I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from The Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity - the pure love of Christ - will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.
- President Marion G. Romney

Monday, June 16, 2008

...That the Lord Might Show Forth His Power in Them...

Alma 5 & 7 were sermons to members of the Church in Zarahemla and Gideon. Alma 8 is the beginning of Alma's missionary journey -- he is preaching to people who do not have the Gospel; who are unbelievers.

*Why do you think Alma had this great wrestle with God in mighty prayer concerning the wicked Ammonihahites? Who was changed as a result?

*After Alma is cast out of Ammonihah, he is visited by an angel who tells him to return. Verse 18 tells Alma's reaction to that command. What can we learn from his reaction?

*Upon returning, he meets Amulek. What do we learn about God's character from His dealings with Alma in this chapter?

*This is absolutely a missionary chapter -- how can this chapter help us share the Gospel more effectively? What characteristics does Alma have that will help us?

*How about as friends and parents? What can we learn about life from these verses?

*This chapter is completely tied in with the next several chapters. While you study, keep in mind the experiences Alma and Amulek had as they taught together.

Now, a bit of housekeeping. Is one chapter per day too much? Do you like a post the night before so you have plenty of time to study and comment or do you have enough time with a morning post?


Amanda D said...

I think one chapter a day is good. If they are REALLY long, maybe we could do half a day, but so far I think one is good. And, I think keeping Sat and Sun as a catch up day is helpful too.

I have done fine with the a.m. post, but it is whatever is easier for you.

Monica said...

First housekeeping- I like the one chapter per day. It helps me to make sure I am reading my scriptures daily and not just reading them but studying them because I have a habit of just reading and not actually studying and I am already getting so much more out of the scriptures by focusing more and studying and not just reading. Also if you wanted to post at night that works great for me because then since I am 2 hrs ahead of you I will have it already in the morning waiting for me! If that is too much for you though the mornings work fine too. (No pressure to change in other words if you don't want to!)

Now my comments- First I will share the quote I have written in my scriptures by Joseph Smith:
"I am going to inquire after God. Then it is done with diligence and patience."

I LOVE that quote because it is EXACTLY what we should do with things in our lives. I really love that in verse 18 he says that after receiving the message from the Lord he went SPEEDILY to the land. I think we can learn that we need to be "speedy" when it comes to following what the Lord wants of us. We can relate that to council given to us by the prophets. When they say don't do things like watching R rated movies or wearing more then 1 pair of earings, getting food storage, etc, I think we need to be more quick to act according to their directions.

This is such a great chapter with so much for us to learn. The story of how he meets Amulek teaches us so much. First, I notice how he was fasting for many days and so not only was he fasting, he was trusting in the Lord. Then there is Amulek, who upon meeting him is quick to serve and willing to serve but he is also very in tune with the Spirit. He received a vision and when Alma came he was quick to act upon what the angel had instructed him to do. So again, I think we can learn that we need to be "speedy" in our actions and ways of listening to council.

We had one of our Stake counselors say one time, "The prophet asked us to get 1 yr food storage and we weren't obedient so then they asked for 3 days of food storage and we were still not obedient in obtaining this. So now they ask that we get a 72 hr kit. Can we be obedient enough for that?" I thought that was such a great example and wonderful point of how we as a people need to be more "speedy" in following after what the prophet councils us to do.

Janelle said...

a. First I love that the same angel that appeared to Alma to call him to repentance comes to tell him he has been faithful since last they met. vs. 15
b. I also love that he returned speedily. Even after those people spit on him and reviled him. vs.18
c. When Amulek accepts Alma into his home it is similar to our attitudes when we accept the missionaries or home teachers into our homes. Like Amulek said, "I know that thou wilt be a blessing unto me and my house."
d.Why does the Lord always allow his servants to get into super dangerous situations before he'll help? vs. 31 explains that this was done that the lord might show forth his power in them. I'm hoping I'm not needed in these types of situations....

I think the pairing of Alma and Amulek is one of the best missionary companionships of all time. I'm excited for Amulek's testimony coming up in Chapter 9

And Monica - I went over to your regular blog... Take me to Costa Rica with you! I have always wanted to visit North Carolina. Well, both Carolinas actually. And I wonder what I am not doing speedily, that would give a lot of insight of where to repent and come in line with the Lord. I'll have to pray about that.

Monica said...

Janelle, I enjoy your comments! You are welcome in NC anytime you would like! ;o) We are VERY excited to be going to Costa Rica, especially because it will be the first time we have gone anywhere without our kids, but also because my husband earned a FREE trip to Costa Rica through one of his business suppliers! How COOL IS THAT? We get to go to Costa Rica completely free on a chartered flight, stay at an all inclusive resort that is supposed to be the best one in Costa Rica and get pampered by the business that is sending us! So yeah, we are SUPER EXCITED to go! hehee

I agree about Alma and Amulek being the best missionary companion and I can't wait for his testimony either. I agree too about letting people like the missionaries, HTers, etc into our homes because sometimes we feel like we don't want to have them over, I know I have experienced that, and then when we do it is always so wonderful and spiritual.

I also need to pray about what I am not being speedily about also because I agree that it would give me more insight too on how to "come in line with the Lord."

Julie said...

I agree, Janelle, there's something very poetic and revealing about God's love in His sending the same angel to Alma in this instance.
When I was a missionary, I felt such a love for Alma and Amulek -- I am looking forward to their testimonies in the upcoming chapters -- I had a hard time splitting them up last night.
One of the things that really got me in this chapter was verse 10 -- the wrestle with God in mighty prayer and the laboring in the Spirit. I've pondered a lot on those phrases. I have some thoughts about them...not sure how to articulate them, though. I think there's a difference between wrestling before God (Enos 1) and wrestling with God (Alma 7:10). There has to be. But why was Alma wrestling with God? He had a righteous desire to teach and baptize these people. Stanton and I discussed this at length last night and concluded that perhaps Alma was wrestling with God in that he realized it is contrary to God's law to pour out His spirit on wicked people -- the Spirit cannot dwell in unclean places. But Alma's desire was righteous and in line with God's own desire for these people. I think it was just really difficult for Alma to desire their welfare yet know that they probably would not accept his message. There is so much to be learned from that. I realized pretty quickly as a missionary that the harsh reality was that most of the people I encountered were not going to be baptized -- BUT I still had that deep desire that every soul would listen and accept. It was that righteous desire that allowed me to continue to labor in the Spirit of missionary work, in spite of the reality that much of it would go unreceived. I wonder if Alma needed to learn that, as all of us probably do, we are one with God when we desire all to receive the Gospel and it's just plain hard to accept that not all of them will. It was AFTER Alma had that wrestle, continued faithful and then was cast out of the city, fearing for his own life, that he was visited by the angel and given directions that completely changed the course of his mission. Because of his wrestle (showing his true desire) with God, God made a way for him to teach a people who would be willing to accept the good news of the Gospel. I love that after that wrestle and subsequent revelation, he returned speedily. There were no more questions, just simple, quick action. And tremendous blessings as a result.
I'm not sure if this is even making sense!
In regards to life in general I think there's much to be learned, too. Sometimes we have absolutely righteous desires (ie: marriage in the temple, bearing of children, health of a loved one, etc.) that are being withheld due to physical limitations, agency of other people, or any number of things. There has to be a real wrestle with God to accept reality, yet continued hope and belief and have faith that the promised blessings will come. I love the quote from Jeffrey R. Holland, "Some blessings come soon, some come late...but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, THEY COME." I feel like this is what Alma learned here and what I can learn, as well.

And I, too, need to evaluate what commandments I'm responding to less speedily and repent and refocus.

TaLaisa said...

I like the 1 chapter a day. I like knowing the night before because I often don't make it to the computer until after dinner. Maybe bigger chapters could be spread out over two days?

As for this chapter I think that Alma's wrestle with God was like you mentioned Julie, a wrestle due to knowing not to cast pearls before swine.

I wonder how often a prompting to speak or act in a situation that seems unlikely is a testimony building experience for the doer and not always the receiver. Alma may have felt his words were falling on deaf ears, but he was blessed for obeying God's will.

Going back as he did, quickly and without hesitation is a great example of how I need to be responding to promptings and commandments. I wonder if he hadn't gone back what would have been the change for Amulek. Sometimes all it takes is for one person with a strong desire to do God's will to influence one person at a time. Amulek blessed Alma and vice versa.

I learned that to be a better missionary, mother, student of the gospel, neighbor, friend, wife, etc. We often have to do things that seem contrary to what we are comfortable with. Great things happen when we forget what we (think we) know and trust God.

Dad Rose said...

I realized again as I read verse 10 that it IS Christ who prepares the hearts of people to accept the beautiful message of the gospel. Therefore, that is what we need to be praying for--that He will prepare our neighbor's heart to desire more in their lives and that they will then be receptive to those thoughts, feelings and questions He can put in their hearts. We then need to be "speedy" in acting on our promptings in their behalf. I wonder how many hundreds of times I have had a prompting to say or do some little thing and then put it off never to do it at all. This gives me much to think and pray about. Thanks for all your comments.
Julie's Mom

Dad Rose said...

One more thing...we do know that not everyone will be receptive to our message, but some will. Therefore, the more people we share it with, the more chance we have for success. And after all, this IS the Gospel of Jesus Christ--we are not selling soap as my husband says! It brings us all so much joy, why are we so reticent to talk about it with others? I believe that with sincere desire and much prayer, we can each have an active role in this wonderful missionary effort Heavenly Father has commanded us to be a part of. I really feel an urgency! Thank you for all of your insights; they are very inspiring to me.
Love to you all-
Julie's Mom