Scripture Study

Where Does Inner Strength Come From?

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 16 August 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 404

Where Does Inner Strength Come From?

A few weeks ago at GMBA Camp, my husband, Brother Michael, and I recruited our 12-year-old nephew, Robby, to perform a short skit at kids' chapel.

In the skit, Michael and I pretended to be the proverbial "good angel" and "bad angel" whispering in Robby's ears, trying to persuade him to do either right or wrong. For example, I tried to get Robby to thank his mother for preparing breakfast and recruit an outcast schoolmate for a game of ultimate Frisbee at recess. Michael tried to get Robby to fib to his teacher and clandestinely pocket a candy bar at the grocery store.

By the end of the skit, Robby withstood temptation in each instance and showed a lot of inner strength in doing so. After we were done performing for the kids, I asked them a series of questions that I want to ask you, too!

The Last Sacrifice (Alma 34)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 15 August 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 323

The Last Sacrifice (Alma 34)

Up until this point in the narrative, the Nephites — as all God-fearing Israelites were expected to be doing at the time — were performing sacrifices as directed by the Law of Moses. A couple of examples were when Lehi's family was traveling in the wilderness (1 Nephi 5:9) and when the people of King Benjamin gathered at the temple to hear his final address (Mosiah 2:3).

The Law of Moses provided for different types of sacrifices for a variety of purposes, but a primary reason for the people to sacrifice was to atone for their sins. In these instances, killing an animal (typically, one that they owned) and burning its body as an offering to God was the prescribed way of obtaining forgiveness from God for sins committed.

In Alma 34, Amulek describes what he refers to as a "great and last sacrifice" that would provide atonement for all mankind:

Typology (Alma 33)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 08 August 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 438

Typology (Alma 33)

TYPOLOGY: The study of things in Christian belief that are prefigured or symbolized by things in the Old Testament

In Alma 33, Alma continues with his teachings to the people who were cast out of the synagogue in the previous chapter. Among the things he teaches them is an episode from the Old Testament in which Moses did something that is considered a "type" of Jesus Christ:

"A type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live … But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished." (Alma 33:19-20)

You Are The Church Building (Alma 32)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 01 August 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 346

You Are The Church Building (Alma 32)

In Alma 32, the people who are poor find themselves without a place to worship. The wealthy people — and especially the priests — decide they don't want these poor people in Church with them anymore, so they forbid them from entering their synagogues. One of the leaders of this displaced group meets with Alma and bemoans their situation:

"They have cast us out of our synagogues…because of our exceeding poverty; and we have no place to worship our God…what shall we do?" (Alma 32:5)

In one way, Alma is actually happy for these people — this experience has made them more humble, putting them in a position to be closer to God — but he does address their concern over the lack of a Church building by asking them, "Do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only?" (verse 10).

Less Self, More Righteousness (Alma 31)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 25 July 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 392

Less Self, More Righteousness (Alma 31)

Alma 31 describes a very unusual church meeting involving a group of people called the Zoramites. The church building described in this chapter contains a very high platform called the Rameumpton, and anybody who wishes to worship has to climb up on this platform and shout the words to a specific "prayer" — the same exact words are uttered by each person in turn.

The essence of this prayer is that they are thanking God that they are better than everybody else. They even go as far as to say, "thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell" (verse 17). Wow, heaven would be a small place if that was accurate.

Christ's Righteousness: Camp Spotlight Day 5

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Friday, 20 July 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 706

Christ's Righteousness: Camp Spotlight Day 5

Today is the final day of GMBA Camp! This morning, three busses filled with young people left campus for Lake Perris to witness the scheduled baptisms. The Lord was not done calling souls because more requested baptism at the water's edge. What a blessing to witness lives changed, and what a blessed assurance to know that it's because of Christ's righteousness that we are saved!

Here are the names of all those who requested baptism this week at camp.

  • Tyler Armitage
  • Jacob Bojorquez
  • Kim Hemmings
  • Colleen Joe
  • Brooke Lambert
  • Alayna Landrey
  • Wyatt Landrey
  • Derrick Marquez
  • Riley O'Sullivan
  • Logan Rowell
  • Shay Smith
  • Shane Thomas
  • Charles Walmsley
  • David Williams
  • Julia Zarate

Longing for Belonging: Welcome to GMBA Camp!

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Monday, 16 July 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 565

Longing for Belonging: Welcome to GMBA Camp!

This week, we're interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a series of articles from GMBA Campout!

This week, the camp is being held in Redlands, California, and the theme is "Peace, Joy, and Strength in Righteousness," and the anchoring scriptures are found in Philippians 4:4-8.

Before we flesh out the theme for you, let's talk about friendship. GMBA Camp is a place where new friendships bloom, casual acquaintances take root and go to a deeper level, and time-tested bonds grow even stronger. Friendship and fellowship are a big part of what makes camp camp.

Don't Be Deceived (Alma 30)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 11 July 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 513

Don't Be Deceived (Alma 30)

Here's a story I sometimes relate when Election Day is approaching:

Once upon a time, a man died and appeared before God at the gates of heaven. God told the man that he was going to spend one day in heaven and then one day in hell and, after that, he would be permitted to choose which place he wanted to spend eternity in.

For his day in heaven, the man was shown the mansion he would live in, he met many of the people mentioned in the scriptures and attended a joyful gathering of the saints, all singing praises to the Lord who was in their midst. It was a very blessed day.

Being Content (Alma 29)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 04 July 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 405

Being Content (Alma 29)

In Alma 29, Alma imagines for a moment what it would be like to be an angel. How exciting it would be to go forth with the trumpet of God and speak with a voice of thunder, declaring the plan of redemption to all people! The more he thinks about it, the more exciting of a concept it sounds like, and he sort of wishes it could be so. Finally, he returns to reality and actually scolds himself a little for getting carried away with the idea:

"But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me." (Alma 29:3)

Kingdom Algebra (Alma 28)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 27 June 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 390

Kingdom Algebra (Alma 28)

When I was in 9th grade, one of my classes was Algebra. Whereas some students (and perhaps you can identify) had a hard time understanding this subject, I actually enjoyed it. It was kind of like trying to solve a mystery — what is the value of the mysterious X?

For those who don't remember — and forgive me if this brings back bad memories — it went something like this:

If X + Y = 10 and Y = 3, then what is the value of X? In this set of equations, X would be 7 since X and Y together add up to 10 and we already know that Y is 3. 10 – 3 = 7. (I promise that this is as mathematical as this article is going to get.)

When Winning Is the Only Thing (Alma 27)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 20 June 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 428

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 395

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 426

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 443

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 464

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.

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