Monday, February 27, 2017

Christ: Our Father

Throughout growing up as a member of the Latter-Day Saints, I have always known Christ to be my elder brother and have usually only referred to him as such. However, this week in my Book of Mormon class, we talked about how Christ is sometimes referred to as our father and it takes on even more meaning to the love that Christ has for us.

In Mosiah 5:7, King Benjamin states the following:

And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.

As I said before, these are some of the last words from King Benjamin after gathering all of his people together. We often hear that we are "children of God" or "children of our Heavenly Father." King Benjamin, however, refers to the believers as "children of Christ...for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you." Someone who is a father is somebody involved in the birth of a child or the raising of a child. To me, this means that through the life of Jesus Christ, he gave us a "spiritual rebirth" and thus become our Father in a sense. How beautiful that is! Christ is not only our elder brother, he is also our Father in the sense that he has helped us to progress and grow, he has given us a rebirth.

As we strive to see Christ in numerous different perspectives, our love for him continues to grow! There are hundreds of different words that describe him throughout the scriptures and the more we learn about these names the more we will come to know our Lord and Savior, our Redeemer, our elder brother, and in a way, our Father.

Friday, February 17, 2017

"That Our Children May Know"

This week, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the words of 2nd Nephi, Chapter 25, verse 26. In this scripture, Nephi is giving us a theme of his teachings along with all of the teachings of the Prophets of the Lord. He says:

26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Earlier in the chapter, Nephi talks about he glories in plainness. Isn't verse 26 about as plain as it gets? Everything that we do centers around the message of Jesus Christ. I specifically like how he says that the reason all of this is done is so that "our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." To me, this shows that not only do we learn about Christ for ourselves, we talk about Christ so that our children and others around us can know of him as well. It is interesting that this takes the focus off of ourselves and gives us a reason to do missionary work: Why not share the Gospel so that others can also rejoice in Christ? I love that principle that Nephi teaches. It is so important for us to realize that everything in the Gospel is an appendage of Jesus Christ himself.

It is for us to decide whether we feel that all we do is "talk, rejoice, and preach of Christ" in our daily lives. Do we let Christ into our lives as much as Nephi says that we do? I'm grateful for scriptures like this that cause us to reflect and become better. Let us all continue to "write according to our prophecies" so that "(others) may know to what source they may look" for eternal happiness.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Isaiah Chapters

Throughout my life, I have read the Book of Mormon multiple times. With each of these experiences, there is a common thing that seems to happen to most members of the church: when we get to the Isaiah chapters in 2nd Nephi, our interest level goes down. For the most part, Isaiah can be difficult to understand and not as "entertaining" as other chapters in the Book of Mormon. During my Book of Mormon class this week, however, I learned some valuable lessons about studying from Isaiah.

The Book of Mormon verse that I've chosen to highlight this week is in 1 Nephi 19:23. This is Nephi talking about his instruction that he is giving to his brothers. He says:

23 And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.

Notice how he starts off by saying that they read from the Books of Moses (the beginning of the Old Testament) but then says that the way he was going to be able to help his brothers "believe in the Lord their Redeemer" was through "that which was written by the prophet Isaiah." We are told by Christ himself in his visit to the Americas that we should study Isaiah. But why do we seem to usually skip over the Isaiah chapters?

An interesting principle here is that as we study the scriptures diligently and with a prayer of understanding in our heart, the words of Isaiah can be opened to us! We are promised that the scriptures can be expounded to us and that their meaning can touch our very hearts. As we studied Isaiah this week, I understood the words so much more than I ever have! I know that is because of the promise we've been given that as we study, we will learn from the Holy Ghost.

I'm so grateful for the Isaiah selections in the Book of Mormon, and I can promise that as we pray for understanding and search his words with all of our heart, we will learn things that will bless every aspect of our lives.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

"The Atonement of Jesus Christ"

One of the most essential things in the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Atonement that was offered by our Lord and Savior. This week in my Book of Mormon class, we talked about how too often we forget that it is not simply the Atonement that saves us from the fall, it is Jesus Christ, our older brother. The Atonement was the means for him to save, but he is the Savior.

A scripture that stood out to me during our discussion of the Atonement came from Alma in Chapter 34. Amulek is teaching about how Christ will be our salvation, describing the Atonement and how it will save. I love the way he puts it:

 10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.

For it to be an infinite and eternal sacrifice, it would take a perfect being, not just a normal human. This scripture, in my interpretation, means that there was only one being that could perform this Atonement: Jesus Christ. There was no backup plan! He was the plan and we relied on him to accomplish it.

Because it is infinite and eternal, it provides us with a way to progress and grow in the Gospel. Because of Jesus Christ, we understand the balance of justice and mercy and know that it has been met. This scripture teaches us that the Atonement was "a great and last sacrifice."

We so often hear about how we should apply the Atonement into our lives every day, but how often do we take full advantage of that gift? Jesus Christ lived a sinless life so that he could save us from the Fall. He went through the effects of the Fall all at once, there in the Garden of Gethsemane. I'm so grateful for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I testify that he made an infinite and eternal sacrifice for all of mankind! In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.