Scripture Study

Esther: True to Herself in the Lord

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Monday, 05 August 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 281

Esther: True to Herself in the Lord

Today, we're continuing Sister Alena's series on women of the Bible in lieu of our regularly scheduled Miracle Monday, which we will resume in August.

Queen Esther has always been a favorite of mine, an easy example of a courageous woman who stood up for what she believed in — a woman who did all of this and got a happy ending, no less.

A lot could be said of Esther, a lot of people have talked about how brave she was or how cunning or trusting. But I want to highlight something I think gets overlooked sometimes, and that is her sense of self.

Esther was not only true to her people, but to herself.

There’s a key difference.

Being true to her people meant that she saved them; she made a stand for them.

But the way she did it? That was her own personality; that was her person coming through for God’s plan. 

Feed Me! (3 Nephi 4)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 31 July 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 272

Feed Me! (3 Nephi 4)

Some years ago, I went to see a stage play that was later made into a movie. It was a silly story about a nerdy florist who has a Venus flytrap in his shop that eats people. The more it eats, the bigger it gets. It also develops a voice and starts demanding that the florist bring more victims, forcing the florist to take appropriate action. The most memorable part of the show is hearing the plant shouting, “Feed me! FEED ME!!”

In 3 Nephi 4, the Gadianton robbers come into the Nephite land to do battle. The Nephites have followed the plan that God revealed in the previous chapter, so they have gathered together in one location with all of their armies and all of their supplies. When the robbers arrive, they are horrified to find that most of the Nephite lands are completely deserted, including all flocks and herds and anything that could have been used for food.

Jochebed: The Faith of a Whole Mustard Garden

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Monday, 29 July 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 286

Jochebed: The Faith of a Whole Mustard Garden

Today, we're continuing Sister Alena's series on women of the Bible in lieu of our regularly scheduled Miracle Monday, which we will resume in August.

Moses’ mother, Jochebed, is not one of the women that I’ve ever really noticed before. She sends Moses down the river in a basket, praying for his safe deliverance away from Pharoah’s infanticide, and instead, God delivered him into the heart of it.

In Exodus, the Bible just says that she put him in a basket after hiding him for three months. This is a woman of immense faith.

This is a woman of action.

God Is Not a Rubber Stamp (3 Nephi 3)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 24 July 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 762

God Is Not a Rubber Stamp (3 Nephi 3)

The use of a rubber stamp as a business tool dates back to the late 1800s. Such stamps had raised rubber letters that spelled out words and could be pressed onto an inkpad and then pressed on a piece of paper such that the words would then appear on the paper. One typical use would be to have a rubber stamp with the word "Approved," which could then be used to indicate approval of a written request.

The process was simple — stamp on inkpad, stamp on paper, next request, stamp on inkpad, stamp on paper, etc. Using this method, many requests could be quickly approved and sent on their way. As you can imagine, the ease of the process made it tempting to just approve a bunch of requests without even reading them — stamp on inkpad, stamp on paper, next request, etc.

This must have happened fairly frequently since the process gave birth to an idiom that still exists today — a person is referred to as a "rubber stamp" if he is responsible for approving requests and just does so automatically without paying much attention to what is actually being requested.

Leah: Chosen, Not Rejected

Written by Sister Alena X. Ricci on Monday, 22 July 2019. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 837

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 353

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 296

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 420

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 335

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 452

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 361

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 380

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 375

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 388

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 398

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?

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