Sunday, December 31, 2000

2 Nephi 26:6-8

"And they shall be visited with thunderings, and lightnings, and earthquakes, and all manner of destructions, for the fire of the anger of the Lord shall be kindled against them, and they shall be as stubble, and the day that cometh shall consume them, saith the Lord of Hosts.
O the pain, and the anguish of my soul for the loss of the slain of my people! For I, Nephi, have seen it, and it well nigh consumeth me before the presence of the Lord; but I must cry unto my God: Thy ways are just.
But behold, the righteous that hearken unto the words of the prophets, and destroy them not, but look forward unto Christ with steadfastness for the signs which are given, notwithstanding all persecution--behold, they are they which shall not perish."
2 Nephi 26:6-8

This scripture continues our destructive scripture rampage... but seriously, this scripture shows the hope that rests in Christ, even in the midst of the worst.  persecution, natural disasters... whatever it is... if we are aware, and looking for the signs, looking towards God and the goodness that he offers us, there is always hope.  This scripture is predicting the destruction in 3rd Nephi primarily, and if you will think back to that time... all of those bad things happened, and everyone was scared, but afterward... they got to see Christ, and touch him, and listen to him... what an overwhelming experience.  And no matter how bad the destruction, that was what they remembered, and what mattered to them... not what they lost, but what they gained.  And you know... even if the world doesn't fall apart tonight... we *still* have a chance, without all of the icky destruction beforehand, to shift our focus... to concentrate not on the bad things that are always going to happen... but the good things.  both good and bad come into our lives, consistently, frequently... but what we choose to focus on makes all the difference in the world.  yes, after the day the sun will go down... but after the night it will also rise.  We aren't stuck in an eternal night... the sun will always rise.

Saturday, December 30, 2000

D&C 121:28-32 -- On Endings and Beginnings

"A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest.
All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And also, if there be bounds set to the heavens or to the seas, or to the dry land, or to the sun, moon, or stars--
All the times of their revolutions, all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times, shall be revealed in the days of the dispensation of the fulness of times--
According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest."
Doctrine and Covenants 121:28-32

Long one today, but so interesting... in keeping with our end-of-the-world theme, there are all kinds of things here that are cool to look forward to. :)  We get to know *everything*... stuff science hasn't been able to figure out for centuries.  So so so cool. :)  All about God, singular and plural... astronomy, physics... so much to learn and so little time.  :)  I love the part about the Council of the the Eternal God of all other Gods... wow.  I mean, it seems almost science fiction, but it's for real. :)  I love it.  I mean, we're just in the God Academy now... there is a whole other world waiting for us.

And then it says finishing... do you think that is like completion, or like finish line? :)  that is an interesting thing to think about... and there are tons of other things... but anyway, at this ending time of the year... it is cool to think about all the great things that will happen at the end. :)  Very cool, not depressing at all. :)  Think of the endless possibilities that open up to us, only because of what seems like an ending to us, but is actually the best beginning. :)

Friday, December 29, 2000

D&C 133:22-25 -- On Resolutions

"And it shall be a voice as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, which shall break down the mountains, and the valleys shall not be found.
He shall command the great deep, and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land;
And the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided.
And the Lord, even the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh."
Doctrine and Covenants 133:22-25

You know, it is December again... almost the end of it, and this year is the real ending of the millennium... you know, 00 is the end, and 01 is the beginning? :)  So, I was thinking this morning while I was reading this... what if?  What if, really, all these things started happening this weekend?  What if most of us are slated to die?  Are we ready for that?  Or maybe we are all slated to live... are we ready for *that?*

If you knew for certain that you had three days to live, what would you do?  How would your life change?  If you knew you had three days before you met the Savior on the Earth, what would you do?  And then, the peripheral questions like... what if there were no more mountains?  What if the whole earth only had one giant land mass?  What if the Lord were in charge of our government? (in a earthly, direct way... I know he already is in charge of everything...) :)

What would we do?  What would we regret?  Not learning to ski when we still had mountains to ski on? :)  Or, more seriously, not getting some food storage?  Not telling our families and friends that we love and care about them?  Not being ready for our interview with God? :)

Three days... before we make our New Year's resolutions, if nothing else. :)  Look back over the year... maybe even your entire life.  Are you who you want to be?  Are you going where you want to go?  If there is anyone out there who can answer yes, that is amazing... but still... what can you do to build Zion?  What can you do to get closer to God?  If not, make a plan.  What can you do differently (that is reasonable and within your power) to become closer to your ideal?  And, today, this minute... are you faced the right direction?

Thursday, December 28, 2000

Mosiah 29:20

"But behold, he did deliver them because they did humble themselves before him; and because they cried mightily unto him he did deliver them out of bondage; and thus doth the Lord work with his power in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him."
Mosiah 29:20

So, I was just reading along this morning and this scripture kind of jumped out at me.  I've read it many times before, but never really looked at it closely.  It's very interesting.  God delivers us when we do some specific things.
1. Humble ourselves, meaning (I think) that we have to recognize that we need him. :)  So often we forget to call on God because we think we are doing fine alone... and we don't remember all the times that he has bailed us out, until we need bailing out again. 
2. We cry unto him mightily, meaning that we need to ask for help... from him.  And then the scripture goes on to talk about how God offers mercy to those that put their trust in him.  It reminds me of "a broken heart and a contrite spirit" ... it seems to be basically the same thing, just explained differently.  To get help from God, we have to not only recognize that we need God, but we also have to ask him for help.  This is sometimes difficult for us, just as it is hard for us sometimes to ask for help from our earthly parents, or friends.  We can recognize the need for the help, but it is still hard to make the call and beg for whatever help it is that we need.  We want to be independent, we want to be able to make it on our own, and not ask them for anything... but sometimes we need to, here, and with our Heavenly Father.  Just like our Earthly parents, our Father in Heaven is eager to help, to do what he can to bail us out... without making us dependent upon him forever.  He lifts us up to once again stand on our feet, and to learn to walk without assistance.  But he is always always there, beside us when we start to fall.  And, as little children, we do need an awful lot of help and guidance as we learn and grow.  In fact, there is no way that we can make it through this world without him... we need him like we need air.  But we never have to worry that he is trying to steal our independence... just like any good parent, he wants our love and appreciation... but he also wants us to build our self-confidence and learn to exercise our talents and abilities.  He wants to be there, to support us and to walk beside us, not to make us into little robots. :)  So today... let's recognize our dependence on God.  Recognize that we need him... ask him to help us, and then let him help us stand up and walk with confidence, knowing that he is beside us.

Wednesday, December 27, 2000

Matthew 24:10-12 -- On Love Waxing Cold

"And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many,
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
Matthew 24:10-12

I think this is interesting because, at least to me, it points out the fact that one of our biggest problems is disunity.  Anyplace Satan can drive a wedge, he will... trying to get us to be irritated with each other, to snap and yell and build resentment.  One of the greatest powers that we can exercise is the power of love... not necessarily romantic type love, though that is powerful too... but just love, just caring about and for the people around us.  Doing what we can to make them smile... doing what we can to help them know that they are loved and cared for. 

So, today, in the interest of building up Zion, let's get out there and be cool and affectionate (in a good way of course) to the people around us... it builds our capacity to love, as well as making someone's day a little better.  No betrayals today... no waxing cold.  Remember that God *is* love, so he can help us out if we get affection-deficit disorder. :)

Tuesday, December 26, 2000

Luke 16:9-12

"And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"
Luke 16:9-12

I don't think that I really understand everything that is going on here, so if anyone wants to help me out, write me. :)  I looked up mammon in the dictionary and it tells me that mammon means riches.  so, the scripture that tells us that we can't serve God and Mammon has that meaning... of course, since the word is personified... make friends with, that they may receive you... so, it could be signifying people as well.  overall though, it seems to me that God is saying here... take care of the things that are merely earthly, because that is part of the test... and it will show us how you will stand when presented with heavenly things.  Take care of your finances, show that you can care for your friends... give and love and offer yourself to build other people, to do a good job at whatever your chosen career is... be a faithful and wise amnesiac earth-dweller, and you will show God that you can take care of things when you have your memory restored and have the universe at your fingertips. :)  I don't get the fail and receive into everlasting habitations part though... does anyone else?  Maybe if you fail a different class, doing good in this class will help you graduate anyway. :)  I like the last part... it seems to say that basically we are down here in school... and Dad is keeping track of our progress.  Away at School, we learn a whole bunch of new things... sometimes we make bad choices when we are confronted with new things, but we call Dad and he gives us his advice... even drives down when things are really bad.  Things here matter to us a lot, tuition, our minimum wage job, whether to do homework or go dancing... but when we graduate and return home, none of that counts.  It's an awesome school though, and how we do here will pretty much tell Dad how we are going to do in the Family business.  It is designed to teach us things that we are going to need to know when we graduate.  Teaching us how to be a good person, how to play nice, and ultimately, how to take care of the Family business of salvation. :)  That is life in the "real world." :)  If we can't learn how to take care of the things that we have here, then how will we ever deal with the inheritance that we receive at graduation?

Monday, December 25, 2000

Matthew 1:21-23

"And she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
Matthew 1:21-23

This is cool to me because it says that Christ will save us from our sins... and I find that to be so true. :)  Kind of saving us from ourselves... saving us from our mistakes and our misjudgements, and even our outright rebellion.  Just like a parent, trying to deal with a teenager going through a particularly rough phase. :)  (I was going to compare us to two-year olds, but you know... unfortunately, our disobedience is often too calculated for that.)  We need saving, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we attain a little maturity.  We often think that our Dad is wrong, that we know so much better than he does... and we don't think about the fact that he is older, wiser, and... in this case at least... knows *exactly* what we are going through.  Listening to him would be a good idea.  Of course, he knows that we won't sometimes, and that's one of the reasons that we celebrate Christmas... Christ came to earth so that when we don't listen, it won't be the end for us.  He gave us a way to get back on track... to come back, no matter how many strike we have against us.  He offers us his love and trust even if we have abused it thousands of times.  He wants us to learn, and he will help us succeed even when... especially when... we can't figure out how on our own.  We need his help, and he is there to give it to us.  He lived, died, and lives again in order to give it to us.  I like the end too... God with us.  That's what his name means, and that's what he offers us... his constant attention, love, and assistance.  anything a desperate, directionless, love-starved teenager needs... and we can all be described that way at one time or another. :)  God is there to turn us away from our  tendency to shoplift... to joyride... to experiment with -- whatever it is. :)  And he shows us how we can make a difference in the world... how we can help others like ourselves succeed, even in the most dysfunctional neighborhoods. :)  He offers us a future, a way to fulfil our dreams.  A way to become better than any role model we have ever known or seen.  He *is* hope... and love, and anything you could ever want in a Father.  We never have to be afraid, 'cause our Dad can beat up ANYONE. :)

Sunday, December 24, 2000

Psalms 97:11

"Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart."
Psalms 97:11

I like this... it makes me think... what does light grow into? :)  You sow light, you reap... what?  Bigger light, right?  Lots and lots until it fills you up, and then overflows, and you are just dripping light as you walk down the street.  And I've met people like that.  :)  Not dripping smarmy insincerity or anything... but real light.  They are filled to overflowing, and when you meet them, you can't help getting some on your clothes. :)  Gladness and light just strewn about all over the living room, and you can tell it affects all the people there.  I've even felt that way at times... and let me tell you, it feels SO much better than radiating sorrow and discontent.  Really, I promise. :)  So, then is the more sobering question... why do we choose discontent instead of gladness?  because it feels more valid and real to us?  we must be wild pessimists.  :)   Light and Gladness are there for the taking... seeds everywhere, and if we plant them, they will grow so well and quickly that we won't be able to resist being happy... as C. S. Lewis says in Till We Have Faces... "Why should your heart not dance?"  and, you know... don't try to come up with an answer.  There isn't one.  Rhetorical question.  Your heart SHOULD dance... your soul... all of you.  And you can be there.  No matter what is bad in your life... choose light, choose gladness.  Clean out the sad things and the depressing, moldy things... and let the little man in the refrigerator turn the light on. :)
Okay, okay... there is no little man in the refrigerator... but there IS God, and his light doesn't go off when you close the door. :)  Promise. :)

Saturday, December 23, 2000

Mosiah 26:3

"And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened."
Mosiah 26:3

So, this is interesting... faith affects comprehension. :)  We have to be able to imagine something... to embrace the possibility of it, before we can truly understand it.  I think that Einstein did this superbly... that's why he said that imagination was more important than knowledge... because, without the hope... the faith can't thrive, and without the faith, the knowledge never comes.  We have to open our minds to the possibilities instead of snapping them shut on other people's ideas... especially God's, because you know... he has the biggest imagination of them all.  He imagined us becoming like him... he imagined the whole plan of salvation... and then he DID it.  That's amazing.  And you know, it isn't just quote religious things unquote. :)  It's all of life (which really involves God as well, but you know... sometimes we like to imagine our lives as separate)... it's *everything* .... it's imagining what you want to accomplish... it's dreaming amazing things, and then making them happen.  It's not hanging your head and saying "but what can *I* do about it... it's imagining, believing that you CAN make a difference, and then making it happen.  Belief, faith... it is more powerful than anything.  Remember the Brother of Jared?  He imagined that he could make some stones, and if God would touch them, they would provide a source of light.  Who imagines that, even today?  And, he made the stones... doing all he could to fulfill his dream, and then he took his dream to God, and said... here, this is what I've imagined, here is what I did... and if you will, you can make the rest happen.  And God did.  And a Leper did almost the same thing... he came to Christ and he said, Lord... if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.  He imagined it... and Christ did it.  The woman that touched the hem of Christ's garment... she did the same thing.  She imagined it, she believed in it, and she DID it... and it worked.  The faith to be healed, the faith to see... the faith to pray...... no matter what it is that you can imagine, that is good of course, it can happen.  This is God we are talking about, and us as his children and heirs... what is there that we couldn't accomplish?  God shows us this over and over in the scriptures... individuals doing huge, miraculous things... because they believed that God would help them do it, whatever it was.  And it works with anything.  If we need help out of a hole that we have dug for ourselves... we can believe there is a way out, and take it... because there is ALWAYS a way, we just have to imagine it.
And then life in general... do we believe we are building something worthwhile?  What are we working towards? :)  The possibilities are always endless. :)
Let's be imaginative today... believe in something good that enraptures us... and then go out there and make it real. :)  God is so cool.

Friday, December 22, 2000

3 Nephi 17:2-3

"I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.
Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again."
3 Nephi 17:2-3

I love this.  Christ talks to the Nephites, and he says, listen... I know that it is hard for you to take in all of these things that I am saying... pretty deep conversation. :)  so, go home and rest, think about it, and pray about it, and then we'll talk tomorrow. :)  I think he does the same thing for us in our everyday lives too... he gives us some truth to chew on for a while, something to ponder and pray about, and then he returns to the subject when we are ready to talk about it again.  Our job is to actually prepare our minds for the morrow... to ready our hearts and our souls to receive the next lesson.  sometimes the lessons are hard to understand, hard to accept... but we always are given time to think, ponder, and pray... to gain a personal testimony of the latest piece of the gospel that we have been given.  The trick is to actually take those pieces and fit them together in our own minds, to build our puzzle.  not everyone has been given the same pieces, and sometimes we can help each other figure out how things fit together... but if we just give up on the puzzle, or throw out some of the pieces, we'll never find the whole... the picture and the truth that we are looking for.  sometimes, when you fit in a new piece, you catch a glimpse of a little more of what the whole must look like... and it looks more beautiful, and promises more than we could ever dream... but that corner of the puzzle isn't the whole thing, and if we stop with only part, then we rob ourselves.  Let's hang in there, keep at it.  Get a friend and a cup of hot chocolate and stay up into the wee hours of the morning.  This puzzle is worth it... and who knows, we might build some awesome friendships while we work together. :)

Thursday, December 21, 2000

Hebrews 8:10-11

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest."
Hebrews 8:10-11

This is amazing.  The scriptures are amazing... every time you dig into them, you find something interesting that you hadn't really thought of that way before.  No lack of conversation topics when you are talking to God, that's what I say. :)  Anyway... :)  I love that no-one will be teaching the topic of God, because everyone will know.  Isn't that cool, and interesting?  Do you know how many people in the world today are trying to get people to "know the Lord?" ... okay, neither do I... but, hey... it must be a lot, right? :)  and what amazing conversations we'll be able to have with each other when we have such a common foundation of knowledge.  Not that we can't have cool conversations now... but you know, if you both have a common foundation, you can build so much higher, instead of arguing over the basic building blocks. :)  What a different world we would be if this were true now.  The world is going to get so much more interesting and cool as we go on... isn't it awesome? :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Luke 10:41-42

"And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things;
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:41-42

You know, I thought for a long time that this was kind of a mean story.  Martha had to do everything, and Mary got to chill and listen to Christ.  And certainly, there are lessons we *shouldn't* learn from this.  We shouldn't assume that we can ignore the world completely while we immerse ourselves in a study of the gospel.  Not only is this bad for your family... it also ignores the fact that most of our lessons are all about application.  Sure, this or that principle is cool... but have you learned to use it in real situations?  But even so... even with our everyday obligations... I think that Christ has an excellent point (wow, understatement alert).  No matter what Martha was stressed about... cooking and serving for 150 people... sending Christmas cards to every person she has ever known in her life... making sure she had stocking stuffers for the 600 kids at the local orphanage... :)  whatever it was, and however important it was... it wasn't a fire department emergency.  And whatever Christ had to say, no matter how small, was more important.  It *always* always ALWAYS is.  Sometimes when I am late for work and I don't want to take the time to kneel down and thank heaven for this day... I need to remember that.  I think we all have times like that... when we are too stressed or too tired or too busy or too whatever to talk to God.  But whatever it is that is stressing us out, whatever it is that is keeping us from that communication... it doesn't compare.  Drinking in Christ's words and his peace is more important than being on time.  It is more important than taking the cookies out of the oven.  it is more important than catching the bus. :)  And, sincerely... and I know absolutely that this is true... when we take the time to talk to God, he'll make whatever else it is go better.  Always.  So, when we are tempted to stress out about anything today... let's remember what is more important. :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2000

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

"But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us."
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

I love this... I mean, I actually love it when anyone talks about gentleness instead of blowing things up... but you know, it is even better in the scriptures. :)  And it is extra cool when it is a man doing the talking.  Women are allowed to talk about gentleness and compassion... but only the boldest of men do.  Interestingly, this is also in reference to teaching the Gospel.  How better to teach *anyone* than to teach them out of love?  The gospel especially is tailor-made for that kind of teaching.  It isn't something that we should make a condition of our love, at all... if we love people only when we think that they are a candidate for the baptismal font, that isn't very sincere.  We need to love them, get to know them... and when we know each other and love each other, the gospel *will* come up... as a natural part of our lives, not as a foreign object injected awkwardly into conversation.  If we make it part of ourselves, then it will be part of every relationship that we have.    And whether or not they choose to embrace the gospel, the love will remain.  Love is always a good thing to have, and something to rejoice in. :)  Just think, if every conversation that we had was motivated by love... if everything that we did were motivated by love... what differences would be in our lives?  In just one day?  Let's think about it today... take just a second and see if there is a positive, loving motivation behind whatever we are doing today.  If there isn't, maybe we should stop doing it until we find one. :)

Monday, December 18, 2000

Psalms 118:24

"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalms 118:24

Yesterday in Relief Society we talked a little bit about how the holidays can cause stress, and how they can be a lonely time as well.  As we go about our lives this holiday season, this is a good thing to remember.  We need to find low-stress ways of celebrating the birth of our Savior, and remember the great reasons that we have to rejoice.  There is never a day that goes by that passes without some reason to rejoice.  There is never a day in which we can't do something meaningful, however small.  Even the smallest gifts... a grin, a hug... can make someone's day this Christmas season.  And, as we offer ourselves to others, even in the very smallest ways, we become better people, and gladden hearts. :)  We can give the people around us a reason to rejoice.  Find ways to relieve stress.  Breathe. :)  Christ was born to bring us peace, happiness... love.  Not to stress us out, or make things harder.  Remember the amazing gifts that he has given... and remember also that God is in charge.  We don't have to control everything.  Let's do what we can, and let the Lord take care of the rest.  He loves to help us out.  Just ask. :)  And have a GREAT day. :)

Sunday, December 17, 2000

D&C 42:48-52 -- On Faith

"And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed.
He who hath faith to see shall see.
He who hath faith to hear shall hear.
The lame who hath faith to leap shall leap.
And they who have not faith to do these things, but believe in me, have power to become my sons; and inasmuch as they break not my laws thou shalt bear their infirmities."
Doctrine and Covenants 42:48-52

How interesting this is.  Faith is at the core of so much of our lives.  Miracles happen every day.  People who have debilitating physical... or spiritual... infirmities are healed.  People who have enormous dreams actually fulfill them... because they have faith.  And, although most of us are still working on that kind of faith, sometimes we have it in a certain area.  And, we build it up... slowly healing instead of doing it all at once.  And sometimes we have moments of doubt, where we start to sink.  Crying out, like Peter trying to walk on the water, "Lord, save me."  And he will.  And whether we are sitting in the boat, or standing on the water, our belief in God helps us to move towards him. 

Whether our infirmities are something that the Lord gave us as a part of our lives, to learn endurance and patience, or whether they are temporary obstacles to overcome, the Lord knows what we are going through, and will help us through it.  Interestingly, this scripture doesn't tell us that we have to suck it up and deal with our problems when we don't have the faith to solve them... it says *thou* shalt bear *their* infirmities.  That we need to help each other with our problems.  That is part of the deal.  We can't look at other people and say "Gee, if you just had a little faith..." ... first of all, because when we look at our *own* lives, we definitely don't have any room to talk... and also because we are obligated to be part of a community.  salvation is not a solo flight.  We all need as much help as we can get... and to give as much help as we can offer.  We need to have patience with other people who haven't mastered things that we have... just as *they* are patient with us when we haven't mastered things that they have.

The powers of heaven are available to us, and how rarely we draw on them.  Joseph Smith took the Lord at his word... he needed wisdom, and he asked for it, and it was there.  Too often we need wisdom and we assume that we won't get it, and we never ask.  wisdom, and faith, and healing, and love, and so many things that God offers to us... just the faith to get down on our knees and talk to him causes miracles in our lives.  He will pour down blessings, he will raise up friends... he will answer every prayer.  Faith is the key.  And you know... faith is sometimes hard to come by, but remember Alma 32... "even if you can no more than desire to believe," and let's exercise whatever particle of faith that we can muster.  Then read, expand on that... talk about it, think about it.  Get on our knees and ask God about it.... it works.  it really really does.  We just have to try.

Saturday, December 16, 2000

Romans 5:3-5

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also:  knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Romans 5:3-5

Too often we get into the pattern of thinking God is cool when our lives are going well, and thinking that he is cruel when they don't.  Truth is, God is *always* cool... we don't always understand why things happen, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a reason.  I know that I need to learn some patience.  When I don't master something easily, I start thinking that I am a moron.  But maybe I am just a kid, who needs to practice a little more.  Maybe we all are.  God has given us incredible gifts... talents, blessings... friends.  And hardships, and challenges.  How else are we going to learn to be more incredible than we already are? :)  I think it is cool that experience comes after patience... when we are patient enough to deal with hardships and challenges long-term, then we get some experience with it... we know how it works.  we know that the darkness goes away eventually, we know that we can survive hard things.  and we learn to have hope in the sunrise... that it will come, again and again and again.  the night never lasts forever.  And hope never makes us ashamed... because it works.  :)  Because hope in God is never false hope, and his love and healing can cure even the most hardened, jaded soul.  Can show us the way home... can help us know who we are... can help us out of anything that we get ourselves into.  So, whatever tribulation you are in the middle of today... remember to look for the sunrise... remember God knows what he is doing, even when we have no idea. :)

Friday, December 15, 2000

Deuteronomy 4:29-31

"But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
(For the Lord they God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, not forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them."
Deuteronomy 4:29-31

It seems like the trick to finding God is to throw every particle of yourself into the search.  Often, we hold something back, saving it in case our petition fails... but that isn't faith. :)  In my life, I think I have learned the most about the Lord when I have been desperate... when there was absolutely nothing else that could help me, when I needed God more than I needed anything.  And, although that is pretty true all the time, rarely do we approach God with that kind of focus and intensity of purpose.  Often, our hearts and souls are on a different topic when our lips are speaking to God.  When things get rough, God will be there... he can always be found, if we are serious about finding him.  It isn't something to be taken lightly. :)  It requires commitment on our parts... and some consistency of thought and action, which we rarely require of ourselves.  Instead of waiting until things get desperate, let's try to have some of that intensity of purpose today as we include God in our daily walk.  Find him... and stay with him.

Thursday, December 14, 2000

1 John 2:21 -- On Awakening Ourselves to Truth

"I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth."
1 John 2:21

I like this scripture, I think that it illustrates what the scriptures are for... to awaken our dormant spirituality... to remind us of who we are.  Somewhere inside each of us, we know who we are.  We know where we came from and why we came to this earth.  Somewhere within us we recognize the truth when we hear it, and we relate to the things that we learned and knew before we came to this earth.  As we read and study the scriptures, our spirits remember, and recognize, that truth. 

When we talk to each other about the gospel and about our Father, we feel those same things... recognition, love... spiritual feelings that can overwhelm us with their strength.  An amnesiac spirit trying to awake and tell us which way to go to discover more.  The trick is to follow those promptings, even though we have no conscious memory of who we used to be, or what we wanted.  To deny those promptings is to remain half a person... to follow them is to find wholeness. 

And, you know... that's why I do this.  Not because I think that I know better than any of you what the scriptures mean, but because it helps me to remember... and hopefully you as well.  Together, as a community of truth seekers, we can find that wholeness, and eventually ... become perfect, complete people. :)  Have a fabulous day searching. :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Isaiah 41:9-10, 13 -- On God's Help and Not Being Afraid

"Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
. . .
For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."
Isaiah 41:9-10, 13

This scripture is directed to the children of Israel, of which we are a part... and I'm *certain* that it means men AND women, so no trying to exclude yourself. :)  Out of all people, God has a calling for each of us... a mission... a reason to live, something to accomplish.  He has chosen you, and not cast you away.
God will help us to accomplish our individual purpose in life, and we shouldn't be scared... not just of the physical challenges and obstacles, but also we shouldn't be afraid that it is too late, or that God has passed us by.  We shouldn't be afraid that we can't live up to his expectations.  Whatever the challenge, it is still there for us, and God still offers his help, and his hand.  This last verse is incredible and brings the image to mind strongly of God as our good... best... perfect friend, taking our hand to help us through the challenges that we face.  No matter how tough things get, he is a friend that will never abandon us, never deviate from helping us... from being there when we need a hand to hold.  I like the words from the second verse... strengthen, help, uphold... no matter what we need, even if we are falling down on the job, as it were... God is there to hold us up, to help us, to strengthen us... to help us to prevail, and succeed in our life's mission.  Let's ask for his help today, and then depend on it, for he will never fail.

Tuesday, December 12, 2000

Colossians 1:12-13

"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son."
Colossians 1:12-13

This is interesting... first, that our inheritance is light.  That is pretty cool.  Or maybe, we just partake of our inheritance in light... either way it is cool, because the lights are always on in heaven. :)  Not to skip over the very important fact that it is God that makes us equal to our inheritance... no matter how lost we are, God can find us, heal our wounds, offer us a shower and a safe place to stay, and clean clothes to put on.  If we make the smallest effort to communicate with him... to get to know him, to love him... then he blesses us, and prepares us for the next step.  He makes us equal to every task he assigns... every lesson he teaches.  And he will, in the end, make us equal to the light that he offers us.  When things get too dark, he rescues us, and helps us prepare to go out again.  And I like the translated part... it's as though we are in a foreign country and we don't speak the language, and we are trying to get along.  We're failing miserably, and we start yelling and cursing... and God comes up and translates for us... translating our pain and our anguish into the simple questions that we have in our hearts... and making every shout seem like a blessing in the ears of the natives.  He knows that we are really bad at diplomacy, but he knows us so well that he translates our stumbling prose into poetry, expressing our feelings and thoughts much better than we could ourselves.  And, that is how we get into the Kingdom of God... through the translation that makes us so much closer to the ideal us than we are. :)  Of course... we still have to learn, and become good translators ourselves someday, and help out others. :)  God is so so so cool to us... and everything he asks of us is only designed for our benefit.  That is amazing to me.  In this world of self-service (as in serving ourselves, not pumping our own gasoline), he is serving US.  God, the most powerful of all... making my day go better... helping you deal with your daily issues.  Touching us all individually, because in all the universe, this is what matters to him... his children.  Let's listen to him today... and stay in the light.

Monday, December 11, 2000

Abraham 3:22-23

"Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou are one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born."
Abraham 3:22-23

Do we realize, I wonder, how incredible we are?  I'm not trying to give anyone a big head... just wondering if we can see the reality of the situation.  We're children of God, first of all... we have the power and the potential to do anything at all.  This man, Abraham... he changed the world dramatically, and he was only one man, living in a scary society that embraced human sacrifice.  Noah lived in a scary society too... and he saved humanity.  Moses... scary society that enjoyed slavery.  King Benjamin too... but he was able to change his society to good.  That's amazing. :)  They were all just one individual... children of God... just like we are.  Now, don't go thinking that you aren't as cool as they were... you are... you ARE.  We were taught and instructed, and chosen... before we were born.  We are here for a reason... and whether that reason affects the entire earth or just your immediate surroundings, it requires faith and courage and commitment on a heroic level.  But that isn't a problem for us, because we *are* heroes.  We were sent here to be.  We might be heroes in the traditional sense... saving people from a burning building (physically or spiritually) or perhaps we are sent to be an incredibly heroic example to others by overcoming our own personal addictions.  Maybe we'll only save one... or be an example to one... but if so, how incredible we are, to be entrusted with that personalized mission.
God didn't send anyone here without something great to do.  And he didn't send anyone here without the ability and the opportunity to do it.  It requires courage, yes... and strength.  But the mission is never beyond our capacity.  We are, each of us, noble and great.  We are chosen and called to be a light in the midst of darkness.  We are good.
A friend was over at my apartment the other day and he asked me why I didn't "get stoned."  I told him, because I'm being good. :)  And he said "But good isn't any fun." ... Yes it is, my friends... yes it is. :)  It is more fun that anything else there is.  Do we see that?  Do we look on the gospel as an adventure or as a chore? :)  It is an adventure... and we are the good guys, the heroes of the story.  Let's go fight the evil and save the world... for real. :)

Sunday, December 10, 2000

Mosiah 5:10-13

"And now it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall not take upon him the name of Christ must be called by some other name; therefore, he findeth himself on the left hand of God.
And I would that ye should remember also, that this is the name that I said I should give unto you that never should be blotted out, except it be through transgression; therefore, take heed that ye do not transgress, that the name be not blotted out of your hearts.
I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you.
For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?"
Mosiah 5:10-13

Interesting stuff... I wonder sometimes how strong our commitment to Christ is.  Even when we aren't doing all the things that we are supposed to be doing, we still *believe,* right?  At least that's what we tell ourselves... but then there are scriptures like this... the more we transgress, the more Christ is blotted out of our hearts.  That is hard to hear... but it feels true.  I know when I am screwing up my life, I pray less, I read less... just generally communicate with God less.  And I think that I lose something serious... probably a lot of things.  My ability to remain calm, for one.  When we aren't doing the right things it is hard to even think of God in a positive way... and we start losing him.  Our knowledge of him... our knowledge of ourselves that he offers us even.  The last verse hits the hardest I think... How am I supposed to meet Christ and be judged by him when I don't even know him... and when I am doing wrong things I don't know him.  It's like how we edit what we tell other people.  We usually leave out the things that we are ashamed of.  This affects our relationship with Christ in a couple of ways... first... when we are ashamed of things, we aren't going to want to talk to God very much, who knows all of it, and who we know doesn't approve.  We avoid him.  And, second... sometimes we deceive ourselves into believing that what we are doing is right... which, you know, prevents a nervous breakdown... but which also makes us ashamed of *Christ* ... and then we leave *Him* out of our lives.  How are we going to know Christ if we don't talk to him, include him in our minds and hearts throughout the day, and if we never listen to him?  Even our very closest friends are going to fade away if we never talk to them or see them... and then when we run into them accidentally, we never fail to very obviously lie to them.  And don't think that I am saying anything that I don't need to apply in my own life either... it is a challenge for each of us, to try to get to know Christ better, to invite him into our lives, to learn the wisdom of his commandments through application.  And sincerely... I don't think that there is anything that we can do that will be more important to us in the long term.  Getting to know Christ... communicating with him, learning from him... that is the focus.  If we can get that right, then he'll lead us to all else that we need to do.

Saturday, December 9, 2000

1 Chronicles 4:10

"And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!  And God granted him that which he requested."
1 Chronicles 4:10

Right in the middle of all the listing of lineages, whoever compiled 1 Chronicles stops and adds a couple of verses about this guy Jabez. :)  This is one of them, and it intrigues me because I wonder why it was stuck in here.  I've been thinking about prayer today anyway, and I think that it is a good example.  The only thing that distinguishes this man from any other man in the list is that he prayed.  He humbled himself and asked God for help, and God helped him.  Sometimes I think that we are in the same position as Jabez.  We're in the middle of a list of names... how can we make a difference?  How can we make a difference to the people listed after us?  How can we become the beacons that God asks us to be?  How do we convince the compiler of the list to make a few comments before he goes on to the next name?  And the answer is the same today as it was for Jabez.  We pray.  Whatever we are searching for... God has the answer.  He can show us how to make a difference in the world.  He can show us how to overcome our weaknesses, and how to turn them into strengths.  He can show us how to love... how to become who we have the potential to be.  He is the greatest teacher in the universe, and we can learn anything we want to learn from him... but we have to ask... and then we have to listen to what he says, and do it.  We can't learn without making any effort to read and study.  We can't learn without communicating with the one who knows way more than we do about every subject.  We all have burning questions within us... we all have the desire somewhere within ourselves to grow and improve... to become better than we are.  God has the answer to anything we seek... Like He did for Jabez, He can do for us.  He can keep us from evil... enlarge our coasts, and bless us.  He can teach us anything that we are willing to learn... so that is the question.  What are we willing to learn?  Are we willing to go to God today with our questions, and a commitment to study and work at the lessons that he gives us?  If so... nothing is out of our reach.

Friday, December 8, 2000

Mosiah 3:19

"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."
Mosiah 3:19

Isn't it interesting when people talk about religion as the opiate of the people, and obedience as being blind?  A woman at work said to me, before she knew that I was religious, that "any thinking person" knew that religion was a farce.  It actually drives me crazy when people say things like that... assuming because I can think that I must not believe.  Insanity.  I mean, seriously... which is easier?  Obedience, or disobedience?  We say the most bizarre things.  We call people "unnatural" when they are actually being incredibly natural.  We think we are independent and unique when we rebel against God, when really we are just giving in to pretty basic, natural instincts.  God asks us to be a peculiar people, not an average people.  The challenge of our lives is to believe and love and give in a world where those things are difficult... and in a body whose nature is immediacy, not eternity.  A friend of mine commented to me the other day that converts seem to be a lot stronger in the church than people who grew up in it.  That is true for some people, and I think the reason is that they realize what it takes a little more.  They can see the difference from the world more starkly, and see the change in themselves more readily.  God asks everything of us... he separates us from the memories of our Spirit lives, and places us in a world prone to evil... in a body prone to evil... and then says "be good."  And he gives us the power to be good, and he provides appropriate breaks when we are exhausted from the fight... but it is a fight.  A fight, even with ourselves... to become good.  To invite God in, to let him change our hearts.  The natural man is an enemy to God.  To be his friend, we have to work.  To reunite with him and to become like him, we have to work, we have to give... we have to learn.  And the things that we learn are incredible things... sweeter than anything else there is.  And the rewards for learning it all are above any joy... but it isn't at all about following the crowd, about being in the club, about popularity or being a "thinking person."  it is about learning to make choices even when they are hard to make.  it is about learning to give of ourselves when we don't feel like we have anything to give.  it is about learning to be responsible in an irresponsible world.  All that sounds kind of icky... but it is also learning to have fun doing it. :)  To find the joy of life instead of the rush you get when you engage in your current addiction.  It's about finding out who we are... not in the sense of experimenting and seeing how messed up we can get... but in following the clues and discovering our spiritual selves that we have become strangers to by coming to this world.  In reality... the heroes are the ones who can overcome themselves, not the ones who let their bodies lead them where they will.  Thinking people *can* think about God. :)  And, luckily... God helps us overcome ourselves, our personal "natural man" and helps us learn to trust him more than it... helps us to become joyful rather than jaded... hopeful rather than hateful... perfect rather than perverse.  If we want to be rebellious today... let's rebel against the social custom of disobedience, and find a way to see the spiritual side. :)

Thursday, December 7, 2000

Matthew 20:25-28

"But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Matthew 20:25-28

So much of life seems like a power struggle... work, school... even home life can seem like that at times.  Who has the authority, and who gets to tell who what to do.  We're all little kids in the playground saying "I'm the boss of you."  And everyone else says "You're not the boss of me."  The struggle creates a lot of conflict, especially when we think that if everyone played by *our* rules, things would be perfect. :)  Much of life is that way, but God specifically tells us "it shall not be so among you."  God doesn't want us to claw our way to the top.  He isn't interested in corporate ladders or popularity contests.  Christ, who really was the greatest of all, is the boss of everyone :) ... He came here to serve us, to live and die for us.  If we want to be great, in an eternal sense, we will follow him, and do what he did.  Teach and lift, and heal the wounds of the people around us, whether they are physical or spiritual.  We will jump in and get things done instead of worrying about whether it is getting done under our control, exactly our way.  Service and love is *God's* way.  Anyway, not that it is easy... but today, let's try to avoid the power struggles and serve... because you know, as we discussed yesterday... when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God.  That's a good thing. :)

Wednesday, December 6, 2000

Mosiah 2:17 -- On Serving God Through Serving Others

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."
Mosiah 2:17

Whenever we do anything for anyone else, we are serving God.  His will is always that we help each other and lift each other up.  And it is interesting that knowing this helps us to learn wisdom.  I mean, it is probably pretty wise to do the 2 for 1 deal... help someone, help God... pretty good deal.  But I think that it goes deeper than that.  I mean, this is King Benjamin we are talking about... one of my heroes. :)  And King Benjamin was all about humility.  He is trying to teach us wisdom here, and he significantly uses the word "only" ... hmm.  So, what is he saying? 

I think he's saying that service is good... but that no matter what miraculous service we render to another person, we still are in God's debt.  We have to answer to God, who we can never look in the eye unless he lifts us up to sit on the counter.  :)  We're kids, and sometimes we try to make deals with ourselves, thinking that if we are extra-nice in one area that it will make up for something else, but it all goes back to God.  We eventually have to deal directly with him... you know, talking to him, learning from him.  It's actually not as scary as it sometimes feels... and he does appreciate the service. :)  Let's talk to God today... and ask him what he wants us to do. :)  And then let's go out and serve God by serving and helping and loving others.

Tuesday, December 5, 2000

D&C 88:123-126 -- On Bonding

"See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous; learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires.
Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.
And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.
Pray always, that ye may not faint, until I come.  Behold, and lo, I will come quickly, and receive you unto myself.  Amen."
Doctrine and Covenants 88:123-126

There is a lot of good stuff in here.  First verse:  love people. :)  Don't be jealous of who they are, what they have... you're cool all by yourself.  Learn to be nice, and give of yourself and your stuff to other people.  It is a lot more fun than jealousy. :)  Verse two: No doing nothing.  If you are sitting still, you'd better be pondering. :)  No being unclean.  Take a shower. :)  Physically *and* spiritually.  Don't be picking out people's faults... don't sleep all day.  Go to bed early, get up early.  :)  Most important, verse three:  love people.  I like the word "bond" in here... it's like a bond between people, holding them together.  That's what our communities are made of... human bonding. :)  And when we are all bound together... that is peace and perfection. 

I think the first two verses lead up to this one... beginning with love, and then ending here with charity... that love, even in its simplest forms, leads us to this highly complex and ultimate version... charity, the pure love of Christ.  And then, the other things in verses 2 and 3 build on that simple love, helping us to refine it, and to refine ourselves... the sleeping thing could be so that we are never grouchy and yell at people when we get up in the morning. :) ... but it is cool to think about.  When we learn to love people as Christ loves us, then we will have achieved the perfection and peace that we seek... and then, as a follow up... when we have started down this path, and the going gets tough... Pray always.  This is what protects us from falling down and giving up sometimes. 

Love isn't always easy, especially that "love your enemies" part.  But God will give us the strength to stand, to continue on the path... to learn how to love, how to be a perfect people, a perfect community... how to embrace that perfection and peace that he has in store for us.  Today... try to build some bonds with people... the things that tie us all together.  The more bonds, and the stronger they are... the closer we are to perfection as a community. :)  Let’s get out there and love. :)

Monday, December 4, 2000

D&C 97:27-28 -- On Being the Hero

"Nevertheless, let it be read this once to her ears, that I, the Lord, have accepted of her offering; and if she sin no more none of these things shall come upon her.
And I will bless her with blessings, and multiply a multiplicity of blessings upon her, and upon her generations forever and ever, saith the Lord your God.  Amen."
Doctrine and Covenants 97:27-28

This scripture is talking about Zion, in general... but, as with the woman taken in adultery... it applies to each of us individually.  Dire things have been foretold... dire things may be happening to us right now, as a consequence of choices that we have made.  Just remember... we can make other choices... we can avoid the tragic ending.  Just like in a story, the narrator can tell us of the awful curse that the hero has brought upon herself... and perhaps, for a while, the hero suffers it.  But the hero never gives in to the despair... she might hang her head for a moment... but she always manages to escape.  To find some hope, somewhere, to keep her going.  To banish the curse, to bring blessings and honor to her kingdom.

When we offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit... when we come before the Lord in humility, knowing how we have failed to be heroic... knowing we have brought shame to our kingdom... the Lord always offers a remedy.  He sends us on a quest... to obtain something, or to gain some wisdom.  The tasks seem impossible at times, but they are not.  The Lord knows that we have the power to accomplish them.  And when we have, and we return, we have learned the confidence to stand in his presence and offer everything that we are to him... knowing that he will return our hearts and souls to us, better and stronger than they were before. 

No matter what curse is slated to befall us now... the Lord offers us a remedy.  The true love fighting through the briar... the tears that can cure blindness... or the simple offering of a broken heart and a contrite spirit... the recognition that God can heal even the wounds that seem to be death-blows to our spirits.  Trust him... there is always a happy ending in store.

Sunday, December 3, 2000

John 16:32-33

"Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:32-33

Thinking about this, along with another scripture that I have used before that contains the phrase "dead, being alone." ... and really, that's what spiritual death is, being separated from God, and being therefore, alone.  Interesting.  This scripture talks about the fact that Christ was never alone, because he always had his Father with him.  Even when his disciples went away, he was never alone.  And, you know... we can have the same thing.  We never have to be alone.  Sometimes that is what makes all the difference.  Something bad happens, but it is okay because we don't have to face it alone... something good happens, and our joy is multiplied when we can share it with someone else.  Even in the Garden of Eden God saw that it was not good for man to be alone.  :)  And one way for us to not be alone is to have the constant companionship of the Spirit.  To invite God into our lives consistently and to include him in all that we do.  When we do that, we can tap into the peace that he promises.  Even when tribulation comes... and it will, that is part of the earthly experience... we can have peace and help and hope through God, who will not leave us comfortless... he will come to us.  All we have to do is ask.

Saturday, December 2, 2000

1 Kings 4:29 -- On Seeking Wisdom

"And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore."
1 Kings 4:29

This is cool... So many times when we ask God for something it is something of the world... tangible, physical... like our car keys, or a new car, or a nicer house... :)  even a better job, or good friends.  Rarely do we look at ourselves and say, you know... I wish I could offer more to other people.  We’re usually asking for them to offer more to us. :) 

God tells us, several places in the scriptures, how much he values love, and he shows us how much he values compassion.  I think sometimes about the three Nephites... how they asked God if they could stay and bring souls to him, and the others asked if they could come immediately to him in his kingdom when they reached a certain age.  God blesses us with what we want, and neither desire was unrighteous... only, how often do we think of other's needs before our own? 

Solomon asked for this wisdom and understanding so that he could be a good king for the people.  Most of the other kings never thought of asking for anything; they just thought it was cool that they got to have all that power... sometimes they were good kings and sometimes they were bad kings, but they never thought of asking for something that would bless the lives of other people.  Something to think about today, as we go about our daily lives... are we asking for and seeking things that will make us more comfortable individually... or are we truly seeking to bless the lives of others?

Friday, December 1, 2000

Alma 16:16-17

"And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming--
That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a branch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God."
Alma 16:16-17

This is kind of cool... well, really cool... :)  First of all, the part about there being no inequality among them... can you imagine that?  No inequality.  You couldn't drive a few blocks down the road and find homeless people because there would be none.  You wouldn't be afraid to walk alone in one part of town, because they would all be safe.  Why would someone mug you when they have the same things you have?  No inequality.  No-one would walk into a restaurant and get snubbed.  No-one would be denied rights, or housing, or medical care... everyone would have food, and shelter, and clothing, and opportunities for quality education...  It would be amazing.
Then... the Lord pours out his Spirit to prepare our minds and hearts to receive his word at his coming.  We need that same thing today.  He is coming, and we need to be prepared.  One thing that our minds and hearts need to be prepared for is equality.  We talk about it a lot, but I don't think any of us realizes how it would be, or even wants it most of the time.  Usually, the only times I think of equality and fairness are when I am not getting as big a piece of the pie as I want.  If there really were equality, so many things would change... are we ready for that?  Are we willing to share what we have, or will we fight to keep it, no matter what?  It's a good question, and something that we need to examine as we endeavor to build Zion... when we build it, are we going to want to live there?  This is why we need the Spirit of the Lord, to prepare our hearts and minds to accept God's plan in the latter days... to fight for it, to build his kingdom... to become what we can be, and have faith in the Lord that it will all work out. :)  And the other reason... that we won't be hardened against it when it comes.  That we will receive God's word with joy, and create the society that he envisions, and enter into his rest when the time comes (or when no time comes... you know...). :)  Anyway, today... try to imagine no inequality.  How would your life change?  Is there anything that we can do to encourage that today?

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