Saturday, September 30, 2000

Isaiah 33:14-15

"The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites.  Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil."
Isaiah 33:14-15


This is a really interesting scripture, and it goes on after this... talking about how the righteous "shall see the king in his beauty." I love it. :)  Anyway, there are a few things that I want to comment on in here.  One is... "sinners in Zion." this kind of surprised me, just because the whole idea of Zion, at least to me, is the idea of the perfect society, where everyone is righteous and living well... where we take care of each other, and no-one is being mean or cruel... etc.  But I guess that's why it talks about hypocrites... and seriously, it is something for each of us to think about.  As we try to become Zion people, and to build a Zion society, are we truly dedicated to it inwardly, or only as a fashion trend?  :)  I think sometimes that's why people leave the church, because they see all the hypocrisy of the individuals within it.  And I am not talking about some unknown "them," I am as much to blame as anyone else.  We need to examine ourselves and see if we are all about the image, or all about the inner reality.  Why do we worship, and who do we worship?  Is it God, and trusting him to know what is right, and to lead us to beauty and truth... or is it ourselves, our image of how we want other people to see us, and we bail on God's will as soon as it becomes difficult or clashes with our own?
The other thing I wanted to comment on (sorry this is getting long) is the second verse, talking about all these bad things that righteous people shouldn't participate in. :)  (That’s from one of the footnotes, clarifying that we don't just ignore injustice, we refuse to participate in it.  Perhaps we need to stand up against it...)  Anyway, our society is full of these things... oppression, violence, bribes... all of it.  Most popular novels and movies are replete with images of some kind of evil.  We fill our minds with it every day, and in a way I think that it poisons us.  We no longer trust people, we no longer believe in people's goodness and potential.  We start thinking of people as "strangers" instead of neighbors... as outsiders instead of family.  We get territorial, and start disparaging anyone we don't identify with.  So, anyway, I think as we build Zion we need to start building some things that will fill us, and others, with positive images as well.  In our daily lives we need to promote goodness... hope, belief in people.  When we write, when we speak, we need to speak of what we can build, what we can become... and not of evil that can't be cured.  God can take care of it, and if we can believe him, we won't become hopeless. :)  There is infinite possibility out there for us... for anyone.  Instead of listening to the messages of failure and limitation, we can drink of the waters of hope and love... and learn to fly.  To change the world.  Life, love... is never hopeless, never pointless.

Friday, September 29, 2000

2 Nephi 2:25

"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."
2 Nephi 2:25


This is a great scripture. :) My sister said that she loved this scripture this morning, and even though it is often-quoted, it is so cool... I mean, we exist to have joy.  I think that is a cool thought.  God's whole plan is to make us happy.  Everything he does is designed to accomplish that.  Sometimes we think that God is trying to stop us from having fun, but right here it tells us that he is working toward a completely opposite goal... he is concerned about our eternal happiness, and so he doesn't want us to get caught up in things that will make us eternally miserable, no matter the short-term pay-off.  I love that eternity is all about being happy, having fun... what a great concept. :)

Thursday, September 28, 2000

2 Nephi 10:23-24

"Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved."
2 Nephi 10:23-24


Sometimes all of us try to make the choice more complicated than it is.  we basically have a choice between a fresh, perfect piece of our favorite fruit, or a donut that has been sitting in a dark cupboard so long that it is more mold than donut... and wasn't even our favorite kind, or tasty to begin with.  So, we look at this choice and we say... well, I feel like having a donut more than I feel like having fresh fruit.  Yeah, it would be nice if this was a good donut, but it's really what I want, and even though it is a little fuzzy, I really like donuts.  it isn't really this donut that we want, it's more the idea of donuts... something sweet and instant and covered with chocolate and sprinkles or whatever. :)  And the idea of fruit... healthy, but not *chocolate* ... you know?  So we keep turning back to the moldy donut, wondering why it isn't sweet and delicious like we thought donuts were supposed to be... and we never even taste the fruit, which is sweeter and better than any fruit could possibly be.  And we even realize that choosing the donut means that we can never come back and have the fruit, but we rationalize... you know... we didn't like fruit that much anyway... even though we haven't even tasted it, we just don't like the idea as much.  And then, if we are on a diet and are forcing ourselves to try the fruit... we realize that it is perfect, better than anything we've ever tasted before, and that there is more to come... probably even something chocolate for dessert. :)  The choice is really death or life... nothing or everything... bad or good... but we keep turning back to the moldy donut, wondering why it isn't better tasting, thinking that if we keep eating, maybe we'll taste the chocolate more...
Anyway, maybe that is a gross analogy, enjoy your breakfast. :)  but seriously... we give up everything and find out that what we wanted badly enough to give up eternity isn't even that great in the end... it makes us feel like hell, and instead of going and getting our stomach pumped to get rid of the food poisoning, we figure we'll go back for more.  we're all insane.  we need to get therapy. :) (from God, of course) :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 45:28-29

"And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall  be the fulness of my gospel;
But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men."
Doctrine and Covenants 45:28-29


I think this is really interesting. :)  It is kind of cool to think about how you turn your heart... towards or away from something.  and how people can blind themselves, so that they don't see light when it is as clear as the sun shining in a cloudless sky.  I think that we blind ourselves way too often.  Lock in our little opinions and biases, and not let anything else in.  I wonder sometimes if we are afraid that God is wrong?  That something will get in that will prove it all false? :)  Impossible as that is, sometimes I think that's why we block out other voices.  If God is real (and he is), then his Gospel works... and EVERYTHING fits into it.  We just have to figure out how.  We need to not block out the light of the gospel because we don't understand how it fits into our mental models... we need to search, and revise... and find out how it works.  Sometimes it takes a while, and we have to put some issues on the back burner for a while... but God's truth encompasses anything that we encounter.  And I am not advocating searching through the apocrypha or other works to find details like Mother in Heaven's name... I mean, I suppose it would be interesting and all, but I don't think we have a handle on the truths we have been plainly given, so why search through questionable sources. :) All I'm saying is that we shouldn't block out one part of God's truth because we are so enamored of another part, and we don't understand how they fit together.  And then of course, we shouldn't block out the gospel because it doesn't fit in with the way we want the world to be sometimes.  We don't know everything, even though we think that we do pretty often.  And God is way cooler and wiser than we are.  If we don't understand, all we have to do is ask.  God will help us to understand whatever it is.  It may take some time, and some (yikes) effort... but he answers prayers faithfully and regularly.

Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Psalms 25:7-8

"Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O Lord.
Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way."
Psalms 25:7-8


You know, this is a really interesting scripture.  I like that it says that God will teach sinners in the way... because I really need some instruction sometimes.  There are a few things that I think of when I read this scripture.  One of them is that it is so amazing of the Lord to be able to forget our sins.  I mean, think about it.  God is this amazing guy... he knows EVERYTHING.  If he can't remember our sins... then they don't exist.  God is... God.  you know?  It's like going back and changing time.  The things in the past that we learned and grew from are still there, but the bad part is gone.  As we let it go, it goes completely.  The other main thing that I think of is that when God says that he will teach sinners in the way, he is talking about everyone.  Sometimes we are tempted to place ourselves in a different category, and it becomes us and them... we're good, and they... whoever "they" are, are bad.  But life isn't like that, at all.  I am a sinner... you are a sinner.  We're all sinners.  We tangle our lives up with mistakes sometimes, and it takes a while to undo all the knots and get it straightened out.  But God will teach us in the way... he'll help us to untie the hard knots, and he guarantees that our straightened-out lives are leading to something good.  We can't see the end, but we trust him that it is a happy ending... or happy eternity, as is the true case. :)  I think it is good to remember that we aren't better than anyone else.  We all make mistakes.  We all doubt and fear and stray sometimes.  Just because someone has different weaknesses and strengths than we do doesn't make them better, or worse, than we are.  We're all in this test together.  Let's work at learning together... helping other people where we are strong and they are weak, and accepting help where we are weak and they are strong.  And open our hearts to God's lessons, which he teaches to all of us, sinners. :)

Monday, September 25, 2000

Isaiah 41:6-7

"They helped every one his neighbor; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.
So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved."
Isaiah 41:6-7


This is awesome.  So many times it seems like we are all working against each other.  Especially at work I see it... people fighting one another for a promotion, or making sure someone else gets the blame for a mistake.  It's a scary environment sometimes.  Just driving down the street.  What driver assumes that the rest of the drivers are a complement, and not competition?  Unions fight management... "people" resent government... we compete with each other for dates, or wealth, or popularity... so many things.  But God has better ideas for how to spend our time here on earth.  Think about how much more we would learn, how much more we could become... if we helped and encouraged each other instead of resenting and being jealous of each other.  If we shared knowledge instead of hoarding it... if we were happy for whoever got the promotion instead of ourselves, and supported them in everything that they did.  carpenters and goldsmiths do very different things, but in this scripture they are encouraging and assisting each other.  Are there ways that we can encourage and build instead of criticizing and tearing down today?  Our success is never based on another's failure.  Their success is our success.  We are brothers and sisters.  We can help and teach each other instead of trying to protect our territory.  Think of what a completely incredible world it would be if we really helped each other, and encouraged each other.  Try it today... maybe it'll be fun. :)

Sunday, September 24, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 100:8

"And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say."
Doctrine and Covenants 100:8


This is interesting.  Every now and then, when I write an essay or a poem or even a story... I can feel this powerful emotion that I am trying to convey, or this huge thought that doesn't seem to come out in these narrow letters as full and rich as it is in thought.... and so, I have to ask God to please help me write it the best that I can, but also... to attach the emotion or the idea to the words, so that when people read them, it comes through.  Does that make sense?  The same thing works with speaking too... Sometimes when you feel the spirit so strongly, or have this mental image that you are trying to share with someone, or explain in a lesson... you don't really know how to express it in mere words (and I am not using "mere" lightly... words are incredibly powerful, just sometimes the idea or feeling is more powerful than you can explain)... and so, you can ask God to help the feeling or idea come through with the inadequate words, as part of the communication.  Anyway, I don't know if that makes sense... but I think that is part of what is in this scripture.  That when we do the things that the preceding verses (not included) talk about, that the Holy Ghost comes in and tells everyone that your words are right on track... truth truth truth... and adds some emotion and power to the communication.  And that's what makes God's words stand out.  They aren't just ink on a page.  They aren't just the traditional plot, beginning, middle, end.  They are living, growing language that jumps off the page and into your heart, into your mind.  Words that change the way you think, that get inside and attach themselves to everything that you do.  Words that you drink in, breathe in, and never get enough of.  They aren't the words in a newspaper, or on a business card.... no matter how clever.  They are alive, with feeling, with ideas... with depth and breadth beyond our small imaginations.  You never find the bottom.  They are words that you can dive into, swim in, and breathe.  They are the real world.  Instead of losing yourself in the fantasy world of a novel, you find yourself in the reality of God's words... his universe (for lack of a bigger, more all-inclusive word), the only real one around. :)

Saturday, September 23, 2000

Luke 24:45

"Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures."
Luke 24:45


This is interesting.  I was thinking this weekend about how bizarre life is sometimes.  You can go for years having the same opinion about something, and then one day... it hits you.  It can be anything, and the reason that it hits you can be almost any reason as well... but that's the way life works.  We are rarely observant the first time around, and there are always layers of meaning to find, even in the most boring of days... even in the most boring of hours.  Like this scripture.  You can sit at work like a zombie for decades, and then one day you realize that you really love doing something else, and you apply for a transfer.  It isn't like the opportunity hadn't come around before, or that you didn't know before that this aspect of your job was enjoyable, but for the first time in many years, you actually think about changing careers.  Why do things like that happen?  Could it be that God opens our understandings?  I remember when I was a kid, I wasn't ever very social... but one day this new girl came to church, and her name was Suzanne.  (Which is also my name, for those of you who don't remember) :)  And, that one little detail... for some reason, I grabbed her and pulled her aside, away from all the other kids, and asked her everything I could think of.  It isn't like she was cooler than anyone else (except for her name) or anything else... it's just that, that day, something hit me, and I changed.  Things like that happen to all of us, every day.  No hour goes by in our lives that can't teach us something... that isn't significant in some way, if we look for the lesson.  So, look for the lessons in your life today... find the deeper layers.  Ask God to open your understanding.  There is so much to see.  Never believe that there is nothing out there... there always, always is.  Something good from God.  And if we search for it, we will find it.

Friday, September 22, 2000

Moses 7:64

"And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest."
Moses 7:64


God is so amazing.  I was pondering this morning how many things that we take pretty much for granted, that really should astound us.  I mean... children of God?  And... immortality?  And, the entire earth just to teach us?  I mean, God's plan is so huge... the universe, you know?  and we sit here worrying about whether this or that person likes us, or about something we have to do today.  it's scary how narrow our vision is sometimes, don't you think?  Anyway, so this scripture struck me today... I like, first of all, that the Earth gets to rest.  That is nice, since she probably gets annoyed with us sometimes... hurting each other, abusing her kindness.  And the audacity of "earthquake-proof" buildings.  Scary. :)  Anyway, I think it is just totally amazing that God is going to come down here and live with us.  Don't you think that is cool and kind of wild?  I am always in awe of the people that got to hang out with Christ when he lived in Israel during his earthly ministry... ate with him, walked beside him.  Talked to him in casual conversation... and not that we don't do all of those things as well, but his physical presence just seems... huge... mind-boggling... to me.  And then, Zion... the dream of a perfect society, the perfect community... but not just as in our earthly dreams, not just the ideal that we can imagine.  I mean... God.  God himself is going to live there.  And we get to be part of it, we get to build it, put the pieces in place... build the foundation of harmony and peace that it takes.  It says "which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made" ... which to me means that every good thing that we do, every kindness that we inject into the system... matters.  Everything we do is building Zion, and creating the atmosphere and conditions needed for its continued construction.  Zion comes out of us... it is in us, and we need to make it physically real.... by living as though we were already there.  By trusting people when the world wouldn't.  By offering kindness when it doesn't make "sense" ... by living as God would, and giving of ourselves, by loving the people around us unconditionally, and with no reservations.  So, let's go out today and build a piece of Zion.  Start the avalanche.  Trust, love... give.  People will look at us strangely, but who knows... maybe we'll get another recruit for the Zion planning committee. :)

Thursday, September 21, 2000

1 Peter 2:20

"For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."
1 Peter 2:20


Scriptures are so fascinating, don't you think?  This one is great... telling us that God doesn't expect us to be typical, but extraordinary.  Sometimes when we are doing fantastically in our lives, Satan turns up the heat, and things get a lot harder.  Sometimes we have the energy to just take one step towards God, and Satan tries to sabotage us.  It is at those times when we exercise courage.  Courage is not to suffer for our mistakes.  It's something that everyone has to do, and God is not trying to create martyrs, but Gods.  Not, of course, that we should give up on patience in other circumstances.  Patience is always needed when a police officer pulls you over for a well-deserved speeding ticket. :)  However, patience is needed even more when we are wrongfully accused, or persecuted for being truthful and just.  It is easy to become resentful and bitter when we pass through trials that we don't think are "deserved."  But, remember... life is a test.  Some parts of the test are harder than others, but we are learning incredible things.  So, today... be patient.  Sometimes we will suffer for well-doing.  Just smile, and keep doing well.  Christ suffered more than we ever will... and he never did anything to deserve it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2000

1 Corinthians 13:9-10

"For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
1 Corinthians 13:9-10


I think that this is fascinating.  That here, on this earth, we have part of everything... even ourselves.  When the veil was drawn, we forgot who we were in the premortal existence.  We have part of so many things.  Our knowledge of God and his wisdom is fractional... our knowledge of even how this world works is stunningly inadequate.  We work at being healthy and whole, and it is hard... because we are here, in this limited reality. :)  We feel that something is missing sometimes, that there are gaping holes... and there are.  Our relationship with God can fill us to overflowing sometimes, but we are never consistent, and then the holes return.  So many things are incomplete here... but this scripture says when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.  No more holes.  isn't that a great thing to think about?  no limitations, no handicaps, no incompleteness.  There are places in the scriptures where God gave righteous people the power that whatever they said would be done, because he knew that they wouldn't say anything that was contrary to God's will... I think those people found wholeness.  They had enough of the truth to understand a particle of God's perspective and act on it... imagine when we have the whole of God's perspective.  Imagine... never second-guessing yourself, because you have ALL the information.  :)  We are on this earth to experience this "part"iality. :)  And it is a good thing, a good test, that teaches us a lot.  Teaches us who we can become on our own, as much as is possible.  But think of the amazing, amazing fullness and completeness that we will have after this test.  Wow.

Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Genesis 2:18

"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."
Genesis 2:18


This is pretty good... I mean, there are obvious connections to family and marriage, but I think it is kind of cool that God doesn't want us to be alone... that we need other people around to hang out with, and to interact with.  It isn't good for us to be isolated and dependent only on ourselves.  We learn when we have other people to get along with and to observe.  Occasionally I will go into hermit mode and think that I can handle everything better if I am alone... but what do I learn from that?  I already know how to be alone, I'm good at it.  I need to learn how to give to others and improve the world.  You can't do that in isolation.  So, today... say hi to people, hang out with them... be social. :)  Remember, at least in general... it is not good to be alone. :)

Monday, September 18, 2000

1 Corinthians 14:33

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."
1 Corinthians 14:33


I like this.  Peace is one of my favorite things, and I like the reference to him as an author too... of the stories of our lives.  And he writes peace into them... gives us access to it.  Satan tries to confuse us about our lives, about our direction... about anything at all.  But God can make everything clear and easily apparent.  We run into confusion all the time. Conflicting messages in every area of our lives... work, school, church... everywhere, including inner confusion.  Reliance on our Father in Heaven is SO essential in order to make sense out of things.  He is the author, and even the most complex plots can come out all right.  No matter how tangled our lives, or the lives of those around us, God can help.  In fact, sometimes he is the only one who can.  When we stand up for peace and clarity, we are helping God's work.  Things aren't as gray and foggy as Satan would have us believe.  If we get on our knees and obtain God's help, he will show us the clear path that Satan is trying to hide from us.

Sunday, September 17, 2000

Mark 1:40-41

"And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean."
Mark 1:40-41


This is great.  You know, yesterday I was moving almost the whole day... carrying boxes back and forth... and it is really hot in phoenix, and I was sweating a lot, and there was dust, and dirt, and I was so hot and filthy when I went to take back the U-Haul that I was cringing for my friend who had to ride with me.  But afterwards, we went over to my old apartment and took showers, and nothing feels quite as good as getting all of that grime off of yourself, and feeling refreshed.  And that is what Christ does for people.  This scripture isn't just about being clean from the particular disease of leprosy, but about being completely clean in every way, and having nothing to be ashamed of before God.  And you know, no matter who we are, or what has happened to us, or what we have done in the past.... Christ can make us clean.  And, he is willing to do so.  Just like he never would have walked away from this faith-filled leper... he won't walk away from us when we ask him for his cleansing power in our lives.  He loves us, and he wants to hang out with us... but, you know... being in a car with someone who smells bad is hard (my poor, poor friend).  :)  So, first, we need to get clean.  It feels good... to remove the grime... to be refreshed in body and spirit... and to know that you can stand before God with a clear conscience.  He doesn't hold past things against us... it becomes as though it never happened, except for the learning experience. :)  And, that is cleaner than we can ever get alone.  Talk to God.  Be clean.  It feels great. :)

Saturday, September 16, 2000

Mormon 7:5

"Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up."
Mormon 7:5


This is good stuff. :)  It feels to me kind of like the locker room speech at halftime... right before you go out and face the hardest team you've ever played.  The coach is saying... you have the talent and the strength and the stamina to win... but you need to *believe* ... remember the great things that this team has done in the past... and if you play like I know you can, you can do the same, or better.
Sometimes in our lives it can seem like winning is impossible... we feel as though we are losing by hundreds of points and there is no point in even trying.  But we forget that Christ is on our side... that He is a miracle worker, and he has NEVER lost a game.  He beat death, he beat sin... he never loses.  He won't lose this game either.  We have to repent and work at doing our part for the team... we need to make sure that we are fighting with Christ and not against him.  Because if we are, there is no chance of losing.  No chance.
Yesterday I was talking to one of my friends who was recently stung by a scorpion.  She was telling me how painful it was.  Compared to a scorpion, can you imagine how much death stings?  But Christ takes away that deep enduring pain, and turns it into joy... the joy of life and love and eternity.  We never lose anyone close to us, because Christ has overcome death.  We are so afraid of losing people that we love... but no one is *ever* lost.  Christ gave us that gift... eternal life.  We will see everyone that we love again, and rejoice with them.  With every death of someone we love, we gain a new friend on the other side of the veil.  Think of the amazing reunion we will have when we go there too.  We think of death as such a negative thing, but it really isn't.  Christ runs it now, and the new management is excellent.  No sting.

Friday, September 15, 2000

1 Corinthians 10:24

"Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth."
1 Corinthians 10:24


Short and sweet today... we need to turn outward, instead of focusing inward so much.  I like this because it talks about wealth, which most of us obsess about way way too often.  am I making as much as the other people I work with?  how come that person can have [insert name of luxury item here] and I can't?  We worry more about cars than people most of the time.  So, think of the people around you... what do they need?  Do they need it more than you do?  :)  Then, to think differently... the Joseph Smith Translation of this verse has the word "good" instead of wealth.  So, we aren't talking merely money here... but everything that makes a person rich... emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, social.... that we should be caring about whether someone else is comfortable instead of whether we are.  That we should be worrying about someone else's success more than our own.  That we need to be taking care of each other. :)  So, today... watch out for someone.  Help them.  Surprise them with something good. :)  And have a great Friday. :)

Thursday, September 14, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 88:95

"And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled."
Doctrine and Covenants 88:95


Wow... the face of the Lord.  Amazing.  So, it seems like the entire world is going to see it, you know?  That would be a pretty powerful indicator of the existence of God... if you saw him. :)  Right before this scripture there is one that says that an angel will sound a trump before this happens... so at least we'll have some warning. :)  I just think it would be amazing... and hey, if we are ready to come back into God's presence, this will be a great experience. :)  (It does make me think of the big disembodied head in the movie The Wizard of Oz though... forgive me if that is blasphemous).  I was talking to my mom last night (hi mom!) and we were talking about the last days, you know... scary, eek... stuff like that.  And I was thinking that it tells us the righteous need not fear... and I think this is why.  if we are being good, we'll be so happy to see God, and to get to hang out with him in person again... and if we are being badliest, then we'll be kind of scared that he'll be annoyed with us.  Like little kids when their parents come home. :)  So... just another reason to be good. :)  Not that God planned it as a scare tactic though... just that that's the reality of the whole thing.  Dad is probably coming home with our favorite ice cream, and he'll hug us and help us do our homework, and then have fun with us... but if we painted the wall with ketchup and poked holes in his waterbed... even though he loves us, we'll still be scared of him coming home.  so, what I say is... get out the stool and a rag, and clean up the ketchup.  get out the vinyl repair kit and patch the holes... and then make a cool play-doh statue for him that says "daddy."  not literally, but you know... analogy-wise.  if we do cool stuff for him because we love him, and clean up our messes... it will be the greatest day ever, since we haven't seen him in person for so long.

Wednesday, September 13, 2000

4 Nephi 1:15-16

"And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God."
4 Nephi 1:15-16


This is amazing to me... that no one lied in the whole country. :)  That, because they loved each other, and had the love of God with them all the time, that they never had arguments with each other... or fistfights.  No contention at all, and then, since there was no low-level stuff, it didn't lead to higher level stuff such as murder.  Nobody was envious.  Later in the chapter it talks about how they had everything common... and no one was fighting about that either... grabbing more toys for himself, or trying to be better.  It just amazes me that you could get a very large group of people to live that way.  And it gives me hope... that maybe we'll get there.  one of the things that we commit to do as members of the church is build God's kingdom... and his kingdom is like this scripture... a unified community, a Zion people.  So, the more we love the people around us, the closer we will be.  The less we will offend, or be offended... the more we will heal, and not hurt.  Let's go there. :)  It will take some effort, sure... but wouldn't it be worth it to even have a tiny group of people who lived like this?  Let's work on loving the people around us today. :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2000

John 3:12

"If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?"
John 3:12


This is an interesting scripture... I’ve never really thought about it before, but it struck me this morning.  If we can't listen to what God tells us about this life, how are we going to be able to hear what he says about the eternities?  (Hmm, I guess eternity can't really be plural, since it is... eternity, after all.)  This life is a test, and the things that we learn here, we take with us into eternity and our immortal lives.  so many times we ignore what God has to say about living day-to-day, and then we wish he would tell us about huge things like what is going to happen in the future, or whether we can have a swimming pool in our heavenly mansion... :)  Not that God won't answer all of those questions in time... but he has to teach us step by step.  Just like you don't sit down with your child and try to teach him to read Shakespeare before he's learned the alphabet.  He might want to learn it right then, but the foundation is missing.  God really does know our capabilities, and what lessons, for us individually, need to come next.  So, let's go and learn today's lessons really well, and maybe we'll be ready for some heavenly lessons soon. :)

Monday, September 11, 2000

Joshua 1:9

"Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
Joshua 1:9


This is a good thing to remember today. :)  God is with us wherever we are, whenever we need him.  When we are doing what the Lord has asked us to do... including our day-to-day work and normal interactions with people... the Lord is always there, helping us.  We only have to ask for what we need.  Some things, of course, are harder than others... but the Lord is there to help you with *anything* at all.  he can soften hearts, or help you know what to say... he can give you what you need to help you make a decision.  He's concerned about even the smallest details of your life, and wants to help.  Sometimes it is hard to let him in... let him help us.  It requires some humility and some vulnerability.  It requires us to ask for help, and sometimes to face things that we don't want to face... but the Lord is there, always offering.  And, when we accept his help, our lives will go SO much better than we can make them ourselves.  We dream too small... we want to be good and cool... he can make us perfect. :)  So, no being dismayed today... God is there to help us.  No worries. :)

Sunday, September 10, 2000

Isaiah 58:13-14

"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
Isaiah 58:13-14


This is interesting. :)  It talks about the sabbath as a delight... which of course it should be.  I don't think that we ever have enough fun with the gospel... we're always thinking that it is limiting, or boring... when it is freeing and interesting, and very fun and cool. :)  Anyway... it's cool the way that it talks about it... that we should do things that make the Lord happy on that day.  I think it's kind of like the birthday of a friend.  Instead of going to the movie you want to go to that day, you go to the one that they pick.  You let them pick the restaurant for dinner, and you try to pick out a gift that you know that they will want, and not something that is YOUR favorite thing. :)  It's a day to celebrate your friend, to dedicate everything you do to them... and that's how the Sabbath should be... dedicated to our best friend, God. :)  Not where we "sacrifice" our own wishes for his wishes... when you are hanging out with a friend on that person's birthday, you never feel like it is this horrible chore, or you wouldn't be there... it's something that you are happy to do, and the pay off is if you make them smile. :)  So, today... let's try to make God smile. :)  Let's do what he wants to do... hang out with him.  Talk to him... laugh with him.  Let him tell you his life story, and everything he wants you to know.  Listen to what he says and do everything with him today.  Relate everything you hear to him... make the day totally his.  And I think we will find, the more love and honor we show him today, the more our friendship will grow.  The more he will dedicate other days to us... to making us happy, and to lifting us up (which are a lot anyway).  He loves us... and is the most loyal and dedicated and loving friend there ever could be.  Let's have a good time today with him. :)

Saturday, September 9, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 88:63-64

"Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; as, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you."
Doctrine and Covenants 88:63-64


This is good stuff... first of all, that God would tell us that if we really work at it, we won't be disappointed.  We have to be diligent in seeking the Lord, but if we are, we will always succeed in finding him, and he will help us.  We have to knock, and ask, and seek... but when we go looking, we know that in the end, our search will be fruitful.  I think too often we don't ask... we decide beforehand that God isn't interested, or sometimes we wonder for a long time why God isn't giving us certain things, when we haven't gotten on our knees and talked to him about it.  Try it... ask him for what you need.  Talk to him about your life... if it's good for you, God will give it to you.  On *his* timetable, of course... but who knows, it could be that today is the day. :)  We'll never know until we ask.  He loves us, and he wants us to have the good desires of our hearts... but he also wants us to learn to ask, to seek, to knock... and to be able to tell the difference between good and bad desires. :)

Friday, September 8, 2000

Acts 7:9-10

"And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him.
And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house."
Acts 7:9-10


God knows what he is doing.  this is abundantly clear in this scripture, and also just in my personal life... and probably in yours too, if you look closely.  God doesn't always do things the way we want him to... but he always does things in a way that will make us the happiest, and challenge us, and that is absolutely fascinating to look forward to.  So, this scripture... consider Joseph.  His brothers hated him, some of hated him so much they wanted to kill him... and they sold him into slavery.  This is only a guess, but I think that he wasn't hoping for that.  It probably wasn't part of his plan for his life.  So, he's this slave, and he makes the best of it.  He is an awesome slave, and gets more and more responsibility, and is like in charge of the whole household.  Even though human ownership is never right, he probably didn't ask for the ridicule and embarrassment of having his clothes ripped off, his employer believing that he did something awful, and being thrown in prison.  I mean, really... who would put that down as a goal in their Franklin planner?  But God took Joseph through becoming a slave and a convict to being vice-Pharaoh. :)  He took him through all of those things not only to teach him, but because God could see the end goal, that Joseph would save the children of Israel this way.
Every once in a while in my life I feel like a slave or a convict... like I am getting the raw end of the deal, and nothing is going my way.  But when I remember that God actually has a plan for me, just as he had for Joseph... and that He knows a lot better than me what is good for me in my life... then I am content (or at least a lot more so). :)  We all have to go through hard things... maybe not slavery and incarceration, but things that are just as hard to bear in our lives.  isolation, betrayal, loss of life, pain, anguish... confusion, misunderstanding.  Joseph went through all of these, and in the end, he was reunited with the father that he loved, and even with his brothers who had hated him.  God knows the end from the beginning.  Things will work out, if we can just trust God and do our best even in our Slave and Convict times.  God is the coolest, and he'll bring you to a good end.  Believe it.

Thursday, September 7, 2000

Psalms 104:24-25

"O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts."
Psalms 104:24-25


Not that this is surprising, but God just amazes me. :)  If you ever think that your life is shallow, dive a little deeper... there is no end to the depths and the layers that God provides.  There is glory and beauty and life in everything around us.  There is wisdom and beauty and astounding talent and goodness in everyone you meet.  The riches of God are there for the taking... or observation. :)  The way that God directs my life, closing some doors, opening others... leading me along.  All of it is so astounding.  Look at your life today... see what God is doing for you, where he is leading you... see the beauty in everything around you.  It's there, I promise... no matter how bleak things seem sometimes.  The evidence of God is everywhere.  In the sea, in the air... in everyone you meet.  Look for it... in others, and in yourselves. :)

Wednesday, September 6, 2000

3 Nephi 22:9-10

"For this, the waters of Noah unto me, for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee.
For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee."
3 Nephi 22:9-10


So, this makes up for all the death and destruction scriptures. :)  God is telling us... yeah, all that is going to happen, but you don't need to stress over it.  I will be there, helping you out, all the time.  God is so amazing.  Even in the midst of bad things happening, he is reaching out to us, letting us know that he loves us, that he hasn't forgotten to provide for us, even in the darkest hour.  I was with a friend yesterday, coming back from dinner, and there was a cool rainbow.   That always makes me think of God's promise to Noah that he wouldn't destroy the earth with a flood (Genesis 9:11-13).  Even though the mountains will be a big loss... at least it is nice to know that God is watching out for us, through all the things that will happen in the last days.  Rainbows remind me of that... and luckily, God reminds me of that, even when there are no rainbows around.  God loves us... we are his children, and he will never stop loving us, no matter what.  Sometimes it feel like we are so far away from him, for whatever reason, that we can't even talk to him... but just like the prodigal son... he will rejoice if we just get up the courage to talk to him... to come back into his arms.  Try it. :)  It works.

Tuesday, September 5, 2000

Philemon 1:3-4

"Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers."
Philemon 1:3-4


Cool scripture.  Wouldn’t you like someone to say that about you?  That they thank God for you every day?  And, if we would like someone to say it about us, are we doing it for other people?  Today, let's tell people that we are thankful to have them in our lives.  Let them know that we care.  Pray for them, tell God that we are grateful for good family and friends.  Maybe even write a letter to someone and put this scripture at the end, so when they look it up they can be happy that we love them.  Let's be grateful and nice to the hundreds and thousands of incredible people around us today. :)

Monday, September 4, 2000

James 1:19-21

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."
James 1:19-21


This is great stuff.  "superfluity of naughtiness" is SO great.  One of my friends reminded me of this scripture yesterday, and so I had to use it. :)  But, serious too.  If we were all swifter to listen than to speak, think what a better world this would be, with all of us really listening to each other. :)  And, if none of us got angry very quickly... wow.  to say nothing of how amazing the world would be if we abandoned our own individual superfluities in the category of naughtiness. :)  I like the last part a lot too... the word that is able to save your souls.  makes me think of "In the beginning was the word" and "by the power of his word" and all the things that invest language with power in the scriptures... and especially "the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" ... language becoming the reality of Christ.  I know, I am being kind of abstract today, please forgive me... but this stuff is great.  so, today... listen.  let go of all that residual (and superfluous) naughtiness... and let God's word save your souls. :)

Sunday, September 3, 2000

Jeremiah 42:5-6

"Then they said to Jeremiah, The Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the Lord thy God shall send thee to us.
Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the Lord our God."
Jeremiah 42:5-6


I thought that this scripture was very instructive.  it happens at a time when there are very few people left over after a couple of people have sacked Jerusalem and the surrounding area.  Jeremiah, the prophet, remains... and he predicted the whole thing, so that's probably why they are asking him.  So, they say the above, which is a pretty big commitment... asking the Lord to be a witness of your promise.  And, then they disobey him.  After all that.  How insane is that?  But seriously, how often do we do similarly?  We ask and ask the Lord to help things to work out... to teach us, to show us the way... and then, when he does... we decide that we know better and ignore him.  We have our minds made up beforehand, what we want God to say to us, and what things that he should do in our lives, and when it doesn't go according to OUR plan, then we figure it must have been indigestion.  If someone tells us what we want to hear, then we think they are the coolest thing to hit earth.  But God is, quite frankly, God.  Perfect and cooler than us... and he knows what he is doing.  Don't go asking him if you don't want an answer... and do what he says.  He'll never never lead you astray.  Even if what he says seems impossible to you, he can and will fulfill all his words.  God is testing us, not the other way around.  I know, I know... we were all confused.  :)  If we can just remember who is taking the test from now on, maybe we'll pass. :)

Saturday, September 2, 2000

Doctrine and Covenants 133:26-27, 29

"And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.
And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep.
...
And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land."
Doctrine and Covenants 133:26-27, 29


Wow, how interesting. :)  The last verse repeats our theme of relieving the thirst of the desert, but what about all the really cool stuff about the north countries?  This is a really interesting thing to look up too... if you are interested, look up "north" in the online scriptures.  I can think right now of 3 or four scriptures about people coming out of the north... last days kind of stuff.  Pretty cool.  This one though... I love the image of the ice flowing down at their presence.  And the highway in the midst of the great deep... do those two things go together?  I mean, is the highway going to be made of ice?  That would be way slippery. :)  And maybe the ice flowing down is what brings some water to the desert as well.  Unfortunately, I think it would flood Phoenix. :)  We get flooded when it rains... I can't imagine if we had some real water.  I might have to invest in a canoe. :)
Amazing though that God brings water to the deserts, roads to the oceans, and other assorted miracles… and will continue to do so.  Let’s doubt doubt that he can help us solve our problems either.

Friday, September 1, 2000

Isaiah 35:5-6

"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert."
Isaiah 35:5-6


This is great stuff.  Talking about the time around the second coming... the chapter heading calls it the "day of restoration."  And it's cool... like everything that wasn't in balance, will be.  Isn't that an interesting idea?  We get used to things being out of balance in our lives... and when we ask people to be fair, we usually mean in our favor.  Isn't it cool that we can all have an abundance? :)  Too often in this life people have to step on someone else to "get ahead" ... like it is a race for the individual, completely separate from everyone else.  And, really... as soon as we start thinking like that, we lose.  Because really, to succeed in this test, we have to help other people succeed.  We have to lift each other up....so all this petty sabotaging of each other is really hurting us.  And, in other thoughts... think of all the ways that we are lame and blind and dumb... and desertlike.  The Lord will bring water to our parched ground, and sight to our eyes.  To finally be able to really see... can you think of anything more fabulous? :)

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