Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Example of Paul

Student Choice Assignment

Choice 2: Acts 16; 18. Paul’s Second Mission

Paul traveled to many places on his 2nd mission but these are the places he wrote letters to later: Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, Ephesus.

Ways Holy Ghost directed Paul & companions during journey:

Acts 16:6-10

*forbidden to go to Asia

*told not to go to Bithynia

*told in a dream to go to Macedonia

Acts 18:9-11

*told in a dream to be not afraid and to speak up

*assurance that the Lord is with him and has many people in the city

 The Holy Ghost was an important part of Paul’s journeys. For the disciples and apostles of this time, their lives were in danger daily. It was important for them to listen to the promptings of the Spirit. For instance, if Paul had ignored the promptings in Acts 16:6-10, he may have suffered more or even died before his work was complete. Also, he was led to those whose hearts were softened and were able to easily accept the gospel message Paul had to share.

 The Spirit has likewise led me in my missionary experiences. I have been prompted many times to speak to various people and found that they were very receptive to the things I had to say. There have also been times when faced with a heated discussion on religion, I have been constrained to hold my tongue and speak nothing. This was a great experience for me as it allowed me to look internally and really feel the truth of what I believe manifest in my testimony. More often than not, my missionary experiences have been in befriending new women in my area/ward/neighborhood. The Lord gave me the lonely experience of moving to a new area without any friends or family. I knew the pain and boredom of being all alone in a strange place. I have since learned to love the area and its people. Now when new families move into the ward/neighborhood, I try to make them feel welcome and know that they have a friend. Because I know how they are feeling, the Lord helps me to relate to them and find common ground. I’d like to be able to be more receptive to promptings and pray more earnestly for them. If I do this, I think the Lord could make me an even better instrument in His hands.

Ways Paul was an excellent Missionary:

*responded immediately to promptings and visions


*conversed with the women (got to know the people)

*baptized believers

*used Priesthood authority to heal many

*bore afflictions with patience

*sang praises to God

*was honest with others (jailor)

*preached the Gospel with power and conviction

Paul turned his experiences into missionary opportunities when he befriended the jailor and converted him and his entire household. He also met many people along his journeys that became great members of the church.

 Paul’s example of missionary work was inspiring to me. The determination and veal he showed over and over was a great example to everyone who desires to share the gospel with others. Sometimes it is hard to know who to talk to and where to go to find people who need the gospel. Paul showed us to pray when we are seeking missionary opportunities and then to act on the promptings from the Lord.

 The Jailor is an example of a true convert in the way that he welcomed Paul and Silas into his home. There he brought his household together to hear the words of these missionaries and they were all converted. Then he protected them and helped them find freedom to leave the city. He became a true friend to Paul and Silas. He turned from hardened jailor to protective friend to the Roman missionaries.

Mosiah 4:9-10 sheds light on Acts 17:30-31 in the way that it confirms that God does things in His own way and His own time. In Acts we find that God had let a people have their idols and false gods in ignorance, but now commanded all men to come to a knowledge of the gospel and to repent. God has His own time and place for things to come to pass, even if we don’t understand the why, when, or how.

 Now in my life, I have passed the Full-Time Mission phase. I am focusing now on preparing to be a better member missionary. I have had a great time lately getting to know the new women in my ward/area. Lately I have been really lonely and feeling like I have no friends in my new area. So instead of being gloomy and throwing a pity party, I decided to make a difference. I have made it my challenge to make friends with more women in my ward. There have been many new families move into the ward and it has been great to get to know them and to make them feel welcome. I know how it feels to not feel welcome or like I have a friend, and I want to make sure no woman in our ward feels like that, if I can help it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm Back Again!

Well here I am again back at the grind stone of college. I'm now on part 2 of my New Testament class so I wil be posting weekly on my assignments...You are either really excited or really not but either way, they are coming!
Here is the 1st! This week is all about Peter. I wasn't too sure about Peter from the Gospels but I have grown to love him and his unflinching testimony.
In just the few chapters I've read this week in Acts I have learned more about the restoration of Israel, The gospel spreading to the whole earth, the powerful testimonies of the Apostles, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Age of restoration that will preceed the 2nd coming, the many testimonies, arrests, imprisonments, and miraculous deliverances of the Apostles and Disciples, and the sad beginning of the martyrdoms of these great men.
Peter grew so much in such a short amount of time, it seems. From Acts 2-12, Peter bore strong testimonies of Christ's resurrection, repentance, Divinity, and His power through the priesthood. Peter baptizes many people in many lands and is commanded to go to all the Gentiles. He and John are imprisoned many times and are able to bear powerful witness of Christ and are later miraculously delivered by angels from the prisons. He continues to perform many miracles using the Priesthood power and rebukes those who offer to buy it from him. Peter becomes such a warrior for Christ and it is inspiring how quickly and completely one can come to know Christ.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

And He Drank the Bitter Cup

Choice 1: Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1-2. The Savior’s Suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane

(painting by Liz Lemon Swindle, one of my favorite artists)
I have searched many scripture sources on Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane and have come up with many words that describe the magnitude of this event for Him:


Very heavy: distressed/troubled

Exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death

Prayed earnestly

Soul is exceedingly sorrowful unto death

Agony: pain

Sweat as it were great drops of blood

Suffer temptations, pains of body, hunger, thirst, fatigue

Blood cometh from every pore

Anguish for wickedness& abominations


Temptations of every kind


Sicknesses of His people


Take upon Him their infirmities


Tremble because of pain

Suffer both body and spirit

Fearful suffering



Gethsemane was the Savior’s place of refuge; a place of solace and privacy. It was secluded and peaceful. He often went there to pray, meditate, and teach His apostles. The things I have learned about it lead me to believe it was akin to a temple. It was a place of hallowed ground, fit for the atonement to begin.
Christ taught His apostles to pray so that they may withstand temptations. This was important for them when the spirit was willing but the flesh weak. Christ himself set the perfect example of this in Gethsemane. He was willing to go forward with the atonement yet did plead with the Father to remove the bitter cup. Nevertheless, He overcame the weakness of the flesh and performed the work He was sent to do. Sadly, his apostles gave into the weakness of the flesh and succumbed to sleep in the Master’s greatest hour of need.
During each interval of Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane, He asked the Father to let the bitter cup pass. Then He followed with perhaps the most important and profound statement, “nevertheless, not mine will, but thine be done.” He had perfect obedience and was willing to submit His will to God’s no matter how terrifying or painful the coming ordeal was to be. We can learn a great lesson from this example of obedience. Instead of asking WHY?, perhaps we should ask WHY NOT? and follow the Savior’s example to accept the will of the Father no matter what may lie in wait for us. I found this extremely comforting when my son was born. We thought that he had been born without any soft spots on his head. This frightened us because it meant either skull surgery or brain damage. Both were absolutely terrifying for a mother to contemplate. Thankfully we have the power of the priesthood in our lives and were able to give blessings around that gave great peace and promised blessings to come. After I received mine, I had an overwhelming feeling of peace. I knew that whatever happened next was in the Lord’s hands and that I would have more peace and help if I submitted my will to His. Luckily my son was fine and no surgery was required and we were spared pain and heartache. I promise that faith in the Father’s plan for us and in His timing brings great peace and happiness to our lives.
As the Savior’s agony increased in Gethsemane, so did the earnestness of His prayer. I find too that in my life I tend to plead more desperately with my Father when times are tough and trials arise. One such time was when I was in either middle school or high school and my grandpa was having something like a quadruple bypass on his heart. I knew my grandpa was older and my dad tried to prepare us in case grandpa didn’t make it. This news was too much for my tender heart to handle and I ran to my room where I spent hours on my knees pleading and sobbing to my Heavenly Father to spare him because I still needed him. I always felt that I had a special bond with my grandparents because they helped to raise us after my parent’s divorce, and loosing him was going to crush my heart. As I crawled into bed with a prayer in my heart, a soft voice spoke peace to my mind and soul telling me that “all is well, all is well.” I’m so glad to say that my grandpa is still with us today and that the Lord did hear the earnest prayer of a young girl.
Christ’s love for the Father enabled Him to drink the bitter cup and finish the work of the Father. Only Christ could perform the saving sacrifice for the all of mankind. It was His calling to save the souls of men that were in jeopardy from the Fall of Adam. It speaks volumes of the Savior’s love for God and His close relationship that He must have had with His literal father.

I have learned many life changing lessons during this week’s study of the Atonement. One is to pray, pray, and pray harder. It is so important to help us to see the will of the Father in our lives and also to protect us from the adversary’s temptations. Also, I’ve learned to give freely of my time to Him and to make sure I include Him in my daily routine a little more. Another lesson I’ve learned is to be grateful for the Savior’s suffering for me. Ever moment of Christ’s suffering was extremely intimate and personal for each one of us. I believe that He spent a few moments with each of us as He suffered for our pains, sins, sicknesses, etc. Not to use this gift is to make a mockery of it.

***For further INCREDIBLE insights on the Atonement and Gethsemane read these quotes found in the Institute Manual for the New Testament:

“It seems, that in addition to the fearful suffering incident to crucifixion, the agony of Gethsemane had recurred, intensified beyond human power to endure. In that bitterest hour the dying Christ was alone, alone in most terrible reality. That the supreme sacrifice of the Son might be consummated in all its fulness, the Father seems to have withdrawn the support of His immediate Presence, leaving to the Savior of men the glory of complete victory over the forces of sin and death.” (Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 661.)

When the Savior exclaimed in triumph, “It is finished” (John 19:30), he knew his atoning sacrifice had been accepted by the Father. (See John 19:28.)

“Sweet and welcome as would have been the relief of death in any of the earlier stages of His suffering from Gethsemane to the cross, He lived until all things were accomplished as had been appointed.” (Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 662.)

“How perfect the example is! Though he were the Son of God, yet even he, having been strengthened by an angelic ministrant, prays with increased faith; even he grows in grace and ascends to higher heights of spiritual unity with the Father. How well Paul wrote of this hour: ‘In the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.’ (Heb. 5:7–9.)” (McConkie, DNTC, 1:776.)

But what was it that caused the Savior’s intense agony?

“Jesus had to take away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. … And as He in His own person bore the sins of all, and atoned for them by the sacrifice of Himself, so there came upon Him the weight and agony of ages and generations, the indescribable agony consequent upon this great sacrificial atonement wherein He bore the sins of the world, and suffered in His own person the consequences of an eternal law of God broken by men. Hence His profound grief, His indescribable anguish, His overpowering torture, all experienced in the submission to the eternal fiat of Jehovah and the requirements of an inexorable law.

“The suffering of the Son of God was not simply the suffering of personal death; for in assuming the position that He did in making an atonement for the sins of the world He bore the weight, the responsibility, and the burden of the sins of all men, which, to us, is incomprehensible. …

“Groaning beneath this concentrated load, this intense, incomprehensible pressure, this terrible exaction of Divine Justice, from which feeble humanity shrank, and through the agony thus experienced sweating great drops of blood, He was led to exclaim, ‘Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.’ He had wrestled with the superincumbent load in the wilderness, He had struggled against the powers of darkness that had been let loose upon him there; placed below all things, His mind surcharged with agony and pain, lonely and apparently helpless and forsaken, in his agony the blood oozed from His pores.” (Taylor, The Mediation and Atonement, pp. 149–50.)

“Christ’s agony in the garden is unfathomable by the finite mind, both as to intensity and cause. The thought that He suffered through fear of death is untenable. Death to Him was preliminary to resurrection and triumphal return to the Father from whom He had come, and to a state of glory even beyond what He had before possessed; and, moreover, it is within His power to lay down His life voluntarily. He struggled and groaned under a burden such as no other being who has lived on earth might even conceive as possible. It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing. No other man, however great his powers of physical or mental endurance, could have suffered so; for his human organism would have succumbed, and syncope would have produced unconsciousness and welcome oblivion. In that hour of anguish Christ met and overcame all the horrors that Satan, ‘the prince of this world’ could inflict. The frightful struggle incident to the temptations immediately following the Lord’s baptism was surpassed and overshadowed by this supreme contest with the powers of evil.

“In some manner, actual and terribly real though to man incomprehensible, the Savior took upon Himself the burden of the sins of mankind from Adam to the end of the world.” (Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 613.)

(I think it's safe to say that Elder Talmage is AMAZING!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What would you give?

This week I chose to learn more about the woman who anointed Christ's head with an expensive ointment and got some flack from some other followers of Jesus, but praise from Him.

This woman understood something that some of His closest followers did not, that He was soon to die and so she was preparing Him for His burial. In a way, I think that she was saying her goodbyes to Him. What a respectful and sorrowful thing it probably was for this woman to do. Often the Savior spoke in parables and so when He was direct about soon dying, I think His apostles and other followers were assuming it was a figure of speech and not literal.

Sometimes our “righteous” actions are not always best. I love the talk by Elder Oaks about choosing the “good, better, best.” I think that in this situation of the woman anointing Christ with her expensive spikenard ointment, she chose best. She recognized who the Savior was and His divinity. The disciples had good intentions of selling the ointment for money for the poor, but they failed to see the honor that this woman gave to the Son of God, her personal Redeemer.

We all look for ways that we could possibly repay our Lord for His eternal sacrifice for us. This woman understood who He was and what He came here to do for her and for all. She was openly acknowledging her gratitude and love for Jesus Christ. We all wish we could give back something to our Savior to show our gratitude and love for Him and His atonement. Her deed will stand as a memorial of her because that is the love and devotion we ought to strive to give our Lord. If all would worship Him and understand His matchless gift He gave, as this woman did, we would all be saved and our lives would be made so much better through our remembrance of Him.
This woman most likely used her most precious and expensive possession to honor the Savior. What would we give to Him? Our time? Our talents? Our possessions? Our money? I just sat back and thought about what I would do if the Savior was a guest at my house. What would I do for Him? How would I serve Him? I wouldn’t be using paper plates and plasticware! I think I’d fix the finest meal I could. I would make sure my home was comfortable. I would make a great dessert. I would bust out my finest china and try to make it all worthy of the Son of God. I don’t have much of value, but what I have, I would freely give.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Be Prepared

How fitting this week's assignment was! After a heartbreaking election, I had a dooms-day feeling about where our economy, country, and society was headed. This week we studied Matthew 23-24, Mark 13, Luke 21, and JS-Matthew. The reading was all centered on Christ teaching His followers to be prepared for what was to come in their lives and also before the 2nd coming. To simplify the reading, this is what Jesus councils the believers to do:
  • Watch out for people who will deceive and betray you
  • Watch for the signs of the times
  • Watch and pray
These are all things that our current Church leaders council us to do. Here are a few more scripture references for things to do to prepare to meet our Savior:
  • D&C 87:8- Stand in holy places
  • JS-Matthew 1:32- Watch for the abomination of desolation (BD, when "Jerusalem again will be under siege")
  • JS-M 1:37- Study/treasure the scriptures
  • JS-M 1:46-50- Watch, prepare, be faithful, and be "doing"
  • D&C 33:17- Be faithful, pray always, be prepared
  • D&C 45:56-57- Receive the truth, keep Holy Spirit as your guide
As I studied the lesson this week, I couldn't shake the fear in the pit of my stomach about what our nation and/or family is going to face. The scripture about if you are prepared, you shall not fear, popped into my mind. I decided to be proactive and look at the unprepared aspects of  my life. One was getting COMPLETELY out of debt, which we are currently working on with a SNOWBALL effect set up (found in the Ensign a year or so ago). The next area was in our food storage and emergency preparedness. I decided to go BIG! I made a huge list of what we would need and want and them went through and inventoried my entire stock pile! We decided to set aside $20 each week to spend strictly on food storage. Then I will go each week and buy what items I need and fill in the holes! I'm only a little excited about this...I love lists and checking them off!!(nerd alert). We have a family of 4 and 2 of those are kiddos under 3. So it will change over time, but in my minds eye, when we have it complete, it will be glorious! It does feel so good to be prepared! Another important thing to know and do, is how to have your own garden, and how to bottle food. I love to do canning each year, and this has really been a blessing in my life. I look around at our society and the majority would have no idea. How sad for them in their time of need, when Wal-Mart runs out of food, or they cannot travel to a store. Another thing I kept in mind were things I could add to my storage for trade or profit if things went look at your skills and prepare for those too. I hope this encourages you to begin and just get going with it! Post tips in the comments box! (I would share my template for my list, but I have no idea how to link that...any tips?)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Marriage Brings Us Together Today

This week I learned about the difference between temporal and eternal marriage in Matthew 22:24-28. The Sadducees asked Jesus that if a woman marry a man and he dies without producing children, then she is given to the next brother and the next if he dies and so on for seven brothers and then finally she dies with out ever producing children, then in the resurrection, whose wife will she be? I believe that the Sadducees were trying to see which side Jesus favored by asking him about the resurrection. If He did not believe in the resurrection then he was siding with the Sadducees, but if He did believe in life after death then He was in favor of the Pharacees. The Saducees did not believe in a resurrection nor in spirits or life after death. I don't think they were sincere in this question, yet Jesus took the opportunity to teach an important doctrine concerning marriage.

Matthew 22:30 really means that marriages will not be performed after the resurrection. This was something I did not know! I guess I thought that as long as you were worthy and desired a celestial marriage that it would be granted. Elder James E. Talmage shed some light on this matter when he stated, "In the resurrection there will be no marrying nor giving in marriage; for all questions of marital status must be settled before that time, under the authority of the Holy Priesthood, which holds the power to seal in marriage for both time and eternity." In D&C 132:15-16 it explains why temporal marriages are not continued after death. The reason is that they were not performed under the proper priesthood authority and thus are not binding in the life hereafter. I also learned that this is the same reason that interfaith marriages are discouraged. God intended men and women to marry under the eternal covenant and that marraiges are equal partnerships and meant to bring out the best god-given traits in men and women.

I am so grateful for my wonderful husband who took me to the SLC temple to be sealed for not only time, but for eternity. I am so grateful for the covenants I made that day and how they help to stregthen me and my marraige.  I pray that we may live up to our promises and the blessings granted in the temple.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Little Points to Ponder

This week our reading was on Luke 16-18 and it was packed full of parables! I dug through them and found some great principles to live by. 1) was on the "children of light" Luke 16:1-12 and in there I found that we need to keep an eternal perspective and make our decisions in life accordingly. 2)  Luke 16:19-31 and it was about Lazarus the Leper and the rich man. This one really struck a cord with me and I learned something new!! (I love learning new things about the gospel!) I never realized that before the Savior died and entered into the spirit world, that there was a gulf between the spirit prison and spirit paradise. When Christ went into the spirit world, he opened the way and bridged the two places so that they could now inter-mingle and missionary work could be performed. He gave us a way to save our deceased loved ones and I am so grateful for that!

3) Luke 17:11-19 was about the 10 lepers who were healed and only one returned. Two principles I found were that we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith (they had to leave and show obedience before they were healed) and that Christ was no respecter of persons; all were to receive the blessings of the gospel (the one who turned back to thank Him was a Samaritan). 4) Luke 18:1-8 was the parable of the unjust judge. The principle I took away from it was that we should be all the more willing to go to God in prayer, knowing that He is loving and merciful, if even a wicked man can hear and grant petitions (the unjust judge). 5) Luke 18:9-14 is the parable of the Pharisee and publican. One principle I found was that our self-righteousness will not save us, but we will be saved according to our humility and keeping the commandments. I'm grateful for the scriptures and how they help us to be better by reminding us of the ways of God.