Monday, April 30, 2001

Isaiah 30:20-21

"And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."
Isaiah 30:20-21


This is cool.  Constant reminders when we stray from the path.  We have them now, but sometimes we aren't listening on the correct frequency.  That's the other amazing thing about community... that we *are* our brother's keeper... not in any weird I-am-better-than-you way... because I have more kids or more faith or more books by apostles on my living room shelves... but because we watch out for each other, and warn each other if we are straying from the path.  It is a community motivated by love, not by some sort of condescension.  I'm not sure if this is true, but sometimes I feel like I have invisible people around me, helping me to figure things out... guardian angels perhaps... and if that is true, then maybe they won't be invisible anymore.  It would be nice to have a conversation with one of them. :)
Anyway, one of the big things in this verse is also the bread and water... adversity and affliction.  Those things can get in our way a lot, and sometimes encourage us to stray from the path in order to avoid dealing with them.  And God says, yeah... I know, life is hard that way, and sometimes lessons are big and scary... but you will have teachers, including me, there to help you.  I think that is remarkably cool. :)

Sunday, April 29, 2001

Jeremiah 31:34 -- On Knowing the Lord

"And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
Jeremiah 31:34


This seems incredible to me. That someday, we won't be doing missionary work... maybe not even having Sunday School classes. :)  And why? Because everyone will know the Lord.  Wow.
Isn't there that longing within all of us, to have that foundation of understanding with others... to know that we are all reading the same book, talking about the same story?  I actually think we want it so much sometimes that we fabricate something that gives us that illusion. We make up rules that allow us to communicate with each other in certain circumstances, such as the workplace, or public transportation. We even make up rules for elevators and public restrooms. Of course, the rules differ from caste to caste, place to place... but we do it out of a desperate hunger for community.  An emptiness that will be filled to overflowing when the time comes that this scripture is talking about.   And I'm not talking about some kind of horrible Borg assimilation... I'm just talking about us each knowing, without question, that God is there... and knowing him well.  Just that.

Almost anything, if we all knew it beyond question, would change our sense of oneness... but *this* knowledge... the absolute surety of God... that would seal us together as a community as nothing else could.  I think because that knowledge brings hope, and the knowledge that we are all brothers and sisters... that life has more meaning that we dream of.  Just having something amazing happen and hearing someone say "God is great" and being able to reply, "Yes, he is." :) Walking down the street and knowing that you have that one thing in common with everyone else.  That we are all children of God, and we know it. I can't even imagine how amazing it will be.  Something to look forward to... and live for... today.

Saturday, April 28, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 64:9

"Wherefore, I say unto you that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin."
Doctrine and Covenants 64:9


This is quite thought-provoking to me right now... I mean, I have thought about this in terms of actual intentionally hurting someone before... but right now it seems to apply even further than that.  Whether or not someone even knows, or cares, that they hurt you... or whether you even know or care that you hurt someone else... we need to forgive and love each other.  Isn't it an amazing thing that God reserves judgement for himself?  How much harder would our lives be if we were required to judge and forgive or condemn the people around us?  Much harder... and the funny thing is, sometimes we make it that hard on ourselves by actually trying to judge, to read the cover of the book and determine its contents.  But we can't... no matter how good we are at delving into people, at discovering their personalities... we can't know them as well as God can.  I mean, seriously, we can't even know *ourselves* as well as God can, especially with the veil of forgetfulness drawn.  Which is why we need to forgive ourselves, as well as others... and for ourselves, make sure we try and become better than we have been... attempt to heal rather than hurt.  When we hold things in our hearts against other people, it hurts *us* ... it makes it harder for us to be part of a community, harder to accept other people... harder to be open-minded and caring.  So, today... let's give *ourselves* a break and let go of the anger that we are harboring against whoever it is.  When we let the anger out of our hearts, we have less darkness within us.  When we can forgive, we make ourselves clean.  We improve our capacity to love.

Friday, April 27, 2001

John 14:15

"If ye love me, keep my commandments."
John 14:15


One of the cool things about God is that he is never about bossing us around.  He is strongly about our freedom to choose.  If we don't want to follow him, then we don't have to... and unless we do something really over-the-top bad, we still end up in a place that is comfortable for us, with as much happiness as we can handle. :)  God is about getting us to see that there is something better than we are currently choosing... no matter how good our path is, there is always something better in store.  And, if we follow God, we'll find it.  So, he says, basically... if you don't love me, if you don't trust me, then you can have what you're having right now, and enjoy what you are enjoying.  However... if you love me... if you trust me to lead you to a better place, then come... let's find something that is a hundred, a thousand times better than this... and once you're used to that, we can go on to better places and things that you can't even imagine yet.
So, today... always... let's love him.  Trust him.  Follow him.  He will lead *anyone* to the promised land, as he has so many times in the past.  Even you.  even me.  If we believe him, love him... trust that he will lead us to great things, then let's give it a try.  Let's keep his commandments, and see what happens. :)

Thursday, April 26, 2001

Mormon 9:4

"Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell."
Mormon 9:4


You know, this doesn't seem like a very happy scripture at first glance... but I think that, overall, it really is.  It is basically telling us that God doesn't assign us to different places to punish us.  He prepares different places for us so that we can be comfortable and happy where we are.  For instance... if we struggled through French 101, taking it three times and never quite mastering it, we would never be comfortable living someplace where only French was spoken.  We'd be resentful and feel like an outsider.  God provides us places to spend eternity where we will be comfortable.  It isn't to punish us, but to spare us pain.  And, really, the gospel is all about learning to be comfortable in the presence of God.  If we never talk to him, never think about him... deny him or reject him... we're not going to be comfortable living with him after this life.  So, the happiness in this scripture to me is that God provides *everyone* a place where they can be happy.  Our challenge is to grow comfortable with the things of God... so that we *can* be happy with him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2001

1 Peter 1:13

"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 1:13


This is good for me today... hopefully you too.  I feel overwhelmed sometimes, and think that I can't face whatever the day has in store... feel like I am just mentally exhausted. :)  But, today I have to teach a class and be cheerful... so the thing that I need to do is "gird up the loins of [my] mind" :)  and hope... which I think is the whole point of the girding up process. :)  Let's not let darkness dominate our thoughts... instead, let's let a little light in, sweep all that dust out of the way, and bask in the light of hope that is always shining in, as long as we open the shutters. :)  So, today, join me... let's inspire our minds to hope, and make sure that we aren't getting drunk on cynicism. :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Psalms 50:2

"Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined."
Psalms 50:2


I like this, that Zion is beautiful AND cool. :)  The perfection of beauty... can you imagine that?  Not only awesome community, no poor, loving everyone and being loved by everyone... but the perfection of beauty. :)  Wow.  I mean, I already wanted to go, but it just gets better and better. :)  So, quick... build some Zion today.  If we start acting like we already live there, then we will become Zion. :)

Monday, April 23, 2001

John 10:4-5

"And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers."
John 10:4-5


This is both cool, and a little scary.  cool... infinitely cool to know that we know God's voice... trusting in that unknown premortal existence. :)  but, then, we also have the opportunity to get to know him better and better every day.   I absolutely love the thought... and the feeling... that at death I will not be meeting him for the first time, but returning to his familiar arms. :)  We do know his voice.  it resonates within our souls, reminding us of the forgotten part of ourselves... and of our search for truth.  the scary part is that sometimes, in the scriptures, even the most faithful people don't recognize him at first.  When he lived on Earth some people seemed to know and trust him instantly... some never let themselves know, because the truth threatened their livelihood or lifestyle.  Even when Christ spoke to the Nephites after the great destructions at the time of his death, he had to repeat himself three times before they were prepared to hear him.  And you know... it isn't that we don't know him.  We do... and he knows us.  It is just like the person closest to your heart calls you up after years of lost contact, and because you aren't expecting that person, you might not recognize the voice at first.  At least hopefully that's all that it is... because people you love so deeply and completely, how could you not recognize the voice?  But we don't always at first... we have to learn to listen, regain the old habits, bring to the foreground old memories, and then it is all real to us once again.  In other words, have the spirit beside us, that can bring all things to our remembrance.  Or, you know... keep in touch in the first place. :)
The other possibility is the scariest... that maybe something or someone else has such great hold upon our hearts that something else is the closest thing to our hearts now... that we have re-molded our souls to reflect someone*else's* image.  Then, we make God a stranger to us, and we'll stay in the sheepfold when our shepherd comes to lead us... and no matter who else we follow... the wolf, the coyote, the bad sheep from over the hill... a gopher... no-one else is our shepherd, and no-one else will protect us, feed us, or seek us out when we are lost.  Only God has that unwavering commitment to our well-being.  So, today... let's talk to the shepherd.  Remind ourselves what his voice feels like, so that we will be ready when he calls. :)

Sunday, April 22, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 63:64

"Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit; and in this there is no condemnation, and ye receive the Spirit through prayer; wherefore, without this there remaineth condemnation."
Doctrine and Covenants 63:64


A reminder today about how important prayer is in our lives.  That contact with God makes all the difference between having the Spirit and not having it... and just plain having a good day, and not having one.  Our father loves us, and wants us to return home.  We honor God by respecting his name and his dealings with us, and never demeaning him.  I like how plain this scripture is about how to gain the Spirit in our lives... through prayer.  When we talk to God sincerely, the Spirit always attends us... and as we learn that feeling, and learn how to listen, we become more aware and attuned to the Spirit, and God can speak to us more and more clearly.  Let's pray today, talk to God, feel the Spirit.  We all deserve, and need, to know for ourselves God's involvement in our lives.  And, how else *can* we know?  Talking to God, listening for his answers, feeling the companionship of the Spirit in our lives... those things show us how close he is to us.  And when we know that... then we can have the confidence and the trust to do as he asks--because we know he loves us individually and would never ask us anything that wasn't designed for our good.

Saturday, April 21, 2001

Alma 28:8

"And this is the account of Ammon and his brethren, their journeyings in the land of Nephi, their sufferings in the land, their sorrows, and their afflictions, and their incomprehensible joy, and the reception and safety of the brethren in the land of Jershon.  And now may the Lord, the Redeemer of all men, bless their souls forever."
Alma 28:8


As it says, this is a scripture that leads into the story of Ammon and the sons of Mosiah in the land of Nephi.  A great story to read if you haven't lately... :)  What I am thinking though, is that this could be the introduction to the story of any of us.  It mentions suffering, sorrow, afflictions... which we all go through more often than we would like.  But then it talks about incomprehensible joy... joy that overloads your brain's ability to understand it.  Have you ever been so completely happy that you couldn't even *think?*  And then, reception and safety.  The thing about the story is that you know that God wouldn't be telling it if there wasn't something to learn.  There *is* a happy ending, despite all the cynicism and doubt in the world.  We just have to go through some of the suffering parts to get to the mind-blowing happiness part. :)  And, it's okay... it's all part of the story.  The fabulous ending wouldn't be as fabulous if the hero didn't have to face the Cyclops or escape the maze.  So, let's keep at it... there is always help nearby.  And may the Lord, the Redeemer of all, bless *your* soul forever. :)

Friday, April 20, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 90:36

"But verily I say unto you, that I, the Lord, will contend with Zion, and plead with her strong ones, and chasten her until she overcomes and is clean before me."
Doctrine and Covenants 90:36


This is a hard thing for me... accepting criticism.  Even from God, who I know, absolutely, has my best interests in mind.  I think the worst thing in the world is when someone things that I am ignorant or incompetent... so, it is hard to admit that I really am, quite often, both of those things. :)  Yesterday we were in another "team-building" meeting at work, talking about things like empowerment and leadership... the thing is, the best leaders are the ones that serve the people they lead, as Christ did, and does.  God empowers us in actuality, granting us a portion of his own power, and letting us choose what we will in this life.  And, hard as it is to hear from anyone, chastening is better from God as well.  God only chastens us when he wants us to be better.  He never chastens us just to prove that he is cooler, or to assert his power.  He never chastens us unjustly, or because he doesn't understand us. :)  The chastening from God is always intended to make us better, cleaner, brighter... and to bring us closer to God, who loves us and wants to hang out with us when we are ready. :)  And that is what true friends do for each other as well... they chasten with love, in order to help us to grow.  And, you know... even unjust chastisement probably has a good purpose.  Humility, however learned, is a great asset.  When we realize that the world really doesn't revolve around us, it is a terrible blow... but it certainly teaches us a lot, and allows us so many more opportunities to learn. :)  So, today... let's try to embrace the chastening, and see it as an opportunity to refine ourselves, and to become the greatest people we can be. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2001

2 Corinthians 5:3

"If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked."
2 Corinthians 5:3


This is an interesting scripture.  It is really about mortality, and the chapter has some beautiful imagery... but what it made me think of was the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.  We go through this life sometimes like that.  collecting and paying out huge amounts of resources for something imaginary.  Working overtime and on weekends for something, that in the end, we find out doesn't exist.  C. S. Lewis, in The Great Divorce, talks similarly.  Some people in Hell take a bus trip to heaven to find out if they want to go there.  And, what they find is that everything in Heaven is so much more *real* than anything in Hell.  More solid... walking on the grass hurts their feet because they are not as solid as the grass is. :)  And so, if they decide to stay, they have to learn to be more real.  A very interesting story... if any of you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so. :)  The things of God are real.  Today, let's think about our lives, and make sure what we are working for really exists.  We don't want to spend our lives weaving cloth, making spectacular new clothes, and then find out that it was imaginary all along. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

John 5:44

"How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?"
John 5:44


This is interesting... it seems to say that in seeking for approval, acceptance, and popularity among our fellow humans, we manage to obscure our view of whose approval and acceptance really matters.  Like in school when a child will do something against the rules in order to gain the admiration of classmates.  When children put the admiration of classmates above the admiration of the teacher, then it is really hard to get them to listen or to learn anything... because they will more willingly believe the perceptions of their peers than the instruction that the teacher is trying to instill.  And we are pretty much in the same situation.  It is impossible to believe God when we have put the admiration of others before him.  We believe what they have to say about him instead, and instead of seeking his honor and his approval, we seek honors from other people, who unfortunately are fallible and often misinformed.  Sincerely, if we want to know something about God... God is who we should go to.  We can't know anything for sure... not about the scriptures, not about the church, not about anything, unless we go to the source.  And if we ask God, sincerely, with an open mind and heart... he'll let us know.  Sometimes an open mind and heart are hard to have, especially when we have been relying on human doubt for a long time... but if we put in the effort to make ourselves completely open to the answer... it will come.  I promise. :)  So, today... let's look to God for honor, not to mere mortals. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Proverbs 1:10

"My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not."
Proverbs 1:10


Something to remember on this fine day... and daughters have to listen too, sorry. :)  No consenting.  In addition, don't go enticing anyone else today either. ... Just think how many fewer sins would happen if no-one would agree to go in on it with us. :)  The cool thing is that we *can* listen to the enticings of the spirit, since God is not a sinner. :)  When he invites and entices us to do good, that kind of enticing is okay.  Let's remember this today... and watch out for those enticers. :)

Monday, April 16, 2001

4 Nephi 1:3

"And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift."
4 Nephi 1:3


Tonight I saw a news story about a ship that was suspected to be carrying 200 African children to be sold as slaves.  Authorities suspected that the crew threw the children overboard when they knew that they were going to be caught.  What does this have to do with the scripture?  well, let me tell you... :)  What hope do any of us have... what hope does humanity have, without the heavenly gift?
I am sure that there are myriads of gifts that we get from heaven, but if we are talking about THE gift, it has to be the atonement of Christ.  What greater gift could anyone give us? Christ suffered for us.  How many people would really suffer for us?  When it gets hard, when it gets painful?  And, even scarier... how many would *we* suffer for?  This scripture talks about overcoming class distinctions, about overcoming the horrible injustices that people suffer in bondage... and we say, yeah... that is really sad, or ... yeah, people shouldn't be so selfish... but do we stop and think about ourselves?  Christ suffered for us because we are part of him... his family, his friends... we are all part of each other.  Every child on that slave boat today was part of me.  The people downstairs that shoot birds are part of me.  Christ suffered for them, he suffered for me... he suffered for you.  My favorite Dr. Seuss book has this line at the end:  "unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better, it's not."
My favorite topic in the world is becoming a Zion community.  I love to think about it, to ponder it... to figure out ways to get closer to it.  However, unless I work on making *myself* more like Christ, all the idealism in the world is going to fall flat on its face.  I can't ignore or criticize, or throw labels around like they are candy.  These are my brothers and sisters... part of me.  Christ suffered these things for all... so that we can all be free, so that we can all be rich.  Christ lived, died, and lives still, for us.  That matters.

Sunday, April 15, 2001

Numbers 11:29

"And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!"
Numbers 11:29


I like this because it starts us down the path to the ideal, where we all listen to the Spirit in our own lives, and thus are continually led by God.  It is difficult to get to that point, because we have to led go of our obsessive need for control in our lives, and relax our defenses where God is concerned.  Vulnerability is hard... and sometimes God asks us to do some pretty hard things.  It is often easier not to listen.  However... overall it is much, much easier on your soul when you do. :)  We all have the privilege of personal revelation in our lives.  God assists us in our efforts to keep his commandments, and in our continual struggle for self-improvement.  It's part of the deal when He asks you to do something... he sticks around to help you do it. :)  And on Easter especially... when we honor the incredible gift that Christ has given us, it is appropriate to at least attempt to listen in return. :)  Let's listen to the spirit... but more than that, let down our defenses and listen with our whole hearts... and then go where the spirit directs.  Do what the spirit asks.  I mean, it may not be something ultra-dramatic like parting the Red Sea... but you never know. :)

Saturday, April 14, 2001

2 Corinthians 3:6

"Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
2 Corinthians 3:6


Hey.  So, I am sitting here thinking about a lot of things, not the least of which is this scripture, and to me, at least right now, this scripture seems to encompass a lot of life.  The spirit does give life... when we listen to God, and try to see the whole picture.  Sometimes it seems like we can't see the forest, or even a whole tree, because we are trying to figure out how many leaves we can fit in our pockets, or we are banging our heads against a fallen log instead of climbing over it.  We get so immersed in the details that we forget what we are here for.  When I was in high school I ushered at a theatre in Denver.  I remember one day we were putting on a cool Bernard Shaw play in our theatre in-the-round.  Our supervisor told us to make sure that no-one walked on the set, since it was open to let cast members enter from all sides.  One elderly lady came in with her daughter and when I led them to the stairs they told me that the person who sold them their tickets had assured them that they had a seat on the floor level.  I explained to them that it was on that level, but we had to go up and then down.  They asked if there was some other way that they could get to their seats.  There was, you see, but it would have involved taking them through the "off-limit" area, and across the set... so, I told them no.  We headed up the stairs, and as we were coming down from the top, I was walking just ahead of the elderly woman, and I heard a loud snap, and she fell.  She broke her hip, they took her away in an ambulance... and this is what I mean.  We get so involved with thinking about the rules, and the details, and the limitations, that we can't see the world around us, and why we are here, and all the amazing things that await us.  It's like the Jews during the time of Christ.  So many of them were so hung up with the Law of Moses that they couldn't see the Messiah when he literally stood in front of them.  Nephi understood the concept... when the Spirit told him to kill Laban he reacted badly, but then he snapped out of the letter and saw the spirit... God, who can see the whole picture ALL the time, was asking him to do something, and tried to explain to him why it was an exception to the general "no killing" rule.  And, somehow in that moment of indecision something clicked and he saw beyond the law, to the reason and the meaning behind it all.  The verse says letter... as in letter of the law.  How often do we find ourselves looking at the letters instead of reading the words?  Arguing over a specific interaction instead of seeing the overall relationship?
God wants us to be happy, overall.  Let's try to remember that big picture as we go throughout the day... not letting the details kill us, but drawing life through the spirit.  When we find ourselves face-down on the forest floor where we can't see the forest OR the trees... just the dirt... let's listen to God, and ask him for a little perspective. :)

Friday, April 13, 2001

Alma 7:23

"And now I would that ye should be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive."
Alma 7:23


This is something good to think about today... sometimes we get overwhelmed with the things that God asks us not to do, and so thinking about some of the things that he wants us to do might be a good change. :)  Submissive and gentle.  I like that that these are the first things on the list... and also that these words are directed to everyone, not just women, in our society's traditional female gender-role.  We should all be gentler with each other, submissive rather than aggressive in our interpersonal dealings.  Easy to be entreated is a cool thing as well; we should make it easy for people to ask us for help, for assistance, or for mercy.  Listen, and grant the request if you can.  Patience and long-suffering is difficult sometimes, but essential.  We can't let persons a-k frustrate us, and then blow up when persons l and m come along. :)  We have to be cool to persons y and z, even though they might be acting inappropriately.  Temperate is a good word... we have to have a temperate climate with people.  We can't go all stormy on them, and especially we shouldn't bellow thunder and flash lightning at them. :)
The last part of the scripture is about being patient with God as well... being diligent in keeping the commandments even though sometimes we don't see the why, or we don't see the end result.  Taking the time to ask God for whatever we need, instead of just grumbling that he didn't give it to us in the first place... and thanking God for the things that he grants us in our lives.

Thursday, April 12, 2001

Romans 7:22-23

"For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."
Romans 7:22-23


The classic battle... the natural man versus the spiritual man.  Going on in us all the time.  Which will we eventually choose?  Will we bring our bodies in line with our spirits, or our spirits in line with our bodies?  It is challenging, but one of the reasons that we came to earth... to receive bodies, and to learn how to use them.  The good thing is that God gives us the answer... we're supposed to teach our bodies to serve our spirits.  to bridle the passions and hungers of the body, and fulfil our basic needs in positive ways, ways that won't harm our spirits.  Today, let's rally our spiritual forces and convince our bodies to play nice. :)  The funny thing about life is that before we can learn to become one as a Zion community, we have to learn to become one... individually.  Stop being at war with ourselves.  A body is a spectacular thing... if we can get it to work cooperatively with our spirit. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2001

3 Nephi 26:9

"And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them."
3 Nephi 26:9


This is always frustrating to me.  I want to get some new scriptures, preferably something along the lines of the lost ten tribes coming from the north, or some interesting stuff about how to walk on water or increase your stature by a cubit... :)  However, I have to keep reminding myself that I don't take enough advantage of the scriptures that we already have to be able to get new ones... have a hard enough time just trying to live by the current word, imagine if we had more. :)  So, I guess I will have to be content. ... plus, we do have some cool new conference talks to study, and even though they don't talk exactly about the stuff that I wanted to hear... they are the things that I *needed* to hear.  God is good to us, not overloading us with advanced placement classes when we are struggling with the remedial ones we are already in.  He is a good teacher.  I just have to try to be a better student. :)  Let's read our scriptures today; we never know when we might get some more. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Hebrews 10:16-17

"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
Hebrews 10:16-17


This is cool... that God places all of the rules within us, so that if we are truly listening to our spiritual side, we will know absolutely the right and the wrong of it. :)  and mentioning hearts and minds... that it isn't only an emotional knowledge, but it can be a logical, common-sense knowledge too.  At the core of who we are, we know God and his ways.  Unfortunately, I don't think that we know *ourselves* that well.  If we truly were looking to find out who we are, and not just looking for the next distraction, I think that we would find that much of what God asks is part of us.  Too often we listen to the natural part of ourselves, and dismiss the spiritual side as not knowing what it is talking about. :)  if we ignore completely the needs of either, we are going to be at war with ourselves forever.  doesn't sound very fun.  ...Today, find the law written in your heart and in your mind, and renew your relationship with God.  He is the greatest. :)

Monday, April 9, 2001

Matthew 27:65

"Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can."
Matthew 27:65


This is interesting to me, that Pilate doesn't sound very positive about the ability of anyone to make sure Christ stayed dead. :)  As Easter approaches, we all celebrate Christ's resurrection, and the power over death that he gained and that he grants to each of us, allowing us to also be resurrected, and to live forever in peace... pretty cool deal. :)  Hopefully, what we are watching for in this life is not something that is promised that we don't want to happen... hopefully, we are looking forward to the fulfillment of God's promises. :)  Because, no matter what, nothing was going to hold Christ in that tomb... and nothing we can do can prevent God's plan from coming to a successful end. :)  Hopefully we are watching for the right things. :)

Sunday, April 8, 2001

4 Nephi 1:38

"And it came to pass that those who rejected the gospel were called Lamanites, and Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites; and they did not dwindle in unbelief, but they did willfully rebel against the gospel of Christ; and they did teach their children that they should not believe, even as their fathers, from the beginning, did dwindle."
4 Nephi 1:38


Thinking about this today.  The other day at lunch with some friends, we were talking about kids and responsibility... like children raised up to be part of the KKK, or like the verse above, taught to not believe in the gospel.  I wonder where the parental responsibility ends and the children's begins... at what point do we all wake up to what we are choosing, and have a valid change to choose differently? ... even the other way, which is also illustrated in this scripture. :)  This is Fourth Nephi, right after all the people have lived in peace and righteousness for three generations.  The parents taught their children to be righteous and good... but here we have willful rebellion again.  how do those things happen?  you don't just wake up one day and declare yourself ready to reject everything that you have been taught.  it has to start with little things... and this is a good thing to look for in our own lives today.  What little things in our lives are leading us in one direction or the other?  How do we let those things multiply?  At least if we are aware of the process, and see the tiny chinks in our armor... perhaps we'll be able to repair them... or, if we see the truth outside our fortifications... perhaps we'll be able to let down our defenses willingly.  Something to think about at least on this fine day. :)

Saturday, April 7, 2001

3 Nephi 24:5

"And I will come near to you to judgement; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger, and fear not me, saith the Lord of Hosts."
3 Nephi 24:5


Interesting stuff.  I picked it because I was fascinated with the turning aside the stranger part, but it gets more and more interesting as I look at it.  I mean, first off, why sorcerers?  I haven't noticed a sorcerer problem around here... or even on the news lately... but in thinking about it, that Harry Potter guy *is* pretty evil... heh heh... just joking.  In sincerity, it seems to me that the problem with sorcerers is that they are looking to some power other than God.  As do I, too often.  I would love it if someone would come by and grant me three wishes, or tell me the future.  But when we start looking to other sources for these answers, then we are probably starting down a path that is going to lead to a not-so-optimistic future anyway.  yikes. :)  So, then... those that oppress the hireling in his wages. :)  Dang.  Seems to me that there is a lot of that going on.  Our society definitely oppresses the widow and the fatherless.  Turning aside the stranger... that is interesting.  How about illegal immigrants?  How about anyone on the side of the road, asking for money?  How about hiring your friends instead of the stranger at the job interview? :)  How about anyone who is outside your comfort zone?  Someone who dresses a little bit differently, or who has a habit you don't like, or who uses language that you don't approve of?  How about people who aren't in the church and don't want to be?  How about skin color, or income level, or outward appearance?  Do we turn people away without trying to understand or love them?  I know that I do, way way too often.  Today, look around you and see who you are turning away.  Let's attempt to follow Christ's example and love people for who they are inside, and not judge people based on outward appearance. :)

Friday, April 6, 2001

2 Thessalonians 2:8

"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."
2 Thessalonians 2:8


This is interesting... what I like the most I think is that God destroys with the brightness of his coming.  Not really the destroy part, but the WAY of it... Every morning I get up and stumble over to the light switch, and when I turn it on, it seems so unbelievably bright that I have to shade my eyes for a few minutes.  If you think about the effect of a mere 60-watt bulb on people who are used to darkness, think about the effect of God's brightness on someone who is practically MADE of darkness.  Joseph Smith described the pillar of light as "above the brightness of the sun" ... so, obviously, God's coming is brighter than anything that we know.  I've wondered about that pillar of light... does God ride the light, like a subway?  If people won't be able to tolerate his presence, is that because he is too bright? :)  Maybe the whole reason for us to get rid of our own personal darkness is that we have to build up our tolerance for light. :)  Maybe we have to become capable of giving off light, and to do that, I don't think that darkness could be any part of us. :)  As we live, do we literally grow brighter and brighter, or darker and darker, depending upon our choices?  And, apart from all my speculation... how do we avoid getting destroyed by the brightness of his coming?  Is there a way to adapt our eyes (and the rest of us) to that brightness now, before he appears?  Let's think of a way... :)

Thursday, April 5, 2001

Abraham 1:15

"And as they lifted up their hands upon me, that they might offer me up and take away my life, behold, I lifted up my voice unto the Lord my God, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and he filled me with the vision of the Almighty, and the angel of his presence stood by me, and immediately unloosed my bands."
Abraham 1:15


I think the whole story of Abraham is fascinating.  I think that the whole story of the near-sacrifice of Isaac makes more sense when you know his background.  He basically dedicated his life to the Lord after this... the Lord saved him, as he saves us all, but in Abraham's case from a society where human sacrifice, even of children, was the norm.  He had grown up with it, and his father had been in favor of his death (see verse 30).  So, the ultimate test for Abraham was to see if he would obey God even when God commanded him to do something that he had saved him from originally... and to treat his son as he had been treated.  Perhaps this helped him to understand his own father and to forgive him... in any event, it probably helped him to understand where he came from a lot better.  Why those people would do what they did, and how dependent we are upon God.  It might even have helped him to discover in his own mind that he didn't serve God only because God had saved him... but that there are deeper and truer reasons to listen to him.  Or maybe he learned exactly how much he really did love his son...  I don't know for sure of course, this is all speculation... but isn't it cool that God teaches us all in such an individual way?  That he draws upon our experiences and beliefs, and teaches us all that we need to know in order to return to his presence?  God isn't going to command me to sacrifice my son... first, because I don't have one... but secondly because that isn't my ultimate test.  I need to learn the same things... dependence on God, overcoming childhood beliefs and behavior patterns, sincere and pure love... but my lesson will be packaged differently.  Our tests of life may be equally challenging, but as it always is with God, the greatest lessons come from the greatest struggles.  So today... let's learn.  Get ahead of the game. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2001

Psalms 116:1-2

"I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live."
Psalms 116:1-2


I like this.  I find it to be startlingly true in my life.  I love the Lord because he listens to me... because he understands who I am, and takes that into account as he talks to me.  There is no more personalized communication... or education... in the world, than that which the Lord gives to us.  He knows us better than anyone else.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.  I find that fascinating, and because of that, in a way... when we interact with God, we learn more about ourselves.  Isn't it amazing, that out of the billions that he interacts with each day, that he each of us, personally, better than our families or closest friends?  And because of that, and you know... because of a lot of reasons, we look to him for guidance, comfort, and peace.  Because he knows how to give those things, tailoring his instruction to us as individuals, taking into account our strengths, weaknesses, and needs.  God is so amazing. :)  Let's talk to him today... he is the best listener around. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Matthew 18:15

"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother."
Matthew 18:15


I'm thinking about how cool that sounds... to gain a brother (or a sister, of course).  it seems like an amazing thing.  at work lately there has been a lot of politicking, backstabbing, etc. (not literally, in case anyone was concerned...) and I am just thinking about how cool it would be if we were really out there trying to gain each other's friendship and respect instead.  if we were trying to build community instead of tear it down to start from scratch.
That is a cool thing about God... he recognizes that we already have some good within us, and wants to enhance it, and bring it to the center of our lives.  He works with what he has, and helps us, even in the middle of darkness, to find and regain the light.  So, today... let's gain some brothers and sisters. :)  Never retaliate... instead communicate. :)  And you know, if someone comes to *you*... hear what he or she has to say.  Perhaps there are other people out there collecting siblings as well. :)

Monday, April 2, 2001

Ecclesiastes 9:11

"I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."
Ecclesiastes 9:11


This was kind of funny after I thought about it for a while, though initially it was a little depressing... I thought, so... what?  You work your butt off, and for what?  ... But seriously, even if you lose your butt over it, the truth is... life doesn't owe us anything. :)  We often think it does.  In one of my education classes we were discussing the pros and cons of programs that give every school the same amount of money instead of them getting more or less according to property values in the area.  And a few of the people said that they didn't think that their schools should get less, just because the other people hadn't worked as hard to provide for their children.  I thought that was an interesting argument, but if you consider it in light of this scripture, isn't the very premise faulty?  Do wealthy people really work harder than poor people?  Do we believe that?  It isn't true.  Some people work harder every day than I will *ever* work, and still don't have some of the basic things that I have... a roof over my head, food to eat... etc.  Every single one of us, no matter the circumstances, is *absolutely* reliant on God for not only everything that he or she gains... but in merely retaining what he or she has.  This isn't to say that we should all just quit our jobs and stay home and pray... but it isn't forbidding you from doing so either.  The story of Mary and Martha comes to mind... Martha was "careful and worried" about many things... but Mary chose to sit with Christ and learn rather than helping Martha around the house.  In our society we are encouraged to be Martha... to take care of everything else before we take time for God.  But isn't that mixing up our priorities as well?  God definitely wants us to be clean, organized... etc.  But we should be putting God ahead of all that, every time.  Today, let's remember our reliance on him, and endeavor to put him ahead of all the rest.

Sunday, April 1, 2001

Ether 6:11

"And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water."
Ether 6:11


So, today this is making me feel fortunate, so I thought I would share. :)  I was just watching this documentary about the Lewis and Clark expedition (fascinating), and then I come in here and find this scripture... and right now I feel like my life is perfect.  I have it SO easy compared to having to walk across the rocky mountains, or spending the better part of a year in a completely closed in ship (I get claustrophobic).  So, you know... life is great. :)  And sincerely, sometimes we need to see that contrast in our lives.  You are never more thankful for a job than you are after being out of work for a while... never so thankful for blessings from heaven than when you lost them for a while... the same with keys, and relationships. :)  we all have bad chapters in our lives, periods where it really *doesn't* seem like it will all come out okay... but, with God, the end is always going to be triumphant.  We just have to keep turning the pages.  The monster that you thought would eat you becomes your ally... the dungeon you thought was inescapable proves to have a secret escape route.  Your trip over the endless mountains that you thought would end in death turns out to be successful. 344 days on the water that you thought would never end eventually brings you to the promised land.  And you know... hard things always happen to the hero.  It makes the hero strong, and confident.  But the hero battles through every hardship, figures out every riddle, and does what the hero came to do.  We are each the hero of the story... we just have to be patient, continue to read, and trust that God has a great reward in store when we make it back to his presence... reunited with our long-lost brothers and sisters, to live happily ever after. :)  It's no fairy tale.

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