Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Scripture Study Guide

            Parents all over the world are attempting to strengthen their families as well as their communities and nations by following the counsel of the living Prophet and Apostles. We are now in the first week of “Come, Follow Me,” the new initiative introduced a few months ago by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Each family is unique and will use the materials in their own distinctive way.

            I have no children living in my home, but I too am attempting to put the initiative into action in my personal life. Last Sunday I came across a free study guide and printed it for my use. I highly recommend the guide – or a similar one -- to anyone who desires to study the scriptures in a deeper, more meaningful way. You can find the guide on this blog under the date of Sunday, December 30, 2018, “Come, Follow Me Editable Study Notebook.” I noticed that Amazon has several bound journals for sale, but I could not see the insides. If they are simple notebooks with fancy covers, they would not help me as much as the free one that I printed.

            I have to admit that I studied the first lesson a lot deeper by writing my thoughts and other information under the various headings on the guide. Some of these headings are: Doctrine and Principles, Truths about Jesus Christ, Meaningful Scriptures, Thoughts and Impressions, Questions to Ponder, and several others. I particularly like the category of “Apply to Life.” If I cannot apply the lesson in my life or make some other connection, I have no “hook” to “hang” the new knowledge.

            I am inspired to study “Come, Follow Me” because I know it is a good program but also because of the introduction to the manual. It says that the goal of the initiative is conversion. The Brethren want us to use the information in the manual to aid in our scripture study in such a way that the doctrine will become a part of us and help us to reach our final goal of being with and being like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

The aim of all gospel learning and teaching is to deepen our conversion and help us become more like Jesus Christ. For this reason, when we study the gospel, we’re not just looking for new information; we want to become a “new creature” (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). This means relying on Christ to change our hearts, our views, our actions, and our very natures.

But the kind of gospel learning that strengthens our faith and leads to the miraculous change of conversion doesn’t happen all at once. It extends beyond a classroom into an individual’s heart and home. It requires consistent, daily efforts to understand and live the gospel. True conversion requires the influence of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost guides us to the truth and bears witness of that truth (see John 16:13). He enlightens our minds, quickens our understanding, and touches our hearts with revelation from God, the source of all truth. The Holy Ghost purifies our hearts. He inspires in us a desire to live by truth, and He whispers to us ways to do this. Truly, “the Holy Ghost … shall teach [us] all things” (John 14:26).

For these reasons, in our efforts to live, learn, and teach the gospel, we should first and foremost seek the companionship of the Spirit. This goal should govern our choices and guide our thoughts and actions. We should seek after whatever invites the influence of the Spirit and reject whatever drives that influence away – for we know that if we can be worthy of the presence of the Holy Ghost, we can also be worthy to live in the presence of Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ (New Testament 2019 Come, Follow Me – For Individuals and Families, Living, Learning, and Teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, v).

            I appreciate all of the above information because I know it is true. I am particularly grateful for the last half of the final sentence because it made my day when I read it. I often question if I am worthy to enter the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and wonder what more I need to do to be worthy. The statement above says that I am worthy to be in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ every time that I feel the presence of the Holy Ghost. I love to feel His presence, and this knowledge will motivate me even more to seek His influence and welcome Him into my life.

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