“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

Writing is where we truly learn. Join the Journey.

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

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Obedience 1 Nephi 16-18 Building One's Own Boat

If the sun were me or I were the sun.
I would shine my light for everyone.

I would not let the cold of storm
keep the earth from knowing warm.

I would not let the dark of night
make me want to hide my light.

I would not let the thick of cloud
keep me from shining- shining - out loud

I would shine on field and flower
and help them know of God's power.

I would not miss one single day
to share my light - to brighten another's way.

I would set my course..
I would set my mind.
I would set my path.
I would shine. I would shine. I would shine.

The sun comes up. The sun goes down. The world spins round. And, the sun shines. It lifts my soul, it brightens my way. It is one of God's creations that knows obedience. It is one of God's creations that displays it's purpose and power daily. It's sureness of path inspires and calms me.

With God's help, Nephi knew he could build a boat.
Like the sun that obeys God's design, Nephi knew the power that comes from obedience. He understood that God gives us commandments and sets us on a path because He loves us! God wants us to know who we are. He wants us to know our potential. But, unlike the sunshine, a knowledge of who we are is something that can't be given; It must be uncovered through our willingness to obey. The power of self is something that we have to discover.

The only way we can actually discover who we are and the power of God that lies within us is to follow God's commandments. So I ask the question, "Why does God not politely ask us to obey his commandments?"He could ask, "Would you please keep the commandments?"

The reason. God is Great. God is the creator of all things both in heaven and in earth.(17:36-39) He knows what is best for us. To ask is to suggest. Keeping the commandments is not a suggestion. It's a sure way. Like the sun, it's a path that is meant to teach us how to shine, how to give warmth, how to love, how to help all around us grow, how to learn consistency, how to stay the course and be still in an eternal realm where agency holds the key to eternal joy.

Nephi was able to build a ship and he knew it. Not because of his own power but because of the power that comes from obedience to God's commandments. (1N17:49-51)" He understood that, "When we obey God - we follow the influence of the Spirit and choose to conform to His will." (PmGpg.72)

Lehi discovers the Liahona at his tent door
But we are human. We are not the sun. We have weaknesses. When Nephi's bow breaks, Lehi and his family succumb to their hunger and begin to murmur. They had only just begun their journey when they forgot God's goodness - how he  blesses us when we obey. God knows our weaknesses. He blesses us and teaches us line upon line.. precept on precept. (2 N28:30)

To Lehi he gave a Liahona: a ball of curious workmanship whereby he might learn how God blesses us through our obedience to faith, and diligence to duty, and willingness to heed to the God's spirit.
the Liahona 

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.1 Nephi 16:28 

To Nephi he instructed through prayer.

 And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been in the land of Bountiful for the space of many days, the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Arise, and get thee into the mountain. And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord.1 Nephi 17:7
Nephi was instructed to build a ship. Though his brothers mocked him and complained, he held sure in his belief that if God had commanded it, it was possible. His brothers had forgotten those who wanted to take their lives and the promised destruction of Jerusalem.  Wanting to remember their ancestral heritage of God's hand in their lives, Nephi spoke to them of Moses. He asked:

Do ye believe that our fathers, who were the children of Israel, would have been led away out of the hands of the Egyptians if they had not hearkened unto the words of the Lord? 
Yea, do ye suppose that they would have been led out of bondage, if the Lord had not commanded Moses that he should lead them out of bondage?1 Nephi 17:23-24
Lehi's travels led them through dangerous dessert
Keeping the commandments of God protects us. It was pointed out in last nights class that while traveling in the dessert the Lord commanded the family troop to not build fire. That seems like an odd thing - when fire is needed for warmth and the preparation of food. But by not building fire, the family was protected from marauding bands that would have robbed and carried them away. The light from a dessert fire carries long and far and offers no protections from the evil heart of man.

The only protection against man's choice for evil is man's choice for good. When we choose to live God's commandments we choose protection, power, love, light and eternal life.  Alma taught about the commandments when he said,
 Wherefore, he gave commandments unto men,...., knowing good from evil, placing themselves in a state to act, or being placed in a state to act according to their wills and pleasures, whether to do evil or to do good—Alma 12:31
But Keeping the commandments does more than protect us. It helps us discover our eternal spirit. It helps us discover and remember a purpose greater than survival. It helps us give light and warmth and become a source for good. It helps us learn to love as God loves and see the world as He intended it to be: a place for us to grow and learn - a place for us to share his love and bask in the warmth of his word.

I can't be the sun. But I can be like Nephi. I can say..

Wherefore, I Linda, did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord, and I did exhort my brethren to faithfulness and diligence.1 Nephi 17:15

And like Nephi I can build my own ship of sure faith that will carry me.  I am sure there will be times when God will ask things of me that others will mock. And I myself may question, but it is my prayer that the experiences I have will help prepare my heart so that it will not be hard, but willing - and that it will not murmur - but be filled with gratitude. And that it too - like the sun - will learn to shine, shine, shine and spread God's glorious love to all who will not only embrace it, but use it as a source of strength as they too learn the power that comes from keeping God's commandments.

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