True Prosperity – 2 Nephi 4:1-4

You can read 2 Nephi 4:1-4 here. You can also find the rest of the Blogging the Book of Mormon entries here.

Context and General Information

  • Lehi finishes speaking to Joseph and now, shortly before his death, blesses his grandchildren – the sons an daughters of Laman.
  • Lehi reminds them of the promise that the Lord has made concerning the promised land: if they keep the commandments, they will prosper in the land. If not, they will be cut off from God’s presence.

True Prosperity

In this chapter, Lehi recites a promise given to him:

“For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.” – 2 Nephi 4:4

I grew up a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I have heard this promise repeated over the years. Or, I think that I’ve actually only heard part of it repeated over the years. In my mind, the beginning of this promised is often emphasized: If we will keep God’s commandments, then we shall prosper in the land.

Often, I feel that this promise is interpreted as, if we keep the commandments, then will will prosper in a material way. I don’t know. I don’t want to speak for everyone. But I know that there have been times when people who are faithful but who aren’t prospering financially feel frustrated. Why aren’t they prospering if they keep the commandments?

To add to the confusion that can sometimes come, when reading the Book of Mormon, we know that when the people – in general – were righteous, they did prosper materially. They made more money, their crops did better, they became wealthy.

Of course, then, came a problem. Their prosperity seemed to blind them from God and His commandments, and they became proud. Their pride and sin would last for a while – seemingly without consequence. But, eventually their pride would hit a critical point where they would self-destruct. (Or they were weakened to the point that destruction from an outside source was significantly easier).

These patterns in the Book of Mormon seem to affirm the idea that when God says “ye shall prosper in the land.”

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And yet, there is something that is bothering me about this interpretation. I suppose that I’ve already illustrated the potential problem. If this promise is all about material prosperity, then it gives way to pride. Not only do we see this in the Book of Mormon, but I think that if we closely look inward, we may see it in ourselves, too.

One – When we go through financial struggles, do we think why am I having this struggle, when I’m righteous? I pay my tithing!

Two – When we see others who are not seemingly righteous do we end up wondering how they have been financially blessed even though they aren’t keeping God’s commandments?

Three – When we see others who are poor but seemingly righteous, do we feel smug, thinking that they must be committing some kind of sin, otherwise God wouldn’t let them suffer in such a way?

Al of these scenarios may be traced back to the incorrect interpretation of Lehi’s prophecy.

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Now, I don’t think that we need to ignore this warning. I don’t think that God is lying. He is neither promoting nor justifying the sin of pride. So – we need to take a closer look at the warning.

One – Keep My Commandments

So, first and foremost, we must keep the commandments. Which means that, even if prosperity can often tempt us into pride, we are not justified in being prideful. That is breaking a commandment!

Of course, Satan wants our failure. It shouldn’t come as a shock that he would tempt us to misuse that with which God blessed us.

I think that it is okay for us to desire a measure of temporal blessings. We need to stay alive!!!! We have basic biological needs – food, clothing, and shelter. It is a part of our life on earth to obtain these needs and help others to do so, too.

Not only that, but I think that this promise offers us comfort. We can trust the Lord. If we will keep the commandments, then we will be taken care of. It reminds me of what the Lord said in the New Testament:

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:25-33

It’s not that if we are keeping the commandments everything will be easy. Instead, the Lord is imploring us to trust in Him. We shouldn’t set our hearts on riches. That leads us away from God. Instead, we need to 1) Love Him and 2) Love each other. And He assures us that as we do so, our very real temporal needs will be met.

Two – Ye Shall Prosper in the Land

I don’t want to dwell more on this, but I would ask what is true prosperity? What is true wealth? Is it having a lot of money, a big house, fancy cars, nice jewelry?

Is it health?

Is it loving relationships?

Is it a testimony in the true and living Christ?

Is it having a Book of Mormon?!

Is it peace and contentment – no matter our circumstances?

I’ll let you think of your own answers, but I will share one thought. I’ve had my own financial struggles. Very difficult financial struggles, despite doing all I can to keep the Lord’s commandments with exactness. During these times of financial stress, I woke up one morning, and realized I have everything I need. I am so abundantly blessed. I have a husband that loves me, and I love him. I KNOW THAT THIS IS A BLESSING!!!!!! I was in a terrible relationship in the past, and yet Heavenly Father saw fit to bless me by delivering me from the one that would have destroyed me. I have lived as a working single mom. I understand the pain of betrayal and loneliness.

This knowledge was not lost on me as I looked at my husband that morning. Though we very little by way of material blessings, I truly had everything I needed. I realized that my wealth exceeded my expectations. I have a family that I love and they love me.

So…What is prosperity??? Are we prosperous without knowing it???

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Three – Not Keep My Commandments

This is pretty self explanatory since we already discussed keeping the commandments. But let’s remind ourselves:

One – Love God

Two – Love One Another

We have other commandments too, but they all fall under these two basic commandments. Are we living the laws that the Lord has given us? Are we living the law of sacrifice, chastity, the gospel, etc.? Are we cultivating faith, hope, and charity? Do we live the higher law that the Lord taught both in the New Testament and to the Nephites in 3 Nephi?

Are we listening to the whisperings of the Spirit?

If not, then….

Four – Ye Shall be Cut off from God’s Presence

Okay. This stands out to me. The warning does not say that if we keep the commandments, we’ll prosper and if we don’t keep the commandments, then we won’t prosper.

If so, then we could make the assumptions as stated above about material prosperity and righteousness.

Instead, God says, that if we keep the commandments, we’ll prosper, and that if we don’t keep the commandments, we’ll be cut off from His presence.

That’s different.

That means that maybe we can keep God’s commandments, be poor, but still have the constant companionship of His Spirit.

It also means that maybe we can break God’s commandments, and be rich; however, we will not have His Spirit, His happiness, His contentment or joy with us.

Perhaps by thinking about this aspect of the warning and promise, we can better understand what God means by “prosperity.”

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***

I need to end this. I don’t have a firm conclusion on anything, but that actually happens a lot when I study the scriptures. This concept will, no doubt, percolate in my mind and spirit for a while. This will give way to more studying and a better understanding of what God desires.

What I know right now is that I do want prosperity – as God defines and gives it. I’m grateful for the blessings that I already enjoy. I do not want to be cut off from the Lord or His Spirit. I’m grateful for the promises of God, and that we can learn about them in the scriptures.

Confidence in the Lord – 2 Nephi 3:14-16

You can read 2 Nephi 3:14-16 here. You can also find the rest of the Blogging the Book of Mormon entries here.

Context and General Information

  • Lehi, shortly before his death, is giving a blessing to his youngest son, Joseph.
  • Lehi is quoting some of the prophecy of Joseph (in Egypt), as recorded in the Brass Plates.
  • The Lord promised Joseph that the Lord would raise up a seer in the last days to bring the knowledge of the covenants made with the fathers back to his posterity.
  • This is a prophecy about Joseph Smith, Jr. – This seer would have the same name as him (Joseph) and as the seer’s father (Joseph Smith, Sr.)
  • Joseph was confident in the promise made to him by Heavenly Father.

Confidence in the Lord

All aboard the train of thought. Time to swim in the stream of consciousness. Thanks.

Cascade Springs

One

I’m not exactly sure how to start this blog post/scripture study. Maybe I’ll share a little bit of what I’ve been up to this morning before my study.

My health is iffy right now, so I’m spending a lot of time resting. This morning I chatted with a friend. Then I spent some time online reading emails, articles, and stuff. One thing leads to another, and I find myself looking at a profile of someone who has said some not very nice things about my faith.

I don’t spend all that much time seeking out material that is negative. I don’t need any negativity or stress in my life, especially right now. But I came across it. As usual it had something terrible to say about Joseph Smith, and I just dismissed it.

Maybe you have a problem with Joseph Smith, and you are wondering why I could dismiss it? Well, it’s because I know that Book of Mormon is true. I know that God answers prayers. I’m only 40 years old, but I’m old enough to have tried the gospel, the Book of Mormon, and prayer in my life time and time again. And it always works.

Joseph Smith was a seer, and interestingly enough, today’s scripture study is a little bit about that. We read:

“14 And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;

And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.” – 2 Nephi 3:14-15

This doesn’t mention much about Joseph Smith’s personality, strengths, weaknesses, foibles, or virtues. This just says that the Lord would bless all of us with a seer. He would bring forth God’s word and work in these latter days.

Joseph Smith was a man. He wasn’t perfect. Which is fine. I don’t worship him. He simply testified of God and Jesus Christ – whom I do worship.

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ…now that’s where my confidence lies.

Two

This may seem unrelated to point one, but I’m going to explore because it is also on my mind this morning. We’ll see what happens.

As I mentioned earlier, my health isn’t all that great right now. It is strange. In many accounts I’m healthy. I’ve had a recent physical and the results were all A+++. My numbers were not borderline, but were healthy! My doctor stated, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.”

But sometimes, our health can be impacted by things we cannot control (our DNA). Right now, I’m guessing that whatever is ailing me is more along those lines. Three weeks ago, I was either running or walking for an hour, then coming home and doing yoga, or other resistance work. Today, If I move around too much, get too animated in conversation, or even sit/lie down in the wrong position, I start exhibiting symptoms of a heart attack. Not sure what is going on. I’ll be having an angiogram in the next week to see.

So, I have this on my mind. This challenge has been one of those moments that really get you thinking about your life. I’ve been thinking about my life. About the choices I’ve made. About the paths I’ve taken.

Three

One last thing that’s kind of on my mind, and may be helpful for today’s study…Several years ago, my husband and I started our own business. It has taken us on a very unconventional, exciting, and sometimes stressful path. Though the path can be difficult, we have had many experiences and tender mercies that have shown us we are still on the right path, and we need to simply persevere.

Back to the Scriptures

The testimony of Joseph is standing out to me today. He declared:

“Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;” – 2 Nephi 3:14

I find it especially inspiring to read this testimony from Joseph when I consider his background. He received many promises and prophecies of the Lord. And then, his life took some wild turns. He had this vision, that he would be a leader of his family. Then, not long after this series of visions, he is sold into slavery and taken to Egypt.

Imagine being Joseph. How would you feel about the spiritual impressions and visions you received if then, immediately afterward, you were made a slave. Remember his dream:

“And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:

For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

¶ And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?

And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” – Genesis 37:6-11

So, he has a dream that these various objects, symbolizing his family, are making obeisance to him. And then, what happens??? He becomes a slave. It’s a strange fulfillment of that dream.

How would you feel? Would you second guess your dream? Would you second guess what the Lord is trying to impress upon your soul?

I don’t know all of Joseph’s feelings or thoughts at the time, but he continued to trust in God, and the Lord took him on an unconventional path, but eventually the promptings, prophecies, and dreams that Joseph had were fulfilled.

So – here in 2 Nephi, we read his testimony. He has been promised that his posterity would be blessed, and he is sure that the Lord would fulfill this promise. And…the Lord did.

The Lord raised up a seer in Joseph Smith, and although he may not have been perfect, the Lord was able to use him as an instrument to do so much good. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It has brought me wisdom, peace, and clarity. It has been a guiding beacon in my life. The Lord’s gospel, the testimonies of his prophets, and the scriptures – they have worked in my life.

Because of these testimonies and my prior life experiences, I can be sure that the Lord will fulfill His promises. He will bless my heart and my health. He will bless my family as we travel the path we are on. He will bless us and fulfill the personal promises that He has made with each of us, just as He did with Joseph in Egypt.

Four

Yes, we can be sure of the promises of the Lord, but as I write this, I’m aware that we have to understand what this means.

In Joseph’s life, the promises and blessings of the Lord came to Joseph, it’s true, but Joseph had to follow God’s instructions! He had to stay faithful and true to the Lord. If we want apple pie, often times the Lord doesn’t magically bless us with a finished, warm apple pie. Often he gives us instructions – a recipe – one step at a time. Then we have to do the work to procure the ingredients. We have to make the crust, core and slice the apples. We have to mix in the sugar and spices, and then bake the pie. But He instructs us. He makes it all possible.

In other words, often, God’s promises are conditional – based on our willingness to accept them in our lives. Our willingness to accept these promised blessings usually takes the form of obedience—to the commandments and our personal promptings.

So, if I apply this in my own life (excuse the personal examples…), then I can have good health, but I have to walk a careful path. I have to listen to the whisperings of the Spirit and the good advice of my doctors. I can’t say, “Oh, I’m going to be fine because I’ve been promised of God,” and then ignore all of the advice that God gives me. His advice is what will result in the promised blessing!

Remember – blessings aren’t just magic. The Lord has told us that there are laws governing blessings:

“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” – Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-31

If we want to receive promised blessings in our lives, then we need to keep the laws that are associated with these blessings. God wants to bless us, so He gives us the inspiration, promptings, and personal commandments we need, so we can obey the laws that govern the promised blessings.

Of course, we aren’t perfect. But when we do the best we can, and when we plead for the Savior to be our advocate with the Father, then through both our good works and through Christ’s grace, we can be blessed.

Five

One final thought. This confidence prior to the blessing is critical. This confidence is what will help us take one step after another. This confidence is what brought comfort, hope, and determination to Joseph – even when he was a slave, even when he was wrongfully imprisoned.

The paths of life are hard. The Lord will bless us with inspiration, commandments, and promptings – it’s true. But perhaps the best blessing is that confidence we can take in the Lord. We can say, just as Joseph did:

Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise.

This confidence will empower us when everything around us seems impossible.

Life Lately

I haven’t been super consistent at posting lately. But I feel drawn to blogging again. I sat down to write today, wondering what should I write about? There are so many things to say. There are concerns I have. People are losing their faith in God and their love for one another. Our country is in turmoil.

In January, I decided to break away from Facebook. It started to take a bigger portion of my life than it should have. (read: I was addicted to it). I feel like after eliminating Facebook, I probably freed up about 60-90 minutes of my life!

I also have freed up feelings of anger, frustration, and general depression about this world around me. I turned off my phone, got up and started getting out more and tuning into my family more.

Here’s what’s been going on in my neck of the woods…

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Oh Deer
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Quilty fun
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Tiger made a dress. And Sasquatch has glasses.
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T-Rex being a boy and finding things like dead snakes (and bringing them home!)
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There IS peace in this world. Just go outside. Look up.
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Handmade Pixie Shoes. (The show off the cutest little dirty toes).

I know that life isn’t perfect. And I don’t want to claim that mine is. Am I blessed? Yes! Absolutely!!! Despite my bounteous blessings, this is life, and I’m experiencing my share of trials. However, we can remember this:

“…thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.” – 2 Nephi 2:2

Know the Greatness of God

I guess that this is what I mean by wake up, put down the phone, and get outside. I find that one of the quickest ways to feel God’s greatness is to go out for a walk.

Put down the phone, get off the internet (even before you finish reading this post!) and serve someone else. Into instant gratification? Get out and serve someone else. Nothing is more invigorating or electrifying as feeling the love that God has for all of us, and this comes to us as we serve each other.

And I know what you might be thinking! It’s easy for you to say, Choco, You aren’t dealing with _____[fill in the blank]_______ problems. However, I guarantee that anyone reading this can find someone who is happier than they are while having it worse than they do. When I’m feeling frustrated or down, and I don’t want to let God into my heart, I can’t help but remember Viktor Frankl. Who found purpose and stayed positive to his purpose WHILE IN A CONCENTRATION CAMP!

Know the greatness of God.

He Shall Consencrate Thine Afflictions for Thy Gain

As we come to know the greatness of God, trusting Him follows. We realize and remember that He isn’t just some arbitrary God up in heaven finding some kind of entertainment in our suffering.

He is our Father.

” Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” – Matthew 7:9-11

If you are a parent, then you should be better able to imagine our Heavenly Father – and why He allows us to endure adversity. No he doesn’t want to see us suffer, but He knows what we will see when we get to the other side of suffering.

Yes, there are horrible things happening in this world around us. But maybe there are some pretty great things, too. Maybe we can take a few minutes to know God, trust Him, and then count the ways that He is consecrating all that we are enduring for our gain.

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Creativity is pretty. And joyful.
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🙂
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Take a breath and look around!
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If you blink, you’ll miss it. 🙂

Always Remember Him

I haven’t written in a while, I’m not going to give some kind of recap of life or excuse. Let’s just continue on… 🙂

As I sat in church today, I kept thinking about the covenant we make each week in sacrament meeting: to always remember Him.

And I wondered why, why is it so important to always Remember the Savior?

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Getting outside helps me to remember Him

Now, this line of questioning is not out of doubt or disbelief. It is a way to seek more knowledge and understanding in my life. Why do we always remember Him?

One

We must always remember Christ because we have been commanded to.

Two

I happen to believe that God is not arbitrary and that each commandment serves some kind of real function.

As I pondered this thought – remember the Savior, I realized that we are commanded to always remember Him because it is the way. It is the secret to our success.

In 2 Nephi, we learn:

“And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” – 2 Nephi 31:20

After we first covenant with God in the waters of baptism, we aren’t done. We still have a life to live. We still must navigate the test of mortality.

Nephi tells us this. After baptism, all is not done. We must still rely on Christ’s ability to save us.

And we must do a few things: 1) Press forward with a steadfastness of Christ; 2) Have a perfect brightness of hope; 3) Have a love of God and of all men; 4) Press forward; 5) Feast on the words of Christ; 6) Endure to the end.

Then, we will have eternal life.

Now, think back on that promise made each week when partaking of the sacrament – to always remember Him.

In the covenant we make – to always remember God – we are given the help we need in order to do the 6 points needed in order to inherit life. Remembering Christ – ensures our steadfastness in Him; remembering Christ will help us to have a bright hope. Remembering Christ fills our hearts with love for Him and for others. Remembering Christ can help us to have the tenacity we need to push on and press forward in our lives. Remembering Christ will encourage us to feast on His words and stay close to Him. Remembering Christ helps us to endure to the end.

I love the elegance of God’s laws, commandments, and blessings. When we keep our covenants, we are empowered with exactly that which is needed for us to receive the gifts that God wants to give us.

What do you do to always remember Him?

The Word of Wisdom: Promises and Blessings – 2/2 (Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-21)

“And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.” – Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-21

See part one here.

So – we continue to learn about the blessings of the Word of Wisdom. I really love these blessings. They motivate me to be better at really keeping the Word of Wisdom.

Strength to Endure
Often, when thinking of the phrase, “run and not be weary, and…walk and not faint,” I think of what this means, physically. I think of running a marathon.

I ran a marathon several years ago. It was a really interesting experience. It required discipline. It was humbling. It was difficult. In running and training for the marathon, I loved the idea of having discipline. For once in my life, I felt like I had discipline! I could say no to bad foods. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning to run. While none of this was easy, I felt like having discipline was like wearing a badge of honor.

I’m not as physically disciplined these days. And I miss that feeling of confidence. Not only that, but I can see how physical discipline effects me spiritually.

I know that the blessing for keeping the Word of Wisdom is more than physical. Keeping the word of wisdom helps us to endure both physically and emotionally/spiritually. I love this promise! We have been told that in order to receive eternal life, we need to endure. And in the word of wisdom, we are blessed with being able to endure! It’s pretty awesome when you think about it.

And one last scripture while we’re on this topic –

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

There are many ways to wait upon the Lord, and I guess I get the feeling that we shouldn’t underestimate the connection between our bodies and Spirits. When we keep the word of wisdom, when we keep our personal temples holy and pure, then we are blessed with renewed strength, we will run and not be weary and walk and not faint. We will be given the ability to endure.

Protection and Life
The Lord has always preserved His people. In this verse, there is a reference to when the Angel of Death passed over the homes of those who were covenant Israel (See Exodus 12:23, 29). The Lord preserves His people through commandments and covenants. Of course, the Lord loves us. But the children of Israel weren’t automatically saved from the plague of death brought on by the Destroying Angel. They had to do as the Lord had instructed, and apply the blood of a lamb to their doorframe. When the Destroying Angel saw this token, he “passed over” the home. The children of Israel were literally saved from Destruction.

Keeping the word of wisdom can also keep us from being physically destroyed before our time. This is kind of obvious. When we keep the word of wisdom, we avoid contracting preventable diseases or other problems. The Word of Wisdom keeps us healthy.

But I kind of wonder if there is more to this promise than avoiding life-threatening disease – especially when you consider we will all die anyway.

The Lord’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt was not only physical, but symbolic of the deliverance that Christ can offer to all of us. We can all, through keeping the commandments and making covenants with God, be blessed with the ability to overcome the world. This blessing results in our inheritance of an eternal “promised land” – heaven.

Keeping the Word of Wisdom will also help us to receive this blessing. When we keep the Word of wisdom, we’re blessed with physical health and strength, we’re blessed with knowledge, we’re blessed with the ability to endure. These are the ingredients we need in order to inherit eternal life. Truly, if we keep the word of wisdom, the destroying angel will pass over us.

Even though I’m not always the best at keeping the word of wisdom – I don’t always eat the most healthy things. Sometimes, I don’t treat my body like the temple that it is. I can see how the word of wisdom helps us to develop discipline. It helps us to understand our physical relationship with the Lord. I am grateful for the word of wisdom.

What are some of the blessings and promises of the Word of Wisdom you are grateful for? What have you learned as you’ve studied and pondered the Word of Wisdom?

Heavenly Father REALLY Loves Us (D&C 41:1)

A few years ago, I had a bishop who gave our ward a “name” – the Delightful Downingtown Ward. He then focused on this scripture, and brought it up time and time again:

“Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me;…” – Doctrine and Covenants 41:1

Have you really thought what this means?

Sometimes, I think of the following scripture:

“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” – Doctrine and Covenants 82:10

I have a tendency to misread this scripture and think – sure…the Lord blesses me, but that’s because He has to.”

The thing is, though, I know that He doesn’t. I know that – in and of myself – I don’t qualify for a single blessing I have received. Sure…Here the Lord says that when we do what He says, then He is bound to keep His part of the covenant, but that’s the thing:

We can’t even make our covenants without the Savior. We are baptized in His name. Even our prayers are done in His name. We need Him to be our mediator. So, without Christ, even if we did what the Lord said, we’d have no promise…because we cannot qualify on our own merits. We need the Savior.

The Lord said,

“Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—

Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;

Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.” – Doctrine and Covenants 45:3

Christ is the one speaking to the Father in our behalf. He is the only one capable of doing so. And he does it out of His love for our Heavenly Father and for us.

Anyways…back to the earlier point – the Lord is not bound to bless us on our merits alone. He is bound to keep His covenant with us – because we have joined with Christ. Christ is the one who perfects us and enables us to covenant with God.

God knew that this would be the case, which is why He offered His Only Son.

“¶For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

Heavenly Father wants to bless us. He gave us His Son so that He would be able to bless us with His best blessings. As the scripture in D&C 41:1 teaches, he delights in blessing us with the greatest of His blessings.

Time and time again, my bishop would tell me this. I was single then, working, getting through a divorce, and putting my life back together. My bishop, always with a smile, reminded me that Heavenly Father delighted in blessing me with His greatest blessings.

Doesn't he look like a great bishop?!

I trusted what he said even though the blessings were so afar off, I couldn’t even imagine them, and eventually, the Lord did bless me.

The Lord blessed me despite my weakness and sins. He blessed me above and beyond my best effort. I know that this was because of my faith in the Savior. And I know it was because Heavenly Father loves me. It is because He loves blessing us.

In Doctrine & Covenants 59, we read

“And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man;…” – Doctrine and Covenants 59:20

It truly pleases God to bless us. He finds delight in it.

I don’t know about you, but when I really think about how much He loves blessing me, and all that He has done so that He can bless me, I am overwhelmed by His love. I feel happy. I feel grateful. I feel reverence for Him. I want to show Him more love through keeping the commandments and sharing the gospel.

I know that Heavenly Father loves each of us, and I know that He delights in blessing us with His greatest blessings. I know that Heavenly Father loves blessing us so much, He provides ways for us to receive His blessings – through the Savior’s atonement and through sacred covenants. I know that if we will just trust Him and do as He teaches us to do – even when life is difficult, then He will bless us – usually in a way better than we could have imagined for ourselves.

How have you felt the Lord’s love through blessings? Have you struggled with this? What do you do to feel the Lord’s love in your life?