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September, 2012

  1. Improvisation

    September 28, 2012 by Ryan

    It seemed, at first, that “improvisation” is what today was about.

    At work, my “host” who would help me present a webinar to the customers couldn’t make it. I had to quickly adjust and handle both the roles of host (running the behind-the-scenes technical side and moderation of the comments) and presenter. All at once, before a live studio audience.

    Later that day, I walked into a training room and discovered that the projector wasn’t projecting. After fiddling with that for some time, I adjusted my plan and used a program to share my screen with the others in the group.

    At home, I put my handyman skills to use and replaced a dead bolt and door knob. It should have been easy (the box said so!). I found again that I had to adjust and improvise until I could discover how it really worked and why it was not fitting. Eventually I got it installed.

    I was feeling confident in my own abilities by the end of the day.

    And then this evening, I opened to the first verse in this chain below. I read it, and then looked up the rest of the verses by following cross-references listed in the footnotes. It sounded like the Lord was trying to teach me something tonight – that even though improvisation has a place, don’t always be be too quick to always rely on my own self and improvisation…

    From Nephi: “If ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.” (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 32:5)

    The words of Jesus: “And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father.” (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 16:6)

    From Moroni: “But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record.  For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.” (Book of Mormon | Ether 4:11)

    Speaking to missionaries: “And it shall be given thee from the time thou shalt go, until the time thou shalt return, what thou shalt do.” (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 28:15)

    And finally, what was Noah preaching before the flood? “Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest.” (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 8:24)

  2. My Soul Delighteth

    September 13, 2012 by Ryan

    As I ate a bowl of corn flakes at the breakfast table this morning, I opened the Book of Mormon somewhat randomly. I landed on Chapter 11 of the Second Book of Nephi and began to read:

    4 Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.

    5 And also my soul delighteth in the covenants of the Lord which he hath made to our fathers; yea, my soul delighteth in his grace, and in his justice, and power, and mercy in the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death.

    6 And my soul delighteth in proving unto my people that save Christ should come all men must perish.

    (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 11:4–6 | With my own emphasis added)

    One thing I saw right away was the repeated phrase “my soul delighteth.” Nephi was the king of his people. Yet the power and leadership was not what he took delight in. He only reluctantly took the job of king (see 2 Nephi 5:18). He most wanted to spend his time proving to his people that they were, of themselves, nothing. Christ is everything.

    The covenants made by a lost and fallen mankind with an unchangeable God were “delightful.” In them was shown the grace, justice, power, and mercy that unlocked the door to bring about redemption, salvation, and exaltation!

    Nephi’s delight was to help individuals recognize the evidence – the proof – that a life without Jesus Christ was a hopeless life indeed.

    Many years later and a half a world away, to the Corinthians Paul wrote: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (New Testament, New International Version | 1 Corinthians 15:19).

    Said President Boyd K. Packer very recently, “The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood.” (And a Little Child Shall Lead Them, April 2012)

    My soul delighteth in that too.

  3. The Worth of Souls

    September 3, 2012 by Ryan

    “For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (Old Testament | 1 Samuel 16:7)

    A friend recently sent me a private message over Facebook. He explained that a good friend of his is suffering from an addition to drugs. It is literally killing the friend, and emotionally and spiritually draining to the mother and my friend as they watch this happen to their loved one. He asked me to offer my prayers for the situation.

    Said my friend, “Some people look at [him] and see nothing but a useless junkie. I see someone that Christ died for and who has so much potential! Please pray that he would be free from drugs and other sins and reach his potential and give glory to his Father in Heaven!”

    I love that attitude. He is right. “For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Not knowing the friend, if I met him, I would probably feel sorry for him at best, but also probably assume that “the man has brought upon himself his misery” and not want to become involved (see The Book of Mormon | Mosiah 4:17).

    But at the request of my friend, whom I trust, I’ve began praying for a man I’ve never met. As I’ve continued supplicating for his welfare in my personal prayers, I’ve felt a love for him, which was not what I expected. I’ve tried to remember that, although I don’t know him, our mutual Heavenly Father does.

    And so did His Beloved Son, Jesus the Christ. “The Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of ALL men, that ALL men might repent and come unto him” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:11, emphasis added).

    He did it because “…the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10).

    Jesus did accomplish this great purpose! But I left one important word out of the verse which I just quoted. The first word in the sentence is “Remember.”

    That word “remember” belongs to us to do.