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Aloha! I am Kara Lynn “Kai” Sanders. I am originally from Heaven. I know I am a daughter of God and am directed by Him to do His work according to His purposes. I am humbled by that realization. Anyone who asks knows I consider myself just a visitor here (to earth) and am just trying to make my way back Home, to my heavenly Home. I was born in Connecticut and lived there for many years before moving to Hawaii. I tell people I was raised in Hawaii because that is where I was “raised” to a new level of knowledge about God, about myself and about the world around me. It is where I started to become a child who would “serve the world.” After four and a half years of tutelage I returned to Connecticut for about six months. I ended up stranded in North Carolina en route to visit a friend in the Georgia prison system. It apparently was where I needed to be because I officially “grew up” to where God needs me to be to do what He needs me to do.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Going Back...3 Nephi 24:7-18 - THE REAL MEANING OF TITHING

3 Nephi 24

Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. But ye say: Wherein shall we return?

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say: Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 

1And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the fields, saith the Lord of Hosts.

12 And all nations shall call you blessed, for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of Hosts.

13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say: What have we spoken against thee?

14 Ye have said: It is vain to serve God, and what doth it profit that we have kept his ordinances and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of Hosts?

15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard; and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.

17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

18 Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
 
I am so grateful for the process of writing scriptures out.  I learn so much that is too often missed by reading alone.  I was only going to write verse 7 and then jump to verses 13-18 but as I started writing, what I originally thought was a random subject stuck between a question and its answer is really...it's a HUGE part of the answer!  See being taught all the time that tithing had to do with money is deceiving because the way it's stuck between these verses would seem the Lord is "greedy" and upset that we're not paying Him back a little but when He gives us everything.

BUT that's not all...in verse 7 the Lords says "return unto me", then talks about tithing...  Wait, go back.  God talks about being robbed when questioned with, "Wherein shall we return?"  The Lord has been robbed because He DOES give us everything, not just money!  We are cursed, separated from Him because of that, way more separated than we realize or admit.  He tells us how to resolve that in a step-by-step fashion: tithes and offerings.

See thinking about tithing as money alone is truly misleading because if we will "return" back to God a tithe of money only then we are still robbing Him because admittedly He gives us EVERYTHING!!!  We have to realize the real tithe He is seeking for, where we really return unto Him is with our time and our talents, yes, but mostly with our heart where our will is found.  If we live lives submitting to the will of the Father and then utilizing our time and talents to fulfill what He requires, then He will have "meat" in His house.  God will have people of substance in His house, wherever that house may be: the temple, the chapel or the street.  The street?  Yes, the street!  See tithing all of who we are gives God the ability to put people on the street to do His work.  When we don't pray or study our scriptures or truly tithe, not only are we robbing Him but we are not returning to Him but drawing ourselves further away, contrary to what we believe. For all He does for us...that's surely robbery ESPECIALLY when we have the audacity to ask for more when we pray.

The Lord needs "meat", people of substance, not adults who are still drinking milk from the gospel table after years of apparent gospel study.  Think about it, when He is about to use us of course the windows of heaven are opened to us.  And the devourer passes our harvest by.  That harvest is those people we have been led to witness to.  The scriptures don't say "by their fruits ye shall know them" by accident.  It's CLEARLY synonymous or connected to the parable of the talents.  That's what made me think of tithing being about more than money actually.

Most people say the parable of the talents (a form of $) is really about our talents or gifts; magnifying and multiplying them.  But I've also heard it's really about money!  It's about investing wisely and handling our money correctly.  That's why the message of tithing, which most people assume is about money, turned into a message about talents for me.  Because if we can say money is synonymous with ability in the parable of the talents, then the same must be true with tithing.  Makes so much sense if we use a common phrase today: time is money, literally and figuratively. 

The time we give to God should be synonymous or equal to the money we give to God.  Before we enter the temple, the covenant is tithing, after it is consecration...of everything.  (added 9/16/2013)

I also feel like this is striking me is because the Sunday School lesson we had on the Law of Consecration is still on my mind.  The one thing I didn't say is that the law of Consecration is a preparatory law.  It's not a replacement to the law of Consecration.  In fact for those who have been to the temple we are under the law of consecration now even if The Church is not requiring it.  Our covenant is not with The Church, it's with the Lord.  The law of tithing is to prepare us for that whether we're talking money or otherwise.  If we cannot tithe our time, talents, gifts, abilities or most importantly our hearts, we will not be faithful in the Lord and He cannot be faithful to us.  We are NOT faithful in the Lord and it's obvious we are not honoring the covenant we made in the temple.  It's evident that is what is going on...SAD!

People are digging into the earth (the world) and burying their talents there.  OUCH!  The Lord is not pleased.  WOW!  It fascinates me that the Lord kinda defends Himself in the next couple of verses because He says the people's words have been "stout against me".  I imagine these are His chosen He is talking about, the HOI.  Stout means "determined, bold, brave"; "forceful : powerful"; "staunch : firm".  We speak against the Lord boldly because we look at our situation and think that God is not mindful because, in ours eyes, the proud are "happy".  And those that "work wickedness are set up" in high places with big bank accounts and worldly gain.  And "they that tempt God are even delivered" to the lives of affluence.

BUT as the Lord has stated...He that exalts Himself shall be abased.  Because the Lord is letting them do what they do, ignoring them really because He is hearkening unto those who fear Him and are gathered to speak often with one another.  These are they who God remembers and their names are recorded in the book of remembrance.  For surely what they did not receive in this life they will attain in the next and they will be spared, "as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."  In that day, those who mocked and.or spoke stoutly against the Lord will CLEARLY be able to discern between those who were righteous and served God and those who did not.  And there it is!  WOW!

I calculated tithing on time.  It's 144 minutes per day, 2 hours and 44 minutes.  I get it.  If we cannot live this law, how will we be able to consecrate everything?  I see Father, I see.  I see clearly.  Prepare the space for me to speak this word if that's Your desire, when it's Your desire.  When it's Your time, I will speak with Love and sharpness.  Thank You for declaring it to me in the same way.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Originally written Tuesday, April 23, 2013

1 Nephi 3:24-25 - Possession

1 Nephi 3

24 And it came to pass that we went in unto Laban, and desired him that he would give unto us the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, for which we would give unto him our gold, and our silver, and all our precious things.

25 And it came to pass that when Laban saw our property, and that it was exceedingly great, he did lust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain our property.

I am grateful for this verse clearing up a great mystery that has plagued my heart over this past year.  This verse is giving me the words to use and great clarity on what ails the world.  Laban, who has the records in his possession, obviously does not see the value of them EXCEPT that they are in his possession.  And as the old adage goes, "possession is nine-tenths of the law."  So like many people today, they feel that possessing a set of scriptures is "nine-tenths" of God's law too.  It doesn't matter who possesses them, LDS or non, the belief is possession will get you 9ths of the way into heaven.  That's a slight stretch and obvious exaggeration but it feels too close to reality.  Considering the time taken to compile the sacred writings by the authors, abridgers and translators; then recognizing we don't have all of them, we should each have more than a casual relationship with the scriptures.  

Speaking of the Book of Mormon alone, we have a thousand year record on 520 pages of paper and live maybe 75 years, on the high end.  We are told in the book that it is the lesser portion of things and still you have to wonder, what value have we placed on it by devoting time to it in relation to the devotion we give to the daily activities of life?  This is not Steven King or Danielle Steele so I can understand it may not be read with the same kind of fervor.  But it deserves FAR more than to just be in our possession! That's the first thing!

The second thing is king Laban's behavior towards Lehi's belongings...after a quick side note.  Lehi was BIG BALLIN' in 'Salem.  No wonder the boys were upset about leaving.  For them to even have the audacity to believe they could buy the plates means they had muchos dolares.  FOUR men carrying belongings to Laban to attempt to purchase them is A LOT Of merchandise.  And they left it ALL behind for the unknown!  Where there is money and/or wealth there denotes a level of notoriety, power and influence.  So Lehi wasn't just any old joker.  He had status!  No wonder the boys struggled because it's likely they had status too, by virtue of association.  Adds a new dimension or twist to the story...

Now back to Laban's side of the story... the one word I'm intrigued by is lust.  See... when I think of lust the FIRST thing I think of sex.  But really lust is another word for covet. You can lust after more than a person, this is evident by this scripture.  And it's evident to most people, I just don't think they consider the word lust outside of sex much anymore.  Not only that but it is a reflection of what ails the world!  A lust for money.  The greed of money which is the root of all evil.  WOW!

Laban kicked the brothers out the first time they asked for the plates, likely because of the possession factor.  Giving them up meant he no longer had power in that situation which means less power when people are searching for more.  We can suppose that is true since when they DID bring something he still kicked out the brothers but had something to show for it as well.  From what we see here we can suppose Laban had no thought about the plates.  He could care less about them really.  He had them.  They were locked up.  And to get to them people would have to go through him and that's POWER!  That was his rush--POWER!

With more money comes more POWER!  And as Puffy once said, "mo' problems" too!  And this is no different in Laban's case.  The plates were of infinite worth to Lehi, to Nephi and most importantly to God.  Since it was apparent Laban wasn't for them, any of them, then he was against them and he would have to be eliminated.  He was the middle man and he would have to go.  I got it!

Now how does this relate to me?  Well... my great frustration is that most every time I speak with people about community development and the plans I have their big question is about money.  "How are you going to finance it?"  "Where's the money coming from?" etc.  And these are the people who call themselves "believers".  "Believers in what?" is my question.

Nowhere in the scriptures does God ever need money.  He requires an offering and a tithe because PEOPLE believe they need money.  When they show their obedience by giving up the money, He shows them HIS ability to take care of them.  Isn't that what Lehi did?  Except Lehi was beyond tithing.  He was living the law of consecration.  He gave up everything except what the Lord told him to keep.  It seems this has been my journey too.

I didn't expect to be writing about this but it's also a reflection of my walk: giving up everything and/or having everything taken from me.  Learning not to lust and covet money but rely on God to provide me with His wealth.   Moving forward it seems I will have to minimize my frustration with people who say they believe in God but need money first.  That's one of the reasons why I got pissed with H**** when we were talking because he wasn't really interested in keeping a gratitude journal to then met with me about how to earn money BUT he was interested if I could give him the money.  D*** was the same way!

"Great plan..." he admitted.  BUT because I never had a chance to show him the way to earn money and he wouldn't take the time to see for himself he wouldn't believe.  Instead he goes back to be with his family and comes up with his own two year plan to earn money to "help me"!  You are a man!  I don't need YOUR plan when I've got God's.  He wasn't helping me.  Not when I'm on God's timetable and He's saying MOVE.  And he's not helping me because he is only trying to provide wealth for himself when my objective is for people to work together to provide wealth for each other.  Not only that but he conjured up HIS own scheme...that's not God's!

These men are my Laban's for two reasons.  1) Lusting after money and 2) casting me out because I don't have it.  In my case, I didn't flee.  They did.  They just cast me out of their lives and that's OK by me.  You will be back, one way or another.  It's that simple.  All in God's good time.

I've been struggling with this money issue for so long it seems.  The challenging part...or the reason why it's so challenging is because of what the church, the Christian religion as a whole, has taught about tithing.  Tithing is not about money.  It never has been, at least not entirely.  That corrupt teaching is making my job extremely hard and is polluting Father's house because people have hearts far from God but have money for the collection plate or tithing envelope.  They think this is acceptable before God and it's not!  God doesn't need money, He needs disciples.  This reminds me of Elder Holland's Conference talk in October 2012 called "The First Great Commandment".

After Peter rushes from the sea after the nets fill with fish, Elder Holland speculates what Jesus must have said to Peter as he breathlessly reached Him.  Among the thoughts Elder Holland expresses, one is "Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish?"  Is it not the same with money?  When the Lord needed to pay Caesar's tax He opened the mouth of a fish and took out a coin.  Caesar got paid.  And Jesus didn't even have a job!  Anyways...the money focus can be so frustrating.  If it is for me, how much more so is it for God?  I get it!  WOW!  This is not where I expected this to take me today but I'm grateful for all I've learned.  I'm focusing on my faith: my faith to endure, my faith to overcome, my faith to lead, and my faith to follow.  I give praise.  Thank You Father.  Let's do this!

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

1 Nephi 3:15-16 - Keeping the Commandments

 1 Nephi 3

15 But behold I said unto them that: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.

16 Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the commandments of the Lord.

I am grateful for the direction these verses provide.  I am here in Raleigh for a reason and I should make NO plans to leave until I have accomplished what the Lord sent me here to do.  What more is there to say...?  EXCEPT..."let [me] be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord."  Please!

Let me not get me.  Help me stay focused on my faith!  I claim that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


1 Nephi 2:20-23 - A Ruler and A Teacher

1 Nephi 2

20 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.

21 And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.

22 And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren.

I am grateful for these personal messages to me so I can better understand my journey and my messages.  Personally speaking, I know that my choice land, my promised land is Africa.  I'm only going there by keeping the commandments, God's personal commandments, for my life.  That's all I want to do anyway!  I know I'm prospering in the way Christ does and I know the lord will provide funds, too, as I need them.  Then it talks about my "brethren" again.  

This message I feel is directly related to my brothers of African ancestry, the men I'm seeing myself engaged with in conversation daily.  It's interesting that the lord tells Nephi that when his brothers rebel against him they will be cut off from God, His blessings, His Spirit, His favor, etc.  Why?  This seems like such a harsh consequence for ignoring their little brother.  Well...think about it!  If God sends someone to you with a message especially when you've been praying for it OR when it's been something in your heart, and your reject the message and/or the messenger then you are rejecting Him who sent them.  This is how this feels...way too often!  

Ohhhh...the"easy" stuff can be swallowed like a drink of cold water on a hot day.  But the stuff that means you have to change or is outside your realms of imagination because you've never heard it before is more like trying to swallow sand in the desert.  In those instances you've got to sit back, relax and experiment upon the word.  If it comes from God He will give you favor and confirm the word, just like He did for Nephi.  He confirms it to the mind and to the heart!  But this cannot come if you don't wanna know and my brothers act like they don't wanna know.  And that is hard for me to swallow, like the sand in the desert!

I can understand why Nephi is so grieved because his brothers could know for themselves.  Interestingly enough Nephi is also promised that he would be a ruler and a teacher over his brethren inasmuch as he keeps the commandments.  I see this as true in my life too but really wish it wasn't.  It is such a heavy responsibility.  Since it is though I pray and am working for it to not remain that way.  I want to dispense knowledge in a way it can be applied and then taught again without it being corrupted.  That's what Jesus wanted and it's what He did.  It's how He taught.  

The only reason His message became corrupt is because the people who heard it listened in their corrupt state of mind and passed it on in that same state thereby corrupting the message. It was no longer the message Jesus originally spoke but a version void of the real meaning.  As it has continued through the centuries, modified by corrupt men and women, people gather whatever meaning they want from the words Jesus spoke and fit them into the way they want to live their lives.  The true way to live the gospel is by learning God's ways and His meaning of His words to live the life He has ordained.  This the essence of eternal life, God's life!

We can claim our inheritance in this life and really we are supposed to as we submit to God's will.  If we are living His life, eternal life here, it simply continues when we enter the estate.  Oh to get my brothers to understand would be a blessing.  And even more so with my sisters.  One step at a time...  I just want no one to rebel.  I just want to be that teacher only ruling over myself, teaching others how to rule where they are called and nowhere else.  I'm not trying to be more than I am.  I just want to be who God needs me to be.  That's been more than I anticipated but I've asked to be used so He's going to qualify me so I can be worthy to be used.  I'm willing to do that; to go through the cleansing, purifying process to live God's life and be used for His purposes. 

I know Nephi felt the same way.  That's why I declare, as he did, that I have many afflictions through the course of my days but know God's goodness ALL of them.  Because I have submitted to His will for my life and tried to show God that my mind Loves Him by studying His word the life of His Son, then mysteries have been unfolded to me and I rejoice.  I pray I am worthy to lead others to do, feel and be the same. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

1 Nephi 2:16-19 - Grieved For and By My Brothers

1 Nephi 2

16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.

17 And I spake unto Sam, making known unto him the things which the Lord had manifested unto me by his Holy Spirit. And it came to pass that he believed in my words.

18 But, behold, Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto my words; and being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts I cried unto the Lord for them.

19 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart.

I am grateful that it has been a few days since I've written because that extra time really helped me to understand this journey I'm on and how I'm feeling based on these verses.  I'm grateful for Nephi's honesty because he shares, indirectly, how there was a potential for him to rebel but because of his greater desires to know what his father knew he took his feelings to the Lord.  This was no idle convo either.  What Nephi doesn't tell us, the Lord does!  

This obviously isn't just a spur of the moment decision or one make without thought or preparation.  Nephi was really going deep with the Lord.  The words he uses is "cry unto the Lord".  This is not casual.  I've seen this wording before.  Enos uses forms of the same words "I cried unto Him (Enos 1:4)" after introducing us to his struggle..."wrestle" before the Lord.  This tells us what Nephi doesn't.

He was apparently torn.  What his father had been saying had been so distant previously, but now the words were much closer to home, affecting his person on a deeper level, more personal level than ever before.  Plus having to make the decision to follow the Lord's command and depart into the wilderness OR stay home in Jerusalem, where everything was familiar to him, would shake even the most valiant, fledgling soul.  So he cried unto the Lord.  

But...he did not do this, as I said, in the spur of the moment.  He had been diligently searching before his call to enter the wilderness.  He had been attempting to hearken unto the words of his father and know the true and living God for himself.  So now God was getting up close and far more personal than He'd been before.  This move likely meant to NEVER return to that which was familiar, constantly submitting to the word of God to make your every move.  So it had to be as much of a wrestle for Nephi, at his young age, as it was for Enos, who we suppose to have been far more mature.  Their stories unfold very similarly.  Because Nephi's heart is softened so he could believe...continue to believe all the words of his father.  Once that happens his concern is for his brothers.  

This is my story!

I came to believe in Father's words and His mission for my life as a daughter of Eve and a help meet to "Adam".  For me that means I'm to "help" my brothers "meet" God's expectations for their lives.  Now, I've done what I could, where I could.  Not any of them believe like Sam did.  And that's my challenge.  Most of them are like Laman and Lemuel, their hearts are hard.  They murmur because they don't know the dealings of God.  They don't understand them.  And they don't want to.  They think they already know it all...or know enough.  

I, like Nephi, am grieved.  I just finished fasting for them and me.  The men in my life were a major component of my fast because they won't believe.  Their hearts are softened towards me in some kinda way but not in the most important way and that grieves me.  I'm gonna continue to press forward though.  Their blessings are tied to mine, I know this, so I'm definitely gonna press through.  It's just frustrating at times.  I'm not going to let my brothers stand in the way of my faith, my righteousness or my blessings.  They will catch on one day.  

In the meantime I will continue to be diligent towards God and HIS purposes for my life with a lowliness of heart.  What more can I do but wait for my Sam experience?  And I know they will come...ONLY in God's good time and no sooner.  I'm staying willing in the meantime...willing to endure.  I claim that whole hearted-ly.   I Love my brothers.  Black men are my absolute weakness.  Not that I'm attracted to them sexually or anything like that, only Hassim (blush).  But I have this great Love, this great blessing of seeing them in their highest. I see them as God must have intended them to rise and be.  And as a daughter of Eve I feel a great responsibility to see them rise.  To awake and arise and put on their beautiful garments...  Love my brothers as if they were blood.  Technically I guess they are, being HOI men and me being an HOI woman.  I claim their deliverance and mine as I continue forward in faithfulness.  Thank You Father.  

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

1 Nephi 2:12-14 - Murmuring

1 Nephi 2

12 And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.

13 Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets. And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.

14 And it came to pass that my father did speak unto them in the valley of Lemuel, with power, being filled with the Spirit, until their frames did shake before him. And he did confound them, that they durst not utter against him; wherefore, they did as he commanded them.

I am grateful to have this significant set of verses contrasting the difference between Nephi, Lehi, and Laman, Lemuel.  When the elders were holding a Book of Mormon class last year (Fall 2012) as I studied for class God revealed His explanation for why people murmur.  It is written plain as day here in verse 12.  You cannot miss the meaning if you know what you are looking for.  Sadly, I missed it for 23 years.  I imagine that is why people still murmur, even and especially those who profess their belief in God.  Apparently they do not recognize that when they murmur it's because they "[know] not the dealings of God"!  That same God they profess to believe in.  Think of Nephi's opening statement to the Book of Mormon.  It contained an acknowledgement of his challenges, but it quickly recognized the favor of God.  It even contains a short discourse on the difference in time between afflictions, which were many and throughout the course of his days.  BUT... the goodness of God...was found in ALL his days.  No murmuring there.  

And what about Lehi?  He saw the destruction of Jerusalem amongst the visions that were opened to his view yet he praised God.  He didn't praise Him for the destruction, he praised God because he knew the dealings of God and knew the destruction didn't come from Him directly.  He knew the destruction of Jerusalem would come because of the increasing wickedness of the people that would cause God to remove His power, goodness and mercy.  Then the people would destroy each other.  In the case for Jerusalem the people would come from without and without God's protection due to their wickedness they would be destroyed.  

Now that is historically speaking.  But really this is intensely personal for me and it should be for everyone in the church. Because whenever I see Jerusalem I think of my home ward and the boundaries it serves.  It makes me think of how people can be so corrupt at times setting the stage for the spiritual destruction of others.  This is evident in unhappy familial relationships, the ever-pervading gossip of unfulfilled peoples and the lack of discipleship, true discipleship which can only be reflected in our studying of the Master and following His teachings.  

You cannot, by dictionary definition, call yourself a disciple of Christ if you are not first a student of His life actions and teachings and second, one who perpetuates the same.  Most people are not....  This is setting the stage for the spiritual destruction of Jerusalem (literally and figuratively) because those who know the truth should, above all, be endeavoring to be disciples and should be putting themselves in positions to speak up for the Lord.  They should expect the persecution and ridicule as Lehi did because we have the stories to teach us.

Now with Lehi we have accounts of him being persecuted in and out of his own household.  It surely affected him as a parent!  As the wickedness of his children cuts deep into his heart, he was able to exercise some control over the situation though.  By allowing Laman and Lemuel to experience the power of the Spirit through him he was going to make sure they followed the Lord's way hoping it eventually would become theirs.  BUT as we know until every person takes on a personal mission to study and show themselves approved before God and develop a personal, deep and abiding relationship with Father, Son and Spirit, it does not matter how many experiences with Spirit they have if they are always outside of their own desire for them.  

This reminds me so much of so many, too many people who smile in your face but stab you in your back.  This happens when you are spoken of unfavorably or gossiped about when you are not around.  That shows a lack of character.  I imagine the worst is when you know you've said something they admit they were wanting, waiting or needing to hear but they never apply what you say!  They may be touched by the Spirit, endeavor to keep the commandments for the moment but forget about the long term.  That shows a lack of discipleship.  That's far worse than a lack a character ever will be in the eyes of God.

Without genuine, sincere repentance those same people will continue to walk in error or fall further in.  If I feel the sting of rejection, then how much more does Father feel it since they are His words spoke under the influence of Spirit?  How does the Savior feel since He died so there would be meaning behind the words that were expressed?  I imagine sadness.  I imagine wonder.  They knew when they spoke Their words they were clear.  I'm sure They wonder how those same words got so corrupted and the meaning messed up. 

Likely it's because people do not liken the word.  OR they liken themselves to the good parts of the story when truth be told we all in some way resemble the "bad" parts of the story.  I guarantee most people will look at these verses and discount their similarities to Laman and Lemuel especially because they are not trying to kill anyone and they believe in and serve God.  But let it be understood that these same people don't know their scriptures because regardless of how much you profess to Love and serve God if you murmur, SCRIPTURE says right here, you know not the dealings of God.  And the truth is, you're not trying to know either.  That's the first thing.  

The second thing is John taught that whoever hates his brother is a murderer.  Cuz see when God sees things, He sees things in black and white: wickedness and righteousness, Love and hate, truth and lies.  We add the shades of grey.  The commandment, the greatest commandment is to Love God and to Love others, essentially everyone, as you Love Him AND as you Love yourself.  The Love you have for yourself, God and others is the same exact kind of Love. 

The tragic thing about this commandment is it is true in all situations.  It is true whether people are aware of it, trying to live it or not.  That's likely why it's called the great commandment.  You can judge a person's Love of God by how they treat you.  It also tells you how they feel about themselves.  This gets tricky to assess if you don’t understand how it works but it’s true.  For instance…

I had an experience where I felt a particular person was worshipful in their attitude towards me.  This doesn’t mean they are worshipful in their attitude towards God, it actually means the opposite because they are seeking approval and validation from you instead of from God.  The reason why we would worship God is because of His glory, majesty, grandeur, etc.  He lavishes us with His attention when we do, whether we like it or not.  We know we can expect it though.  It’s really quite a beautiful thing.  He is the only One who deserves such an honor.  So when someone is worshipful in their behavior towards you then it also means their self-esteem is rooted in how the world views them, not God.  So they worship man in order to receive verbal praise.  

Another example is this person who allowed me and invited me to minister to them from the word for hours and hours after having been privy to a truly miraculous healing experience.  Feeling empowered by the Spirit, the day ended with feelings of camaraderie…at least on one end.  I’d had too many experiences with their double-mindedness that I didn’t even become blinded by their feelings of the moment.  I already knew they didn’t want to change for God and it took less than a week to confirm they wouldn’t.   Before the week was up this person had so twisted the word of God that they could justify their sins and live falsely under their self-assumed title of victim.  It was and continues to be disgusting as others support their behavior and allow them to walk a path out of favor with God.  The fact that they are without peace in their world is evidence of their level of favor because there is only one source of peace and that is the Prince of Peace.  He can only offer that solace if you are meek and lowly of heart, which represents a penitent nature. 

See... This person, like too many other people, believe they can live any kinda way they want and make up the gospel to justify their behavior.  In the end they will realize they have set the stage, laid the foundation, for their own destruction.  “If you Love me keep my commandments.”  We don’t get to pick and choose which ones.  And if we aren’t keeping the commandments or making a genuine attempt to do so we cannot profess to Love God, ourselves or His people, our literal brothers and sisters. 

This is where people will say or think "that’s impossible".  The only sufficient answer is “All things are possible through Christ which strengtheneth me.  (Philippians 4:13)"  That’s why Christ came!  He came to make it ALL possible or else He’s a liar!  If it wasn’t possible to attain everything He taught and/or Father commands, whether spoken Himself, through Christ, His apostles, prophets or disciples, then He is a liar.  They are liars.  BUT in God’s infinite wisdom Jesus called and eventually left behind some of the most heinous people to run His church specifically BECAUSE of where they came from and the context of their personal histories would so closely resemble our own!  This was so we could not only have a divine example in Jesus but also more realistic examples showing the process of perfection so we can see it CAN be done. Isn’t this what we experience with Nephi in just these 2 chapters alone so far?  And we also experience what happens when we don’t believe as the story of Laman and Lemuel unfolds before our eyes as well. 

Now all that was to say if you don’t Love your neighbor, having the same regard and care for him/her (1 Corinthians 12:25) as you do for God, you’re a murderer.  You’re killing their spirit with your private derision or open disdain.  That makes you more like Laman and Lemuel than anything else.  Is it worth it?  NOPE!  I’d suggest that keeping the commandments just because is far worse than walking away, especially if the commandments are kept half-heartedly.  It is better to claim ignorance and endeavor to know rather than to pretend you do know and be completely wrong in the end.  God KNOWS the difference and we’re accountable when all is revealed.  
I’m so grateful for the word of God and how the word is unfolded for me, to me, courtesy of the Word Himself.  Because of His relations with His prophets His words rule my life.  Thank You for that!  May I seek to know your dealings before I murmur against the experiences in my life.  May I hearken to the words of the prophets not just so I can follow unwillingly but so I can run the path you’ve placed before me and walk the stony road I’m called to trod and not be weary.  What an awesome gift!  And thank You for the work of Brother Joseph.  Praise to the man who communed with Thee Father; glory, honor and adoration to the Son who made even that possible.  Without You, where would I be?  Where would I be?  Not tryin to find out. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

1 Nephi 2:1-4 - In the Wilderness...

1 Nephi 2:1-4

For behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yes, even in a dream, and said unto him: Blessed art thou Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life.

And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.  

And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him.  

And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness.  and he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.  

I am so grateful for the opportunity to use the scriptures as a guide for my life.  I am grateful that my life unfolds in the scriptures.  I so needed this message yesterday (Wednesday, September 4) because I've been struggling with being here in Raleigh.  I Loved it when I first got here but now I miss CT A LOT!  And that's totally weird to me because I feel I have nothing and no one there.

It's little things like all the swearing I hear.  It. is. EVERYWHERE!  People cuss while talking in their normal tones of voice (without whispering) in the library.  On the basketball court, in the park, where little children are.  On the streets...  When people talk to me because it is such a part of their vocabulary...  I don't have to endure that in Connecticut.

I also don't have to witness the daily self-destructive habits of my brothers and sisters.  Here it is in my face EVERY single day.  In Connecticut I don't have to deal with men fawning all over me.  I've come to really be bothered by that because I don't want to be on anyone's pedestal.  It's not a compliment to me.  Above all things I want these men to Love God, not me...and they don't!  I can see it in the lust in their eyes and in their worshipful natures.  UGH!

So I was commanded to leave the land of my inheritance, Vernon, CT, because people were seeking my life, just like Lehi.  I know why.  It was for the same reasons Lehi had to bounce.  People don't want to repent or face the sins they allow to persist in their lives.  Now, they weren't trying to physically kill me...well...not al of them, maybe just one or two I can think of...but what it was is my spirit was dying there.  Love is a powerful tool for healing and that is why I am here.  I've got Love here but my spirit is being attacked in other ways now.  The difference is this time it's not personal so it's not as bad and I can recover more easily.  I imagine that's one of the reasons why I am here.

I know I am here on purpose.  I had permission and the transportation to come...door-to-door.  I left everything behind and took only the provisions I was directed to bring so...here I am.  Now what?  That is my question.  All I know is I can stop struggling with my doubts about being here so long and why I haven't earned the money I thought I was here to gain.  I can focus on my faith, as I receive another confirmation that I am in the right place.  I am here because of my obedience.  Now I just need to position myself to do the right thing by focusing on my faith in God and His purpose for my life, not my own.

I'm where I'm supposed to be.  It's a wilderness experience for me, even though it's familiar territory.  I'm a different person from the last time I was here so this feels new.  BUT God's got me.  This I know.  He REALLY does.  I Love that Man.  This is the additional confirmation that I've been seeking and He delivered.  I have my provisions and my family to.  Hassim is always with me, in my heart.  He is as much a part of this experience as if he were actually here with me.  It's time to be as Lehi and just give praise.  It's time to take things a little bit higher.  Time to go to the next level.  I'm deepening the depth of my soul while increasing the height of my flight and it feels good.

Thank You Father.  Whatever it is You have for me to do I'm willing.  I submit with patience and Love to follow this path You have me on.  Let me meat be Your will.  Let me feast on it until that is my only sustenance.  I Love You and thank You for trusting me and Loving me the way You do.  It is such an honor.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Originally written Thursday, September 5, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

1 Nephi 1:18-20 - Tender Mercies

1 Nephi 1:18-20

Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lahi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things when he had both seen and heard.

And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.

And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away.  But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whim he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.

I am grateful the Lord Loves me enough to remind me that he's got me when I'm struggling.  This is one of those moments.  ...I've been wondering what I've done wrong or what I'm doing wrong for things to feel so askew in my life right now.  I feel like I'm saying what I should say and doing what I should do without success, at least no tin tangible ways I can see.  It's discouraging.  When I first read these verses yesterday it made me think of K**** and D*** and others who don't believe or trust me, even as they say they do.  Those two in particular went on to persecute me when I corrected them even though I was offering them information on how to deepen their relationship with their Savior.  A relationship they both knew they were personally lacking.  Lehi went through the exact same thing...this is how you know people know they are wrong.

You're telling them about the potential for both good and evil.  But see people want to grasp the good feelings of living the good life believing they can live any kind of way and still lay hold  of it which means they are discounting their own evil.  When they do that they are mad at those who point it out, to the point of wanting to destroy the messenger.  K****, D***, T*****, T******, M*****,...Jersusalem.  Oh the people I could name...but really it comes back to Jerusalem.  Whether the individuals I could name or the people of the city, they are one in the same.  In the end, without repentance, they WILL perish.  That is not my prophesy, that is the word of God throughout time and in all ages.

I am so impressed by this story because once Lehi had the message he. was. on. it.  He did and said what he had to do.  Do I do that?  Am I doing that?

He brought the messages of salvation and destruction at the same time.  Which one do I hear?  Which one and I living up to?  Am I comfortable doing the same? 

The people were angry with the prophecies.  What is my reaction to my sin being revealed?  Do I respond like the Anti-Nephi-Lehis or the Ammonites?  How do I feel about my destruction being prophesied?  Am I truly repentant so I can lay claim to the Atonement, the whole purpose the Messiah came for?  Will I be among the redeemed?

There are two "characters" Nephi speaks of in these verses.  Lehi is one.  Jerusalem is the other.  Which one...who do I relate to most?  I've been in both roles.  In fact any wickedness in me causes me to be like Jerusalem if I'm doing nothing to repent.  I am trying to be more like Lehi:
* Rejoicing over God's power, goodness and mercy;
* Stepping out in faith to divulge the word of God to those I am called to minister to.

I have been and still am in too many ways rejected, stoned and cast out.  Attempts have been made to slay me, spiritually.  But I'm still here.  I'm still standing.  God's infinite tender mercies constantly deliver me and I know they will continue to...for me and for those I am called to serve and serve with.

Father, I just want to do Your work and be about Your business.  Qualify me according to the word of Your Son in D&C 4.  Help me to stay focused on my faith.  And please continue to deliver me from persecution to the safety and comfort of Your Son.  I pray to make this aspect of my journey another steppingstone even though it feels like a stumbling block.  I know You've got me.  I continue to claim that and Love you for it (among all the other things You do for me and simply for being God alone).  I pray for focus to be on my faith so that I may be mighty as Jesus in doing Thy will Father.  I pray to be more like Christ and less like me.  And I claim this in the sacred name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Originally written Wednesday, 9/4/2013

1 Nephi 1:14-15 - Great and Marvelous!

1 Nephi 1:14-15 ~

And it came to pass that when my father had read and seen many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as: Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty!  Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy, are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!

And after this manner was the language of my father in the praising of his God; for his soul did rejoice, and his whole heart was filled, because of the things which he had seen, yea, which the Lord had shown unto him.

I am so grateful for the example of Lehi's attitude.  We read what Lehi experiences in the visions he has.  Yet, despite seeing the destruction of Jerusalem Lehi focuses on  the positive and exclaims his joy because of God's power, goodness and mercy.  The wording Nephi uses or claims from his father's record is that God's power, goodness and mercy are over ALL the inhabitants of the earth.  This means to me that God has  control and could control us by His power, but His goodness leaves us open to learning and His mercy heals and repairs any mistakes we could make in the process of growing.  No wonder Lehi is filled with praise for his God.  I am too!

Despite what he saw in the way of destruction he praised God for His construction of lives that dedicated themselves to Him.  What a mighty, awesome, wonderful God we serve!  And what two great examples we have to open the Book of Mormon.  Nephi praising God despite the afflictions he suffered.  He mentions the afflictions but honors Father by denoting the favor he felt from Him!  And here is Lehi, not discouraged by what he has seen regarding the unrighteous but rejoicing because of what he’s seen for the righteous.  

 I imagine that part of that joy came from recognizing that if he did his part there would be opportunities for the unrighteous to repent and claim the blessings of righteousness.  Why wouldn’t you rejoice knowing that? 
I think that’s why I’m so happy despite the wickedness that surrounds me.  First I understand and utilize the Atonement and second I am also working for the salvation of others by not keeping Christ to myself.  So I understand where Lehi is coming from.  I understand why his soul did rejoice and why his WHOLE heart was filled.  And it is beautiful and amazing. 

I am reminded of a song by Fred Hammond.  It's called "Keep On Praisin'" and can be found here on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIeOx40UYY8.  The song simply says that no matter what you're going through "Keep On Praisin'" because it's the Lord that will see you through.  It's one of my favorite songs.  Lehi's attitude reminds me of it even though the circumstances surrounding his life were much harsher.  The things he saw were despairing but he didn't focus on that he focused on his faith and that brought him joy.  He knew that joy personally as he had been saved from his own wretched ways at points in his life and I know he longed for others to feel of the same. 

Thank You Father for the examples of these two men whose lives were dedicated to Your purposes to bring forth righteousness.  I anticipate being able to do the same…  I know am doing the same, maybe not as Lehi did but it is according to Your will, Your purpose, and Your timing for my life!  May it continue to be so!  

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

1 Nephi 1:1 - Goodly Parents...Earthly and Divine

1 Nephi 1:1

I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days. 

I am grateful to be starting the Book of Mormon again.  This is quite the introduction.  Nephi teaches or shows his maturity as he walks back in time.  But this introduction says a lot.  The statement that stood out to me when I read was about how he's seen afflictions, MANY afflictions, in the course of his days BUT he was highly favored of God ALL of his days.  It was his having great knowledge about the goodness of God and His mysteries that led to his favor with God.  It shows he studied.  And he showed himself approved. 

Now, as I wrote this out, the very first statement struck me and leads back to the one I just mentioned.  See Nephi's parents were goodly so he was taught in their learning.  It says his father's learning but I imagine he was taught of both of them.; through his mother's nurturing and his father's education.  This is how Nephi came to know of God's goodness and His mysteries.  His father taught him so he would learn to develop a relationship of his own with Father.  God then showed Nephi HIS goodness ALL of Nephi's days, even before Nephi was conscious to it.  Looking back in his conscious spiritual state, I'm sure that even through the challenges Nephi saw the hand of God all over his life.

Interestingly enough if I use Nephi's definition of goodly parents I, too, have goodly parents because I was taught in their learning.  I, too, have reaped the benefits Nephi has but not because I followed my parents.  They have been the best examples for me of what not to do.  Therefore I consider them goodly because I never plan to walk in either of their paths.  It is good to have their examples so clearly before me.  It is even better to have the example of goodly, as well as righteous, parents by the record Nephi keeps of his.

I am grateful for this beginning to my study.  I look forward to continuing to recognize the goodness of God in ALL of my days and to have His mysteries revealed unto me as I continue in my studies of His word.  I am grateful for the afflictions that come because it is during that time that His goodness is revealed.  Thank You Father for this and more.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 


A New Start

I've started reading the Book of Mormon again.  I actually don't know the last time I finished it because I've been studying it with such intensity that is has taken quite a while.  It can take me days to get through a chapter or pages and pages of writing in my journal before I am ready to move on to the next message.  Now is the time to share what I'm learning and also what I've learned.

I will post, on a regular basis, what I've learned from my daily messages.  Sometimes I will post things I've learned in the past as the Spirit directs.  Sometimes I will post definitions of words and phrases that may not be familiar to people or share something that might bring a new twist to what tradition has taught.  I'm excited to be speaking out about the things I'm learning and have been learning.  It's an exciting time for me.  I'm looking forward to being dedicated to the pursuit of one of my dreams, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Before you begin reading you should know a little something about my study.  I keep a gratitude journal daily.  I start by writing out the scripture I received the day before, then I write in it five things I am grateful for.  I do not repeat anything more than twice in 10 days and no more than 2 times in six weeks.  I've been doing this for so long now I've gotten to be very creative with my wording and can easily accomplish this feat.  Of course, no one is looking either.  Haaahaaahaa...  Each day one of the entries I am grateful for is about what I've read.  Usually I write I am grateful for something the content of the verses taught me and then expound upon it.

When I've finished my journal entries for the day I then pray for my message for that day.  I open my Book of Mormon to where I left off reading the day before and continue to read until I feel impressed to stop.  Sometimes I know what the message is about.  Sometimes I only have an idea.  And other times I do not have a clue.  Sometimes even when I think I know what it is about I end up learning so much more when I write out the scripture because I get to analyze every word.  And I have come to realize how important each and every word is to the verse, that's why it is there.  It is quite an experience.  Now I'm making it public. 

I have had this blog for several years now and I've wondered what format it should take.  Even when I found out I didn't know how to proceed and didn't feel so compelled to, but now I do and I am excited.  So I hope you'll enjoy the posts.  I hope you'll learn from something I share.  I look forward to seeing where this journey will take us.  Please feel free to comment as you feel impressed.  I look forward to what reading the Book of Mormon this time will reveal to me and hopefully to you too.  Thank you in advance for being on this journey with me.  Love to all who read.  Create a beautiful day.

Peace, Love and God's continued blessings.  Always...(s.m.i.l.e.)
Kara Lynn Kai Sanders

Friday, January 18, 2013

It's Time...

Ok... so, I've had this blog for a couple years now.  It started out as a blog for my attempts to earn money to go to Africa.  Then I felt that it was supposed to be a place where I talked about the revelations or experiences I had in the scriptures.  But as I've been contemplating the title of this blog and what it really means, it came to me that the reason why I was struggling with the content of this blog is because I was trying to keep "the spiritual" separate from the "secular".  I am a daughter of God and a disciple of Christ.  Those two aspects of my life are not one in the same, they are inextricably intertwined.  It is with this renewed sense of purpose that I once again attempt to post to this blog.

Now that I've figured out what to put in it, it will show others how we are as the quote says, "spiritual beings having human experiences, not human being having spiritual experiences."  This means that since I've asked God to direct my life in all its pathways, then there is sacredness in all the aspects of it.  So now...here we go!  Create a beautiful day.  Peace, Love and God's continued blessings.  Always...(s.m.i.l.e.)