My study of the scriptures has had a profound effect on my life. As I have studied, I have grown closer to God and found answers to real challenges in my life. This blog is a scripture journal that records insights I have discovered in the past and continue to gain as I search, ponder, and pray.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Was All that Really 30 Years Ago? 1 Nephi 1:1 and 2 Nephi 5:28-30

Graduation 1983
What were you doing 30 years ago?

I was finishing high school. That is the age group of girls that I work with as Young Women's president. I thought it would be a good idea to read my junior high and high school journals. I figured it would help me remember what it was like to be that age.

Oh, my, did I ever relive my life. It was fun to become reacquainted with friends and relive experiences. But, I learned a lot. One thing I learned was about perspective.

In 1 Nephi 1:1, Nephi wrote that "having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days...yea, having a knowledge of the goodness of God...." he wrote the record. I love how he emphasizes that he was highly favored and knew the goodness of God. When we read the record, we often see the trials that he faced. Yet, he talked about a good life. The thing that is really important about this, though, is that he was writing the record a full 30 years after he left Jerusalem (see 2 Nephi 5:28-31).

Wow! 30 years! I graduated from high school 30 years ago. Thirty years makes a huge difference in perspective. The things that were important upon graduation were very important in that how I handled them shaped the rest of my life. At the same time they are not that critical. For example, now I can honestly say who cares that the there were contentions among the yearbook staff that were referenced in the final "swan song" article at the end of the yearbook. At the time it made me furious, because those who knew, knew that it was talking about me. Through the years I had remembered that it happened, but didn't remember the details until I read about them. Moreover, I had no emotion wrapped up in the event as I read it. It is over.

To cite another example, in February 1983 I was so discouraged about my homemaking skills, especially sewing, cooking, etc. Finally, I thought I had found a true homemaking skill at which I could excel--crocheting. However at this particular time, the afghan I was working on was not going
well. I wrote an entry wondering what good my current skills would do me when my "children were freezing with no clothes and no blankets to keep them warm." Oh, the drama! :) Yes, I did finish the afghan, and I even made another one years later. No, my kids have never frozen for lack of homemade clothes or homemade blankets.

Although I can still be insecure about my "homemaking" skills, and I have had more than one melt-down over the lack of these skills (even when I have been married), I can honestly say that I am a good homemaker. I can cook, which I do, and I can sew, embroider, and crochet if I need to. But that is not what makes me a good HOME maker.

The things that really mattered, I learned 30+ years ago, too. I learned that God loves me. I learned I can pray to Him and he will answer my prayers. I learned I to love. Each day I try to show my husband and children how much I love them. I try to teach them the Gospel and show them through my actions how much I love the Lord and how much He loves them. Crocheting won't get them "home" to our Heavenly Father, but loving God will!

A 30-year perspective. That's what I need. As I face my trials and challenges in life now, I need to remember that 30, 20, or even 10 years down the road, life will be different. The attitude I take now will shape the future, but the event will be over.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Kidney Transplant--A Similitude of Christ's Life


Things I Learned about the Savior
from Our Experiences

As I contemplate this Christmas Season, I'm humbled by the love of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I learned so much more about his life and sacrifice by the experiences of kidney failure including the following:


·        Martin needed the great personal sacrifice of another individual in order to live. We need the sacrifice of our Savior in order to live.
·        Although I didn't really "want" to undergo surgery, I wanted to because of my love for Martin. Likewise the Savior pled with the Father for another way, yet, he stayed faithful to the end because of his love for us and for the Father.
·        I had to be enough like Martin (a match) and yet different enough (healthy and without medical conditions) to donate the kidney. The Savior had to be a match (a human) yet different enough (a god) to do the work.
·        I am bound in covenant to Martin, and it was my right to do what needed to be done to save him. We are bound in covenant to the Savior through baptism, and it is his right to save us.
·        In order to fully accept the sacrifice of the kidney donation, Martin has to take medications for the rest of his life and do what he can to live a healthy life. In order to accept the sacrifice of the Savior we need to do all in our power to stay spiritually healthy.
·        We can never repay the kindness, love, and compassion given to us by neighbors and friends. We can never repay the Savior for his sacrifice, never!
·        We can honor the sacrifice of our neighbors by paying it forward to another who needs help. We can honor the sacrifice of the Savior by building his Kingdom.

Because of our many experiences of fear, pain, anxiety, stress, peace, love, and mercy I know with much greater surety that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live! I know these things because I have learned them more deeply through the trials of my faith the last two years.

Having the honor of donating a kidney to save Martin's life was one of the most sacred experiences of my entire life. I am grateful for the right and privilege I had of doing so.And I am most grateful to the Lord and Savior for his love and sacrifice for me!

May God bless you this Christmas Season!
Michelle

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Acts 23 A Different Pathway Than Expected

Why  isn't it happening? Do I lack sufficient faith? What about the faith of the hundreds of others who are praying for us? What more can I do?

A few weeks ago I asked these  heartfelt questions in my journal. Since I had no satisfying answers, I left the questions hanging with the closing statement of "I don't understand."

I wonder if the Apostle Paul experienced the same questions?

In Acts 22-24 we read about the attempts of the Jews to kill Paul. It must have been a terrifying time for Paul. At one point, in order to save his life he  resorted to pulling rank as a Roman citizen, an action he usually avoided. At which point he was thrown in prison, not released an escorted to safety.

During the night the Lord appeared to Paul. In Acts 23:11 we read that he didn't just appear before him, but the Savior "stood by him. and told him to "Be of good cheer." In the NIV it reads "take courage."  The message continued. Just as Paul had testified of the Savior in Jerusalem, he would testify of the Savior in Rome. For a man who was in prison and whose life was in real danger, this must have been comforting.

Yet, we read at the end of Chapter 24 that Felix held Paul a prisoner in Caesarea for two years. I wonder if that period seemed like a long time to Paul? Did he ever begin to doubt that the words of the Lord would be fulfilled? Would he ever really preach in Rome? And why is it taking so long?

We know the end of the story. Paul was taken to Rome. He testified of Christ in Rome, even while he spent the first two years of his stay there as a prisoner. The Lord's words were fulfilled. However, in the midst of the imprisonment--in the middle of the pathway that took him to Rome--it probably didn't feel like the right path at all.

In God's own way and in his own time, he will fulfill his words. And in my case, his words are usually fulfilled by a different pathway than I expect.

But, he is a God of truth and always keeps his word. It is my task to wait upon him with patience.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Grudge Against Martin Harris -- Enos through Words of Mormon

True Confessions: For many years I held a slight grudge, against Martin Harris. Okay, maybe grudge is too strong of a word. Annoyance is better. I love 2 Nephi 2, where Lehi discourses beautifully on the Plan of Salvation. I felt that if we had the 116 pages in our scriptures today, I would be filled with deeper insights, and even more insights, from Lehi.

One day, though, I found a great need to repent after reading Doctrine and Covenants 10:45. The Lord declares that the small plates of Nephi “throw greater views upon [His] gospel.” As it turns out, we have the “better” stuff now and the lost 116 pages were not nearly so important.

This shouldn’t be surprising. The Lord in his infinite wisdom and planning cause the small plates to be made. Of course he would have them contain more important information, since he knew that they would contain the message we would have. Mormon wanted those plates included because they were pleasing unto him. But what exactly is the message they contain?

I love Jarom 1:2. Jarom declares that he will not be writing very much because the small plates already contain the doctrine of the Plan of Salvation. “What could I write more,” he asks. Included in this doctrine is the invitation for all to come unto Christ. At the very end of the small plates, Amulek urges every one of us to “come unto Christ who is the Holy one of Israel and partake of his salvation and the power of his redemption.”

In fact, all prophets and authors of sacred scripture testify of Christ (see Mosiah 13:33). Is it any wonder that after Enos’s heart was changed by the love of God, he pled with the Lord to preserve the records for the Lamanites (Enos 13-16).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

John 9 A Kidney Transplant and The Works of God

"So you've got surgery tomorrow?" President Olson asked as I entered the office for my temple recommend interview.

"Yes, it's the kidney transplant."

"Oh," he responded, "so it's not you, but your husband."

"No. It's both of us. I'm his donor."

Silence filled the room as the impact of my words settled on this great man. After a few seconds he looked at me and said, "That is a very sacred thing."

The Spirit of the Lord filled the room as we wept together during the interview. My testimony drew strength as I declared that I believe in my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost and have faith in the atonement.

Upon returning home, I marveled again, at the effect this husband-wife transplant team is having on others.


“And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him”


Truly that is what this transplant is all about. It is a witness of God's love, mercy, power, and atonement. Through my husband and through me, the power God has been and will continue to be made manifest!

To that end, I share my deepened testimony. Because of my many experiences of fear, pain, anxiety, stress, peace, love, and mercy I know with much greater surety that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live! I know they are mindful of each one of us. I know they love us. I know the power of the atonement is real. I know that we need the sacrifice of our Lord in order to live. I know that although Christ plead with the Father for another way, he stayed faithful to the end because of his love for us and for the Father. I know that because of our Lord and Savior we can return home and we can become like God! I know these things because I have learned them more deeply through the trials of my faith the last ten months.

I testify of these things in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Where the Lord Wants Me to Be 1 Corinthians 12

Life can be overwhelming.  A few weeks ago I was feeling that way with my church callings in conjunction with Martin's kidney failure.

I love teaching Gospel Doctrine!  I'm really enjoying being a den leader, especially since it gives me time with my son.  Yet, I have been so often overwhelmed.  Consequently, I feel like my SS lesson preparation has suffered, as has the planning of den meetings.  Is it all too much?

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul likens our bodies to the Church. In verse18, we learn that God has put the body together as he wants it.  In other words, God has put us in our Church service where he wants us.

I must be in the right place, then.

This was confirmed to me a few weeks ago when a sweet member of my Sunday School class listened to the promptings of the spirit.  She mailed me a simple thank you note--she didn't just tell me in Church, but took the time to write, address, stamp, and mail a note--telling me how much she learned from my lessons.  I started to cry.  Maybe, even through all my stress and feelings of a lack of preparation, I'm where the Lord wants me to be.  Maybe he is still using me to build his kingdom.

And through it all, I receive an added gift.  I feel his spirit carrying me through my lesson presentations.  The Lord is making up the difference.  I'm giving him my all, which is less than at other times in my life but still my all, and he's making it grand. The Lord is teaching my lessons. I'm just his instrument.

I still feel overwhelmed.  But it's nice to be reassured that I'm where the Lord wants me.

By the way, here's something fun I learned while studying:

Earlier in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul is likening the positions and assignments of Church members to our bodies.  Before he does that though, he talks about gifts of the spirit.  He says that there are differences of administrations. I love to look at other meanings in Greek for various NT words.  For that reason, I love to read the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible sometimes. I really like the NIV wording for that verse and one one following it, verses 5-6: "there are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of workings [or possibly activities or tasks], but the same God works all of them in all men."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Testifying of Christ at All Levels Acts 6-9

A few years ago I heard the  comment "The biggest problem we have in the Church is rapid growth."

Martyrdom of Stephen
As I read Acts 6-9, I found the same type of problems as the Church began to expand outside of Jerusalem. The 12 Apostles chose seven men to help.  Each of these men strengthened the church and spread the Gospel where ever they went.  Their efforts reminded me of D&C 90:11 where the Gospel was preached in the hearers tongue and language.

Language is different than tongue.  It involves all the customs and cultures of the individuals, especially their religious cultures in this context.  As we read these chapters, we see how each taught in both the tongue and language of their hearers. Yet they all had one thing in common:

Each testified of Christ!

* Stephen spoke intelligently to the Sanhedrin about Jewish history.  Even as he died, his testimony was of the Savior (see Acts 7:55-56).

* Philip taught the Ethiopian eunuch about the passages he'd been reading in Isaiah about the Savior (see Acts 8:32-33; Isaiah 53:7-8).

* Paul, after his conversion, taught in the name of Christ (see Acts 9:19-22, 27).

As we fulfill our callings and as the  Church grows, testifying of Christ should be at the forefront -- Whether it is large or small, local or foreign, missionaries and cub scout den leaders we can all testify of Christ!