God's Will
Week 25 is scheduled for study June 12-18, 2023. This week let’s rethink what happened in Gethsemane, what it means to become converted, and the joy that comes from living God’s will.

Day 1

Take your time reading Luke 22 and John 18 this week. Ponder and pray about what you read. Doing this can give the Spirit opportunity to bear witness to your heart that the scriptures are true.

Luke 22:31-34, 54-62; John 18:17-27 – Conversion is an ongoing process.

I wrote this day’s lesson and realized it was longer than I like to see as just a daily lesson, so I separated it out as its own article. I recommend you click the link below to read it.

Peter’s Conversion – Our Conversion

Day 2

Take your time reading Luke 22 and John 18 this week. Ponder and pray about what you read. Doing this can give the Spirit opportunity to bear witness to your heart that the scriptures are true.

Luke 22:39-46 – The Savior suffered for me in Gethsemane.

By the time I had written the introduction to today’s lesson I had an article on my hands. I recommend you read it then come back and do the exercises in the manual on page 98.

The Savior Suffered For Me

Day 3

Take your time reading Luke 22 and John 18 this week. Ponder and pray about what you read. Doing this can give the Spirit opportunity to bear witness to your heart that the scriptures are true.

John 18:28-38 – The Savior’s “kingdom is not of this world.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s earthly arm of his kingdom. So how is his kingdom not of this world? I think the operative word in that first sentence is the word “arm.” Jesus rules over his Saints on earth through the organization of the church, but his kingdom is not of earthly aim. Its purpose is to prepare us for the eternities that follow earth life. Once the Judgment is over with, and the plan of salvation has all been fulfilled, as far as we know about it to this point, our Father in Heaven will turn over everything Christ has made to be his (that is Jesus’s). All things made by Christ are currently owned by God, our Father. After the judgement He will give it all to Jesus, who has promised to share it all with those who are faithful to him in mortality.

When Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king, he was thinking small potatoes. In Pilate’s mind a kingdom only lasts as long as its ruler. When Jesus responded that his kingdom is not of this world, he had in mind the control of the universe. Slight difference in perspective there.

Too often we think like Pilate, assuming that only what we can currently see and experience is what is real. Jesus continually tries to get us to see, think, and act as eternal beings. We need to be planning for the long term, not just for the here and now. The heavenly kingdom we belong to in the form of Christ’s church is a necessity that helps to govern us today, while assisting to prepare us for living in the eternities. It is up to each of us to keep our focus in mind when we make even mundane decisions in life. Are we living for the pleasures or needs of the here and now or are we living to prepare ourselves for the eternities to come? The choice is always ours to make.

FHE/Personal Study

Luke 22:42 – Not my will …

42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

I read this verse like I have always read it. It rolled off the tongue of my mind and fell flat on the floor. Where is the challenge, the difficulty, the suffering, the sacrifice? Think about it. When we have a trial, a really difficult trial, it can become all consuming. I remember a time when life was so hard for me that I was praying every day for God to take me. Nothing was as desirable to me as death at that point. I just didn’t see how much longer I could bear the suffering and sorrow. I was wholly engulfed in my own dilemma. No one else wanted to hear about it. I knew that. They had their own trials to deal with. But I couldn’t talk about anything but what I was going through. It really was all consuming to me. I was fully aware that no one wanted to talk to me, because I had become a one note melody and could only talk about this one thing.

When you read verse 42 above, do you feel any depth of sorrow or sense any real suffering from those words? I don’t. But that is just my own weakness speaking. I have to remind myself that those words were spoken in the middle of his suffering for my sins. I can hardly carry my own burdens sometimes, let alone the burdens of all God’s children everywhere. Perhaps I need to rethink what depth of feeling is hidden behind these words.

The suffering Jesus experienced was not forced upon him. It was voluntary. His choice. Yet even in the middle of the intensity of his pain and anguish, when he turned to God to see if there was any way to get some relief from the heaviness of the burden he had accepted to bear, his request was tempered with the acknowledgment that he would willingly abide by his Father’s will. There was no insistence that his own will be followed. This had been the pattern of Christ’s entire life. Everything was about doing his Father’s will. Doing God’s will brought him joy, and the promise of joy eternally in the next life. Now, in the middle of his greatest sorrow, was not the time to abandon his sole source of future joy.

My problem with the words of this verse is that they sound glib, casual, easy. But they were anything but that when they were spoken by Jesus in the garden. When I read the first half of the sentence I imagine him in excruciating suffering and pain, seeking any kind of relief available to him. Adding those words, “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” would have taken great resolve and effort to get out.

No one can convince me that the atoning sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf was in ANY way easy or comfortable. To feel the pain, suffering, betrayal, guilt, and whatever else he was made to suffer in his payment for our sins, to force himself to concede that even then he would live his life by God’s will, and not his own, took supreme effort and a perfect desire to be obedient to his Father in all things.

Improving Personal Study

Study the words of Latter-day prophets and apostles.

Many of us may consider ourselves in some way exceptional to the general populace. I find that those who feel this way don’t usually read what I write. Those who read my articles are those humble souls who are seeking help wherever they can find it. They are open to suggestions and different opinions. Most of my friends are of the opinion that they know enough that they don’t need to seek any further than what they have learned on their own.

My opinion is that as much as anyone may know about spiritual things, there is something special about those who have been called to testify of Christ and to teach others of his teachings. They have a perspective and way of thinking about the various parts of the plan of salvation that is simply higher and better than my own way of thinking. As much as I think I may comprehend the gospel of Christ, those Christ has called to represent him know more.

When we take the time to listen to and study the words of the living witnesses of Jesus, the Christ, our lives will change for the better. How can they not?

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NT25-2023 – Not My Will But Thine Be Done