensign is not only for the house of Israel, but for all Gentiles as well.

Vs. 11 The idea here is that all will be brought back together to the Lord's standard. The idea behind "islands of the sea" is this: If we were to look at a map of the Pacific, most of us wouldn't be able to find the islands of Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Marcaess, etc. They are so small! But the Lord is saying here, "There is no spot on My earth where I can't find My people! Even if you're on that smallest island of the earth, I will find you and will bring you back!"

Vs. 12 Literally the house of Judah is being gathered.

The last three verses of chapter 21 are alluding to stories in the ancient world.

Vs. 14 This is suggesting that there will be no enemies. No one will stop you from gathering.

Vs. 15 As Isaiah speaks in behalf of the Lord, he is alluding to the Lord splitting the river Euphrates if need be, to get His people gathered. "I got the children of Israel out of Egypt by splitting the Red Sea, and I'll get YOU out from where YOU are, even if I have to split the Euphrates to do it!"

Vs. 16 This is alluding to the BEAUTIFUL prophecy Isaiah made in chapter 19 of how ALL of God's people (yes, even those in the Middle East!) will be one! What a great day of peace and gathering that will be! And how will we respond in that day? Chapter 22 tells us the answer to that...

We will look at that tomorrow.

What did you learn?

Salad Says 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 295, and 296

Monday, January 16, I enjoyed salad greens, tomatoes, left over turkey and Thai peanut dressing for lunch.
Tuesday, January 17, I enjoyed a warm spinach salad with tomatoes, feta, and a little pepperoni.

Wednesday, January 18, I enjoyed salad greens, more left over turkey and Thai peanut dressing.

Thursday, January 19, I had more of the same...

... I also enjoyed a salad green, spicy chicken, tomato, mustard dressing for dinner.

Friday, January 20, I enjoyed a Chef salad and milk free ranch dressing for lunch.

Saturday, January 21, I was super busy at the HS with my Cinderella set.  My honey was nice enough to bring my a South Western Chicken salad for lunch.

Sunday, January 22, I enjoyed a salad with my Pumpkin soup.  So that is it.  I am 5 salads short of reaching 300 salad days in a row.  I'm kind of surprised.  In addition, I had 3 days at Curves last week.  I'm hoping for 5 days this week.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Conference Talk

Today I read Bishop Keith B McMullin's talk, The Power of the Aaronic Priesthood.  There were a few things in this talk aimed at the young men of the church that I felt I could apply to me:

"... seek for and enjoy the revelations of god, the light of heaven shining..."

"Pray for this mighty change in your life.  Study the scriptures.  Desire more than all else to know God and to become like His holy son."

"Shun profane and foolish chatter.  Flee all evil.  Avoid contention.  Repent where needed."

"The qualities of courage, trustworthiness, humility, faith, and goodness will be yours."

What did you read?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 20

I think it’s important to keep in mind that 2 Nephi 20 has an interesting chapter heading. It reads, "Destruction of Assyria is a type of destruction of wicked at the Second Coming - Few people shall be left after the Lord comes again - Jacob shall return in that day". This chapter is comparable to Isaiah 10

2 Nephi 20 focus on the next major threat to Judah: Assyria. Assyria is like a flood, rising up to the neck of Judah as well as Israel. (Interesting to me since I was battling floods rising this week). We might ask ourselves why is a cruel, wicked and proud nation like Assyria allowed to rise like that? Chapter 20 gives us our answer. It is a message to Assyria, but the first few verses are spoken to Israel.

Vs. 1 In our day we might say, "Wo to those who are writing unjust laws and sending unrighteous men to Washington..." I guess we should choose our political representative more carefully. Can we really complain about policy if we weren’t involved in the process? I think not.

Vs. 2-4 "Israel, you are a greedy people! And because of your behavior, I'm going to allow Assyria to have at you! Assyria doesn't KNOW that I'm allowing them to do this, but it must be done because I need to humble you, My chosen people! So, what are you going to do when Assyria arrives, huh? Without Me, you're going to fall! Turn back to me, it's not too late! My hand is still stretched out to you!"

For the remainder of the chapter Isaiah will speak to Assyria and let them know what THEIR fate is.

Vs. 5-6 The Lord says, "I will send Assyria against the hypocritical nation (Israel) and I will allow Israel to be destroyed. Assyria will be used as a rod in My hand."

Vs. 7-11 Assyria doesn't realize they are just a tool in god’s arsenal. They think their lowest guy on the totem pole is as good as Israel’s kings. What’s more, Assyria brags about all the nations already concurred by Assyrian armies. Assyria says, "The gods of the nations I've already conquered are greater than gods of Jerusalem and Samaria. What makes you think your god is going to save you? As I've done to them, so I will do to you!"

Vs. 12 Assyria shouldn't be boasting so arrogantly, for eventually it's going to bring the Lord's wrath upon them... but this will happen only after Assyria has done the job of humbling the Lord's people as He desires them be humbled. The Lord says, "Assyria, you are just a stick in my hand! I'M the one who is in charge here! Careful!

Somehow Assyria misses that message that they are not in charge here. Notice v14. This is the first time in history that someone is called a chicken. LOL! Assyria says, "Look what we've done! We've taken all your treasures, we gathered all your eggs and you didn't even make a peep!"

God sets them straight in vs. 15. "You're just my tool, Assyria, only a tool. I'm the one in charge here. When my people have been humbled enough and I want to pull you back, I will do it. Which is more powerful... the axe, or the one who holds the axe? You are JUST A TOOL, Assyria!"

Vs.16-23 gives us more of this same idea. Then in v24 the Lord begins to address Israel again. The Lord says that He'll do to Assyria what Egypt did to the children of Israel.

Vs. 25 Assyria's power won't last very long.

Vs. 26 The first half of this verse is alluding to the story found in Judges 7, of how Gideon and his three hundred men defeated the army of the Midianites with just rams horns and lights. The last half of 2 Nephi 20:26 alludes to Egypt again. The Lord says, "Don't worry, Israel, for I'll deliver you from the oppressive Assyrians when I do to them what Egypt did to you."

Vs. 27 Destroyed because of the anointing of whom? The Messiah. The name "Messiah" literally means "the Anointed One." The yoke will be taken off through the Messiah. HE will deliver them.

The last part of chapter 20 sees dramatic Isaiah expressing the sense of dread that is felt by Israel at this time. They know that Assyria is coming and want to capture Jerusalem, and they feel that absolutely NOTHING can stop the march of that army. Feeling they (Israel) are not strong enough to beat them, they're panicking. Imagine our own panic if WE knew an army was marching against us and it is getting closer and closer. However, the Lord will stop the Assyrian army just before it starts to attack. (Can you imagine the joy and relief when the news reports finally come saying that Jerusalem has been spared?) But how does the Lord stop the Assyrians? He sends an epidemic which sweeps through the whole army. God had promised that not a single arrow would be pointed towards Jerusalem, and He kept His word. Literally thousands of soldiers die overnight, and the ones remaining limp away, never to threaten Jerusalem and Israel/Judah again.

Although much of this chapter is referring to actual wars that happened in the past, I believe it can be a metaphor for life. Often God allows wickedness to rise just a bit to humble the believers. Sometimes, we believers get a bit proud and need to be reminded to be humble. Those allowed to rise often feel that they are all powerful in suppressing others. However, they forget that God is the guy in charge. All of His creations can be used as tools in order for Him to accomplish his purposes. Sometimes the rising tide of wickedness begin to worry those being humbled. Worry sets in. “We are about to over run!” But remember, Christ save us. He will swoop in and stop the advance of wickedness upon those doing their best to follow Righteousness just in the nick of time. Remember, HE IS THE GUY IN CHARGE. Just be in His camp and things will work out for good.

What did you learn today?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 19

Isaiah speaks messianically—The people in darkness will see a great light—Unto us a child is born—He will be the Prince of Peace and will reign on David’s throne—Compare Isaiah 9. About 559–545 B.C.

This dimness and darkness concept goes right into chapter 19.

Vs. 1 Funny how being invaded, conquered, and brought into captivity. Brings dimness, darkness, and anguish.

Vs. 2 Naturally after invasion and captivity it would seem one is surrounded in darkness. In Christ, the people that walk in darkness will have a great light come to them. "You may cast your shadow of darkness and death over us, but in that very shadow, a great light will shine, for our King will come! The Messiah will come out of Galilee and will bring us great joy!"

Vs. 3 The joy they feel is the kind of joy you feel after the harvest is all over. Anciently when the haying was done at the end of autumn, it was party time! We call this Thanksgiving.  It was sooooo good to be done with that hard, heavy work of harvesting a good harvest, so they'd celebrate! Another way to explain this is to imagine the joy that comes when a major war has been officially declared over. Imagine the joy that came after World War II was over... It had been a long, hard battle that was won. But darkness turned to light, harvest turned to joy, and battles turned to rejoicing. And when do you divide the spoils? After the war.

Vs. 4 This verse is talking about more than just Assyria being thrown off their backs. This verse is also speaking Messianicly. Just as Judah has been freed from the bondage of Assyria, so too will the Light free us from the rod of punishment, the yoke of sin, and the weight of the bondage of the world. The Lord says "Take my yoke upon you... it's easy and light!" When we give up the yoke of sin and take up the yoke of the Savior, we gain a stronger being to carry the majority of the heavy load. That’s what I’m talking about!

Vs. 5 "I'm not go to free you through war. THIS freeing will be done by the power of the Holy Ghost!" This verse can remind us of the Second Coming and the cleansing of earth at that time.

Vs. 6 "We are going to replace all the others with Jesus Christ!"

Note that v6 it doesn't say, "The government shall be upon his shoulderS." It says the government shall be upon his shoulder... singular, not plural. Why is that? It is ONE shoulder because it is referring to the Holy Priesthood which He holds. There will be one shoulder, one government and one priesthood. This will be a priesthood government... we will be ruled by virtue of the Holy Priesthood.

We tend to give names to people and to kings. Here are a couple of examples from history. Fill in the blanks, okay? How about... Alexander the ___ (Great). Or, Ivan the ____ (Terrible).

Just as names have been given others in history, in the latter part of v6 names are given the Messiah: Jesus, the Wonderful; Jesus the Counselor; Jesus, The Wonderful Counselor; Jesus, the Mighty God; Jesus, the Everlasting Father; Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

All others who took great names and titles upon themselves eventually their governing greatness began to wane. For instance, the Roman Empire reached a certain stage and eventually fell, after which it slowly shrank down until there was nothing left. The British empire did this too. Every great empire will not last... it will eventually fall and fade away. But this is NOT the case with Christ's empire. He will actually be WORTHY of all the names and titles given Him, and HIS government will be different. Most empires establish themselves with oppression, fear, tyranny, and war... But not the King of Kings! His shall be established and then judged with justice and peace! The great central message of the following verse is that there will be a King who is Wonderful and Just!

Besides, I love the song!

Vs. 8-12 They brag: 'You can knock the bricks down, but we'll build with stone cedars, which are better than wood!'" In other words, "You may have knocked us down and have us beaten now, but we're not defeated yet! We'll rise from the ashes and become even greater!"

After all the poor choices we make, the rejection He receives and everything terrible in between- "His hand is stretched out still."

How patient the Lord is with us! How much love He has for us!

I read this and I feel gratitude and love for Him. And yet, I feel that I've been ungrateful, busy and small. I can see His hand stretched out to me, reminding me He is there, beckoning me to stay near Him. And I feel close to Him.

It was a sweet chapter to read today.

What did you think/learn today?

A River Runs Through It

 Today I was feeling for Mrs. Noah.  The rains came down and the floods came up.  I was trapped in our house (well not trapped but it felt like it) with 5 kids, 3 dogs and the cats running in from the down pour.
I had this funny feeling that I might need to check on the condition of our house.  A few years back the city dug up the street to put in fiber optic Internet and removed the drain to our drainage system that John had put in from our drain field around the house.  I guess they didn't like how John had done it.

This is what I found.  Water pouring in from the neighbor's yard into my yard.  What's more?  It was pouring into our crawl space through the foundation vents.  More small problems... our sump pump had died a couple years back and we just never got around to replacing it.

By some miracle, John had stopped over to Home Depot yesterday and had purchased one.  but it was in his car in Albany at work.  What to do....  I decided to call him.  "I think you need bring me that pump."  He headed home.

The water was high enough to nearly bury the big wheels in the back yard.  I grabbed the girls and we started moving all the stuff in the garage to higher ground.  I called Ray and Kimber and got them out of bed.  I needed them to go get Chad from school.

The water kept rising and the stuff in the back yard began to float away.

Chad thought we needed to add draw bridge and a few alligators to our moat.

Hannah braved the cold water and took the first step.

Kimber took the plunge too.

Seriously, the water kept getting higher and higher.

Water was coming down the street.

... across the street...

... from the neighbors....

... we were in shock and awe! (This is actually after it started to recede.  That river was up to the flower pot you see there, on the edge of my porch).

I was ready to brake out the oars, the tubes, the hip waders, and anything else I could think of just to get the mail.

I'm not sure what the college students were thinking parking on my road.  But WOU was thinking for them and sent people home.  They had to.  All the roads were closing as the water continued to rise.

I was very impressed with the rapids.  The water really was moving rather fast for being rain run off.

McKay had to practically swim to her car to go to work.  She called and checked in all the way to work in West Salem.  The roads were terrible all the way in.  She was worried about getting home.

My favorite is that the water no longer went in the drain but was coming OUT of the drain!

... and looked like little geysers coming out of the man hole.  Hannah and I jumped in the car to look at what the neighborhood had in store for us.  We are the lowest point, after all.

This is Stadium Road next to the WOU football field.  They had to pump water out of the stadium.

This little car nearly stayed in there.  Why do people not remember that they need to drive slow in big puddles.

Water was pouring in from the farm fields behind the church.

Kirby didn't like the rain.  He ran under the deck.  All the water made all the garbage float to the surface.  LOL.  What a mess!

Charlie was just plain confused.

We had to pull out the dryer to get to the crawl space.  The laundry baskets began to float away.  John had to do all of his least favorite things... crawl in small spaces... cold water... dark... dirt.... and WORK.  He pumped the water down enough that he could get into the crawl space.  Then he crawled under the house through 4 inches of cold water, clear to the far end of the house, and installed the sump pump.  Did I mention he doesn't like going under the house?

The water kept running for several hours.  The rain slowed down.  We had to open the doors because they were acting like dams.

It was even rippling through the garage.  We had baby rapids.

This is the real problem.  Marr court behind our house flooded from the field behind it..  Once it reached the doors of the houses directly behind our house, the water went around to our yard.  I wish the city would listen when we all say there needs to be a better drainage system on Marr Court.

We were not alone.  Riddle road, just north of us and WOU was closed due to flooding.

With all the road closures there was only one way in and out of our house.

This is what the foot path bridge  in Gentle Wood Park looked like.

And here is the pavilion it led too.  I wonder if we will get nice picnics there this summer.  It won't be anytime soon!

Hwy 99 in Rickreall looked like this.  We were blessed with a little let up in the rain this afternoon.  However, the weather guessers claim that we have an approaching storm for tonight too.  I hear we have 6 more days of rain on the way.  They have now cancelled school for tomorrow due to flooding.  They cancelled after school activities today too.  For now, they are allowing Snowball on Saturday... be they cancelled rehearsal for tonight and tomorrow.  I hope Cinderella will be ready.  Yikes!
I guess I will be like Mrs. Noah.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 18

In 2 Nephi 18 we meet Isaiah’s second boy.... little Maher-shalal-hash-baz, which means significantly enough, “destruction is imminent.” (It is significant that Isaiah’s own name means “Jehovah saves.” Thus, when we put his name with the name of his sons, we learn,

“Destruction is imminent, but don’t despair because Jehovah saves and the remnant shall return!” These people were walking billboards!)

Vs. 5-6 This verse is saying that because the people have broken God’s commandments (which are not hard or grievous) and have refused and rejected the gentle flowing waters of Jerusalem (the gospel, God’s teachings, His house, and His love... all of which flows softly)...

Vs. 7 “... because you’ve rejected that Living Water, you’re going to get another river to swim in instead!” Think of the mighty Euphrates River compared to the waters of Shiloah. What does a river often do? A river often floods its banks (borders). Isaiah is using this imagery to show what nations do as they go about crossing the boarders of neighboring countries and then conquering them. “You’ve rejected My soft water, so now you will get flooded by the Assyrians!”

Vs. 8 Now Isaiah shifts the image of what is going to happen from a river to a bird of prey. “O Immanuel,” though, reminds them to have hope because of Immanuel. How high will the Assyrian threat be to Judah? Judah will be up to it’s neck in the threat. And this does come to pass. Assyria does come in a sweep all of Judah, except for the city of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem is completely surrounded. But there is a beautiful story coming.

The chapter heading of 2 Kings 18-20 tell the story. I suggest you look it up.

Vs.9 Isaiah repeats his warning in a defiant statement... “You will be destroyed if you flirt with danger!”

Vs. 10-11 Isaiah says, “Listen to me! I know what I’m talking about. God is with us if you turn to Him. If you don’t make that alliance with Assyria... even though the people of Judah are wanting you to do so, ...

Vs. 12- “... if you don’t make that alliance, God will protect you! He will be with you!”

Vs. 14-15 Another great use of imagery here... The image of Christ as a stone, a rock. Christ says, “I can use that Rock in one of two ways... 1) You can use it as a place of safety and refuge... as a sanctuary... You and your people climb up on that Rock where you won’t get hurt... (but of course you can’t climb up on that rock unless your are righteous and have faith! That means you have to pay your tithes, you have to keep the Sabbath Day holy... ) or, 2) I am either a sanctuary or a stone of stumbling. If you’re not going to use Me as a sanctuary, then I (the ROCK) will be standing in your path. You will have to go around the Rock, but even if you go around me, you don’t have the option of being safe and protected. Try to go around me and you will stumble, fall, and break into pieces.. You would be wise to climb up on Me and use me as your Protector!” So you can use the ROCK to step up or to trip up. You choose.

Vs. 16 “Bind up this message.... seal it up so that later on when it is opened and read you will see that what I prophesy is true!”

Vs. 21 The blame is on everyone but themselves.

What did you learn?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 17

Ephraim and Syria wage war against Judah—Christ will be born of a virgin—Compare Isaiah 7. About 559–545 B.C.

While studying these Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi it is important to get a bird’s-eye view of the forest of Isaiah. Reading Isaiah often has us feeling lost in a forest of trees, but if we can get ABOVE the trees we are given a better picture of what’s really down there.

One thing to remember is that chapters 2-15 is a unit which goes together. Then we are given chapter 16, which is an interlude, followed by chapters 17-24 (which is another unit). So let’s back up... get out of the trees so to speak, and look at these chapters as a whole. After doing so, then we can go back into the trees again.

Now Isaiah will use the political situation of his time to teach spiritual truths. The political situation of his time was such that there were three big threats to Judah: 1) the threat from a Syria - Israel (northern kingdom) alliance. 2) from the Assyrians. 3) from the Babylonians. All three will threaten the existence of Judah and the Davidic line.

But that’s not the only problem. During this time Israel is in the midst of civil war. King Solomon has died, and his son, Reheboam (the new king) tells the tribes that he’s not going to be Mr. Nice-guy to them. His father may have put them under heavy taxation, but they haven’t seen nothing yet! He is trying to scare them into towing the line, but the tribes won’t stand for it. They say, “We don’t want you for our king!” and the house of Israel splits into two kingdoms. Ten of the tribes of Israel form the northern kingdom and are called Israel (and sometime Ephraim, because Ephraim was the dominant tribe). Israel is ruled by anyone powerful enough to take control. The southern kingdom (called Judah) consists of the tribes of (surprise!) Judah and Benjamin. The Levites who held the priesthood scatter all over the place, most leave the northern kingdom and heading for the southern. Tiny Judah, which holds the line of David, is in midst of a large group of the aforementioned super- power nations. Assyria is the big kid on the block and is the most cruel. It’s trying to gobble up all little nations nearby. Babylon is under Assyrian power, but it is rising up and eventually, in time, will throw Assyria off its back.

During the next few chapters we will see much that is messianic... beautiful prophecies of the coming of Christ. And what Isaiah will try to tell us is to look at the big picture. Each time one of the nations threatens Judah, fear God. Obey and trust in Him . He will save and deliver you. When Babylon lies in ruins in the dust, and Ninevah and Israel are scattered and lost throughout world,... when they are all gone, out of you, little Judah, is destined to come the King of Kings!

Now on to chapter 17.

Vs. 1 Just a little history. The first threat against Judah is Syria (whose capital is Damascus), who has formed an alliance with Israel (Ephraim) and who wishes to conquer Judah.

Vs. 2 Syria is allied with Israel (Ephraim) and now Judah is scared.

Vs. 3 The Lord tells Isaiah, “Take little Shearjashub, your son, and go meet Ahaz [pronouned Ah-hahz] at the pool of Shalom.” It was tough being a kid of a prophet in those days! The names children were given gave a message to all they met. In this case, “Shearjashub” meant “the remnant shall return.” Wherever the boy went, he was a testimony to others. People would see him and say, “Oh! Here comes little Remnant Shall Return!” LOL!

Vs. 8 “Head” means “capitol.”

vs. 12 He doesn’t care whether or not he is tempting God. He has already planned out what he is going to do. He has it all laid out... he wants to form an alliance with Assyria. He will pay them money to attack Syria and Israel. In essence he is saying, “I don’t need God’s help. I’ve got everything under control.”

Vs. 13 Isaiah says, “It’s bad enough that you’re trying to be hypocritical with ME, but don’t try to pull the wool over GOD’S eyes! He’s not stupid, you know!”

Vs. 14 “I’m going to give you a sign anyway. And this is the sign... From you, the house of David, shall be born the King of Kings...”

Vs. 15 Butter and honey were poor people’s food. Thus, the King of Kings will be poor.

Vs.16 Before the child is old enough to know right from wrong, those nations (Syria and Israel) shall have no power... they’ll be history. Referring back to v14 (above). The word “virgin” in Hebrew means “young woman.” Also, in the ancient world women based their child’s name on events that were going on in their lives or feelings they were having at that time. For instance, Sarah named her child Isaac, which means “laughter and joy.” Leah feared that her husband Jacob favored Rachel, so she named her child Reuben, which means, “Look! A son!”... in the hopes that a son will turn Jacob’s favor from Rachel to herself. So names were chosen based upon events and emotions in the woman’s immediate world. It is an interesting prophecy Isaiah makes when he says that part of the sign would be that the child’s name would be Emmanuel, meaning “God is with us.” In other words, he is saying that the sign is going to be so obvious that God is with them that they (Mary and Joseph) will name the child Emmanuel.

There were LOTS of young women by the name of “Mary” in New Testament times. “Mary” in Hebrew is Marah, which means “bitter.”

Vs.18 This is not speaking literally, but rather figuratively. The flies out of Egypt and bees out of Assyria are armies... Swarms of enemies will come together to fight Judah.

Vs. 19 The soldiers coming are described as being like a plague of flies that are wherever you look.

Vs. 20 In the ancient world beards were a sign of manhood, and a woman’s hair was a sign of womanhood. If an enemy wished to totally shame, dominate and humiliate their captives they would shave off all of their body hair. (Also, the enemies didn’t want their war captives to marry, so they would cut the women’s hair, knowing that the women would have to wait six month in order to marry.) To shave or pluck one’s beard is to utterly shame and defeat them. This is what the Roman soldiers would eventually do to Jesus. So Isaiah is saying, “The very King of Assyria whom you have hired to protect you... HE is going to shave you!... And not only is he going to shave your heads and beards, but he is going to shave you from head to toe!”

Vs. 21-22 And when that shaving is accomplished there will be so few people that the milk of one cow and two sheep will be sufficient! There will hardly be anyone left by the time Assyria is through with them!

Vs. 23 Where there was once a thousand vineyards, now there will be a thousand plants of briers and thorns. Why? Because there nobody’s left to take care of the land.

Vs. 24 Why would men come to a land that is so desolate? To go hunting.

Vs. 25 A mattock is a hoe. Isaiah is saying sarcastically, “But there’s a plus to all of this! You know all the places where there used to be little cultivated gardens? Well, you won’t have to worry about hoeing them anymore! They’re going to be full of weeds and they’ll be pasture lands!”

So there it is. What did you learn?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 16

Isaiah sees the Lord—Isaiah’s sins are forgiven—He is called to prophesy—He prophesies of the rejection by the Jews of Christ’s teachings—A remnant will return—Compare Isaiah 6. About 559–545 B.C.

Chapter 16 is Isaiah’s own personal call from the Lord and is an indication of the spirit of those young lions (missionaries) sent to proclaim the gospel, and how to prepare them for their missions..

Vs. 1 The word “seraph” in Hebrew was singular, while “seraphim” was plural. Seraph means “bright, burning one.” His “train” are His followers. (Reminds me of “This train is bond for glory, this train….”

Vs. 2 This creature covers his face because he is humble; covers his feet because he is on holy ground; and flies to display his great power given to him by his creator.

Vs. 3 This verse, obviously, is a verse of praise to the Lord.

In the Hebrew language they do not have superlatives. (For instance, they don’t have “good, better, best.” rather they good, good, or good, good, good, etc. So if they say “Wo” in the scriptures, that’s bad. If they say “wo, wo”... that’s REALLY bad! And if you read “wo, wo, wo”... honey, you’d better watch out ‘cause you’re in BIG trouble here!”) So one “holy” would mean that something/someone is holy; two holies would mean that they are holier; and three holies would mean they are the holiest!. Of course, the Lord is the holiest of all!

Vs. 4 Maybe the posts of the door moving and the smoke suggest an earthquake of some kind,

Vs. 5 Isaiah asks, “How can I go out and speak the words of God to unclean people when I, myself, am unclean? The Lord cleanses in three ways... 1) with water, 2) with fire, and 3) with blood. These are His cleansing agents.

Vs. 6 Altar is made to burn incense on, but water is just as good as fire to cleanse the lips. The “live coal” represents the process of repentance and the workings of the atonement. This is a “living” gospel, after all.

Vs. 7 “You can now speak the words with clean lips, for you have been cleansed.”

Vs. 8 Jesus once said that unless we become like a little child, we can’t come unto Him. One beautiful aspect of a little child. shown here in this verse. Imagine being in a little class of Sunbeams (three and four-year-olds... Imagine being the teacher of those little ones, and saying to them, “I need a helper. Who will help me?” What happens? ALL hands go up! They don’t even know what you want them to do yet, but they just know that they want to help!

When are nineteen-year-old young boys like those Sunbeams? When the Lord says, “I need someone to go teach the gospel in Chile. It’s a tough mission, but is there anyone willing to go?” And these young men/women raise their hands and say, “Here am I! Send ME! I’LL go on a mission! I won’t date any girls/guys for two years, I’ll give up music and movies and tv.... I’ll even wear a tie... EVERY DAY! (hey, that’s a BIGGIE!!!)... I’ll learn another language... and hey!... I’ll even pay my own way!” This is the Spirit which Isaiah is talking about... Young men and women giving of themselves to preach the word to fellow brothers and sisters around the world. And the Lord says, “I need someone to go to Japan.” and these young lions raise their hands (practically bouncing up and down in their seats!) And say, “Here am I! Send me, send me! I’ll go! I’ll go!” Also notice that being a poet, Isaiah tries to pack all he can into a phrase. In this verse we are reminded of several things... When these young people answer the Lord’s call, whose words are they echoing? Not just Isaiah’s own words, but Jesus Christ’s own words from our pre-mortal existence... “Here am I; send me!” They are also imitating the very Atonement itself when they say “Here am I; send me!”

Vs. 9 “You’re going to go out with your message, but most won’t see it, most won’t hear it. You will try to teach them about the scriptures and about the prophets, but they won’t see or hear it. It will be discouraging.”

Vs. 10 God is not making a command here in this verse. He’s so certain most of the people won’t listen to His message that He is just making a statement here. “I’d like to convert them, but most won’t listen.”

Vs. 11 Isaiah asks the Lord, “How long shall I teach them?” to which the Lord replies that he must teach until cities be wasted without inhabitant, etc... “Cities wasted without inhabitants?” What would cause such a condition? War! The Lord says, “Just keep on teaching right up until the end!” In Isaiah’s day, “the end” meant right up until Assyrians take the ten tribes. In our own day, that means we must teach right up until Armegeddon!

Vs. 12 Very few will be left on the land after the scattering, and there will be very few righteous.

Vs. 13 This verse ends with hope. A teil tree is a juniper tree. The image in this verse is such that you can cut the tree down, but out of the stump and roots will grow little branches. There will be a little bit of life left in Israel, and that life will return to God one day.

What did you learn today?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Conference Talk

Today I read Elder Jeffery R. Holland's talk, We are All Enlisted.  Elder Holland focused his thoughts on encouraging young men to prepare to be missionaries.  It was a bitter-sweet read.  Then the comforting thought came into my mind... I am being a missionary just by teaching seminary every morning.  I am being a missionary by helping at the HS on a regular basis.  I am being a missionary by happily greeting people at church who haven't come in years and helping them to feel welcome.  Sure wish I could figure out how to be a missionary to my son.

The Boyfriend

I think it is safe to say McKay has a boyfriend.  This is Myles.  He came yesterday from New Mexico to see McKay.  They met at EFY.  He was a counselor.  Not her counselor.  Chad's counselor.  He is here until Wednesday.  While he is here, he is checking out if OSU would transfer his college credits.  He is a Junior studying marriage and family counseling.  Mostly, he wants to work for CES.  I hate to tell him, but it's hard to get into CES.  He had better stick with plan B... counseling families.  Just a reminder McKay, if you move to New Mexico the car stays here.  We can't help you with school.  And I most likely will not be visiting you in New Mexico.  I don't travel.  Just saying.  Myles seems nice enough.  but if he wants to really date McKay and knows what's good for him, he'd better move to Oregon.  Enough said.