Scripture Study

Longing for Belonging: Welcome to GMBA Camp!

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Monday, 16 July 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 312

Longing for Belonging: Welcome to GMBA Camp!

This week, we're interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a series of articles from GMBA Campout!

This week, the camp is being held in Redlands, California, and the theme is "Peace, Joy, and Strength in Righteousness," and the anchoring scriptures are found in Philippians 4:4-8.

Before we flesh out the theme for you, let's talk about friendship. GMBA Camp is a place where new friendships bloom, casual acquaintances take root and go to a deeper level, and time-tested bonds grow even stronger. Friendship and fellowship are a big part of what makes camp camp.

Don't Be Deceived (Alma 30)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 11 July 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 262

Don't Be Deceived (Alma 30)

Here's a story I sometimes relate when Election Day is approaching:

Once upon a time, a man died and appeared before God at the gates of heaven. God told the man that he was going to spend one day in heaven and then one day in hell and, after that, he would be permitted to choose which place he wanted to spend eternity in.

For his day in heaven, the man was shown the mansion he would live in, he met many of the people mentioned in the scriptures and attended a joyful gathering of the saints, all singing praises to the Lord who was in their midst. It was a very blessed day.

Being Content (Alma 29)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 04 July 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 268

Being Content (Alma 29)

In Alma 29, Alma imagines for a moment what it would be like to be an angel. How exciting it would be to go forth with the trumpet of God and speak with a voice of thunder, declaring the plan of redemption to all people! The more he thinks about it, the more exciting of a concept it sounds like, and he sort of wishes it could be so. Finally, he returns to reality and actually scolds himself a little for getting carried away with the idea:

"But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me." (Alma 29:3)

Kingdom Algebra (Alma 28)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 27 June 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 245

Kingdom Algebra (Alma 28)

When I was in 9th grade, one of my classes was Algebra. Whereas some students (and perhaps you can identify) had a hard time understanding this subject, I actually enjoyed it. It was kind of like trying to solve a mystery — what is the value of the mysterious X?

For those who don't remember — and forgive me if this brings back bad memories — it went something like this:

If X + Y = 10 and Y = 3, then what is the value of X? In this set of equations, X would be 7 since X and Y together add up to 10 and we already know that Y is 3. 10 – 3 = 7. (I promise that this is as mathematical as this article is going to get.)

When Winning Is the Only Thing (Alma 27)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 20 June 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 293

When Winning Is the Only Thing (Alma 27)

"Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." — said by a famous football coach

Suppose you and your friend have a standing date to play golf together, let's say once a week. Every week, you get together and shoot 18 holes, and you have a great time together. The only thing is your friend is much better at the game than you are, and so you never win. What should you do? Here are some options:

Boasting — in the Lord? (Alma 26)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 13 June 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 252

Boasting — in the Lord? (Alma 26)

In Alma 26, Ammon celebrates with his brothers regarding their missionary successes among the Lamanite people and how God has used them to bring many souls to salvation. He is obviously excited that they have been personally used for this accomplishment, stating, "If we had not come up out of the land of Zarahemla, these our dearly beloved brethren…would still have been…strangers to God" (verse 9).

At this point, his brother Aaron rebukes him, saying, "Ammon, I fear that thy joy doth carry thee away unto boasting" (verse 10). Ammon replies, "I do not boast in my own strength…but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things" (verses 11-12). He then continues his rejoicing and "boasting in the Lord."

What's the difference between boasting in the Lord and just plain boasting? It all comes down to motivation.

The Golden Rule (Alma 25)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 06 June 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 287

The Golden Rule (Alma 25)

Let's begin with a little quiz. Which of the following statements best expresses the concept of what is traditionally referred to as "The Golden Rule"?

A. Do unto others as they do unto you
B. Do unto others as you would want others to do unto you
C. Whatever you do unto others will be done unto you
D. Whoever has the gold makes the rules

Burying the Old Man (Alma 24)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 30 May 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 289

Burying the Old Man (Alma 24)

"Put off…the old man, which is corrupt…be renewed in the spirit of your mind…put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24)

In Alma 24, the converted Lamanites, now known as Anti-Nephi-Lehies, bring the above scripture to life. The king expresses this group's collective praise to God that "he hath forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son" (verse 10).

The king then expresses fear as to how God might react should they ever go back to their former ways of killing and murdering. Based on this, the entire group comes to a collective decision:

A New Name (Alma 23)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 23 May 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 332

A New Name (Alma 23)

Receiving or assuming a new name is typically indicative of some major change in a person's life — a change for which the former name no longer is totally suitable or sufficient to describe the new status that the person has entered.

At the very least, each of us received a new name when we were born. That name replaced the generic term, "the baby," or the default name ("Baby Boy Doe") that would otherwise have been given at the hospital. Instead, the name we received identified us as part of a specific family.

Ministering to Your Family (Alma 22)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 16 May 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 318

Ministering to Your Family (Alma 22)

Minister (verb): Attend to the needs of someone, care for, look after, help, assist, serve

People should take care of their families — perhaps that sounds like an obvious statement to say. Even as you read this, you may be getting ready to go off to work to earn money for your family. Perhaps you have chores to do today to help your household. Perhaps you have a sick or elderly family member you are caring for.

The vast majority of people assist their family in one way or another. This includes those who are servants of God as well as those who are not. Although caring for a family is not necessarily tied to serving God, it is something that any servant of God should take seriously — "ministering" to your family is not only the right thing to do, but it can also have spiritual ramifications.

Why Don't I See Angels? (Alma 21)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 09 May 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 342

Why Don't I See Angels? (Alma 21)

Alma 21 begins the story of another missionary trip among the Lamanite people. This time, the lead missionary is Aaron, another of the four sons of Mosiah. As the story begins, Aaron is preaching to the people, and he shares the testimony of that momentous day in his life when the angel of the Lord appeared to him and his brothers, resulting in their conversion to Christ.

However, not everyone in this particular congregation is especially impressed by this testimony. In fact, one of them gets up and angrily argues with Aaron, saying:

"What is this that thou hast testified? Hast thou seen an angel? Why do not angels appear unto us? Behold are not this people as good as thy people?" (Alma 21:5)

Ready to Go (Alma 20)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 02 May 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 294

Ready to Go (Alma 20)

When you're planning a trip, there is a process involved in getting ready to go. Depending on your individual situation, the process may be involved — perhaps you need to pack a lot of things; perhaps you need to purchase some things; perhaps you need to make arrangements for others to do things for you while you're away; etc. On the other hand, there may be times when the preparations are brief — just grab some things and go.

There are even people who keep an overnight bag packed at all times so they are ready to go at a moment's notice. An example of this is when a woman is expecting a baby. The time to go to the hospital may come at any moment with very little time to react, so the wise course of action is to be ready to go at all times.

Seizing the Opportunity (Alma 19)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 25 April 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 388

Seizing the Opportunity (Alma 19)

Opportunity: A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something

Alma 19 is an exciting part of the story of Ammon's missionary effort among the Lamanites. In this chapter, the Lamanite king and queen are overcome by the Spirit of God, an angry Lamanite tries to kill Ammon only to be struck dead by God, and many Lamanites are converted, and the church is begun in that city.

One of the key participants in this episode is a Lamanite woman named Abish, who had been converted to the Lord many years earlier. She had kept her faith secret until this time, waiting for the opportunity to be used by God. Seeing the king and queen overcome by the Spirit, Abish recognizes that the circumstances exist for her to do something to further the work of the Lord, and she seizes the opportunity:

Power of God Provides Credibility (Alma 18)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 18 April 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 320

Power of God Provides Credibility (Alma 18)

Alma 18 continues the story of the missionary effort of Ammon (one of the four sons of Mosiah) among a group of Lamanites under the rule of a king named Lamoni. In the previous chapter, Ammon had singlehandedly defeated a group of men who were attacking the flocks of Lamoni. In a memorable episode, Ammon cut off the arms of the attackers, thereby preserving the king's flocks and saving the lives of his fellow servants who would have otherwise been executed for failing in their duty to the king.

When King Lamoni hears this amazing story, he calls for Ammon but doesn't even know what to say to him. Being filled with the Spirit of God, Ammon states the exact thoughts of the king regarding this meeting, and Lamoni is even more amazed.

The Value of Attending Gatherings (Alma 17)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 11 April 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 384

The Value of Attending Gatherings (Alma 17)

In Alma 17, Alma continues his travels between the cities of the Nephites to check on the spiritual health of each. As he is on the road to the land of Manti, he is surprised to have a chance encounter with four old friends, the four sons of Mosiah. Even though they are just passing each other on the road, this a joyful reunion as they haven't seen each other in 14 years. What makes it so joyful?

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