Archive for December, 2007

January’s Topic – Faith

The recommended reading list is meant as a guide and springboard to jump start your study of faith. There are many references throughout the scriptures. It will be fun to share what we have found together, as well as personal experiences. Don’t feel like you can’t come if you haven’t read everything. We can learn from each other!!

Recommended reading list:
Alma 32
James 1:5-6
James 2
Romans 10:14-17
Doctrine and Covenants 46:13-16
Genesis 14:26-36 (JST)
John 12:39-42
Bible Dictionary entry on “Faith”

Lectures on Faith by Joseph Smith

If you really want to go for it:
Faith Precedes the Miracle by Spencer W. Kimball


The chapter heading for Alma 32 tells us that faith is a hope in that which is not seen which is true. Verse 21 adds on that principle by telling us that faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things. Knowledge and faith are different. If you know something, there’s no need to have faith in it. In verse 27 Alma tells us to exercise our faith, even if we only have a desire to believe. Our desire is like a seed. It might feel small, but can grow to be something great. Seeds don’t grow on their own though – they have to be watered, given sunlight and even talked to. Sometimes weeds grow around our seeds. They have to be pulled and disposed of before they choke our faith.

In James 1:5-6 we’re told that we can gain wisdom by asking God for it. We’re also told, however, that we need to “ask in faith, nothing wavering.” This implies that God will give us the wisdom we seek if we believe that he will and don’t doubt the fact. It also says that the Lord gives to “all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” When we ask in faith, we will receive liberally.

James 2 talks about faith and works. Verse 18 tells us that we can show our faith by our works. It gives the example of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham showed his faith by taking Isaac to the mountain to sacrifice him. When he was about to kill Isaac, an angel appeared and said that he didn’t have to do it – now he knew that Abraham feared God and that was enough. “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” At the end of verse 26 it says that even as the body is dead without the spirit, faith is dead without works. This means that you can’t just say that you believe and be saved. You actually have to do something. You have to show that you have faith by your works.

Romans 10:14-17 suggests that once we have received the word we are to share it. How are others going to know about it if we don’t share it? This block, if used backwards, gives a process for bringing others into the fold:
First – Missionaries are sent.
Second – Missionaries teach and preach.
Third – Listeners hear about God and Christ.
Fourth – Listeners believe.
Fifth – Listeners pray.
And as we read in James, if we ask we shall receive. The same will happen with the listeners.

Doctrine and Covenants 46:13-16 tells us that faith can be a gift of the spirit.

Genesis 14:26-36 (JST) talks about the faith of Melchizedek and how he received the highest order of the priesthood because of it. He was then able to ordain Abraham.

John 12:39-42 can be compared to Isaiah 6:10.

The Bible Dictionary says that our faith must be centered in Christ in order to produce salvation. Miracles do not produce faith – it’s the other way around. One of my favorite points made in this section is that “Although faith is a gift, it must be cultured and sought after until it grows from a tiny seed to a great tree.” This is a reminder that faith is a gift. It’s something that you have to ask for or have a desire for, but once you’ve asked for it, it’ll be given to you. Once it has been given to you, you have to do something with it though. You can’t just sit at home all the time and say that you believe and expect that all good things will happen to you.

I found another scripture on faith that I really liked. 1 Peter 1:7-9. It says that the trial of your faith is more precious than gold. Your faith is something that can’t be taken away from you.

One year older and wiser too…

I started teaching early morning seminary in September. I can’t believe how much I’ve already learned. I’ve had many Aha! moments and the prophets of the Old Testament have really come alive to me.

This morning we read about the murmurings of the Israelites as they are trapped between the Red Sea and the approaching Egyptians. After everything the Lord had done in delivering them, they still found a reason to complain. I challenged my kids (yes – they’re mine) to keep track of all of the things that they were thankful for throughout the day and at the end of the day, when they kneel down to pray before they go to bed, to make that prayer a gratitude prayer. They were challenged not to ask for anything – just give thanks. I told them that I would keep a list throughout the day at work so that I would be able to give them same kind of prayer at the end of my day. Here’s the list of things that I’m thankful for today:

Jon. I love him more than anything.

Jon doesn’t have a beard anymore. It tickled my nose when he kissed me and it drove me nuts.

My seminary class. They help to remind me every day of the things that are really important in life.

Peter. His confidence in me and my abilities has helped to motivate me.

Connie. Her sweet spirit and willingness to listen.

Maya. Her professionalism and ability to see true cause.

Karen. I wish she was my aunt! She is one of the most genuinly caring people I’ve ever met.

Beverlee. She prepared me for this opportunity.

Bob. He pushed me to become something I didn’t know I wanted to be.

My office. How sweet it is to be able to close the door!

Yair. He’s real. There’s no wondering where I stand. And luckily for me it’s a good place.

The car works. It might be old and ugly, but it works and it’s paid for.

HOME. I love coming home to a place where I belong.

Zoe. She loves me.

EmaLee. My new best friend.

Liz. She’s motivated and finishes what she starts.

My mom. She’s there.

My dad. He cares.

Cathy and Carlie. They called me on my birthday.

Lucy and Courtney. They called me the next day. 🙂

Jamba Juice. COLDBUSTER.

Ice cream.

There are so many things to be thankful for. I’m most thankful for my family. I’m so glad I have them.