Okay. So I took a break from writing. I still read. This time through is really different because what I'm looking for seems much more specific.
A few things that stood out to me in my reading this week: Omni (good old Omni) 1:26 - "And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offer unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved." Questions? Anyone? Come unto Christ, and offer him the only thing you really have to give: Your whole soul. Anything else you have, He gave you in the first place. Salvation comes at this one price. All can afford it, but who will choose to pay?
Mosiah 5:15 - "Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all." This verse basically just reiterates the first. I know that Christ is mighty to save. I have no doubt.
Mosiah 13:10 - "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the lord shall prosper in his hand." This is quoting Isaiah at this point. This verse is taken here a bit out of context but the key phrase I noticed was "it pleased the Lord to bruise him" meaning Christ. How can it please God to bruise his son? I imagine there aren't many reasons. The one that is so humblingly poignant is his desire that an atonement should be made so that the rest of his children who could never have been perfect can be made perfect through that blood. He taught us the ultimate sacrifice through his ultimate suffering.
Mosiah 16:8 - "But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ." Of all the things that Christ did, we are most expected to understand these two: It is through Christ that we may be cleansed of sin, and it is through Christ that we may overcome death. These two things we CAN NOT do for ourselves. It brings such joy and such weight to my soul in this moment to recognize my responsibility to know these things, and also to make sure that his sacrifice for me was meaningful by living my life in a way that Christ would have me live it. I pray his suffering for my sake may be minimal, but I know it can't be. I am a sinner. He knew it from the beginning. I will strive, always, to be better, and I know that in Him I am healed.
A couple of good ones: 2 Ne 9:18 - "But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world and their joy shall be full forever." While Christ was sacrificed to free us for our sins and to "wipe away all tears," we are still expected to bear the "crosses of the world" right alongside him. I find the specification "of the world" extremely important as it suggests that there is a difference between worldly crosses that we must bear, and the heavenly crosses that Christ has borne for us. We are never given more than we can carry, but we are given crosses to carry so that we can be continually strengthened. I believe firmly that these last days will require much strength as there is much we will have to endure that may seem extremely difficult in this temporal sphere.
From 2 Ne 19:1-2 - "Wo unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn away the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey and that they may rob the fatherless!" My first thought while reading this scripture was how lucky I am to have a righteous, hard-working father. And then I thought of Jillian and how her father, also, is righteous and hard-working. While I know a lot of fathers that match this description in my family and in my community, I sadden to think that these men are in fact rare among the nations. There are countless fatherless children in this world, whether their fathers have been killed, passed away, live far away, or just plain didn't want to be involved in the first place, many children are lacking this important figure in their lives. How much better would this world be if all children had fathers they could look up to, learn from, and be proud of? The other thought that comes to mind with this scripture is "how do I treat the poor of my people, or the widows, or the fatherless?" I think of every time i drive to my parents house and there is a man standing by the off-ramp with a sign begging for money. I gave one man 50 cents one time. To him, I wish I had more to give. Rarely do I share in this way. But how often have I had opportunities to help one of God's unfortunate children and I have overlooked it? I keep thinking about how we ourselves are lacking a good income, but we are so blessed. We have a lovely apartment, and we've always had money for the things that we need. We have also always paid our tithing. Perhaps, though, there is more that we should be doing to share the blessings that Heavenly Father has placed so abundantly upon us.
It's been tough blogging recently. I feel like i said everything the first time around. There are a few things that stand out this time that probably didn't before. Mostly in the Isaiah chapters. I was thinking about how Heavenly father usually just has one prophet on the earth at a time in our day and it seems like in those days he had a prophet in the old world and the new, but then Lehi, Nephi, and Jacob all speak as prophets. I was thinking that probably there was a line of authority between these three: Lehi was the prophet until he died, now in my reading Nephi is the prophet, but Jacob preaches because he is like an apostle. Could be, right?
The Lord never ceases to invite us to come unto him. He wants to gather us around him always just as any parent wants their children near. Unfortunately God is governed by spiritual laws that create stipulations for entering into his presence. Were it not so he would probably not be so adamant about us being righteous and obeying a set of commandments. He tells us, though, that if we enter into his presence unworthily, it will be like hell. Yet another reason why his commandments are an example of his mercy, not his desire to reign supreme and dictate to his minions.
So the Book of Mormon has ended and began again. I've never read it this quickly before. This time through I'm trying to focus on references to Christ as well as saving doctrines. It is again hard to distinguish what should be marked. It is fascinating to see how complex the book is, though. I believe that this second time through will be an entirely new experience from the first time. And the first time was phenomenal. Even though much of this book is about the wars between to good and the wicked, there are profound truths in every passage. All scripture is written so that we may learn. I truly have learned so much and I am so grateful to now be able to testify of the veracity of this work with all conviction. I've always known it was true in my mind, but now I know it in my soul. So once again I join up with Nephi as he begins once again to teach us about his family and how one makes and maintains, or breaks, relationships with Christ.