Scripture Study

When Winning Is the Only Thing (Alma 27)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 20 June 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 361

When Winning Is the Only Thing (Alma 27)

"Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." — said by a famous football coach

Suppose you and your friend have a standing date to play golf together, let's say once a week. Every week, you get together and shoot 18 holes, and you have a great time together. The only thing is your friend is much better at the game than you are, and so you never win. What should you do? Here are some options:

Boasting — in the Lord? (Alma 26)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 13 June 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 329

Boasting — in the Lord? (Alma 26)

In Alma 26, Ammon celebrates with his brothers regarding their missionary successes among the Lamanite people and how God has used them to bring many souls to salvation. He is obviously excited that they have been personally used for this accomplishment, stating, "If we had not come up out of the land of Zarahemla, these our dearly beloved brethren…would still have been…strangers to God" (verse 9).

At this point, his brother Aaron rebukes him, saying, "Ammon, I fear that thy joy doth carry thee away unto boasting" (verse 10). Ammon replies, "I do not boast in my own strength…but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things" (verses 11-12). He then continues his rejoicing and "boasting in the Lord."

What's the difference between boasting in the Lord and just plain boasting? It all comes down to motivation.

The Golden Rule (Alma 25)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 06 June 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 358

The Golden Rule (Alma 25)

Let's begin with a little quiz. Which of the following statements best expresses the concept of what is traditionally referred to as "The Golden Rule"?

A. Do unto others as they do unto you
B. Do unto others as you would want others to do unto you
C. Whatever you do unto others will be done unto you
D. Whoever has the gold makes the rules

Burying the Old Man (Alma 24)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 30 May 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 368

Burying the Old Man (Alma 24)

"Put off…the old man, which is corrupt…be renewed in the spirit of your mind…put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24)

In Alma 24, the converted Lamanites, now known as Anti-Nephi-Lehies, bring the above scripture to life. The king expresses this group's collective praise to God that "he hath forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son" (verse 10).

The king then expresses fear as to how God might react should they ever go back to their former ways of killing and murdering. Based on this, the entire group comes to a collective decision:

A New Name (Alma 23)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 23 May 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 390

A New Name (Alma 23)

Receiving or assuming a new name is typically indicative of some major change in a person's life — a change for which the former name no longer is totally suitable or sufficient to describe the new status that the person has entered.

At the very least, each of us received a new name when we were born. That name replaced the generic term, "the baby," or the default name ("Baby Boy Doe") that would otherwise have been given at the hospital. Instead, the name we received identified us as part of a specific family.

Ministering to Your Family (Alma 22)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 16 May 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 415

Ministering to Your Family (Alma 22)

Minister (verb): Attend to the needs of someone, care for, look after, help, assist, serve

People should take care of their families — perhaps that sounds like an obvious statement to say. Even as you read this, you may be getting ready to go off to work to earn money for your family. Perhaps you have chores to do today to help your household. Perhaps you have a sick or elderly family member you are caring for.

The vast majority of people assist their family in one way or another. This includes those who are servants of God as well as those who are not. Although caring for a family is not necessarily tied to serving God, it is something that any servant of God should take seriously — "ministering" to your family is not only the right thing to do, but it can also have spiritual ramifications.

Why Don't I See Angels? (Alma 21)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 09 May 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 407

Why Don't I See Angels? (Alma 21)

Alma 21 begins the story of another missionary trip among the Lamanite people. This time, the lead missionary is Aaron, another of the four sons of Mosiah. As the story begins, Aaron is preaching to the people, and he shares the testimony of that momentous day in his life when the angel of the Lord appeared to him and his brothers, resulting in their conversion to Christ.

However, not everyone in this particular congregation is especially impressed by this testimony. In fact, one of them gets up and angrily argues with Aaron, saying:

"What is this that thou hast testified? Hast thou seen an angel? Why do not angels appear unto us? Behold are not this people as good as thy people?" (Alma 21:5)

Ready to Go (Alma 20)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 02 May 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 352

Ready to Go (Alma 20)

When you're planning a trip, there is a process involved in getting ready to go. Depending on your individual situation, the process may be involved — perhaps you need to pack a lot of things; perhaps you need to purchase some things; perhaps you need to make arrangements for others to do things for you while you're away; etc. On the other hand, there may be times when the preparations are brief — just grab some things and go.

There are even people who keep an overnight bag packed at all times so they are ready to go at a moment's notice. An example of this is when a woman is expecting a baby. The time to go to the hospital may come at any moment with very little time to react, so the wise course of action is to be ready to go at all times.

Seizing the Opportunity (Alma 19)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 25 April 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 446

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 369

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 437

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 445

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 500

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 500

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 493

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.

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