My personal study has been pretty epic lately. Not that it hasn’t before, but things that have happened throughout the week have been magnified by the personal study that I’ve been doing. I know, I know, that’s what the goal is, but seriously. This has been incredible. Two major things I’ve studied: the power of the priesthood, and the ten commandments. Overall, the priesthood is literally the Kingdom of God on earth, and the ten commandments, while attatched to priesthood power, are not as easy as some people think.
Oh my goodness, I forgot to tell you guys. Let me start with saying that we have a celebrity in our district. (No, David Archuleta is in Chile.) Elder Smith is the grandson of the first missionary, Samuel Smith…brothers to Joseph Smith. Considering the location of our mission, how cool is that?! He’s a fantastic missionary, and very humble about it. District meeting this week with all of them was absolutely incredible. For the past week, all of us have studied the Atonement in depth to share with everyone. We all taught each other with different angles on how the atonement has worked for them personally. The best part was when each of us was done and all basically in tears, and we surrounded the piano singing, “I Stand All Amazed,” while I accompanied. Each missionary in my district has had something incredibly hard happen to them, so thinking of each of their struggles, while leaning on the same Person gives me great strength. I never realized how much I look up to those who have, for lack of a stronger word, been to hell and back, and still hold the priesthood of God. They truly are my idols. I’m surrounded by extremely young adults, being sling-shot into this world of persecution, trying to stand on their own two feet. The reality of it, is that we can’t do it all by ourselves. We all have our oldest Brother who will strengthen our legs to get up off that chair and work. For each specific priesthood holder, God has “chosen him to be a soldier.” -2 Timothy 2: 3-5. That’s why it’s so hard for them. Hello, soldiers are the ones on the front line. Also, on Sunday, we had dinner at the Trimm’s, and had the most incredible group companion study in her living room with them. Again, we talked about the atonement. The power of the combined priesthood filled the room, especially ending it with a kneeling prayer. Like I said, there is power is in the soldiers. Read 1 Corinthians 4..the whole chapter, but specifically verse 20, “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” Now that is powerful…literally.
Now for the other half of my recent studies. From the beginning of time, God has told us to keep His commandments. Some are easier than others…or so we think. The typical ones like “Thou shalt not steal, bear false witness,” and especially the “easiest,” “Thou shalt not kill?” However, I figured there must be more to it than just ending someone’s life. Contrary to what the world thinks, I’m being so bold as to say it’s probably the hardest one to keep. Satan is doing a good job at wanting us to think it’s easy. Ugh, he always wants to diminish everything. He’ll do anything to make you not believe something. But with the Spirit, I came up with reasons why this one is super hard, and what God means when He says it. I think bullet points might be easier to sort out my thoughts:
- To kill, means to “slay, smite, murder, or reject.” What do you reject that isn’t in harmony with God’s will? A calling? A new friend?
- To kill someone’s confidence. Keep in mind, that confidence might be your own.
- To kill a testimony. Saying or doing anything that would cause you or someone else to not believe in God.
- To kill any love. Well, isn’t that the first and great commandment?
- To kill the prophets. Not physically, although that is prophesied, but questioning/rejecting their teachings.
- To kill the spirit. If we aren’t careful, any comment(s) we make can literally kill the spirit. Keep your thoughts clean.
- To kill one’s desire or motivation. If we say one word to put that person down, we’ve completely re-done anything that Heavenly Father has worked so hard to do.
I hope you’ll study what “killing” means to you. If you put a stop to anything godly, you automatically reject Him. If God creates it–it’s alive by default. Anything that’s alive (for good reasons), we have an obligation to fuel that fire in order to further God’s work. The most important one is killing any of this in yourself; killing your confidence, desire, or motivation will allow Satan to work through you instead of Who it really needs to be. It’s either going to go one way or the other, so you might as well choose the team who is already in the lead. Let’s be honest, we’re absolutely destroying them right now. It’s cute they think they have a chance.
Speaking of playing games, and going back to trivial things, I got to play a few hours of basketball at the stake center last Monday, and we’re going again today. I AM SO EXCITED. Sister Johnson still has been pretty sick lately, and so it’s good for her to get out and just relax being surrounded by none other than…the priesthood. (Can you see how relative my study was?) Being the only sisters in the zone, it definitely has it’s perks. But basketball…yep. I can’t even wait. I need to hurry up and finish this email so we can go. Workouts are getting harder and faster in the morning…however the amount that the Brockport ward feeds us, I have no control over. As long as I just keep at it, I’m sure I’ll be fine…hopefully!
Last, and absolutely not least, we have the pleasure of Elder Bednar coming to our stake conference in two weeks! That’s no coincidence that “Book of Mormon: The Musical” is playing in Rochester right now…opposition in all things. I’m really excited to hear him speak; I’ll give you details later. I think that’s all for now. Sorry there aren’t any more stories, we’ve been recooperating a lot from the effects of Celiac! Keep her in your prayers, please. I hope you all have a great week!