Monday, March 21, 2011

Faith: That's Better.

So I've continued on with my daily reading of the scriptures, and tonight I was in 1 Nephi 17. Growing up reading the scriptures, it's nothing new to hear that Lamen and Lemuel go back and forth from one extreme to the next concerning their devotion to the Lord, but when I read about this particular instance of them doing so after Ishmael had died in the wilderness it struck me on a different chord. Beginning in verse 37 it says:

And Lamen said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren. Now, he says that he Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure.

What struck me as particularly interesting was the whole conspiracy theory Lamen and Lemuel had contrived as the perpetuating explanation for everything that was going on. I have met a lot of people over the years who are definite perpetuators of conspiracy theories, whether they revolve around the 9/11 attacks, organized religion or even the United Nations and the political leaders of our world and the country. But what I think the linchpin of the theory presented here is that L&L are claiming that the great things Nephi does are attributable to himself, and not to the one truly behind those amazing feats, the Lord. It makes me wonder how they could even convince themselves of such a fact when Nephi is repeatedly thanking and admonishing the Lord for all of the blessings He gives to their family. It makes me wonder how prevalent such reenactments are in today's world.

On a related point, as I was reading v.23 stuck out to me because when these hard times struck their family because Nephi's bow was broken, it was Nephi who went out and did something about it. He didn't just complain and say a prayer for it to be fixed, he did whatever he could with the skills that he had (even making a simple, mediocre offering to the Lord with his willingness to act and his handmade stick bow and arrow) and then took it to the Lord and said help me still accomplish the goal and do what I need to do, even though I might not have the best means by which to do it. I can't remember exactly where I was reading it tonight, but I remember reading on some blog that it's not always talent that gets you somewhere, but a lot of what makes success is derived from will. I love that, because it is often that I find my own small offerings and abilities are limited and can only come out successful if I ask the Lord for help and am willing to work the rest of the way, which is sometimes more realistic to do. Like Paul taught in his Sunday School lesson yesterday, the Lord has the ability to make weak things become strong. Love it.

Anyways, I've definitely noticed an increase in tender mercies from the Lord since I've begun making a concerted effort to read my scriptures daily, and more importantly I've noticed my relationship with the Lord being strengthened because I am becoming more willing to listen to Him through the words He has already spoken; which in turn, I feel, also allows me to be more receptive to when He speaks to me in the manner I am most comfortable with, through the mind and the heart. However you speak with the Lord, though, I would encourage you to do so with a more sincere intent and with the faith that He will help strengthen the weak offerings you make unto Him, even if they seem strong in your eyes He always has the power to fortify. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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