Search This Blog

Monday, November 29, 2010


In my reading preparing for class, I had a hard time understanding some of what the manual was trying to explain, so I really appreciated Brother Line’s class tonight. He had some very interesting facts about the destruction of Jerusalem and dismantling of the temple in 70 AD. We were reading Joseph Smith Matthew and did some comparison to Matthew 24. I was amazed at how thoroughly the Romans sacked Jerusalem and methodically destroyed the sacred temple. To be honest, though, I’m not surprised that such a drastic event occurred; the hearts of the population were very hard. When people reject the prophets and apostles like that, the protection of the Lord is no longer theirs.

It’s always interesting to me to study apostasies and the progression that leads to the fall of civilizations. When God’s people choose to revile His servants instead of revering them, the consequences cannot be avoided. God, in His infinite love, continually tries to warn His children, but the ultimate decision is ours. I appreciated what Brother Line said about how the elect in 70 AD could be deceived; when the prophets and priesthood have been taken off the earth, confusion soon follows. God directs His people through His servants, but He will not provide that direction if it is not wanted. It is a warning to us that we should be very careful in our attitudes towards our prophets and leaders. When I hear about members of the Church criticizing the leaders, especially their General Conference addresses, I can see how dangerously close they are to the attitudes that prevailed in 70 AD and other times of apostasy. God won’t force His blessings on us, and to reject His guidance and love is the most foolish error we can make. I know pride manifests itself in many different forms, and if left untended will grow to take over more of one’s spirituality. That is why it is vital to read these accounts and carefully examines one’s own standing before the Lord.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Abrahamic Covenant

For my own personal reasons I have a deep interest in the Abrahamic Covenant, so when we studied it today, I really perked up. I got the chance to teach about it this last year when we came to the lesson in Sunday School and had a really neat experience with it. I had prepared the lesson with PowerPoint and had a video clip and everything all lined up for class, but when I went to set up, I discovered that the media wouldn’t work that day. So, I put away the projector screen and drew a chart on the board and led a discussion on the details of the covenant. We outlined what God promised to give Abraham and the responsibilities Abraham accepted on his part. The beauty of teaching that lesson was how well I really understand the different parts of the covenant because of drawing that chart. For the first time I felt a real click in my mind about the details of the covenant and how it specifically applied to me. I love studying about Abraham because I feel that the better I understand his life and relationship with God, the more included I feel as a member of his family.

I understand about the literal descendants and the need to be a literal seed of Abraham, but I also see how the adoption into the house of Israel reflects the great mercy of the Lord. He promises that we can become literal descendants when we make covenants with Him. There is an actual change that occurs with covenanting with God that enables us to partake of the Gospel fully, even as there is a very real change that occurs when we repent of our sins and use the Atonement in our lives.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Daily Readiness for the 2nd Coming

So, we talked about dispensation heads, translated beings and even a bit about the last days. We read Moses 7:58, 60-61 about Enoch’s lamenting about the wickedness of mankind. Toward the end of class we read in Doctrine and Covenants section 1 verse 35 about how the devil will have power and peace will be taken from the earth. We read a quote from Elder Ballard about how we are living in this time. That would be a little discomforting if read alone, but we read on to verses 61 and 62 where the Lord promises to protect and save His people. I particularly loved the phrasing, “And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth…”

I grew up with some...passionate members of the Church who loved to focus on the shock and awe of the Second Coming and how it would happen any second now. I remember several Sunday School lessons as a child and youth that were dedicated to reviewing the many signs of the last days and listening to how close we were, that I was of the chosen generation, etc. However, I was blessed with a family that had a true vision of the gospel. My parents carefully listen and obey the voice of the prophets and understand that the day and time when Christ comes doesn’t matter as much as our obedience to His voice every day. The grandeur of His entrance will be astounding, for sure, but the real concern is to feel His quiet presence in our homes and hearts every day. Those who follow Him today will feel the blessings of peace and truth rain from the heavens and we will share that with those who need that comfort. The Lord watches over us, He will watch over us, we just need to keep the proper perspective to keep working on our personal salvation.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Justification and Sanctification

Brother Line taught about justification and sanctification tonight and I’ve been mulling it over for a while. I talked with Brad about it during Family Home Evening and we made some more goals to step up our own spiritual progression. It was really neat to hear Brother Line’s resources about how automatic and immediate justification is. I thought back to even recent times when I’ve gone to the Lord to ask for forgiveness and how quickly that relief comes. It is true that we are quickly forgiven of our sins, but sanctification, the process of becoming holy, is a lifelong struggle.
Strangely, though, another thing I really focused on and appreciated tonight was Brother Line’s teaching strategies. I remember some of the teaching skills I learned from the leaders at Church Headquarters when I was training for my internship and how grateful I was to learn from master teachers, and tonight I felt that same feeling of learning from someone with some great experience. It’s tricky business teaching concepts like what we studied tonight about justification and sanctification, but Brother Line defined the concepts clearly then provided several examples and quotes to apply the ideas. What I really appreciated, though, was when he showed quotes and examples and had us as a class pick out the instances of justification or sanctification. It was a total learning process, from understanding the concept, seeing the application, and finding the application myself. That is a great teaching style I want to learn how to use as a teacher.