Scripture Study

Trusting in God (Moroni 10)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 14 October 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 744

Trusting in God (Moroni 10)

The Book of Mormon ends with a challenge to the reader to trust in God. We will end this blog series with the same challenge to our readers.

What does it mean to trust in God? Does it mean that we give God assignments and trust (expect) that He will make things work out the way we want them to? If you've ever tried doing this, you know that it doesn't really work that way. Those who think it does work that way often wind up losing their faith when they conclude that God is not trustworthy when He doesn't give them what they ask for.

Trusting in God is really about trusting Him for the outcome in a given situation. It means that we put something in His hands and trust that He will work things out in the proper way, whatever that is. When we pray, we usually request specific outcomes to our situations and, when the outcome is what we requested, we rejoice and praise God. However, when the outcome is not what we wanted, if we truly trust in God, we will seek to understand why it worked out the way it did and ultimately trust that God allowed things to happen the way they did for some good reason, perhaps known only to Him.

Why Trials Happen

Written by Sister Erin Light on Thursday, 08 October 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 745

Why Trials Happen

Today's article is submitted by Sister Erin Light. It's based on a class prepared by her mother, Sister Carolyn Light, on James 1:1-12. The theme is "Reasons for Trials," and the article reads a bit like a lesson outline. It uses this passage in James to shed light on one of the toughest questions in Christianity: "Why does God let bad things happen to His people?"

One of the best tests of spiritual growth and maturity is trouble. When believers go through personal trials, they discover the kind of faith they really possess. Trials not only reveal our faith, but they also develop our character.

The book of James tells us, "The trying of your faith worketh patience." Patience is enduring faith, faith with staying power, faith that overcomes. Verses 1 to 12 speak about trials and tests that come into our lives from outside circumstances. God is trying to produce in each of His servants "faith that overcomes," that endures, that has staying power. Far too many who start out following Christ fall by the wayside when temptations and trials come. God is trying to produce an inward change by allowing and even ordaining outward trials to build in us an overcoming faith.

God wants us to understand that trials in life are not uncommon (Mt. 5:10-12; 1 Pe. 4:12). If you are going through trials right now, realize that God is not picking on you (1 Cor. 10:13). He has a purpose!

The Power of Positive Thinking (Moroni 9)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 07 October 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 516

The Power of Positive Thinking (Moroni 9)

Found on a popular medical website:

"Positive thinking is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation. It can have a big impact on your physical and mental health. It doesn't mean that you ignore reality or make light of problems. It simply means that you approach the good and the bad in life with the expectation that things will go well.

Some physical benefits of positive thinking may include longer life span, lower blood pressure, lower chance of having a heart attack, greater resistance to illness, better stress management and better pain tolerance. Mental benefits may include more creativity, clearer thinking, greater problem-solving skill, better mood, better coping skills and less depression."

One man in the scriptures who was a master at positive thinking was Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Israel.

In Genesis 39, Joseph finds himself sold into slavery by his own brothers. It would have been easy for him to bemoan his fate and stoke his anger over how unfairly life was treating him and how his own family members had betrayed him. Instead, he focuses on being the best slave he can be and winds up being put in charge of the entire household.

He's Got the Little Tiny Baby in His Hands (Moroni 8)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 30 September 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 482

He's Got the Little Tiny Baby in His Hands (Moroni 8)

A gross error. Solemn mockery before God. Awful wickedness.

What terrible sin is being described by all of these strongly worded terms? Believe it or not, these terms are used in Moroni 8 to describe the practice of baptizing little children.

Wow, is it really that bad to do this? After all, isn't baptism the way that people become members of the church? What's wrong with getting the children started early? Is there really any harm in this?

Well, let's first make sure that we understand the purpose for baptism. It's not just to become a member of the church. Rather, it's what people do when they are ready to repent of all of their sins and turn their lives over to Christ. Little children cannot do this. As the Lord states in this chapter, "Little children…are not capable of committing sin" and "I came into the world not to call the righteous but the sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick" (verse 8).

To Judge or Not to Judge (Moroni 7)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 23 September 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 697

To Judge or Not to Judge (Moroni 7)

"Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matthew 7:1)

 

"My brethren, it is given unto you to judge" (Moroni 7:15)

How do we reconcile the two scriptural statements above? One appears to directly contradict the other.

It's possible that you've heard the above verse from Matthew quoted in various situations. It usually goes something like this:

Follower of Christ: "This type of behavior goes against the Word of God."

Person engaging in said behavior: "The Bible also says, 'Judge not, that ye be not judged'!"

Peter’s Mother-in-law: Healed Right Where She Was

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Thursday, 17 September 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 446

Peter’s Mother-in-law: Healed Right Where She Was

This article is part of Sister Alena X. Ricci's series "Women in the Bible."

As Jesus was making His travels around, He went to Simon Peter’s house, where his mother-in-law was sick with fever.

Luke 4:38 says that “they besought Him for her.”

So Jesus stands over her, rebukes the fever, it leaves, and she gets up to serve them.

This woman gets healed and stands up to work.

With no fuss, no big deal.

She just simply is healed and goes back to work for those in her home.

Now I’m over here like, “Where’s the spectacle? Where’s the crowd? Where’s the big celebration of her healing?”

But that’s the best part of this story and the lesson I found hiding in plain sight: that Jesus’ miracles are wrought daily in our lives.

Let God Out of the Box (Moroni 6)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 16 September 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 442

Let God Out of the Box (Moroni 6)

Moroni 6 provides some instruction on church operation, including baptism, fasting and prayer, communion, and requiring repentance when sin is committed. The chapter concludes with a description of how the Nephites conducted their church meetings. We encourage our church meetings to be conducted in a similar manner today:

"And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done" (Moroni 6:9)

In other words, when we get together for a church meeting, it's not a requirement that we follow an exact script. Perhaps the Spirit may inspire a certain message to be preached on a given day. On a different day, perhaps more of a focus on prayer would be appropriate. On yet another day, singing praises to the Lord could be emphasized.

Are We Able to Drink of the Cup? (Moroni 5)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 09 September 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 376

Are We Able to Drink of the Cup? (Moroni 5)

"Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?" (Matthew 20:22)

This was the question that Jesus asked His disciples when two of them were trying to arrange to have seats of honor right next to Him in the kingdom of heaven. The question had nothing to do with drinking an actual beverage from a cup. In this case, Jesus drinking from this "cup" meant that He would be giving His life for the cause. Jesus wanted to know if His disciples were willing to do the same.

The disciples answered, "We are able!" It didn't get them the seats of honor in heaven, but Jesus was glad to hear that His disciples were that committed to the cause — many of them did in fact eventually give their lives for the cause of Christ.

Some time later, during the last supper that Jesus shared with His disciples, the disciples literally were able to drink out of a cup that represented the blood that Jesus would spill as He gave His life for the cause. On that occasion, Jesus took His cup of wine and "gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:27-28).

What Is It? It's the Bread of Life (Moroni 4)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 02 September 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 1076

What Is It? It's the Bread of Life (Moroni 4)

After being led out of Egypt by Moses, the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and then found themselves in a wilderness with no source of food for such a large group. However, God provided for them by sending down a kind of bread from heaven. It began appearing one morning in the form of small round things on the ground.

"And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat." (Exodus 16:15)

The word "manna" is said to derive from the Aramaic phrase "man hu" which means, "What is it?" When you fit that back into the verse above, it becomes clear that the Israelites referred to this mysterious substance as "What is it?" since they didn't know what it was. However, Moses does let them know that this was the bread that God had provided for them.

Sarah: God's Good Work Will Prevail

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Tuesday, 01 September 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 281

Sarah: God's Good Work Will Prevail

Today's article is another installment in Sister Alena X. Ricci's series "Women of the Bible."

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. *sigh*

Now here is a woman I understand.

She is a completely imperfect person.

She is very human. Very normal. And her reactions are disturbingly close to what I could see myself doing.

But more importantly, she is an example that God can use literally anyone for anything.

In studying Sarah, I broke her story into three major points, and they all converge on one major theme.

That God’s promise and His good work will prevail in our lives no matter what.

Stir Up the Gift of God Within You (Moroni 3)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 26 August 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 364

Stir Up the Gift of God Within You (Moroni 3)

How would you respond if you were asked what it means for someone to be ordained?

Perhaps you would say it means that someone is becoming a minister. That's partly right, although people can also be ordained into other positions such as Teacher, Deacon, or Deaconess, so it's not just about being a minister.

You might try to describe it as some type of promotion. But that can't be it — it makes it sound like some members are higher up than other members, and that's not consistent with the teachings of Christ. In fact, Jesus said, "whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant" (Matthew 20:27).

You might think of it as someone being honored, but that's not exactly it either. That would mean that we're being recognized for our accomplishments whereas the scriptures say that God ordains us "not according to our works, but according to his own purpose" (2 Timothy 1:9).

Although it's not about being personally honored, it is in fact an honor to be given the opportunity to serve God in an ordained office. The scriptures do describe it this way, adding that "no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God" (Hebrews 5:4). Hmm, being "called of God" — there's a definition we can work with.

Bestowal of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 2)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 19 August 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 767

Bestowal of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 2)

When you give your life to the Lord at the waters of baptism, you answer two questions. First, you affirm that you repent of all the sins you've committed up to that point. Second, you promise to serve God for the remainder of your life.

The repentance process consists of experiencing a deep sorrow for the sins you've committed in the past as well as a true desire to do better in the future. Assuming you are truly repentant — and you shouldn't be getting baptized if you're not — the first of the two questions is the easier one, as it's simply an affirmation of what's already occurred. Yes, I repent. Done, check it off.

The second question? Well, since that deals with the future, I can't really check that one off until I take my last breath on earth. And, as much as I may be sincere today with that promise, the reality is that things in my life will change over time, and I will face significant challenges to live up to my promise. Sounds like I'm going to need some help with this one.

The good news is that God recognizes that we need help to live up to this promise, so He provides it in the form of the Holy Ghost — our own personal portion of God that resides within us. The Holy Ghost teaches us what we need to know to be successful in serving God and prompts us to do the right thing (or not do the wrong thing) in various situations that we face in life. It is an indispensable tool in serving God.

Thank You, Mormon and Moroni (Moroni 1)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 12 August 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 387

Thank You, Mormon and Moroni (Moroni 1)

As we begin the final part of The Book of Mormon, I want to express thanks to two of the men who made it all possible. Mormon, for whom the book is named, spent a good part of his life going through thousands of pages of Nephite history to produce a readable history for us (from 1 Nephi through Mormon chapter 7). After his death, his son, Moroni, picked up the project and completed the Nephite history (Mormon chapters 8 and 9) and then abridged the Jaredite history (Book of Ether). Moroni may have thought this was the end of the project, but the Lord had other plans:

"Now I, Moroni, after having made an end of abridging the account of the people of Jared, I had supposed not to have written more, but I have not as yet perished…[so] I write a few more things, that perhaps they may be of worth unto my brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day, according to the will of the Lord." (Moroni 1:1,4)

The Book of Moroni is the compilation of the "few more things" that Moroni writes with the additional time that is granted to him. While it would be easy to be consumed by his own problems (the Lamanites are trying to find him to kill him), Moroni chooses to use the time that remains in his earthly life to work for the Lord. It's a great example for any of us to follow.

Eve: Don't Listen to the Serpent

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Thursday, 06 August 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 790

Eve: Don't Listen to the Serpent

This article is part of Sister Alena X. Ricci's series on Women of the Bible.

Oh, Eve. I have started and stopped writing this blog so many times over the past couple of months. Every time I think that I’ve found something worth writing when it comes to Eve, I get to the end and realize that it’s not worth mentioning. I realize that I think God has something better for me.

And spoiler alert: He does. He always does. Not just in writing blogs, but in everything. But specifically about Eve, I feel like I have looked at this story every way that I can. I
have viewed it from Eve, from Adam, from everyone — and nothing stuck.

It wasn’t until I realized that I am Eve that the story clicked. I have read and heard Eve’s great failure so many times, and I have never related. I never would’ve taken the fruit, right?

I never would have disobeyed God so blatantly.

Keep Doing What You're Doing (Ether 15)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 05 August 2020. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 352

Keep Doing What You're Doing (Ether 15)

There is a quote that is often used in motivational speaking that says, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." The point of this quote is to recognize that the way things work out in various areas of our lives are often a direct result of what we do in those areas. If we keep doing something the same exact way, the results will probably be pretty much the same. If we want the results to change, then we need to change what we do.

Perhaps the Jaredite civilization would have survived if they had only known this definition of insanity.

In Ether 15, the last of the Jaredites are divided into two groups with everyone — men, women, and children — included as part of one army or the other. The two sides go to war and, after a fierce day of fighting, each side suffers many deaths. In each camp, the night is filled with "a howling and a lamentation for the loss of the slain of their people; and so great were their cries, their howlings and lamentations, that they did rend the air exceedingly" (verse 16).

After this horrific night, the people go out the next day and…do the exact same thing. Again, many people are killed on each side, and another night of howling and lamentation is spent. The cycle is repeated the next day and the next, over and over again, until eventually everyone is dead and the Jaredite civilization is no more.

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