Friday, July 30, 2010

BOMT-Praise and a Pattern

This morning I read vs. 6 to 20 of 1 Nephi. For some reason I feel the need to study and ponder V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y this time around. The nuggets I'm mining seem to directly parallel what is going on in my life, day by day and minute by minute, so I'm trusting that this is the right pace for me for now.

Here's what I learned:

v.8 There is such a thing as an angelic attitude. It consists of singing and praising. This, like being "goodly" (pleasant, beautiful, gracious), is the direct opposite of murmuring. (I'm hoping my habit of constantly humming hymns will place me somewhat closer to the angelic camp.)

v.14 Immediately after receiving some really bad news (being told his homeland would be destroyed), Lehi remarkably responds with praise. He sees that God is showing mercy on him and his family by forewarning them, senses that they are being rescued, and (following angelic examples) chooses to praise rather than bemoan their fate.

v.15 Lehi's language reflected praise and rejoicing. What does my language reflect? Too often anger, frustration, impatience, irritation. Lehi's language of praise includes the following words:
Great, Marvelous, Almighty, Power, Goodness, Mercy and Merciful in referring to God and his works.

His whole heart was filled because of the things the Lord had shown him. He is also filled with the Spirit in v. 12 as he read. I have spent so many years subconsciously trying to fill the voids in my life with artificial fillers, such as food, sweets, sleep, and ineffectiveness, when the only real way to be filled is by the Spirit, through study and a closeness to Heavenly Father. Lehi also recognized he had been filled. Knowing that within ourselves seems to be key.

v.16 Lehi recorded the things he learned from the Lord so his children could have them. Nephi followed his example and began his own record, on plates he fashioned with his own hand. Recording our impressions and sharing them with our children is important. It is also important to follow those who have gone before us to create our own record, our own witness, our own learning and testimony. The fact that Nephi made the plates himself suggests we need to be fairly industrious and innovative about this, not waiting for anything to be handed to us.

v. 18-19 The Jews mocked and were angry with Lehi for calling them on the carpet, telling them to repent, prophesying destruction. I've had similar reactions from our children (although they haven't yet tried to kill me!) when I've told them their choices could be destructive, their clothes weren't modest, their music wasn't uplifting enough for the Sabbath, etc. I admire Lehi's courage here, because he "truly testified" regardless of their response.

v. 20 Nephi makes a point of showing us the following pattern:

Faith —> Being Chosen —> Tender Mercies —> Strength —> Salvation

In other words, We are chosen because of our faith, which leads to being rewarded with tender mercies, the purpose of which is to strengthen us and eventually deliver us. I often recognize "tender mercies" but forget that their purpose is to strengthen us, make us mighty, save us. I probably don't point out to our children all the tender mercies I see -- at least not often enough -- so they can be strengthened too.

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