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)

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