“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

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I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

ye shall prosper 2 Nephi 4:4

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper
and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth 3 John 1:2

Prosper:  Verb: to succeed in an enterprise or activity; especially : to acheive economic success; to become strong and flourishing, (14th century) From Middle English, Anglo-French prosperer, from Latin prosperare to cause to succeed, from prosperus favorable. flourish, thrive, do well, bloom, blossom, burgeon, progress, do all right for oneself, get ahead, get on, be successful; 

A few weeks ago I gave a lesson in church on a talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland entitled "The First Great Commandment." Elder Holland expounded on the feelings and thoughts of Peter just after the Savior's crucifixion.  His words helped me understand the deepness of the  Savior's love. He lived his life to set a pattern, and example for Peter (and me) to follow. He helped Peter learn about the power that we receive when we live our life for God and others. After the Savior ascended into Heaven for the last time, Peter was in charge of the young church. Peter had only the Holy Ghost and the experiences he had shared with the Savior to guide him. 

My studies led me to ponder and consider Peter's life as a follower of Christ. Elder Holland explains that the Savior had died and Peter did not know what to do, so he went fishing (John 21:3) Like a scene from three years prior, the disciples joined Peter in the boat and all that night they caught nothing. In the morning the Savior walked on the shore but the disciples did not know who he was. He instructed them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. Again, like the three years previous, their nets were so full they could not draw them in.(John 21:6) Clearly the Lord knew how to fish.

Upon recognition of his Savior, Peter leaps from the boat to share a most joyous reunion. They count their 153 fish and then the Savior asks him, "Peter do you love me?" Peter answers three times in the affirmative. (John 21:15) And here is where Elder Holland's talk struck me. Here is where Elder Holland with great emotion in his voice, elaborates, 

“Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? 

We all want fish. We like all of God's creations need fish, a means to live by. Peter was a fisherman. He fished. It was what he knew. 

So how do we meter out the efforts that we must give to finding our fish of prosperity and serving the Lord? 

What is prosperity? 

I know this is one of the words we all read and it seems like a "no brainer." We all seek it. We need it in order to procure security. And the scriptures make it clear that the Lord wants us to have it. He has made a way for us to find true prosperity. We must only obey him? 

But then I thought about all of the people I know who have prosperity and wealth but don't know God. What's that all about? Why don't they have to follow the commandments to find wealth?

So I searched through the scriptures looking for all that I felt would help answer my questions. As I did the words Elder Holland believed the Savior might have said rang in my head. 

"If I want fish, I can get fish." 

The Lord of the earth is in charge, for "the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." (Psalm 24:1) And the "riches of the earth are 'his' to give;" (D&C38: 38-39) All he "requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.” (Mosiah 2:22) 

I thought about this a bit and realized that wealth, riches and prosperity may not be the same thing? When we prosper we grow, we succeed in all aspects of our life. We have peace. Remember the psalmist who said, “Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.…Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.(Psalm 122:7-9) Most who seek wealth without God cannot find peace.

David spoke of the prosperity of the wicked in his 73 Psalm. He says they "prosper in the world" and are "un-godly" as they "increase in riches." (Psalms 73:2-12). Nephi speaks about prosperity when he admonishes those who are "rich as to the things of the world," because they will "despise the poor, persecute the meek, and their hearts are on their treasures." He says, "their treasure is their god. And behold their treasure shall perish with them." (2Nephi 9:30) And Jeremiah asks us if the wicked do prosper? He asks, wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?"  

The difference is not what prosperity brings you, but what you love in order to obtain it, or what you love after you obtain it. Jacob taught us about perspective when he said, “But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.” (Jacob 2:18) And to the prophet Joseph Smith the Lord taught, “And if ye seek riches which it is the will of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity; and it must be that the riches of the earth are mine to give; but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old. (D&C 38:38-39)  

Pride in our wealth, in our success, in our station destroys our prosperity – it destroys our peace. When we love God first, we love others more than wealth, we love the joy and the feeling that comes from helping those in need more than we love the possessions our wealth brings.

President James E. Faust in his talk “What’s in it for me” reminded us the pitfalls of covetous pride.
 The Savior warned us, as recorded in the book of Luke: "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
 "And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: "And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? "And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. "And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:15-21)2002 October General Conference, What's in It for Me? 
Now when I think of prosperity as I read about it in the scriptures, I will not merely think of the acquisition of wealth and power. Prosperity- in my mind – has come to represent not only security and success but also the peace that comes from living a life filled with truth, integrity, service and gratitude toward God.

Wealth does not always equal prosperity, and prosperity does not always equal wealth. Prosperous people are happy people. 

 David teaches us that "Happy is that people,... yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.(Psalm 144:15) And John says  "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."(3 John 1:1-2)

And they are happy not because of their temporal prosperity but because of their deeper understanding of spiritual joys. They are able to understand the eternal treasures that await those who learn to love God and eternity more than the riches of the earth. Alma explains this to his son Helaman.

43  And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.44  For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.45  And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.46  O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.47  And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell.Alma 37:43-47
Prosperity then is not to be measured by our collected wealth, but rather by our desire to "look to God and live." I know that when I am looking toward my God and all the wisdom he desires to teach me, I have a wealth greater than all the riches the earth can bring. I have friendship. I have a feeling of peace that comes from helping others and I the strength and love of my family. Trust and integrity grow plentiful in my life and the lives of my children are not set upon the things of this world, but upon the prosperity that only God's love can bring.  

 Some scriptures verses  that I found:

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

And now I, Mormon, would that ye should know that the people had multiplied, insomuch that they were spread upon all the face of the land, and that they had become exceedingly rich, because of their prosperity in Christ.
4 Nephi 1:23

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.  Joshua 1:7

Behold, do ye not remember the words which he spake unto Lehi, saying that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land? And again it is said that: Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.  Alma 9:13

I give unto you this privilege, this once; and behold, if you proceed to do the things which I have laid before you, according to my commandments, all these things are mine, and ye are my stewards, and the master will not suffer his house to be broken up. Even so. Amen  D&C 104:86

Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do Deuteronomy 29:8-9

And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:  1 Kings 2:3

11 Now, my son, the Lord be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the Lord thy God, as he hath said of thee
12 Only the Lord give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the Lord thy God
13 Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes and judgments which the Lord charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.
1 Chronicles 22:-1-13

12 When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden
13  He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.  Proverbs 28:12-13

11 But the Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.  Jeremiah 20:11

13  And it came to pass that we began to prosper exceedingly, and to multiply in the land.  
2 Nephi 5:12-13

31 And thus they did prosper and become far more wealthy than those who did not belong to their church.
32 For those who did not belong to their church did indulge themselves in sorceries, and in idolatry or idleness, and in babblings, and in envyings and strife; wearing costly apparel; being lifted up in the pride of their own eyes; persecuting, lying, thieving, robbing, committing whoredoms, and murdering, and all manner of wickedness; nevertheless, the law was put in force upon all those who did transgress it, inasmuch as it was possible.  Alma 1:31-32

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