Wednesday, May 31, 2000

Luke 2:36-38

"And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
Luke 2:36-38


I think that this is interesting because it talks about some of the reactions to Christ's birth... and I don't know if we fully understand the impact of that.  We hear all the time about Christ being our salvation, our hope, our light... but what were we saved from?  I mean, if we only look at the massive difference between the Old and New Testaments we can see the impact that he had.  The Israelites were saved by God from slavery, and promised incredible things... but they kept acting like God was some horrible reality in their lives, limiting their 'freedom.'  Like scary teenagers whose parents have to practice "tough love" or something.  And God's tough love was the Law of Moses, which told them everything.  Do exactly this... no more and no less.  Attached were exact consequences.  If you do this, this will happen.  Many were banishment from the group, some were death.  Blood sacrifice... exactly what to eat and what to avoid to stay healthy and retain their community.  and all of these things symbolic as well, teaching them to look to this moment... when Christ would come into the world and fulfil that law, and offer another... that only he *could* offer, because he paid the price.  So, I think of Anna... so excited, and as a prophetess, really comprehending what was going on... and telling everyone she saw what was happening... how things were changing so amazingly... it was a completely new world, new way of life that he brought to us.  Sometimes even now, we are like the children of Israel... unable to live the higher law.  Stuck on details that keep us from being able to see the whole, the truth of the beauty and amazing hope that he brought to us.  But it is there...

Tuesday, May 30, 2000

2 Chronicles 20:15

"And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's."
2 Chronicles 20:15


This is good... I think this is a good message to all of us at times.  Sometimes when we are faced with a stronger enemy God gives us the strength to prevail, and sometimes he fights the battle for us.  In either case, there is no need to stress when you are faced with overwhelming obstacles.  No matter how bad it seems, you and God can solve the problem together.  Of course, that might require some communication, so that you can arrange your strategy. :)

Monday, May 29, 2000

Luke 12:25-26

"And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?"
Luke 12:25-26


This is fascinating.  A cubit is a lot to add to your stature, by the way... says in the Bible dictionary that it was the distance from your elbow to the tips of your fingers... at the time of Christ it was generally accepted as being about 21 1/2 inches long.  I don't think that they sell heels that high. :)
So, I think the most interesting thing is that Christ says here that adding to your stature is the "thing which is least."  Least?  I wouldn't mind a few inches if it is so easy. :)  So maybe this puts things into perspective a little as we try to become like Christ, and learn the lessons of the children of God... maybe when we finish taking this test that we are taking now, if we score pretty well, we'll get admitted into Heavenly kindergarten, where you learn to control your stature by thinking about it. :)  And walking on water is probably in 2nd grade, if we can make it that far. :)
The interesting thing to me is... Christ could do those kinds of things here, on this earth, during the test.  If we are to follow in his footsteps, then we can learn amazing things like that as well.  Of course, we might have to have a handle on obedience first, and on listening to God... and we might have to have more faith.
But it's possible... that is huge.  Possible and available, and so many other things that we can only imagine... if we can just learn these basics that we are here for, think of all the unimaginable possibilities for the rest of our lives... and for our eternities.  People say that heaven is boring... what rot. :)

Sunday, May 28, 2000

1 Nephi 4:18

"Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword."
1 Nephi 4:18


This has always been an interesting scripture to me, and although it isn't any more harsh than anything in the old testament, it still is hard to understand sometimes, especially since the Book of Mormon was written for our day, right?  Why there are exceptions to huge things like "thou shalt not kill?"  I think one of the reasons that we have it is to show us that God is the author of the laws.  He knows absolutely and without question what is right and what is wrong, and how things work.  And maybe it is also to show us that we need to listen to the spirit.  Following the letter of the law isn't always going to work, even though it is a great guideline.  we have to get to the point where we are actually communicating with God every day and following his promptings, no matter what.  And really, until we get to that point, we have no idea where the exceptions are.  We have to assume we are part of the rule unless God tells us otherwise.
It's kind of like learning another language perhaps.  You learn a lot of rules and phrases and how to put them together, and so you are living the letter of the law... or at least attempting to, as far as you are able.  But until you immerse yourself in the culture, and hang out with people who are speaking the living language every day... you don't know many of the exceptions... you don't even know what is funny and what isn't.  :)  and, it might take a lifetime to actually get to the point where you can make up a new word, or break rules at the right time and the right place to get a laugh or actually communicate an idea better.  God, as the original native speaker of the language, knows which rules he can break, and what things are hilarious, and what things are serious.  We're trying to pick it up as we go along... but the more we talk to God as the native speaker, the more we will understand how the language of the Gospel works, and where there are double meanings and start to understand the poetry and the beauty of the whole thing... and when we have God there as translator, then we will understand—even when the information coming in doesn't quite make sense to us as students in Gospel 101.

Saturday, May 27, 2000

Revelation 12:1, 6, 14, 16

"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
. . .
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
. . .
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
. . .
And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth."
Revelation 12:1, 6, 14, 16


Okay, so this is Revelations... don't stress if you don't get it. :)  I definitely don't.  Anyway, this might seem a little surreal, but bear with me.  I'm sure this chapter says a lot about the end of the world and it has layers and layers of symbolic things, but I wanted to focus on the woman. :)  This almost sounds like a native American story, doesn't it?  Or even something you read in your Greek or roman mythology book... and so I wanted to talk about it as a story, and a story of our lives in a way.  I’ve talked about it before, that we are the hero of our stories, and a happy ending is guaranteed if we don't stop reading. :)  That's the way it is with this woman.  She is obviously a hero or goddess of some sort... clothed with the sun.  Outshining everything, just like any mythological hero worth his mettle (what is mettle, by the way?)  Anyway, she is amazing, and magical, and there are obviously powerful forces fighting against her... but also working for her in the story.  Nature and the earth actually fight on her side... she has her life spared many times, a sanctuary in the wilderness, she is given wings... the earth saves her.
Now, whether we take this as being symbolic of a divine mother, the church, or ourselves individually... the story is the same.  The hero wins.  Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.  Forces that were beyond her power to stop were fighting against her... and so the author of all things had to step in and make the very forces of nature protect her.  He gave her wings so that she could fly; the earth saved her from a flood she couldn't possibly survive.  Right when there seemed no way out for our hero, she is saved again... given the power to overcome some obstacles and given powerful friends to help her through the rest of them.  This is happening to each of us in our lives.  We have the power to fight the forces of evil, and when we get to the point where we can't do it anymore, God will give us a sanctuary from the storm for a while... or wings to fly... or the very earth beneath our feet will help us.
God is helping us every minute of every day...  in stories and in our lives.  In nature and in our homes.  We just have to open our eyes to see, and open our ears to hear.  Miracles are everywhere, and when we can't walk anymore, he will help us fly.

Friday, May 26, 2000

Mark 12:32-33

"And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
Mark 12:32-33


I think this is interesting ... how so many things in the gospel point to what is really important, instead of being really important by themselves.  We have thousands of pages of scriptures, but mostly what they say are... have a good relationship with God, and with the people around you. :)  It's getting there, and learning how to do that that takes up all those pages.  Stories about how different people succeeded or failed... so much to learn just to get those basics. :)

Thursday, May 25, 2000

Ecclesiastes 5:1

"Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil."
Ecclesiastes 5:1


Interesting scripture. :)  There is another scripture that tells us that "to obey is better than sacrifice" and this one says that it is better to listen. :)  I kind of like that.  Not that we don't have to make sacrifices... a broken heart and a contrite spirit... just coming to the point where we recognize that God is smarter than we are is sometimes a huge step... but that being humble enough to listen to God instead of trying to block him out, or argue with him... that brings us to the same place, without as much pain... right?  We fight and fight and finally are broken and bruised from banging on the walls that we built for ourselves, and we realize that we can't do it without God, and we finally sacrifice the pride and accept his help.  Wouldn't it be easier if we just put forth the effort and tried to listen to him in the first place? :)  Definitely easier... not always acceptable to us, I know.  It is hard to listen, hard to obey sometimes... when we think we know what we are doing. :)  So we go on learning the difficult way. :)  Nice though that God shows us the option.

Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Zechariah 1:3

"Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts."
Zechariah 1:3


This is interesting.  First of all I think the repetition is kind of funny... shows us how thick-headed we are sometimes.  And how much we try to discount people's words. :)  Like... oh, well God didn't say it, so it isn't true.  Or, that apostle was only speaking in a fireside, not in General Conference, so I don't think that is revelation. :)  We're weird like that... so in this scripture God makes it abundantly clear who is making the statement. :)  And then, of course, what he says is interesting too... turn unto me and I will turn unto you.  If we serve God, he will serve us.  If we stand up for him, he will stand up for us.  As we come unto him, he will come unto us.  Not that he doesn't do a lot of work to bring us back when we are walking away... but here we have a promise that he will match (and exceed) our efforts... exactly.  The more effort we put into our relationship with God the more we will get out of it... and isn't that true in most relationships?  More amazing here of course because having God on your side is better than anything else, and it kind of encompasses everything else we could ever want. :) :)
So anyway, try this... watch your lives.  Do something extra for God today, and see if you don't get a little extra in return. :)  Be more consistent with your prayers and see if you don't get more consistent happiness and peace in your life... it works.

Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Mosiah 28:4

"And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever."
Mosiah 28:4


Here is an interesting scripture... I talked before vacation some about how God doesn't want us to suffer... but Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah did suffer a lot because of what they had done... we can't just turn off the guilt and banish the responsibility we have for our thoughts and actions.  However... just as Alma the younger says in his conversion story... what marvelous light we can behold when we return to God.  The darkness leaves us and we are literally filled with light and peace and God grants us the desires of our hearts.  The suffering we feel is the gap between who we are and who we want to be... and the closer we get to who we want to be, the less the pain.  God absolutely does not want us to suffer... but we have to take the journey to the place where we can be free of that.  God will free us from ANY burdens that we have, any pain that we feel, any guilt for not being who we can be... for causing pain to others.  Nothing is exempt from his healing power.  But, as with most things in life, it takes some effort. :)  The cool thing about it though... these men were "the very vilest" of sinners... and then they turned around and became the very best of saints.  it happens every day.  While we live, there is always always always hope... for ourselves and for those we care about.

Monday, May 22, 2000

1 John 4:13

"Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."
1 John 4:13


I think is a cool reassurance for all of us, knowing that God is ALWAYS around... whenever we can feel his spirit, we know that things are okay between us, and when things are okay with God... how can they be wrong with the rest of the world? :)  Because if we are putting God first, then everything else will work out.  The trick is to make sure you are cleaning up your life at regular intervals, the closer together the better, so that you CAN feel that spirit, that knowledge that things will be okay.  That unity...

Sunday, May 21, 2000

Psalms 69:5

"O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee."
Psalms 69:5


I was talking to one of my good friends on sunday about sometimes feeling like God hates you... when you get off track sometimes we expect that God is going to smite us or want us to suffer for a long time before being allowed to return... but God knows us already, all of us, the good and the bad, and he loves us anyway.  He wants to bless our lives, and feeling like we can't approach God is what Satan wants us to believe.  Maybe we won't get through when we first try, but we need the practice, and with persistence, God will not fail to answer our prayers and cleanse our lives... the work is all in committing ourselves to living the right way... not in suffering.  Christ suffered FOR us.  The only pain that we should be going through is the pain of repentance, whatever will get us back to the path, back to the Spirit, back to God.  After that, we're okay.  We don't have to beat ourselves up for years, or even days... we just have to commit ourselves to doing better.

Saturday, May 20, 2000

Mosiah 24:15

"And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen then that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."
Mosiah 24:15


I've always been amazed by this scripture... Alma and his people were in slavery basically, and if they were even found praying out loud they were put to death.  The environment was amazingly oppressive, and yet... "they did submit cheerfully and with patience?"  I can't even do that now, and my life isn't even close to that bad.  I just think that they were amazingly faithful, and God made slavery almost tolerable for them.  I think that is illustrative of what he can do in each of our lives, with WHATEVER our challenges... he can make them easier to bear, easier to overcome... if we just ask, if we just believe.  Faith has so much power.  These people knew no way out of their situation, and so they put it in God's hands... and he made them happy in oppression, and then he delivered them.  In other scriptures they have to make everyone drunk... in this story, God just puts all the bad guys into a deep sleep, and all the good guys stay awake.  And without gas masks. :)  Faith.  Amazing stuff.  We can be cheerful and patient wherever we are as well, if we just ask God, and have faith that he will answer us.  Not as easy as it sounds, but so possible... and so available.

Friday, May 19, 2000

John 16:13

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."
John 16:13


This last Sunday I taught a lesson in Relief Society on the Holy Ghost, and so I have been thinking about it... I think that it is so amazing... imagine: ALL truth.  that's beyond incomprehensible... so, just... wow.
God is the ultimate teacher, because he knows everything, and he knows his students perfectly, so he can cater his teaching to our individual needs and learning styles.  The spirit shows us the future at times, brings to our remembrance things from before this life... and part of this life that we need to remember just at the right moment.  God is always preparing us for the next lesson, building us up at our own pace, as fast as we are willing and able to learn.  I think of what a different and better person I am now than I was when I was 17... or even when I was 27... and all because of the people and the opportunities for learning that God places as lessons for us in our personal tests.  Just think how much more we could be if we could learn to have the Holy Ghost teaching us 24/7... if we could be in tune enough to always be learning.

Thursday, May 18, 2000

Psalms 13:6

"I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me."
Psalms 13:6


He has, after all.  Maybe we should remember that today, and rejoice. :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2000

2 Nephi 30:17-18

 "There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed.
Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed; and Satan shall have power over the hearts of the children of men no more, for a long time.  And now, my beloved brethren, I make an end of my sayings."
2 Nephi 30:17-18


This is cool, and goes along with what we discussed earlier about God being our light in the last days... here it is also talking about the last days and it talks about all the secrets being uncovered... that there will be no more deception and hidden things.  I think that is also an amazing concept, in terms of light offering clarity and understanding... and with that light and knowledge comes freedom from Satan's clutches.  So interesting. :)  I'm not really sure what the sealing part is about... I wonder if it means that nothing will be impermanent anymore.  no more "till death do you part" or temporary anything... if it isn't sealed forever (in heaven) then no sealing at all... what do you guys think?

Tuesday, May 16, 2000

Isaiah 60:20

"Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended."
Isaiah 60:20


I think that the whole theme of light is amazing.  When I'm not doing very well I say that I feel "dark" ... and when I am doing well, and am happy and excited about things, then my perspective "brightens" ... right?  and so, for me at least, this scripture promises more than  eternal day ... which is really good if it doesn't also come with Phoenix's unbearable heat... in terms of clarity and being able to see everything around you... to understand, comprehend, know... all amazing and great things. but I think of it also as never letting my personal sun go down, never getting that darkness in my soul anymore... and then my days of mourning will truly be ended. :)

Monday, May 15, 2000

Galatians 5:1

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
Galatians 5:1


I was talking yesterday to a friend who recently decided to go on a mission.  It was quite an interesting conversation where she expressed some things that made me think of that scriptures, and another one that I have already used in 2 Corinthians:. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." She was talking about realizing for the first time how much there was in the gospel, and as she actually started to read the scriptures every day and pray more often, that so many possibilities that she had never seen before opened up... and it's so true.  Instead of the six or eight different meanings you can see when you read Shakespeare, or the 40 or 80 different interpretations you can come up when you translate ancient Greek... the possibilities of the gospel are unending.  The scriptures are unending with possibilities... how else could you have a scripture of the day every day?  We never go to church and hear the same things without having the opportunity to find a new nuance or facet or perspective there that we hadn't seen before... so many times we think that the gospel somehow restricts or limits us, when it is actually sin that restricts us... there is so much more freedom in faith and belief than in doubt and unbelief.  Think about the brother of Jared... who, even now with all our technological "breakthroughs," would believe that God could just touch 16 stones and make them light?  But the brother of Jared believed, and it was done.  Imagine, if you can, all the possibilities that must be out there that we don't even come close to imagining because we've been brought up to believe that some things are possible and some impossible.  If God could speak and the world was created, if he used the power of faith to create this world that we all live in... and we are *his* children... then we have the power to do anything and change anything.  We just have to stand fast in our liberty and not choose bondage for ourselves.  there is SO much to learn out there... so much to imagine, so much to live.  We are free to be anything we choose.

Sunday, May 14, 2000

Romans 8:16-17

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the Children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
Romans 8:16-17


I think sometimes I forget what it really means to be a child of God... or maybe it is a concept that I have never really fully grasped... so it seems, all over again, to be this huge, amazing amazing thing.  we grow up on this earth and we learn to limit our vision... to see birth and death as the beginning and the ending of something that, in reality, is limitless.  I was thinking last night that God must look at things so differently than we do... (yeah, big insight... I'm kind of slow) I mean, the way we look at problems, like our whole life has gone into a melt-down state... or the way we kill ourselves over decisions that either may not really matter in an eternal sense... like what job to get.  I actually graduated with my master's degree this weekend... so what should I do?  it's a big question to me, but in an eternal sense, how much does it really matter?  If I am going to be like God, I'll probably have to learn to do it all... might as well just learn something and go on with it instead of trying to decide my whole life. :)
We are God's children, and if children, then heirs. :)  what does that mean, seriously?  I think it means that we need to throw away the perspective that we grew up with.  birth and death are not limiting factors, except in a very small sense.  It's a test.  but it doesn't limit who we are... the things that we learn to value... money, buying a house, getting some land... whatever it is... if we are God's children, it's all ours anyway.  Like a game of monopoly where you own the entire game but sit there for hours trying to acquire little plastic houses.  So, cool... get the plastic houses... and take the test.  It does matter... but don't think that this is all there is.  We're children of God... we own the whole game board.
And then to suffering... sometimes when you are playing monopoly and you mention something outside the game, there are going to be people who tell you to concentrate on the game and stop getting off track.  Even though human interaction is probably one of the reasons for games. :)  Our limited perspectives sometimes get us stuck in the game and we tune out real life and what really matters.  Like Christ, who died because some people thought that they could cheat and win the game, because they couldn't see any further.
So, we have to suffer the crosses of this world, and the short-sightedness, if we want to get past the test and go on... and really, if we remember all there is, then the suffering that we go through is so small in comparison that we can handle it easily.  nothing in this life is worth giving up eternity for.  Would you sacrifice your earth life for the chance to win a game of monopoly?  It's the same choice.

Saturday, May 13, 2000

John 8:47

"He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because you are not of God."
John 8:47


Here’s an interesting scripture... and I am not using it for a chastisement factor, don't worry. :)  What I think is most interesting here is the whole hearing phenomenon.  They could be the same words from the same person, but sometimes we hear them and sometimes we don't.  At work we talk to each other from our own cubicles without being able to see the other person sometimes... and I find that I will get absorbed in something, and I will know that a coworker is talking to me, but have no idea what she is saying.  At work it's usually understandable... unfortunately I have to be careful not to do the same thing with my close friends... and especially careful not to do it with God.
When you know someone well, then sometimes even in a group, you can single out their voice and hear them talking across a room when you didn't even know they were there.  Something about the quality of laughter or the voice print of the soul makes you turn and look.  And that's true with God too... our spirits know him, and know him really really well.  We realize that he is talking on some level, but sometimes we aren't paying attention.  this gives us some vague sense of uneasiness because we know it was something important. :) 
I think that is probably one of the problems with sin... because it drowns out important messages from God.  Makes it harder to pay attention because it is very distracting, like trying to talk to a friend on the phone when your favorite show is on, turned up loud, and you were in the middle of a bite of your favorite snack. We choose whether to be of God or not... or rather, we are of God, but we sometimes choose something else instead.  So, let's not go there.  When you know God is talking, turn off the TV, put the snack back in the refrigerator, get on your knees, and try to make out the words.  The less distractions we have the better chance we have of making out the message that can change everything.

Friday, May 12, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 93:36-37

"The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
Light and truth forsake the evil one."
Doctrine and Covenants 93:36-37


I think this is interesting and something to aspire to... that true intelligence is light and truth... together.  I think that you can have truth and darkness, and then the truth is really hard to take... and I’m not sure if you can have light and falsehood... maybe the appearance... Satan appearing as an angel of light and stuff... but both together... that is intelligence.  when you have the truth and also the light to see all of it.  you have perspective and absolute confidence in your sources. :)  That is the way to be. :)  (Which is why God is that way, I presume.) :)
Anyway... I think all my life I have wanted to be "intelligent" ... I just have to remember what the ingredients are. :)  You can't go to the wrong source if you want true wisdom, right?

Thursday, May 11, 2000

Helaman 3:35

"Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God."
Helaman 3:35


This scripture is from a period in the Book of Mormon where some of the people were persecuting other people.  Perhaps we can relate to that.  In fact, in this scripture it was members of the church of God that were doing the persecuting.  I think that is scary and instructive.  We have to be more careful than *anyone* ... because we profess to have the truth... that we are not persecuting others.  We are not better than anyone.  I think it is easy to fall into the trap of Pride, because sometimes to feel good about ourselves we want to find a favorable comparison.  Well, I am smarter than her... or faster or funnier... whatever it is.  And maybe we are.  But are we seeing the whole picture when we make comparisons like that?  Compared to God, we are nothing.  Our goal is to get *there* ... and so we need to be comparing ourselves, not to ANYONE else, but only to God, and to how we were yesterday.  Are we getting better or worse?  Are we happier or sadder?  Are we more at peace or less at peace?  Closer or further away from our potential?  I mean, look at that scripture... FILLING their souls with joy and consolation.  I want that.  And to have it I have to yield my heart to God.  Sounds silly in a way... but when we talk about falling in love, it isn't silly. We give our hearts all the time... :)  So, what's the difference?  I think the difference is very slight.  We have to dedicate our lives to something, and trust our hearts, goals, feelings, and desires to God.  Yielding is about breaking down walls, opening communication... trusting that God will find a way to fill your soul if you just let him.  I think all of us have tried to fill our own souls enough to know that we can't do it alone.

Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 95:1

"Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you—"
Doctrine and Covenants 95:1


This is good.  I think it is interesting here how God explains his love for us a little bit.  He's saying... I love you, but it might be hard sometimes and here is why... God doesn't love us in a shallow way where he just approves of everything that we do and lets us destroy ourselves without knowing that we are doing it.  He doesn't just accept us for who we are, but also knows when we are "opposing ourselves" (from yesterday's scripture) and when we are making ourselves unhappy.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.  He knows who we were before this life... he knows who we are now, so much better than we do most of the time... and he knows what is going to eat away at our souls.  So, when we do something that is dangerous, he warns us.  And not only that, but he prepares a way for us to get out of the danger.  Too many times I think we expect love to be something else... to be like the bumper sticker that says "my country, right or wrong" ... sure, it's still your country, but shouldn't we try to support what is right and not what is wrong?  Do we let children do whatever they want, all the time, because that's what love is?  No.  That isn't what it is.  It's teaching kids to avoid things that will hurt them, and helping them to understand who they are and where they are in the world, so that they can make better choices.  The same thing that God does, only he knows a lot more than anyone else, and can do it a lot better.

Tuesday, May 9, 2000

2 Timothy 2:23-26

"But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
2 Timothy 2:23-26


This is interesting to me in a lot of ways.  I wonder sometimes if these scriptures that I pick out just apply only to me, and you guys just read them because you are polite. :)  Anyway... the first verse hits me right away.  I think that I ask questions just to stir things up sometimes... especially at work.  I see something going on beneath the surface, and so I ask something that brings it out.  Unfortunately sometimes it is this volcanic emotional issue that I can't do anything about, and so all I have done is built the walls higher instead of helping the situation.  So I need to remember verse two... to be gentle and patient.  I am kind of bad at that sometimes.  I think that the part about "opposing themselves" is interesting... I think that is what we do when we go against God in anything.  We are his children, part of him is in us... and not only that, but we are going against who we were in the premortal existence.  I wonder if the veil *had* to be drawn just to get those valiant spirits to accept living in this society that can often be scary and offensive.  We oppose ourselves a lot.  But thankfully the scripture also talks about escaping the traps that Satan sets for us... and that even if we are trapped for a long time, we can still escape.

Monday, May 8, 2000

Revelation 7:16-17

"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
Revelation 7:16-17


I think this is a very cool scripture, talking about how God will take care of the righteous.  The sun part is especially cool here in Phoenix where it is already in the 100s during the day, and only promises to get hotter.  yikes.  But seriously... that God will protect us from harsh circumstances, take care of us, and give us a reason to rejoice in the place of our sorrow.  Some days it is so hard to see the goal, to stay headed in the right direction when you can't really see where you are going... but you can see the other path with perfect clarity... or at least the part of it that is attractive.  Satan is good at that... anyway... so it is good sometimes to get a taste of the peace and joy that God offers us... even in the midst of the cataclysmic events in Revelation. :)

Sunday, May 7, 2000

Isaiah 19:15

"Neither shall there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do."
Isaiah 19:15


Okay, this might seem like a bizarre scripture to use today, but I thought it was cool.  this is one of Isaiah's prophecies which has already been fulfilled once, but you know how these themes get repeated. :)  Anyway... talking about the destruction of Egypt, and it talks about "the head and the tail" ... and in the footnote for that phrase, it says that it means the different levels of society.  This phrase pops up in so many places in the scriptures, I thought it was a good thing to know.  It's like in Revelations (2:23)... when it says that the Lord searcheth the reins and hearts, and the footnote tells us that it means desires and thoughts...
anyway, interesting in content as well... that this is a bad thing that happened to Egypt... that there was no work for anyone.  Most people dream of that, but the Lord shows us here that, once again, idleness is not usually a good thing. :)

Saturday, May 6, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 61:36-39

"And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you;
And inasmuch as you have humbled yourselves before me, the blessings of the kingdom are yours.
Gird up your loins and be watchful and be sober, looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, for he cometh in an hour you think not.
Pray always that you enter not into temptation, that you may abide the day of his coming, whether in life or in death.  Even so.  Amen."
Doctrine and Covenants 61:36-39


This is cool... God reminds us that we are little children, which is always good for a dose of humility and some nostalgia. :)  First he reminds us that he is always close enough to touch, if we choose to do so... and that he won't leave us alone.  How amazing is that?  I hate doing things alone... but maybe if I just remember that God is around and that I can always talk to him, it will be better. :)
Then we are reminded to be humble... and have a discussion about the coming of the Son of Man.  You know, I was thinking about this, and I think that the whole Second Coming thing freaks me out sometimes... I don't know if I really want to witness mass destruction and all that stuff.  But then, God never gives us anything we can't handle, right? :)  I just don't know if I *want* to handle it.  Anyway... if the scripture says (and it does) "inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me" ... then aren't we really dealing with the coming of the Son of Man every day of our lives?  The people at work, the people at school, the people at the grocery store... the people on the street corner, the people everywhere... how we treat them reflects directly on our relationship with Christ.  So, we need to pray not to enter into temptation... but also, just the love and perspective to see the good in people and be able to treat them well.  Let's not be those people who at the end ask the rocks to fall on top of us to hide us from God... because you know, no matter how many rocks agree to it, it won't help.

Friday, May 5, 2000

Alma 39:9

"Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.  Oh remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things."
Alma 39:9


Last night I was cleaning my room (okay, okay, get up off the floor and try to suspend your disbelief a little) and I found this bizarre conglomeration of sticky notes all stuck together.  On one is the definition of the word "zeugma" and some attempts at it by me... "twisting the knife and the doorknob..." etc. and the overall theme is that most of them have something about some bizarre attempt that I made at designing a better work calendar with more holidays and 5-day weeks... psycho, eh?  Anyway, also written on one of these sticky notes was the reference to this scripture... so, here it is, since I have been thinking about it.  My first question is, what does crossing yourself mean?  I mean, obviously the Catholic church, and maybe others, I don't know, have made it into a ritual... but that isn't what God means here, right?  So, I looked up the cross-reference (3 Nephi 12:30) which says that it is better to deny yourself something than to go to hell... so, I guess that taking up your cross is emulating Christ in a way... even though he didn't really want to drink the bitter cup... he did.  It was hard, but he did the right thing... so I guess it is just making sure that God's priorities are in line before ours.
The Kingdom of God is cool beyond our power to imagine... and even though it is easy to focus on the immediate, and the things that are easier to grasp in the short-term... it is worth working for, worth fighting for (in a purely spiritual / emotional and non acceptance of warlike tendencies type way), worth living for.

Thursday, May 4, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 111:11

"Therefore, be ye as wise as serpents and yet without sin; and I will order all things for your good, as fast as ye are able to receive them. Amen."
Doctrine and Covenants 111:11


I think this is cool... that God promises to order all things for our good.  As long as we are trying to be good snakes and not bad snakes. :)  He tells us that everything will work out, as fast as we are able to handle it... isn't that amazing?  And not just some things, but ALL things... wow.  Sometimes I don't think we realize how important we are to God... and how involved in our lives he is.

Wednesday, May 3, 2000

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:17-18


Isn't this awesome?  :)  I think it helps to put things into perspective a little... no matter what is going on in our lives and how hard it seems... it's temporary.  it only lasts for a limited amount of time, and then we get to the amazingly cool part, that never ends... you know?  I mean, that doesn't diminish the difficulty probably, but with that knowledge and hope... doesn't that change the burden a little bit?  if you know that you have to carry this 200 pound sack of flour for an hour, you might have a lot more hope than if someone said carry it until you can't carry it any more. :)  I think that knowing that these things will end makes them easier to bear... and easier to look at positively even.  as learning opportunities, as growing experiences.  it doesn't always feel like that, I know... but that perspective is possible when you know the ending of the story.  so what if the hero has to sit in the dungeon for a year... you know?  in the end he fights his way out and takes a shower and marries the princess and saves the kingdom from the evil wizard.  ...so everything is okay, even when he is in the dungeon.  am I making sense? :)
We can't see the ending all the time... but mostly I think it's because we have a hard time trusting it, or we are trying to ignore the fact that this is a book and not just one page.  We give up on the story and stop reading, when just one paragraph away the king's guard was going to save us... we give up on ourselves way too easily.  Remember the part where God doesn't give us challenges without also giving us a way to get through?  There are trap doors and well-placed swords and convenient good fairies all along the way in this story... placed in the plot just perfectly so that when you think all is lost, you turn the page, and suddenly the enchantment wears off or the twin sister you never knew you had sneaks her way into the castle and shows you a secret passageway out of the dungeon.  You can't lose... don't you get it?  You are the hero, and the Author of the book would NEVER let you fail.  It wouldn't be exciting and you wouldn't be a good hero if there weren't plot twists and dragons to fight and dungeons and enchantments... but since you are the hero, you will beat them all.  We can't see the plot, but it is there... and the happily ever after in this story really means ever after... happy forever.  that is our future.  so, kill the dragons, and we'll go enjoy it. :)

Tuesday, May 2, 2000

Titus 1:15

"Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."
Titus 1:15


I think that this is interesting, that purity rests largely within our perspective.  When we are doing well, then we are more likely to see the good all around us, and rejoice in it, and see the good in other people... but the worse we are doing, the more we are unable to see through the dark cloud, and we doubt the goodness around us, and see the bad in other people... that when we sin we damage our perspectives as well, and that is a hard thing to overcome... just like the sin itself.  It's hard to teach ourselves to see better.  When we feel better about ourselves... pure and clean... it's easier to feel good about others and feel good about life and God and all his creations. :)

Monday, May 1, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 134:1

"We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society."
Doctrine and Covenants 134:1


If you find this interesting, this is just the beginning of a declaration of belief regarding governments and laws... the rest of section 134 is good to read.  Anyway, I guess I have been thinking lately about the whole structure of things, hierarchical... class differences, discrimination in all forms... I think that corporate America is what set me off, but it's everywhere... and I thought this was interesting as it relates to our individual responsibilities.  We have a responsibility to try and change the system, to correct injustice... to seriously build God's kingdom on this earth.  We say "on earth as it is in heaven" and "thy will be done" a lot... but when do we actually work to make it happen?  Anyway, also... I think that we need to be extra-careful to stick with the guidelines outlined in this verse, and the rest of them in this section as well.  We need to do things that are for the good and safety of society.  that are for the benefit of humanity.  When we have one of those things, then God will help us to make it happen, and we can be a powerful influence for good in the world.  It is just hard to get our personal biases out of it, and remember that we are working for the good of even the people who don't agree with us.

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