“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.

Monday, March 3, 2014

"Look unto the rock from whence ye are hewn" 2 Nephi 8 Isaiah 51,52

Our rock is strong and steady. It casts upon our world the light of  God's law. 
Yesterday I received an email from my brother. His grandson had become very ill and was not responding to traditional treatment. His email requested that our family include his family members (grandson and parents) in our prayers and because it was the first Sunday of the month, also in our family fast.

My brother was looking unto the rock from when we were all hewn. Our family has great strength because of our testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ. He understood that our combined faith could only add strength to his own. His email and this reading from 2 Nephi 8 made me reflect on our families rock.

One line is nearly 100 % Scottish and as such as given us the strength through a culture that values friendships and faith. My Grandmother Conkey was a woman that used her great moral authority to be a powerful force in the community. When I think of her and look to her example, my resolve to do more, to do better is strengthened.  I am reminded of how she "knew righteousness," and how the Lord had written his law upon her heart. (vs7) She never feared the reproach of men nor was she afraid of their reviling(s). (vs 7) Instead, she led the efforts to build a State Park, to improve her small farm community, and to encourage her husband to run for public office. In a day and time when women did not have many educational opportunities, she formed a women's social group that met solely to improve their lives through education.  She also helped others in need and through her smile and love for each of us, instilled a bright "gladness and joy."

My Grandfather Conkey's line, also nearly 80% Scottish also has taught me to "put on the strength and arm of the Lord." His faith in me was unfettered. I still have numerous letters of encouragement from him urging me to express my voice, to write and experience the joy of the creativity. His life was not easy and though he never formerly proclaimed his allegiance to religious faith, his life speaks to differ. Through perseverance and faith in one another, he and grandmother built their own Eden from the Michigan wetlands. They established the base for my father's family history work, created strong family ties between their children and showed all of us how to find the joy midst the angst of hard work. What I remember most about him was how his love for my grandmother stood above all other loves and desires in his life. His example of faith and devotion to her is a rock we all attempt to emulate.
My grandmother taught me that women
 have within them the power of a great moral force. 

Other family lines bring their own stories of faith. Each family has it's own rock to which we may look as we journey out into the pathways of our lives. My mother's line stands strong with English and German rocks. These stories bring renewed commitment and remind us of our God given strengths and gifts. Some family rocks stand taller and stronger, but no matter the strength or the height each has its own purpose. Isaiah helps us remember to remember the solid foundation that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ brings to our lives.  Isaiah wanted us to remember that the God of Abraham brings us security, comfort, joy, gladness, strength and above all eternal salvation.

In the illness of their child, my niece had a need that made us reflect on our own immortality and the struggles of life.  Recognizing the strength that comes from a family of faith, they realized the strength of their own rock was being tested. Rather than trying to withstand their trials alone, they chose to utilize the strength of their parental rock. Her parent then utilized the strength of the extended family rock. We all responded with our own prayers and faith imparted for their behalf. The power of prayer knows no distance.
Isaiah wrote prophecies for all time

This particular section of 2 Nephi has been taken from Isaiah 51 and 52. Nephi wanted his brethren to understand their relationship to Abraham and Sarah and remember the foundation of their families strength. Isaiah reminds us that Abraham and Sarah were once in need, once considered a waste place, a wilderness, but the Lord comforted them. (vs 3) I was reminded of their story and how Sarah struggled to conceive, how in more ways than one the Lord brought this first family of faith safety, comfort, thanksgiving, how he dried the red seas (vs10), and made the waves roar for them, for us.(vs15)

Yesterday in Fast and Testimony meeting our Bishop remarked on the importance of viewing life through an eternal lens. Isaiah speaks to this and reminds us how the Lord's "righteousness shall be forever and my salvation from generation to generation."
Prayer helps us draw strength from our rock of faith

As I thought about this next generation and how our family has chosen to be "redeemed of the Lord,"(vs 11) I realized the great blessings and joy that our family has received because of this great rock of faith that we have been hewn from. I realized the great strength that we have garnered first from the Lord and secondly from our beloved family members. I am grateful to family who have chosen to remember "lift their eyes to the heavens," and who "wait pun the lord and put their trust in his arm." (vs 5)

I realized that Isaiah knew our day. He understood that the Lord's law will be a "light for the people." (vs 4) He knew that the eternal path of righteousness leads us out of the desert and into the garden.  A garden wherein a rock of great stature stands. A rock that we all were hewn from and from whence flows the fountain of eternal life.

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