Friday, June 30, 2000

Proverbs 3:13,15,18-19

"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
. . .
She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
. . .
She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens."
Proverbs 3:13,15,18-19

This is a really cool scripture.  One of my friends showed it to me yesterday and this morning it just popped right back into my head. :)  The scriptures refer to wisdom as a woman frequently, and here we learn a lot about her. :)  She is more precious than rubies. :)  she is a tree of life... this comparison is interesting, as compared to Lehi's dream where the Tree of Life represented the Love of God... how are the two related?  And then, even more intriguing... the Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth. :)  Obviously something to be desired. :)  And other things aren't to be compared to her.  We were just talking at work about this... not the scripture, but we were talking about the difference between giving people knowledge... information, and actually teaching them how to *use* the information to make their jobs easier.  I think that is a cool thing about God (among b'zillions of others) ... that he has *all* the information, has all knowledge... and he also knows how to act on all of it... wisdom.  Information isn't that hard to acquire in this technologically savvy society... but knowing how to apply it, knowing what to do and what decisions to make... that's a lot more difficult.  Which I suppose is why we are here, trying to learn a little wisdom. :)

Thursday, June 29, 2000

Psalms 84:10-11

"For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.  I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of  my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."
Psalms 84:10-11

This is a fun scripture that I found today. :)  It's cool in talking about what is really important.  one day with God is better than a thousand without... that it is better to be working in a cubicle in the business of the Lord than to have your own office with a window, a company car, and your own parking space in the company of Evil. :)  God is the light that we walk by every day, and our protector when things get scary.  he will give us anything, he *wants* to bring us up to his level.  Those are all amazing things, and ones that you seem to find rarely in our earthly society.  I was at class last night, and one of the women in my group said that she was reading a book about change management... and in the book was the question, "what would you do if you weren't scared?"  What a great question.  If God is our shield, and we'd rather be a doorman in his service than to be rich and live in luxury... then, really... what do we have to be afraid of?

Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Romans 14:16

"Let not then your good be evil spoken of."
Romans 14:16

I like this scripture.  a few verses earlier it tells us that we will all give account of ourselves before God.  That should be interesting.  Can you imagine?  Just the thought of having to do that makes me want to do everything perfectly so that I won't be trying to crawl away.  Reminds me of "Till We Have Faces" by C. S. Lewis... a trial about who you are.  Anyway... I only mention the prior verse to put in a little perspective.  People see things differently... I'm sure that we have all noticed.  :)  And sometimes, doing exactly the right thing in your eyes, you are going to offend someone who interprets it differently.  I don't think that this scripture means you have to shut people up... I think it means that we need to *communicate,* especially when there is a possibility of misinterpretation.  Help people to know that you aren't attacking them, and why you do what you do (and if you ARE attacking them, you might want to stop) :)  Don't offend people if you can help it.  Sometimes you can't.  Sometimes, no matter what, they are going to be offended.  But try... Explain your side.  Listen to their side.  If you listen to anything besides the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Sunday... some people will be offended.  Talk to them instead of just turning on the "other" music full blast.  Too often, we are learning the same lessons in life, but because we aren't learning them the same way, we think that we are on different sides.  Communication can help that... building on common beliefs.  Doing our best to not offend other people whose interpretations are different from our own.  Don't just sneer... listen. :)
And the second way I see this scripture I think is just as important.  Besides communicating with people and not condemning each other... I think we need to seriously focus on not condemning ourselves.  This might take some self-communication, like writing in a journal... or it might take some huge effort on our part to get out of the habit.  But, we are good... we should let ourselves speak evil of that.  Seriously.  Ezra Taft Benson said "Never demean yourself" and I think this scripture is along the same lines.  You are a child of God... the cool, incredible, majestic, miraculous one... you know?  And you are cool, incredible, majestic, and miraculous.  Your spirit is eternal, you will live forever... you have the power and potential to do anything that God can do.  Why disrespect that by criticizing yourself?  You are beautiful.  You are pure.  You are filled with light.  All of us need to weed our souls whenever thistles pop up, and let that light and goodness pour through more bountifully... but there is NOTHING wrong with who you are.  Don't let anyone, including yourself, speak evil about something that is so good.

Tuesday, June 27, 2000

Alma 12:9-11 -- On the Chains of Hell

"And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell."
Alma 12:9-11

I think this is interesting... that we know more or less depending on how well we listen to God.  And that we actually lose knowledge, forget things, based on our disobedience.  It actually makes a lot of sense, when you think about the Spirit's role in bringing things to our remembrance.  So, if we don't have the Spirit, we start losing things from our accessible memory.  Scary thought.  It's like Korihor (the anti-Christ) saying that every man prospers according to his genius, and conquers according to his strength.  We believe that way too often.  In the end, all things depend on God.  The air we breathe, the food we eat... the friends we are fortunate enough to have.  God has given us everything... every ability and talent we have, every beautiful sight that we can see... the ability to learn, to remember... to be smart or strong or funny.  And there is so much more in store. :)
From my experience, this scripture is absolutely true.  My memory is affected directly and significantly by how close I am to God.  We sometimes wonder how people who have had amazing miraculous experiences can fall away from the gospel, and I think it is because of this.  Our free agency gives us so much power to do good or bad, to ourselves and the people around us.  It even lets us hide from the memories of good so as to allow us to live with ourselves... at least until death and judgment.  Today, let's not believe that we can get by without God.  That is the first mistake. :)

Monday, June 26, 2000

2 Peter 1:19

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts."
2 Peter 1:19

This is kind of cool.  It seems to me like it is talking about *why* we follow prophets... why we listen to God.  Because in the darkness and blindness of our lives, with the veil drawn... it is hard to see our way.  So, take heed, follow the light, until the day comes with brilliant and glorious light, and you have light within yourself.  How amazing will that be?  I mean, it might take a second for our eyes to adjust... but being able to SEE.... wow.  No more blindness, no more darkness... just new things everywhere.  Something to look forward to. :)

Sunday, June 25, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 122:7-8

"And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
The Son of Man hath descended below them all.  Art thou greater than he?"
Doctrine and Covenants 122:7-8

So the fundamental message of this scripture (another one that I need pretty badly) is "stop whining."  What else is there to say? …but you know me.
I think it helps to put things in some sort of perspective.  I mean, no matter how bad it is right now, it isn't like a horror movie where the trees are trying to eat you and the earth is trying to swallow you up, right?  (Right.  Don’t get melodramatic on me here.)  Christ really suffered everything that we will ever suffer.  We can never say that no-one understands, because he always does.  And, he can help.

Saturday, June 24, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 112:11

"I know thy heart, and have heard thy prayers concerning thy brethren.  Be not partial towards them in love above many others, but let thy love be for them as for thyself; and let thy love abound unto all men, and unto all who love my name."
Doctrine and Covenants 112:11

This scripture is good.  Kind of hard for me, since this is one of my areas of extreme weakness... but very instructive. :)  God knows our hearts and how much we love the people around us. :)  A good thing.  But we shouldn't be partial in love towards the certain people that we include in our group, whatever that is... our family, or any group based on shared opinions or choices...  We need to love everyone, and treat everyone well.  It isn't very Christlike to pick and choose who we are going to treat well and who we are going to dismiss.  It's like choosing sides... and the minute we choose sides, then we are choosing *against* God.  He loves all people, and welcomes *everyone* into his arms.  When we are exclusive instead of inclusive then we are getting into a very unhealthy area.  The other intriguing thing in this scripture is that we need to love people as we love ourselves, which means that we should probably treat ourselves as well as we treat our closest friends... and that *you* need to be inclusive with yourself.  Something to think about on this fine Saturday.

Friday, June 23, 2000

Isaiah 57:20-21

"But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."
Isaiah 57:20-21

This is cool... and no chastisement intended indeed... just, I like the analogy.  You know... when water is troubled you can't see through it, and I imagine this muddy mess.  But when it is calm, it can be perfectly clear, and you can see the breeze on the surface.  Maybe I just relate too well to water... but I think my soul does the same things sometimes... it can be stormy, muddy... or perfectly clear and calm.  And it depends on ME... that's what I have to remember. :)  God can purify even the most obnoxiously oily black water and make it clean and calm.  And, it's a dang good thing, eh?

Thursday, June 22, 2000

Revelation 3:19-20

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Revelation 3:19-20

When I first read these verses I thought that they didn't have much to do with one another, and I was only going to use the second verse for the scripture of the day... however, with further thought, I think that they have a lot to with one another.  Perhaps, when we sin... we are effectively shutting the door on God.  We are telling him that we don't really want him here, and trying to close ourselves off from the emptiness and guilt that we have when God is absent in our lives.  So, when we finally open that door back up... perhaps it will contain some guilt, perhaps we will feel chastened.  I don't know about you, but seriously, the times that I have been seriously chastened by God were the times that I knew with absolute certainty that he was there... and that I wanted there to be nothing separating us.  I think some chastisement is a good thing.  I am taking this management class (yay, I know...) but anyway... last night we were talking about different management styles, and that there always has to be consequences as well as rewards, or people don't really know where they are.  God is really good about letting us know exactly what we need to do to come home... and the toughest part for me has always been dealing with myself... my guilt, my self-doubt... not God.  Even in the worst times, I know absolutely that he loves me, and that he wants me back... even though I don't really know why.  Remember when people in the New Testament were complaining that Christ ate with sinners?  I think that's exactly what God is offering us here... he says... okay, just let me in... and we'll reason together. :)  we'll figure it out over lunch.  And really... sometimes, there is no way you can figure it out alone.  The first step is letting him back into your life and heart.  Not necessarily painless... but who can talk to God without feeling the incredible love that he has for us?  If he didn't care, he wouldn't even bother rebuking us, or trying to teach us the right way.

Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 29:24-25

"For all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fulness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea;
And not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of mine hand."
Doctrine and Covenants 29:24-25

I was teaching relief society earlier this month and the lesson was on overcoming physical death.  Only on us being saved from it... but look at this scripture.  :)  It is awesome.  not only us (which, of course, is very cool... but the earth itself, zebras and panthers and blue jays and sharks and blowfishes are all going to be saved from the same thing. :)  I like that.  A few years ago I had a job that I rode the bus to every day... and on the way to work, almost every day, I would see dead birds under the trees on the way.  I don't know if someone was poisoning them, or if I was just in a high fatality zone... but it was sad.  And one summer of my high school years I did this summer thing in environmental science.  We went to every dump and waste management place around Denver... went to tour some of the companies that were producing a lot of pollution... we were given cameras to take pictures of how we were polluting our planet for our final project.  I like this scripture because the heaven and the earth get to be new and clean as well... and perhaps, when we build Zion... who knows.  Maybe we'll learn to be nice to the earth, and the animals... each other... and ourselves.  Maybe we should practice. :)

Tuesday, June 20, 2000

Zechariah 8:16-17 -- On God's Instructions

"These are the thing that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:
And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord."
Zechariah 8:16-17

I like it when God tells me what to do. :)  I know that I should already know, and that I need to be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and not bury my talents... but still, sometimes it is nice when we are a little overwhelmed and God gives us a nice scripture like this... here is what to do:  tell the truth, be honest and promote peace with others, don't get paranoid or mean, and don't support things you don't believe in. :)  A good list for a day when we need some external guidance.

Monday, June 19, 2000

Alma 22:18 -- On Getting to Know God

"O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day.  And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead."
Alma 22:18

I love this.  "I will give away all my sins to know thee" ... wow.  King Lamoni's father wanted to know God, and so he talked to him, even though he wasn't even sure that he was there.  He had so much hope; he wanted it to be true.  If God was there, it was worth everything to him.  It was worth his kingdom, and here, most importantly, his sins. 
How often do we see God's presence as that important to us?  I think that too many times *I* at least take it for granted.  I'm willing to give up this sin, or that sin... but only temporarily, and I'm rarely willing to do the work that I would have to do to dig down to the root cause of it all, and root the wicked spirit out of my breast (which is something that this man wants to do 3 verses earlier).  As C. S. Lewis says, if we want Heaven, we have to give up even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.  I imagine a postcard from the tour of Hell... "hot here, but the landscape is lovely" ... :)  and no matter how much we love the mini-snowscape titled "a cold day in Hell" and the T-shirt that says "Tourist from Hell" or the doubts and beliefs that it is much easier to live with than to overcome... they all have to be given up. 
So maybe we should think about souvenirs today.  What sins can we give away?  Let's have a garage sale and get rid of all the knick-knacks from Hell we have around.  Better yet, no garage sale, because we don't really want anyone else to have them either.  Let's put them all in those super-strength garbage bags, and kick them to the curb.  The spiritual trash men will come and take them away. :)  When we give them all away, then we will be ready to know God on a much deeper level than we do now.

Sunday, June 18, 2000

Isaiah 55:6-7

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
Isaiah 55:6-7

This is good... a little scary at the beginning.  Kind of a warning.  This life is very important, and we need to choose God and do great things. :)  If we slack off and then die without repenting... the testing period is over.  It's like going to college for 4 years, skipping classes and avoiding homework, getting all Ds and Fs... then dropping out and working as a cashier at 7-11 for 17 years... and then trying to get a job in a world-famous Orchestra: "I've never really *played* the violin, but I have *always* admired it, and I've listened to lots of classical music over the years."  You finally realize that for those 21 years you should have been preparing for something, and so you go and beg the college president to give you a diploma for the work that you did.  First of all, he isn't going to give you the diploma... and second of all, even if you had it... would that make you a successful violinist?
So, the message here is at least partly... change your ways while you are still in college.  :)  We are preparing for something in this life, you know?  And if we get to the other side without being prepared... no crash course in the world is going to solve our problem.
The second verse is awesome... because it says... "hey... I’m the college president, and I really do want you to graduate.  I know you blew up the science building, and you bulldozed the college of agriculture's final projects.  More than 3 million dollars in damages, and 18 people who won't graduate when they planned to.  But, you know... I see something in you.  I see this incredible potential, something I have never seen before in exactly this way.  So, I'll tell you what... I'll pay for the building.  I'll calm down the 18 Agriculture majors who want to destroy you.  I want you to contribute $20 a month towards purchasing some new plants, and I want you to stop blowing things up, and go back to class and study your butt off and become what you can be.  See you at graduation."  Things that no-one else would think of forgiving... God will.  God knows how much you are worth, and wants you to be prepared to meet him again, and to continue your life after this earth.  We have actions and thoughts that we need to give up to get there... and yes, maybe blowing things up is an addiction... but you *can't* argue that it is helping you get a degree in music, can you? :)  God wants to forgive us... and he wants us to be prepared.  No matter what we've blown up here, he will let us go back to class and earn that degree.   When we graduate from this life... he *will* be there.  Will we be ready?

Saturday, June 17, 2000

Isaiah 40:10-11

"Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."
Isaiah 40:10-11

This is cool.  It’s a scripture associated with the last days, talking about Christ's return and how he will watch over his people.  I like it for several reasons.  One, because it doesn't talk about fire raining from heaven to consume the chaff or something... sometimes I relate was too well to the chaff.  Anyway... I also like it because of the contrast with other images in the old testament.  I wrote a paper in college once about "the arm of the Lord" ... how it was stretched out both to destroy and to save... etc.  ... but anyway, I like the image of God's arm in this one... first it is strong, and he will rule, and then you see him in the next verse using his arm to feed his flock... to cradle the young lambs, and to gently lead.  It kind of shows both sides... the authority and power, and also the gentleness and goodness... that God is all of these things.  Ultimate power, and also ultimate love... at the same time.

Friday, June 16, 2000

Alma 19:33

"And it came to pass that when Ammon arose he also administered unto them, and also did all the servants of Lamoni; and they did all declare unto the people the self-same thing--that their hearts had been changed; that they had no more desire to do evil."
Alma 19:33

I love this idea of your heart being changed... and not even having the desire to do evil.  I'm not sure I'm there, but I love the idea. :)  There is this Amy Grant song that I like... (from back when she did Christian music, not Country) Faithless Heart.  It talks about that internal war we have going on sometimes between our minds and hearts, and how hard it is sometimes to stay on the path when parts of yourself are trying to go different directions. :)  And I think that we get to the point at times in our lives where our hearts and minds are united and we know exactly what we want... but those times are unfortunately not as common as we would like.  And I think that the key is here... these people, on being converted to the Lord, also felt this unity of heart and mind so strongly that they had absolutely no desire to stray from God... they had symbolically AND literally been born again... and you know, I think that I get there at times.  It lasts for weeks... even months... but then I am back to being torn apart internally.  Just like it talks about in Alma 5 (paraphrased, but if you want to look it up it's Alma 5:26)... if you have felt to sing the song of redeeming love... if you have received this mighty change of heart... can ye feel so now?  I think that is the trick... learning some consistency, keeping your priorities straight even through the storms... and, if you *haven't* felt this mighty change of heart ever... then the trick is knowing that God is the source.  True conversion is undeniable like that... looking up at God one day and realizing that it isn't a war anymore... what he says makes a lot of sense. :)  It's a cool thing, something to look forward to. :)

Thursday, June 15, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 88:3-4

"Wherefore I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
This Comforter is the promise that I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom."
Doctrine and Covenants 88:3-4

This is a cool scripture... God calls us his friends, and I always love it when the Holy Ghost is called the Comforter... sounds comforting. :)  and it will be in our hearts... so we can feel it... and the holy spirit of promise relates directly to the second verse where it says that it is the promise of eternal life... and the celestial kingdom.  So, to me that seems to be saying that when you feel the spirit, you are tasting Heaven... getting a real glimpse at all that God promises us.  And, feeling the Spirit means that you are, when you are feeling it, pointed in the right direction... on the path to getting there.  I think that's why the Spirit leaves so easily, because it is a beacon... a guide.  you feel it strongly when you are right in the middle of the straight and narrow path... :)  and when we walk in the edge, or let go of the rod... or turn around and look behind us... we lose it (and might even get turned into a pillar of salt) :)  It's a reassurance telling us that yes, this is the right way. :)  And, what a nice thing to know.  I worry all the time if I am doing the right thing or going in the right direction.  It's nice when God tells you you are doing okay. :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Romans 14:19

"Let us therefore follow after the things that make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."
Romans 14:19

I love this scripture... I have *always* loved this scripture, and I was surprised this morning when I was looking through the list of past scriptures of the day and it wasn't there.  I love this scripture because it is just a simple goal... lets cut down on contention, and build each other up instead. :)  Maybe it's idealistic... but I like idealistic.  Can we seek peace and edification *today?*  Seriously, I think one of the biggest mistakes we make in this life is trying to do it ourselves.  Of *course* we have to work out our own salvation, but God didn't say that we couldn't look on each other's exams. :)  It isn't cheating; it's teamwork, right?  An open-book test, and go ahead and talk to your neighbor... in fact... can you really get through the test without the rest of us?  We don't even want you to try.  When something is going wrong, God gives us friends.  When everything is going right, and you are overflowing with joy... God gives us friends. :)  Pray with someone... Exercise with someone... Study with someone... Review your day with someone.  Compare notes... see how they are dealing with life.  Maybe you'll learn something.  Maybe you have a hint or two you can share.  Let's follow peace, edify each other, and build some Zion today. :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2000

Psalms 37:39-40

"But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him."
Psalms 37:39-40

Here is another scripture telling us how important it is to trust God.  One of the things that God needs to do in this life is to teach us to believe... in things that the world would have us doubt.  So, it really makes sense to me... from an educational perspective... that God would reward us for trusting in him.  Believing in God is just part of "thinking outside the box" ... to put it in management lingo. :)  And probably the very first part. :)  We have to eventually learn to see as God sees... have to learn to do what God does... incredible, amazing things... ideas... beyond my power to express (but maybe someday...) :)  anyway, isn't the first step trusting that God can teach us those things?  That God is more powerful than the mundane challenges of our lives...?  That he can do what he says he will do?  So, today... whatever trouble is weighing on your mind the most... take it to God.  Explain it to him, ask him to teach you how to deal with it.  Ask him to help you overcome something... help you overcome your personal addictions... help you lose weight... help you learn the motivation to stick with a project that you want to do... help you make a decision that is impossibly hard to make.  And he'll help you.  Since his goal is to teach us how to do things ourselves, he probably won't just zap it away... but hey, you never know.  Some things need to be zapped. :)

Monday, June 12, 2000

Isaiah 26:3 -- On Peace

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
Isaiah 26:3

This is a great scripture. :)  Every once in a while that peace that I want to be able to have all the time is gone for one reason or another, and I start stressing about silly things, like what I want to be when I grow up, whether people think I am a dork, or a myriad of other things. :)  And I think that today I have my cool back. :)  And here is the scripture that tells me why... because I actually gave some time and trust to God, and told him I needed my inner core of peace back... and here it is.
Isn't it amazing, seriously, that God responds to our level of trust in him?  That when we look to him for the answers, he has them?  Even sometimes when we don't know what the questions are... he still knows what our soul needs.  God is so amazing. :)  So, anyway... if any of you are lacking peace today, try talking to the Lord about it.  No problems are insoluble with him. :)

Sunday, June 11, 2000

Alma 13:27-30

"And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance.
But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest."
Alma 13:27-30

Another "rest" scripture. :)  And this one even tells you how to get it... which I always love.  Here is the list:
1.    Listen
2.    Repent
3.    Humble Yourself
4.    Call on God
5.    Watch
6.    Pray
    4+5+6=not be tempted more than you can handle
7.    Be led by the Spirit
    7a.    humble
    7b.    meek
    7c.    submissive
    7d.    patient
    7e.    filled with love
    7f.    long suffering (is this a reinforcement of 7d?)
8.    Have Faith
9.    Have Hope
10.    Have the Love of God
Then, beyond the rewards that are offered as you go along... you get to be lifted up at the last day, and you get "his rest" ... which, I'm just guessing here, is probably a heck of a lot better than any rest we've ever experienced. :)
And, you know... this isn't just a recipe for rest... it is also how to escape the storms of life.  You know, that mist of darkness that comes while we are trying to hold onto the rod of iron?  It has this horrible effect of making you think... what rod?  tree of life?... psh... who cares?  And when you are thinking those things, it's hard to sleep... and when you do, you can't rest because you are having horrible dreams.  So, this is about God's rest, physical and spiritual... how to get that peace of soul that you know you've had, and need back. :)
I, for one, am going to try it.  I could use some extra peace today. :)

Saturday, June 10, 2000

Matthew 22:14

"For many are called, but few are chosen."
Matthew 22:14

An interesting scripture... we are all called.  We all have a purpose and a great work to do here on the earth, and we did before, and we will after.  We matter, and we have power, authority, and responsibility to be great, good, and generous with all that God has given us.  The problem is that on this earth it is so easy to see other things rather than the truth... so easy to see how other people see us instead of how God sees us... so easy to desire what the "natural man" desires rather than what we really want and need on a spiritual/eternal plane.  Our task is not to be called.  We don't always feel it, but each of us has a definite and individual work to do... a trust, given to us by God.  The challenge of this life is to be chosen.  To choose ourselves by actually fulfilling our mission and our dreams that God gave us.  Wherever we are, we can pick up and try again... find out who we are, and why God sent us here, on a very individual level.  Choose to accept the calling, and live our lives to fulfill it.

Friday, June 9, 2000

Luke 5:11-13

"And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him."
Luke 5:11-13

This group of scriptures is the ending of one story and the beginning of another.  In the first, Christ has called his disciples, and they give up everything that they own, and leave everything that they know to follow him.  It always strikes me that some people were so taken with Christ that they would give anything for him, and others would fight against him no matter what.  Differences in perception... in subconscious memory?  Differences in the ability to connect with that Godliness that is within all of us, or just a greater ability to suppress it, built up over time?  Think about how a person would have to strike you for you to drop everything and leave everything for him.  I wonder sometimes if I would go, if Christ came knocking on my door... would I know it was him?  Could I just walk away from everything I know?  I hope I could... but it scares me a little.  I suppose, in a limited way, we do that when we go on a mission... we leave everything behind.  It isn't the same, because we know that we can come back... but still, making that commitment changes you.
The other part of this scripture is a man with leprosy.  In that culture, people with leprosy underwent a similar distancing from family and friends... because of their disease.  If they recovered, they could show themselves to the priest and be accepted back into society.  Obviously Christ has an overwhelming impact on this man as well, because upon seeing him, he immediately believes that this man can do what no-one can... heal him.  Restore his body, and allow him to return to society.
This scripture as well makes me think about my commitment to the Lord.  No matter what my particular disease of body, mind, or spirit... do I have the faith to say to the Lord... Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean?  Something I need to think about.

Thursday, June 8, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 70:14-16

"Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.
Now, this commandment I give unto my servants for their benefit while they remain, for a manifestation of my blessings upon their heads, and for a reward of their diligence and for their security;
For food and for raiment; for an inheritance; for houses and for lands, in whatsoever circumstances I, the Lord, shall place them, and whithersoever I, the Lord, shall send them."
Doctrine and Covenants 70:14-16

I love the "and this not grudgingly" part here. :)  God is going to bless us temporally as we serve him, and serve the people around us (which is really part of serving him, but I thought I would add it for emphasis).  He is going to make sure we are fed and clothed, that we have a place to sleep and a place to plant a garden, if we want to.  He blesses us abundantly as we work at blessing other people and serving him.  And then he has to warn us about "grudgingly" ... :)  hilarious that we are so caught up in the temporal wealth game, when it's God that gives it to us anyway.  Zion communities are built out of Zion people.  We need to learn to give, to share... and to accept what other people have to offer... here and now, so that someday we can get there.
I know it is hard... almost everything in society teaches us ownership... this is mine, and this is yours... and we believe somewhere subconsciously that good people have enough, and bad people don't.  But some people who have plenty of faith and goodness are poor... and some people who have neither are rich.  God will take care of us as we serve him... and God will take care of others through that service as well.  The more we give, the more we get.  We have to stop looking at everything as a non-renewable resource.  God has plenty, and sharing it will never cause us to suffer.

Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Alma 40:12

"And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow."
Alma 40:12

Sometimes, doesn't it just sound good to be able to rest for a while?  We get burdened by a lot of things in this life... trying to juggle all the things that we need to do... emotions, thoughts... everything running through our brains, so even when we aren't physically moving, we are still not at rest.  We have to make a lot of effort to get to a place, mentally and physically, where we can rest.  And I think of heaven as the opposite... a place where, even if you are doing a ton of things, even if you are thinking all the time... you are still at rest.  That none of it affects you negatively, but actually restores you and builds you up.  Of course, there is the righteousness clause... which basically is saying... if you haven't been doing the things that are right, you are going to be worried about it after you die as well, and so it just won't be as much fun.  Really, we have to be at peace with ourselves... and that is one of the many things that we are here to learn.  who we really are, and how to find that peace and rest.  if who we make ourselves in this life doesn't jive with the person we were before this life... we might have some serious therapy to deal with when the veil is lifted.  :) it's finding that person, and discovering our own paths in harmony with God's plan... those things will take us down the path to rest and peace and the true desires of our hearts.

Tuesday, June 6, 2000

Matthew 20:30-34

"And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?
They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.
So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him."
Matthew 20:30-34

I think this is a great story, and I think that it applies to every one of us today... because, really... all of us are blind.  Sometimes it's because we blindfold ourselves.  Sometimes it's because living in this world things can look pretty cloudy... we are blind to other people's needs, or even our own needs sometimes.  We try to meet them in myriads of ways, and yet never seem to accomplish it... But those are things that Christ can heal, just as well as he healed these men of their physical blindness.  God can bless us with sight, if we will only listen for him, and ask him for what we need.  He will have compassion upon us and help us to see the people around us, and help us to see ourselves and our path better.  In this world of science, how many of us really believe that Christ can do all of these things that it talks about in the scriptures?  Christ can do eye surgery instantly by touch, and with no recovery time for the patient?  Yes, he can... physical ailments are under his control... as are spiritual and emotional ailments.  We just have to believe, and ask.  It's still hard... but doable. :)

Monday, June 5, 2000

Hebrews 12:25-29

"See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
For our God is a consuming fire."
Hebrews 12:25-29

I love this scripture... it is written as a warning, but it says so much more than that.  It's talking about Christ, and how some people rejected him on Earth, and even though he is in Heaven now, we have to give heed to his words from there as well... the part that is just amazing to me is the shaking part... where he says that he will shake not only the earth but also heaven.  I think there is another scripture talking about the last days that talks about Christ arising to "shake terribly the earth" or something like that... (okay, I didn't want to feel stupid so I just looked it up... Isaiah 2:19 and 2:21 and then 2 Nephi 12:19 and 21 as well.) Anyway... I like that here it says why the earth is being shaken... and really, I think, why all the end-of-the-world destruction will happen.  ... so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Isn't that a vivid image of what is eternal?  Builders now, especially in earthquake-prone California, try to build "earthquake-proof" buildings... sinking the foundations lower, framing it with sturdier and more flexible material... I'm not sure all the things they do.  But maybe it is something that we should think about... making ourselves earthquake-proof. :)  If today the earth was shaken terribly... what would be left?  Since God's shaking is probably way off the Richter scale, and way beyond the government minimum safety specifications for buildings... I'll bet most of them are going to topple.  Houses will cave, roads will be broken up... and what will be left?  Maybe not even us.  But our marriages will remain intact, if performed in the temple... our knowledge, our testimonies, our compassion, our hope.   Joseph Smith said that we'll still have socialization, so maybe we will get to hang out with our friends. :)  Relationships can survive... and parts of us.  The good parts. :)  Just like the very last verse where it tells us that God is a consuming fire... the scriptures use that analogy a lot... but what he does is purify us with that fire... burning off the corruption and the evil within our souls, until we are pure and clean and able to withstand any fire... and any shaking. :)  Not that I want us all to be afraid of imminent destruction... at all.  But it is good to look at what, in our lives, is temporary, and what is eternal... and make sure we are building something that lasts.

Sunday, June 4, 2000

Psalms 102:19-22

"For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth;
To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;
To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;
When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord."
Psalms 102:19-22

I think this is so interesting... because this is really what God does for us.  Whether or not we are literally prisoners, he saves us from the prison of ourselves often... from the smallness of our vision, from the limits of our imagination.  And he says... think bigger, think better... you are stronger than you think you are, and your potential is infinitely greater.  We are all appointed to death, but God, in his infinite mercy, saves us from death... and we live on after death, and glory in the promise of resurrection, and eternal life.  I like the end too, that someday we will be gathered and united in serving the Lord, and recognizing that it is he that teaches us and helps us to evolve into more than we are... I think it just hits me sometimes what a prisoner *I* am... and that I really don't need to be one.

Saturday, June 3, 2000

Acts 9:11-12

"And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for behold, he prayeth,
And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight."
Acts 9:11-12

So interesting...  for a lot of reasons.  One is just the fact that God talks in detail to people who have the faith.  Telling Ananias that he already told Saul he was coming. :)  I mean, I get feelings like this is bad or this is good... and occasionally I even see a glimpse of something that will happen that gives me hope.  Cool things.  And one day almost 3 years ago I had a few words put into my mind telling me very distinctly that I needed to go back to church... kind of humbling since I had just angrily stomped out of Relief Society.  Very humbling.  Amazing that God does that for us when we absolutely need it... and here, I think Ananias absolutely needed it.  Hard to trust a feeling that tells you to walk into someone's presence who you think is going to abuse or murder you.  And that is exactly the situation here.  Saul had been persecuting the people who believed that Jesus was the Savior, and even in the first verse of this chapter "breathing out threatenings and slaughter" ... pretty scary thing.  But God gave them both a lot of detail to help them through.  I think that God does the same thing for us, if we think about it.  I can remember one day at BYU... the phone rang, and as I was reaching to pick it up I had pop into my mind who it was, and exactly what it was about.  The idea was so bizarre to me, that I dismissed it... but when it turned out to be exactly that, I knew that God had prepared me for the shock.  He is so much a part of our lives, every day... trying every minute to teach us and help us through.  If we pay attention, God is involved in everything that we do, and any time we stop and pray... as Saul was doing... he is going to help us to figure out the next step.  we can know *absolutely* that he is there, and that, even when the messages scare us... as I am certain this message scared Ananias... God knows what he is doing.

Friday, June 2, 2000

2 Corinthians 4:15-16

"For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."
2 Corinthians 4:15-16

A lot of times in this life we feel like someone is picking on us, or our lives wouldn't be so hard. :)  but really... as this scripture explains... all things are for our sakes.  Life is this huge opportunity to learn.  Sometimes we get the lesson, sometimes we don't.  Sometimes we have to learn the same thing over and over again until we finally get it.  But see, none of that is a bad thing.  God knows us... he knows whether we are learning it or not.  He tailors the lessons to our individual capacities.  Usually the problem comes in when we think that we are weaker than we are.  God doesn't give us anything that we can't handle... sometimes of course, with a lot of his help.  But something comes along and we give up before we even try... or we make one lame attempt, and forget to call upon God's strength to help us.  I know, I do it all the time.
The thing is... we have infinite power to accomplish whatever we need to... to learn every lesson.  Amazing power within ourselves, that grows every day, at least in our ability to wield it... and any extra strength we need is from God.  Nothing can take that strength away from us, except our choice not to draw on it, or our ignorance of HOW to draw on it.
And then another reminder that the outward appearance isn't what matters... it's how beautiful and amazing we are inside.  Dream with me for a moment to the time after we die... and we "know as we are known" and everything is revealed.  Whether that happens through releasing our ability to read each other's minds, or seeing a movie of it all and having total recall... whatever it is (and who knows, I am just throwing things out, don't think I am trying to preach false doctrine) :) ... but seriously, however that happens... just imagine.  no-one will be able to look at someone and see the outside and not the inside anymore.  and I imagine, if we are all kind of shining, like God, or like Moses' face when he was in God's presence... that we'll all be beautiful on the outside as well.  I think the inside is going to be the determining factor there... and really, probably more fair, since on this earth (barring plastic surgery) you can do a lot more about the inside. :) ... unless of course, that increasing our stature one cubit thing works... hmmm. :)

Thursday, June 1, 2000

Mosiah 14:5

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
Mosiah 14:5

I think that it is hard to understand how Christ could suffer for our sins.  I don't think that I understand the concept very well.  But since I know that it did happen, I keep trying to figure it out. :)  Sometimes I think that because he could stand up to every punishment there is... every pain, every depression, every sadness, every feeling of worthlessness... every broken arm... that he can say, as a representative of us all... "see? we're stronger than that.  we can prevail."  but I don't know.  I do know that because he suffered everything that we will ever suffer, that he knows us better than anyone else, and he HAS walked in our shoes.  We can never claim that he doesn't know what we are going through.  He knows exactly.  Exactly how hard it is, and exactly the way out of the pain and the suffering.  it is interesting in the above scripture... we own the transgressions, the iniquities... and we receive the healing and the peace.  Christ was wounded, chastised, bruised, and had stripes laid upon his back... he absorbs the heavy consequences and offers the healing and the peace... no matter who we are, or what we have done.

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