Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Alma 41:7-8

"These are they that are redeemed of the Lord; yea, these are they that are taken out, that are delivered from that endless night of darkness; and thus they stand or fall; for behold, they are their own judges, whether to do good or evil.
Now, the decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved."
Alma 41:7-8


Isn’t this interesting?  I've been thinking about black and white lately... and moderation.  what exactly we are striving for.  Are some things all or nothing, and other things we're shooting for the middle?  how does that work?  (I still don't have a definitive answer, so any thoughts are welcome...)  Anyway, searching around on that topic this morning brought me to this chapter.  What I find interesting here is that we are our own judges in a lot of ways.  and the endless night of darkness doesn't sound too good.  The mast fascinating thing, and this kind of goes along with what I was looking for, is that the way is prepared by God.  We can walk in the way and be saved, or we can walk somewhere else.  In that, it is pretty black and white.  You are either on the path, or off.  And it seems like the path is prepared for anyone who wants to walk in it, so there must be access to it from each of our lives.  So, then we have to find the way to get on the track, and not keep getting off along the way. :)  It is easy to become distracted, and sometimes hard to know what things are distractions.  Learning to listen to the spirit is important, because it is the only sure way to tell whether you are on the path or not... if you can feel that spirit and that peace in your life.  Today, let's listen... make sure we are going forward, on the path that God has prepared for us.

Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 109:7

"And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning by study and also by faith."
Doctrine and Covenants 109:7


 This is interesting to me today in a couple of ways.  First, I think it is amazing, as usual, how intertwined our lives are, how tag-team salvation really is.  Ultimately, we all have to "work out our own salvation," but we are here together so that we can help each other learn *how* ... you know?  So, we need to seek wisdom ... read the best books (some of which, of course, are the scriptures) ... and the other interesting thing is that it lists two different ways to learn.  Not necessarily limiting us to those two, but opening up one possibility that we don't usually consider.  We are used to seeking learning by study... but how often do we seek learning by faith?  So, we know by this scripture that study is good, that it can help us learn... but faith can too.  So, how does that work?  Like Alma 32, comparing the word to a seed... if you give place for it to be planted in your heart, then it will grow?  Probably... and probably other ways which we don't really understand yet.  Maybe we start out with simple things, like praying to be able to find our car keys... and it works, and so we try again, and amazingly... it works every single time.  And we begin to learn faith... and the miracles it can do.  Even the brother of Jared, who moved a mountain with faith... or Moses, who parted the Red Sea through faith... they had to start somewhere. :)  So, today... in addition to seeking learning by study... try to seek some learning through faith.  I think we are all severely undereducated in that regard. :)

Monday, January 29, 2001

2 Corinthians 1:9-10

"But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us."
2 Corinthians 1:9-10


This is cool.  You know, so so often... I don't think that we give God enough credit.  It's hilarious when we raise our tiny fists and shout defiance to the sky, when every breath that we take comes through the mercy of God.  We talk about getting "justice" or that things aren't "fair" ... but believe me, that isn't what we want.  If justice and fairness were really taken into consideration, we would be spiritually on Death Row for the things that we have already done.  But God comes to Death Row, and offers us a Pardon... he allows us to take our sorry convict selves out of prison, and try again... to live and work and love in freedom.  It isn't ourselves that we need to look to for answers, and it isn't ourselves that will save us in the end.  We have to realize that we can't possibly do it.  We can try and try and try... but until we cast ourselves on the mercy of the Lord, admit to him that we can't hack it... that we need him in our lives every minute of every day... and ask him to be with us to guide us and help us, we're condemned prisoners.  And doomed to keep returning to prison every time we forget our God.  So, today, my beloved fellow convicts... lift up your hearts, for God will yet deliver us.  Talk to him, trust him... He can teach us to be better than we are. :)

Sunday, January 28, 2001

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
1 Corinthians 3:16-17


This scripture is really interesting in a lot of different ways, but today I want to focus on one of the miraculous things that I see here... that the Spirit of God dwelleth in us.  That we are, literally, the temple of God.  Someone in church today used the analogy of a seed... you plant an apple seed, what do you get... an apple tree.  You don't grow a plum tree from an apple seed, and you are definitely not going to get a zebra or a hippopotamus. :)  An apple seed grows apples.  Pretty clear.  But think about it in terms of who we are.  We are children of _God_.  We have the seeds of Godhood inside of us, and if we grow, we will grow into Gods.  So, of *course* the Spirit of God dwelleth in us... of *course* we are temples... we are seeds that, if nurtured, will become incredible, eternal beings... We can choose to grow or not to grow, but we can't choose to become apples, or zebras... or anything else but Gods.  Think of the amazing potential that we all have, and all it needs are some good nutrients, some sunlight... good things.  When we take bad things into ourselves, we stunt our growth, and disrespect the Spirit that resides there.  Certain things help us to grow, and certain things don't.  We don't get to choose what helps and what hurts... it's the nature of the seed.  if you pour tar and pesticide on it, it isn't going to grow very well.  What we can do is listen to someone who knows seeds, and feed ourselves on sunlight and pure water and everything good that we can find.  I'm not just talking Word of Wisdom here, though that is a definite aspect.  I am talking everything... conversation, music, books, movies, places, people.  That incredible Spirit inside of us knows what helps us to grow and what stunts our growth... and we need to listen.  Find good books to read, good places to be... good people to hang out with.  We need to nourish our souls... so that we can grow, and flourish in becoming what we were *always* meant to be.  So, sometimes we have to accept the fact that, no matter how much we want it, we can't be zebras.  We can't be apples, and we can't be black plastic garbage bags.  ... but try not to be too disappointed.  what we can do is stop working so hard to become something else, and choose to grow as fast and furiously as possible, into something that we *can* become.  None of us are weeds in the garden of the Lord.  With God's help, our temples will be clean, and will be fitting abodes for the amazing spirits that we are.

Saturday, January 27, 2001

Mosiah 4:11

"And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel."
Mosiah 4:11


That is all one sentence.  Dang.  Anyway, I said I would tell you what "this" was from yesterday’s scripture… and here it is.  If we remember God, and all that he has done for us, and humble ourselves, recognizing the parent-child relationship there, and that he is wiser than we are… and if we call upon him with faith… then we will have all of those things that we talked about yesterday.  In case you don’t remember, here is a refresher:

1.    constant happiness
2.    constant fulfillment / love that fills us
3.    continual remission of sins (!)
4.    continual inflow of knowledge...
5.    calm

Those are pretty amazing things.  And all it takes is some humility on our part.  I do know how tough that can be… admitting that someone in the universe might be smarter than we are… admitting that anyone might know more about us than we do… it’s tough.  But, looking at all those things that we could have… isn’t it worth it to try?  I think so. :)

Friday, January 26, 2001

Mosiah 4:12-13

"And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.
And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due."
Mosiah 4:12-13


This is amazing.  so... if we do "this" we get a few things:

1.    constant happiness
2.    constant fulfillment / love that fills us
3.    continual remission of sins (!)
4.    continual inflow of knowledge...
5.    calm

Dang... those are amazing things!  I want them... don't you?  Maybe tomorrow we'll discuss what "this" is... but it's perfectly okay if you want to delve into the scriptures yourself and find out. :)

Thursday, January 25, 2001

Isaiah 43:25-26

"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified."
Isaiah 43:25-26


You know, this is amazing to me... God will not remember our sins. Now... God knows *everything* ... right? So, if there is something that HE doesn't remember-- doesn't that mean that it doesn't exist? I think I have mentioned this before, but it still floors me. Also, God talks here like he is, our best friend in the universe. Pleading with us, literally begging us to come back... to remember him, to work it out. He wants us to be justified, and he pleads with us to please do what it takes. It brings to my mind a woman, pleading with her husband to please stop drinking, go to rehab... overcome the addiction. the love that they have is precious, their family could be such an amazing thing... if only he can say that he is willing to get help. This is God, pleading with us... Sin addicts... to please, please stop the self-destruction. He'll forgive us, he'll erase the sins... but we *have* to get help. We have to stop the cycle... or, like the woman, he'll have to distance himself and watch the eventual melt-down with sorrow from afar. We, like the woman's husband... have free agency. Maybe we like to drink. Maybe it helps us to escape the sorrow of a lost child, or the injustices of daily life... but as long as choose to be trapped in the cycle, others can offer only limited help. We have to start loving our wives more than the bottle... God more than the sin. If not, at the end of our lives we wind up with a divorce and a hangover... and nothing else. We don't even want to extrapolate that one out in terms of eternity. Ugh. Anyway... today, Let's listen to God's pleadings. Remember him, plead together. Admit we're addicts, and get some help. :)

Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Proverbs 27:5-6

"Open rebuke is better than secret love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."
Proverbs 27:5-6


So interesting.  Open rebuke is better than secret love.  My mind is still trying to get around that one... better to have people openly berating you than to have them secretly in love with you?  And you know... yeah, it probably is (I say probably, but this is the scriptures, so it's more like definitely...). :)  It's better to have honesty all the time... if someone is angry at you, it's better that they say so... same if someone likes you.  And it is better for us as well when we own the emotion... this is how I feel.  I might not know why, and I might not even *want* to feel that way... but here it is, let's talk about it, and figure it out... you know?  Instead of trying to suppress it, and then getting easily irritated at the smallest things later on.  So, basically we are talking sincerity.  Don't kiss someone if you don't mean it... :)  If you have a problem with someone, work it out... don't pretend.  We're going to hurt each other sometimes, but if we love each other as well, then those wounds will be healed.  So, today... sincerity is the key word. :)  And, for goodness sake... if you secretly love someone, just say it. :)  Don't let open rebuke upstage you. :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2001

1 Samuel 25:6

"And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast."
1 Samuel 25:6


This is taken out of context... it's part of a story about King David and a guy named Nabal. :)  But I love the way that they greet each other... peace, peace, peace... to you and everything around you, always... I love that.  I wish people would say that to me... instead of "hey girl... what's up" it would be cool to hear "peace be unto you, are you well?" ... but maybe that is just my penchant for Shakespeare showing itself.  I like hey girl too... don't get me wrong. :)  Anyway, all of you scripture-of-the-dayers out there... Peace , peace, peace... to you and everything that you touch today.  Take a moment and remember that the world is not falling apart, and that God really does know what he is doing. :)  And smile. :)

Monday, January 22, 2001

Matthew 5:19

"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:19


This scripture illustrates how important other people are in our lives, and in our journey back to God.  Sometimes we think that we are okay screwing up our own lives, because they are ours, after all... but perhaps unfortunately, we are never that isolated.  sins have consequences, and they _always_ touch other people... if only in our demeanor and our attitude.  we affect the lives of the people around us, however unintentionally... and we teach other people in everything that we do.  Even if we haven't reached a level of maturity where we can be concerned with our own souls... we *need* to be concerned with the precious souls of the people around us.  We are never hurting only ourselves, even with the least of sins.  Lastly... no matter how we try sometimes, we end up hurting other people... so, like the sons of Mosiah, we need to strive to repair the damage... to heal where we have hurt... to correct our false teachings.  Sometimes admitting that we were wrong is the hardest thing to do... but it is also the only way to correct our mistakes.  From there, we have a clean foundation for rebuilding confidence and obedience.  We can go from least to greatest, by our actions and examples.

Sunday, January 21, 2001

Moses 7:59

"And Enoch beheld the Son of Man ascend up unto the Father; and he called unto the Lord, saying: Wilt thou not come again upon the earth? Forasmuch as thou art God, and I know thee, and thou hast sworn unto me, and commanded me that I should ask in the name of thine Only Begotten; thou hast made me, and given unto me a right to thy throne, and not of myself, but through thine own grace; wherefore, I ask thee if thou wilt not come again on the earth."
Moses 7:59


Enoch is one of my heroes... so cool... he and King Benjamin are probably near the top of the list.  But then, maybe I have weird taste.  Anyway... Enoch is amazing.  Can you imagine talking to the Lord like this?  Just hanging out with him... and he starts to go up into heaven and you call out... hey, when are you coming back? :)  (If you want to know the answer to the question read after this verse in Moses...) :)  Enoch, of the perfect community... he says to God, "I know thee."  That is amazing.  Enoch walked with God... Enoch understood him.  He knew him well.  What I think that we don't realize sometimes is that we can have the same thing.  We can ask the Lord hard questions... we can ask him the desires of our hearts... and he will answer us, and help us find truth and peace and comfort... and excitement, joy... interest, love... everything that we could ever want.  God isn't boring, and heaven isn't boring... it is all we can handle, all the time.  Just less inconsistent and scary than here. :)  The thing about Enoch... in knowing God, he gained a confidence that we rarely get, and an ability to talk to God plainly.  The more we learn about God, the closer we can get to that same thing... the better we know the person that we are talking to... the easier it is to say the things that need to be said.  Of course, it is a bonus that God already knows what we are thinking... but that doesn't really help us to know *him* better... for that, we need the scriptures... which contain his thoughts and instructions.  And, without question, we need prayer.  Too often I, and perhaps some of you as well, treat prayer as a one way communication.  I jam all of my thoughts and feelings into a little sound-byte and then say "over and out" and go on with my day.  I don't wait for a response, and I never check my voice mail.  Luckily God is infinitely patient with me, and sometimes while I am churning out the sound byte he makes me stop for air and I get some overwhelming emotion coming through the line... love, deep and pure, and strong... for me.  I know that he loves me, and that always helps communication. :)  Other times, I will be praying for someone else and I will get this overwhelming feeling... and I know that God knows what I am saying, and that he loves that person as much... more... than I do, and is watching over the situation.  Every now and then I even get a brief warning before something unsettling happens, helping me to prepare for it... and once, a few years ago, when I was walking out of church in disgust... I got a short verbal question.  So, little pieces of a relationship.  And, I'm sure you have pieces too.  Feelings, glimpses... and the more pieces we have, the better picture we have of God.  There are huge pieces in the scriptures.  The woman taken in adultery... the story of the good Samaritan.  we start getting to know our God... learning of him, finding out more about him, and our relationship to him.  That is what the gospel is about, in large part... learning who we are, and who he is, and how those two things interrelate.  Even simple things like... "God, please... help me find my keys, I am late" and he does...  you know that he cares about you when he helps you with the simplest things.  And we learn a lot about ourselves when we do little things for him.  Small things... maybe smiling at someone even when we are in a bad mood... maybe praying and attempting communication even though we feel uncomfortable or inadequate sometimes... maybe humbling ourselves enough to walk back into church after we stormed out.  God knows us... he knows our talents, capacities, and limitations... perfectly.  He knows when even the smallest of things is difficult for us to do... and he blesses us beyond measure for the most limited attempts.  Today... do something for God.  Get on your knees and say hi to him.  Read a few verses of scripture... something... anything.  and I promise you... promise... that if you do, God will make this day better than any day where you don't do something for him.  We all have to start small, and then we struggle with consistency.  But it's okay.  read one verse... pray about one thing... spend 2 minutes on your knees.  Whatever it is. Just try it, and keep it up.  Your life will improve.  Mine has... mine does, every time I do something for God. :)  Get to know him... he's a very very cool guy. :)

Saturday, January 20, 2001

John 17:3

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
John 17:3


Today and tomorrow we are going to look at some scriptures that talk about knowing God.  I've been thinking about that subject and it is important to me in my life right now... I need to know God better than I do.  I think probably that we all do... sincerely, how can you make the choice to put the Lord as the number one thing in your life... and remain completely committed to that choice... if you don't know him... who he is, what he means to you?  I think that we do need to know that God is the only true God... but we also need to know the only true God... and know him well.  Having a knowledge of him isn't enough... we need to have a relationship with him.  We need to learn about the bond that ties our souls to his, and honor that relationship... that friendship... that familial connection.  I don't think that there is any question that that bond exists... but sometimes we make light of it... even try to sever it--thinking that we have found something or someone with which we have a stronger or more important bond.  And even though, intellectually, we might know that to be untrue... emotionally, we still feel it.  Why is that, I was wondering... and I think that it might be just because we don't know our Father well enough.  That, of course, is part of the test... we forget our close relationship with our Father when we come to earth... we are left with a bond, but no associated memories.  Then, God isn't right there, in front of us... a commercial pleading for our attention.  He talks to us, but not in the attention-deficit-driven media way that we become accustomed to.  We start to feel regret when we choose God over something else... the immediacy of other relationships that are more easily maintained captures our attention, and we value our bonds to other people more than our bond to God... like astronauts severing the tether to the ship in favor of the tether to their brother astronauts.  No good can come of that.  We can only live and have a relationship with our fellow space travelers *if* we retain the bond with the mother ship.  if we sever that bond, then we are all lost... no matter how closely knit.  The cool thing is... we can have those relationships with other people that we want... we can have important, meaningful bonds with our fellow travelers.  we just have to remember, always, the primacy of our bond with God.  And to appreciate that bond, we have to get to know him... learn about our individual relationship with him... develop it, build it... find out what God is all about, what he loves, what he lives for... learn about our Father and Friend all over again, so that we understand ourselves, and how we are all interconnected... so that we don't resent our lifeline.

Friday, January 19, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 29:34-35

"Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, not the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.
Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural not temporal, neither carnal nor sensual."
Doctrine and Covenants 29:34-35


I think this is interesting.  I don' t know that I really understand it completely... for instance, tithing.  That seems pretty temporal to me... but perhaps it is symbolic of our dedication to the Lord, always... I don't know.  It is very cool though to think that everything is spiritual in nature... all the commandments are teaching us things that are for our good eternally, not just here on this earth.  SO, we're here in this school temporarily (and temporally), but learning the eternal lessons that we will need as we enter into "real" life. :)  I think it is amazingly cool that God, as the perfect parent, never loses his cool and snaps out anything that is just a temporary command... that he always has our eternal interests at heart, and loves us despite the scary things that we do here on earth sometimes.  He can see the whole picture, and when we are tempted to give up any part of eternity for something temporal... he is always there, reminding us.  Everything that he does is designed to help us to focus on learning those eternal lessons in our current forgetful and temporal state.  What an amazing teacher, parent, and friend He is to us.  No matter how frustrated I get with my limited perspective, with my inability to learn my lessons... he stays with me, with infinite patience... trying to get me to open my eyes, widen my vision... see the beauty and the masterful brilliance in the world around me... helping me to learn to love, and to be kind, and to come home.  As he does for all of us. :)

Thursday, January 18, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 104:13-16

"For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.
I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.
And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.
But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low."
Doctrine and Covenants 104:13-16


Don’t you love that God explains things to us so patiently sometimes?  We wonder why people go without, and God reminds us that life is a test, and he has made it *our* responsibility to give of our abundance to provide for others.  He has to teach us a little compassion... and, I suppose... if there were no reason for us to be compassionate, we would never learn it.  He expects us to see the inequities in our systems, and find a way to do something about it... whatever the scope.  In learning to become like God, don't you think that is a good test?  When we observe suffering, do we try to relieve it, or do we assume that that person "deserves" it, for some bizarre reason?  If we follow Christ, and do what he did... we will relieve suffering wherever we are... learn about and love people from every social group... give ourselves to the service of others.  God is the greatest teacher of all, and he uses every minute of every day to instruct us.  Not an hour goes by in which there is not a lesson, or a reinforcement of principles learned previously.  Every person we encounter, every conversation we have, every place we go... there are lessons there for us, tailored to our individual understandings and capacities... teaching us to love, to learn about ourselves and the things of this earth... to embrace our spiritual selves, and to deepen our understanding and wisdom.  God never meant us to be single-faceted beings... there is so much out there to learn, and eventually, in the eternal scheme of things... we have to learn it all.  No lesson is not worth our time.  So, today... notice the lessons around you, and remember to sustain the needs of others... as God sustains our needs so carefully and lovingly.

Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Psalms 118:6

"The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"
Psalms 118:6


This is cool.  I don't think that I ever noticed this scripture before... it is awesome that the Lord is on our side. :)  If we have the Lord in our lives, there isn't anything that we should ever be afraid of, because God can show us how to handle it... and handle it in a good way. :)  So, today... remember:  we are never alone.  We always, always have someone on our side. :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Philippians 4:12-13

"I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Philippians 4:12-13


This is interesting.  Basically...with Christ, I can handle it all.  Good and bad, full and empty... in all cases, Christ helps me learn from it, and learn how to do it well.  Wouldn't you like to know "how to be abased?"  I would *love* to know that.  Someone slams me, and I think to myself... okay, I know how to do this.  And I can do the humiliation with style and grace. :)  But instead, I usually lose it.  And then... how to abound.  I would love to know that too.  How to do great things, and not lose track of my humility and remember what is really important.  It would be so great to know how to be full or hungry... to be content no matter what was going on.  And that is what Christ can teach us.  No matter what lesson or what state of mind we find ourselves in... he can show us how to handle the situation perfectly, and be okay.  In some situations, I just figure that I can't possibly handle it, and I just try to avoid all of it that I can... but God doesn't give us anything that we can't handle.  He has the power to handle any situation, and to be content with any situation... and he can teach us the same thing, help us deal with whatever it is.  Again, back on the nothing is impossible theme...  I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  So, today... whatever difficulty we are faced with... remember.  We can do anything.  We can handle it.  Let’s pray for strength, and help... and then handle it with amazing style and grace. :)

Monday, January 15, 2001

Mark 9:23-24

"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief."
Mark 9:23-24


This, again, is amazing. :)  All things are possible to him that believeth.  "yeah yeah" we say... "faith moves mountains... la la la,"  but do we really perceive the possibilities here?  so often we reject things as impossible... but all things are possible to him that believeth.  ALL things.  I mean, I think that God has to go along with it too... which might prevent you from believing in a few things... but since God has a bigger imagination than any of us, I think anything good can apply. :)  I love the father in this scripture too... he wants to believe, and knows that there are some doubts in there... and asks for help.  We can do that too.  We are limited in faith... like Peter, sometimes we doubt and we start to sink... but as we diligently observe the amazing miracles in life... the awe-inspiring beauty in the world around us... the infinite variety of people and ideas... the miraculous things that happen to us every single day... we learn belief, and faith.  Returning to the scripture of yesterday... "believeth all things, hopeth all things."  _Nothing_ is impossible.  Not if we have God on our side. :)  Don't think for a second that what God has done for Moses and the Brother of Jared... and for this father... he won't do for you.  He will.  He loves us, and wants more than anything, our happiness.  There is always hope to be found, even in the darkest dungeons of the soul.  All things are possible to him that believeth.  Let's believe... and ask God to help our unbelief. :)

Sunday, January 14, 2001

Moroni 7:45

"And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."
Moroni 7:45


This is so cool and interesting.  (I always say that... but it *is*...) :)  Today in church we talked a lot about love... charity... really caring about people and treating them well.  lots of examples... excellent things to think about.  All of these things deserve thought, but the one that strikes me today is "not easily provoked." ... probably because I am *really* bad at that one.  my boss at work says that people can't help pushing my buttons because they are so big. :)  hilarious.  anyway... last week this woman at work said in a meeting that anyone can write... and since I am an editor my daily life is based on the fact that that is not true. :)  So, I started steaming then, and when she took it even farther in a public e-mail, I lost my cool and wrote her back this scathing e-mail.  Luckily, I decided to review it with my boss beforehand.... and she was angry too, we talked about it, and she told me to be Gandhi. :)  (Yes, this might relate back to the scripture someday... sorry for babbling.) ... So, I didn't send the e-mail, and tried to let it go.  And it ended up being a really good thing to do.  My point is... I am *very* easily provoked.  In class the other day (taking this "innovation" class) we talked about jumping to one side or the other when we encounter something new, instead of looking at the idea, noting good and bad aspects, and how it might be interesting.  I could be the only one, I suppose, but that seems to be a common thing.  Whenever we encounter anything outside our current experience, we decide almost instantly whether we are going to accept or reject it, and take sides... before we actually look at it carefully.  I think that we do this with things, ideas... and people.  instead of finding out who people are, we instantly size them up and decide whether they are someone we want to approach or not... whether we like them or not... without knowing anything about them.
Anyway, I don't want to go on for hours, but will you do something for me?  Will you print out this scripture and hang it on your wall, and think about it a little?  What does it mean to seek not your own?  to think no evil?  to hope all things?  All of it is fascinating.  and, instead of being "easily provoked" :) and deciding instantly, right now, whether any of it is a good idea, or a lot of bunk... think about it.  How can this scripture change your life?  I think it can change mine, and I am going to take my own advice and think about it. :)

Saturday, January 13, 2001

Isaiah 44:23

"Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel."
Isaiah 44:23


This is very cool.  I can imagine walking through the forest, or in the mountains... and hearing the earth singing. :)  The cliffs, the trees, the sea... all finding their voices because their God did something cool and amazing... so cool and amazing that the rocks shout for joy.  Now, this is an amazing thing for rocks to do, as I'm sure you realize... rocks are very patient, and pretty dang quiet.  You don't get into a conversation with a rock easily... so when a rock sings... when a whole mountain sings, in that incredible base voice of theirs... watch out.  Something incredible is going on. :)  Trees too... though not quite as patient as rocks, they are pretty dang close-mouthed.  And, sincerely... who but God could be quite as amazing as to coax _song_ from that kind of resolved silence?  So, then... all the rocks together and all the trees together... making up all the mountains and forests... and the heavens, and the lower parts of the earth... and they all form this choir, and what sound would be more pleasing than that?  I can't think of any, at all... I want to hear it someday.

Friday, January 12, 2001

Alma 17:13

"And it came to pass when they had arrived in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, that they separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest; for they supposed that great was the work which they had undertaken."
Alma 17:13


This is a good scripture, not just in the context of the missionary journeys of the sons of Mosiah... but in our journeys of life, and our missions here.  I was thinking this morning of a friend of mine from college... we were amazingly good friends, and I miss talking to her, and sitting on the steps of our favorite building eating barbecued potato chips (brought by me) and yogurt covered pretzels (brought by her).  I haven't seen her for years, but I miss her.  And, that is just one instance of the b'zillions of people that have passed through my life in some way, and then have gone in a separate direction.  I think that it is amazing that God gives us the hope of seeing those people again... our families, our friends... everyone that we love and care about.  Other people *are* our clinical experience, but not *only* that... they are the reason for existence as well.  Immortality and Eternal Life absolutely alone wouldn't have much meaning, or purpose.  God's reason for being is us, the whole human family... and our reason for being is each other.  Remember today, in your daily walk... that people are more important than things... and trust in the Lord that you will see those you care about again.

Thursday, January 11, 2001

1 Corinthians 12:8-11

"For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."
1 Corinthians 12:8-11


This is cool.  God gives each one of us gifts through the Holy Ghost.  And why does he give us all different gifts? :)  Because he wants us to hang out together, learn from each other... be a community. :)  God *wants* us to be friends... to love each other, to teach each other important things.  Sometimes we think that the only place we are allowed to learn things is in church, and everything else is distraction... but we forget, this whole WORLD is a university for student Gods. :)  Church is the treatment program when we get off course, but God *never* tells us that we can't do some fieldwork... he wants us to.  We can develop our gifts, and learn some other gifts from our friends... teach them ours... and help each other through grad school, if we can make it that far... and, we can, together.  Joseph Smith said that the same sociality that exists among us here will exist among us there... (D&C 130:2) so we can still kick back and have a pizza with our friends, right?  :)  Okay, maybe not exactly... but people matter, and they will still matter later.  they are an excellent investment of our time, and energy, and emotion... learning to love is one of the primary lessons we have in this life.  Today, let's go out and learn it a little better. :)  Share some gifts, and notice the ones in other people.  This educational theorist, Gardner... he came up with this idea of "multiple intelligences" ... that everyone is smart in different ways.  God knew it already. :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2001

Proverbs 4:23

"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
Proverbs 4:23


This is really interesting.  It says here that out of our hearts are the issues of life.  That is cool, and thought-provoking.  so often in life we watch (observe more than control) our thoughts, but the attendant emotions rage out of control... we assume that emotions just "happen" and there isn't anything that we can do about it... I mean, react to them, but not change them.  I think that this is saying otherwise... in "keeping" our hearts, we can tame and herd (if you will) the wild animals that are our emotions, lead them to pasture, prevent them from stampeding. :)  Also, if out of our hearts are the issues of life... then emotions are very important, not something to be shut out, walled up, or destroyed.  We have to watch how our emotions and actions relate... how our thoughts and our emotions relate, and learn the patterns... learn ourselves.  And that is most of life... learning who we are, learning how our spirits and our bodies are interconnected, spiritual and physical inseparable... and learning how to understand and control our entire selves, not sacrifice one for the other.  Giving up the spiritual self for the physical self, *or* the physical for the spiritual... finding a harmony and a balance, finding peace within.  And do cool and amazing things while we're at it.  A pretty good life, and everything around us is placed to help us learn those things... Neal A. Maxwell says that we are one another's clinical experience.  We need each other to be able to learn ourselves.  Whether we see something in others and then discover it in ourselves, or see something in ourselves and learn about it while observing other people... we're learning, we're becoming more knowledgeable about the human experience, about desires, passions... spiritual promptings.  Emotions, and all their attendant storms or calms.... these are ours to master, not to ignore.  So, your emotions are pretty independent, and you feel like you are trying to herd cats... big, saber-toothed ones... yeah.  We feel for you. :)  We understand.  we're trying to learn it all too.  So, today, let's notice those emotions, give them some obedience training... leashes... muzzles even, if that's how you have to start (though that might make them angrier, be careful...).  Let's help each other figure out our hearts. :)

Tuesday, January 9, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 59:23

"But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come."
Doctrine and Covenants 59:23


Sometimes I find myself thinking of the gospel as all about the future... putting off the immediacy of the world for the eternal happiness of the future.  But that isn't it.  God never wanted us to be miserable in the short-term in order to enjoy the blessings of the long-term.  I used the scripture that says "he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still" in January of last year... maybe some of you missed it. :)  It's in Mormon 9:14 if you want to look it up.  But basically... God wants us to be happy here, and obviously, from this scripture... he offers us peace here as well.  We don't have to wait until heaven for happiness *or* peace... they are available to us now, today.  And today is when we should start taking advantage of them.  It is so tempting to wallow sometimes, I know... but choosing God (which includes happiness and peace) is a lot more fun. :)  That's the thing that so often we don't see... God is all about us.  He speaks to us in our own language, and his scriptures are here for our earth life.  If the whole point was to get us to desire heaven because it's so cool... he'd allow us to remember it.  the whole thing is to help us to discover happiness here.  lasting happiness, that we can take with us when we depart this life.  "Man is that he might have joy." ... Do we believe that?  if we focus entirely on some future bliss we're doing it just as wrong as we would be if we focused only on a moment that we know will bring unhappiness later.  God wants us to have peace in this world.  No confusion, no terrible inner turmoil... no emptiness and blackness... peace.  (Just in case you didn't know what it meant.) :)  And we *can* have it... no matter what kind of whirlpool we are making out of our insides currently... God offers us hope, peace... love.  Here is a quote from President Benson that I think applies pretty exactly to what we are talking about:
Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace.
That is how we find peace, comfort, strength, intelligence, joy... and even friends. :)  God wants us to be happy today... let's give it a shot. :)

Monday, January 8, 2001

Jeremiah 16:14-15

"Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers."
Jeremiah 16:14-15


This is kind of cool.  It bugs me when people say "God is dead" and talk about Christ saying he was a great teacher, but "of course" he was not divine.  Miracles happen every day, whether or not we look around us enough to see them.  And I like this scripture because it shows that someday that will be apparent to many people.  Now, whether that will happen because it will happen in an amazingly dramatic way, or because people in general will be more sensitized to God, I don't know... but it's cool that it will happen.  And, as with all future events, cool that we can participate in it, and be a part of it.  We can remember this, and be some of the first to start spreading the saying around. :)  Seriously though, it is cool to be part of something bigger than yourself... cool that God is wiser than we are and can show us how to be part of something we can't even see.  Like building Zion.  I look around me, and there are little bits and pieces of Zion around, but I can't imagine how to put them all together into a whole... how to help people change their hearts... even how to change my own.  But God knows... God has the picture of the puzzle in his head, and he will tell us precisely where each piece goes... and he will change our hearts for us, if we go to him to ask. :)  Life is so freaking miraculous, isn't it?

Sunday, January 7, 2001

Romans 15:13-14

"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able to admonish one another."
Romans 15:13-14


I like this; it is a very comforting selection... I like that God is the God of hope, and that believing should be about joy and peace.  the Holy Ghost offers us so many things, and one of them is an abundance of hope... that no matter how bleak things seem, no matter how trapped we feel... God offers us the hope of a better world, a better self... offers us lessons and assistance in order for us to get there... to things that are better than we could ever have dreamed, to a life without emptiness or darkness.
And I myself am persuaded of you... my friends... that you are also full of goodness, filled with knowledge, and able to lift each other up.  So, let's tap into that knowledge that we have, express that goodness in all that we do... and help each other succeed.  If we can heal instead of hurt in this world, then we are on the right track.

Saturday, January 6, 2001

Joseph Smith—History 1:13

"At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God.  I at length came to the determination to 'ask of God,' concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture."
Joseph Smith—History 1:13


This is interesting to me, not only as a history of the prophet's thoughts... but in the application to each of us.  Which of us are not in darkness and confusion about something important to us?  Which of us does not need some wisdom from God?  And, ultimately, we have the same choice.  We can either remain in darkness and confusion, or we can ask God.  We stop ourselves from doing this for a number of reasons... I think the primary one is that we don't really want the wisdom... like when you don't bother to ask your parents, because you know what the answer will be. :)  Sometimes we really don't know, but we are scared, because we only want the answer to be one thing... and so instead of praying "please help me to know what is right and good in this case" we pray "please let me have this, please let me have this" in our hearts.  That kind of prayer evokes a very different response than a prayer for wisdom. :)  One thing that Joseph Smith had that we rarely have when we go before God is an open mind.  He was willing to listen to God and accept any answer that God gave him.  He wasn't going before him thinking that he knew the answer already... and sincerely, in the eternal scheme of things we *don't* know the answers.  We completely underestimate our power to change, to become better.  We give up too quickly.  Remember the story of Nephi and the plates of Laban?  What if Nephi and his brothers had tried once, and then given up?  Or twice?  Earthly reasoning was all for it... Laban was powerful, he had tried to kill them, he had a b'zillion soldiers out hunting them... I mean, come on.  Cut the losses and return to the wilderness, right?  Wrong.  When everything seemed like it was going wrong, Nephi retained his faith that God would help him, and walked, vulnerable, into the city.  Even this story of Joseph Smith that we are reading part of in this scripture... what if he had gone into the grove, and as soon as he started to feel all this negativity and darkness... he had stopped, and considered that his answer?  The truth is, we all have to keep trying, even when we feel like we have exhausted all of our emotional and physical resources... because only then will we see God's hand... and only then will we find the reserves of strength and courage that God has granted to us all.  God never allows us to be tempted more than we can bear, and he *always* provides a way for us to accomplish what he asks of us.  He's asked us to go to church... so he provides a way for us to do that.  He has asked us to be obedient in many other ways... and he provides us a way to do all of those things too.  And he asks us to do certain things in our personal lives, and he provides us a way to do them.  We can never say that anything is impossible that God has asked of us, because it isn't... it can't be.  God offers us the strength, and the victory.  It might take a while... we might fail again and again.  But we can bear it, we've been promised that.  We are stronger than we realize.  But, we will ALWAYS always always prevail in the end.  We just have to keep trying.  It's our story, I've said this before... We can't just stop in chapter three.  Maybe the hero is in chains in the dungeon, scheduled for hanging in the morning... so, do we stop there, and figure it was a pretty dumb story?  No... we can't.  We know that the hero will prevail... that's the way of stories.  And that is also the way of our lives.  If we keep turning the pages, even in the hero's blackest and most horrific hours... there will be an escape, a tremendous escape... and the hero will go on to do more heroic and amazing deeds... and will triumph over all, and live happily ever after... don't dismiss your story as a fable or a tragedy.  It isn't.  God doesn't write stories like that.  If we keep reading... every time, the hero prevails.  Don't get caught in the trap of thinking that you are in someone else's story, writing yourself in as the villain or the guard, or an extra with only two lines.  You are the hero... and you will triumph, if you just keep living the story God has written.  If we just keep trying, God will answer every question, solve every problem, heal every wound.  There are hardships and setbacks in every story as well... makes it more interesting. :)  Helps us learn more about the characters... but the hero always overcomes them, and prevails.  Trust God, the author of all of it.  And pray for wisdom about whatever your heart needs to know.  He will grant you the answer... he always does.  Just keep at it.

Friday, January 5, 2001

2 Corinthians 5:12

"For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart."
2 Corinthians 5:12


This is fascinating, seriously... isn't it amazing how things that we run into every day of our lives are addressed in the scriptures?  I mean, that *is* what they are here for, but it still surprises me for some reason... :)  So, this... glorying in appearance and not in heart.  What a topic, and what a problem.  I remember reading a study when I was a Psych major about teacher's expectations and student performance... The teachers, overall, expected the nicer-looking students to do better in class... and students are affected greatly by teacher expectations.  It's a scary scary thing.  One scripture that talks about Christ says "there was no beauty that we should desire him."  But we all know that Christ is the most beautiful character in literature and in the universe... so where was beauty lacking?  In physical appearance?  and if so... so what?  Why are we so obsessed with that... not only judging others by appearance, but ourselves.  We have a "bad hair day" or a bad face day... and we freak out about how others will see us.  I took a management class last year, and one of the first things that we talked about was dressing for success... how we might not like it, but people do judge us by our appearance.  So, my question is... if we don't like it, then why do we perpetuate it?  People are beautiful on the inside, in the heart, in the soul... and if not there, then no amount of stunning physical beauty can make up for it.  We worry so much about things that don't matter... things that are so temporary.  We even allow ourselves to be biased against older people because we see them as ugly or frail, and we can't bear to think that we will lose our beauty and strength.  Today... let's glory in heart, and not in appearance.  Let's never assume we know someone's heart because of their outward appearance.  As we try it today, maybe we'll find a new friend, or learn something new. :)

Thursday, January 4, 2001

Alma 5:39-40

"And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye?  Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this?  Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.
For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil."
Alma 5:39-40


This is interesting.  I think that we... or at least I... try to walk without a guide pretty often.  We think that we can do it ourselves, without God... and without Satan.  Just us.  But we are little children, and we can't be independent from external forces until we grow up... when we reject our father, we are, in effect, embracing the kidnapper of our souls.  There is no way to leave home and be safe at our ages.  We open ourselves up to every child predator out there, choosing evil rather than good.  You know, if we could just retain enough humility throughout the day to remember that we are vulnerable children, instead of pretending to be all grown up... I think we would avoid a lot of pain. :)  So, today... let's stick with God.  Remember to hold Dad's hand while we are crossing the street, and don't talk to any kidnappers. :)

Wednesday, January 3, 2001

Alma 4:8

"For they saw and beheld with great sorrow that the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another, and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will and pleasure."
Alma 4:8


This is instructive.  I think that often we think that if we are in the church that we are doing pretty good... at least a lot better than those who are not.  However, at this point in the Book of Mormon the people of the church are getting more wicked than the people outside the church.  How does that happen, and how can we prevent it from happening to us... or reverse the trend if it already has? :)  The main thing that it talks about here is pride... and although it isn't easy to look at ourselves and see pride, perhaps it is easier to look at the other indicators that are here in this scripture... they began to be scornful towards each other.  They began to persecute those who didn't believe exactly what they did.  Do we do this?  Do we look down on other people?  Do we expect them to live up to our standards?  Do we even live up to our own standards?
So often in this life it is easier to look outward rather than inward.  We're scared of self-condemnation, and so we try to focus on other people and how we are better than they are... which must make us okay, right?  But, not really.  Even though it is easier to focus on other people's faults, our own are our biggest problem, and really, the only ones that fall within our jurisdiction.  The church isn't a social club that we can go to and feel smug in our superiority... it is a rehab program for sinners.  The sooner we realize that, the sooner we'll get to work on our own rehabilitation, and maybe even be able to help instead of hurt others.

Tuesday, January 2, 2001

Zechariah 7:9-10

"Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart."
Zechariah 7:9-10


This is some great advice from God. :)  When he talks about true judgment, I think about the mote-beam parable... so many of us blindly try to fix other people, when we are the ones that need the most fixing.  And when we are blind and trying to do that kind of surgery, more often than not, we're going to inflict greater damage.  So, God counsels us instead to learn to love them.  True judgment... looking at yourself first, and showing others the mercy and compassion that we all need from others, and from God.  If we truly did to others as we would have them do unto us, we would never berate or condemn them, but try to lift them up, offering them every chance and opportunity that God has afforded us.  And we wouldn't try to take advantage of each other... no matter what.  We would love people who were unlike ourselves, as hard as that sometimes is.  I like how God throws stranger in there with widow, fatherless, and poor.  We know that widows and orphans and "the poor" need help... and sometimes we even make attempts to provide it, but what about the stranger... and what about single-parent households for that matter?  It doesn't say orphans... it says "fatherless." :)  There are so many people in need of our help... strangers among them. :)  Usually the only time that I hear the word stranger around is when children are being counseled not to talk to "strangers."  We automatically assume that people that we don't know are dangerous... we have an enormous bias against strangers.  Not that I am counseling you not to say that to your children, but just as an example.  People that we don't know, understand, or accept are all lumped into the stranger category... and we can't really get out of it by giving them other labels... they are still strangers, and we are still commanded to avoid oppressing them. :)  And never to imagine evil against anyone... God hates to see his children fighting. :)

Monday, January 1, 2001

John 16:22

"And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you."
John 16:22


This reminds me of E.E. Cummings... "I thank You God for most this amazing day..." I think sometimes we get homesick for our Father in Heaven... for the comfort and peace that we don't always have on this earth.  Facing a new year, a new day even is sometimes scary... sometimes hard.  But we will see him again.  We will have everything we miss, even when we don't know exactly what it is sometimes.  And each new day, week, month, year, decade, century, and millennium... only brings it closer to happening.  The restoration of us to our pre-earth memories... The reuniting of us with our Father and God... The beginning of our Eternities.  Happiness, Peace... Love beyond imagining.  Those are the things that we are working for... living for.  And our joy no man taketh from us. :)  On this first of many days, in one of the greatest, most exciting chapters of our individual stories... let's have hope.  Let's have faith enough to keep turning the pages.  It's a great story, I promise you.  Excitement, adventure... tragedy yes, but a greater victory.  Everything that a story should be, and better... because we are living it, and making it real.  Hang in for the happy ending.  And, Happy New Year... emphasis on the happy. :)

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