I cannot overstate how much I love my religion classes.
They have been a soft place to land in my world that is a little chaotic right now.
My Tuesday night class is a Book of Mormon class. It is food for the soul.
My Wednesday night class is Foundations of the Restoration. It is my brain and spirit connection.
I love them both.
I have learned sooooo much.
I have been taught three things that have made a big, maybe even huge, difference in my discipleship.
Bro. Bartholomew teaches with the spirit in a huge way, and so me, trying to recount them here, might fall a little flat but here goes anyway:
1) The Sacrament: Every single week you need to feel the renewed remission of your sins. You should feel it, and know it. It 's not a passive process- before partaking, you make yourself right with God, and right with anyone else that you are not right with. Is there anything in my relationship with God or any individual that needs to be repaired? Then do it. Is there something I should be doing to strengthen my relationship with God? He will tell you. Then ask Him to help you feel that remission of your sins as you participate in the Sacrament. It's powerful and it's possible. Really.
2) Prayer: The Lord's Prayer is a great pattern for prayer (3 Nephi 13:9-13). Bro. Bartholomew invited us to follow this pattern and see if it could make a difference to us.
First: Give honor and glory to the Father. Sincerely.
Second: Ask to know the Father's will. Instead of giving Him your list, try asking for a list from Him.
Third: Forgiveness- "Who do I need to forgive?" Ask Him to help you examine your heart. What do you need to empty it of? And then ask for forgiveness for yourself.
Fourth: Prayer for power over the adversary- for ourselves, for our family. Constantly and specifically. We don't do that as much as we should.
Fifth: Give glory again to the Father. Glory to begin with, and glory to end with.
Though it seems like other things are being left out, like the thankful part, it comes naturally as you follow this pattern. It's surprising and amazing.
3) Focus on Jesus, always. This might be the hardest to explain so I will share the email I shared with my sister in my attempt to explain it to her:
We have been studying the sermon on the mount in 3rd Nephi. We study it very painstakingly. Sometimes we only cover 2 verses in an hour and a half class. Last night, towards the end of class, the teacher says something like this: “Jesus is just trying to teach us to focus on heaven—to focus on HIM. Period. If I were Satan I would do my best to distract you with the earth. Temporal things. He went on to list some of the obvious temporal things: money, careers, etc. Then he said something like this: “ Sometimes we are distracted by things that aren't so obvious. Let me say something at the risk of maybe offending some of you—but this is not the Church of the family. We do not worship the family, we worship the Savior. However, sometimes family becomes one of our biggest distractions. We have children or siblings who are wayward and it becomes all we can think about. Our focus becomes fixed on them and we have taken the focus off of the Savior. When we become consumed with worry and sorrow we tell the Savior in effect, ' I don't believe in your promises. I don't believe in the covenants I made with you.' We choose to be fearful over faithful. If we keep our eye single to Him, (and keep our family second), then, our eye, being single to Him, fills our whole body with light. We are much more able to help our struggling family members when we are filled with light rather than worry.”
This was HUGE to me. As I prayed and thought about it to know if that really was true, I felt a great burden lifted. That's really all I can say about this.
So there. Isn't the gospel wonderful? There are many ways to live it-- these just really resonated with me and make my life richer and my spirit more fulfilled.
Life is good.
Joy to the World :)