Tuesday, March 31, 2009

II Nephi 14-18

II Nephi 14: Zion’s refuge and peace established. The Lord’s presence will be visible by day and by night. Verse 1 states that seven women will wed one man---I don’t know if this means that the ratio or righteous women to men will be 7 to 1 or if the men will have been killed by war or ?.

Application: Am I living righteously to survive and be able to be part of Zion? Do I look to the Lord daily even if he isn’t physically visible?

II Nephi 15: Israel has betrayed the Lord, so the Lord “betrays” Israel. We enjoy the harvest and fail to acknowledging the Lord’s hand in it. “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of Vanity and sin, as it were, with a cart rope. Wo unto him that calls evil good and good evil, wo unto those who justify the “means by the ends” V 24—their root shall be rottenness and their blossoms shall go up as dust. (The eternal family, ancestral line and all their posterity, shall be severed from them). Despite the rejection by us and then His just anger and condemnation, He still stretches forth his arms to us. And He promises He will set up His kingdom here on earth for all men to come unto.

Application: To be alone without parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren etc.-- the punishment for disobedience and sin (to cast away the law); for not reading, pondering and honoring the scriptures which God has provided to guide us (despised the word) or by not accepting Christ (despised the WORD) would be an unbearable sorrow.

II Nephi 16: Isaiah sees the Lord sitting upon his throne in His temple. Isaiah is immediately filled with anguish at his uncleaness and unworthiness to be in the Lords presence. He is then cleansed of his iniquity and sins. The Lord then issues a call to go forth into the world to testify. He asks who will go or whom shall I send. Isaiah accepts the call. The Lord prophecies of the rejection of His teachings but states that a remnant shall return.

Application: Even though Isaiah had lived so that he WAS worthy to be brought before the Lord, he still felt unworthy and unclean. We must always strive to focus on Christ and not on our own failings, we are not qualified to judge, Only he can judge and he can declare us clean. I was impressed again that the Lord does not force us to accept any calling. It is always our choice. In verse 4 it states Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory! Do I SEE the beauty and glory of the Lord in the earth? Do I see how all things testify of him?

II Nephi 17: A chapter of prophesy by Isaiah about the destruction of Judah to come, and Isaiah and Nephi prophesy of Christ’s birth by a Virgin.

Application: This chapter requires more study and pondering. I need to study the history of the all the tribes and peoples who participate in the war and destruction. But, again this chapter of prophesy testifies to me that the Lord does know the beginning from the end and is aware of each of us and what we need to succeed in this life.

II Nephi 18: Don’t align yourselves with the ways of the world or get caught up in all the speculation and fear of the day. Don’t seek out mediums or other “familiar” spirits but let the Lord be your companion and guide and he will be your Sanctuary.

Application: Although TV now has brought several psychics much attention and the psychic “hot lines” or internet sites are extensively advertised We must shun such things and take our questions and concerns to the Lord in prayer.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

II Nephi 10-13

II Nephi 10: Jacob is such a holy person and a prophet. He has a revelation prior to speaking to his people again, in which he sees Christ and His crucifixion. There was no other nation on earth that would have crucified Him (their God)---any other people would have repented. The America’s destiny as a land of liberty restated and the Gentiles role in blessing and restoring the Lamanites into the House of Israel is outlined. All who fight against Zion shall perish. One is either for the Lord or against Him. We are all free to choose and act for ourselves.

Application: Am I living a “lukewarm” life? Because God states that we can not be on the fence, it is impossible. I must be ‘for’ the Lord 100%--there is no middleground.

II Nephi 11: Nephi testifies of Christ as did his brother Jacob. They both have first hand knowledge having seen the Lord face to face. Nephi writes more of the words of Isaiah from the brass plates. He exhorts us not once but twice to liken Isaiah’s words (the scriptures) unto ourselves. Nephi shares his joy in the Lord and in God’s plan for his children and this earth.

Application: The Lord has sent many firsthand witnesses of Himself to testify to us. Do I accept, ponder and share what I know to be true. If I do the Lord will bless me with greater knowledge--“line upon line” until I too will be blessed to see Christ and have my calling and election made sure as did Nephi and Jacob. The scriptures are there for our benefit and written to help us. We must read, study, ponder and liken them to our selves, our families and our situations and they will guide us.

II Nephi 12: In the last days, the proud shall be brought low and all idols will be abolished. Men will try to hide from the Lord. Isaiah saw our day and the second coming of Christ.

Application: What are the "idols" I worship in my life? Money? appearance? self? We all need to take a good look at the things we spend our time, talents and energy on. I must humble myself and repent continually or I may find myself begging that the mountains would fall upon me and hide me from the glory and knowledge of the Lord. :(

II Nephi 13: The Lord reveals what I think are some of the conditions of the last days. The Lord says Judah and Jerusalem will be punished—that their sin can be seen in the people’s faces; Children oppress; (look at the rise in violent delinquents and gangs) women rule; We “grind the faces of the poor”; We’ve eaten up the vineyard (destroyed our own environment); the daughters of Zion are materialistic and dress and act seductively (look at what the media portrays as popular) and are thus promised a “stink for their sweet smell” baldness instead of long beautiful hair, etc. War will rage and all Jerusalem/Judah will wail.

Application: To try harder to impress upon my children and grandchildren that the fashions of the world are not appropriate for daughters of God. Especially for those who know their Royal lineage and eternal glorious prospects. Modesty and virtue should be practiced by all.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

II Nephi 9

II Nephi 9: The plan of salvation is outlined and explained. And the great goodness of our God who has prepared this plan/way so that we can escape death (of the body) and Hell (death of the spirit) through the atonement of Christ is celebrated. When the body and spirit reunite we will have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt and/or of all our righteousness. After resurrection/being made immortal we will appear before Judgment seat of God to be judged, and they who are righteous will be righteous still and they who are filthy shall be filthy still and subjects of the devil. We must have faith in Christ, repent, be baptized and endure the crosses of the world (and to the end) to be saved. Those who are without the law (children, mentally handicapped etc) are delivered by the power of the atonement which “satisfieth the demands of his justice”. Worldly knowledge is vanity and foolishness if one does not hearken unto the Lord. Wo is pronounced upon a variety of sins and sinners. “To be carnally minded is death and to be spiritually minded is life eternal”. Jacob entreats all to shake off the chains of sin and of Satan and come unto God, to pray continually, give thanks and rejoice. “Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters”

Application: This chapter is so important in understanding the plan of salvation. I need to study and ponder it frequently. I need to keep my priorities straight. How often my eyes and efforts stray to worldly things. I must seek the Lord and stay on his straight and narrow path. I must not let the enticements of the world or satan keep me from eternal life.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

II Nephi 6,7,8

II Nephi 6: These are the words and teachings of Jacob (one of Nephi’s righteous brothers). He states he speaks to them of things which are and which are to come. He wants to teach from Isaiah’s writings and asks that we liken them unto ourselves for they were written unto the house of Israel and WE are of the House of Israel. He again states that the gospel will be brought to the Gentiles who shall set up a standard. Jacob also prophesizes about the destruction and scattering of Jerusalem. He tells of Christ’s coming and His crucifixion. He prophesizes about the gathering of the ten tribes (Israel) and the second coming of Christ is foretold. All flesh shall KNOW that “I the Lord am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Application: Do I have to see (or wait until I am destroyed by) earthquakes, tempests and the great destructions prophesized before I accept and acknowledge Christ, the King of Heaven and Earth? Will I bow my knee now or be forced to later?

II Nephi 7: (Isaiah 50) The Lord tells us that if we can’t feel or hear him it is because we have turned away from Him---and not He from us. It is our sins that separate us from Him. The Lord stands ready to bless us, to fight by our sides and to be smitten for us. If we but “kindle” a fire, we shall walk in light.

Application: If I feel despair and lack of hope it is because I have separated myself from Christ. He stands with arms outstretched—inviting me—“let us stand together”.

II Nephi 8: (Isaiah 51-52) Remember who you are (a child of God) and don’t be afraid of man! The kingdom and power of man is temporary. The Kingdom of God is eternal. Wake UP! The Lord is in charge and is all powerful. We SHALL return singing to Zion “and everlasting joy and holiness shall be upon (our) heads; and (we) shall obtain gladness and joy; sorrow and mourning shall flee away”. The waste places and deserts shall become gardens. The prophesy of the two prophets coming to Jerusalem is in this chapter.

Application: Do I lean and depend on the arm of flesh? Or am I afraid of men and their judgments? I must trust in the Lord and let him be my strength.

Monday, March 2, 2009

II Nephi 4-5

II Nephi 4: Lehi dies—Laman and Lemuel rebel and Nephi slips into a deep (and according to today’s standards—clinical) depression. He prays and comforts himself by reading the scriptures and by remembering past spiritual experiences and recording his thoughts. He entreats the Lord to help him. He covenants to always trust in and praise the Lord.

Application: When we study this chapter we can enumerate many of the signs of depression: fatigue, weight loss, self loathing, crying etc. If we can recognize that Nephi is a good and righteous man and still was subject to this disease, then perhaps we can be less judgmental of ourselves and accept that this is a chemical imbalance and not something that has occurred because we were “bad” or “unworthy”. We also need to do as Nephi did and turn to the Lord, to the scriptures, and to journaling for help in overcoming the depression. (We should also seek professional assistance to correct the chemical imbalance when indicated).

II Nephi 5: With the death of Lehi, who was I’m sure a “buffer” between Nephi and his older brothers, Laman and Lemuel again seek Nephi’s life. Nephi and all those who have aligned themselves with Nephi and the Lord are forced to flee and separate themselves from Laman and Lemuel and their followers. The “Nephites” prosper by farming and building etc. The Lamanites become “cursed” with darkened skin as they become hunter scavengers. In order to preserve his people and their culture/religion/identity, Nephi kept the brass plates, the Liahona, and Laban’s sword. (Items which over the years/centuries the Lamanites feel were ‘stolen’ from them, and use as an excuse to continue the war/feud with the Nephites) (Remember however, that the Liahona worked only as the people were righteous and that the brass plates only had worth as they pertained to the genealogy of the people and their desire to live the commandments delineated therein. It was Nephi himself who had the faith and courage to go back for the brass plates and obtain them and through his actions he alone also obtained Laban’s sword. So the tradition that these items belonged to Laman and Lemuel and their posterity is flawed).

Application: Do I separate myself from evil or do I like to stay around the edges---flirting with and even accepting (at times) some of the world’s ungodly practices and lifestyles?. Do I count the scriptures and my testimony as treasures to take with me at all times?