Thursday, June 28, 2001

Isaiah 45:7

"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things."
Isaiah 45:7


Again with the marvelous power of God... it is overwhelming at times.  You know, though... it provides some perspective in our sometimes-rough lives. The things that really matter aren't usually the things that we are struggling with every day.  If we lose earthly possessions... God will provide.  If we lose our jobs, our patience... our sanity... God will provide.  The only thing that we have to worry about, really, is losing God. If we lose him, then we have lost everything.  Because HE makes the light... the darkness, the mountains and the trees.  Everything around us is because of him.  He makes peace, and evil... mosquitoes and fish, all of it. :)
Today we could lose our jobs, make really poor decisions, be late for everything... and God will still be there, watching over the world, and pleading with us to come back to him.  No matter where we are today, let's remember that.  God loves us... he wants us to be a part of his life... and it is only because of him that there is even anything else to deal with. When we are evaluating our priorities today, and choosing what to focus on, let's remember what is most important... what makes everything else work, and live, and move, and grow.  God.  Talk about amazing. :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Isaiah 38:8

"Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward.  So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down."
Isaiah 38:8


You know, I suppose that it is pretty obvious when you think about it... but the amazing power of God just slams me in the face every now and then.  God wanted to show Ahaz that he was really going to extend his life for fifteen years, and to provide him with evidence, he messed with the rotation of the earth. :)  He did it for the benefit of a single one of his children.  Do we realize, I wonder, how much the Lord really cares about us?  And how much he is willing to do for us... for each of us, personally?  He is there in some significant ways, in each of our lives... and he will (literally) move heaven and earth for our benefit.  We have no greater friend, no greater advocate... anywhere... than our God, our Father.  No matter what our trials or struggles are... he is able to handle them, if we let him in... if we give him a chance.

Sunday, June 24, 2001

1 Nephi 8:30-31

"But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.
And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building."
1 Nephi 8:30-31


So, why do you think that some of us want the tree, and some of us want the great and spacious building?  More company?  The tree doesn't look as civilized as a big building?  Man-made things seem more real to us? :)  Sincerely though, I think that it is interesting that both of the groups are working hard to get where they are going.  When it is dark and we lose our way, we still feel around to find our way towards our ultimate goal... and what is that for each of us?  At the core of our being, what is it that we want... and, are we going in the right direction in order to achieve it?
The reality of God is so huge, but sometimes we try to think around it.  We bend our minds so that we don't have to face that basic truth, and every thought from there on is suspect, because, without God... what is any truth based on?  A tree... any tree... with God, is better in a storm than the biggest, strongest, most earthquake-proof building without him.  And that goes for ourselves and whatever we base our self-worth on, as well.  The smallest talent within us... with God, is better than the most exquisite talent without him.  We are better, whoever we are, when we have God.  Without him, something inside us starts to die... the good part... the part of us that makes us smile when we are walking down the sidewalk, for no apparent reason.  Today... let's go and camp out under the tree.  The open sky will protect us, because we will be in God's hands. :)

Thursday, June 21, 2001

Mosiah 4:10

"And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you: and now, if you believe all these things see that you do them."
Mosiah 4:10


This is interesting to me today... I think that the disconnect between what we believe and what we do is huge. :)  ... at least for me.  I hope all of you are doing well with it. :)  Anyway, the truth of this scripture goes very deep, down to our core being... we know, without even a little particle of doubt, that repentance is a good thing... even that it is a marvelously merciful thing.  But, how often do we really do it, and do it correctly?  The humility that it talks about here is so important... recognizing our relationship with our father... as his children, in need of instruction... humbly asking for and following our dad's advice.  Today... let's try to lessen the disconnect between what we believe and what we live.  Let's humble ourselves before our father... tell him our problems and ask for his help... and when he gives us some advice, let's follow it. :)  If we believe all these things, let's go out and do them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Acts 5:29

"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."
Acts 5:29


This is a pretty simple scripture, but so so so important.  Often in our lives we are tempted to listen to other people rather than God.  Listen to them to tell us how to solve our problems, or how to fill our emptiness.  But people, being fallible you know, can only help us in limited ways.  Human solutions are only going to solve the symptoms of our problems, not the underlying problems themselves.  And humans can never fill our emptiness... only perhaps help us forget about it for a while.  God can cure us of anything... and can fill us to overflowing.  When we search for answers, they can all be found in Him.  Today, let's try to rely on God for the things that he offers us, and not try to find them in imperfect, earthly ways.

Monday, June 18, 2001

1 Nephi 5:17-19

"And now when my father saw all these things, he was filled with the Spirit, and began to prophesy concerning his seed--
That these plates of brass would go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who were of his seed.
Wherefore, he said that these plates of brass should never perish; neither should they be dimmed any more by time.  And he prophesied many things concerning his seed."
1 Nephi 5:17-19


I wonder if this is talking about the writings on the plates of brass, or the plates of brass themselves.  and do you think that they will go to his seed only, or everyone?  it would be cool to see the plates of brass, and to see how much they differ from the Bible... because, hopefully at that time there weren't many (any?) mistranslations, but it was a pure source... so comparing it to our current Bible would be very instructive.  I think it is cool as well, that having the Spirit is always connected with prophecy.  It reminds us of the things that we need to do in our lives to gain and keep the companionship of the Spirit in our lives.  Yesterday in Relief Society we had the lesson "Seek to be Educated in the Truth."  There are SO many things to learn out there... so many things that we already have, that we don't have to find or have re-discovered.  The plates of brass would be amazing... but do we even know the scriptures that we have already?  Have we been listening to the Spirit to find the truths that are all around us now?  I think that when we are ready for more, that the Lord will be more than willing to offer more... I just don't think that we are yet using what we already have to advantage.  We doubt the truths we already know, and we neglect the opportunities all around us to gain more.  So, today... let's get ready for the plates of brass, and all the other amazing things that are in store... let's try to get a handle on what we have now, and endeavor to listen to the Spirit to guide us to any truth we have to find around us. :)

Friday, June 15, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 30:2

"But your mind has been on the things of the earth more than on the things of me, your Maker, and the ministry whereunto you have been called; and you have not given heed unto my Spirit, and to those who were set over you, but have been persuaded by those whom I have not commanded."
Doctrine and Covenants 30:2


God has such a good teaching method. :)  In this verse He is explaining to David Whitmer what he is doing wrong. :)  And, you know... it is always good when people tell us exactly what we are doing wrong instead of just saying that we are screwed up, and we aren't sure why. :)  I think a lot of us are similar to David Whitmer in that our minds are on the things of the earth more than the things of God.  We listen to random people's opinions rather than to the opinion of the Spirit or God's chosen leaders.  So, today... let's try to think of things from a larger perspective, and dwell on the things of God.... there really are b'zillions of spectacularly interesting things to think about in that realm, I promise. :)  Let's try to listen to the Spirit, and focus on our callings and missions here on the earth that our Father has assigned us. :)  Should be a fascinating day. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 19:16

"For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent."
Doctrine and Covenants 19:16


Good stuff.  I like the fact that God suffered for us, in our place.  Not that it was a fun thing for him, but I think that it gives us a bond with him that no-one else could share.  He knows exactly what it is to be in our shoes, to suffer the things that we suffer... to live the life that we live.  And he didn't go through all that for some abstract reason that we can't get... he didn't go through that to prove that he is cool (although, of course, he is)... he went through it to save us from ourselves.  To save us from suffering some of the bitter consequences of our own choices... so that, if we can capture the spirit of true repentance, we can overcome our shortcomings and actually reach perfection.  I can't think of anything more amazing that that.  I think that I, at least, take that for granted way way too often.  I owe my life, my soul, my existence... to God.  And the thing is, he hands it back to me freely.  He doesn't want my enforced servitude, my slavery, my face in the dust.  He wants my freely given love and respect.  I think that is the least I can do. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2001

James 4:3

"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
James 4:3


This is interesting to me, I guess because I get so off track in what I want sometimes.  When we don't have the Lord at the forefront of our lives, we ask for a lot of things that we shouldn't... and I don't even think that we realize all the time how wrong the things that we are asking for are.  Sometimes we even pretend to ourselves that we are doing what we do in order to care for someone else... we can taint love pretty badly that way, and a lot of good works, because we are focusing inward, on ourselves, instead of outward, on God and other people.  Whenever we are after something so that *we* can feel this way or that way, we are listening to our bodies too much, and not enough to our spirits. :)  Not that we shouldn't take care of ourselves, because we definitely should... but we should make sure that we are caring about others, and that we have God around.  The natural man wants to satisfy physical and emotional needs before anything else... and we are learning to put our spiritual well-being first.  Today, let's try to ask for things that will help other people, not just make us feel better. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Matthew 5:42

"Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away."
Matthew 5:42


This is an interesting scripture... I think mostly because it doesn't seem very world-wise. :)  We learn to be wary of people in this modern society of ours, and to refrain from giving and loaning things to most people.  God, as always, has a better way to show us.  And, as I think about it, it makes sense to me.  The more wary we are with strangers, the more wary they are of us... and the cycle continues.  Pretty soon no-one trusts anyone.  It creates the society that we have now... where people are afraid to walk down the street at night, where we have to lock our doors.  Where we often care more about our possessions than our fellow humans. And, you know... as much as we are afraid of being taken advantage of, the only thing that creates and builds trust is offering it to others.  If we step outside of the norm and start giving, and loaning... and asking for the same in return... simple sharing... we are building the foundation of a better society.  We are building our Zion, our perfect place, where we all dream of being able to live.  I worry about being taken advantage of too... but you know... in the end, it doesn't matter at all.  It might hurt my pride, but you know... that probably needs to be taken down a few notches anyway. :)  It is the small things that make the difference in the end... that make us into community-builders instead of community-breakers.  And, to start... all we have to do is follow this simple commandment.  If someone asks us for something... let's give it.  Whether they are going to keep it, borrow it, use it unwisely, or break it irreparably.  Doesn't matter.  It is the giving that matters... it is the sincere offering of our hearts... and no matter WHAT happens afterward, it is ourselves that we are teaching, and our world that we are saving.  Times will come when giving will be one of the hardest things that we can do... right now might be an extremely hard time for us as individuals.  But even when things are bad, giving to others... of our possessions, of our time, of anything... is a good, soul-expanding thing to do.  God will take care of us, always.  So, we probably could give away everything and still be just fine.  :)  Today, let's try to worry less about what we have and more about what we can give to others.

Monday, June 4, 2001

Ecclesiastes 3:22

"Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?"
Ecclesiastes 3:22


I like this. :)  I don't think that we rejoice in our own works enough... maybe sometimes.  But overall, at least with *me* ... I hate my works sometimes.  Some of my works, at my workplace, are boring, boring, boring... or just not as good as I could / should do.  And then, other things... my apartment, my journal, ... even relationships... I don't work on enough.  It is cool of God to give us rewards that fit our actions so well.  When we do good things, then we feel great about it.  So, I wonder why we don't do good things more often.  I know I personally come up with a thousand excuses... usually having to do with time or with priorities. :)  Like I should get the boring things done first.... heh heh.  how silly. :)  I should always be doing things that I can rejoice about.  I might not enjoy taking out the garbage, but when I do, I rejoice at the kitchen that is once again free of it.  :)  Prayer or scripture study can seem tedious or repetitive at times, but we can rejoice that we put forth the effort, and we know the scriptures or have a good relationship with God.  We have a lot of rewards that are just part of our daily lives, if we look for them. :)  The reward of pulling over and watching the sunrise is a pretty awesome one... the reward of treating people well is an amazing one... even the rewards of cleaning the house, making dinner, or (yikes) washing the dishes. :)  Today, let's try to find the rewards that are built into the things that we do... and rejoice in our good works. :)

Sunday, June 3, 2001

Alma 34:34

"Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God.  Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in the eternal world."
Alma 34:34


This is kind of scary, but I thought it was interesting.  A paper I wrote in college had to do with near-death experiences, and I remember reading about people's visions of the other side... talking about people who wanted a cigarette REALLY badly, but who couldn't have one, because they didn't have a body.  Things like that.  I wonder sometimes exactly what our addictions do to us... eternally.  When we die, we are going to be the same person... and if we haven't learned to repent here, what makes us think that it is going to be a higher priority then?  Because we'll be scared out of our gourds?  I really don't think that it works that way.  We can't make us for years of living and learning to change in three seconds... especially without a body.  How can we possibly overcome a physical / emotional addiction when you don't have a body?  We can wish and hope that it is gone, but until we are there once again, we can't do anything about it.  Today, let's remember the eternal consequences of the choices that we make now... not that it is very fun to remember things like that, but it is important.  We need to become whole and good and better than we are.  Let's change.  I know that I don't want to go through eternity exactly like I am.  Maybe we can all use a little more polish. :)

Saturday, June 2, 2001

Jeremiah 35:14-15

"The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me.
I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me."
Jeremiah 35:14-15


This is an interesting comparison... between a family that listened to their father and established a tradition of not indulging in wine, and the children of Israel, who didn't listen to God.  I can apply it to my life by just thinking about the people that I do listen to... probably in all of our lives there are people we would listen to as closely as Jonadab's sons listened to him.  The question is... is God one of them?  I mean, there are very few things that I *wouldn't* do for certain people in my life, but how much do I do for the Lord?  Do I take the time to talk to him?  Do I take the time to read the book that he recommends? :)  With my close friends, if one mentions a preference for a certain song, I'll go out and hunt for the CD.  Or search for a book that one of them recommends... take off a few days of work for a chance to talk to one who comes to town.  With God though, sometimes I leave for work on time instead of taking the opportunity to talk to him first.  I shovel down lunch without pausing to include him in conversation, and I often choose random reading material over his recommendations.  I would never do those things with my close friends, so how do I end up doing it with God?  Maybe I need to work on our friendship.
I also like God asking us to amend our doings.  Like an amendment... fixing the law, or making revisions to a document.  Fixing the mistakes, making things better.  That word "amend" sounds so much better than "bzzzzz, wrong answer." :)  It's like, instead of turning in your paper and getting a big red F, having your teacher hand it back with suggestions for improvement. :)  We're still in the draft stage!  That is such a hopeful thought for me... that, in the end, the story *will* be perfect, and we get feedback along the way to make it (ourselves) better. :)

Friday, June 1, 2001

Zephaniah 3:4

"Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law."
Zephaniah 3:4


Very interesting phrase: "they have done violence to the law."  I was thinking about that, and how you could hurt a law.  (Images of Bill from SchoolHouse Rock for those of you who know it...)  What I came up with is that when we take responsibility for something and then we don't protect it as we should, we are allowing it to be injured... and sometimes we are doing the violence ourselves, as was the case with King Noah and his priests in the book of Mormon.  The chapter that this scripture is taken from talks about the Second Coming, and so presumably this is talking about things that will happen in the last days... a lot of hypocrisy, and a lot of ... you almost want to call it infidelity here.  I suppose it is pollution and betrayal of what they stand for, but think about it... these are this city's prophets and priests, right?  The very people that they should be able to put full trust in, and yet *they* are the polluters, and the ones that are trying to undermine the law.  I guess infidelity comes to mind because it makes me think of that kind of ultimate betrayal.  I think that we have to watch ourselves that we don't become like this.  As members of the church, and because we have the knowledge that we are God's children, we have a responsibility to set an example for the people around us.  We have a responsibility to be *more* obedient, because we are expected to be the candles set on the hill... the light for others to follow.  Just as parents, teachers, and political leaders are held to a higher standard because of the power and responsibility they have, we too need to hold ourselves to a higher standard than that of the world... it is an abuse of power when we don't, because some of our brothers and sisters will follow us, whether we are traveling towards God, or going in another direction.

Total Pageviews