For this weeks study, I am using the download from the Red Headed Hostess, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints manual for individuals and families, and LDS.org., the “Don’t Miss This” video’s by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler, plus their study sheet.[“Jesus went viral before it was even a thing!!” David Butler said this in the video and I almost spit my drink out of my mouth, I just had to share it with you!]
In the first 5 verses of the Gospel of John I learn that Jesus was with the Father in the premortal existence.
I believe that the JST (found in the appendix) for verse 1 makes it so much easier for me to understand the “gospel” is the “light” preached by the Son who was with God and of God.
1 In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made which was made.
4 In him was the gospel, and the gospel was the life, and the life was the light of men;
5 And the light shineth in the world,and the world perceiveth it not.
Verses 4 & 5 also – “in Him’ was the gospel. Gospel is the light, so “the gospel” is the word and the light that all me need but when Christ brought it to His people they had no idea that He was giving the what they needed.
I can so relate to that. For years I lived in darkness. I looked so many places and at so many different things trying to find that missing part of me. I tried people, sex, drugs, different spiritual paths, gambling, sexually explicit books, anything and everything that I thought might make me whole. Fill that empty space in me. Make me feel good enough. i was active in the church in the late 90s but I didn’t do all of the things that I needed to do to get the relationship with Heavenly Father and my Savior that I have today. So I left and kept searching and after that the search got more intense. All I found was darkness and misery. I found minutes and hours of pleasure, but not happiness. Not serenity. Not the joy that comes from knowing the Lord! I finally, finally stopped for a few minutes in late 2006 in jail. The drugs got out of my system long enough for me to hear the spirit for the first time in so many years. I had my wrestle before God. I made the decision that I was making a mess of the my. I decided that I had to do something different. That was the beginning of my finding my way back to the Lord.
Today Jesus is my light and my salvation!! He and His gospel and His grace have changed me to a new person. He is what filled that empty spot inside of me. He and His gospel are my light today in the dark world. He guides me to where I need to be and go. What I have to do is listen to Him and His spirit.I have finally recognized Him for who and what He is and accepted all of the many blessings that He wants to give me!!
One of the discussion/journaling questions on one of the study materials that I am using is “When might God send you to bear witness of Jesus Christ”? I thought I would share my answer here. These days God tends to expects me to be ready to bear witness of Jesus Christ at any time that the opportunity becomes available. Whether that be in church, to my grandchildren at home, to a friend when we are chatting, just whenever the opportunity becomes available! I love that I have come to that place in my life. I don’t have to be wearing my missionary badge or be at church to be a witness of Jesus Christ. I can and should be able to witness of my Savior at any time and any place that the subject come up.
verses 19 – 28 are about John the Baptist’s mission. In verse 23, John is not just telling them who he is, but he is also inviting them to listen. They have now received a message from one sent by God. (from worksheets from the Red Headed Hostess)
verses 29 – 34 are when John introduces Jesus as the Lamb of God.
verses 35 – 42 John the Beloved, Andrew and Peter follow Christ. “Come & See” is such a great invitation because no one is telling me what to believe. They want me to see and experience it for myself. I love this. It is like when the missionaries ask someone to read and pray about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. They are not asking anyone to take their word for it, they are inviting the person go get a witness of their own. I love that I have been able to learn and grow “grace to grace” by doing just that. I have read, studied, prayed received a witness, then moved on and done it again over and over. I have been doing this for more than 5 years now and I have learned so very much! When I became active again in 2013 I had a testimony that God existed, that the Book of Mormon was scripture and that the Lord wanted me to go back to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Today my testimony has grown so very much. I won’t include it here right now because need to get on with the notes from this lesson. But it has grown by leaps and bound, grace to grace, line upon line, precept upon precept.
There is a great “teaching moment” in the stuff from the Red Headed Hostess.
In verse 42 we can learn about an important Christlike quality. When Christ meets Peter, He makes Peter feel very important. Christ knew that Peter had an important role to fill and what He says to Peter in this moment likely had a huge impact on Peter. He says, “thou shalt be called Cephas.” Christ gives Peter a name, which means “stone.” How would you feel if the Savior called YOU that? A stone is firm, strong, and constant. What a powerful name to be given! How do you think Peter felt about himself in this moment?In the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet it says this, “Speak kindly and positively about others. Choose not to insult others or put them down, even in joking” (For the Strength of Youth, Language, emphasis added).
What can we do to become more Christlike in this area of our lives?
Do our words lift others up?
Do our words make others feel stronger?
Do our words help others become who they are meant to become?
What can you do to improve in this area?
I think this is important enough for me to look at these things in my own journaling and I thought you might be interested in them too.
verses 43 – 51: I don’t know that I realized that “Peter” was a nickname given by Jesus. I thought his name was “Simon Peter” and he just went by Peter. Having his name that Jesus gave him being the one that followed him down through history is a great thing! And then verse 47, I would love to be known as “one with no guile” that is such a great compliment.
David Butler and Emily Belle Freeman brought out the significance of Nathaniel and the Fig tree from verses 47 – 49. When Jesus told him that He had seen him “under the fig tree” and at that point Nathaniel knew that He was the “Son of God”! They asked “what is your fig tree moment? When we knew that Jesus was the Son of God and that He knew you intimately? I decided to share one of mine with you, my blog audience: the 2nd time that I went to the temple after I got my temple recommend back. ( I got it back in Sept of 2014 but wasn’t able to go to the temple until around June of 2015) So this would have been around Sept or Oct of 2015 after I had changed into my white dress, I looked in the mirror and for the first time ever, I felt “beautiful” and not the world’s definition of beautiful, but that God was telling me that He loved me just exactly as I was right there, I was His, I was His daughter and He was my father. The feeling is almost to wonderful to put words to. But I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was, and that Jesus was and that they loved me beyond anything I could comprehend. I was able to carry part of that feeling home with me and I have been able to remember it in tough times. I know that the Lord is mine and I know that I am His!!