Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Not to be acted upon

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time contemplating  this scripture:

2 Nephi 2:26 

"And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.  And because that they are redeemed from the fall, they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given."

It all started a couple of weeks ago when our lesson in Young Women's was on resisting sin.  The Young Women's President had us write a response to 10 questions on a piece of paper.  "I am a spirit child of Heavenly Father", "I was present in the Council in Heaven", and so on.  The first few questions really apply to everyone, but as they went on, we could see the questions were referring to Lucifer.  Lucifer is a spirit child of Heavenly Father, he was also present at the Council in Heaven, he is our spirit brother.  So.... what's the difference???  Agency--he did not want us to have a choice.

Then earlier this week as I was reading in this month's Ensign, I came across a quote from Elder David Bednar.
"In the grand division of all of God's creations, there are 'things to act and things to be acted upon'.  As children of our Heavenly Father, we have been blessed with the gift of moral agency, the capacity and power of independent action.  Endowed with agency, we are agents, and we primarily are to act and not merely be acted upon--especially as we 'seek study and also by faith'.

This brought even more pondering.  What power is our agency!  We can choose not to be offended, hurt, prideful.  We can choose our reactions.  The behaviour of others does not dictate our behaviour.  We have a choice.  We can choose not to put ourselves in situations where we know we would be tempted to compromise our standards.  We can choose to associate with those who share our standards and opinions and choose not to associate with those who don't.  Our life, our destiny, is our choice.  We can bind those who lead us astray with our choices. 

But first, we must know ourselves.  Study the scriptures, spend time in prayer and fasting, pondering gospel concepts.  Pondering our own behaviours.  Then, with that knowledge, we can make the choices that will best help us attain our eternal salvation.  And when we attain that goal, it will be so much more of a glorious celebration because we have earned it.  We made the choices, we set the goals, we endured to the end.   We showed our Father in Heaven that we are on His side as He does and will always show that He is on our side. 

What a wonderful blessing our agency is!  And the power of the Atonement to allow us to try again when we fall short of our goals.  What wondrous gifts!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Back at it

I took a few months off from blogging entries to deal with some personal issues, and now I plan to get back to why I started this deal in the first place!

In Sacrament meeting this past Sunday, we had an excellent talk given by one of the counselors in our Branch Presidency.  He had planned to talk on preparing for the Second Coming; but at the last minute, he felt inspired to speak to us about our own preparedness and specifically food storage.  He mentioned that he and his family mostly live off the land and do a lot of canning/hunting/etc and this is how they get their food.  They do very well with it and know what they're doing!  They are an impressive family.  He also mentioned that this year, their harvest was slim and they have not been able to put away enough food to last the year. 

This prompted my thoughts somewhat.  My food storage goals have been to stock up on what we buy, and I've been doing well with that--being able to this summer go 2 months without having to go to the grocery store.  That is amazing for us!  I have also made goals regarding learning how to garden and grow my own foods as we have been counselled by our prophets.  At the same time (reminder that these are my opinions only), I have felt that the strange weather phenomena the world has been experiencing the last few years may just be the beginning of "the end" so to speak.  This talk on Sunday helped me connect those two thoughts.  If I spend all of my time and effort learning how to grow/hunt my own food and not storing away at the same time, how will I feed my family if the climate dictates that we cannot live off the land? 

This further prompted me to take another look at the Word of Wisdom (Doctrine and Covenants section 89).  I'll mention here that this is not the first time that I've studied this section; but as I have learned throughout my life, the scriptures are alive and ever teaching and leading us in the paths that we should go.  So with this read of Section 89, a few things caught my eye. 

First of all verse 10--"all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man."  I had been wondering about home remedies lately and the implications.  I know there is nothing wrong with modern medicine, but I had been leaning lately towards trying some natural remedies for some of the physical ailments I struggle with.

Next verse 12--"flesh also of beasts, and of the fowls of the air.  I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly.".  How interesting is this?  I had never caught this before.  I thought it was red meat that was to be used sparingly, but seemingly it is all meat.  I will have to work on this one for sure.

Several of the leaders in our branch have mentioned lately that they have really felt inspired to teach about food storage.  I have been trying to listen and obey and not only do the best I can with the knowledge that I have; but also have made goals to increase my knowledge and abilities.  This talk on Sunday just further emphasizes the need we have to trust in The Lord.  He has all of the information.  Why would we not heed His words??  I firmly believe that if we pay attention and do the best we can with the tools that we have, we will be saved in the end.  With that being said, I think I need to step up my goal setting!