Monday, July 2, 2012

"6" Months, already...

 Currently - "Home Sweet Home"
Barco, North Carolina

Inside Trailor
Study Area

Wow....July 4th will mark 6 months of my mission...I can't believe that a quarter of my mission is over. Time FLIES as a missionary! I'm afraid of blinking for I might miss the next 18 months! Honestly, this past week seems like it has flown by. We have been working hard here in the blistering heat and sweltering humidity of North Carolina. I think Sunday was the worst day for humidity. I thought I was breaking my fast because of all the water I was inhaling! But it's all worth it. We have been working with a few referrals and the members who referred them. There is one girl that we're teaching who shows a lot of promise! The family who is working with her is AWESOME. They're so missionary focused and they've been a great help. Seriously, members that are always willing to help missionaries in any way possible are such a great help.
Looks like I'll be going to the dentist here soon as well! I got a nice hole in one of my teeth due to what I think was a very well placed elbow in a basketball game. Oh the adventures of a missionary.

Sometimes the scriptures can seem a little ancient. I confess I have thought this as well and if I keep that thought in mind during my studies it destroys my opportunity to learn. The key is to "liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning." (1 Nephi 19:23). In my personal studies this morning, I had the privilege of reading the words of the prophet Abinadi in the Book of Mosiah, chapters 12 & 13. In chapter 12, Abinadi is taken before the king and his priests and examined so they could find some means to destroy him. He stands firm in his testimony and boldly speaks of their wickedness. He asks them questions regarding the law of Moses and how well they have been keeping it and how well they've been teaching it. Now we've moved past the law of Moses, so why should this be so important to us in our day? Let's go through the scriptures and liken them to ourselves.

Chapter 12
"I say unto you, wo be unto you for perverting the ways of the Lord! For if ye understand these things ye have not taught them; therefore, ye have perverted the ways of the Lord."
"Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people?"
"And they said: we teach the law of Moses."
"And again he said unto them: If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and spend your strength with harlots, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people?"

Let's translate this to today's language:
What do we teach? We teach the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the words of the Modern Prophets. These contain the law or doctrine of Christ. The law we should be living by. So if you teach these things, whether it be at home, Sunday school, Relief Society, Priesthood, in a talk or in any other situation, then why don't you keep it? Actions speak louder than words. "Preach the Gospel always; use words if necessary" (St. Francis of Assisi)

Let's continue: (Verse 31)
"And it shall come to pass that ye shall be smitten for your iniquities, for ye have said that ye teach the law of Moses. And what know ye concerning the law of Moses? Doth salvation come by the law of Moses? What say ye?"
"And they answered and said that salvation did come by the law of Moses."
"But now Abinadi said unto them: I know if ye keep the commandments of God ye shall be saved; yea, if ye keep the commandments which the Lord delivered unto Moses in the mount of Sinai..."

What do you know about the scriptures? Will you raise your voices and say that salvation comes through the Bible? or the Book of Mormon? or from something some prophet has said? I know that if you keep the commandments, indeed, if you live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (which are contained in the scriptures) then you will be saved.

Abinadi then begins to teach the commandments as handed down to Moses. In chapter 13 in verse 27 he makes this point:
"And now ye have said that salvation cometh by the law of Moses. I say unto you that it is expedient that ye should keep the law of Moses as yet; but I say unto you, that the time shall come when it shall no more be expedient to keep the law of Moses."
"And moreover, I say unto you, that salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement, which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses."

The Book of Mormon doesn't provide salvation. The words of any of the modern prophets don't provide salvation. "Salvation doth not come by the law ALONE". The law is meaningless unless we KEEP THE LAW and obey with EXACTNESS. Remember: Just because you've been baptized with God's Authority, and just because you've been to the Temple and partaken of those sacred ordinances does not guarantee life in the Celestial Kingdom with God. The actual performance of the law and being cleansed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (which can only occur through FAITH and ACTION) are what qualify you for exaltation.
See? Isn't scripture study fun?

Elder Smith

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