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Cover image: Walk the Walk taken from https://spiritofthesikh.com/2014/10/17/walking-the-walk/ 9.6.19.
How often do miracles occur in your life? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Or is it more like–from time to time? And what do you consider a ‘miracle’? We have had two experiences in our family this past month that are worth mentioning as ‘miracles’. They are not unique, but they were tender mercies from the Lord.
On separate occasions two of my sons lost important, necessary items. One lost his wallet, and the other his passport. Both needed to find these items in a short period of time. Both of them did the typical things we all do when we lose something. Search everywhere, retrace steps, ask anyone around and search again, a little more thoroughly, and then try to get everyone involved in the search. Both sons decided finally to humble themselves and ask the one being who knows all. And Heavenly Father then led them to discover the highly concealed items.
The wallet was in a box being prepared for mailing. It was all but sealed. The wallet was in the closed box under some paper on top of some shirts. No one knows how it got there. It couldn’t have “fallen” there, and we would never have found it otherwise.
The passport was discovered in the far, dark recesses of our attic, just sitting on the floor. How many of you put your passports there? Hmm, right, neither do we. How either of these two items got to where they were resting is a matter to be discovered only after the resurrection when all things are made known.
To me, these are grand miracles. You may have had similar experiences. It is a wonderful thing to have access to the God of all creation, who knows all and is willing to share if we but ask sincerely.
So the question is; why do we wait until we are desperate to call upon our omniscient Father? I’m sure there are many reasons why we don’t. One may be because we want to show we are doing all we can before we ask for help. Or maybe we want to use our agency and show how resourceful we can be, or prove our individual self-reliance. It’s possible we don’t feel whatever it is, is important enough to bring to God, the Ruler of the Universe. We may feel unworthy, too proud or too insignificant for such attention. The list goes on and on.
But what if we did call on Him more often? What if we asked Him for help and guidance every day, even several times a day? How would our lives change? What if we walked with the Spirit every second of every day? That is our goal and maybe some of you already do it or are close. I am still working on it. It is a grand idea and a significant goal. It’s actually one reason we are here on earth, to learn how to follow the Spirit over our more earthly desires.
I feel blessed that both of my sons are living in such a way that they could receive instructions and guidance from the Spirit. And not only receive it, but have the sense to recognize his promptings and follow the directions no matter how unlikely they seemed. They are remarkable examples to me of “walking in the Spirit”. Even if we don’t avail ourselves of the powers of heaven daily, it is good to know that if we are living right, we can call upon Him to find answers, peace, hope, and comfort when we need them.
Walking in the Spirit is a blessing that we can choose to do everyday of our life. But we do need to use our agency and make the choice. Of course, we will mess up many times and need to change and repent. But that is exactly why we are here. To practice this skill and improve as we change. God in His infinite love wants us to succeed. He desires that we call upon Him–for anything. Nothing is too great or small for Him who is over all things.
If you feel like you are still struggling with the Come, Follow Me program, isn’t it time to humble yourself and take it to the One who can help you figure it out? Maybe you feel you have, and yet don’t feel like answers are coming. To you I say, keep at it. The answers will come. Show God you are serious about this by becoming the importuning widow, who annoyed the judge with her requests until he relented. Until you receive what you hope for in succeeding in your righteous desires, just do the best you can and keep trying. Even our meager efforts help us to progress and improve. When you start a new hobby, you don’t do it perfectly the first time. Not everything will be impeccable, but just keep at it. In the process you will be improving little by little. This program is a process not a destination.
There is a saying I like. If you have trouble running, run more. This applies to everything. It doesn’t mean to overextend yourself or cause harm to yourself, but rather to continue to challenge yourself. The more you do something the better you will become at it. Continue to try and in the process you will become better. This can happen with our scripture study too. Don’t beat yourself up over some imagined scenario of perfectly behaved children sitting in a quiet row diligently reading along in the scriptures adding profound interpretations of the readings. Look for the blessings.
We are doing tolerably well with our family scripture studies. We still miss days. We still sometimes read quickly just to say we’ve done it. We still have to gather people together because they are not running to gather, in fact, some are still running the other way or hiding. But, we have more discussions about the scriptures than we used to. We can refer back to stories or examples when the need arises. And we share a bond that comes from sharing scripture time together. So I count this time as a blessing, no matter our day-to-day status. We are growing and evolving. Sometimes growing involves a little (or a lot) of pain, but there are always blessings to see if one looks. So take some time this week to look for the blessings that have come into your life through studying the scriptures more regularly as a family. And smile about it. It’s a beautiful thing!
I like this watercolor entitled ‘Walking with Jesus’, because at times we can feel like the world around us is closing in and surrounding us. Maybe even overwhelming us. But as we try to do the works that invite the Spirit we are never alone as we allow the Holy Ghost to accompany us in our daily walk. And Jesus can be a light with us no matter what. I think this was part of Paul’s message this week.
Use one or more of these ideas for lesson enrichment.
–Where was Galatia? If you would be interested to know a little more about ancient Galatia check out this article from the Ancient History Encyclopedia.
Map of Galatia taken from https://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CP09Galatians.htm 9.6.19
*The law of Christ makes me free
–Paul obtained the gospel the same way everyone achieves it–by personal revelation. Think about your personal conversion process. Share it with someone this week. Record it for others either in written or audio form. It would make a wonderful gift for Christmas.
–Galatians 2: 13 Paul refers to certain leaders being carried away with Dissimulation. The footnote says hypocrisy. Dissimulation is defined as disguising or concealing true doctrine with false ideas or believing doctrine that simulates true ones but are erroneous. So it seems a little different than hypocrisy in that it may be done with the purpose to delude, mislead or beguile others. Can you think of any examples of this in the world around us?
*I am an heir to the blessings promised to Abraham:
–A sermon given by Tony Abram claims there are 40 blessings given to Abraham or to his heirs. He outlines seven of them here. It would be fascinating to see if you could find all 40 blessings.
–A list of 20 scriptures illustrating the blessings of Abraham throughout the Bible from a website called Knowing Jesus. It is interesting to see them all laid out together.
–I love this picture because I imagine the sky must have looked like this to Abraham when Jehovah told him to look and count the stars. To be yet without a child of his own and be told his posterity would be so numerous, must have been amazing and almost overwhelming for him. Take a few moments to put yourself in Abraham’s shoes and ponder what he must have felt at this time.
*DId Abraham have the gospel of Jesus Chriat?
–How do you define “the Gospel”? Could you explain it to someone in your own words, fairly quickly and uncomplicated so they could understand it? Take some time to discuss this with your family. Maybe you could take turns practicing it with each other, so when the time comes you can do it easily.
–The life of Abraham is given in these chapters as an allegory to explain the superiority of the gospel over the law of Moses. Take some time to figure out how it does this, and then discuss it with friends or your family.
*If I “walk in the Spirit”, I will receive the “fruit of the Spirit.”
–A picture taken from the Internet which you could do in a Family Home Evening with young children for Galatians 5: 17-26. One side is the fruit of the Spirit and the other has the works of the flesh.
–Videos from The Bible Project:
*Overview of Galatians (9.03 minutes)
* The Law (about 6 minutes) This one is a great one to review of the Law of Moses and how Jesus Christ fulfilled it.
*Gospel of the Kingdom (5.47 minutes) Describes the origin of the word gospel and ties it to the Old Testament and the New Testament. I especially love how they point out the phrase ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news’.
The Fruit of the Spirit:
–For very young children The Fruit of Spirit video from What’s in the Bible (1.51 minutes)
–A preschool worship song called, of course, Fruit of the Spirit, from KidSpring Children’s Ministry published on Aug 10, 2016. Its and upbeat (and repetitive) song that will help your children to remember the fruits of the Spirit.
–Galatians 5: A ‘For Children by Children’ series on the fruit of the spirit published by the Torah Family. Each video is about 9 minutes, so you might want to limit how many you show in a sitting sitting. Decide what’s best for your family.
–The Spirit vs Flesh from 60 seconds of Salt & Light : a commendably ( I just made that word up) quick explanation of why sinners don’t feel like they need saving and saints do.
Blessings of Abraham:
— A music video by Amber Nelon Thompson published by Apple Crisol. I Am a Promise is a cute song about our potential to be all that God wants us to be.
–An article with a video from Book of Mormon Central contributed by BMC Team on February 15, 2018. How Can We Receive the Blessings of the Abrahamic covenant?
Law of the Harvest–call it what you like: Karma, The Boomerang Effect, or just use the phrase Men reap what they sow. The truth is plain, what you do matters and has a direct effect on your life.
–Video of the story about the two wolves inside each of us. Published by Happify and published on January 19, 2016
–A funny LDS video The Law of the Harvest; showing a family planting a garden and what they reap is a surprise. (3.13 minutes)
–Dr. Steve Weston, of Sunwarrior, presents a discussion on the laws of nature and the law of the harvest. He shares his view on how it applies to all areas of our life.