Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mormon 9

Moroni makes a fascinating statement in verse 14, indicating that when we are judged at that last day, “he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still.”  Happiness is largely a choice here in mortality, and I certainly want to be happy in the next life, so what can I do to make sure I’m happy at the Day of Judgment?  Earlier in the Book of Mormon, Alma taught us a few things about happiness.  He taught us that “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10).  He also taught that we could suppose that those who “die in the faith of Christ are happy in him” (Alma 46:41).  So, if I shun wickedness and have faith in Christ, I can be happy now? If I choose to be, yes. 

Moroni goes further in qualifying the life of a serious Christian in verses 28 and 29, which if we can follow would certainly lead us to be happy.  Being as we are “free to choose eternal life” (see 2 Nephi 2:27) let’s choose happiness now by following this wise counsel of Moroni.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mormon 8

Moroni has to be the loneliest man in all scripture. “I am alone.  My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go; and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not,” he wrote in verse 5.   These aren't the last words he wrote, though.  His last words to us in this record were written about 40 years later.  Judging by the rest of the words he chose to add to the metal plates on which he was writing, and judging by how spiritual they are, it is clear to me that Moroni did have one Friend:  the Savior.  He chose the rest of what he wrote specifically for us.  “Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (v. 35).   Then in verses 36 – 40 he describes our day with great detail.  So, even being the last Nephite, Moroni was not entirely alone.  He relied on his Heavenly Friend.  When we feel lonely, may we remember to reach for that precious, wounded Hand that is always extended to us.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mormon 7

Though these aren't the last words we’ll hear from Mormon, they are the last words he will engrave on the sacred record.  After making such an incredible spiritual abridgment covering such doctrine as justice and mercy, the existence of God, opposition in all things, revelation, conversion and the very visit of Christ to his ancestors, what profound doctrine does Mormon end his writings with?  The simplest, and most spiritual of all:  “Believe in Jesus Christ” he wrote.  “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus.”  He describes baptism as with water, then fire and the Holy Ghost (see v.   10).  He also encourages us to follow Christ’s example (v. 10) and to lay hold upon the gospel of Christ (v. 8).  This last bit is very important and I believe it includes our understanding the atonement of Christ well enough for it to sustain us through the discovery of our own weaknesses.  Let us have faith in Christ unto repentance, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, lay hold upon the gospel of Christ and follow “the example of our Savior” so that, as Mormon’s last words indicate, “it shall be well with [us] in the day of judgment” (v. 10).

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mormon 6

What pathos is found in Mormon’s lamenting over the fallen Nephite nation!  I like his reference to Christ “who stood with open arms to receive you” (v. 17).  Our Savior is very long-suffering with us, as He was with the Nephites.  He stands, waiting for us to ask, then He comes running to us.  Knowing this should not make us complacent in following Him, though.  Mormon’s lamentation shows us how risky it is to wait too long.  But even in this past-time, Mormon spoke of the Lord’s mercy in verse 22:  “The Eternal Father of Heaven knoweth your state; and he doeth with you according to his justice and mercy.”  Mormon eventually gave up on the Nephites.  Perhaps I'm wrong, but I just can’t imagine the Lord doing so.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mormon 5

In this chapter of war, we find the Nephites having so declined as a people, that their wickedness will now lead them to total destruction.  Even so, they had some military success when they gathered together in cities that were strongholds.  In cities where the Nephites weren't gathered, the Lamanites completely destroyed them. 

Family is one way of gathering to protect ourselves.  It is easier to destroy an individual than it is to destroy a group of mutually minded people.  Can we make our family a stronghold?  We can as much as we collectively allow ourselves to be led by our Shepherd (see v. 17).

Friday, December 26, 2014

Mormon 4

After successfully defending themselves twice (with the Lord’s help), the Nephites began to “boast in their own strength” and decided to wage an offensive war for the first time in their history (see Mormon 3:9-10).  Seeing that they had completely forgotten the Lord, Mormon refused to lead them any longer.  Chapter 4 records the result of the Nephites’ fighting entirely in their own strength, and Mormon describes it as a “horrible scene” in which the Nephites were defeated.  Within eight years of continual fighting and bloodshed, the forgetful Nephites had become the most wicked they had ever been (v. 12).

The Nephites made two mistakes here.  First, they waged an offensive war.  The bigger mistake was to not acknowledge the blessings of the Lord.  It was for this bigger mistake that the Lamanites were allowed to prevail.   I believe that, notwithstanding their wicked ways, had the Nephites turned to the Lord, they could have continued to progress as a people.

Let us not forget the Lord, but as Moroni will later teach us, let us remember His mercies toward us, and ponder them in our hearts (see Moroni 10:3).

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mormon 3

In 350 AD the Nephites entered into a treaty with the Lamanites and divided the land between them.  The Nephites inherited the Northern part of the land and the Lamanites inherited the Southern part of the land, with a “narrow passage” between the two.  Ten years later the Lamanites decided to attack again.  (I've often wondered when, with all the battles Mormon led, he found time to abridge the sacred record he had obtained into what we know as the Book of Mormon.  This peaceful decade would certainly have provided him ample opportunity.)  The two armies spent a year preparing for battle and Mormon gathered his forces in the “narrow passage” of land which was the border between the two.  This was sound military strategy, for the Lamanites couldn't penetrate the border to fight. Neither could they a year later when they tried it again. 

We can follow Mormon’s strategy in our own battles against the influences of the adversary.  Let’s not admit him into our hearts or entertain his temptations.  Rather let’s cut him off at the pass as soon as he begins his attacks.  The Lord is at the head of our army, and He will prevail.  Let’s help Him to do so by following Him.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mormon 2

In this chapter Mormon obtains a portion of the sacred record that had been hidden for safekeeping by Ammoron (4 Nephi 1:48).  As a child Mormon had learned about things of the Spirit and had learned of Jesus Christ.  Being rather tall and husky, he began leading the Nephite armies at the age of only 15, where he had limited success.  Then at about the age of 33, being close enough to the hidden record, he went to the place Ammoron had indicated and retrieved them.  It is interesting to me that he made a full record of the Lord’s dealings with the people on the plates of Nephi, as commanded by Ammoron (v. 2), and then took it a step further.  He studied the plates of Nephi and Lehi, and the brass plates and abridged it all into a concise record for us to have.  Undoubtedly it was the Lord who inspired this project. 

It is obvious that Mormon took to heart what he was reading and applied it to his own life.  Look at verse 23: “And it came to pass that I did speak unto my people, and did urge them with great energy, that they would stand boldly before the Lamanites and fight for their wives, and their children, and their houses, and their homes.”  Doesn't that sound like Moroni’s Title of Liberty found in Alma 46:11-13?  And note that he named his own son Moroni, undoubtedly after the most inspiring military leader in the record.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mormon 1

Today we consider very young leaders throughout the scriptures.  In the Old Testament we read of the child Samuel in Eli’s charge at the tabernacle at Shiloh (see 1 Samuel 3).  In the New Testament we find 12-year-old Jesus amazing adult scholars in the temple in Jerusalem (Luke 2:46-47).  In the Pearl of Great Price there’s the story of 14-year-old Joseph Smith, Jr.’s prophetic calling.  This young man would translate the Book of Mormon.  And in the Book of Mormon we have young Mormon, who, at the age of 15 “was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus!” (See verse 15).  I wonder how much each of these young lads had in common?  For example, were they all “sober…and quick to observe (v. 2)?  The Lord employs those who will follow Him to lead His people.  In many cases we see youth being the leaders.  Often this happens when the righteous are hard to find.  In Mormon’s case, the three Nephite disciples who would not taste of death were removed from among the Nephites because of the wickedness of the people, leaving young Mormon to follow the Savior alone (v. 13).  Like Joseph Smith, Jr., Mormon had to wait a few years before obtaining the sacred writings that would help him bring so many people to Christ (v. 3).

Monday, December 22, 2014

4 Nephi

Watching Star Trek as a youth, I was always impressed by how peoples’ race and gender had no bearing upon their jobs on the Federation Star Ship Enterprise.  On that show, the earthlings were all part of the human race.  I long to see a day when people are always judged on their own merits without regard to their gender or the color of their skin.  The closest thing I've seen to it so far is the description of life among Lehi’s descendants 100 years after Christ was born. 

In 4 Nephi we read that there was no contention, “no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness” and this was possible “because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people” (verses 15 – 16). 
It goes on to further explain that “there were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there any Lamanites, nor any manner of –ites” (v. 17).  This was a people who judged others on their merits, and not on their backgrounds.  How could they do it?  They “were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God” (v. 17).

Having the love of God in our hearts and realizing we can be joint-heirs with Christ are key to overlooking differences.  If I live long enough, maybe I’ll see such a people, who, like these followers of Christ it can be said: “there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.”

Sunday, December 21, 2014

3 Nephi 30

Chapter 30 contains words that Christ personally directed be included in the Book of Mormon.  It shows the infinite love of Christ toward all mankind.  By repenting and coming unto Him, and being baptized in His name, we will receive a remission of our sins and be filled with the Holy Ghost.  This invitation and promise are not reserved only for the pure in heart.  Because of His loving atonement, Christ is able to make this invitation and promise to people who are or who have been wicked, evil, liars and deceivers; to people who have committed whoredoms, or who have been involved in secret abominations, idolatries, murders, priestcrafts, envyings and strifes.  This is a message of great hope for anyone who has gone amiss, or who grieves over a loved one who has gone amiss.  Therefore, let us come unto this loving Savior and then dedicate our lives to bringing others as close to Him as they are willing to come.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

3 Nephi 29

Keeping our word is important.  Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can be trusted to always keep their word.  We have proof of their honesty.  For centuries the Lord promised those who were keeping the Nephite record that it would come forth at a future time to bless their posterity with the knowledge of their forefathers’ testimony of Jesus Christ.  Verses 1 and 2 of this chapter repeat that promise.  And we’re told that when that happens, it will be evidence that His promise of the gathering of the House of Israel has begun to be fulfilled.  With that evidence, we can know that the Lord fulfills all His word. This promise came true when the Book of Mormon was published in 1830 among Gentiles first.  Since the Lord kept His promise about bringing forth the Book of Mormon, which we can hold in our hands, we can be sure he’ll keep all his other promises.  Let’s follow His example and keep our promises, too.

Friday, December 19, 2014

3 Nephi 28

When we seek a blessing of the Lord, let us be humble in our seeking and allow Him to bless us as He sees fit rather than as we see fit.  Often, the blessing the Lord has in mind for us is even greater than the blessing we seek.  In chapter 28 we see a good example of this.  Before leaving His followers in Bountiful, the Savior offered his 12 disciples a blessing of their choosing.  Three of them simply desired to “bring the souls of men unto [Him], while the world shall stand” (v. 9).  Notice that their desire wasn't self-serving.  It was a desire to serve others.  Christ not only blessed them that they would each live long enough to do as they asked, He blessed them with the greater blessing He wished to bestow: “ye shall never taste of death….but when I come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.  And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world” (verses 7 – 9).  If we are worthy, we will be blessed.  If we are humble and allow the Lord to bless us as we see fit, we will be more blessed.  If we seek to serve others instead of ourselves, we will be more greatly blessed.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

3 Nephi 27

For centuries Christians have debated the merit of grace vs works.  This chapter gives us the Lord’s own commentary on works when He defines His gospel to the New World disciples (see verses 13 - 22).  Christ came to be crucified so that all men might be judged of their individual works.  Because of the justice of the Father (see verse 17) no one can be saved by their works, yet it is by our works that we will be judged.  As works cannot save us, we need the grace of Christ.  How do we obtain that?  We must repent and be baptized.  The Lord promised that if such a person “endureth to the end, behold him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world” (v. 16).  Notice that endurance to the end, which must include love and its resulting good works, does not render us guiltless.  Rather such endurance allows the Lord to apply His grace and to hold us guiltless when He judges us.  This is why He came here among us, to die sinless having first taken upon Him all our guilt, and then to live again to apply saving grace to His final judgment of us.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

3 Nephi 26

Lest we forget how precious children are, we have 3 Nephi 26.  After being individually blessed by the Savior, then being surrounded by fire and ministered to by angels in chapter 25, a record of Jesus’ teaching to the Nephite and Lamanite children is found in this chapter (see verses 14 – 16).  The record shows that Jesus opened their mouths, even the mouths of babies, and they taught their parents even greater things than Jesus had taught.  What He taught them couldn't be written, it was so sacred.  The little children who heard King Benjamin’s speech back in the book of Mosiah didn't understand it, and within one generation, the people had rebellion among them, chiefly brought on by these same children, then grown.  But among this people, whose children were taught by Jesus Christ Himself, it would be 200 years before rebellion would come again.  Let us remember how precious our children are, and teach them about the Savior, Jesus Christ and His love for them.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

3 Nephi 25

When the wicked are destroyed at the Lord’s Second Coming “it shall leave them neither root nor branch” (v. 1), or, you could say, without ancestry nor posterity.  But with some preparation, that curse can be avoided by individuals.  A few verses later, the way for genealogical research is established, indicating its importance.  “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord.  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (verses 5 – 6).

Family is that important!

Monday, December 15, 2014

3 Nephi 24

We usually read this chapter looking forward to the Lord’s Second Coming, to which it refers.  But how interesting it is to try to read it from the point of view of the Nephites and Lamanites who had just survived three days of the earth’s upheaval in total darkness!  At Jesus’ death entire cities had been sunk into the sea or buried in the earth while others had been burned.  The more righteous among them survived the tumults, and sometime after the earthquakes stopped and the light returned, some of them made their way to the temple in Bountiful, where they encountered the resurrected Jesus.  Imagine what they felt when reminded by Him of Isaiah’s words: “The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple.”  “Who may abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth?”  “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”  You know these people were aware that the Lord was able to fulfill these prophecies, for they had just lived through some of them.  And think of their joy at hearing things like this: “And they shall be mine…in that day when I make up my jewels; I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (v. 17).  Talk about likening the scriptures to yourself!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

3 Nephi 23

The Lord meant for all scripture that testified of Him to be made available for any who might seek Him.  During His visit to the Americas, He wanted the faithful people at Bountiful to understand the scriptures that testify of Him.  He asked Nephi to bring him the record that had been so carefully kept for 600 years.  In reviewing it, the Savior discovered a prophecy of Samuel the Lamanite concerning a sign of His death that Nephi had failed to record.  He asked Nephi to add that testimony to the record.  Then Christ “expounded all scriptures in one” (v. 14), or explained to the people all the scriptures they then had.  And finally, He gave them additional scripture from the Old World they didn't have access to, such as part of the Book of Malachi.  Thus armed these people were able to live in peace for nearly 200 years after Christ’s visit to them. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

3 Nephi 22

At a time when peace is constantly threatened, how wonderful it is to have the Book of Mormon account of the Savior’s commentary on Isaiah 54. One criticism often heard about the Book of Mormon is that so many chapters in it are devoted to war.  It’s been said that the Book of Mormon was written for our day, and ours, I’m afraid, is a day of war; wars between nations, wars between gangs, “wars” between family members and “wars” with our own shortcomings and temptations.  Perhaps we can find a way to cope with our tumultuous time by learning how the Lord worked with people in the tumultuous times of the Book of Mormon.   Even though the Savior’s teachings in 3 Nephi 22 were given in a day of peace to be followed by centuries of peace, the surviving Nephites and Lamanites had just suffered the most tumultuous days in the history of the earth to that time (in my opinion).  So knowing that war would eventually follow, the Lord reminded these people of Isaiah’s “heritage of the servants of the Lord” (see verse 17).  This teaching contained in verses 10 – 17 contains beautiful references to the Lord’s support and protection from any that seek to harm His followers.  Perhaps the most comforting of all is verse 13, which states: “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children.”  The time is come to teach all of God’s children about the Lord, the Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is the Prince of Peace.  In Him is found peace.  He is our support and our refuge.  As we come to understand this our own peace will increase.   

Friday, December 12, 2014

3 Nephi 21

How the Lord knows men!  Throughout all scriptures can be found countless examples of “if the people do this, that will happen; but if the people do that, this will happen.”  This chapter contains Christ’s teaching about the latter-day Gentiles: if they accept the Book of Mormon things will go one way (verses 22 – 29), and if they don’t things will go another way (verses 11 – 21).  Verse 10 of this chapter illustrates how very well the Lord knows men.  It states “I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.”  The scripture cross-reference there takes us to the Doctrine & Covenants where the Lord tells the prophet Joseph Smith not to re-translate 116 pages of the Book of Mormon transcript he had lost (see D&C 10:43).  Without re-translating those pages, the information contained in them wasn’t even lost.  How?  1500 years earlier Mormon double-recorded on the gold plates what Nephi had double-recorded 800 years before that.  The 116 pages had come from Lehi’s writings that Nephi kept and which were passed down with the brass plates and the records the Nephites were keeping.  The portion we have at the beginning of the Book of Mormon are from Nephi’s account of the same things Lehi had written about. 

The Lord has always known men.  In the Garden of Eden, if the adversary thought he had destroyed the Father’s plan by convincing Adam to eat the forbidden fruit, he was mistaken.  The Father had already made plans for the Atonement of Jesus Christ to cover that transgression.  The Lord still knows men today.  We can take comfort in knowing that, as explained in D&C 3:1, the purposes of God cannot be frustrated.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

3 Nephi 20

Many Bible scholars over many centuries have faithfully studied and commented on every doctrine taught in that Holy Work.  In 3 Nephi 20, Jesus Christ, Himself, comments on the writings of Isaiah.  He does so in other places in the Book of Mormon, also, but here He comments specifically on Isaiah’s prophesies of the gathering of Israel found in Isaiah 52.  Generally speaking, the Savior teaches that when the prophesies of Isaiah are fulfilled, then will the Abrahamic Covenant be fulfilled.  Specifically, all kindreds of the earth shall be blessed through Abraham’s seed by the “pouring out of the Holy Ghost through [Christ] unto the Gentiles” (v. 27), and through the gathering of the House of Israel to the lands of their inheritance.  The “Jews” are to be gathered to Jerusalem (v. 33) once they receive the fullness of the gospel, believe in Christ and begin to pray to the father in His name (verses 29 – 33, etc.).  The “Nephites” are to be gathered to the New Jerusalem (v. 22), in the Western Hemisphere.  The part of the Abrahamic Covenant that deals with posterity is not specifically mentioned in this chapter, but through the gathering, it is implied.  How wonderful to have access to the Savior’s thoughts on a portion of the writings of Isaiah!    How incredible it must have been to listen to Him comment on the scriptures in the temple when He was twelve!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

3 Nephi 19

It is hard not to contrast the Savior’s experience in this chapter with His experience in the Garden of Gethsemane.  In both occasions He removed himself apart from His followers to pray alone, apart from them, but in their sight.  And in both instances He returned to His followers to again ask them to pray and to watch.  In Gethsemane, He found them asleep each of the three times He came back to them.  But not in Bountiful.  Each of the three times He came to them, they were still praying.  The disciples in Jerusalem were very tired.  It was after a meal and late at night.  No doubt that some of the disciples in Bountiful were also very tired, as surely some of them had been among the large group of people that had spent the night going from house to house to tell their neighbors of the Savior’s visit and invite them to the next day’s meeting with Him.  How lonely the Lord must have felt in Gethsemane, and what joy He must have felt in Bountiful!  The prayer He prayed in Gethsemane was to prepare Him for the ordeal to come as He completed His atoning sacrifice for the world.  But the prayer He prayed in Bountiful was more like the great Intercessory Prayer found in John 17 where He asked the Father’s greatest blessings upon His followers.  Both 3 Nephi 19 and John 17 are beautiful chapters.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

3 Nephi 18

Prayer is a powerful way to resist temptation and to bless others.  Prayer is like a silver bullet to the adversary’s plans.  In this chapter the Lord encourages us to 1) pray unto the Father in His name, 2) to pray in faith, 3) and to pray for those who seek the truth.  To let our light shine before the world, in verse 24 the Lord encourages us to follow His example, and to do the things we've seen Him do.  And the first of His examples we should follow is prayer.

Monday, December 8, 2014

3 Nephi 17

After preaching the Sermon on the Mount to the 2500 people Christ found at the temple in Bountiful, He explained to his listeners that it was time for Him to leave them until the next day.  Perceiving they couldn't understand all the incredible doctrine He had just taught them, He recommended that they go home, pray for understanding, and prepare to listen again the next day.  Before leaving, He “cast his eyes” on the multitude and understood they wanted Him to stay longer.  He did stay longer.  And in this first day’s encore Christ healed their sick, blessed their children, instituted the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and gave twelve disciples the power to bestow upon people the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Undoubtedly the Savior would have done all these things eventually among these faithful people, but because He took note, they received these blessings earlier.  And because He took note, Jesus Himself was blessed with fullness of joy (see verses 20 – 21).

As we serve others may we follow Christ’s example to take the time to see, then be flexible enough to respond to the needs we recognize.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

3 Nephi 16

Because the House of Israel would reject the Savior, provisions were made to teach the gospel to the Gentiles through the Nephite record, that would one day become the Book of Mormon.  But in this chapter we see that ultimately the Gentiles will also reject Him, at which time the House of Israel will again be blessed.  Verse 13 contains the beautiful promise that “if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.”  Another beautiful verse is verse 6 which explains “blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father.”  So we see that the Gentiles would learn of and accept the Savior through the ministering of the Holy Ghost.  By following the Savior through the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and by coming to know Him more fully through what the Book of Mormon teaches about Him, we can rejoice in the Good News as described at the end of the chapter which quotes a few verses from Isaiah: “Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem” (v. 19).  Let us come to know the Savior more fully by doing His works and forgiving others with His forgiveness.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

3 Nephi 15

The Savior told the multitude that the Abrahamic Covenant hadn't been fulfilled yet, but that the Law of Moses had been fulfilled in His coming (see v. 8). He said, “Behold, I am the law and the light.  Look unto me and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life (v. 9).

Jesus Christ is the Light of the World.  When we are in darkness of any kind, we can look to His light for help.  In His Light is life.  When we are sad or depressed we can look to Christ and live.  His support is immediate.  His Light rekindles our lives.  And if we endure to the end, He promises us Eternal Life.

Friday, December 5, 2014

3 Nephi 14

The Joseph Smith translation of Matthew’s version of the Sermon on the Mount that Christ taught in the Western Hemisphere doesn't tell us not to judge, but not to judge unrighteously (see JST Matthew 7:1).  That seems to fit when you consider the remainder of this chapter, which teaches us how to judge righteously.
  1. We will be judged in the same way we judge others (v. 2).
  2. We should clean up our own problems before trying to help others with theirs (verses 3 - 5).
  3. We shouldn't cast pearls before swine (v. 6).
  4. Ask, seek, knock (verses 7 – 11).
  5. Do unto others as we would have them do to us (v. 12).
  6. We can tell which the strait gate is because hardly anyone is there (verses 13 – 14).
  7. By their fruits we shall know them (verses 15 – 20).
  8. They who do God’s will are the ones who will enter the kingdom of Heaven (verses 21 – 23).

The Lord ends this most incredible of sermons with encouragement to live our lives by the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, for that is the way we build ourselves on the strongest foundation.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

3 Nephi 13

Repeating His teachings to His followers in the New World, verses 22 and 23 speak of light in our eyes, and how if our eyes are single (to the Glory of God, according to D&C 88:67) then our bodies will be filled with light.  These verses are sandwiched between verses that speak of treasure and verses that speak of serving God instead of Mammon (see verses 19 – 24).  The placement of the verses about light indicate perhaps that the correct attitude and use of money can be a way to keep our eyes single to God.  As to what the correct attitude and use of money might be, see verse 24 which states “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.”

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

3 Nephi 12

After the Savior called and gave authority to baptize to twelve New World disciples, He addressed the multitude saying, “Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of the twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you and to be your servants” (v. 1).  These followers wouldn't have access to the teaching and writings that the Apostles in Jerusalem and Galilee gave.  How wonderful that He called twelve special men to lead the New World people in His absence. 

Not only do we have access to the words of some of the Lord’s Apostles and to some of those recorded by His Disciples in the Book of Mormon, but in our day there are another twelve men whose words we can heed.  Twice a year at our General Conferences, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the privilege of current teachings of modern-day Apostles and Prophets.  Blessed are we if we give heed to the words of all those whom the Lord has chosen, regardless of when or where He did so.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

3 Nephi 11

After Christ’s visit to the Nephites and Lamanites in the Americas, the people lived in peace for 200 years.  When He appeared to them, they all fell to the earth to worship Him.  Christ said to them, “Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world” (v. 14).  Some people don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth rose again after His death.  Some say His body was stolen and hidden away.  Others say He faked His death.  In the verse just quoted the resurrected Christ testified that he had been “slain for the sins of the world.”   Twenty-five hundred people came forward and felt His wounds and learned for themselves that He was speaking the truth.  He then gave a handful of men the authority to baptize and gave an explanation of His doctrine (verses 31 – 34).  He also taught the Sermon on the Mount.  These experiences combined with the miracles of the next few days to even more people had an impact so great as to cause peace for 200 years.  It makes me wonder, what greater things will occur at the Second Coming to allow those survivors to live in peace for 1,000 years?

Monday, December 1, 2014

3 Nephi 10

3 Nephi 10

The Lord’s patience is manifest when of the Nephites and Lamanites who survived the calamities and darkness that were the sign of the death of the Savior He asks, “how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings…” (v. 4), and “how oft would I have gathered you…” (v. 5), and “how oft will I gather you…if you will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart” (v. 6).  Let us follow the Lord’s example, and extend mercy often to those whom we love.