My Personal Scripture Of The Year | Alma 34

2013 December 29

There’s been a lot of chatter these closing weeks of 2013 about choosing your ‘WORD’ for next year.

LDS statue of the christus SLC visitor center goodncrazy.comBut I couldn’t come up with anything really meaningful for me. Just a WORD? ONE word?

The other day I picked up my digital scriptures on my phone (while waiting for teeth cleanings no less) and started at the beginning of the Book of Mormon… you know, Nephi, goodly parents and all that? I read the whole first chapter and at the very end in verse 20 the word ‘mercies’ made me think about the phrase I’ve heard a lot in 2013: Tender Mercies. Little blessings? Small miracles maybe? And I clicked on the cross references… which took me to Alma Chapter 34.

And I had an ‘aha’ spiritual head smack right there in the waiting room.
(I promise no one got hurt.)

Instead of a ‘word’ of the year, I’m going to use Alma Chapter 34 in the Book of Mormon as my Scripture of the Year. Alma is a book in the Book of Mormon and in chapter 34 the prophet Alma and his companion Amulek are basically serving a mission to the Zoramites. First Alma speaks to the people and then its Amulek’s turn.

Chapter 34 is Amulek’s words to the people.

I’m especially focusing on the last 5 verses:

Alma 34: 37-41

 37 And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ;

 38 That ye acontend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

 39 Yea, and I also exhort you, my brethren, that ye be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day; for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing.

 40 And now my beloved brethren, I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions; that ye do not revile against those who do cast you out because of your exceeding poverty, lest ye become sinners like unto them;

 41 But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.

It feels to me like Amulek is basically laying out a list of how to live life more fully and with more happiness, step by step. How to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

A Spiritual List to Live By in 2014, 10 Steps

  1. Remember and Work out your Salvation with Fear before God.
    I’ve always been fascinated with the phrase “Fear of God”… makes me think of a loving yet firm mother… when she grabs with strength and fear and love to jerk her small child’s hand away from a hot stove. The child for a moment is more scared of his mom than he is of that burning pain… until she gently helps him see how hot the stove and how painful it would be if he actually touched it. I imagine Heavenly Father much like a loving yet firm parent helping us stay away from the hot plates of life. Working on our salvation with Fear before God is a much easier way to go through life VS. having to learn the hard way over and over?
  2. Contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but receive it.
    I hope I’m not ‘contending against the Holy Ghost? But that last part about receiving it… Can I do a better job of hearing the still small voice? Can I act without hesitation when prompted? Can I ‘exercise’ and improve the ability (or worthiness) to listen to the Holy Ghost in the future?
  3. Take upon you the name of Christ.
    Am I a Christian? Do people who know me, know that I believe in Jesus Christ by my actions? Does my Religion show? I’d like to study the Sacrament prayers because that is one main covenant we make each week… so what does it really mean to take upon the name of Christ?
  4. Humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth.
    In the past I’ve spent weeks and months studying the word ‘Meek’. I always thought it sounded like weakness or always ‘giving in’… but in fact another word for meek is simply humble. And the opposite of humility is pride of course. Someone who is meek isn’t weak that person is in all likelihood a powerful person who chooses to instead deal with others with kindness and a quiet wisdom. Oh boy I’m afraid in so many ways I am the exact opposite of that word. And I’m trying to change… become more meek. I think it takes a constant contact with God, everywhere and definitely with the Spirit and in truth.
  5. Live in Thanksgiving Daily.
    Like.. eat pumpkin pie every day?? Oh… probably not.
    More like giving thanks… every day. I once spent a week writing down 3 things each night I was grateful for that day. Even if those things are: warm baked cookies, my kids combining allowances to pay for half of a Netflix subscription (they REALLY wanted it) and 49 cent slushies from QT! I think I’ll try to do that again.
  6. Watchful unto prayer continually.
    So how is this different than living in thanksgiving daily? First it’s similar in that prayer should always include letting Heavenly Father know all the things we are grateful for. But there is more with prayer… plus that ‘continually’ part? Different than daily right? Often in the scriptures it will say pray ‘always’. Hmmm I’m going to ponder on this one and maybe work it out deeper later? Formal prayer for me is with the family in the morning after family scripture time. Over meals, at church meetings, and then at night with my husband a ‘couple’s prayer’.
    Continually sounds almost more like a ‘song in your heart’… ya know? And how about the word WATCHFUL? Amulek is begging the people (and us) to use prayer as a safety feature, an airbag against ‘the temptations of Satan’.
  7. Have Patience.
    Oy. My biggest fault easily. I don’t jump to conclusions… I pole-vault. My husband thinks I interrupt every conversation. I think I’m just passionate and interested and need to ask the next question NOW. I want to be a better parent, especially with 2 teens in the house… I completely need a new bucket full of patience just for them. Partly I think I just need to S.L.O.W. Down. Relax. BREATHE. I am who I am… but… I’d like to see if patience is a virtue I will ever wear.
  8. Bear with all manner of afflictions.
    This probably could be read as ‘have patience so you can deal with afflictions’. But I need patience to be its own number. And bear afflictions sounds big enough to be its own line item too. All manner. We moved again this year, and while the move itself wasn’t all that much of an ‘affliction’ for us, it has been hard on the kids. Harder than all our other moves. I’ve tried hard to help acclimate and especially find new friends.
    But the new house has had one (expensive) problem after another. A broken water heater, broken garage door opener, exposed gas main (what?!) and several other costly repairs. And I know I’m whining here, but we agreed to buy this house knowing we wanted to change out some of the dated aesthetic things like the lighting, refinishing the hardwood and painting a few rooms. But we didn’t count on the stupid house falling apart too!? What I’m learning from the new house (AKA Money Pit) is that we just tackle each problem as it comes and lean in on the Lord for help with the stress!
  9. Do not revile against those who do cast you out because of your exceeding ________.
    I know the blank is poverty in the verse, but I think this can be stretched to mean skip feeling offended. Get over ‘it’… whatever your exceeding (fill in the blank) is. Remember first that people aren’t perfect and you aren’t standing their shoes. You can’t control others and the one thing you CAN control is yourself and your own feelings…
  10. {Live} with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.
    Seems to me if you follow 1-9…  If you live with a grateful heart and pray continually for patience, become just a little more meek and humble and let stuff roll off your back… it’s a perfect recipe for happiness. You can look forward to returning to Heavenly Father and finding peace. (Is that anything like ‘live like you’re dying’? Cuz the sappy country music song is now stuck in my head.)

    I once looked up all the different meanings to the word ‘rest’.
    I am fascinated with that word.
    It’s used often and in many different ways throughout the Bible & Book of Mormon as well.

 

Matt 11: 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Alma 13:16 … that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order, and this that they might look forward to him for a remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord.

 I'm a Mormon

My plan in 2014 is to read through this list often and work on parts of it throughout the year.
Here’s to happy new year with increased love and patience and joy.

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