Monday, July 10, 2017

Short on Faith? Make a List

Alma 9:20+

Background: Alma has been instructed to return to the city of Ammonihah after having been unsuccessful in calling them to repentance. He meets Amulek and asks for shelter and food. Amulek had been prepared by an angel to receive Alma and complies with the angel's instructions. It seems that Amulek was not a religious man, but a man of integrity. Therefore, he enjoyed a good reputation in the community. While he had thoughts of religion, he was busy building his business and had little time for anything else, it seems. The visit from the angel and then from Alma allowed his spirit to be open to receiving the message of repentance and living the standards of the gospel.  Alma stays with him and teaches him for some time. He is a quick study and obviously has learned spiritual concepts deeply. He loves and teaches them as he accompanies the high priest of the Church.

Alma and Amulek step out to teach the people and to call them to repentance. Alma begins in an interesting way. He restates how many times God has blessed this people, provided spiritual gifts, prosperity, provided prophets, revelation, visions, healings, relief from famine, delivered them out of bondage, and preserved them in battle. It is quite a long list of only some of the blessings received by the people of Nephi as well as the others who joined them as recorded in Mosiah. Reading it, my thought was that if they were not touched by this recitation,  they would have predetermined that no matter what this prophet said, they would not hear, but would reject it out of hand. "...your hearts have been grossly hardened against the word of God..." (v. 30)

Many times I have thought about why in moments of weakness I have chosen to hold fast to faith. This time the thought occurred to me that I have had numerous spiritual blessings in my life when I was especially inspired, blessed, healed, provided blessings, received direction, was in the right place at a time when someone needed my insight, and other gifts of the Spirit.

If that is the case, maybe I should do like Alma and write them down. I hesitate to do so here, as it may appear prideful or it may expose sensitive spiritual blessings that should be kept sacred. I am fine with sharing them on a personal basis, so when we meet sometime, you may ask and I will do so.

As I think of something that is a direct blessing of the Spirit or an answer to a prayer or fulfillment of a blessing, I write it down in a notebook that I carry with me. So far, I have written 28 instances. I know there are many I have not yet remembered and more to come. It has been a blessing to me on so many levels. I know many who keep a gratitude journal, and this is similar because these are experiences for which I am profoundly grateful, but different in that I am not recording everything for which I am grateful (though I am glad that so many do), just about those instances where divine intervention of one kind or another has been evident in my personal life.

I recommend it. I don't know how long I will keep it up, but for now it is an amazing blessing of strength and joy.

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