I am so proud of myself. Today I made dinner early. It felt so great to put the lid on my pot and know that in the much more hectic hours of after school, I wouldn’t have to be thinking, “What should I make for dinner tonight!?”
I imagine this feeling of being prepared early is one that also has eternal significance.
Once we return to our Heavenly home, the time for preparation has past. Going back to my already-prepared dinner accomplishment (I know, such a big one!) it’s not that I couldn’t make dinner at 5:30 p.m. while the kids are all around, begging for a snack, asking what is for dinner, teasing each other to get my attention, and finding other creative ways to make a mess. I’ve done that lots of times, to my own misfortune. The comparable ease of having dinner ready before dinner needs to be ready is a breath of fresh air for a mother of young children.
In a moment before lunch time and nap time, I had a choice. I could sit down, put my feet up and have a little moment. Nothing wrong with that. But how much better was this whole day because I decided to quickly chop the vegetables and prepare dinner. I’m so glad I did! We think that the moment of doing nothing will go further to fill our needs than doing something productive can, but, we conversely find that doing the extra bit of work brings much more long term satisfaction.
On another level, when we have a free moment with our phone, we can make the choice: open up a social media platform and scroll… or…. open the scripture app and read some of the pleasing word of God. (Jacob 2:8) Which one do we quickly assume will make us enjoy the moment more? The world and our carnal natures tell us that the moment to do something thoughtless will bring us more pleasure. But the woman of God is learning that it is the word of God that soothes our soul and brings joy much more lasting than endless scrolling.
So how can we know this is a true principle? Try it out! For three days, ‘force’ yourself to pick the word of God over the word of the world. What comes of it? Do you feel the breath of fresh air that comes from light and truth? Do you find that using the moment to store up testimony, shore up scripture and strengthen faith brings real dividends later? I know it can!
In Conference, President Monson reminded us:
…in order to gain and to keep the faith we need, it is essential that we read and study and ponder the scriptures. Communication with our Heavenly Father through prayer is vital. We cannot afford to neglect these things, for the adversary and his hosts are relentlessly seeking for a chink in our armor, a lapse in our faithfulness. (2015)
I believe in the word of God. I believe the word has true power in our lives to protect and strengthen us. And I believe we are making choices with eternal investments each time we pick the things of God over anything else.
S: (Prayer/Ask) How am I doing with studying the word of God?
- Read what Elder James B. Martino said in conference. In his talk he also taught from the examples of the sons of Mosiah verses Laman and Lemuel. Read about the sons of Mosiah (Alma 17:3, Alma 17:2-16, Alma 26:23-35 ) and the experiences of Laman and Lemuel (1 Nephi 2:11-12, 1 Nephi 4:1-4, 1 Nephi 3:5, 1 Nephi 7:20-21, 1 Nephi 15:2-11).
We must make scripture study a daily part of our lives, as this will open doors of revelation.
These personal religious habits—obedience, scripture study, prayer, and fasting—strengthened the sons of Mosiah. The lack of these same personal religious habits was a major reason that Laman and Lemuel were left vulnerable to the temptation to murmur and doubt.
If you have been tempted to murmur, if you have had doubt that leads to unbelief, if trials seem more than you can bear, turn to Him. If you are one who has turned away or rationalized your behavior, turn to Him. Can you remember when He did “speak peace to your mind … ? What greater witness can you have than from God?”20 Ask yourself, “Am I as close to living like Christ now as I was before?” Please, turn to Him. (2015)
- In this most recent conference, Elder Devin G. Durrant gave a very specific idea for how to incorporate scriptures into our daily thoughts better. I’ve included his explanation of his challenge as well as some of my favorite parts of his talk.
I invite you to “ponderize”3 one verse of scripture each week. The word ponderize is not found in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart. So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization.
There are two simple steps:
First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day.
Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week.
Imagine the uplifting results of doing this weekly for six months, a year, 10 years, or more.
As you make this effort, you will feel an increase in spirituality. You will also be able to teach and lift those you love in more meaningful ways….
As you reflect on your selected verse each week, words and phrases will be written on your heart.4 Words and phrases will also be written on your mind. In other words, memorization will take place easily and naturally. But the primary goal of ponderizing is to provide an uplifting place for your thoughts to go—a place that keeps you close to the Spirit of the Lord.
The Savior said, “Treasure up in your minds continually the words of life.”5 Ponderizing is a simple and edifying way to do just that….
Recently I ponderized Alma 5:16. It reads, “I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?”
At the end of the week, this is what ended up being written on my mind: Imagine hearing the voice of the Lord saying, “Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness” (Alma 5:16).
As you can see, I didn’t memorize the entire verse word for word. However, I pondered time and time again the key elements of the verse and where to find it. But the best part of the process was I had a higher place for my thoughts to go. Throughout the week I pictured the Savior saying encouraging words to me. That image touched my heart and served to inspire me to want to do “works of righteousness.” That is what can happen when we “look unto [Christ] in every thought.” (2015)
- Elder D. Todd Christofferson said simply:
“Study the scriptures carefully, deliberately. Ponder and pray over them. Scriptures are revelation, and they will bring added revelation.” (2010)
- This page has some of my most favorite quotes on scripture study, click here
- Think back to what you just read about Laman and Lemuel’s experience verses the sons of Mosiah. Why do you think Laman and Lemuel has such a difficult time with the things of God? The sons of Mosiah, who had the same troubles, were able to change. Why? Do you think some people just understand spiritual things better? Do you feel like you might be one of those people? Why or why not?
- Why do you think Elder Durrant has had such a positive experience with ‘ponderizing’ scripture? Do you think this would be something that would elevate your thoughts? Why or why not?
- Why do you think pondering a scripture can bring added protection from temptation? or from discouragement? or from fear? or from anything that Satan can throw at us?
R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (How am I doing with studying the word of God?)
- Write in your journal about your thoughts on your own spirituality. Include how you feel like your scripture study has influenced your spirituality.
- Copy down one of your favorite scriptures into your journal. Write down why you love it so much.
- Think of your children, if you have any, or of children that you care deeply for. What scriptures do you hope they learn to treasure? Write down your advice to them. Consider giving them a copy of the letter.
E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.
The Challenge: Decide if you can commit to ‘ponderizing’ one scripture a week with Elder Durrant. If not, find a way to increase the amount of time in the scriptures by decreasing other pursuits with less benefit. Make a specific plan and pray for the desire to keep your commitment.
click here for more information on s’more scripture study method