Question: Which drivers on the road should you be most afraid of?
My answer…. the mothers with kids in the back. Especially sleep deprived mothers with children teasing each other in the back. Maybe you are thinking in your head how you are always calm, cool and collected and your children never tease each other. In that case, I’m talking to the rest of us. 😉
On the way home from school the other day, two of my children were trying to win an olympic gold medal for teasing. Despite my best (and limited, I was driving!) efforts, the behavior continued. I finally did what I remember my mom doing a few times that always shook me to believing ‘Mom. Means. business.’
I (carefully) careened off the road, came to a sudden stop, spun around to face the offenders and put on my best ‘You are in SO much trouble’ face. (It was kind of hard not to laugh though, because I was trying so hard to be stern.)
“We are staying right here on the side of this road until the two of you give each other a smile and a hug.” No one moved. “Now!” Everyone looked out their respective windows.
I put the car in park. I leaned back in my chair and told the boys we continue on our journey home where yummy, warm, chocolate chip cookies awaited us…but not until we had compliance.
Now the other brother joined in, prodding reconciliation. (Cookies are great motivators for my boys. And for me, actually.)
After several minutes, one of the offenders cracked a smile. The other one only hesitated for a moment before returning it. The hug came next followed by the suggestion of which song on our Wee Sing Sing-A-Long we should sing together next.
Then we pulled back onto the road home. As the boys started singing, this scripture came to mind:
…and they did not progress in their journey;
Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness…
These words are from Alma who is teaching his son about their forefathers, Lehi and his family, as they journeyed to the Promised Land. The Liahona was given to Lehi’s family as a compass but when the family did not “exercise faith and diligence,” the spindles no longer gave directions. A family without directions is a family stuck wandering in the wilderness.
The next verses draw the parallel: (I LOVE these verses!)
43 And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.
44 For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.
45 And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.
46 O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us.
When we follow the words of Christ we continue on our journey home to live with our Heavenly Father. But when we stubbornly refuse to comply with heaven’s principles, we tarry in the wilderness. We do not progress in our journey. As soon as we diligently ‘give heed’ to ‘the word of Christ,’ we can get back on the ‘straight course’ to a ‘far better land of promise.’
In my boys’ case, doing the ‘easy’ thing I asked of them (a smile and a hug) would put them back on the road home. What ‘easy’ things has the Lord asked of us to keep us on His road?
Thanks for reading and studying with me today! I am sorry I haven’t posted in four days! I have a long list of principles, stories, scripture s’mores and quotes that I am so excited to put together in a post for you! My limiting reagent is time! Do you ever feel like that? 😉 Please sign up for the email below so you know when I have the next s’more post!
S: (Prayer/Ask) What ‘easy’ things has the Lord asked of us to keep us on His road?
- Read the following verses from Alma to his son that precede the ones quoted above. Underline the simple things Alma teaches.
33 Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.
36 Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
- In October 2014 General Conference, President Monson gave a beautiful talk on the path back to our home- the eternal promised land.
I am certain we left our Father with an overwhelming desire to return to Him, that we might gain the exaltation He planned for us and which we ourselves so much wanted. Although we are left to find and follow that path which will lead us back to our Father in Heaven, He did not send us here without direction and guidance. Rather, He has given us the tools we need, and He will assist us as we seek His help and strive to do all in our power to endure to the end and gain eternal life.
To help guide us we have the words of God and of His Son found in our holy scriptures. We have the counsel and teachings of God’s prophets. Of paramount importance, we have been provided with a perfect example to follow—even the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—and we have been instructed to follow that example. Said the Savior Himself: “Come, follow me.”2 “The works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do.”3 He posed the question, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” And then He answered, “Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”4 “He marked the path and led the way.”5
As we look to Jesus as our Exemplar and as we follow in His footsteps, we can return safely to our Heavenly Father to live with Him forever….
…As we strive to place Christ at the center of our lives by learning His words, by following His teachings, and by walking in His path, He has promised to share with us the eternal life that He died to gain. There is no higher end than this, that we should choose to accept His discipline and become His disciples and do His work throughout our lives. Nothing else, no other choice we make, can make of us what He can.
- In his talk, Richard G. Scott taught in this last General Conference 4 tools that must become habits in our life to stay on the path:
Our Father in Heaven has given us tools to help us come unto Christ and exercise faith in His Atonement. When these tools become fundamental habits, they provide the easiest way to find peace in the challenges of mortality. Today I have chosen to discuss four of these tools.
- The first tool is prayer. Choose to converse with your Father in Heaven often. Make time every day to share your thoughts and feelings with Him.
- The second tool is to study the word of God in the scriptures and the words of the living prophets. We talk to God through prayer. He most often communicates back to us through His written word. To know what the voice of the Divine sounds and feels like, read His words, study the scriptures, and ponder them.5 Make them an integral part of everyday life…..
Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!
- While you are working to strengthen your family and cultivate peace, remember this third tool: weekly family home evening. Be cautious not to make your family home evening just an afterthought of a busy day. Decide that on Monday night your family will be together at home for the evening. Do not let employment demands, sports, extracurricular activities, homework, or anything else become more important than that time you spend together at home with your family.
- The fourth tool is to go to the temple. We all know there is no more peaceful place on this earth than in the temples of God…
…These four tools are fundamental habits for securing your life in the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Remember our Savior is the Prince of Peace. Peace in this mortal life comes from His atoning sacrifice. When we are consistently praying morning and night, studying our scriptures daily, having weekly family home evening, and attending the temple regularly, we are actively responding to His invitation to “come unto Him.” The more we develop these habits, the more anxious is Satan to harm us but the less is his ability to do so. Through the use of these tools, we exercise our agency to accept the full gifts of His atoning sacrifice.
- Study the story of when Nephi breaks his bow. Look at the role the Liahona has in helping him and look for what Nephi does to obtain direction.
17 And after we had traveled for the space of many days, we did pitch our tents for the space of a time, that we might again rest ourselves and obtain food for our families.
18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.
20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.
21 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.
23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?
25 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.
29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
32 And it came to pass that I did return to our tents, bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their joy! And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him.
- The scripture in Alma calls the directions from the Lord ‘easy.’ The Lord’s directions are not always easy in the way we think of easy. What do you think Alma meant when he uses the word easy? Can you think of other words to describe the directions from the Lord? (example: simple, basic, humble…etc)
- Do you think it is possible to do lots of good things but miss the specific, ‘easy’ things that the Lord gives us which keep us on His path? Why or why not?
- Some people like to call the ‘easy’ path ‘sunday school answers.’ I always cringe when I hear this…what a trite way to refer to the life saving stepping stones given to us by prophets! What are some better ways to refer to these steps?
R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question: What ‘easy’ things has the Lord asked of us to keep us on His road?)
- Looking back at the quotes and scriptures, write a list of 5 things that you thought of as you studied about ‘easy’ things the Lord has asked of us.
- As you read the story of Nephi’s bow, did any experiences in your own life come to your mind? Take the time to write it down.
E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.
The Challenge: Looking back at your list, make a commitment to do these ‘easy’ things this week.
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