Friday, November 30, 2001

James 4:13-15

"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."
James 4:13-15


The scriptures talk a lot about not focusing on the past... not returning to our former selves.  And here they talk about not focusing on the future. :)  So, really, we are only left with the present.  This can get a little scary if we think about it the way part of society does... living in the moment, only worrying about what happens now... forget about the consequences.  However, I think that God encourages a different view. :)  To me, this scripture is talking about control.  When we focus on the future, normally, we make plans... thinking that we control events, and that what we envision will take place.  And having hope and having goals are a good thing... but God is really in control of the future... not us.  Any plans we make without his involvement are doomed to failure, merely because we have a different view of the future, and God's view will always win, because he can make it reality.  Also, I think that whenever we focus ourselves in the future we don't give enough weight to the present.  We become procrastinators, thinking that we have plenty of time to accomplish whatever it is... and not doing the work today that will bring us nearer our goals.  Sometimes focusing on the future can overwhelm us, because we think about ALL the things that we need to do, rather than what we need to do today.  We focus on the daunting task of "enduring to the end" when, really, we just need to endure the afternoon.  Instead of repenting tomorrow, repent today.  Instead of being nicer tomorrow, try being nicer today.  When the scriptures talk about there being time no longer, the closest I can get to imagining it is an eternal day... that NOW is everything.  If we emulate our ideal selves now, then that is who we are... forever.  If we build a relationship now... then we have it, always.  If we repent right at this moment, then we are clean... forever.  Right now is what matters... not tomorrow, next week... not anything else but this moment, and who we are and who we are emulating right now.  We create reality by what we live today.  The scriptures say he that is happy now shall be happy in eternity... so today, right now, let's make the choices that will make us happy.  Find peace, give love... offer ourselves in service.  Now is everything.  Let's use it well. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2001

Luke 9:61-62

"And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Luke 9:61-62


This is an interesting lesson as well.  Yesterday we talked about faith, and a few days ago we talked about commitment.  This seems to encompass both. In this chapter Christ talks to a couple of different people who want to take care of something before they follow him... one wants time to bury his father, one (above) wants to say goodbye to his family.  These are good examples because they seem reasonable to us... why wouldn't someone be allowed to wrap up loose ends? :)  I can say for sure, of course... I'm just as fallible as the next person, but it seems to me that God prepares us adequately for everything... way way ahead of time.  So, when he calls, there really shouldn't be anything that we have to wrap up.  everything in our lives prepares us for something else in our life, later on... and we keep learning more and more and getting more and more ready for our big tests.  So, yes... we still panic when they come, and we try to stall saying that we have to wrap this or that up... but really, we are ready to make whatever commitment that God asks of us, when he asks it.  Sometimes it takes a lot of faith... as with the person in this scripture.  He (or she) wanted to say goodbye to everyone at home... perhaps make sure things were okay.  It's hard to have faith that everything will be okay as we serve the Lord... God has already made the provisions, and taken care of the farewells. :)  In fact, I would say that our families are a lot better off when God is taking care of them for us then we are in direct control.
As for putting hand to the plow and looking back... again, commitment and faith.  We have to be committed to going forward and not turn back all the time... just like Luke 17:32, Remember Lot's wife.  Whatever field the Lord wants us to work, it will only get done if we concentrate on it, and trust that God will take care of the other things that we can't control.

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Mark 4:38-40

"And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?"
Mark 4:38-40


This is an intriguing lesson on faith.  A hard one too, at least to me.  Things go wrong often in life, and it seems easy to become fearful.  I like these verses because they seem to me to be saying that there is never any reason to be afraid.  Just like all the scriptures that talk about "all things" working together for our good, Christ seems here to be perfectly confident that everything will be fine, and seems to calm the storm just to cheer up his friends. :)  Little tiny things go wrong for me, and I wonder if I turned the wrong way and destroyed the ideal course of my life. :)  So, God calms the storms for me as well sometimes... but always, as in this scripture, he encourages faith as a better way to solve the problem.  Whatever scares us in this life, whether it is a physical storm or other storm of life, there is no reason at all to be afraid... God is in charge.  Even death can't touch us, for we only move on to another stage of our eternal lives.  And even though we know that... it is still hard to trust.  Hard to accept whatever comes with equanimity.  And so we learn.  And we learn just the way that the disciples did here.  We see an example.  Something goes wrong, we get scared, and God solves the problem.  The next time, the same thing happens.  Eventually, we start learning.  That God is always there... that he always solves the problems.  That no matter the storms that we have to weather, in the end a calm always returns, and the ship never sinks.  That no matter how inconsistent we are, God always keeps his promises.  The faster we learn, the less scary life gets... so here's to learning. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Proverbs 16:3

"Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."
Proverbs 16:3


I was thinking about commitment today... that maybe that is what keeps us from our potential.  We love the Lord, but somehow we also love Satan.  And, because we are torn by the two sides... of life, of ourselves... desiring something of both, we never firmly commit to God.  Or we do, and then re-think things at the first sign of temptation.  If you think about it in terms of a relationship, which it really is, you can see how awful it is.  God is our best friend one day, and the next we are bad-mouthing him to Satan, saying that he is okay, but Satan is our *real* friend.  Like we are twelve again, and so desperate for acceptance that we don't really care what relationships we destroy.
On the other side of the scripture are thoughts, and I find this interesting as well.  we wonder how to purge our thoughts of evil, to stop desiring things that are bad... we think this is why we can't commit.  The truth is though, that commitment comes first.  Then the thoughts clear up... then we find that inner peace that we are after... because we've finally made the right choice, and we aren't trying to balance on the fence anymore.
Commitment is a hard thing sometimes... whenever we commit to one thing we give up other possibilities.  When we choose to go to lunch at one restaurant, we give up the choices at another restaurant, or the chance to order pizza, or the tuna fish sandwich we might have made for ourselves.  When you take the analogy beyond food to YCO (your chosen obsession), it seems scarier.  But until we make that choice, we are never going to get any food.  And until we make that choice, we never have the chance to make the next one, and the next.  Choices are the way that we progress in life... towards Satan or towards God, and everything we do is going to bring us closer to or further away from our goal.  Avoiding commitment is avoiding progression... avoiding the relationship entirely.  We can't become closer to God when we refuse to make any choices regarding him.  Today... let's try committing to something with regard to God.  See what possibilities it opens up.

Monday, November 26, 2001

Luke 21:34

"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares."
Luke 21:34


I think this is interesting... first, just the concept that our hearts can become overcharged. :)  I mean, we probably all feel that they can sometimes, but scriptural evidence of it was more than I expected. :)  So, taking heed to ourselves is the way to solve the problem... and making sure that our hearts are concerned with things that won't weigh them down.  Footnote on "surfeiting" says debauchery, so we should probably avoid that, as well as drunkenness. :)  The "cares of this life" part is slightly perplexing, but it makes more sense to me when I think of it as "of this life" as opposed to eternal concerns. :)  We get really wrapped up in our lives sometimes, forgetting that they are just a small part of eternity.  Thinking that this life is everything can get our priorities pretty mixed up.  So, today... let's take heed to ourselves, and leave some room in our hearts for God.

Thursday, November 22, 2001

Psalms 107:8-9

"Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness."
Psalms 107:8-9


Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I like that God can satisfy our longing and fill us.  ... something to be thankful for.  one thing out of an eternity of things.  No matter where you are, or what is going on with you, stop for a moment.  Go outside and just look at this earth... at the beauty and glory of all of it... at the spectacular moments that God creates just to make us smile.  So... let's smile. :)  And thank God for this day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Alma 37:47

"And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live.  Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober.  My son, farewell."
Alma 37:47


Look to God and live.  Interesting.  It reminds me of having "an eye single" to God's glory.  When we lose that central focus of our lives, we wander a lot, looking for that meaning and purpose that we have lost.  We know that it must be there, and we search for it in a lot of things... but it can only be found in God.  It's like idol worship.  What is the point?  We can put a golden rabbit in a prominent place in our living room, or build a shrine to our favorite potato... but no matter how much attention we lavish on them, and no matter how absolutely devoted we are, they are static.  We can't look to the Rabbit and live... we can't look to the Potato and live.  Even if we get a little more realistic and talk about people, professions, or your chosen obsession (YCO)... with none of these will looking bring us life.  God alone can do that for us, and no matter how good a replacement we think that we have, it won't have the same results.  Mixing stuff together might produce a funky potato-rabbit (with extra eyes) or YCO might be especially complex with polka dots, but you can't get omnipotence from weakness.  Today, let's go for the life.  Potato-Rabbits are unique, but they aren't God.

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Hebrews 11:1

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1


This is intriguing.  We were talking Sunday about why we do genealogy, and someone was talking about the spiritual bonds that tie us together... that we need each other.  I think that need is real, more than spiritual... a real, physical, tangible thing that is part of our spirits and our bodies... part of our whole selves.  So, then... thinking along those lines, if you think of faith as the bond between you and what you hope for... the physical reality tying you to the unseen world... it suddenly has so many more dimensions than you've ever dreamed of.  It doesn't even resemble belief anymore... belief becomes shapeless, shallow, and limited in dimension.  Faith is the connector... the thing that ties you to your dreams... the thing that is so deeply rooted in you that it can never be severed... whatever you connect with will be part of you.  The scientific evidence of the inexplicable. :)  I love it. :)

Monday, November 19, 2001

Psalms 15:1-2

"Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart."
Psalms 15:1-2


There are more verses in this psalm, so if you are looking to take up residence in the holy hill, be sure to read the whole thing. :)  I liked this first part of the requirements, because it talks about speaking the truth in your heart. :)  That fascinates me.  It's like being under oath all the time... needing to speak "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."  I wonder how our lives would change if we spoke the truth that is in our hearts.  I wonder why we don't.  I'm sure part of it is fear of being vulnerable... fear of being hurt or rejected... and probably part of it is not knowing.  That's probably the scariest part too, since if we don't know ourselves that well, then we don't even have the choice of expressing our heart's truth.  Today, let's look to God to find the truth in our hearts, and speak it, without shame or fear.  After all, when you have God on your side what is there to be afraid or ashamed of? :)

Sunday, November 18, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 59:18

"Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and use of man, both to please the eye and gladden the heart."
Doctrine and Covenants 59:18


I find it very cool that God wants to please our eyes and gladden our hearts. :)  We have so many things to be thankful for, not the least of which are earthly things which please our eyes and gladden our hearts. :)  In our lives there are an awful lot of frightening things, but God is there to remind us that there are an awful lot of amazing things too.  Today, let's focus on the things that are pleasing to the eye and gladdening to the heart.  There are things to be joyful about, and great things in store for each of us. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2001

Doctrine and Covenants 108:7

"Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings."
Doctrine and Covenants 108:7


This strikes me not so much for what it tells us to do, but what the alternative is.  I don't think that any of us gets up in the morning planning to put people down, or weaken anyone... unfortunately we do so anyway, without planning it.  Perhaps a plan would help... a plan to strengthen people, and not just play the day by ear.  ... but whether we have a plan or not, the point is that we need to be consistent with what we believe all the time, not just Sundays or with our families.  We need to strengthen our friends AND our non-friends. :)  God asks us to pray always, which is a way of asking us to be the same person all the time.  We are spiritual beings, and we shouldn't try to turn that part of ourselves off when we go to work, or when it isn't convenient.  And the same thing applies here.  If we were the same good person all the time, then we would be building up and strengthening the people around us all the time.   Think about how different we act when we are trying to make a good impression.  Imagine if we were that same person all the time... hopefully without the awkwardness. :)  Seriously, it's the same idea as in "do unto others as you would have done unto you."  Consistency.  If we believe and trust God now, if we love people today... can we keep that going, and feel it often, and eventually always?  Like Alma's "can ye feel so now?"  As we go throughout our days, lets try to be our best selves... and not our worst.  And the more we try, the better our best will become, and the better our worst.  And, someday, there won't be any gap.  I look forward to that.

Friday, November 16, 2001

Mark 10:24

"And the disciples were astonished at his words.  But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!"
Mark 10:24


This scripture is interesting because instead of saying how hard it is for rich people to get into heaven, it explains why.  Trusting in riches is the problem. :)  And, I suppose, because of the other scriptures... when you have riches, it must be awfully hard not to trust in them.  I think I may have had a lesson about this just yesterday when my bank statement came and I was balancing my checkbook.  This month, because of some unforeseen circumstances, I paid an important bill about 8 days late.  Examining my bank balance and the checks that hadn't cleared... two checks from over a month ago are still unaccounted for.  I could have paid the bill on time, and been fine... if I had trusted in something besides riches. :)  It is difficult to do.  We reason things out in our minds, and rarely do we include God in our reasoning.  I wonder what life would be like if we all had a lot more trust and faith in the Lord.  Probably a lot less stressful. :)  I've been thinking lately that things would be easier if I had a full time job rather than just freelance work.  And, they probably would... but the reason it would be easier is that I wouldn't have to trust in God so much, I could trust in riches. :)  The job might be a good thing, but the reason probably isn't. :)  Today, let's look at our lives and see if there are some ways that we are trusting in riches and not in God.  If so, let's make some changes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Jeremiah 3:14-15

"Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."
Jeremiah 3:14-15


The first verse here refers to us as children, and then as spouses of the Lord.  That is really interesting, and what I get out of it a progressing level of seriousness.  We are backsliding children, not listening to our father... perhaps how we see ourselves sometimes.  Playing in the street and not believing anything bad could ever happen to us.  And then God turns it up a notch and says, but you are more than backsliding children.  You are way more important to me than you understand... and our relationship is more serious that you see.  I am married to you.  There are a lot of implications in this relationship... a betrayal of God's trust it is a lot more serious in the context of a marriage than it is in the context of a Father-Child relationship.  Just like adultery is more serious than coming home after curfew.  The cool thing is that in the way that God talks about this relationship we can see that no matter our betrayals, he is committed still.  He will accept us back as though we were backsliding children, even though our betrayal is much more serious.  He loves us and is absolutely committed to us, and will bring us to Zion, and grant us knowledge and understanding.  I like the image of eating and drinking knowledge here... Zion will be a great place. :)  Today, let's repent of our backsliding.  No matter how serious our offenses really are, God will accept us still, and lead us to Zion. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Luke 14:31-33

"Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:31-33


This is interesting.  At first I think I was a little confused at what the king story had to do with forsaking all that you have, but I think it is about enduring to the end. :)  Enduring isn't about suffering, it is just about following through.  When you commit to something, you have to plan for the future, and ensure that commitment will remain in force long-term.  The king in this story had to sit down and decide whether he could win the war.... had to plan out his strategy.  We have to do that too, whenever we commit to something.  Wishy-washy commitments that we are only certain of for a day aren't going to take us far... in life, or in eternity.  Today, God might ask us only to forsake one sin, or to walk one step along the path.  And that is good, so that we don't get overwhelmed or tackle more than we can handle in a day... but if we commit to God, then we have to know and plan for the day when we will forsake every sin, and walk the final step of the path.  We have to have a plan for the future, or we will never get there.  Yesterday a friend of mine called me and in the course of our conversation she asked me what my long-term plan was after I move to Colorado.  I was surprised by the question, and realized that I didn't really have any long-term plans beyond going there and trying to find a job. :)  So, I am going to repent and try to figure out what to do with my life, and I invite you to join me.

Monday, November 12, 2001

Helaman 2:8

"And when the servant of Helaman had known all the heart of Kishkumen, and how that it was his object to murder, and also that it was the object of all those who belonged to his band to murder, and to rob, and to gain power, (and this was their secret plan, and their combination) the servant of Helaman said unto Kishkumen: Let us go forth unto the judgment-seat."
Helaman 2:8


I suppose that power is just as addictive as any other obsession... or else, why would anyone spend their whole life going after it?  It is interesting to me that there was espionage even back in the time of the Book of Mormon... is it human nature, or a necessary part of government? :)  It is interesting how history repeats itself.  We have more technology, but the same things happen.  People are still struggling with their chosen addictions.  Christ put God's will before his own, and set us an example... but it is still the struggle that consumes mankind.  Today, let's watch out for secret combinations... and try not to slip into any ourselves. :)

Sunday, November 11, 2001

Helaman 5:51

"And as many as were convinced did lay down their weapons of war, and also their hatred and the tradition of their fathers."
Helaman 5:51


This is an amazing thing, and much harder than it sounds. :)  We all have hatred to let go of, and traditions that we need to leave behind.  And, it takes some incredible determination to let go of these things.  The Lamanites in this story astound me because it states so matter-of-factly that they let go of these things that were so much a part of their lives.  They gave them up when they found a better way.
It doesn't always seem that easy to me. :)  Bias and personal grudges, and things that you learn the wrong way... those seem like the hardest things of all to get rid of.  But, as with all things, God shows us an example, and is there to help us along the way.  Learning to love is hard work, but the rewards more than equal the struggle.  I think it is that way with all of God's lessons.  Sometimes they scare us so much that we cower in the corner and say that we don't want to learn any more... but just like the scary things in childhood, once we face our fears and accept the lesson, we have whole new avenues of possibility and joy open up to us.  As we trust God, even the hardest things to understand will become clear.  Hatred is a poisonous thing.  Let's get rid of it. :)

Saturday, November 10, 2001

2 Nephi 10:20

"And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea."
2 Nephi 10:20


This is good stuff.  God drives us out of our land of inheritance sometimes.  Things happen to us that seem tragic, or just not what we had in mind.  Lehi's family was rich, and they had a great future ahead of them in some ways.  But then God called Lehi to be a prophet... and it is hard to be popular with your peers when you have to tell them how wicked they are. :)  I am sure that Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi (Lehi's sons) all had some investment in the community, all had some mental future, being the sons of a rich man with good social standing.  It is a hard thing to give up your life and go into the wilderness.  They wandered for years, and it was a difficult life.  Often, members of the group murmured and wondered why God was dealing with them the way he has... but in the end, God gave them the promised land.  Their lives and the lives of their children for generations to come were made better... infinitely better in many ways... then they would have been had they remained.  I guess my point is, God sees the big picture.  It isn't easy when we lose all of our Gold to the local politician and have to leave our vision of what we wanted the future to be behind.  It isn't easy wandering around lost for years... but still, despite all... God knows what he is doing.  If God takes away a future, it is only because he has a better one in store.  It is hard to let go of the future you know.  The one that you are familiar with, even when it doesn't seem all that great, is hard to part with.  Like that old game show, "Let's Make a Deal."  Do you want to keep what you have, or go for what is behind curtain #2?  The Lord's game show is better though... when we do as he asks, we are *always* trading up.  It's hard of course, when you gave up the $1000 and the curtain opens to reveal a farm in Iowa.  Just because it is worth more doesn't always mean that we can appreciate it. :)  So, let's learn to appreciate God's deals... and remember that he is leading us toward the promised land every day.  We just have to trust him.

Friday, November 9, 2001

Jonah 2:1-2

"Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly,
And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice."
Jonah 2:1-2


Jonah is cool.  I can relate to him. :)  The Lord asks him to go tell the people in Nineveh that they are going to be destroyed if they don't shape up, and he doesn't want to... so he goes for a boat ride instead.  Then God makes a whale swallow him.  I don't know if the whale was very happy about it either, actually... but it definitely gave Jonah some time to think.  What is amazing to me is that, even though God punished him, and a lot of people would be too angry to pray... Jonah is humble enough to realize where his deliverance comes from.  He realized that he made a mistake, and that he needed to do what God asked.  It wasn't the way he really wanted his life to go, and it was a hard thing for him to do, but he is determined to follow the Lord, even after their little disagreement. :)  And, he prays to the Lord... still in the belly of the whale... and the Lord hears him, and delivers him safe back to his life.
I think this type of thing happens to all of us.  God asks us to preach to Nineveh, and we're reluctant.  Nineveh is wicked, what good is preaching to her going to do... la la la.  For whatever reason, when God asks us to do something we studiously ignore it because we had other ideas.  So, then, we get swallowed by a whale... which, even symbolically, can be pretty overwhelming.  But, in the end, it puts things back in perspective.  After you've been inside a whale, the rest of life seems pretty good. :)  And the coolest thing is, Nineveh repented.  Jonah thought it was pointless and it wasn't... he saved hundreds of lives.  God's ways are incomprehensible to us sometimes, but things always, always work out better when we listen, and do things God's way.

Thursday, November 8, 2001

Matthew 12:15

"But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all."
Matthew 12:15


I think that the fact that Christ healed everyone who followed him is cool.  As it says, there were great multitudes.  It must have taken a long, long time... but he did it because he loved the people, and because what he loved to do was help and heal them.  Wouldn't you have liked to have been there?  And, in the midst of the multitudes there must have been a lot of kinds of healing going on... not just physical, but mental, emotional... spiritual.  No matter who they were, or how difficult to heal, he healed them all.  I think the same thing can happen with us.  As we follow Christ, he will heal us.  All of us.  No matter what it is that we have to be healed of.  We just have to keep following, and not give up. :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Mormon 9:9

"For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?"
Mormon 9:9


I think this is amazing.  Can you imagine being consistent?  :)  I think that all of us do things that we know we shouldn't sometimes, and other times we are models of restraint and good works. :)  God doesn't have that going on.  He always does exactly what he knows is right, and exactly what he wants to do.  The results never surprise him. :)  He doesn't let his emotion control the way he acts... or drives. :)  Not that he probably has to drive, you know... I think I was getting a little too introspective there. :)  The other great thing is that we can count on him... EVERY time. There is never a time when he will be too busy or too distracted for us, never a time when he won't be able to handle the conversation.  That is a lot better than I can do. :)  Today, let's work on being consistent... and make sure to thank God for always being there. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2001

Psalms 105:43

"And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness."
Psalms 105:43


I like this.  Sometimes it is good to remember that God looks after our happiness.  It doesn't always seem that way when things are hard, but things DO work together for our good, and God is constantly working toward our joy.  That doesn't mean that we won't be tested and tried... that, after all, is what our mortal lives are about.  But tests and trials help us to learn, and someday, because of our trials, we will rise above all obstacles and join God in eternal happiness.  And we don't have to wait for then to be happy; we can choose it now, no matter our circumstances.  God grants us the ability to be calm in the midst of chaos, and to be happy in the midst of hardship.  It reminds me of 2 Corinthians 4:5-6... "troubled on every side, yet not distressed . . . perplexed, but not in despair . . . persecuted, but not forsaken" ... there are so many things to live for, and to be happy about.  It just takes some thought, and a determined search sometimes when things get dark.  Let's remember that God is watching out for us today, and enjoy the lives that we have. :)

Monday, November 5, 2001

Philippians 3:8

"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ."
Philippians 3:8


The whole chapter is fascinating.  I recommend it.  Anyhow, I chose this scripture today because the past couple of days have been, at least for me, ones in which I have been thinking about winning and losing. :)  The Diamondbacks (the baseball team here in Arizona) won the World Series last night, and then, today, my favorite football team lost to its biggest rival.  Other wins and losses as well, job-wise, friend-wise... but now, thinking about it in terms of Christ... what greater win could there be in life, then to win the chance to stand with Christ, and to be found in him (as the next verse says)?  Whatever our wins or losses in our daily lives, the one that matters more than any other is whether we win Christ.  As it says in the scripture, the loss of all things is more than made up for by that one win.  Until we gain that perspective, we will never know the true value of any moment of our lives.  We spend money and time and resources and lifetimes pursuing things that are of no worth, when the real prize is before us, waiting to be admitted to our thoughts and hearts.  We worry so much about things that slip in and out of our lives, and we don't value enough the one and only truly consistent thing... God.

Sunday, November 4, 2001

1 Timothy 6:18

"That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distrbute, willing to communicate."
1 Timothy 6:18


Isn't it interesting that communication is part of the gospel?  I mean, everything is of course part of the gospel, but I just find it interesting that God mentions it here.  Prayer is a good form of communication, but this scripture doesn't specify that form, so I think that it goes further.... to things that we have talked about before.  We need each other on this earth... we need each other to build a righteous community.  We need each other as part of our test (Neal A. Maxwell says that we are each other's clinical experience).  I was driving with a friend this evening and we were talking about things that we had learned, or were trying to learn... and all of them involve other people.  We learn to interact, to love, to listen... to communicate.  Every person we interact with on this earth is there for a reason... part of the plan.  Communication matters.  People matter.  Let's help each other pass today's test... and, inasmuch as it is possible... have fun doing it. :)

Friday, November 2, 2001

2 Nephi 9:20

"O how great the holiness of our God!  For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it."
2 Nephi 9:20


The fact that God knows everything is, by itself, a reason to listen to God. :)  It's funny that we go throughout our lives thinking that we know so much, that God's rules don't apply to us in this or that way... when this is God we're talking about.  If anyone knows what he is doing, it is him.
The idea of knowing everything... wow.  I wonder sometimes if eventually we will all know everything, as we learn and grow throughout eternity.  And, if we all will eventually know everything, then that means we will know everything about each other... which is probably why it is hard to face living with God when we don't feel good about ourselves, or feel guilty about our actions.  Because he knows everything, and if we live there, then everyone around us will eventually know everything.  If we are ashamed of what we do and who we are, then how could we stand to face God, or to be in that place?  That is why God wants us to repent... so that we can become clean and pure again, and able to feel good about ourselves.  That kind of confidence in yourself and your relationship with God changes our lives... both earthly and eternal... dramatically.  Repentance is merely removing impediments to progress.  God's work is to help us to reach exaltation... and someone who knows everything is an excellent ally. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2001

Acts 4:32

"And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."
Acts 4:32


I think this is really interesting, especially in today's acquisitive society.  I claim to own things, and would probably get quite worried loaning (or giving) *my* car or *my* computer to a neighbor.  I wonder how we can overcome that and become a true Zion community... of one heart and one soul.  I hope it doesn't take an overwhelming tragedy, although it will probably be easier for all of us to have everything common if all of the stuff that we are proud of owning gets turned to rubble.  There has to be a way to get there, or at least to start working on it, that isn't so dramatic though, don't you think? :)  Perhaps a thought experiment to start.  If I didn't have... my car, for instance, what would change in my life?  Do I know where the nearest bus routes are?  Could I get around to the places that I need to go?  Can I relate to the people who don't have a car?  Is a car *really* necessary to my life?  What in my life would have to change to be able to give that up?  I'm sure we all can think of things in our lives that are very important to us for different reasons.  I was getting my hair cut the other day and there was some promotional material about donating 10 inches of your hair to a children's cancer group, who would use it to make wigs for the kids.  So, I started thinking... how attached to my hair am I? :)  God gives some of us more than others... as a test.  We can glory in having more than someone else, or we can help to build a Zion community... by sharing God's abundance to us with others.  And once we try these thought experiments, maybe we'll be ready to give things that are important to us when the opportunity arises.  Maybe we'll understand how important these things can be to other people as well, especially the ones who don't have them.  That kind of understanding will at least start us off on the path to Zion.

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