I Will Lead You Along Doctrine & Covenants 77-80
How do I receive personal revelation? That is the question I was asking myself a lot this week as I studied the Doctrine and Covenants. Surely the Lord will lead me along, but am I letting Him?
While Section 77 and all the things that we can learn about the book of Revelations is exciting and helpful, the bigger message I received, for me personally, is how it is possible to understand the scriptures for myself if I just ask.
And it's kind of a funny coincidence that I also happen to be reading 2 Nephi in my Book of Mormon studies right now. I don't know about you, but every time I get to these sections where Isaiah is being quoted I tend to skim through, assuming that I am never really going to understand it anyway.
And if I want to understand it, I tend to turn to other sources to interpret it for me. (And speaking of other sources, I have found a new one that I'm really enjoying! More on that in a minute..)
Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful for those other sources because they really do help, but there are times when I am reading these chapters and I really just want to know what they mean for me personally.
So as I am studying Section 77 this week, I started thinking about how Joseph Smith asked Heavenly Father to explain the symbolism in Revelations, and how he received answers to his questions. How did it happen, and how can I do the same?
The answers will never come if I'm not putting in the work. I'm fairly certain that skimming over the chapters isn't sufficient. I need to read them, even if it's just a few verses at a time.
One of the new things I have tried doing the last couple years as part of my scripture study is to pay attention to the footnotes and read the scriptures that are cross referenced. It's amazing how it can put things in context sometimes in ways that don't come from just reading.
Every once in awhile, I forget to write things down as they come to me. I end up going back and trying to remember what my thoughts were later. This usually happens when I'm short on time. So this week I decided to be more diligent, even if it meant only reading one or two verses at a time, if I had thoughts that came to me, I stopped and did some marking, highlighting and note taking.
This is how I usually do it, but some days I get lazy. I'm sure I've lost some great thoughts that came to me because I assumed it was so awe inspiring I would remember it later.
Actively ask questions and then look for answers!
As I worked my way through some of 2 Nephi this week, I started looking for questions. It's a lot slower than barreling through just to finish, that's for sure.
I have still been referencing my other sources as I search for answers, but the good news is, I know what the question is, so when I find it I recognize it.
Just be STILL.
This is a hard one for me. Usually as soon as I am done with my scripture study for the day I am back at it, busily buzzing about an enormous list of things to do that I feel can't wait even one more second.
Imagine you're in the grocery store and you're looking for something. So you walk up to a store employee and ask them where to find it, but instead of waiting for them to direct you, you turn as soon as you're done asking and walk away, only to continue searching on your own.
This is similar to what I do, at least some of the time, when I am studying scriptures or praying. I want the Lord to guide me and give me answers to my question, but I never give Him the opportunity.
Remember that you don't get to know EVERYTHING.
This can be a hard one for me sometimes, especially when we start getting into studying the second coming. I tend to get myself wrapped up in details and things that don't matter and don't make sense, and the truth is, until I get to the next life, I will never understand them.
So I have to be okay with that. It's all part of trusting Heavenly Father and knowing that He has a perfect plan. One day I will understand all the workings of His hands, but for now I need to concentrate on knowing and understanding the things He has already given me.
A New Book!
I mentioned earlier in this post about a new book I got to go with the Doctrine and Covenants! After listening to the Follow Him podcast that went with last week's lesson and loving it so much, I ran right out and bought Steven Harper's book Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants.
After only a week of using this book I realize how much I LOVE it. For each section, Brother Harper writes the historical context of the section, then a synopsis of what the revelation entails, and then, (my favorite part) the historical OUTCOME.
Don't you find yourself wondering what happened with regard to the revelations, how the people involved responded, or how it worked out for them? Did they listen and follow the guidance of the Lord or not? And if not, what happened?
Well, if you're wondering, this book has those answers! Each section is a quick read, so it is a perfect supplement to regular scripture study!
I have a lot of books I reference regularly and some I love more than others. This one is definitely worth recommending.
I hope you have a great week of scripture study and be sure to check out the lesson helps below!
Challenge Cards and Lesson Helps
You can grab the Challenge Cards for this week's lesson over in Doctrine and Covenants Freebies in the shop!