Saint John Chapter Seven Review

The Gospel According to St John: John Chapter Seven: Please open the following link to read chapter seven: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/7?lang=eng

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The worldy, or even most of us as humans, seek recognition. If we do something great, or seemingly great in our own eyes, we want to make it known; we seek validation; we desire praise.

Not so with Jesus. He only sought, and still seeks, to do His Father’s will.

So when His disciples urged Him to make Himself known to the world, He answered, “My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready” (vs. 6).

Because the Jews hated Jesus and sought to kill Him (see vs. 1), and because even his own family didn’t yet believe in Him, or they found shame in Him (see vs. 5), He did not go to the Feast of Tabernacles openly, sending His disciples only while He remained in Galilee (vs. 1-9).

But when his brethren were gone up, then went He also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret” (vs. 10). Jesus did not want to enter with fanfare, but quietly.

Though Jesus had not been taught as the scribes and Pharisees, yet He knew His Father’s doctrine. How is being taught by the Spirit of more value to us than merely obtaining a secular education?

Jesus only sought His Father’s glory. Verses 15-18:

Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying,

“How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?”

Jesus answered them, and said,

“My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.”

The people saw His wisdom, witnessed His miracles, felt something special; but still there were those who chose not to believe. Just like today.

Jesus explained that those who chose to believe in Him would later be given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It would be given after He was gloried (see vs. 38-39).

Some then counted Jesus as the Prophet, others as the Christ, and still others said that no one worthy of any notice would ever come out of Galilee. Nicodemus spoke up in favor of their law and of Jesus (see vs. 40-53).

Saint John 2 Reflections

The Gospel According to St John: John Chapter Two: Please open the following link to read chapter two: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/2?lang=eng

A family member’s wedding was held in Cana of Galilee. Mary was the hostess. Jesus and His disciples were in attendance at the wedding.

When they ran out of wine, Jesus provided new wine. The governor said that it was the best wine, not understanding how they’d have such good wine at the end of the festivities.

This was the first of Jesus’s recorded miracles. We can ask why Jesus performed this miracle. Was it because of His love for His mother? Was it to make the guests more comfortable? Was it just because He could? Or was it because family weddings are important events? Or maybe some other reason? Needless to say, no one else has done this when they’ve ran out of refreshments at their own weddings.

After the wedding, Jesus went to Capernaum with His family and His disciples for a short time.

After that, Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover. Here He cleansed the temple of the buyers and the sellers, and He said, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandize” (vs. 16). Jehovah had taught the Jews not to exact usury of their brethren, and here He truly was upset that they were seeking gain (from those who may have traveled great distances) in selling animals to be used as sacrifice.

The Jews questioned Jesus’s authority to do those things which He did. They asked, “What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things (vs. 18)? Jesus answered that He was the resurrection, when He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (vs. 19).

Many believed in Him because of the miracles; but when the miracles ceased, they stopped believing.

If we have felt Jesus’s love and power, will we stop believing when things don’t go just as we want them to go? Or will we turn to Him, praise Him, and still seek to do His will?

Jesus can elevate us if we take hold of His hand. Put your hand in the hand of The Man from Galilee.

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(let-it-rain-daniel-r-free-photo)

Put Your Hand In The Hand” was written by Mac Lellan, Gene.

Chorus:
Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the waters
Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea
Take a look at yourself and you can look at the others differently
By puttin’ your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee

Every time I look into the Holy Book, I wanna tremble
When I read about the part where a carpenter cleared the temple
For the buyers and the sellers were no different fellers
Than what I confess to be
And it causes me shame to know I’m not the gal (guy) that I should be

Chorus–

Mama taught me how to pray before I reached the age of seven
And when I’m down on my knees, that’s when I’m close to heaven
Daddy lived his life for eight kids and wife, you do what you must do
But he showed me enough of what it takes to get you through

Chorus–x3

Songwriters
Mac Lellan, Gene

St Mark 1 Reflections

The Gospel According to St Mark: Mark Chapter One: Read here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/mark/1?lang=eng

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Christ Calling Peter and Andrew, by Harry Anderson

John the Baptist was sent before Jesus to prepare the way for the Lord’s ministry, as the prophets had foretold,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Mark 1:3).

John was sent to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. How about us? We may not have as great a calling as John, but we know Jesus will come again. What are we doing individually to prepare ourselves and others for that hour? Are we preparing the way of the Lord?

‘John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judæa, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins’ (vs. 4-5).

These were large gatherings. John’s disciples were not few in number. John told the people,

“There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall not only baptize you with water, but with fire, and the Holy Ghost.” (vs. 9-11; JST Mark 1:6).

Being baptized with water is important, and we need to have this baptism administered by someone who holds the same priesthood authority as John the Baptist did. But that is still not complete. The Lord told Nicodemus that,

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

John held the Aaronic Priesthood and thereby could perform baptisms. Jesus held the greater priesthood, or the Melchizedek Priesthood. With these priesthoods again on the earth, men once again have the authority to baptize with water by immersion, unto repentance for the remission of sins, and to lay their hands upon the heads of those who’ve been baptized, to administer the Gift of the Holy Ghost and to confirm them members of Christ’s church. In that second ordinance, we are told to receive the Holy Ghost. We then bear the responsibility to do so.

Saint Mark recorded what John said about the Lord being the One to baptize us with fire and the Holy Ghost. He who knows each of us intimately and individually knows when we are ready and worthy to receive such a baptism.

‘And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying,

“Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (vs. 9-11).

Not only did the Holy Ghost ratify the act of Jesus’s baptism, but Heavenly Father did so Himself. It was well-pleasing to God that Jesus would humble Himself and accept this ordinance, though He was without sin. How pleasing it must be to our Father when we follow the Lord’s example!

The Spirit doesn’t seek to tempt us or to cause us to falter, but there are times that the Lord does allow us to be tempted, because we need to be tested so that we can prove our loyalty to God. Jesus was following the Spirit when He went into the wilderness to fast for forty days in preparation for his ministry. Of course, Satan sought to tempt Him during that time; but Mark tells us that angels came to minister to Him. Because Jesus resisted temptation and only worshipped the Father, when His body was weakened from fasting, His Father gave Him strength to continue to resist temptation. Likewise, when we stay true to God, we will be blessed with deliverance from Satan’s traps, even being strengthened by angels when necessary (see vs. 12-13).

After this period of fasting, with John in prison, ‘Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying,

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (vs. 14-15).

Jesus Calls Disciples to Follow Him: Mark 1:16-20.

‘Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them,

“Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.”

‘And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

‘And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.’

Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John all heard Jesus beckon to them,

“Come follow me,”

And, they stopped immediately what they were doing, so that they could follow him. What does this tell us about these good men? And Zebedee permitted his sons to take leave and follow Jesus. What does this tell us about Zebedee? He was ready and willing to have his sons follow Jesus, even if it meant he suffered monetary loss through losing their help and perhaps having to hire more servants. All of them put the kingdom of God first.

Jesus taught in a synagogue in Capernaum on the Sabbath day. ‘And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes’ (vs. 21-22).

A man with an unclean spirit cried out,

“Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.”

‘And Jesus rebuked him, saying,

“Hold thy peace, and come out of him.”

‘And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying,

“What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him” (vs. 23-27).

Further Thought: Sometimes I think we forget that evil spirits also recognize the Lord. They may be more apt to recognize him than apathetic souls are, which can give them power over those who are not vigilantly aware.

It must have been a marvelous thing to see Jesus walk among men and with power and authority bestow His loving grace healing the multitudes.

‘And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee’ (vs. 28).

‘And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them’ (vs. 29-31).

On this Sabbath day, they had been to synagogue, where Jesus cast an unclean spirit out of a man. After that they went to Simon Peter’s house, where Jesus healed his mother-in-law. But the multitudes were waiting for the Sabbath to end, so that they could bring all of their troubled souls to Jesus.

‘And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him’ (vs. 32-34).

While there was still quiet in the new day, awake ahead of the rest of them, Jesus sought alone time with His Heavenly Father.

‘And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed’ (vs 35).

He was not alone long.

‘And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him,

“All men seek for thee.”

‘And he said unto them,

“Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.”
‘And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils’ (vs. 36-39).

He wanted to preach in all the towns and villages throughout Galilee and to bless many people.

‘And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him,

“If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”

‘And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him,

“I will; be thou clean.”

‘And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; And saith unto him,

“See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”

‘But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter’ (36-45).

Jesus asked this man not to make this known. But he blazed it abroad. Do we betray trusts that the Lord puts in us? Are there times that the Spirit gives us light or understanding that is just meant for us personally? Do we see miracles that are not meant for everyone? Do we break confidences with others, with our families, neighbors? Can we be trusted?

Because this man broke his trust, Jesus was not able to openly enter that city. Do we limit the work of the Lord if He cannot trust us? Is it worth limiting His presence in our own lives by betraying His trust?

St Matthew 16 Reflections

The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 16: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/16?lang=eng

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We Receive a Testimony that Jesus is the Christ through the Power of the Holy Ghost

Again the Pharisees and the Sadducees showed up asking Jesus to show them a sign from heaven.

Jesus answered saying,

“When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering, O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas” (Matt 16:2-4).

‘And He left them, and departed’ (vs. 4).

The disciples forgot to take bread with them to the other side of the sea. Jesus, referring to His encounter with the Pharisees and Sadducees said,

“Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (vs. 6).

His disciples misunderstood what He said, saying,

“It is because we have taken no bread” (vs. 7).

Jesus said to them,

“O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees”? (vs. 8-11).

After this clarification, they understood.

‘When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying,

“Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”

‘And they said,

“Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”

‘He saith unto them,

“But whom say ye that I am?”

‘And Simon Peter answered and said,

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

‘And Jesus answered and said unto him,

“Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

‘Then charged He his disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ’ (vs. 13- 20).

Further thoughts: Like Peter, we can all come to know that Jesus is the Christ through the power of the Holy Ghost as a gift from our Heavenly Father, as we seek to know Him, follow Him, and be obedient to His commandment. We can believe in the teachings of others, but it is only through revelation from our Heavenly Father as the Spirit speaks to our spirit that we can know.

“Through direct revelation from God Peter knew that Jesus was the Christ; and upon revelation, as a rock of secure foundation, the Church of Christ was to be built. Though torrents should fall, floods roll, winds rage, and all beat together upon that structure, it would not, could not, fall, for it was founded upon a rock; and even the powers of hell would be impotent to prevail against it. By revelation alone could or can the Church of Jesus Christ be builded and maintained; and revelation of necessity implies revelators, through whom the will of God may be made known respecting His Church. As a gift from God comes the testimony of Jesus into the heart of man” (Elder James E. Talmage, in Jesus the Christ).

Jesus then began to prepare His disciples for those things which lay ahead for Him, ‘how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day’ (vs. 21).

This would have been a very sorrowful thing for His disciples to hear. They hadn’t been with Him long, and surely they didn’t want to let Him go, nor did they fully understand the purpose of His mission yet.

Peter tried to get Jesus to stop talking that way and said,

‘“Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.”

‘But he turned, and said unto Peter,

“Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

‘Then said Jesus unto his disciples,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom”’ (vs. 22-28).

Jesus had just told Peter that after He had gone from them, Peter would hold the keys of the kingdom. It must have been concerning for Jesus that Peter responded in this manner. But the Lord went on to tell them that being true to the Father and following His will were more important things to do than preserving our own lives. Truly it is through following Them, and each of us taking up his or her own cross, that we will gain eternal life.

Further thought: Jesus needed to not only give His life to save us, but He also needed to lose His life to find it for Himself and for all of us. He has not asked us to do anything difficult which He has not already endured on our behalf.

(John the Beloved would tarry, after the others were dead, to bring souls unto Christ. There may have been others.)

St Matthew 3 Reflections

The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 3: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/3?lang=eng

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The Father was Pleased that Jesus was Baptized

What was the purpose of the Pharisees and the Sadducees in coming to the baptism of John? John certainly questioned their sincerity; and in this chapter, he tells them the requirements for baptism. Although John baptized with water, it is God who will baptize us with fire and the Holy Ghost.

When Jesus came to John to be baptized, John felt inadequate to baptize His Lord; but, Jesus insisted and said, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness” (Matt 3:15). When Jesus was baptized of John, a dove is seen as a witness from the Holy Ghost that John baptized the Messiah; and, God spoke from the heavens saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17)

Further thoughts:

When we follow the Spirit in doing our Heavenly Father’s will, we can also have a personal witness that Heavenly Father is pleased with us through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Not only does this chapter set forth the importance of baptism; because Jesus Christ, being completely holy, was baptized to comply with His Father’s will; it also shows that the Godhead is indeed three distinct persons, although One in unity and purpose.

Introduction to Scriptures in Review

My main resolution for 2015 is to prepare to meet my Savior. That is really it! I hope that that desire, that goal, will govern my actions, thoughts, feelings, and even my tongue.

I believe that there is a reason that the Lord told us what the first two great commandments are: Thou shalt love the Lord they God with everything you have and are; and, thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself. That really is the whole law. Everything hangs in the balance of that.

I have written some points of personal emphasis to direct me in my quest to more fully know God and to be prepared to meet both my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I think that as we look inward and heavenward, we all know those areas that cry for our personal attention. I feel comforted and blessed to have been given this list that will bless my life in 2015; and, hopefully, by trying to incorporate my goals into my life, based upon my faith and understanding of the gospel, I will be able to bless the lives of those around me. I hope so.

I will not share my whole list with you. But here are a few key points: Pray more and with more sincerity. Ask more, question, seek, ponder, search. Listen more to the Spirit and with the Spirit. Ponder more, search yourself and seek to do God’s will. Read more, especially about the life and mission of Jesus Christ. Study more. Write more: journal and reflect; blog and respect. Listen more to others; seek understanding; give love. Speak less. Guard your tongue; show love.

Avoid contention; keep the Spirit in your part of conversations; distance yourself from unholy communications; walk away as necessary, but don’t slam the door on your way out.

Love more; Give service more willingly and freely. Pray for opportunities to serve. Search and seek opportunities. Look at justserve.org. Look at your own strengths and desires. Can you tutor or teach? Be willing to do what the Lord makes available.

Become less afraid of work. God will help you.

Give more thanks to God and to others. Be more appreciative; but, don’t be a glutton.

So in keeping with my list and my goal to prepare to meet my Savior, I think that it is most fitting that I begin this year with a personal study of the New Testament and the life of my Lord while he walked among men. It is His example I will try to emulate. Since He is my Way home to God, I will seek to become like Him; and the more I am able to do that, the closer I will be in my preparation to meet Him and see Him as He is.

I hope that you will follow my reflections as I read the chapters in the New Testament. I hope that my thoughts will inspire some. They are not profound; but, hopefully, they will show an increase in the development of my love Him, and also help bring you closer to Him as you reflect on His life as well.

Please feel free to share and comment on these posts. Please remember common courtesy and kindness. As the writer and moderator of this blog, I reserve the right to only allow comments which I deem appropriate. Thank you in advance for your time in reading.