Old Testament Reading Schedule

After completing our Stake Presidency’s challenge to read the 5 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, 3 Nephi) by September 1st, 2005, and President Hinckley’s challenge to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, I’ve decided to issue myself a challenge. In light of the fact that we are studying the Old Testament this year in Sunday School and the fact that it is the only book of scripture I have yet to completely read, I’m going to challenge myself to read the entire Old Testament by the end of the year. My wife is going to do it with me, which will be a fun experience.

I found it useful to track my daily progress with an excel spreadsheet for the other two goals, so I’ve created this spreadsheet to help me with this goal.

Explanation:
The spreadsheet simply lists the books in the Old Testament with the number of chapters in each book. (I find it easier to track my progress by chapters rather than pages.) In the box next to it, list the number of chapters you have read in each book. The box on the right will display how many chapters you’ve read, how many are remaining, how many days are left, and, most importantly, how many chapters you have to average per day in order to finish by your goal date (you may change the goal date if you wish).

Click the image below to see a larger view:
OT Reading Chart

Click Here to Download the spreadsheet.

Pre-mortal Life Doctrine Taught in 2nd Century

A 2nd century Alexandrian Scholar named Origen (185-253 A.D.) was one of the last Christian writers to teach about the pre-mortal existence of man. His writings of it are close to the truth, but with slight variation. He taught that we all lived with Father in Heaven in purity, and that we all made choices, and the devil rebelled against God and was thrust out. We all fell from our pure state except Christ. The most wicked became devils, the more righteous became angels, and the rest of us were sent to earth with a physical body as a punishment. But God so loved us, that he sent His son down to this earth to give us a second chance. Interesting idea, eh? It’s amazing how easily truths can be distorted over time if there’s not revelation and a living prophet to teach correct doctrine.

The Roots of “Falling Away”

The “falling away” described by Paul in our King’s James version of the Bible has an original Greek meaning that is quite different from the gradual, natural drifting into apostasy that we usually interpret the phrase to mean. The falling away in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 comes from the Greek word apostasia, which is also where we get our English word apostasy from. It is constructed from two Greek roots: the verb histemi, “to stand,” and the preposition apo, “away from.”

The word means “rebellion,” “mutiny,” “revolt,” or “revolution,” and is quite a bit stronger than we normally think. And while the great apostasy did happen gradually, people certainly did rise up against early Christianity and seek to replace its leaders and put to silence its doctrines (as in a mutiny or revolution). There was an apostasy, and for most of the world, it still continues today. (see also Acts 20:29-31, 2 Timothy 4:2-3, 2 Peter 2:1-3, Revelation 13:1-9)

Little People

My mother-in-law gave our daughter an early Christmas present last night. It was a Little People Nativity Set. I think part of the reason was to keep the grand-kids from playing with her fragile nativity set. Early this morning my daugher had it all set up on the family room floor with everyone staring at baby Jesus.

Little People Nativity

I noticed while trying to find a picture of the nativity set online that it was sold out already on Amazon. That’s pretty impressive! But if you’re dying to add to your children’s Little People collection. You can always give them some Mini Missionaries. 😀

Believing Christ

While reading this morning, I came across the following verses:

2 Nephi 25:23-26

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
24 And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.
25 For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.
26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

This reminded me of a book I read recently by the title of Believing Christ. This book explains clearly the role of Christ and our absolute need for his atonement. It makes things so clear and more than anything gives a person hope. While discussing this book a with a woman I know, she said this was the book that brought her back in to the church. Before reading it, she didn’t feel she had the strength to come back.

If you’ve ever felt that you’ve done something so terribly wrong that you cannot be forgiven, you don’t believe Christ when He says He can heal you. You may believe in Him. You may believe that He can forgive others, because certainly other people have not done things as terrible as you feel you have done. Well, this thinking is wrong. He can forgive you. He said He will forgive you. You must believe Him when He says this.

No matter how good or righteous you may feel anther person may be, they need the atonement just as much as you do – daily even. As verse 23 states, it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do. Ultimately, if not for the Savior’s grace, we are lost and fallen and no amount of righteousness can restore us until we accept the atonement of Christ and ask for forgiveness.

Faith of a Child / Childlike Faith

[The following is the talk I gave in church yesterday]

As far as
the gospel is concerned, faith is a very broad subject. There have been many
talks given on the subject of faith. Faith has always been one of my favorite
and most intriguing topics because, without faith, we can do nothing [D&C 8:10],
and without faith we cannot please God [Heb 11:6], and without faith there
cannot be any hope [Moroni 7:42].

According to the prophet Joseph Smith, “Faith is … the
moving cause of all action in … intelligent beings.” In other words, we would
not do anything in life if we did not have faith that it would lead to some sort
of desired outcome. Think about it. Would you drive through green light if you
did not have faith that the lights for cars moving in the opposite direction
were red, and that cars moving in that direction would stop for the red light?
On a more spiritual level, would you read your scriptures if you did not have
faith that doing so would lead you to greater spiritually? Would you pray if you
did not believe there was a God, and that He was listening? That may be a loaded
question, because there may be many instances in which we pray without faith.

Continue reading Faith of a Child / Childlike Faith