Archive for the ‘commandments’ Tag

Keep My Commandments

Reading: “When the Lord Commands,” Elder Bruce A. Carlson of the Seventy, April 2010 General Conference, Saturday Afternoon Session

The Lord has given us a set of commandments in order to help us to be safe and happy. Sometimes we may think we don’t need to follow a certain commandment. Elder Carlson discusses three reasons people have for not following a commandment. These include:

  1. This Commandment Doesn’t Apply to Me
  2. This Commandment Is Not Important
  3. This Commandment Is Just Too Hard

Elder Carlson discusses a story in the scriptures of people who used these excuses, and then suffered the consequences. He encourages everyone to weed out such thoughts and to obey all the commandments of God.

Recently I have been renewing my efforts to establish a home food storage. As I have been planning my efforts (so that I can do so wisely and efficiently) I have been plagued with thoughts that it’s not really important, and that we don’t have room (we have plenty, but will have to sacrifice some space) for storage, or time to go down to home storage center (which is about an hour away) just to buy things I can by at the grocery store across the street (items bought at the grocery store, though, would be more expensive and would not be properly packaged for long term storage). I also have thought that since it hasn’t been mentioned in General Conference lately, maybe it’s not important anymore. This talk, and my own pondering, helped me to realize that it is still a commandment even though it may not be convenient. If it hasn’t been talked about in our meetings, it’s probably because so many people right now are not in a position to collect a food storage. We, however, are in the perfect position to build a food storage, despite my little excuses, and so I will continue to work on it.

Do you have any commandments you are ignoring right now for one of these reasons? Would you benefit from a re-examination of your reasoning?

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Freedom: The True Meaning

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:26-27

Everybody wants to be free.  Many people throughout history have gone to great lengths to procure their freedom, fighting wars, leading rebellions, enduring persecutions, and much more.  Freedom indeed is a great thing to have.

The problem that some people get to when they think about freedom is the idea that freedom means you get to do whatever you want, and also be free from the consequences of those choices.  Freedom just doesn’t work like that.

Lehi says much the same in 2 Nephi 2:27:

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

I can choose to disobey the commandments of God if I want, but then I have to deal with the consequences.

Another quote from my favorite fiction book ever written also illustrates this logical fallacy.  In Going Postal by Terry Pratchett, pages 15-16, you find this conversation:

“The prospect of freedom?” he said.

“Exactly,” said Lord Vetinari.  “There is always a choice.”

“You mean… I could choose certain death?”

“A choice nevertheless,” said Vetinari.  “Or perhaps, an alternative.  You see I believe in freedom, Mr. Lipwig.  No many people do, although they will, of course, protest otherwise.  And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.”

In my life I have seen many claim their freedom by doing things with their lives that are destructive, disobedient, and ultimately painful.  It makes me sad that they did not understand that they always had the freedom to do whatever they wanted, but that freedom also meant they would suffer the consequences of every action. Although it may have been that their parents or church leaders were trying to control them in a misguided attempt to help them, God would never try to control us.  He has already given us our freedom and is now working hard as he can to convince us to use that freedom in a way that will bring us happiness instead of sorrow.

Today I am going to follow through on several promptings I felt I received lately.  Just like commandments, promptings come as suggestions, but I have the freedom to follow through on them or not.  I will choose to follow through.

What choices in your life have brought you the most happiness?  What choices have brought you sorrow?  What will be the consequences of the choices you are making now?

The Law is Given Unto Men

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:5, Jacob 6:9-10, D&C 88:42

Consider this post part 1 of 2.

God has given us many commandments.  The laws we live by must be obeyed or there will be consequences.  In Jacob 6:

Know ye not that if ye will do these things, that the power of the redemption and the resurrection, which is in Christ, will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before the bar of God? And according to the power of justice, for justice cannot be denied, ye must go away into that lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up forever and ever, which lake of fire and brimstone is endless torment.

The law is given through prophets living, and through past prophets through the scriptures.  While we are not held accountable to laws we do not know, once we learn them we are held accountable to them.  In 2 Nephi 9:25 & 27 it says,

Wherefore, he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him. . . But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!

We certainly have a law given to us, or else what would I have to write about?

Tomorrow I will talk about what it means to us that we have been given a law, but that none of us are perfect in following those laws.  Stay tuned!

There are many sources for me to learn more about God’s commandments.  We receive God’s commandments through the scriptures and through a living prophet.  In these modern times we can also receive information about God’s commandments through the scriptures, through general conference, through church magazines, through church websites, through books by general authorities, through lessons in church, and so on.  I cannot even begin to claim that law has not been given to me.

Today I am going to once again do some extra scripture study this evening.

How do you receive God’s law?  Are there ways you could be a better recipient of God’s law?

The Lord Prepares a Way

Reading: 1 Nephi 3 & 4

After leaving Jerusalem, Lehi had a dream where God asked him to send his sons back to Jerusalem to get the brass plates.  While Laman and Lemuel did not want to go, Nephi gave this famous response:

I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them to accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

This was a pretty amazing attitude, considering what they were up against.  They were to go to Laban, a leader of the city, and ask him to give them a precious document.  Laman and Lemuel were realistic and didn’t think it could be done.  And, indeed the first time they tried, they were turned away.  Then, when they tried to trade their riches for the plates, he stole their riches.  Laban was not someone to mess with, or as Laman and Lemuel put it:

How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?

However, through inspiration Nephi was lead to find a way to obtain the plates.  First, he found Laban drunk and, in defense of his family and his posterity, slew him with a sword.  Then, he took Laban’s garments and was able to get a servant to lead him to the plates.

Sometimes, when it comes to certain aspects of living the gospel, the task seems insrumountable.  For example, how can I stand up for my beliefs when everyone will belittle me?  Or, how can I pay tithing when I don’t have enough money to pay my bills? Or, how can I find time to go to the temple when I have small children?  That last one would be one I often have trouble with.

God will help us to find a way to accomplish all that He has asked us to do.

This upcoming week is going to be hard, as we are moving and I feel like I have so much more to do than time to do it.  Yet, I have faith that God will help me if I ask for help.  Moving isn’t a commandment from God, but being unified as a family it is, and really, it is the unity and peace of our family that will break if the move doesn’t go well, not the actual move itself.  So, today, I am going to A) pray for help in moving and B) when I start to think about how much there is to do, I will remember about Nephi and tell myself that God will help me as we move.

What hard things have you done that God has helped you with?  Were there times when it seemed like following God’s commandments was impossible, but you were blessed to find a way?