Scripture Study

Seizing the Opportunity (Alma 19)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 25 April 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 246

Seizing the Opportunity (Alma 19)

Opportunity: A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something

Alma 19 is an exciting part of the story of Ammon's missionary effort among the Lamanites. In this chapter, the Lamanite king and queen are overcome by the Spirit of God, an angry Lamanite tries to kill Ammon only to be struck dead by God, and many Lamanites are converted, and the church is begun in that city.

One of the key participants in this episode is a Lamanite woman named Abish, who had been converted to the Lord many years earlier. She had kept her faith secret until this time, waiting for the opportunity to be used by God. Seeing the king and queen overcome by the Spirit, Abish recognizes that the circumstances exist for her to do something to further the work of the Lord, and she seizes the opportunity:

Power of God Provides Credibility (Alma 18)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 18 April 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 234

Power of God Provides Credibility (Alma 18)

Alma 18 continues the story of the missionary effort of Ammon (one of the four sons of Mosiah) among a group of Lamanites under the rule of a king named Lamoni. In the previous chapter, Ammon had singlehandedly defeated a group of men who were attacking the flocks of Lamoni. In a memorable episode, Ammon cut off the arms of the attackers, thereby preserving the king's flocks and saving the lives of his fellow servants who would have otherwise been executed for failing in their duty to the king.

When King Lamoni hears this amazing story, he calls for Ammon but doesn't even know what to say to him. Being filled with the Spirit of God, Ammon states the exact thoughts of the king regarding this meeting, and Lamoni is even more amazed.

The Value of Attending Gatherings (Alma 17)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 11 April 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 274

The Value of Attending Gatherings (Alma 17)

In Alma 17, Alma continues his travels between the cities of the Nephites to check on the spiritual health of each. As he is on the road to the land of Manti, he is surprised to have a chance encounter with four old friends, the four sons of Mosiah. Even though they are just passing each other on the road, this a joyful reunion as they haven't seen each other in 14 years. What makes it so joyful?

When God Is in the Matter (Alma 16)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 04 April 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 300

When God Is in the Matter (Alma 16)

In Alma 16, there is a cry of war throughout the land. The Lamanites attack the city of Ammonihah, killing many of the Nephites and carrying others captive into the wilderness. The Nephite army desires to rescue their fellow Nephites, but they don't know whether it's feasible — they don't know which way the Lamanites have gone in the wilderness, so they may not be able to catch up to them or even find them. The leaders of the army wisely decide to seek the Lord's direction:

"Knowing that Alma … had the spirit of prophecy, therefore they went unto him and desired of him to know whether the Lord would that they should go into the wilderness in search of their brethren, who had been taken captive by the Lamanites. And it came to pass that Alma inquired of the Lord concerning the matter." (Alma 16:5-6)

Lay Down the Weight (Alma 15)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 28 March 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 336

Lay Down the Weight (Alma 15)

Many of us carry around some extra weight on our bodies. Some people even tell me I'm carrying a little extra weight. (The people who are kind say it that way.) Wouldn't it be nice if we could take that weight — that burden — and lay it aside and go on without it? Imagine how much better we would feel and how much more we could do.

Now, suppose there was someone who could just speak the words to make the weight depart. No dieting, no exercise, no surgery necessary. How popular would that person be? Wouldn't you recommend him to all your friends?

When Your Work Is Not Yet Finished (Alma 14)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 21 March 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 361

When Your Work Is Not Yet Finished (Alma 14)

In Alma 14, Alma and Amulek endure a horrible ordeal, witnessing the martyrdom of women and children who are burned to death in front of them. As this awful scene unfolds before them, they can only take solace in the knowledge that these martyred souls are on their way to the paradise of God. They also have a brief conversation about their own fate:

"Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also. And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not." (Alma 14:12-13)

Not On My Watch (Alma 13)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 14 March 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 355

Not On My Watch (Alma 13)

"And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea." (Matthew 14:25)

The above verse is part of the famous account of Jesus walking on the water to the ship where His disciples were trying to ride out a storm. Did you ever take note of the first part of the verse that refers to "the fourth watch of the night"? The custom at the time was to divide the night (6 p.m. through 6 a.m.) into four periods of three hours each such that the members of the crew would take turns being responsible for the ship while the others slept.

Lying to God (Alma 12)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 07 March 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 423

Lying to God (Alma 12)

In Alma 12, Alma calls out the lawyer Zeezrom for having lied to the Nephite people in Ammonihah. He goes on to say, "Thou hast not lied to men only but thou hast lied unto God; for behold, he knows all thy thoughts, and thou seest that thy thoughts are made known unto us by his Spirit" (Alma 12:3). Zeezrom is totally flustered that Alma and Amulek seem to know his thoughts, and the tone of the conversation changes, giving Alma the opportunity to speak about the mysteries of God and the plan of redemption.

In the above passage, Alma tells Zeezrom he lied to God. Is it actually possible to lie to God? After all, it's pretty tough to put one over on someone who is everywhere, sees everything you do, and even knows your very thoughts.

How God Uses Money (Alma 11)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 28 February 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 936

How God Uses Money (Alma 11)

Alma 11 is the chapter in which we learn how much each unit of Nephite money is worth, relative to other units of their money. For example, if you were living in Zarahemla at the time, you would want to know that a senum of silver is equivalent in value to a senine of gold and that either can be used to purchase a measure of barley or any other type of grain. A seon of gold is worth two senines and a shum is worth twice as much as that, and so on.

Although on the surface, U.S. money is easier to understand than Nephite currency — a $10 bill is worth twice as much as a $5 bill, and a $20 bill is worth twice as much as that, etc. — we can easily find ourselves having to do mathematical exercises with currency values when we visit other countries. For example, when I visit Central America, I keep in mind that $1 in U.S. currency is worth $2.60 in Dominica, 8 quetzals in Guatemala and 20 pesos in Mexico.

Cross-Examination (Alma 10)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 21 February 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 454

Cross-Examination (Alma 10)

You're walking down the street, and you see a man bump into a woman, knock her down, and then steal her purse and run away. The man is eventually caught and put on trial for the crime. You are called as a witness and relate what you saw. Now, the defense attorney is going to cross-examine you. The dialogue might go something like this:

You Should Know Better (Alma 9)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 14 February 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 376

You Should Know Better (Alma 9)

If you were the older sibling growing up — as I was — you may have experienced occasions when you and your younger sibling(s) did something that got you in trouble with your parents. Even though you all participated in the same escapade, you as the oldest got in the most trouble. In justification of this unfair treatment, your parents would say, "You're older — you should know better."

Perhaps the Nephites in Ammonihah were feeling like the older sibling in Alma 9 as Alma, while urging them to repentance for their wicked ways, reinforces the point by telling them, "it shall be more tolerable for [the Lamanites] in the day of judgment than for you, if ye remain in your sins, yea, and even more tolerable for them in this life than for you, except ye repent" (Alma 9:15).

Come to My House (Alma 8)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 07 February 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 377

Come to My House (Alma 8)

Alma continues his evangelistic travels in Alma 8, eventually arriving at the city of Ammonihah. To put it mildly, he is not well received by the people of this city — they "reviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should be cast out of their city" (verse 13). However, as Alma is on the road to the next city, an angel appears to him and instructs him to return to Ammonihah to be used to preach repentance and offer the people the opportunity to avoid destruction.

By the time Alma arrives at the city, he is quite hungry, so he asks a man if he can help him out with something to eat. This is not a chance meeting — the man's name is Amulek, and an angel has instructed him in a vision to be prepared to receive a man of God. As a result, Amulek says to Alma, "Go with me into my house and I will impart unto thee of my food; and I know that thou wilt be a blessing unto me and my house" (Alma 8:20).

What Brings Joy to a Minister (Alma 7)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 31 January 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 442

What Brings Joy to a Minister (Alma 7)

Now free of the chief judge position and able to focus wholly on leading The Church, Alma decides to travel around to check on the status of The Church in the various Nephite cities and encourage the members in each location. His first stop is the city of Gideon. An excerpt of his words to the members in that city is recorded in Alma 7.

Although the bulk of Alma's address concerns the coming of Jesus Christ, he also makes three separate statements about situations that have brought him joy as The Church leader:

Gather Together Oft (Alma 6)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 03 January 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 6574

Gather Together Oft (Alma 6)

In Alma 6, Alma establishes some order to the church in the capital city of Zarahemla, ordaining ministers and getting the membership roles in order. As the overall leader of the church, he recognizes that he will need to travel around and provide support to the churches in the various Nephite cities, so he wants to make sure the church in Zarahemla can function in his absence. Among the instructions he gives to the church members:

“The children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God” (Alma 6:6)

Can You Sing It? (Alma 5)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 27 December 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 471

Can You Sing It? (Alma 5)

Let’s all sing it together:

“What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart…”

It’s easy to sing, but is it a true statement? It doesn’t say that a wonderful change has occurred in someone’s life; it says that a wonderful change has occurred in my life. So, can I truthfully sing that a wonderful change has occurred in my life since Jesus came into my heart? Or am I just singing along for the sake of the melody?

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