Saturday, March 31, 2001

Isaiah 59:8

"The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace."
Isaiah 59:8


Today in conference, Boyd K. Packer quoted a scripture about peace... "my peace I give unto you..." and was talking about how to find peace in our lives.  And when he said that, it struck me that Christ really is the only one who has that perfect peace to call upon.  Just as it explains in the verse above (talking about Israel being separated from God because of their/our sins), because of sin, we can't find the path of peace for ourselves.  To have any in our lives, we HAVE to have Christ... who knows the peace of sinlessness.  Who has a conscience clear of offense... who is the only one who can teach us what that feels like, and who died so that we can have HIS peace in our lives.  That's the thing... we are so worried about how our sins compare to the next person's, and what we don't realize is that after that first one, we're out... we have no chance of finding that peace and absolute calm that comes from being completely clean, unless we rely on the Lord.  Then we get to another thing that we heard about this morning... humility. :)  I remember when my little brother was littler than he is... one time we set him up on the kitchen counter and had him jump into our arms.  it was cute.  then, we were done and we started to walk away... and then he climbed up and jumped again.  pure faith that someone would catch him... even though we weren't ready.  ... think about how it would be if we could rely on the Lord to catch us that way.  If we could trust him that completely.  throw ourselves on his mercy, trust in his goodness.  Unlike me with my brother, the Lord is always ready to catch us when we jump.  When we take that leap of faith and rely completely on him, he will always catch us.  We have to let go of some of our cynicism and mistrust, especially when it comes to God.  It will help us to learn some humility... and also to learn some of that vulnerability that is essential to love.  I managed to catch my brother that morning, but since then he has learned not to jump without making sure there is someone to catch him... which is good in strictly physical human terms, but I wonder how much of that mistrust we all have to unlearn in order to have faith.  The scriptures talk about peace that "passeth understanding" ... probably because we can't understand it without giving up some of our earthly lessons... and leaping anyway.  God is *always* there to catch us.

Friday, March 30, 2001

Psalms 43:5

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."
Psalms 43:5


Seems like it is really easy to get discouraged in this life.  Sometimes we can only see paths that we don't want to travel.  However... whether we can see them or not, there are paths that will lead us to joy and deep happiness, and those are the ones that God leads us to.  Sometimes there are obstacles to our progress, but God helps us to deal with those things, one at a time, and we continue to progress.  We are that we might have joy, after all... so we might as well go for it. :)  Sincerely, God wants us to be happy... and no matter what is currently transpiring in our lives, there is certainly a way to make it happier. :)  Let’s look for the hope today... it is always, always there.

Thursday, March 29, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 42:38

"For inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me."
Doctrine and Covenants 42:38


So, thinking about this today, and you know... it scares me.  I think about how I talk to some of my co-workers, or the way that I have treated some of my friends, and I imagine myself doing those things to Christ.  Infinitely scary.  So, today... I'm going to try to be more aware of how I treat other people, and how that has an effect on my relationship with God.  And, you know... just a thought, but don't you think that we can include ourselves in the bargain as well?  The things that we do to ourselves affect our relationship with God as well.  Let's not treat ourselves badly either, because that also reflects upon the way that we treat God and his gifts.

Wednesday, March 28, 2001

1 John 4:7-8

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
1 John 4:7-8


Thinking about this today... God is love, and encourages love always.  Not that we shouldn't have boundaries, or stay away from abuse... but love is always the right choice.  At work there are a lot of unfortunate "political" things going on, and I am always horrified at myself when I find that I am starting to intensely dislike some people.  Sometimes it is a lot of work to love, and in abusive situations sometimes we need to learn to love and forgive from a distance.  but whenever you start feeling resentment, hatred, or coldness towards someone... know that it isn't God that is inspiring those feelings.  God is love, and he wants us to learn and grow and eventually be able to love anyone and everyone.  It is another step towards becoming a Zion community... a society where we help and heal rather than hurt.  Where we work together rather than take sides.  Today, let's try to not get involved in the political struggles, and look for the good... I promise, it is there. :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Luke 7:47

"Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little."
Luke 7:47


This is a fascinating story... if any of you haven't read it, you should.  It is from verse 36 to verse 50.  This woman, a sinner (as are we all), came in and bathed Jesus' feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair... and in the verse above, he tells the people that he is eating with that this woman will love him more than they will because he has forgiven her more. :)  I think of the anti-nephi-lehis in the Book of Mormon... who had murdered many people, and were then converted unto the Lord.  And it tells us that they were firm in the faith from then on.  Their children were the ones that became the stripling warriors who were so firm, obedient, and faithful that they lived while thousands of others in the army died.  So, I am wondering why that is.  God leaves the 99 to rescue the one... not because he loves them more, but because they need him more.  Perhaps this woman, and all we sinners, can see what Christ offers us a little more clearly because we know the suffering and pain that comes from sin.  We recognize our need for him more fully, and we are more desperate, and therefore more persistent, in calling upon him for mercy.  Perhaps that is where humility comes in... some of us are humble because we have to be... we're so far gone spiritually that all we can do is beg for God's mercy.  But when we don't feel as far gone as that, pride starts to kick in, and we don't beg and plead and yearn for God's presence in our lives because we don't feel the need as keenly.  The truth is though... we are all in need of God's love and mercy, just as much as this woman was.  We all need God so badly that we should be crying and pleading before him too.  We are ALL in need of a Saviour.  Do we see that?  Do we know that?  We can't take Christ for granted... haven't you had a time in your life where there was nothing that you could do for yourself, and you desperately needed someone to come in and rescue you?  I have.  Stranded in a small town in Colorado, car broken down... no way to get anywhere.  So, who can you call in that kind of situation who you know will bail you out?  Spiritually, we are right there.... stranded at some remote gas station in the middle of nowhere with no transportation.  And Christ is the one that we need to call.  He will come and help us to get to where we are going.  Perhaps when we realize how desperately we need him, we will learn to love him better.

Monday, March 26, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 84:84

"Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself."
Doctrine and Covenants 84:84


This is cool, and what it says to me is .... focus on where you are, and who you are interacting with in the moment... be present, physically and mentally.  Participate actively and focus on where you are and what you need to do right now.  Don’t worry about tomorrow.  Of course, I am in no way saying that we should lose our eternal perspective, forget that there IS a tomorrow, and an eternity... only that we have a chance to do good *today,* and we shouldn't lose that chance by fretting over what might happen tomorrow.  Let’s keep our focus on the people and things that we are blessed with today.  In addition... if we trust God a little, and know that he is working to make our future as bright as possible... maybe we could relax a little and enjoy today. :)

Sunday, March 25, 2001

Psalms 3:6-7

"I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly."
Psalms 3:6-7


So, we have yet another reason to be good... the Lord won't break our teeth. :)  (Funny, I have these dreams where my teeth crumble... I wonder if that means I am ungodly...) :)  All joking aside though, I think it is amazingly cool that, with the Lord, even if our very worst fears were realized and they really *are* all out to get us... we're still okay. :)  Because the united force of ten thousand people doesn't do any good if they are united against God's will... they won't have his help.  And if you have God working against you, then... watch out.  :)  And, hey... if ten thousand people out to get us can't bring us down, then what can?  Nothing.  nothing at all.  If we choose the Lord he will never let us down.  That is amazing to me.  No matter who it is in life... as humans, we are bound to disappoint each other, not come through when we should.  God doesn't have our human frailties, and he never breaks a promise.  ...just teeth. :)

Saturday, March 24, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 112:2-3

"Verily I say unto you, there have been some few things in thine heart and with thee with which I, the Lord, was not well pleased.
Nevertheless, inasmuch as thou hast abased thyself thou shalt be exalted; therefore, all thy sins are forgiven thee."
Doctrine and Covenants 112:2-3


I think this is interesting, talking about abasing yourself before God.  Abase means lower, humble... but it can also mean degrade, has kind of a negative connotation.  Seems to me a little like losing yourself to find yourself... if you lower yourself, you will be exalted.  In this case talking about things that are in our hearts that God isn't really pleased with.  If we can lower ourselves enough from our prideful heights to admit that God probably knows best... let him change our hearts, stop holding on to things that are bad for us... admit that we do need some higher guidance in our lives.  And, occasionally, that lowering does have some negative effects in our lives.  Seemingly impassable gulfs between ourselves and other people who may see things differently... and we may even lose some things in our lives that used to be part of who we thought we were... we lose some of that sense of self that we have gained over time.  But if so... know for certain that God will help you to find a better self.  That everything that you have lost, no matter how seemingly essential to your peace and well-being, those gaps that you find in your self... will be filled with stronger, brighter, better things.  Either the things that you have lost will be restored in better shape, or you will find new parts of yourself that will help you to see further and be stronger.  God never takes anything out of our lives without giving us a chance to gain something so much better that we can't even imagine it.  And, yes... it is hard.  Harder than we think we can handle sometimes.  But we, too, are stronger and better than we think we are, and God is close, watching out for us, and helping us to greater heights.  God has forgiven our sins... let us keep ourselves clean. :)

Friday, March 23, 2001

Proverbs 16:32

"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."
Proverbs 16:32


I thought that this was kind of a weird comparison, until of course I thought more about it. :)  It's a strength comparison.  When you can control your emotions, you are stronger than anyone who only has physical strength... and when you can rule yourself completely then you are much more powerful than any army.  This, of course, isn't to say that we should stifle emotion or reject our feelings.  Only that we should be in control of our outpourings of emotion.  we should be able to cry when we are sad, laugh when we are happy, and feel emotions appropriately in all cases... but we should be in control of them, and not they in control of us.  God knows that it is hard... and here he shows us that it is harder in many ways than acquiring physical strength, or even leading an army... but important, and worth it.

Thursday, March 22, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 1:35

"For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is  nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion."
Doctrine and Covenants 1:35


Ezra Taft Benson said, referring to this verse, that "we live in that day," and I am thinking about that this morning.  It does seem like there are always wars going on, and the devil sure does have a lot of power.  I guess, at least to me, it just makes it that much more imperative that we turn to the Lord... He is the only one that can help us find a refuge, hope, and peace in this day.  Not that everything is bad. :)  We just have to remember to look for the good and not for the bad.  Even though the good might take a little more looking, it is well worth it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2001

3 Nephi 13:7-8

"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Be not ye therefore like unto them, for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him."
3 Nephi 13:7-8


This scripture struck me today... yesterday I went to a funeral where they read prayers out of a book.  I’m sure it is just because I am not used to it, but it seemed weird to me.  I don't think that they were vain repetitions, because many of the people really meant what the prayers said... and when you pray from your heart, God listens to you.  It just seems like praying from your heart would be harder if you are reading it out of a book... or if you keep repeating the same thing over and over again.  God knows what we need, and what the deepest desires of our heart are... he just wants us to talk to him, to find out what those things are too... for us to include him in our lives.  I think sincerity, rather than wordiness, is the key to getting God's attention. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2001

3 Nephi 7:18

"And it came to pass that they were angry with him even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily."
3 Nephi 7:18


This was interesting to me this morning... I remember on my mission that if someone actually believed what we were teaching that I thought most of the hard work was done... and it was tragic the few times I encountered people who absolutely believed, but wouldn't do anything about it.  Of course, the things that we see as a tragedy in others often prove to be the biggest beams in our own eyes... and so, this scripture.  All of these people believed.  They believed, and yet the truth just made them angry.  I wonder how often we do that in our lives, and don't realize it... or do it *and* realize it.  How can we look at the truth, know it to be the truth, and then reject it anyway?  And yet... so often, we do.  Today, let's try to take a serious look at what we believe, and then see what we can do, even if it is small, about being happy about it. :)

Monday, March 19, 2001

Alma 34:41

"But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions."
Alma 34:41


This is a cool scripture, I like the whole rest from your afflictions part. :)  But, you know... the patience part, and the bearing afflictions part aren't quite as easy. :) Good though, definitely.  I need to have more patience in my life, and more hope that being patient solves things... either way, it is a lot better than getting irritated. :)  Isn't God amazing though, seriously?  He can see so much more than we can.  I wonder if he is just up there shaking his head sometimes at the huge mountains that we make out of the smallest setbacks in life.  Designed to make us strong and wise, our afflictions are good things for us... but we fight against them so hard that we make them these horrible, devastating incidents.  A little patience in our lives would make things SO much better. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2001

Mark 7:15-16

"There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
If any man have ears to hear, let him hear."
Mark 7:15-16


This is interesting... talking about external and internal influences, and that nothing from outside can defile us (make us unclean) ... only the things that come out of us.  What comes to mind when I think about this is the whole action/reaction thing.  Other people can't make us into anything that we don't want to be.  They can try... we can get a large amount of bad input... or good input... externally, but the only thing that determines our selves... our cleanliness or uncleanliness... is how we react to that input.  Do we take in evil and then deliver evil out, like a computer would do?  Garbage in, garbage out... or can we see all the evil input and deliver good?  God gives us the freedom and power to be more than computers... to refuse to be shaped by evil influences... to transcend "society" and all the garbage around us.  We have the opportunity and power to inject some good into this world.  By the same token, we have the power to reject good influences and choose otherwise.  What we eventually become is who we choose to become.  If life gives us lemons, we can give life some pomegranates. :)  Don't limit your choices. :)  We're not a sum total of experiences... we're more than that, God has given us the power to be better than anything that we have *ever* experienced in our earth lives.  So, be who you have the potential to be... no matter what comes in. :)

Saturday, March 17, 2001

2 Nephi 10:25

"Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine."
2 Nephi 10:25


This is a good thing to know... that we are all going to live forever.  That God saves us from death, physically and spiritually.  That there are no endings, only new beginnings.  You know, if we lived our lives being scared of spiritual death as much as we are of physical death... how would our focus change?  What would we do differently?  If we were as concerned about our spiritual well-being as we are about our physical well-being... if we were as scared of unrighteousness as much as we are of cancer... and dedicated all of our personal resources to fighting it, to discovering a cure within ourselves... we could do miracles.  Not that physical death isn't sad... for us, here on earth.  Living without a loved one is sad... I'm not trying to diminish that.  For God, though... I think he rejoices to see one of his children come back to him.  I think that he wraps them in his arms and welcomes them back to his presence.  I think his real sadness comes when one of his children rejects his embrace... when we choose eternity without his presence.  How much would change if we had a similar perspective?

Friday, March 16, 2001

Luke 11:34-35

"The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness."
Luke 11:34-35

Isn't this remarkably true? Our perspective dictates our whole being... filling us with light or darkness, depending upon where our focus is.  If we are looking for darkness, we find it, both outwardly and inwardly.  If we look for light, we can find that as well.  Like a work of literature.  In college some of my English major friends and I would sit around and apply different literary theories to fairy tales... and when you look, you can find almost any perspective there, whether or not the author intended it.  And, whether or not the author intended it, when we look within ourselves we can find evidence of almost any social or philosophical theory there is.  Fortunately we have God as our guide, and since he is the author, he can help us to see what the text can mean if we look at it in its best light. :) Today... let's look for the light.  See the good in ourselves and others... focus on God, and the beauty and light that he offers each of us in our lives.  It is easy to focus on the darkness, and get swallowed up in the inequities and cruelties of life... but there is always another perspective. Too often we get caught up in one that can't lift us up to be better people. Let's choose to focus on the light.

Thursday, March 15, 2001

Philemon 1:14

"But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly."
Philemon 1:14


Paul's words here are interesting to me, and remind me of other things that God mentions in the scriptures... "the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind" is one of them... and so I think that Paul's words apply to us spiritually as well... God isn't going to just come down and change our hearts or heal us, without our willingness.  God is all about Free Agency, and offering us the opportunity to choose our futures, and our now.  I am reminded of Junior High school... I was on the basketball team, and one of my friends was a wizard on the court, but complained a lot.  So, one practice our coach pulled her off the floor and made her sit out the whole practice, and when asked, said that it was her "attitude."  After practice, I was talking to her about it, and she said to me: "I didn't realize that we were being judged on attitude; I thought it was all about basketball... but now that I know, I can do that."  so... after that, she was all about having a positive attitude, and always played in the games. :)  Now, I'm not saying that life is exactly like a junior high basketball team... but God isn't going to come in and fight us every step of the way.  You can't help anyone unless they want some help... you can try and try, and your good intentions will keep getting thrown back in your face.  And God does continue to try and try... to get our attention, to get us to see when we are about to go off the cliff... but he can't do the essential surgery on our souls unless we want it... and are willing to be vulnerable enough to accept the general anesthetic and the doctor's opinion.  We can be cured of *anything* ... but only if we are willing to accept our doctor's opinion, and not keep ignoring the illness.

Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Ezekiel 44:23

"And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean."
Ezekiel 44:23


You would think that we could tell the difference between holy and profane... clean and unclean.  And, in some cases we can... usually, if it has some horrible moldy growth, we think it is unclean.  Unfortunately, sometimes we overlook the mold... we tell ourselves that we have learned to enjoy mold... or we think... who decided that mold was bad?  Maybe it is good... and then, even when we accept the large growth as bad, we let it slide if it only has a little mold... or we just refuse to look at it before we put it into our mouths.  These things that we would never do when we are eating, we do constantly in a spiritual sense.  So, the message today is... stop eating moldy stuff.  Ugh. :)  Take care of your soul as well as you do your stomach... and hopefully better. :)  And if we really can't tell... let's ask God.  He can teach us the difference. :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 19:23

"Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me."
Doctrine and Covenants 19:23


God is amazingly cool.  Not that it is always easy to do what he says... which is basically to get over ourselves... :)  But, he keeps asking, and salvation is always there, held out and offered to us.  He promises us that if we can just do some basic things... learn about him, listen to him, walk with him... we'll have peace.  And, isn't that something that we all could use?  I know I could use a little. :)  It's so sad to me that we seem to only get serious about having God in our lives when we lose that inner core of peace.  And we are desperate, we need it back, and so we (finally) turn to God.  It would be so much easier for us if we held on to him all the time. :)  But, live and learn I suppose... :)  Let's start the learning today, and consider where we are in our relationship with God.  ... he offers us peace.  Let's take him up on the offer. :)

Monday, March 12, 2001

1 Corinthians 1:25

"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."
1 Corinthians 1:25


The simple fact that God knows what he is doing sometimes offers a lot of comfort.  Even when we compare our strengths to his weaknesses, he comes out ahead. :)  And that is a comforting thing to me... maybe because it is the one solidity that I find.  When everything else fades, or proves to be ethereal... God remains.  And you know, today, I also find that his expectations seem easier than I have ever felt them to be before.  It seems that God is so much more reasonable than people are. :)  ... and way more forgiving, as well.  So, sincerely... Glory be to God.  He makes so much more sense than the rest of the world does.  Way more sense than I do, for sure. :)

Sunday, March 11, 2001

Psalms 9:18-20

"For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.
Arise, O Lord; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight.
Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah."
Psalms 9:18-20


Selah indeed. :)  This is very interesting.  A lot of things running through my head today... I gave a talk in church, I was very nervous.  This was one of the scriptures that I used.  I talked about becoming a Zion community.  I think I used too many scriptures, and didn't draw the audience in with enough personal experiences.  Ah well, perhaps next time... :)  And then a couple of people came over tonight, and I wonder sometimes if I even know how to talk to people. ... I mean, the conversations were good, and this last one was even hilarious in several spots... but then I was left with... and this isn't just tonight, but in general lately... this sense of so much remaining unsaid.  Now, is that just normal, everyday, self-protection; or pure doublethink?  (Santa tries to hide it by calling it "checking it twice," but WE know the truth...) :)  And here is yet another reason that it is so good to know that we are "but men" (women too). :)  We (I hope I am not the only one) over think things all the time... we twist and dramatize things sometimes until we don't know what is real and what isn't, and whether that was an answer to prayer or the invention of our minds.  This is probably one of the reasons God says "Be still, and know that I am God."  Just knowing doesn't do the job... we have to calm down a little too. :)  Anyway, on to the main message of the scripture... because we are "but men" ... if we can recognize that, then it is a lot easier to see that God is in charge, and the inequities and seemingly unavoidable evils of life will someday be gone.  There will be no more classes, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer... because even when we forget them, God does not.  He will remember all people, and help them and comfort them... if not through us, now, then despite us in the future.  We are but men.  If we could just take a second to remember that sometimes... to try to see things from God's perspective, and stop the useless rebellion... getting angry about things just because we aren't in control.  If we *had* been in control of our lives, even only up to this point in them... would we ever have made it to where we are?  If we look seriously at them, I think that we will see that the Lord has done a pretty amazing job so far.  He will remember all of the poor and needy... including us.  Even if we aren't financial beggars today, we are probably spiritual ones now and then.  God doesn't forget anyone.  We are but men.  Let's look unto God for our deliverance.

Saturday, March 10, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 100:5-6

"Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say."
Doctrine and Covenants 100:5-6


This is cool.  I mean, how many times do we search for the right words?  we know that there is something appropriate to say, but the words don't come... or at least not in the right order. :)  But if we are hanging out with God and doing stuff for him, then that won't happen. :)  It's kind of like everything else with God... we have to trust.  We have to have faith.  We have to have so much faith that we get up and open our mouths, even though we don't know exactly what we are going to say.  Just like writer's block, sometimes we get speechblock (talkblock?), but God can overcome even the worst blockages in our lives, and let us know what the right thing is to say, even if it seems like there is no right answer.  People tried to trap Christ many times into giving a wrong answer.  They would ask him questions, trying to trap him into saying something inappropriate so that they could accuse him.  And he always knew exactly what to say.  For instance... when they asked him if it was lawful to pay taxes... instead of saying yes or no, which would have gotten him into trouble with one group or another... he said, "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's..."  When they asked him whether they should kill the woman taken in adultery... instead of saying yes or no, he told them that anyone who was without sin was free to cast the first stone...
So, you know... God already gives us a zillion cool things... but, icing on the cake (yum!), he also helps us to know what to say, even in the most awkward situations. :)  Having God around is the best thing that anyone could ever have. :)

Friday, March 9, 2001

Psalms 4:4

"Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.  Selah.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord."
Psalms 4:4


I like this because it captures the amazingness of God, and says, in essence, the same thing that God said to the waters: "peace, be still."  That is something that it is so hard for us to do... or at least something that it is hard for me to do.  To see the turmoil and craziness all around me and not be drawn in... not start obsessing about which things could go wrong and why... to not try and control it myself.  :) (And what a crazy screwed-up world it would be if I were in charge...)
The thing is, if we "offer the sacrifices of righteousness" ... or in other words, do the necessary work on our own souls... to open them to God... then, he can step in and handle all the rest of it for us.  He can change our hearts, he can soothe our minds, he can heal our broken pieces. :)  So, what these two verses are saying to me is... calm down.  Things are going to be okay.  If you do the work to get God into your life, then you can trust him absolutely to take care of you, your life, your future, your relationships... probably even your hair style. :)  And, even though I am just trying to be funny... God cares about the smallest details that concern you in your life, and he is watching over you so carefully.  Accept his help in your life.  Trust him, and do the work to be able to have him with you every day... and nothing else can ever fly out of control.  Out of your control, perhaps... but never out of his, because you have invited him in.

Thursday, March 8, 2001

1 John 3:20

"For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things."
1 John 3:20


Yesterday I was talking to a guy at work, and he said to me, "I think that the greatest leaders are the ones who have learned to lead themselves."  That's absolutely true, and in thinking about that, and about my life, I know that I need some work in that area.  And this morning I read this scripture, which I absolutely love... because we condemn ourselves for valid reasons sometimes.  We act abominably towards others, we hurt ourselves and others... we hate, we scorn, we torment.  Our own hearts condemn us.  But here, in this scripture, God tells us... but I am greater than your heart, and I know more than you do... I know not only that you have problems, but I know that potential that you have within that you can't see.  I see the problems, how to solve them, and the incredible person that I can help you become... so, even if your own heart condemns you, I do not.  Get up, dust yourself off, and try again.  Never believe that you have used up all of your chances, that you are lost and cannot be redeemed.  I am stronger than your heart, I am more forgiving of you than you are of yourself.  And I will help you change your heart, help it to grow into a heart that can love all people, including yourself.  Today, use your heart for good things... loving people, showing compassion... and try to not be too hard on yourselves.  As long as you are striving to improve, there is no room for self-condemnation.

Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Moroni 10:32

 "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."
Moroni 10:32


This is an interesting thought (of course, I am sure that all of God's thoughts are interesting...) ... the whole concept of denying yourself ungodliness.  Like C. S. Lewis and not keeping any souvenirs of hell. :)  When we think of denying ourselves we often think of sacrifice... of giving up something we really, really want.  And so it is with sin, and with any type of ungodliness.  It is so hard for us to let go of that last vestige of "I want to be cool, I want to be rebellious" or that "exclusive club" attitude where we get to pick and choose who we like and who we will be nice to. :) (Wouldn’t it be interesting if we started some "Inclusive" clubs?) And these are just social attitudes... how much harder to let go of some of our most serious addictions... or things that seem, perhaps, trivial, but which we know that we have to give up at some point.  I like also here that we can be perfect... in Christ.  That when we drop the last of the souvenirs (in the local trash receptacle of course... no littering)... and we actually commit to God with our whole souls... nothing held back... that he can take that effort and make it pure and perfect.  So, today... when someone offers us some ungodliness, let’s just say “no... I'm trying to quit.” :)  Throw away all of those little packets of ungodliness we have stored all around the house. :)  Let’s give it a shot.  After all, perfection is probably pretty fun. :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2001

Genesis 22:13

"And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son."
Genesis 22:13


You know, today I am thinking about last minute saves. :)  I could have used many scriptures here... the woman taken in adultery, about to be killed... Christ saves her.  Even in the previous chapter here is the story of Hagar with her son Ishmael... she puts her son under a bush and walks away, so she doesn't have to see him die, because they are out of water in the middle of the desert.  And then God opens her eyes, and she sees a well.  The Nephites, about to be exterminated by the Gadianton Robbers... The Israelites, about to perish from the Famine... Alma's people at the Waters of Mormon, about to be wiped out by the soldiers of the king... it is a pretty consistent theme.  Makes for good stories too.  I like stories when you know, absolutely KNOW, that the hero will be saved in the end.  You see the huge obstacles, you see the imminent destruction, and you wonder... okay, how is he going to get out of *this* one? :)  You never wonder IF he will get out... just how.  And that is like our lives.  God teaches us a lot of things, and one of them is patience.  Another is faith... trust, hope, confidence... and so when these things happen in our lives, and we swear we can hear the scary doom music starting up in the background... he opens our eyes.  He gets us to look up, he helps us change our perspective... and there, caught in the thicket, or hidden behind some rocks in the desert... is our salvation.  And yes, of course he could have given Abraham the ram to begin with... or showed Hagar the well from the beginning... but they wouldn't even be stories then, and there would be no heroes.  These people are heroic and strong because they didn't see the salvation... they even accepted the awful reality that they saw... until God helped them to see better.  And, because they went through those dramatic scenes, they are different people than if they had seen their salvation from the beginning.  They learned something there... and we do the same, when we face our personal tragedies.  We sometimes feel trapped in a fate that seems to us worse than anything... we somehow face the possibility... and then, God opens our eyes, and we see our salvation.  It isn't always a fun thing.  I'm sure that Hagar and her son still had problems.  One well does not solve life in the desert.  And Abraham and Isaac probably had some father-son bonding issues. :)  But there was a way out, a way to continue... to grow, to learn, to progress.  We don't always get saved from every sacrifice we make... some are necessary.  But always, there is salvation... a way to capitalize on the experience and go on, happier and better.  A way out of the despair... a bright pocket of hope.  We just have to trust God, and let him open our eyes. :)

Monday, March 5, 2001

Helaman 12:26

"And may God grant, in his great fulness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for grace, according to their works."
Helaman 12:26


The phrase that sticks out to me here is the phrase "in his great fulness."  ... Isn’t that one of the reasons that we trust God?  Because he has it all... the infinite, eternal perspective... the detailed knowledge of everyone and everything... he is SO much wiser than we are, _plus_ he has all the information.  I mean... *all* of it.  That is amazing to me.  So, you know, if you have a question... God is the guy to go to. :)  Every answer you ever wanted to know... even the ones that no one on earth has a clue about... God knows.  And if you need the information, and humble enough to seek it out... and to accept it... God will grant it to you.  It is hilarious to me (at least today) how we each keep walking around and deciding whether parts of the truth are true individually... "for me."  We take God's word and run it through the filter of personal opinion, and then throw some of it out because it doesn't match what we think.  Bizarre.  The thing is, if God were less accessible and popular we'd probably believe him.  We'd spend years trying to get to the holy city to seek the advice of the One Oracle... and we'd kneel before him, and he'd give us a sentence of pure wisdom and an impossible quest... and then we'd spend the rest of our lives living by that sentence, and seeking to fulfil the quest.  But because it is easier than a trip to the Andes, we feel free to select only what we want, and throw the rest of that precious truth away.
What is that about?  Do we really believe, in our heart of hearts, that we know better?  that we know the world, or even ourselves, better than he does?  That’s silly... but that is exactly how we act sometimes.  As though the universe revolved around us as individuals... and how close to the truth that is.  God's job is to bring to bass our immortality and eternal life... we are that we might have joy... so, yeah... the universe is there so that we can enjoy life... forever.  That is cool... but despite our personal delusions, God is the way there... and dedicated to the journey.

Sunday, March 4, 2001

Psalms 11:1-2

"In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?
For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may shoot at the upright in heart."
Psalms 11:1-2


Even though people in this world do bad things, if we put our trust in the Lord, he will protect us.  Occasionally, it might even start to feel like we are in the middle of hunting season, playing the part of the hunted.  The thing is though... all we have to do is remember our trusty roadrunner or bugs bunny cartoons... :)  The animator is on our side. :)  All the traps and snares and powder kegs that are set up to get us will always, always... turn on the one who set the trap.  So, instead of worrying and laying our own traps, we can trust God, trust that he will protect us, that he is mindful of us as individuals.  He takes care of the smallest of creatures, and he will take care of us as well.  Even when the laws of gravity are against us, the animator saves us anyway... like God.  There is always a way out... always.  So, today... even if the hunter has his muzzle pointed at your brain... remember.  With God, there is always a way out. :)

Saturday, March 3, 2001

Alma 38:14

"Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy--yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times."
Alma 38:14


I think that we all feel unworthy at times... and I like this scripture in that context... God is saying, it's okay to feel unworthy.  It's basically just accepting reality. :)  Compared to God, we don't measure up.  The thing is, though... God is okay with that.  He knows that we are just little kids, and he is trying to help us grow up into incredibly cool adults.  Takes time... and a lot of mistakes.  So, it is a good thing to remember, when you are feeling unworthy... it's okay.  Keep trying anyway. :)  Then, of course, the main message of the scripture is good too... instead of thinking that we are cooler than everyone, we need to remember that ALL of us have problems... we are ALL little kids, and we are all learning, growing, trying... and it takes time and a lot of mistakes for ALL of us.  We shouldn't be going around picking on littler kids to make ourselves feel better, and we definitely shouldn't be actually believing that we are better than anyone.  If there is any competition going on here it is you against your best self, trying to measure up... we are here to help each other, not to drag each other down.  So... today, let’s remember that we are unworthy, but that it isn't a reason to hide from God.  And remember that we are all in this together. :)

Friday, March 2, 2001

Isaiah 42:6-7

"I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."
Isaiah 42:6-7


This is cool... talking about Christ and how he frees us from blindness and darkness.  It is interesting to me when the scriptures talk about us as prisoners... in this case, prisoners of death, but also prisoners of sin.  Christ came to save us from both prisons.  Why do we commit sin when it binds us in the darkness?  A good question to ask ourselves perhaps... but no matter the reason, God offers us pardon... commutes the sentence that we have passed on ourselves, tells us... you don't have to suffer anymore.  You don't have to punish yourself anymore.  It is over.  All you need to do is "go, and sin no more."  Walk in the light... look at the world around you, see all the choices that you have *besides* prison... :)  You don't have to live in a world where your choices are that limited... God offers us freedom, light... love.  We don't have to live without any of those things, no matter who we are, or what we think of ourselves.  Let's trust him.  He loves us... and wants us to take off the chains.

Thursday, March 1, 2001

1 Timothy 4:8

"For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."
1 Timothy 4:8


Hilarious. :)  And although it is funny, I don't want to lead you astray... remember, your body is a temple, and you definitely *should* take care of it. :)  However... :)  this is great.  Physical exercise only lasts so long... and it really has a limited scope.  But spiritual exercise can last forever... and affect everything. :)  I mean... imagine.  if we could add cubits to our stature, couldn't we change our physical appearance and weight as well?  Or increase our metabolic rate... inspire our immune systems... etc?  So, don't go and quit the health club, but just remember... spiritual things are way, way more important.  If you can motivate yourself to exercise three times a week, make sure you are devoting some similar time to God. :)

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