Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This Week's Lesson: February 22

Taught by Karen Johnson

I think in preparing for this lesson I have learned the importance of reading
these talks multiple times. Every time I read this talk something else stuck out
to me, so I would love to just pick apart the whole talk but I think we will just
have to pick out a few things to discuss.
The focus of this talk is how we are commanded to give to the poor and the poor
in spirit.

Why are we asked to give to the poor?

• Commandment
• We grow and learn from service
• To be more like Christ, who administered to the poor and afflicted

Commanded to give to poor:
How can we give to poor?
Take care of our own, fast offerings. Does anyone have a story of maybe
someone they know who has been blessed by fast offerings.

Mark 14 6 and 8
1. When, prior to His betrayal and Crucifixion, Mary anointed Jesus’s head with
an expensive burial ointment, Judas Iscariot protested this extravagance and
“murmured against her.”7
Jesus said:
“Why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work. ...
“She hath done what she could.”8
“She hath done what she could”! What a succinct formula! A journalist once
questioned Mother Teresa of Calcutta about her hopeless task of rescuing the
destitute in that city. He said that, statistically speaking, she was accomplishing
absolutely nothing. This remarkable little woman shot back that her work was
about love, not statistics. Notwithstanding the staggering number beyond her
reach, she said she could keep the commandment to love God and her neighbor
by serving those within her reach with whatever resources she had. “What we
do is nothing but a drop in the ocean,” she would say on another occasion. “But
if we didn’t do it, the ocean would be one drop less [than it is].”9 Soberly, the
journalist concluded that Christianity is obviously not a statistical endeavor. He
reasoned that if there would be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over the ninety and nine who need no repentance, then apparently God is
not overly preoccupied with percentages.10

Mosiah 4
16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor;
ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will
not suffer that the beggarputteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out
to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery;
therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart
unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great
cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he
perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

Mosiah 4:19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the
same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and
raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of
every kind?
2. “For one thing, we can, as King Benjamin taught, cease withholding our
means because we see the poor as having brought their misery upon
themselves. Perhaps some have created their own difficulties, but don’t the rest
of us do exactly the same thing? Isn’t that why this compassionate ruler asks,
“Are we not all beggars?”11 Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to
prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and
troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for
our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case?
He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone. He who never
asks for help, let him be the first to judge those that do.

I have two children. I wanted them, I had them on purpose, I even went to extra
measures to get pregnant, but do I need help sometimes? Absolutely.
Little wonder that King Benjamin says we obtain a remission of our sins by
pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain a remission of
our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us.”

We OBTAIN a remission of sins by pleading with God, we RETAIN by
compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us. So what does that
mean that's who we retain a remission of our sins? It means we are sinning if we
don't help the poor. It is a sin of omission.

Mosiah 4:26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto
you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day,
that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your
substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such
as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to
their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

4.Now, lest I be accused of proposing quixotic global social programs or of endorsing panhandling as a
growth industry, I reassure you that my reverence for principles of industry, thrift, self-reliance, and
ambition is as strong as that of any man or woman alive. We are always expected to help ourselves before we seek help from others. Furthermore, I don’t know exactly how each of you should fulfill your obligation to those who do not or cannot always help themselves. But I know that God knows, and He will help you and guide you in compassionate acts of discipleship if you are conscientiously wanting and praying and looking for ways to keep a commandment He has given us again and again.

4. I do not know all the reasons why the circumstances of birth, health,
education, and economic opportunities vary so widely here in mortality, but
when I see the want among so many, I do know that “there but for the grace of
God go I.” I also know that although I may not be my brother’s keeper, I am
my brother’s brother, and “because I have been given much, I too must give.”
Just like any service, it is to help others, but is also for our good, it makes us better people, it
stregthens our testimony, we are following God's commandments, and He will bless us for our
efforts. I challenge you to ask God how you can give and be open to an answer.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sisters Around the World

RS February Activity: Sisters Around the World Potluck

To go along with our theme, we had an activity so that we could get to know each other better!  At the activity, sisters were encouraged to bring food that represents where they grew up.  The activity started with some getting to know you questions at different tables about hobbies, your five minutes of fame, favorite movies, etc.  We also enjoyed eating a wide variety of foods from salads to pot stickers to cream pies!  To end the activity, we highlighted five sisters from the ward who have lived abroad: Yolanda Sebresos who lived in Kenya for 10 months, Heidi Hurtado who grew up in Venezuela, Samantha Taylor who grew up in the Philippines, Lexi Van Vuren who grew up in South Africa, and Ashley Taylor who served a mission in Japan.  We asked each of the sisters three questions about the gospel abroad.  The overarching theme was the dedication of the members of the church throughout the world. Brothers and Sisters in all areas made great sacrifices to make it to church every Sunday and to complete their visiting teaching but did it because of their love of the Savior and His gospel!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gospel Doctrine: Leaving our "Nets" Behind

Leaving Our “Nets” Behind
by Hunter Sebresos, Gospel Doctrine Instructor

In the book of Matthew an account of Jesus Christ calling his apostles reads, “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Isn’t it powerful to imagine these fishermen, who rely upon their catch for daily sustenance, straightway leave their nets and follow Christ? From this account we learn of their willingness and commitment and perhaps ask ourselves, “how willing would I be to do the same?”

The Challenge

In a recent gospel doctrine class we discussed the significance of these bible verses. We were also issued challenge to leave behind a “net” in our individual lives and more fully follow the Savior. Members of the class were encouraged work on leaving this behavior or habit behind for the duration of a week and then approach the sacrament the following sunday ready to account of their efforts.

One class member shared the following experience:

“I guess the net would be my tendency to get up in the morning, rush off to the gym, come home, work out a bit more, get to my office, start my business day. All the while thinking "I'll say a prayer in a minute when I finish...But too often prayer gets lost in the mix….for this week I will pray more regularly. With more intent. More honesty. More willingness to listen."  

Upon completing the week of commitment, this same member shared:

“It was a good week. Prayer was more consistent. More honest. More heartfelt. I had more peace in my heart. Days were better. So... what did I leave behind? The hustle and bustle of life. To an extent. I found time, more often, for prayer.”

Becoming a committed disciple of Christ doesn’t usually require dramatic life changes but small sacrifices and behaviors that help us leave behind the world and become more like Him. As the demands of life compete for our attention, we can look to the apostles as examples and muster enough faith to leave some less important things behind. When we do so, we will improve our focus and commitment to Christ.

Now it’s your turn:
If you would like to participate in the “Leave Your Nets” challenge. Apply the steps below:

Challenge Question: What “net” do you need to leave behind to more readily follow the savior as the apostles did?

1. Think of something simple that you can change this week.
2. Write it down or store it in your phone.
3. Act on this goal this week.
4. Approach the sacrament next week as if you are coming to an accounting before Christ about the net you left behind.

We invite you to share your experience with the challenge at: http://bit.ly/LeaveNet

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Visiting Teaching Message

Prayerfully study this material and seek to know what to share. How will understanding the life and roles of the Savior increase your faith in Him and bless those you watch over through visiting teaching? For more information, go to reliefsociety.lds.org.
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Faith, FamilyRelief
This is part of series of Visiting Teaching Messages featuring attributesof the Savior.
Jesus praying
Our Savior, Jesus Christwas the only one capable of making anatonement for mankind. “Jesus Christ, the Lamb without blemish, willinglylaid Himself on the altar of sacrifice and paid the price for our sins,” saidPresident Dieter F. UchtdorfSecond Counselor in the First Presidency.1Understanding that Jesus Christ was without sin can help us increase ourfaith in Him and strive to keep His commandments, repent, and becomepure.
“Jesus was … being of flesh and spirit, but He yielded not to temptation(see Mosiah 15:5),” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum ofthe Twelve Apostles. “We can turn to Him … because He understands. Heunderstands the struggle, and He also understands how to win thestruggle. 
“… The power of His Atonement can erase the effects of sin in us. Whenwe repent, His atoning grace justifies and cleanses us (see 3 Nephi 27:16–20). It is as if we had not succumbed, as if we had not yielded totemptation.
“As we endeavor day by day and week by week to follow the path ofChrist, our spirit asserts its preeminence, the battle within subsides, andtemptations cease to trouble.” 2

Additional Scriptures

Matthew 5:48John 8:7Hebrews 4:152 Nephi 2:5–6

From the Scriptures

The Savior paid the price of our sins through His divine Sonship, Hissinless life, His suffering and the shedding of His blood in the Garden ofGethsemane, His death on the cross and His Resurrection from the grave.Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can become clean again as werepent of our sins.
King Benjamin taught his people of the Atonement of Jesus Christ andthen asked if they believed his words. “They all cried with one voice,saying: … the Spirit … has wrought mighty change in us, or in ourhearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do goodcontinually. 
“And we are willing to enter into covenant with our God to do his will,and to be obedient to his commandments in all things” (Mosiah 5:1–2, 5).
We too can have “mighty change” like the people of King Benjamin, who“had no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah5:2).

Consider This

How does being pure differ from being perfect?

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