Monday, July 31, 2000

1 Peter 4:8

"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."
1 Peter 4:8


I love this scripture, I think that it says so much... that actually learning to love the people around you is the most important thing there is, and that that lesson helps you learn most of the others... and helps you overcome mistakes in a lot of other areas.  Truly loving people all the way through, loving who they are, who they can become, loving them at the core... is so different from what we usually call love.  Most of the love that we show in society today is absolutely temporary... *absolutely* superficial... here today, gone the next minute.  We discard people like they are yesterday's trash, always looking for something new, something different, something more exciting or dramatic.  There isn't any solidity.  The way that God loves us is SO different from that.  It is a 40-foot thick rock solid granite foundation running down so far that no imaginable earthquake could shake it.  And when we learn to love people that way, then we'll never be offending them with other sins... we'll see the whole picture and how our actions touch so many people, not just ourselves.  You can't *be* selfish if you have charity for other people.... and that solves a lot of our problems. :)

Sunday, July 30, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 67:12

"Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind."
Doctrine and Covenants 67:12


Interesting, talking mentally not just physically... we have to let our spiritual selves win the battle in our bodies and our minds before we'll be able to go back into the presence of God.  And, you know... isn't it all about resisting something that we really don't understand?  We resist change because we aren't used to it... we need to retain some "control."  But if we would let go of the need to fight against God, we would learn so much faster.  It is mind-boggling that we are so scared of the possibilities.  We're so used to trying to play by the rules of this world that we can't conceive of higher laws, and greater possibilities.  If we keep resisting, maybe we will have a good life, as far as that goes... but if we open our minds, maybe we'll open ourselves to having a great eternity. :)  Wouldn't that be more fun?

Saturday, July 29, 2000

Isaiah 45:9-10

"Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!  Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth.  Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?
Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?"
Isaiah 45:9-10


This is an interesting analogy... I think it illustrates how far removed our perspective is from reality at times.  When we demean ourselves, we are really criticizing God's work.  What he made is fabulous and beautiful... through and through.  What he is still teaching us to be and helping us to see is beautiful as well... the potential within, the personal work each of us have to do... and really, the work that he is doing with each person on this earth.  We don't blame our parents for our faults (usually, at least) :) ...but we do tend to blame God.  I wonder why that is, really.  Because we *want* him to take away our freedom of choice and force us to be good?  I hope not. :)  Because we don't believe that he can see better than we can, and that he knows his creations better than they know themselves?  Perhaps.  I remember being in 3rd or 4th grade and being *so* angry with my mom and everyone around me for thinking that they knew better than I did... they wanted me to learn my times tables, and I knew, absolutely... that there was no reason for me to learn multiplication.  Why?  It was hard, and it seemed inane and pointless to me.  And I think we do the same thing with what God is trying to teach us sometimes.  We wonder: why in the universe would we ever have to learn this?  We like being the way we are... all of that.  We forget that we are becoming something greater than we could imagine in third grade... and greater than we can imagine now.  My mom was right then, and I figure... as hard as it is to accept sometimes... God is right now.  What do you think?

Friday, July 28, 2000

Revelation 2:21

"And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not."
Revelation 2:21


I promise I am not trying to be depressive today... but this scripture kind of struck me today... realizing just how much space God really gives us.  He never strikes us with a bolt of lightning just as soon as we do something wrong... he always gives us the time and the space to deal with it, to learn the lesson... to change.  I would guess that even the dramatic lessons that we see in the old testament were only after much patience with the people involved.  God knows us individually, and he gives us the time and the opportunity to change and to improve.  he doesn't get any pleasure out of having to correct us... he wants us to be happy, and everything that he does is designed to go there.  So, anyway... let's take advantage of the space. :)

Thursday, July 27, 2000

James 1:5

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
James 1:5


This is a great scripture.  Not only because it was the inspiration for Joseph Smith to actually go out and ask God what was up with all the different churches... but also because we can find wisdom in our own lives.  Seriously, we all lack wisdom.  We all have a little in different areas... but compared to God, we all lack a whole lot of wisdom. :)  And so, where do we go to ask?  To other people, who don't have much either, or to God?  (you can get this right, I believe in you) ... to God! :)  Not to say at all that God doesn't teach us things through other people... but we should never mistake and think that that is the source of the knowledge.  And it is cool that he offers wisdom to everyone, without rebuking or chastising us (which is what upbraid means, I had to look it up...).  And the only other thing is that the scripture goes on to say that we need to have faith as we are asking.  Believe that God wants you to have wisdom, and that he will help you to get it.  Because... he does, and he will.  So, try it... when you are stuck and you need some wisdom... ask God.  He'll answer you.  It might be in an unexpected way, or require a little bit of patience (oh no!!!) but the answer will definitely come. :)

Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Job 8:8-10

"For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:
(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:)
Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?"
Job 8:8-10


This is the scripture that all the history majors love. :)  Genealogists, too. :)  Seriously though, even though I am neither... this is cool.  We are so arrogant sometimes in our lives, thinking that our parents and ancestors knew nothing of our lives, that they don't have any lessons to teach us... that human history isn't really relevant to our lives.  So, let's think about it for a minute... how different are we?  Sure, we have palm pilots instead of stone tablets... but so what?  Because we can communicate faster doesn't necessarily mean that we have learned to communicate *better.*  If you don't believe me, sit down with the story of Moses and the children of Israel, and write down all the similarities you see in society today... and in your own life.  There are many, I promise.  And Shakespeare and bunches of writers and poets from long ago... they still resonate with us, because they had something to say about the human condition.  We are *so* arrogant to think that we don't need our history... that we don't need the scriptures or the pioneers... or the stories.  They went through the test too... learned the same lessons.  Maybe in a different way... but they learned patience, and love, and priorities... and they learned to be good people, and to accomplish things in their lives... to change the world.  I'm not saying that there isn't a lot of history out there of people who didn't learn much, or who got stuck on one lesson and never learned it.  There are many of those as well... but can't we learn from those too... and not make the same mistakes?
We *are* but of yesterday... we *do* know nothing, unless we read it and learn from it.  And, as we read and think and study the past... those people will teach us.  That's why they talk about the Book of Mormon as a voice from the dust sometimes... it's our past, come back to tell us something.  Maybe we should listen.

Tuesday, July 25, 2000

2 Nephi 5:27

"And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness."
2 Nephi 5:27


SO interesting to me today.  At work, we are trying to get this program going about having fun at work... that it increases people's morale, and also their productivity... if you like what you are doing, you are more willing to do it, and remain committed to it.  That sort of thing.  So, I was thinking about that in terms of the gospel.  At work, we usually separate work and play... they are opposites, right?  and that you can't play while you are at work, it's against "the rules" or something.  unfortunately I think that we do that with the church too... we think that the gospel isn't fun, we put church in a totally separate box from life... think that they are different things, and don't really relate to one another except in negative ways.  But if we fuse work and life... and church and life... and we are the same person in both places, then we should be able to enjoy ourselves wherever we are.  Man is that he might have joy, right?  So why do we have to force ourselves to get up for work... or to go to church sometimes?  How do you get to the point in this scripture... where they lived after the manner of happiness?  How do you stay joyful with consistency?  Some of it I think is our faulty perceptions.  We really believe somewhere down deep that God isn't fun.  All of our social models of "adult, responsible" behavior are extremely serious and non-emotional.  "why can't you grow up" is a popular saying.  I don't think that God is like that.  He laughs.  He plays.  He has fun.  And I don't think that it distracts at all from his work... it's part of it.  We are that we might have joy... it's one of the top things on his list.  We make judgments about heaven sometimes thinking that it will be boring, or "nothing special" ... but how *could* it be boring?  This is God we are talking about. :)  And I *know* that he is fun.  We share private jokes all the time.  We are his children... he wants us to play.  He wants us to learn something too... so educational games or something. :)  Anyway, I am not saying anything about him not wanting us to accept some personal responsibility... but hey, personal responsibility can be fun too.
Anyway, that's why this scripture intrigued me... how did they live after the manner of happiness?  they were righteous *and* they enjoyed their lives?  wow. :)  What a concept.  I think that we need to consider this... not ever assume that living the gospel is a chore.  It is the funnest, most fulfilling life there is.

Monday, July 24, 2000

Luke 24:8

"And they remembered his words,"
Luke 24:8


I was talking to a good friend yesterday about a lot of things... repentance, fun, how much we need God... and she mentioned this scripture.  When I looked it up at first I thought she was joking around (she's very funny), but she wasn't.  And then I thought about it.  How many times in our lives do we just need our memories jogged?  We let our prayers slip, or our scripture study... we start thinking about other things, and it can completely change our worlds to remember some of the things that we already know, that we've already seen in our lives.  I was thinking about this last night... I have seen so many miracles in my life.  I have observed them, felt them, helped them to happen.  But how often do I remember those things?  The lesson in Relief Society yesterday was on good teaching... and one of the things mentioned was that people need to remember what you are saying.  God is definitely a good teacher, and his lessons are always memorable.  Remembering those lessons can be of immense help, and make an impact on our current lives.  Whenever I think that I don't need God, I remember times where he has saved my life... physically or spiritually.  I remember his messages to me.  I remember that He has always been there, and has come to the rescue at just the right moments.  The Spirit can bring all things to our remembrance.  Think about God's words to you today... what experiences you have had with him.  This scripture is referring to the women who went to the tomb and found it empty... and they remembered what Christ had said about rising again.  Sometimes we don't believe things the first time we hear them... sometimes we don't have enough faith, or it never even enters our minds that it's a literal message and not a figurative one.  What is God saying to us today?  Maybe it is a message we have heard before. :)

Sunday, July 23, 2000

Mosiah 4:30

"But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not."
Mosiah 4:30


And, O woman... :) I think that this is a really good scripture for me, that helps me remember the seriousness of the whole thing. sometimes you can be roller-skating along in life and you miss the sign that says "slow, serious choices ahead." you get to the choice and you are going too fast to really make it well... you just zoom onto one of the paths and figure... hey, if it's the wrong one, I’ll just come back. but it's uphill and a long way to get back to the signpost, and it's way harder to come back than you thought it would be when you zoomed past initially. I think it is good to remember that our souls... everything we are... is changed and created and re-made by those choices... and unless we slow down and think about what we are doing, and who we are becoming... we are going to become someone that we don't want to be. and of course, God provides for that as well... we can re-make ourselves, and turn around anytime we want to. it's just harder sometimes, when it's uphill, and you didn't bring your hiking boots... only your skates. :) also... sometimes I think that we are wandering through this life without really thinking about why... about who we *want* to be, about where we want to end up. we're just flying along, and figure we'll get wherever it is... and that's great, but what if you end up in the middle of Phoenix in July, with no air-conditioning? :) And all along you wanted to go to Alaska. Tough to realize that when you are actually there, and realize that the choice is a lot more permanent than you ever expected. This is eternity we're talking about... maybe we should think about it.

Saturday, July 22, 2000

2 Corinthians 3:3

"Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart."
2 Corinthians 3:3


This is really interesting... the whole "you are a letter" thing.  Kind of like lots of other things in the scriptures about how we need to set an example for the people around us, and make sure God doesn't get a bad name because of something that *we* do... that people have a chance to choose for themselves, and that we are kind of God's advertisement. :)  Look how changed that Suzanne girl is... God must be amazing. :)  But it isn't some flyer that you receive at your house... some junk mail that you throw away, but it is the Spirit of God that has etched something in our hearts.  And people can see it... and get the message.  Unfortunately they get the message either way... whether you stand up and advertise for God... or stand up and advertise against him.  Our religion isn't just a cultural footnote... it is a living breathing power in our lives.  Maybe we should find that power and apply it in everything that we do.  We have something that people want, but too often we act like our religion is some shameful secret that we chain in the attic so no-one can see it.  Break the chains.  Live what you believe.

Friday, July 21, 2000

Lamentations 3:31-33

"For the Lord will not cast off for ever:
But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men."
Lamentations 3:31-33


I think this is cool, and again, it says a lot about God's love for us, his children.  Sometimes he has to chastise us, or correct us... but he won't cast us off completely.  Even if we have to go through some pain because we have made mistakes and need to repent of them... or if we experience grief because of sickness or loss... he will comfort us.  He doesn't hurt us for the sake of hurting us.  He wants us to be happy, and to find peace.  Sometimes we have to deal with some of the consequences of our actions, in order to teach us to think about the consequences in the future... and sometimes we have to deal with death... time, beginnings and endings.  part of this test... but God doesn't rejoice over our pain... just the way a parent would be sad if we hurt ourselves.  He picks us up, tries to teach us the consequences of what we do, and lets us try again.

Thursday, July 20, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 101:5

"For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified."
Doctrine and Covenants 101:5


I think this is really good... comes back to the whole parental role that God takes in our lives.  If we can't be corrected... if we never listen to someone who has already been there... then we're doomed to make more and more mistakes.  sanctification requires us to improve, to get better, to purify.  And if we keep trying to solve the same problems in the way that continues to fail, then we aren't going forward.  I'm not saying that chastening is fun... but it is a good thing, and it does bring us closer to God.  And seriously, it is a lot more fun to be on track and feeling good about yourself than it is to feel like you keep making the same mistake over and over and over and over again.  God doesn't chasten us out of a desire to hurt us, and he doesn't delight in our discomfort.  He loves us... he loves us enough to tell us when we are doing it wrong, and to help us learn how to do it right.  But we have to take the first step, and listen... and then do something about it.  God always prepares the way. :)  So, when God lets you know that you are headed in the wrong direction... please don't get angry and demand to go your own way.  He can see the road ahead a lot better than you can, and he knows what will happen to you if you continue.  Don't drive off the cliff out of pure rebellion.  And... if you already have... accept the rope that he throws down to you.  :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Malachi 4:6

"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
Malachi 4:6


I like this scripture.  I think it is interesting that "heart" is singular in both cases... like all the fathers have one heart and all the children have another.  And maybe somewhere in that mystery of parenthood that has a lot of truth. :)  parents love their children in a certain way, and children love their parents in a certain way... and Elijah the prophet came to strengthen those bonds, across generations, and across silly earthly boundaries, such as death. :)  many times in the scriptures we are asked to remember how merciful God has been to our ancestors.  I think that we forget that sometimes, only thinking about what God "has done for me lately" and not what impact God had in the lives of our parents and grandparents and how miraculous it is that we are even here to think about it. :)  Learn from the past, so that we aren't doomed to repeat it.  If we could grasp some of the lessons that our families have learned... then maybe we could go on and learn some of the advanced lessons, and graduate from kindergarten early. :)  Unfortunately, we keep ignoring other people, and their interactions with God... and we insist on learning the hardest lessons in the hardest way.  Perhaps we should think about revising our strategy. :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2000

1 John 2:28

"And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming."
1 John 2:28


I love confidence scriptures. :)  in fact, I love that God inspires confidence.  sometimes it is hard to be absolutely sure of anything in this life... people, cars... you know. :)  and isn't it nice to know that there is some solidity there... something that isn't going to give out when you need it.  :)  Not that God is an "it." :)  Just that he is always there.  A good feeling.  And so, to the scripture... abide in him, so that we can have confidence.  I think here, even more than having confidence in God... if we abide in him, we can have confidence in OURSELVES (and that is a *huge* thing, as illustrated by the capital letters).  We can know when he comes that we did the right thing.  that we overcame our weaknesses... that we tried to do what was right.  That is a feeling to be sought after with diligence.  Being ashamed when he comes would be a feeling that I would definitely want to escape.  So... here's to finding some confidence in ourselves... by abiding in God, and taking his advice to heart.

Monday, July 17, 2000

1 John 2:9-11

"He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes."
1 John 2:9-11


Here we are at the light and darkness theme again... and I think that this is a really good example of how we blind ourselves sometimes.  We can be praying, reading our scriptures... attending church... and think that we are doing pretty well.  But if we have hatred in our hearts, then we're really sabotaging our own efforts.  And, really... we aren't seeing reality.  If you could see into the souls of the people around you, do you think that any of them would be unlovable?  Every person on this earth has something good inside.  Something good to offer.  And everyone has something bad inside too... something they need to clean out of themselves.  If we focus on the bad parts, then we'll never have good relationships with anyone.  If we focus on the good parts, then we can learn from anyone around us, and help them as well.  We're all in this together... this test of life.  If we help each other, maybe we'll do better on the test then we could do individually.  And... maybe it is *part* of the test. :)  So, lets not darken ourselves with hatred... but see clearly in the light of love.  See the true goodness in the people around you, and try to draw it out.

Sunday, July 16, 2000

1 John 2:3

"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments."
1 John 2:3


This is cool... I think that it is interesting to think about this.  if we really know God... then we'll know why he gives us commandments.  We’ll know how much he loves us.  We’ll know how much happier and better our lives will be if we follow his advice... and we will follow his advice.  You know that saying, "to know me is to love me?" ... I think that is absolutely true with God.  I mean, yeah... he can seem harsh at first.  Pretty standoffish.  :)  But, once you get to know him... how can you resist that shining example of all that we want to be... that strength of character... :)  And, seriously now... how can we not want to follow him, become more like him?  Get to know him.  He is way more than amazing. :)

Saturday, July 15, 2000

2 Peter 3:11-14

"Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless."
2 Peter 3:11-14


Continuing in Second Peter, this is pretty cool. :)  And it's a good question... since we know that the earth is going to melt away (basically... not trying to be negative or anything) :)  ... what should we be focusing on?  Probably not the melted pieces.  Probably the few things that last after this life is over, after this earth is gone... building healthy relationships with people.  Learning all that we can.  Happiness, peace... as Tracy Chapman says, "All you have is your soul."  Instead of focusing on earthly rewards... which are obviously going to be liquefied... we can focus on things that won't melt. :)  Of course... that doesn't mean that we can encourage the melt-down.  We have to do all that we can to build other people up, to respect them, to love them.  No flame-throwers.  I think God can handle that part all by himself.  But we *should* take some time and put earthly things into perspective.  It is never realistic to compare anything good that you find on earth to heaven.  We can think that something here is cool and exciting... but we are absolutely insane if we think that God and all that he has and does isn't MORE cool and MORE exciting.  We'll have a *new* heaven and a *new* earth... and Heaven, no matter what *anyone* says... could never be boring.  In fact, I can't think of anyplace less boring.  The only chance we have at eternal boredom is if we stay exactly where we are, learn no lessons, and refuse to grow.  And if we do that, we are saying that we like boring, and we want it forever. :)  Ick.

Friday, July 14, 2000

2 Peter 3:9

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9


I think this is great... God isn't a slacker. :)  And he is definitely patient with us, through all of our mistakes and our misjudgments and our rebellions.  He wants us all, no matter where we are, to come back to him... because he truly loves us, and wants us with him.  I think that too often it is easy to see God as some huge impersonal policeman, who doesn't care about us personally... only about what we do, and given any chance at all, he would love to punish us for breaking some arbitrary "rules" that only he knows about.  But that isn't true at all.  God probably does know the rules a lot better than we do... but it isn't because he is trying to catch us.  He is truly a father... trying to teach us traffic laws so that we don't get killed taking the car for a spin on our sixteenth birthday.  And just learning that there are other cars around is a pretty big lesson for some of us.  The bigger problem for us is that the traffic laws that we are learning aren't just for roads... they are for universes, and spaceships, and how to avoid interpersonal collisions... and how to live your dreams, and how to love, and how to be happy, and how to get in contact with Dad in case of an emergency.  Our Father is the wisest Dad around, and he knows the answers to ANY question... including "why is the sky blue" and "why me?"  He wants us all to come to repentance, to feel and see the goodness and the beauty in our lives... to be happy.  And, he doesn't just say that he wants that.  he helps us to get there.  Ask him anything.  He wants to help.

Thursday, July 13, 2000

Jarom 1:4

"And there are many among us who have many revelations, for they are not all stiffnecked.  And as many as are not stiffnecked and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith."
Jarom 1:4


I went to the zoo recently and I was watching the giraffe.  You'd think with such a long neck, she would be able to take a drink without any gymnastics... but unfortunately that isn't the case.  she had to practically do the splits to be able to get her head low enough to drink.  giraffes are kind of stiffnecked. :)  though I am sure they are fine in a spiritual sense, this scripture reminded me of that this morning... and I wonder, because we aren't too physically stiffnecked, why are we that way spiritually sometimes?  I think for me, that it is pretty hard to be humble enough to listen to God and accept what he tells me.  I usually figure that I can decide for myself which commandments to work on this week, and when I find out that God had a harder lesson in store, sometimes I don't want to do it.  it is hard to admit that God knows best sometimes, and that even though it requires more effort, there is a lesson to be learned in doing what he asks.  I think it is especially hard for me when he asks me to actually listen to "authority" or "my elders" ... sometimes I have a problem with that. :)  But, God is cool... and he knows what he is doing.  If I can actually relax and do what he says instead of having an attitude of rebellion the whole time, then sometimes I actually learn something.  and when I can combine that with faith... then we get into the promise of this whole scripture... listening to God and submitting to his will... and having faith in the outcome... means that you get to hang out with the Holy Spirit, who is the one that fills us up... with knowledge and love, and happiness. :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Moroni 8:26


"And the remission of sins bringeth meekness and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all saints shall dwell with God."
Moroni 8:26


This kind of goes along with what we were talking about yesterday... and is chock full of other great stuff as well. :)  Yesterday we were talking about being filled with love, and here it talks about that again... but this time hope AND perfect love. :)  Pretty cool.  And it talks again about praying for it, and that's how it stays with you... but it gives us some other hints for how to gain this fullness in our lives.  It talks about the remission of sins... and that repenting brings meekness and lowliness of heart, and because of that, the Holy Ghost comes.  I thought that was interesting.  I think that the remission of sins is part of that purifying step, where we are trying to get the bad out of ourselves... and really, how can you be *filled* with light and good, if you don't get the dark and bad stuff out?  And then, I think that meekness and lowliness of heart come after that because when we repent, we are actually thinking about our relationship with God, and that recognizing the distance between us is a humbling thing... and so, we do our part to bridge that gap... and the Holy Ghost steps in and does the rest.  When we are ready to accept help... when we are meek... then we get it.  And prayer is one of those things too, that helps us keep that awareness of the distance... the vast amount of lessons we need to learn before we can become like God.  And it isn't a bad thing to know how cool God is, and how far we have to go... as long as we are open for some help.  And as soon as we are open to it, actively desiring it... then we are filled.  with hope... and love... and power and light, and everything else we need to continue on our way to becoming the incredible beings that we can be.  At the end of the scripture we also get a little taste of heaven too... it says that love endures by faith until all of us dwell with God... presumably because when we hang out with him every day communication will be pretty natural. :)  and we'll have that hope and love constantly... consistently.  and, since we know what feeling empty is like, here... won't that be a sweet place to be. :)

Tuesday, July 11, 2000

Moroni 7:48 -- On Love and Purity

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto God with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is: that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.  Amen."
Moroni 7:48


I like this scripture.  we touched on it briefly at Family Home Evening last night, and I was surprised to find that I hadn't used it before.  I love surprises like that. :)  Anyway, I love it... it repeats themes that I have touched on before, I am sure... one is the "filled" theme... I love that.  pray unto God so that you can be filled.  Feel empty?  Here is the spiritual remedy. :)  Filled with love.  Can you imagine?  Have you ever felt it?  What is it like to be filled with love?  No emptiness inside, and an abundance of love to give to everyone else.  It's the greatest feeling in the world, and that is why we need to pray with everything we have in our hearts, so that we can go there.  And I also think that it is So amazing that when we meet Christ we'll be like him... not just physically... both have legs and arms... but that we are both just brimming with love and joy and light... that we can get there, that we can be pure and filled with goodness and get rid of all the stuff within that doesn't belong.  every once in a while in my life I get that feeling... of being absolutely clean, inside and out... that is an overwhelming feeling as well.  :)  So... let's go there. :)  Let's do what we need to do to clean out all the moldy stuff on the shelves, and get on our knees and pray with everything we are to be filled with love, and purified.  And when we are clean, let's stay clean... it's a good feeling. :)

Monday, July 10, 2000

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


This is excellent.  I think sometimes we get so attached to one side of the equation that we can't deal with it when the other side comes along.  we like that we were born, and we love peace, but we can't accept death and war.  But in this huge classroom of life, we have to see the whole spectrum.  We have to see and learn when good times are for all of these things.  When is it good to keep, and when is it good to cast away?  When is it good to embrace, and when to refrain from the same?  When is it good to speak, and when is it good to keep silence?  These are good things to learn... and it is good to remember that God is with us through all of the decisions that we make.  He doesn't demand that we always make the same choice... he tells us right here that sometimes one thing is good and sometimes another.  We can't solve all problems the same way... so, if it isn't working, maybe we should try something new.  Within the gospel, of course.  I don't think that we should go around making life and death decisions for people we don't like. :)  But also... I think that we need to remember that there is a time to mourn, but there is also a time to dance.  if we always mourn and never dance, we are doing ourselves a disservice. :)

Sunday, July 9, 2000

Alma 46:8-9

"Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one.
Yea, and we also see the great wickedness one very wicked man can cause to take place among the children of men."
Alma 46:8-9


Not a very lighthearted scripture today, I’m afraid.  I guess I was thinking about my lesson today... "Valiant in the Cause of Christ" and thinking more about why we need to be valiant, and not very much of examples of being valiant. :)  The chapter this scripture is taken from talks about how one man, because he wants to be king... inspires huge amounts of people to join him, and starts his own little civil war among the Nephites.  In later chapters he joins the Lamanites, becomes their king, and starts a series of very bloody battles with the Nephites, because he can't let go of his power trip.  Hopefully none of us are where he is, disregarding human life for self-promotion.  However... we all have to be careful of who we are becoming... what we desire... how we are managing our priorities.  We *are* quick to forget sometimes... quick to jump to the wrong conclusions... quick to make the wrong choices.  And when we see ourselves going in the wrong direction, we have to get turned around just as fast.  We drive the wrong way down a one-way street... and yeah, it might be a good thrill... but if you stop and think about it, it can only lead to one thing... a crash.  We can't drive the wrong way every day and think that we're going to be fine.  And even scarier are the people that we take down with us.  Just like making unwise decisions on the road can lead to the destruction of not only yourself, but many other drivers or pedestrians.... our spiritual choices have serious consequences as well.  We are in each other's lives for a reason... and a good reason, at that. :)  When we start encouraging others to join us in our mistakes, it's like piling them into a couple of cars who are going to drag race the wrong way on a one-way road.  Not pretty, and much harder to avoid if you are driving correctly.  We can try and convince ourselves for hours and days that our choices only affect ourselves... but they don't.  We are interconnected.  Just as we have a responsibility as brothers and sisters and neighbors to lift each other up... we also have a responsibility to try not to destroy one another.  Everything you do, no matter how small, affects the group.  If I do something wrong today, that could affect what I write in the Scripture of the Day... it will affect what I teach in my Relief Society lesson... it will affect my interactions with other people.  If someone loses their cool at work, they could go home and yell at the family... and not even realize that it was because of things that happen at work.  Don't ever try and believe that what you do doesn't affect anyone else.  It does.  Every time.
But also... don't beat yourself up for past mistakes.  Christ is there for each of us... you, the people in your car, the people you were drag racing with... the family in the car that was going the right way.  God can pick up the pieces and make it okay.  It isn't always easy... but as long as you aren't driving the wrong way anymore... you can overcome it, and so can the people your mistakes touched.  Besides affecting people badly, one person, being good instead of bad, can have an incredible positive impact on the lives of other people.  Maybe we'll get 30 or 40 people and take the carpool lane. :)  Maybe we'll all drive to our favorite camping spot... there are so many things we can do rather than driving the wrong way.  So many good places to go.  You have a powerful influence in this life.  Use it to do good... go someplace fun.  No more crashes. :)

Saturday, July 8, 2000

John 21:15

"So when they had dined, Jesus saith unto Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?  He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.  He saith unto him, Feed my lambs."
John 21:15


 I think this is great... great learning taking place here.  Saying to Peter, if you love me, then do what I do.  Feed my lambs.  Help other people feel the way that you do, and experience that incredible love that changes minds and hearts and lives.  The presence of Christ on this earth was a miraculous thing, and this man got to hang out with him *every* day... and he tells him: feed others with what I have given you.  Show them how to experience my presence in their lives as well... tell them, show them... love them the way that I have loved you.  And I think that is Christ's message to all of us.  First we have to get to know him, through reading about him, through talking with him... and then we need to share that incredible experience with the people around *us* ... show them how we have been changed through knowing Christ.  One of those things is through feeding others... physically as well as spiritually.  Lifting them up and helping them to stand, just as Christ does for every one of us.

Friday, July 7, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 11:12-14

"And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that spirit which leadeth to do good--yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;
And then shall ye know, or by this shall ye know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive."
Doctrine and Covenants 11:12-14


This is a cool scripture about the Spirit... trust the Spirit, because it helps us to do good things, to be better people.  It also brings light into our minds, helping us to think better I would imagine. :)  and it fills our souls with joy... now, *that* is cool. :)  filled... you know, like if you walk too fast, it just spills out all over everyone around you. :)  that is a cool image. :)  And *then*.... by this... because of this spirit which is leading you to do great things and be better, and is topping you off with happiness.... by this same Spirit, you can know anything that you want that has anything to do with righteousness (and seriously, most things do... I doubt that the Spirit will give you the knowledge of the combination to the bank vault down the street, or help you cheat on a test... but happier things, definitely).  And then, here is our part... we have to desire, and believe.  We always get off so easy. :)  not that it isn't difficult at times to do those things... but comparatively.  we work so hard to get those things for ourselves... happiness, goodness, judgment... knowledge, light... and the Spirit gives them to us in return for desire and faith.  And no matter who we are, we can find some desire within... we all want to become better, to improve ourselves and our lives.  To find out what we are about... and even if you can't get your heart and mind around the entire gospel plan... which, hey... is hard.  big as the universe, so it's understandable to struggle with just the basics sometimes... but no matter what our struggles are, we can find some faith in something.  In Christ, who lived and died and lives again... for us.  In the scriptures, which if nothing else, help us to have a better day when we read from them... in tithing, one of those few things in this life that we can achieve perfection in. :)  Whatever it is... you have a particle of faith, and probably a huge tree of desire... pick something from the tree, exercise the tiniest amount of faith... pray, ponder... try the experiment.  see what happens. :)  Exercise those flabby spiritual muscles. :)

Thursday, July 6, 2000

Isaiah 35:10

"And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
Isaiah 35:10


This whole idea of the ransomed returning is cool... and really I think the idea of our lives here on earth.  No matter what we do or how cool we are (and we are pretty DANG cool)... we aren't going to be able to have that peace and gladness and everlasting joy without God's help.  We make mistakes, and we screw up our lives a lot... and God is the one with the power to dig us out of our own holes, to fix our mistakes... to help us become what we dream of being, but could never be alone.  And joy sounds so much better than sorrow, doesn't it? :)  God is so great to us. :)  I wish sometimes that I didn't force him to do so much remediation, and that I could be cool enough to pass kindergarten. :)  I have a lot of work to do before I can get there though. :)

Wednesday, July 5, 2000

Luke 13:11-13

"And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God."
Luke 13:11-13


This is cool, and I just want to say that Christ can free us from all of our infirmities, whether they be of the body, mind, heart, or spirit... sometimes we feel as though there is an internal war going on, with shards of ourselves fighting against other shards.  God can make us whole... and enable us to stay that way.  No matter how bowed down with sin, or care, or worry, or confusion we are, he can make us stand tall and straight, as he did for this woman.  Whether we have suffered eighteen years or eighteen minutes... we can be healed and made whole.  Of course, that isn't to say that we can escape our tests... we have to have storms in our lives, and sometimes they can last quite a while... but God doesn't mean for us to have our infirmities for eternity.  Some of them should be over now, but we hang on to them.  Some of them we need to learn from for a little longer.  But never think that any infirmity is part of you.  You are a child of God, and were made to become perfect and whole.  Don't accept less. :)

Tuesday, July 4, 2000

Alma 10:6

"Nevertheless, I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; therefore I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart, even until the fourth day of this seventh month, which is in the tenth year of the reign of the judges."
Alma 10:6


Independence Day.  You know, even if you aren't in the United States today, and even if this isn't your country's independence day, there is still a lot of significance to the whole idea.  For me, it is even more than a Country's freedom... I won an essay contest once with an Essay titled "Independence Day" which was about me trying to find a way to accept being alone.  I think the whole idea of independence and freedom has to be rooted in the individual.  Independence from foul oppressors, of course... but independence from the shackles that we place on our own souls through sin... independence from unhealthy belief systems and unhealthy ways of interacting with people... independence from all of those things that prevent us from becoming better than we are, and going back to our Father.  We should celebrate the opportunities that we have to choose, the freedoms that God has given us, that no Country or organization can take away... freedom of conscience, freedom of belief... freedom to improve ourselves... to discover who we are, and to grow and learn and become better.  Freedom to influence the world for good.  To bless people's lives.  Freedom to love and lift up.  To shine, to dream... to fly.  Amulek, in the scripture above, on the fourth day of the seventh month... just like today... chose to change his life, and found his freedom from sin and doubt.  That's what independence is... the freedom of choice.  We can choose, right now, to change our course.  Nothing is set in stone.  We don't have to become who we are becoming... we can choose anything.  Take a look at your life.  Are you who you want to be?  If not... make the choice right now, to become better.  Get on your knees and ask God to help you.  Work at it.  God will help you... but you have to make the choice.  Exercise your freedom.   Happy independence day.

Monday, July 3, 2000

Ecclesiastes 3:11

"I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."
Ecclesiastes 3:11


I like this.  it's interesting to think exactly what the task is here on earth, and here we have a description.  this is the challenge... God places us here, removes our memory of our pre-earth lives, and we learn to be oriented to the time on this earth, between life and death.  that challenges us because it is hard to see beyond those limits, hard to raise our eyes and see farther.  I liked especially though the part about making everything beautiful.  I think that sometimes our challenge is that we see the beauty in something, but instead of admiring the beauty, we go and pluck it and put it in a vase and watch it die.  or we see the pieces of beauty and take the evil parts in stride, because there is beauty mixed in.  And sometimes it is a challenge, individually, to be beautiful.  I'm not being vain, really... at all... just that we are all so different, and some people are going to see the beauty in us and some aren't... but how malleable are we to those people who do?  Can we still stand up for what we believe in, or do we cave?  Do we succumb to the flattery? :)  And the people that *we* think are beautiful people... how do we treat them?  Do we lay a larger burden at their feet?  Do we expect more?  Do we treat them better than everyone else?
Not that it is all hard stuff either.  God has made us all beautiful, and that is a happy thing to remember today.  Keep your roots in the ground and drink up all that God provides. :)

Sunday, July 2, 2000

Alma 37:34

"Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls."
Alma 37:34


I don't know about you, but that rest to the soul sounds pretty good. :)  Not that I am having a bad day, I'm not at all... maybe it was hiking yesterday, my whole being wants some rest. :)  But anyway, it is interesting to me *how* you get the rest here... by not being weary. :)  keep doing good, and even if your body is exhausted, you can still be renewed and refreshed.  When we give to others and work on helping someone else, I think it seriously takes the focus off of ourselves.  And when we aren't thinking obsessively about ourselves, we get a lot more rest.  :)  I think also you probably just feel a lot more satisfied with yourself when you are helping people and making a difference.  helping yourself is good, but it gets pretty boring when you do it all day every day... might as well take a break and do some good works... get some serious rest to your soul. :)  Really, aren't there days when sleep doesn't seem to make a dent in your exhaustion level... and then days like today when you can go to church or go up into the mountains, and know that you will come away feeling better... rested, relaxed... ready to face things again? :)  I know it isn't like that all the time, but the thing is... it can be.  We need spiritual rest just as much as we need physical rest... and spiritual rest is being close to God... is serving his children... is feeling his peace.  If you haven't had that kind of rest in a while, of course you are grumpy and tired spiritually.  Treat your spirit better.  Treat yourself better.  Get some rest. :)

Saturday, July 1, 2000

Ezekiel 11:5, 12

"And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the Lord; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them.
. . .
And ye shall know that I am the Lord: for ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you."
Ezekiel 11:5, 12


This is an interesting scripture... always cool to see that God knows exactly what is running through our minds when we are talking to him, that the stuff that is difficult to translate into language, he still understands it.  Of course, the times when we aren't thinking things that are very good... then this is a scary thing.  Which brings us to the second verse that I have included... too often we are exactly like the Israelites that are being referred to here.  We neglect the Lord and try to be like "everyone else."  The thing is... God is asking us to be different.  God is asking us to stand up for something that matters, and rebel against all the horrible things that are happening on our world... and do something about it.  Be different, be better.  Treat people well, get along... work at successful relationships, and transform the world into something better than it is.  We can be anything we choose to be.  God says... choose to be good.  Cool... better than you imagine anyone could be.  Take a stand.

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