Monday, March 19, 2012

Scripture Challenge: Week 6

3 Nephi 18- The End!!!

To Ponder and Apply:
How is "hope" a Christ-like quality?  Why does the Book of Mormon end with the destruction of 2 civilizations?  (Remember, it was written for our day).  What hope can come from those stories?  What can we learn from those people?  Why would Mormon and Moroni write what they did in the final teachings of the Book of Momon?

Bonus:  Liken the Scriptures
Insert your name whenever possible to "help make scriptural teachings more personal" (Studying the Scriptures, Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, 2000).  Also, sometimes questions are asked and no answer is given.  Take the time to answer those questions as they apply in your own life.  

"...for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning" (1 Nephi 19:23).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Scripture Challenge: Week 5

Alma 58-3 Nephi 17

**Random Tip: Want to be better at remembering where specific scriptures are?  Try not using a bookmark when reading and see how much easier it is to locate references!

 To Ponder and Apply: 
These chapters begin about 60 years before the birth of Christ, include His time on earth across the seas, and end with His personal visit to the people in the America's.  It would be very intersting to note any preparations for His coming, the state of society at the time, and any possible influences to the people while the Savior was on the earth, though very far away.  Are we seeing any similar trends in our society today?  How can we prepare for His second coming?  What were the teachings of the Prophets prior to His coming and how do they compare to what the Prophet is telling us now?

Bonus: Apply and Do
It's one thing to think about the teachings found in this book, and it's another thing to actually do something with what you learn.  The challenge this week is to find something to implement in your life.  Is there something you need to change?  Something you need to do better?  A habit you need to lose or one you need to acquire?  From the words of the prophets to the teachings straight from Christ himself, there should be plenty of things we could begin to DO.
"The real value of knowledge you gain from the scriptures comes when you live what you learn. Greater closeness to the Lord and feeling the peace He gives are just some of the blessings that come to those who live the gospel. In addition, the Lord said that those who live what they learn will be given more, while those who will not live what they learn will lose the knowledge they have (see Alma 12:9–11)" (Studying the Scriptures, Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, 2000).
 “Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Scripture Challenge: Week 4

Alma 23-Alma 57

To Ponder and Apply:
The first half of this section is still a lot of preaching, including Alma's instructions to his sons.  Continue taking note of common teachings and share with the group what might be the most important concepts to teach to our children.

The second half begins the war chapters.  What wars are we fighting in our lives? Who or what are our "enemies," real or imagined? How do we conquer them?  Are we the attackers or are we defending?  How can our personal conflicts be resolved peacefully?

Bonus: Ponder
Last week you were challenged to write down your thoughts as a way of pondering and previously you were encouraged to pray.  Below are some more ways to help you ponder and apply the scriptures to make your study more effective.
"The word ponder means to consider, contemplate, reflect upon, or think about. Pondering the scriptures, then, is reverent reflecting on the truths, experiences, and lessons contained in the standard works. The process of pondering takes time and cannot be forced, hurried, or rushed...

"President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) emphasized a similar approach to studying and pondering the holy scriptures in general and the Book of Mormon in particular:
“If [the Book of Mormon writers] saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, ‘Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?’

"President Benson’s teaching helps us to follow the counsel of Nephi to “liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning” (1 Ne. 19:23). Thus, asking questions about and pondering the things we have studied in the scriptures invite inspiration and the assistance of the Holy Ghost."  (Elder Bednar, "Because We Have Them before Our Eyes")
Time is short with all the reading to cram in this 6 week period, but hopefully we can find those moments throughout the day when our minds are thinking of frivolous or worldly things and try to change our focus to what we have read in the scriptures recently.  I think we will notice a change in our speech and actions when our thoughts are more Christ-centered and our scripture study extends through the entire day in our hearts and minds. 

"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts."  (Moroni 10:3)