With Wings as Eagles

I’ve been meditating on and memorizing Isaiah 40:28–31 over the last few weeks. Here’s the passage. I’m sure it’s familiar to most of you.

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Emphasis added.)

I want to share with you what “mount up with wings as eagles” means to me.

It means that, with God’s help, you can soar above your troubles. It means that you can be carried aloft by a sacred wind—which is often something you feel more than you see. It means that you’ve got to set the wings God’s given you at a certain angle to catch the wind He sends your way.

It means you can look down from the heights where those sacred winds carry you and have a new and better perspective on what is going on down on earth. It means that God has given you strength, power, and ability beyond your natural limits. It means that when God sets you free, you are truly free.

I dedicate this post to my brother Mark Stephen Fitzgerald (1955–2012) whose birthday is today.

7 Reasons to Read the Scriptures

Courtesy LDS Media LibraryHere are seven reasons why studying the scriptures is a really great idea—from the scriptures themselves.

1. The scriptures will make your way prosperous and bring you success.

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8.)

2. They will help you develop patience and bring you comfort and hope.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:4.)

3. They will make you wise and are profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:15–17.)

4. As you liken them to yourself, you will learn from them and profit from them.

And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning. (1 Nephi 19:23.)

5. The words of Christ will tell you all things that you should do.

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:3.)

6. The word of God has a more powerful effect on the minds of people than anything else.

And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God. (Alma 31:5.)

7. The scriptures will protect you and prevent you from being deceived.

And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived. . . . (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37.)

Paul’s Vision on the Road of Damascus

Courtesy LDS Media Library

There are three accounts of the apostle Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus in the Bible. They are all given in the Acts of the Apostles, in chapters 9, 22, and 26. Each account provides unique details.

The account in chapter 9 is a third person account and the versions in Acts 22 and 26 are given by Paul, also known as Saul of Tarsus.

Here is a comparison of those accounts from Slideshare. You can also view another version of it here.

3 Reasons Why You Don’t Read the Scriptures

Courtesy LDS Media LibraryWe know that reading and studying the scriptures is fundamental to living the gospel. A previous bishop of ours used to call the scriptures “love letters from God.” So why on earth don’t we read them more consistently? It should be a non-negotiable for a disciple of Christ.

Here are three common reasons I’ve heard—and given myself—over the years for not reading scriptures regularly, followed by three solutions for getting them to be part of your daily life.

1. I Don’t Have Time to Read the Scriptures

If you catch yourself saying that you don’t have time to read the scriptures, think for a moment what you do have time to do. Do you have time to watch television, play golf, crochet, scrapbook, scroll Facebook, go clothes shopping, or fill in the blank? Of course you have time for those things because you really like to do them.

Try this: Set a goal, starting today, to read just one verse. How long will that take you? It will take 10 to 20 seconds tops. That’s it. Open them up and read only one verse. Then tomorrow, read two verses. The next day, read three. If you keep this up for a week, adding just one verse per day, you’ll find momentum and you likely won’t be able to stop. You’ll get engaged and curious and just keep reading.

2. I Don’t Understand the Scriptures

This is one reason I’ve heard a lot and felt myself. It can be discouraging, I know, to read and not understand what you are reading. It’s not very motivating. But there is a simple solution, though it takes some effort.

Try this: Remember when Nephi asked his older brothers if they understood the scriptures? What was his advice? “If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask [the Lord] in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping [His] commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you” (1 Nephi 15:11; emphasis added.) Ask the Lord as you read a passage, “What does this mean?” then reread it several times. Then wait for an hour, or a day, or a month. Wait in faith and listen. The Lord is true to His word. He will not neglect a righteous prayer, but He often waits for our respectful attention.

3. I Don’t Like Reading the Scriptures

This is the toughest of the three. If you don’t like reading the scriptures, it’s probably because there is something that isn’t right in your life. If that statement just made you feel defensive or angry, that’s an even stronger indicator that something is amiss.

Look, I’m not accusing anyone of anything, but if you don’t like reading the words of your Heavenly Father, there is a reason why. Or maybe the real reason is you don’t like reading the scriptures because you are not friends with them. You aren’t well acquainted.

Try this: If it is clear to you why you don’t feel like reading the scriptures, I’d suggest that you sit down with your bishop or branch president to discuss it. If it is not clear, get out a blank piece of paper and a pen and start writing, “I don’t like reading the scriptures because. . . .” This will help thoughts and feelings bubble up to the surface so you can discover and deal with them. Circle the sentences or phrases that resonate with you, then take action. Resolving smoldering issues will help you get back on track. Maybe I’ve oversimplified things, but those are the basic steps.

There are other reasons, to be sure, that you and I don’t read the scriptures, such as not making scripture reading a priority or simply forgetting to do it. But there are many positive reasons to try and change, not the least of which is this habit of reading the scriptures daily will save your spiritual neck. Believe me, we’ve got to get this one figured out if we want to survive the last days.

I’ll close with a bit of scripture-reading inspiration from the Psalms.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. (Psalms 19:7–11.)

P.S. You might also enjoy this post: “Scripture Marking Success.”

Scripture Marking Success

https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/scriptures-eye-glasses-758818?lang=engAfter years of trying to figure it out, I’ve discovered a scripture marking system that’s working for me. I’ve been meaning to share it with you for months. Here it is.

My old set of the 1979/1981 editions of the Standard Works have seen better days. There are some pages I wish I could tear out and replace because the markings are so distracting. I got a new set of scriptures when I was called as bishop [in 2005], but was reluctant to put a mark in them until I figured out a better, more workable system. I have found one and have been using it for months now.

The system uses a spectrum of colors. Each color represents a set of topics. On one end, red is dedicated to Christ and His Atonement, the gospel, salvation, and the resurrection. On the other end of the spectrum is black or gray, which is dedicated to wickedness, Satan, and his minions.

Here’s how the colors are organized on scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, along with the topics I assign to them:

  • Red: Christ, Atonement, gospel, salvation, resurrection
  • Orange: Covenants, laws, revelation*, commandments, prophecy*, doctrine, history
  • Yellow: Light, truth, wisdom, faith, inspiration, testimony
  • Green: Promises, blessings, obedience*, prosperity, abundance, grace‡
  • Light Blue: Meanings defined by scripture‡
  • Blue: Prophets, priesthood, keys, ordinances, temple
  • Purple: Temptation, sin, evil, darkness, fear*
  • Deep Pink: Second Coming, Millennium, last days, end times‡
  • Brown: Open‡
  • Black or Gray: Satan, evil spirits, evil doers, great wickedness†

* Added in 2011
Added in 2015
Added in 2020

I highlight the verses online or underline the verses with a pen of a given color (PaperMate Profile pens write smooth and don’t bleed through pages), and highlight important words in the verses with pencil of the same color. For pencils, I am using Prismacolor Col-Erase, which you can buy individually at the BYU Store, among other places.

I love having a plan for marking my scriptures, especially one that makes sense without being too complicated. It’s a delight to rediscover the scriptures by marking them anew. I recommend it.

P.S. For a post on studying the scriptures as a family, see “How Our Family Does Scripture Study.”

P.P.S. This post has been edited. The original post was published in 2008, with adjustments in 2011, 2015, and 2020.