Monday, September 6, 2010

Gospel Topic Tuesday: Scripture Study

I was reading my scriptures 3 days ago now when I was in need of some insight, direction and comfort. I am always amazed at how they pop out at you when you need it and give you the answers you need at that moment. Yet how easily it is to forget that and to let scripture study pass by for a day and then a week and then months. I have always had a hard time studying my scriptures regularly unless I had a purpose or a goal. Last year I read the Book of Mormon all the way through because I had a goal to read it by a certain date.

So since I hadn't been reading my scriptures in awhile I didn't have a place to pick up from. I fumbled around a bit and then stopped at a highlighted scripture and started reading. It was in the middle of a chapter so once I was done I went back and read the beginning. I was reading in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah chapter 23. Verses 22 and 23 were highlighted. They read as follows, "Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless -- whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people." I found these two verses to be very comforting! The Lord gives us trials to test us and to try us which sometimes is very hard. Yet He tells us that if we trust in Him that we will make it through. By trusting in Him we are showing we have faith in Him. As long as we trust in God we can make it through any trial.

The next day I decided to read the next chapter in Mosiah, chapter 24. And verses 12 - 16 stood out to me. They read as follows, "And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.
And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage."
These scriptures testified to me of how the Lord is aware of us. He is aware of our trials, shortcomings, pains, joys, sorrows and needs. He knows what we need and how to help us make it through this earth life if we turn to Him and ask Him to help us. We have to have faith that He can and will help us and take that leap of faith to move forward.

As I've been pondering thoughts and feelings over the last week while watching family members I've been reminded just how important scripture study is. Daily immersion in the scriptures is necessary for our spirits to be renewed, for us to find the guidance we need in our lives and to bless us with the Holy Ghost each day. I do not disagree though that it is hard. We have so many things to do each day and the "To Do" list is always growing. So how do we make it happen? And how do we find joy in reading the scriptures?

I found a great talk by Russell M. Nelson titled "Living by Scriptural Guidance". He has some great insights into how to make scripture study happen each day and how to make the scriptures come alive for us personally. He says that "Achieving scriptural guidance is aided by posing pertinent questions.” I have found in my life that when I go to the scriptures with a question or a need that answers pop out at me and I am able to apply stories and lessons in the scriptures to my life. We then need to "begin with a determination to “liken all scriptures unto us … for our profit and learning."" Instead of just reading the scriptures to read them we need to take the time to apply them and find ways to apply them into our lives. We can put ourselves in the scriptures by inserting our names when the Lord is talking to someone and receive direction.
Now the hardest thing for me sometimes is remembering to go and study my scriptures each day. I will want to do it but I think "oh, I will go do that later." And what happens later for my scripture study never comes. Russell M. Nelson says, "Time for scripture study requires a schedule that will be honored. Otherwise, blessings that matter most will be at the mercy of things that matter least." I can attest that when I set aside a certain time each day to study my scriptures I am more likely to get make it happen then if I keep telling myself it will happen later. I like what Russell M. Nelson said at the end of that quote that the blessings we could reap won't.

I know that personal and family scripture studies are important. They are vital! Heavenly Father will bless us for doing so! Satan is doing all he can right now to tear us down and break up families. He wants nothing more than for us to stop trying and be miserable like he is. Don't let him win. Fight for your family, fight to make scripture study a part of your daily life. Make it a priority and you will reap many blessings. I know that the scriptures are true I bare you my testimony that they are. I have felt the Lord's hand guiding me in my life as I have studied them. I have received answers and comfort. I am grateful that the Book of Mormon was restored in these latter days.

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