Scripture Study

Leah: Chosen, Not Rejected

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Monday, 22 July 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 141

Leah: Chosen, Not Rejected

For the remainder of the month of July, we are going to pause Miracle Monday and continue with Sister Alena's series on women of the Bible. In August, we will resume our regularly scheduled Miracle Mondays, where we share testimonies and experiences from our readers.

Leah’s story has always been an interesting one to me. Here was a woman who built Israel and yet still felt unloved. I am reminded of a scene in a popular TV show where one character says that he must be the *only* rich and famous person to still be alone and missing something.

You can read Leah’s story in Genesis chapters 29 to 35, but essentially, she does everything she can to be the love of her husband Jacob’s life — and still she is not.

She is overlooked, reduced to a seemingly desperate wife. But she is so much more.

Selective Memory (3 Nephi 2)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 17 July 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 226

Selective Memory (3 Nephi 2)

It happens in our homes when someone is able to recall — perhaps in great detail — things that happened a year ago but can't remember that you asked him yesterday to take out the trash.

It happens in politics when people enthusiastically cheer their favorite politician's position on a certain issue, somehow forgetting that the same politician espoused the exact opposite view on that same issue just a few years ago.

It can even happen in our own recall of certain events in our lives, as we remember our own role in a much more favorable light than what actually occurred.

It's called "selective memory," which is defined as the ability to remember some facts while apparently forgetting others, especially those that are somehow inconvenient at the current time.

How Immovable Are You? (3 Nephi 1)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 03 July 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 191

How Immovable Are You? (3 Nephi 1)

A congregation of Christian believers was holding a worship service in a country where Christianity is illegal. They kept the location of their meeting secret due to the risk involved. Suddenly, the door swung open and four men with rifles entered the room. The leader of the men announced to the room, "We are prepared to execute every Christian believer in the room. If you don't want to be shot to death right here, you need to denounce your belief in Christ by leaving this room right now. All who remain will be killed."

Immediately, several people in the room got up and left the room. When the last of these had departed, the leader looked at those who were left and said, "Last chance. Anybody else want to leave and save their lives?" Nobody else moved — they each prepared themselves to die for their faith. The leader nodded his head, and the four men put down their rifles. He then announced, "OK, now we know who the true believers are. Let's continue with our worship of the Lord."

They May Get Baptized or They May Want to Hurt You (Helaman 16)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 26 June 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 297

They May Get Baptized or They May Want to Hurt You (Helaman 16)

One of the parables of Jesus was the Parable of the Sower. (See Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8.) In this parable, the sower scatters seeds with the intention of growing fruit. The seeds are all good, but the results vary significantly, depending on where they land. The seeds that fall on good ground grow fruit as intended, but the seeds that fall in other places produce less desirable results.

Jesus explains that the seeds in the parable represent the word of God or the message of the gospel. The message is good, but the results vary for different people — some will accept it and become part of the family of God; some will seemingly accept it for a time but then slip away; others will reject it outright.

God May Prolong Your Days — But Don't Depend on That (Helaman 15)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 19 June 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 244

God May Prolong Your Days — But Don't Depend on That (Helaman 15)

In Helaman 15, Samuel the Lamanite continues to preach repentance to the Nephites. He points out that the Lamanites, who have historically opposed the things of God, are now in God's good graces, as they have repented and are now keeping His commandments. He states several times that God "prolonged the days" of the Lamanites in order to allow them enough time for this to occur.

In this particular case, he meant that God prolonged their existence as a class of people in order to fulfill His promises — see Alma 9:16. This prolonging continues to this day, as we await the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel.

Sign Language (Helaman 14)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 12 June 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 331

Sign Language (Helaman 14)

A popular method of communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing is through a system known as sign language. In this language, words or expressions are represented by specific hand gestures, known as signs. When people learn what the various signs mean, they can then receive messages from other people who know the signs. This communication system allows someone who would otherwise not be in a position to receive communications — whether because of deafness, or being across a crowded room, or for whatever reason — to still be able to receive messages from others.

In Helaman 14, Samuel the Lamanite speaks to the Nephite people in the land of the Americas about the coming of Jesus Christ. Whereas the people living in and around Jerusalem will be in a position to witness the various events in the life of Christ — His birth, His miracles, His preaching, His death and resurrection — the Nephite people on the other side of the world will not be in a position to witness any of it.

A Righteous Man's Reward (Helaman 13)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 05 June 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 272

A Righteous Man's Reward (Helaman 13)

In Matthew 10, Jesus gives His twelve apostles instructions regarding going out into the various cities to share His gospel. He tells them to preach, heal the sick, cast out devils, etc. He also tells them to stay in the homes of whichever families would be willing to receive them, commenting that such hospitable families would receive "a righteous man's reward" (Matthew 10:41).

What is a righteous man's reward? And why should people who may or may not be righteous receive it? As used here, a righteous man's reward would consist of any God-given benefit realized by others — righteous or not — as a result of being in close proximity to the servant of God.

For example, in the scripture above, suppose a natural disaster would have hit one of the cities and God allowed it to miss the house where His disciple was staying. The entire household would then benefit from this intervention intended to preserve the righteous man — they would all have received the righteous man's reward.

The Voice (Helaman 12)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 29 May 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 278

The Voice (Helaman 12)

Perhaps you are familiar with a TV show called "The Voice" in which vocalists from across the country engage in a singing competition. Each competition begins with singers trying to enter the contest by auditioning for voice coaches who work for the show. Each coach then decides which of the contestants they want to work with to try to help them win the competition. This audition phase is actually called "Blind Auditions" because the coaches don't get to see the contestants; they have to make their decisions not on appearances but purely based on "The Voice."

There is a voice that speaks to us as servants of God. This is THE VOICE — the voice of God. Similar to the scenario described above, we don't get to see the source of the voice. We have to "listen" — whether with our ears, our mind, or our heart — and then make our decisions based on having faith that we have heard the voice of God.

Is God Trying to Get My Attention? (Helaman 11)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 22 May 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 292

Is God Trying to Get My Attention? (Helaman 11)

In Helaman 11, Nephi invokes the power of attorney privilege that he was granted in the previous chapter. With war raging among the Nephite people and many dying due to their wickedness, Nephi presents this request to the Lord:

"O Lord, do not suffer that this people should be destroyed by the sword; but O Lord, rather let there be a famine in the land, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God, and perhaps they will repent and turn unto thee." (Helaman 11:4)

As promised, God grants Nephi's request. For the next three years, there is no rain, so the crops don't grow, and there is a great famine throughout the land. Finally, "the people saw that they were about to perish by famine, and they began to remember the Lord their God" (verse 7). When Nephi sees that the people are humbling themselves and turning back to God, he prays for the famine to end. Then, the rain returns and the crops grow, and "the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land" (verse 20).

Power of Attorney (Helaman 10)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 15 May 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 307

Power of Attorney (Helaman 10)

Power of Attorney: An authorization to represent or act on another's behalf in any matter. The individual authorizing the other to act is the grantor (of the power). The one authorized to act is the agent.

As defined above, power of attorney is an instrument used to allow someone else to speak or do something on your behalf. There can be various reasons for creating such an arrangement. Perhaps you anticipate that you may be incapacitated for a period of time such that you will be unable to make your own decisions. Whatever the reason, this is an arrangement that you enter into when you find it advantageous to have someone else acting on your behalf.

If you decided to create such an arrangement, what factors would be important to you in selecting an agent? You would probably seek someone with the following qualifications:

Who Did It? (Helaman 9)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 08 May 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 298

Who Did It? (Helaman 9)

In Helaman 9, five men race to the judgment seat to see if the chief judge has, in fact, been murdered — as Nephi had revealed by inspiration at the end of the previous chapter. The five men find the chief judge's body just as Nephi had described, and they faint in astonishment. When they are later discovered at the scene of the crime, they are arrested for the murder! While in prison, they relate how Nephi had described the crime scene, so then Nephi falls under suspicion. Yes, he had an alibi for the time of the murder, but perhaps he paid someone else to do it?

So, who did it?

Our Actions Illustrate Our Beliefs (Helaman 8)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 01 May 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 331

Our Actions Illustrate Our Beliefs (Helaman 8)

A crowd has gathered near Niagara Falls where a man has strung a rope across the falls and is standing on the edge of the falls with a wheelbarrow. He tells the crowd he is prepared to push the wheelbarrow along the rope and walk across Niagara Falls. In order to get the crowd stirred up, the man asks, "Who here believes I can cross the falls, pushing this wheelbarrow across this rope?" Some of the people raise their hands.

The man says, "Well, if you don't really believe I can do it, there's no point in continuing." More hands go up, and some of the people shout, "Yes, we believe you can do it!" The man says, "Are you sure you believe it? After all, I'm risking my life here." The people shout their encouragement even louder, and one man near the front jumps up and down, shouting, "I believe! I believe!"

The man addresses this enthusiastic believer: "Really, you believe I can do this?" The other man replies, "Yes, yes, I believe!" The first man nods his head and says, "OK, then get in the wheelbarrow."

Now Is Our Time (Helaman 7)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 24 April 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 563

Now Is Our Time (Helaman 7)

In Helaman 7, Nephi returns from a missionary trip and is very discouraged. The messages he has preached during the trip were completely rejected. The Nephite people he preached to remain in a state of great iniquity. As he reflects on how the people are "condemning the righteous because of their righteousness [and] letting the guilty and wicked go unpunished" (verse 5), Nephi actually wishes he could have lived during a different period of time:

"Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have joyed with him in the promised land; then were his people easy to be entreated, firm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity, and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord." (Helaman 7:7)

Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (Helaman 6)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 17 April 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 369

Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (Helaman 6)

We probably all experience occasions in our lives when negative consequences result from actions we take that may later seem rather questionable. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, someone may even ask us — or we may even ask ourselves — "Why would you do such a thing?" Sometimes, the only answer we can give — as lame as it may be — is, "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time."

Sometimes, the consequences of doing something that seemed like a good idea at the time are minimal and can be laughed at later. To see a few short videos depicting this, click here.

However, when the actions taken are sinful in nature, the consequences may be such that we won't be laughing when we look back and wonder why we did it. Helaman 6 recalls a few such examples from the scriptures, adding that the devil is the source of these "good ideas":

Saved by Fire (Helaman 5)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 10 April 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 349

Saved by Fire (Helaman 5)

In Helaman 5, Nephi and Lehi, the sons of Helaman, enter Lamanite territory to preach the gospel. They have much success as 8,000 are baptized, but some of the Lamanites become angry and cast Nephi and Lehi into prison. The Lamanite guards later enter the prison to kill them, but they encounter an unusual sight: "Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned" (verse 23).

After a series of events in which the walls of the prison tremble and a voice from heaven urges all to repent, Nephi and Lehi are again encircled by a pillar of fire:

"Yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not…and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory. And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words." (Helaman 5:44-45)

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