October 17, 2008

Alma, chapters 12 and 13

These chapter are all about repentance and preparing to meet God.

The main theme that popped out to me in chapter 12 is "soften your heart." Vs. 10 says, "And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full." Vs. 30 tells us what leads to a soften heart, "...and this he made known unto them according to their faith and repentance and their holy works." The whole chapter talks about hard hearts vs. soft hearts. It's impossible to gain exaltation with a hard heart.

Chapter 13 is more of the same. vs 13 stuck out to me-- "And now, my brethren, I would that ye should humble yourselves before God, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, that ye may also enter into that rest." We can't just beg for repentance at night before we go to bed at night and then wake up the next morning making the same mistakes again. Our actions or our "fruit" have to match our spoken desire to be better.

Vs. 20-- "... Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction." The scriptures don't do me any good if I don't read them and learn them. The scriptures are here for me-- to guide and direct me. If I don't read them, life will keep on going, but I will not have the extra guidance and council I need that will make me stronger and make life easier for me and my family.

Vss 28+29 I won't type out, but it sums up the two chapters-- humble yourselves, pray always, have faith, have charity, and you will be exalted. I guess it's all about preparation. Not only do we need to be prepared for the end of our earthy existence, but we need to be prepared for the next major trial in our lives-- which really could be right around the corner. I've been thinking a lot lately about the parable of the 10 Virgins. Maren came to us right after I had been on this huge spiritual high-- I had just been released as the Primary President. Talk about my lamp being full! Serving in that calling taught me a lot about trusting in God and really serving as an instrument in his hands. I learned that He is the Father of us all and we are merely steward of his children while on this earth and that his hand will guide direct if we let him. I have often wondered how I would have dealt with life after Maren if did not have a full lamp. There were many times in the past couple of years that I felt like I was using that stored up oil.

So I guess-- prepare-- not only for "Judgement Day" but for those really hard times in life that knock you down. If we are prepared, we will be able to get back up.

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