Summary of Enos + Enos 1

Summary of Enos + Enos 1

                The Book of Enos… is the fourth book in the Book of Mormon….

Enos opens up speaking of the knowledge his father had taught him, Enos goes out to hunt and while hunting finds himself pondering the words spoken by his father concerning eternal life and the joy of the saints.

                “And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens. And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed. And I, Enos, know that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away. And I said: Lord, how is it done? And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Enos 1:4-8)

                Here, Enos cried out to God for his sins to be forgiven. God answered his prayer, just like he answers all of our prayers. God forgave Enos of his sins, because of his faith in Jesus Christ. This is the first principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Faith in Him!

After having felt this remission of his own sins, Enos desires this same for his people and asks God to deliver them from their sins as well. Enos desired that they would be spared and that the record which he had would not be destroyed; “…that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, the Nephities… that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites…” (Enos 1:13)

Enos goes on to explain how the Nephites had attempted on numerous times to reach out to the Lamanites to help them come unto Christ, but their labor was in vain. Enos explains that the Lamanites were “…a blood thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness…” (Enos 1:20) Enos saw many wars and contentions between the Lamanites and the Nephites.

2 Nephi 32

2 Nephi 32: Men must pray to gain Knowledge

“Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?” (2 Nephi 32:2)

Nephi sees that many of his brethren are questioning what they should do after they had obtained a faith in Jesus Christ, repented of their sins, were baptized and received the Holy Ghost. He asks them if they had remembered that after you receive the Holy Ghost, you are able to speak with the tongue of Angels! After we are baptized, we must ENDURE to the end. Part of this enduring is to constantly receive strength in all the daily battles against Satan that we will fight.

Nephi continues…  “…feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do…  if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.” (2 Nephi 32:3-4) Here, Nephi explains that it is not just enough to pray, nor is it enough to just ponder and read the words of Christ. No, they must BOTH be done in order to understand the Words of God. We must diligently study the scriptures and then pray to understand the meaning of them.

After baptism, we receive the Holy Ghost, and with this Gift of the Holy Ghost we will be given guidance, so long as we do not upset the Spirit. We do this by reading and praying daily, avoiding sin and the unclean things of the world. We need to keep our minds as clean as possible. It should be recognized that no one, besides Jesus Christ, is perfect. Therefore, we need to strive to become like Jesus Christ… but when we fall short, we need to repent and move forward in His Gospel.

Nephi, after speaking to his brethren still sees that they do not fully understand, and this grieves him; “…now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.” (2 Nephi 32:7) In today’s world, so many are so easily led by the vain things of the world… look around and you can see the influence of a pop star or some celebrity, even politicians! People blindly follow these so called “role-models”, but when asked to sincerely pray and understand if for example the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, they ignore it. In fact many in the world will look at the Book of Mormon and toss it aside, even when it is given to them in ‘plainness’, but these same people ask; “Where is God?”

The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that God speaks TODAY! It is so plain, yet so hard for people to see through the stiffneckedness of the carnal man. Nephi explains that we can come to this knowledge if we pray, for the Spirit will teach a man to pray, and the evil spirit teaches a man to not pray; “…if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.” (2 Nephi 32:8)

Nephi ends this chapter by telling us that we “…must pray always, and not faint…” (2 Nephi 32:9)

James 1

James 1: Ask God!

                James, as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ writes a letter of wisdom. While the letter is not addressed to any specific people or person, it serves as New Testament literature and as a letter written to all.

James explains that we should be filled with joy when we fall into temptation, knowing; “…that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” (James 1:3) In other words, when we are tempted and overcome those temptations we will be made stronger for having been through the temptation.

Paul urges us all to ask God when we are in doubt; “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:5-6) In this life we will pass through trials and tribulations, we may have doubts and we may not understand everything in this world. But we can ask God, and those who ask God with faith will be given the answers to their righteous desires.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God: The Restoration of the Gospel

firstvision

                This very same scripture is what led Joseph Smith to ask God the question; “Which of all the sects was right?”

Joseph Smith was a young farm boy who lived in the east coast of the United States in the early 1800’s, he explains in his own words;

“I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five (1805)… in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, State of Vermont… My father, Joseph Smith, Senior, left the state of Vermon, and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) county, in the state of New York, when I was in my tenth year… In about four years… he [Joseph Smith Senior] moved with his family into Manchester in the same county of Ontario… Some time in the second year of our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country… which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist…. Priest contending against priest, and convert against convert… During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness… though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was… to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong…. In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself : What is to be done? Who of all these parties is right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?” (Joseph Smith History 1:3;5-6;7;8)

                Joseph Smith, like many today may ask themselves, which of all the sects is the correct one? Why would there be different beliefs, if there be one God? Joseph Smith was confused and unsure of which religion was right. So he consulted the Bible, God’s word! He read in James 1:5-6; which says that anyone who lacks wisdom will be given it. So, who better to ask which religion was right… then GOD HIMSELF!?!

Joseph Smith decided to take this advice from James and retired to a grove of trees near his home;

“ After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description,standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My BelovedSon. Hear Him!

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Joseph Smith History 1:15-19)

Joseph Smith followed the advice given by James and asked God; which of all the sects was right. Joseph Smith was answered and told that none of the sects were right. This single question from a young, 14 year old boy would lead to God restoring His Church on the Earth, using Joseph Smith as an instrument in His hands.

James goes on in the first chapter to explain that those who endure temptation shall receive a just reward; “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13) James explains that God does not tempt anyone, but rather we choose to sin on our own accord; “…every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust…” (James 1:14)

James explains that anything GOOD is from GOD, and anything BAD or EVIL is from the DEVIL; “Every good gift any every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17)

James encourages people to be DOERS and not just HEARERS; “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass.” (James 1:23) James explains that anyone who seems to be religious but does not follow his religion; “…deceiveth his own heart… this man’s religion is in vain.” (James 1:26) James goes on to explain that pure religion is; “…undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27) While many may claim to be religious, anyone who fails to take care of those around them and stay clean and worthy are not following the will of God.

2 Thessalonians 3

2 Thessalonians 3: Pray for the Missionary Work

                Paul asks the members of the Church in Thessalonica to help him and the brethren to preach the Gospel. “…pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1) Today we can apply this to Missionary Work and how it is important for us to pray for missionary opportunities to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5

1 Thessalonians 5: The Last Days…

 

Paul writes to the Thessalonians and tells them that they do not need reminders to know that they themselves “…know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3) Paul exhorts them to be mindful of the day of the Lord, and reminds them that they “…are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6) He urges those in the Last Days to not only be sober, but to put “…on the breastplate of faith and love; and… an helmet, the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

He urges the members of the Church of Jesus Christ to edify one another and to work for the sake of love. He asks that peace be among the followers of Christ and to support the weak and be “…patient toward all men.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

 

Paul begins to end his letter with some wisdom;

“Rejoice evermore.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

                                In other words; be happy always.

                “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

                                In other words; Pray ALWAYS! Day and Night!

                “In everything give thanks…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

                                In other words; be humble and realize ALL of your blessings.

                “Quench [do not suppress] not the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

In other words; Do not do anything that would offend the Spirit. Follow the commandments so you can always have the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

“Despise not prophesyings.” (1 Thessalonians 5:20)

In other words; We need to listen to prophecy and revelation, even if we don’t 100% agree.

                “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

In other words; We need to be knowledgable and know what is TRUE and FALSE. Those things that are good, we should hold on to!

                “Abstain from the appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

In other words; Just because you aren’t breaking the commandments of God, doing something that even appears to be bad should not be done.

Finally Paul asks all the members of the Church to “…pray for us.” (1 Thessalonians 5:25) This is a reminder that we should pray for all the divinely appointed leaders of Christ’s Church.

 

Luke 11

Luke 11: Jesus is Angry

                As Jesus prayed, one of the Apostles came to Him and asked Him to teach them to pray. So Jesus tells them; “…When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:2-4)

                A few things to remember… Jesus showed them HOW to pray, and NOT how to REPEAT and MEMORIZE.  Let’s recall Matthew 6, where Jesus also spoke about prayer. He said; “…when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men… But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:5, 7) I think it is clear that Jesus has taught us that we are NOT to use VAIN REPETITIONS, which literally means:

VAIN: ‘excessively proud, empty of substance, devoid of meaning.’

REPETITION: ‘repeating of something, something the same as before.’

So, when WE PRAY, we need to follow the OUTLINE Jesus has given us, but we are not to repeat what He said, word for word. So what is the outline Jesus gave us? Let’s break up what Jesus said…

  1. Address our Heavenly Father; “…When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven…” (Luke 11:2)
  2. Show respect by using the formal in whatever language you are speaking. For example, in English, we should us “thou, thee, thine… etc.” instead of “you and your” Jesus shows this respect; “…Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come….” (Luke 11:2)
  3. We need to remember that when addressing our Heavenly Father that were are to THANK HIM for what we have, and accept HIS WILL in all things.  “…Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth…” (Luke 11:2)
  4. After having addressed our Heavenly Father with respect, thanking Him for what we have been blessed with, we can then ask for the desires of our heart; “…Give us day by day our daily bread…” (Luke 11:3)
  5. Finally we can ask for forgiveness and ask that we might not be lead into temptation; “…And forgive our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:2-4) Finally to end the prayer, we close “In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” Jesus did not include this part, because he would have no need to close in His own name.

Jesus explains that our prayers should not be limited to simple, or any sort of memorized repetition, but rather a heart-felt conversation with God, our Father in Heaven. He explains; “…Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every  one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10)

A man comes to Jesus that is possessed of a devil, and Jesus casts the devil out. However, some that witnessed this event say; “…He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.” (Luke 11:15) Jesus of course heard these comments and explains that a “…house dived against a house falleth.” (Luke 11:17) He asks; “If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand?” (Luke 11:18) Essentially Jesus is saying that it makes no sense for Satan to be casting out devils, which he had placed there in the first place. If Satan were to allow this, he would be going against himself, and a house divided against itself cannot stand. Some still argued against him, but one woman suggests that the mother of Jesus was a blessed woman (Luke 11:27), while I think Jesus believes that, and agrees with the woman, Jesus tells her and the crowd; “…Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” (Luke 11:28) Jesus explains to them that He is greater than both Jonas and Solomon, and that He is the only sign the evil generation would receive.

Jesus explains that “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.” (Luke 11:34) This can easily be applied to not only the time Jesus was on the earth, but also in our own day. We see that the internet has brought the evils of Sodom and Gomorrah to our own home. This tidal wave of evil comes in many forms, but Pornography is one of the most rampant. If our eye beholds this evil, we WILL lose LIGHT, and our body will be filled with filth and darkness.

Jesus goes on to scold the Scribes, Pharisees and Lawyers, saying “Woe unto you…” (Luke 11:44,46, 47, and 52) Because of this evil generation, the blood of the righteous will be required.  Jesus reminds them that God sent Prophets and Apostles to the earth to lead and guide His children, however He sent them with the knowledge, that “…some of them they shall slay and persecute.” (Luke 11:49)

Mark 11

Mark 11: Jesus in the Temple – Money Changers

                Jesus and His Apostles ride into Jerusalem through to the Mount of Olives, where He commands two of His Apostles to go to a village near them, where they would find a colt tied to a doorway. So the Apostles leave and find a colt tied to a doorway, exactly as Jesus had told them. Some of those who were standing near the colt asked the Apostles what they were doing, the Apostles told them it was for the Lord, and the men told them to continue.

After returning to Jesus, Jesus hops onto the Colt and they ride into Jerusalem, all while people are shouting “…Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Mark 11:9) Jesus spends sometime in Jerusalem before it got dark and after “…he had looked round about upon all things…” (Mark 11:11) From here Jesus goes to Bethany, where He gets hungry and finds a fig tree. However, upon reaching the tree it was found that the tree was not producing fruit, only leaves.  Jesus answered upon the tree and said; “…No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever…” (Mark 11:14)

Jesus left the curse on the tree and departed with His Apostles into Jerusalem. When they arrived in Jerusalem, Jesus found that the temple had turned into a market place; Jesus began to “…cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Mark 11:17)

                Jesus was mad, because they were turning His house into a house of market. The scribes were of course angry by this display from Jesus, so they sought to destroy Him. As Jesus and His Apostles departed, and passed by the same fig tree, Peter reminds them; “…Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.” (Mark 11:21) Jesus then tells them that with Faith, even mountains can be made to move. He continues; “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall receive them.” (Mark 11:24) Jesus also instructs them that they should forgive always, especially when they pray. For if man forgive men, then the Lord will also forgive that man.

The scribes catch up to Jesus and ask Him by what Authority He is able to do such great miracles, and Jesus responds; “… I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The Baptism of Job, was it from heaven, or of men? Answer me.” (Mark 11:29-30) The scribes were afraid to ask, because they reasoned with themselves; “…If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.” (Mark 11:31-32) After thinking over the question Jesus had proposed they respond; “…We cannot tell. And Jesus answering unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Mark 11:33)

Mark 9

Mark 9: Transfigured on the Mount

                Jesus and the Apostles stand at the top of a mountain, with Peter, James and John. Jesus “…was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.” (Mark 9:2-4) Shortly after, they saw a cloud come over them and a voice saying; “…This is my beloved Son: hear him.” (Mark 9:7)

                Suddenly, the Apostles found them alone with Jesus again as if nothing had happened. On their journey down from the Mountain, Jesus tells them that they must not speak of the things they saw until after He has risen from the dead. The Apostles then asked Jesus “…Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?  And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things…” (Mark 9:11-12)

                Jesus arrives, where a group is gathered for Him. A man in the crowd yells out to Jesus; “…Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.” (Mark 9:17-18) Jesus, at this point, was a little upset because His own Apostles could not remove the evil spirit. So Jesus turns to the Apostles and says;  “…O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.” (Mark 9:19-20)

                Jesus, moved with compassion, asks the father how long this evil Spirit had resided in the child. The father tells Him from birth. Jesus tells the father, who was in disbelief as casting this devil out; “…If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:23-24) Jesus then cast the evil spirit out and commanded it to no more enter or molest the child. As Jesus and His Apostles were leaving the area, the Apostles ask Jesus privately; “…Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:28-29)

                Jesus and the Apostles then depart through Galilee and while on their journey the Apostles had questions about who was greatest among the Apostles and what it meant that Jesus would die and come back three days later, but every one of them was too afraid to ask. Jesus of course knew their questions and called the twelve to sit and listen; “… If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35) Jesus then continues by speaking about children and their importance in the Gospel “…whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

Matthew 6

Matthew 6:

The Sermon on the Mount: Part 2 

                Jesus opens this chapter by addressing his disciples on the importance of keeping your alms [righteous acts] out of the viewpoints of others. Jesus tells them to not do as “…the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have the glory of men…” (Matthew 6:2) Jesus explains that they righteous acts should be done in private or secret, so as to not desire praise of men, but rather of God.

Jesus continues by stating that prayer should be done in secret as well, you should not draw attention to yourself when you are praying; “…thou shalt not be as the hypocrite are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets… when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:5-6)

Jesus expounds on prayer and tells us that we should not use “…vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking…” (Matthew 6:7)

In the end, Jesus reminds us that “…your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) So with prayer, we should not make it a public thing, at least not to gain praise of man. We need to keep prayer as sacred as possible, avoiding repetitions. Why do we do this? Because prayer is not about reciting, and it is not about memorization. Prayer is about COMMUNICATION! We pray to our Heavenly Father to have a CONVERSATION with him. Therefore we need to speak to Him just as we would with an earthly parent. Tell Him how your day went, tell Him about your struggles, and tell Him about your desires and wishes. Then listen, ponder, and study the scriptures to receive your answer.

Jesus speaks much about prayer in this chapter of Matthew, but HOW SHOULD WE PRAY?

Jesus gives us some instruction on how to pray, here are the steps that He has given us:

1.       Start your prayer by addressing our Heavenly Father. “…Our Father which art in haven, Hallowed by thy name.” (Matthew 6:9)

*Remember God does not like vain repetitions, therefore do not memorize the prayer Jesus gave, but use it as a guide for a prayer in your own words.

2.       Thank Him for everything; “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

3.        Ask Him for the things that you need; “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

4.       Ask Him for the ability to forgive others that they might forgive you also; “…forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

5.       Ask Him for help to avoid temptation and sin; “…lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…” (Matthew 6:13)

6.        End your prayer in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ “…Amen.” (Matthew 6:13)

                         *Note that because Jesus was saying the prayer, to His Father, Jesus did not end in His own name. However, because Jesus died for our sins we need to end the prayer in Jesus’s name.

Besides prayer, Jesus also gives us some commandments when it comes to Fasting. Fasting is a period where your body abstains from water and food for a period of time. This helps your soul to have control over your earthly tabernacle, your body. This helps to control spirit over mind, and giving the spirit control over earthy desires of the flesh. Jesus warns us to not be “…as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast…” (Matthew 6:16) Again, fasting and prayer should not be done to gain recognition from men.

Jesus speaks out about earthly and heavenly treasures. We should not focus on material things, but rather the things that we can take back with us into heaven. Greed and the desire for fame can change people and cause them to lose focus on what matters most. Jesus exclaims; “No man can serve to masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other….” (Matthew 6:24), essentially if we love money and material things, then we cannot serve God or love His gospel.

                “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

Jesus ends this chapter by yet again reminding us to first seek “…the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Lamentations 3-5

Lamentations 3-5

Chapter 3: Prayer of Jeremiah

Jeremiah speaks about Judah and their calamity. He starts the chapter off by saying; “I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.” (Lamentations 3:1) Jeremiah explains that God himself can sometimes lead us into darkness, but like any loving Father, the Lord may put us in situations for our own good. Jeremiah writes; “Remembering mine affliction and my misery… My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.” (Lamentations 3:19-21) Because Jeremiah had to go through hard times, he remembered them and that remembrance of his own affliction brought him a sense a security and hope.

We must remember when going through hard times that “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” (Lamentations 3:21) God is always there for us, even if it appears that we are all alone and without help. Sometimes God just wants us to figure things out on our own and only steps in when we truly can no longer fend for ourselves. Patience is something that must be learned and sometimes God will test our patience, but for those who wait for him… have a promise:

“The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamentations 3:25)

Everyone goes through trials in their lives, Jeremiah tells us that is it best for “…a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” (Lamentations 3:27) So “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again unto the Lord. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.” (Lamentations 3:40-41) If you are young and going through hard times, rejoice! For it truly is better to go through those struggles in our youth, then it is at any other time in our lives. It helps to build us and make us stronger.

We need to realize that it may seem like our prayers go un-answered or that the Lord “…hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.” (Lamentations 3:44) But we need to be persistent and patient, because “…though he [God] cause grief, yet will he have compassion… For he doth not afflict willingly…” (Lamentations 3:32-33) God does not enjoy having to see us un-happy or miserable, but he does it because He knows that is the only way to make us stronger and better people. For this world is like a giant classroom. If we pass the test, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father for eternity.

Chapter 4: The Estate of Zion

Jeremiah laments over the estate of Zion and the pitiful people that they have become. They have become desolation, because they have sinned and basked in iniquities. Jeremiah says that it is better to “…be slain with the sword… than they that be slain with hunger… hands of pitiful women have sodden [soaked/boiled] their own children: they were their meat in the destruction…” (Lamentations 4:9-10) How sick is that? The people had truly sunk to a new low and it is no wonder why this book is called the Lamentations of Jeremiah, he was disgusted.

Chapter 5: Sorrowful Zion

Jeremiah recites in prayer the sorrowful estate of Zion. The people have been humiliated, and dancing has turned to mourning. Jeremiah explains that “Our fathers have sinned, are not; and we have borne their iniquities.” (Lamentations 5:7) We must remember that we are accountable for our own actions and not the sins of our parents or anyone else for that matter.