There are times that I make things more difficult than they really need to be… I fight… I even disobey… I struggle. I get in my own way! Gah! Nephites are much different. I think about the history of this group of people: the multiple wars with the Lamanites and such... For years they fought and lost loved ones- all in an attempt to keep safe and escaped the Lamanites… all it took was some wine, and in one night they were free.
I wonder how many times the Lord has given me solutions or directions by inspiration and I ignored it or didn't recognize it because it seemed so simple. Too simple.
Makes me think.
It does- spiritual prosperity, but not always physical prosperity.
This chapter remind me that life is a time to be tested- even in righteousness. A little stress will always make things, and people, stronger.
The Lord doesn't not want us to live in or be driven by fear. There are many times where I have to hush my own fears and cry unto the Lord for guidance, strength and comfort.
He made them stronger and their faith grew to the point where the Lord rewarded their faith by allowing them a release from their burdens.
It is important to note how they gave thanks to the Lord afterwards.
I think it's interesting how both times the Nephites escaped they did it when the Lamanites are knocked out. Lol.
To understand the word, you must first believe. That is why faith is the first principle of the gospel!
It is that very understanding that softens our hearts. Hence, without it, their hearts were hardened.
It all comes down to faith.
Those without faith didn't believe or understand. They wouldn't be baptized. They also deceived the believers.
Those who had faith and believed were blessed and called by the name of Christ.
It all comes down to faith.
I mean, what an amazing conversion that happened within in!
This chapter is replete with references to faith and repentance. I love the idea that ALL mankind can be saved- not just a few.
I also love the joy that they experienced by being tools in the Lord's hands.
And now, here are the sons of Mosiah, approaching their father saying, "Hey, Dad. We'd like to go back there and teach them about God." No wonder they had to ask for many days. I wouldn't have let them go! How frightening for Mosiah, as a father, to even consider allowing his sons to purposefully to into such dangerous conditions. I'm sure he would have said no, if it weren't for the answer he received from the Lord.
If find it interesting to note that in chapter 26 Mosiah turned to Alma for inspiration when it came to a kingdom matter. But this was a family matter, and he took it to the Lord himself. The Lord came back gave a green light to his sons. I wonder if Mosiah was still scared for them. Nevertheless (awesome word!) he allowed them to go because he had faith in the answer he received and the promised that the Lord extended.
As a parent, it is frightening to make choices that I know will affect my children forever. I pray often that I will be in tune to the Spirit, so that I might lead and guide my children where the Lord wants them to go.
Verse 27 is eerily similar to the direction of this great land today, "And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you..." Things are changing here- and not for the better. The tide of standards and integrity are receding, the voice of the people is crying louder and louder for redefining of family, stripping away the rights of the workers and people's freedom to choose. They are being tricked into thinking that this is a new form of enlightenment, and "upgrade" to how things have been done in the past.
God's standards will never change.
Of course they did. He made the path wide and easy. He removed the struggle, the accountability and humility and replaced it with selfishness, laziness and pride.
Sinning always seems the path of least resistance. But we see in the end of this chapter (and pretty much all cases of sinful behavior) that it is not the path to happiness. Only righteousness is.
Many people do not have a knowledge or testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I wonder how different their lives would be if they had. It might not change their circumstances, but would that testimony give purpose to their pain, and strength to their fight? Would it take the sting from death? I can't even imagine.
For the Nephites and Lamanites, in just one year tens of thousands of souls lost their lives. Here is where the perspective comes in verse 26: "...tens of thousands of souls sent to the eternal world, that they might reap their rewards according to their works, whether they were good or whether they were bad, to reap eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit which they listed to obey....(27) For every man receiveth wages for him who he listeth to obey."
There is a toll to be paid, if not in this life then most definitely in the next. In fact, the toll paid in this life is simply an extension, a preview, of the price we will pay- whether good or evil- in the next. If we are righteous we have the sweet gift of testimony and faith the help us through difficult circumstances. We choose to have faith, we list to obey they voice of God. And though we suffer because we are mortal and have agency, just as all around us do, that faith is what consecrates our trials for the eternal rewards we will receive.
The same rules apply to the wicked. Though they are wicked, they might find some happiness/pleasure in this life. But, without that faith and testimony, their lives are shallow. They attached greater meaning to positions and power, pride and prestige, assuming that these are the purpose of life. They follow the flesh, never seeing beyond this world to the higher, broader purpose to life. They choose to obey the adversary, and become tools in his hands for the physical destruction of the righteous.
Life has difficulties for everyone- the righteous and the wicked. The difference is who we choose to follow. That will affect how we see this life and what we strive for. These all determine where we and up.
It really does come down to choices. This life is full of joy and sorrow. Everyone is faced with difficult circumstances- some more than others.
But, it's not our circumstances that define us. It's our choices.
In verse 10 it says:... the wickedness of the church was a great stumbling block to those who did not belong to the church; and thus the church began to fall in its progress.
Above it I have written: Are you a stumbling block?
People watch us. They watch to see if we live what we claim to believe. When we don't live we what claim to believe, it leaves others confused. If we as members of the church are negative, angry, and not living the gospel, what incentive does that give, what example does that give to those who aren't members of the church? Does our behavior- the lives that we lead- draw people closer to the Savior or not?
A few things that I really loved:
Verse 14:...for Christ's sake... The things that the humble followers did, they did for Christ's sake. I pondered what that meant. My interpretation is that everything good that we do, we do because the Atonement has allowed us to. They say that he suffered for our sins, so I know that some of the blood and tears that he shed were for me. Conversely, I'd like to think that the good things that I do can ease his burden, further his cause and bring my Savior joy- that maybe I can lighten his load by choosing the right. I love that.
Verse 15: ...nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail them... They were humble, and the Spirit didn't let them down. Love it!
I love the humility of Alma. Not that prestige was important to him- but he gave up a prestigious position for the sake of helping rebuild the kingdom. That inspires me to ask myself: How much would I be willing to give up to further the Kingdom? I've covenanted to dedicate all that I have to do so. I hope I do
What beautiful descriptive words.
I love this verse: 16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?
Can I imagine the voice of the Lord taking to me? What would I like Him to say? What would He actually say? Do I have the image of God in my countenance?
This speech was made by Alma the Younger. Remember, he was the one who saw the angel of God and was struck down for three days while he was in an amazing repentance process. But, despite these wonderful and very real experiences, listen to how he explains he received his testimony:
46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit ofrevelation which is in me.
It's the Spirit that gives us our testimony- not our experiences. it's how much we open our hearts to the Spirit and allow him to testify of the truthfulness for the gospel. The same things happened to the twelve apostles. Even thought they walked with Jesus, it was when they were pricked in their hearts that they knew.
He made sure leaders were called by the priesthood. Then those who didn't want to be there were kicked out, and those who wanted in were baptized. The church was purged and planted, and once again healthy. Only AFTER that happened did Alma feel like he could leave and serve his mission.
I also think the pattern for Alma's testimony was interesting as it was spelled out in verse 8. His testimony of Jesus Christ gave him the spirit of prophecy, which gave him the revelation of truth.
We know that Amulek was almost, if not as equally, a powerful teacher and speaker as Alma. He must have had an amazing testimony.
I wonder, in my life, how many blessings and opportunities I've had, just by being the right girl at the right time doing the right thing. I know meeting my husband was one of them. Today we celebrate our 17th anniversary. I gave him a card that congratulated him on celebrating the day he made the smartest decision of his life- but seriously, I am blessed to be with him.
I know that I've been blessed in my life, not because I'm awesome or anything- but simply because God saw that I was willing to follow Him, to go where He wants me to go, do what he wants me to do, and be what He wants me to be
I also love how, when Alma receives a message from the Lord, he not only did what he was asked. He went about it "speedily." That shows a willingness and eagerness to follow Him. What a great example these two men are to me.
Alma uses the words 'remember' and 'forgotten' six times. The people of Ammonihah were once believers, but over time they had "forgotten" what they once believed.
Our circumstances and moods fluctuate, and for some, so does their faith. Times get tough, obedience is difficult, fears take over- we begin to forget our testimonies. Doubt creeps in we falter.
Keeping the faith means that regardless of the change in circumstances and even our moods, we maintain our testimonies of our Savior and His gospel. It's not always easy to do, but we read here the price of those who don't.