Raining Petals

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Benefits of Daily Scripture Study: A Talk By Laura

I will be presented this talk on Sunday, February 8th, 2015. I did not properly edit so excuse all grammar and spelling mistakes. All quotes were taking from LDS.org.

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters,

A couple of Sundays ago I was fortunate enough to sit down to a wonderful meal with equally wonderful company, the sister missionaries were seated across the table from me and it was truly a pleasure conversing with them and getting to know them. What lovely, beautiful ladies they are. The Spirit and enthusiasm they carry with them is remarkable. As we chatted I posed the question, "How would your days be different without the benefits of daily scripture study?" Sister Goodwine immediately remarked that without daily study there was no way she could do her job as a missionary. It would be impossible. She went on to say that the Holy Ghost can only help you so much, you have to have the knowledge FIRST for the Spirit to help you recall it. He can not help you recall something you don't know. Daily scripture study is as necessary as daily meals. It is fuel. It keeps you going. Sister Goodwine also mentioned that there are, unfortunately, missionaries who try to get away with skipping scripture study, choosing to sleep or do something else with the special time. This choice inevitably leads to not wanting to go out, the desire to stay in the apartment, lack of motivation, and loss of the Spirit. You simply cannot do the Lord's work efficiently without studying and feasting upon his Word...and in most cases you won't have the desire to do so anyway. Scripture study is directly linked with the desire to serve, to know more, and to share. The more you read...the more you want to KEEP reading.

We should be willing and even have the desire to hold ourselves to the same standards as our fulltime missionaries when it comes to scripture study. If we are diligent in setting time aside to study each day we will see that flow into other areas of our lives. We will be more apt to do our Home and Visiting teaching, accept and magnify church callings, have Family Home Evening, and attend our church meetings. It is when we start to leave out the small and simple steps of praying and studying that these other important duties fall by the wayside. If you are lacking motivation and desire you need to get back to basics. Say your prayers and pick up your scriptures. Get yourself into that routine...by small and simple things, great things come to pass.

President Ezra Taft Benson said, " “More than at any time in our history, brothers and sisters, we have need for greater spirituality. The way to develop greater spirituality is to feast on the words of Christ as revealed in the scriptures” ...he said this in 1984. I think he would agree that we are in even greater need today.

President Kimball also taught: “I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns. I find myself loving more intensely those whom I must love with all my heart and mind and strength, and loving them more, I find it easier to abide their counsel”

You have all heard this saying, "If you want to talk to God, pray. If you want God to talk to you, read your scriptures." There is a reason this is a saying and quoted so much. Because it is true! The scriptures are the word of God. Direct revelation given to us to USE...and to use daily!

I can make lists of the benefits of daily scripture study. The blessings we receive from doing so are a mile long. I would like to emphasis a few.

**We find personal revelation and answers to our problems in the scriptures.

I adore the great women that stand by the sides of the prophets and general authorities. I admire their sacrifice, their service, and their willingness to give up much time with their husbands as they serve. We have all heard President Monson speak of his sweet wife. I quote him now "Never once has she complained,” he said. “Never once. Not in our entire married life has she done anything to keep me from any aspect of my service. I have never received anything but support and encouragement from Frances.”

I don't know about you but when I hear this I am happy for President Monson...but I am sad for my husband. It is too late for me...I already complained. Josh can never say this about it me. So I can feel a little disheartened. BUT...you might understand my joy when I turn to 1st Nephi Chapter 5 and  Not to be irreverent but I feel Sariah and I are BFF's. Look at Verse 3.

 And after this manner of language had my mother complained against my father.

There it is! Right there! I can go to bed happy now. But it doesn't end there...not only did she complain about her husband but she did it in front of the kids! And her son wrote about it in his journal! And it made it into the Book of Mormon! And millions of people are reading it every year! Nephi...you are grounded.

But seriously Nephi Thank you! Thank you for recording a human experience and human error...because we are HUMAN and the scriptures are for human problems. To help us get through the human experience. I love how this chapter continues to unfold. And if you want a good example of good marriage and partnership look to Sariah and Lehi. Yes, she complained because she was worried. She was scared her children were gone and that they were going to perish. What mother wouldn't be upset...and Lehi was the one that told his sons to go...so of course she was upset with him. But how did Lehi react? Did he say..."well I am the man of the house and what I say goes now go back to the tent and be quiet" Not at all. He said yes Sariah you are right...I am a visionary man and here is why and here is what we are accomplishing and I promise you our sons will return. He didn't tell her to stop nagging him or to get off his back...he comforted her and showed her love. He listened to her and he calmed her.

Sariah was a great woman, who despite being scared and not having the same reassurance and vision that Lehi did, stood by him and let her sons go. And good thing she did ...because what did her sons accomplish?? They got the brass plates. Verse 18: That these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who were of his seed. Pretty important.

So this was a personal experience for me...to relate to Sariah and realize that despite my moments of weakness and complaining and frustration that IT isn't too late for me. We all receive personal revelation individually...so sometimes I don't always see Josh's vision or understand why he is doing what he is doing because I didn't receive the prompting he did. Sometimes I do complain or tell him I had other plans in mind or expected this, and this, and this from him today! But if I stop and listen to him as he explains why then my heart if always softened and I understand he is doing what is needed of him and asked of him and he will be back and all will be well.

Despite my shortcomings, reading about Sariah helped me remember I am still a good person and maybe my husband will never be able to say I did not complain, but I do hope that he can say that I always stood by him and loved him. And hopefully I too bring a goodness and a light to his life.

 So much can be learned from this family...Lehi and Sariah have a lot to offer on marriage and family and following the commandments given to us by God. We all know Laman and Lemuel...we also all know a Laman and Lemuel of today...or maybe we are one! I think sometimes we tend to relate to Nephi because that is who we aspire to be...but often we act like Laman and Lemuel. Lots to be learned there. Read it, Study it. Learn from it!

What kind of experiences have you had when studying the scriptures? Have you had a clear answer to a prayer? Have you had a missing piece or link connected? Have you had a simple reassurance that you are ok...that you will be ok? If you have... go home and write those experiences down...they are your personal scripture now. If you cannot recall anything to write down...go and open your scriptures and read. Don't just mindlessly recite the verses but find out who these people are and why they are important...but more importantly...why they are important to YOU! Answers and revelation await you!

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, "“I think that people who study the scriptures get a dimension to their life that nobody else gets and that can’t be gained in any way except by studying the scriptures.

***Another Benefit of Scripture Study is being blessed to have the Spirit in our homes

President Marion G. Romney, who was a Counselor in the First Presidency, testified: “I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness”

What amazing blessings! Who wouldn't give anything to have these feelings in our homes? But you don't have to give much...just taking time to study the scriptures the outpouring of blessings you receive far outweighs the time spent studying. If not reading means you give up these blessings...you can't afford it!. Our children, our families are too important.

Gathering to read as family...no matter the family size...invites the Spirit into your home. It opens up dialogue and discussion with our children and with our spouses. It gives us the time to teach correct principles and set standards and goals for our family to aspire to and to achieve. These moments in the home can save our children from much grief when they leave it. You are helping them put on the armor that will protect them as they go out into the world. They will understand the Lord's expectations for them and try to live it. AND...even if they choose poorly they still KNOW what is expected of them. There is no question.

I was blessed to have family scripture study and family home evening growing up. We were far from perfect at it but the memories of it are some of my clearest. My parents taught me from the scriptures and church manuals and it was always clear to me what was expected of me. I understood what the Lord wanted from me and what my parents wanted from me and who they expected me to be. Everytime I walked out the front door my mom would say, "Return with Honor!" Even still, I made wrong choices, as we all do. But it was never an accident or because I didn't know...it was always clear to me that I was not choosing the right. I always felt the weight of those choices and would almost immediately feel the guilt associated with such choices. Those are not good feelings. It is uncomfortable and one cannot continue to live well with those feelings. So I would be prompted to repentance. Having those expectations set for me and having been taught the way I should go did not keep me from making mistake BUT it did keep me from progressing in those mistakes. I would immediately know I was wrong and would usually work to correct it. Hanging on to some bad things longer than needed but still ultimately giving them up because I KNEW...because I was taught!  This is our responsibility as parents and grandparents and leaders to teach our youth so that is it unmistakable the choices they should be making. That they have no doubt of who they are and what is expected of them. That we give them the tools, teach them the scriptures, then teach them how to read the scriptures, and then to study them and apply them. Then we can let them go knowing we have equipped them properly and despite how they choose that they KNOW! I feel like those who know...stay...and if they don't stay...they eventually come back. So to say Family Scripture Study is important is an understatement...it is vital. It is an indicator of the health of our family. Get Healthy! Stay Healthy! And sorry to be cheesy but Feasting from the Scriptures a day keeps the doctor away!

***Though I could on and on with other benefits of daily Scripture Study I want to get to the most important one. And that is by studying the scriptures we come to know Christ and our Father in Heaven in a way that can not be achieved by any other means. 

The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson said," In the end, the central purpose of all scripture is to fill our souls with faith in God the Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ—faith that They exist; faith in the Father’s plan for our immortality and eternal life; faith in the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which animates this plan of happiness; faith to make the gospel of Jesus Christ our way of life; and faith to come to know “the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He has] sent” (John 17:3).

"Scriptural accounts of the faith of others serve to strengthen our own. We recall the faith of a centurion that enabled Christ to heal his servant without so much as seeing him (see Matthew 8:5–13) and the healing of a Gentile woman’s daughter because that humble mother would accept, as it were, even the crumbs from the Master’s table (see Matthew 15:22–28;Mark 7:25–30). We hear the cry of suffering Job: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15)—and professing, “I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: … [and] yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25–26). We hear and take courage from the determination of a tender boy prophet, hated and bitterly persecuted by so many adults: “I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it” (Joseph Smith—History 1:25)."

We are members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Every week we take upon us His name. We promise to keep his commandments. We claim to be his disciples. But do we truly know Him? Read the scriptures...get to know HIM! Get on a personal level where His life speaks directly to you. He was not just some man who lived and died for others...no...he lived and died for you. You matter to Him. His life is part of your life story. Read it. Learn it. Understand it. Then share it.

President Hinckley shared, “I am grateful for emphasis on reading the scriptures. I hope that for you this will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; that, rather, it will become a love affair with the word of God. I promise you that as you read, your minds will be enlightened and your spirits will be lifted. At first it may seem tedious, but that will change into a wondrous experience with thoughts and words of things divine”"

As you are reading always remember the promise in Moroni 10:4-5. It is a scripture mastery.

 "  And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

I am grateful for the opportunity to prepare this talk. It has strengthened my desire to study more and to gain a greater knowledge of the Gospel and most importantly to come to know my Savior even better. To get more personal. I encourage you all to ponder on the many benefits of scripture study. Making a list of and understanding the benefits might help you understand better how to study and to get the most out of it. It will help you in your study with your family and make a sometimes tedious task become a favorite past time. I am grateful for the sacrifices made by many, many people throughout time that has made it possible for us to have the scriptures today. A lot had to happen to get these at our finger tips. We are blessed beyond measure to have these words. Everything we need to understand God's Will is right here. We do not have to go out to the wilderness, journey for days, climb mountains, dig holes, thirst or hunger, or be physically challenged to find the truth...we simply have to open a book. Sometimes we make something so simple hard. Simplify. Get back to basics. Come to know Christ.

I leave with the words of the Savior himself from D&C 18-36

‘And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it.
“‘These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man;
“‘For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them;
“‘Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words.’ (D&C 18:33–36.)

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