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Summer Book of Mormon Challenge - Day 5

Today's reading is  1 Nephi 14-15 or pages 25-30.

The common thread that was most meaningful to me throughout this chapter are the promises made to us in the latter days (nearly at the end of the world- v22!)

These promises were very important, so important that the angel explained them, then he made sure Nephi remembered them (v 8) and asked him to write them down so that we might know them too.  

  1. The Lamb of God shall MANIFEST himself unto us in word, in power, and in deed. (1)  He has!  The restoration has happened!
  2. He will take away our stumbling blocks (1).  By giving us the restored gospel we now have all we need to return to Him.  Most importantly, we can repent and He will make things right.
  3. We shall be numbered among the house if Israel (2).  We will be HIS!
  4. We will be a blessed people forever (2).
  5. We shall be no more brought down to captivity, nor will the house of Israel be confounded (2).  We will understand the scriptures and the prophets.  We will not be confused!
  6. We will not perish (5).  We will prosper!
  7. He will work a marvelous work among the children of men (7).  We are part of that marvelous work!  When we share the gospel with the people we meet we are a part of moving this work forward.  We are a part of making miracles.
  8. Though we will be few in number (v 12) the power of the Lamb of God will descend upon us, the Saints of His church (14).
  9. We will be armed with righteousness (14).  That means we will be prepared!
  10. We will be armed with the power of God in great glory (14).  There will be no need to fear.
These promises are not just given freely, but given under covenant with Him. The angel called us the covenant people of the Lord (14). That means, of course, that all of these blessings are hinged on the manner in which we keep our promises to Him.

In verse 1, in the very first line you'll find the word if. It is a small word that carries great power. It is the hinge on which the marvelous and everlasting work (7) rests on.

There are only two options, two outcomes for us as stated in verse 7:
  1. Peace and life eternal
  2. captivity and destruction
Only two choices.  Makes things simple.  Doesn't it?

That's what the IF is- it means, it's our choice to keep up our end of the bargain.

So, what is our end?
  1. To hearken unto the Lamb of God (1)
  2. Not harden our hearts (2,6)
  3. Repent (5)
Seems an unfair covenant. Three things we've been asked to choose to do:  be humble, listen to and follow him, and repent when we make mistakes.

We do these three things He is bound to give us everything in return- all that He has.  Now that is a lot!

It is sad to me that the numbers who will accept will be few. But- this state is only short-lived. The things that John the Revelator saw attest to that.

President Hinckley was right when we said that life is increasingly exciting. It is! And I'm excited to be here, now- and that I have a choice in matter. It is my IF. 

I am most excited, though, of what my choice is, that I choose to follow Him and be a part of this great and marvelous work. 

President Hinckley also said“Let us go forward in this glorious work. How exciting and wonderful it is. I do not know how anybody can feel gloomy for very long who is a member of this Church. Do you feel gloomy? Lift your eyes. Stand on your feet. Say a few words of appreciation and love to the Lord. Be positive. Think of what great things are occurring as the Lord brings to pass His eternal purposes. This is a day of prophecy fulfilled, my brothers and sisters, this great day in the history of this Church. This is the day of which has been spoken of by those who have gone before us. Let us live worthy of our birthright. Keep the faith. Nurture your testimonies. Walk in righteousness and the Lord will bless you and prosper you, and you will be a happy and wonderful people”

I was really fascinated by a few things in chapter 15:

First of all, I could feel the wave of emotions Nephi must have felt in the beginning verses here.  He had just come from perhaps his most spiritual and intimate experience in his life, to a tent full of arguing brothers. Sounds like coming home to my house sometimes.  LOL.

Take into consideration that at this point, Nephi has a very clear understanding of how Laman and Lemuel will end up- miserable.  And their seed as well.  Can you imagine that? Think of someone you love that is struggling. Then think what it would be like if you were told they wouldn't make it. It would be heartbreaking.  It was for Nephi.  So much so that he thought it was the worst thing in the world have know and have happen (5).  It was so tough for him, (and also he was most likely spiritually exhausted from the vision) that he actually had to take some time to gather himself together before he could talk with them (6)

And even though he knew how things would end up, he still taught them, loved them, pleaded with them and stuck by them until the Lord told him to leave.  I understand where he is coming from all too well.

One of the biggest problems that Laman and Lemuel had is that they were lazy. They complained about work, putting effort into things, afflictions, etc. They didn't even make the effort to inquire of the Lord to find answers for themselves. 

When Nephi asked if they had asked the Lord what their father's  dream meant, they said, No, cuz He didn't come and tell us (paraphrasing v 9, of course.)

Nephi sounded exasperated. The next 2 verses he says (paraphrasing again)  Are you serious? Are you guys really that dense? It's so simple: be obedient, ask in faith and He'll give you answers. But you guys don't keep the commandments and you're totally willing to suffer really bad consequences, just because you're lazy, stubborn and prideful. Seriously?

Nephi didn't even wait for their response. He just went right into it. And he didn't start with the warm-fuzzy stuff. He started in with what's going to them and their seed if they stay on their path of hard-heartedness. It would be generations before their seed would come back to a knowledge of the Savior. But even then, they would scatter again.

That must have touched their crusty hearts, for finally (20) they humbled themselves before the Lord.

Then they began to ask questions. And some of the questions (31) were really good ones! They were insightful and pertinent. It shows that L&L were quite intelligent. They just needed to use their powers for good. And when they did- they got answers.

I think sometimes I can be lazy like them. Sometimes I figure if God wants me to do a particular thing bad enough, He'll tell me. Most times when I have that attitude, it's because I don't want to, or am not ready to, find the answer just yet.  It's an excuse. 

For some it really is just laziness.  They want to Lord to do all the work for them.

There it is...  How is your reading going?


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