Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Alma 62:41

"But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility."
Alma 62:41


Isn't it interesting how different people can go through very similar experiences and be changed by them in completely different ways?  I think that it is all about perspective.  I don't think that we can blame any of our shortcomings on circumstance or on society... because, really, those things only have an effect based on how we interpret them.  In this scripture the Nephites and the Lamanites were going through a really long and difficult war.  Some of them became hardened, and some of them were softened.  Whether it is war or something else that challenges us, we have the same choices.  We can allow those forces to harden us or soften us.  We can become more sensitive to the spirit, or desensitized.  We can care even more, or we can stop caring altogether.  Choosing to care... to be vulnerable and sensitive... is hard.  The risks are great... as are the rewards.  Going outside our comfort zones allows us to learn new things, to experience love and trust, and to grow.  If we build walls instead, becoming hardened and resistant, then we never learn anything outside those walls, and we lose opportunities.  Today, in whatever war we face, let's work on softening ourselves, rather than hardening.

Saturday, April 27, 2002

2 Kings 13:23

"And the Lord was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presences as yet."
2 Kings 13:23


"As yet" is the scary part, eh? :)  I think this scripture shows us some of the incredible patience of the Lord.  Even though bad things were going on, the Lord was patient with his people... kind of like the story of the tame and wild olive trees (Jacob 5).  He waits, and nourishes the tree and digs around it instead of casting it into the fire. :)  Gives us a little time to get ourselves together.  But not only time, but all the help that he can offer.  He is there helping us constantly, and there to talk to as well... because no matter how scary we are sometimes, he won't cast us from his presence as yet. :)  A good thing.  So, today... let's talk to him, and see if we can avoid the "yet." :)

Friday, April 26, 2002

Alma 10:6

"Nevertheless, I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; therefore I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart, even until the fourth day of this seventh month, which is in the tenth year of the reign of the judges."
Alma 10:6


I think what strikes me about this scripture is that Amulek was like us.  Rebellious, proud, and pretty resistant to things that he couldn't understand.  But the Lord was persistent.  He kept at it, and Amulek finally listened, and understood, and changed.  It wasn't easy for him... he had to take a stand, and it made him incredibly unpopular with his community, and he lost a lot.  But he changed, and he was a better, more powerful, and more perfect man after the tests and the losses than he ever could have been otherwise.  We have times when we harden our hearts, and when we refuse to hear... but the Lord is still there, speaking.  And he never promises us that the trials that we will go through will be easy for us, or that they will be easy on the people around us... but that is what the refiner's fire is for.  To purify us, and to make us great and strong.  We just have to focus on listening, and on doing what we know is right... as little or as much as we can handle... and keep working on it, despite the trials.  One day, we will look at ourselves and be amazed at what we have become... only through listening, and doing the little that we can, every day.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

2 Timothy 3:7

"Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
2 Timothy 3:7


This is kind of scary stuff.  Paul, here, is describing the kind of problems that people are going to have in the last days... and he ends the description with this.  Even though the rest of it is scary, this might be more chilling overall.  ... that you could spend every day learning things that have nothing to do with truth.  Can you imagine how ... incomplete you would be?  Incomplete is the best word I can think of.  drinking in everything you can find, and having none of it be satisfying... and I wonder why that is.  At this point are they so far gone that they can't recognize truth even when they are right on top of it?  Not that we are so far away.  It is just a change in the focus of our attention.  If we focus on this distraction, or that distraction.  We get wrapped up in our chosen addictions and pretty soon we don't even remember what it was like to focus on God, or even why it mattered.  Instead of having multiple facets of life, we only have one that excludes all else... and in that state it might be easy to learn and not gain truth... because we are only looking at things from one perspective, and one that is twisted just enough that it won't accept truth that isn't similarly twisted (which effectively makes it untruth.)  I don't know if that makes sense, but I think that it can happen easily, if we stop focusing on God.  Let's try not to, okay? :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Daniel 11:33-35

"And they that understand among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.
And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed."
Daniel 11:33-35


This part of Daniel is talking about the things that lead up to the second coming.  It seems interesting to me that whether or not you have understanding is the main point here... what separates you from the crowd. :)  The scripture seems to take for granted that those without understanding will fall... but notes that even some of those with understanding will as well.  I'm not sure what all of it means, but these last chapters of Daniel are definitely interesting and worth reading, should you have need of something good to read today. :)  I am wondering what the part about cleaving to them with flatteries means... and why there?  Does that mean that the flatteries will lessen the help?  I think I especially like the last verse... not because it will be very fun if it happens to any of us... only because it kind of makes sense to me on some deep level... the whole thing is still a test, and that will be the primary test for some.  Even though they got to the very last days, and understand what is going on, and are instructing people, they will still fall.  And through going through that trial, if they retain their understanding... they will be purified, and ready for anything. :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

2 Nephi 1:3

"And he also spake unto them  concerning the land of promise, which they had obtained--how merciful the Lord had been in warning us that we should flee out of the land of Jerusalem."
2 Nephi 1:3


This is interesting.  What I am wondering is whether Lehi was the only one warned. :)  We all have warnings in our lives, and unfortunately, we rarely listen to them.  Lehi made a great sacrifice... giving up his livelihood, his worldly possessions, and all of his friends and extended family to go someplace that he had never heard of.  He had no idea how long it would take, or what he would find when he got there... he only knew that the Lord had warned him.  Sometimes we have to make similar sacrifices in our lives in order to heed the warnings of the Lord... and if we do heed those warnings, we will reach a similar promised land, where we can prosper and grow.  But it is difficult.  Sometimes the sacrifices we must make, because they are known, seem more important than the promised land, which is unknown.  If we could see everything--the end and the beginning--then we wouldn't hesitate to make the sacrifices.  But, that is why this is a test... because we can't see everything.  We have to learn to trust God just as Lehi did, and know that no matter what, God's way would lead us to happiness rather than destruction.  Instead of being destroyed in Jerusalem, Lehi made it to the promised land and his descendants still live today.  He could have enjoyed his life for another year or so, rather than listening to the warnings and going through hardship... but would it have been worth it?  I don't think so... and it isn't worth it in our own lives either.  No matter the pain and the hardship... the promised land is always always better than staying put and waiting for the destruction you have been warned about.

Monday, April 22, 2002

Haggai 1:8-9

"Go ye up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.
Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it.  Why? saith the Lord of hosts.  Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house."
Haggai 1:8-9


The verse right before this says "consider your ways."  I think that it is interesting that the Lord asks the people to consider building his house, and if they do then he'll allow their houses to prosper.  First they have to do what he asks, and not get things out of order.  When we put ourselves first then nothing seems to work, but when we put the Lord first, then everything seems to fall into place... and we prosper far more personally than we would if we put ourselves first.  So, this is a good lesson on building temples... but what about other things?  Should we consider our ways with other commandments too?  One commandment that we largely ignore is food storage, for instance.  I am sure it is not the only thing that we ignore, but it comes to mind because our whole sacrament meeting was about it yesterday.  God gave us instructions to have a year's supply of emergency essentials... and he gave us those instructions for a reason.  It can only benefit us to do what he asks... he can see the future, as we cannot.  Other things... reading our scriptures for instance.  Learning and understanding more about the gospel can only help us in our lives.  But I ignore the gentle advice of the Lord quite often, thinking that I'll get around to it later, or that there is no immediate need. :)  Unfortunately, the scriptures are filled with stories of those who waited too long, or who second-guessed the Lord's commandments.  None of them turned out very well. :(  So, perhaps today I should consider my ways... and I ask you to join me.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Doctrine and Covenants 76:20

"And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness."
Doctrine and Covenants 76:20


I like this whole "fulness" thing. God is full and we are not... like God is complete and we aren't quite. :) Hmm... the best analogy I can think of on the spur of the moment is an insane asylum. The people in the asylum might be able to teach each other and help each other in interesting ways... but none of them can offer sanity because they don't have it. So it is with us. We can help each other in cool and interesting ways... but none of us can offer completeness, because we don't have it. If we know where to get it, then all we can offer is directions. :) Go down the hall, turn right, and there is the Psychiatrist's office... only in our case, we can help people to find Christ. The first step toward sanity is realizing that you don't have it. :) and maybe it is the same with fulness. If we think we have it all figured out, and that we have everything in life that we need, then we aren't going to find God. It is only after we realize our emptiness and incompleteness that we have a chance of correcting it... and then we still have to go to God, who is complete... if we go to other people for the answer, they won't have it, because they are incomplete themselves.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

2 Nephi 27:23

"For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith."
2 Nephi 27:23


It's nice to know that something in life is consistent. :)  God is consistent, always loving us... always dealing with us in a positive way.  Interesting too, about faith.  That God only works with us according to our faith.  This makes sense to me, only because if we didn't have any faith or belief at all, then the power of God would just frighten us.  God has to adjust what he does in our lives to our level of belief and understanding.  The things that God can do in my life are very different from what he could do in the Brother of Jared's life, because we have different levels of faith.  God can help me find my keys, because I am at that level of understanding and acceptance.  He could help the Brother of Jared move mountains, because the Brother of Jared was at that level of understanding and acceptance. :)  ... I think that it also has to do with our free agency.  God isn't going to walk into our lives and perform some miracles without some level of permission or invitation.  Christ didn't heal anyone who didn't want to be healed... and though it might seem like a silly thing to not want to be healed, there are many times, even in our own lives, where we hang tightly to things that limit and hurt us.  Until we are able to let them go, and want to be free of them, God won't take them away... because he allows us our choices, and knows that if those things get taken away before we are ready to let them go then we won't learn what we need to learn.  Instead of relief at being free we will only be resentful and bitter.  Additionally, we have to believe that they can be taken away.  Sometimes we grow to believe that our limitations are part of our identity.  For instance, if I lost my sight I might start thinking of myself as a blind woman rather than just a woman... and I would join the blind women of america advocacy board, and all my friends would be blind, and I would get a job teaching the blind... and my whole life would be wrapped up in my limitation.  And if that were true, it would be hard to let go of that entire life so that I could be healed.  That isn't a perfect analogy, but that just to say that sometimes to be healed we have to change our perspective and the way we think about ourselves.  And when we can accept healing, then God heals us.  I think that if we were able to believe in great and wondrous things, then our lives would be great and wondrous... unfortunately, too often we blind ourselves to great things and all we can believe in is limited to what we are used to, and what we have seen in the past.  Our lives are limited by our imaginations.

Friday, April 19, 2002

Jeremiah 31:25

"For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul."
Jeremiah 31:25


I like this.  This chapter is talking about the last days, and this seems to say to me that God meets all of our needs... even when our souls are too tired to fight, or even when we are so filled with loss that we can't think straight... God will calm and fill us, even then.  No matter what is wrong, God has the solution... that is a nice hopeful thought for today. :)  Sometimes it does seem like nothing will help, or that we are beyond aid.  But, despite how it feels, God is there, helping and aiding us anyway. :)  God can heal any wound, no matter how deep.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Mark 9:47

"And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."
Mark 9:47


Please, none of you pluck out your eyes.  I think this is more figurative than literal.  The scripture is showing us the relative importance of achieving the Kingdom of God.  If there is something about us that is getting in our way, then we need to let it go... whatever it is, and however important to us.  And we all have those things... those pesky arms and legs and eyes that cause us to stumble... but you know, it isn't really the physical parts of us that cause that, but the mental blocks we set up for ourselves.  We think that if God asks too much of us that we will walk away... or if something really bad happens in our lives that he has forgotten us.  We start wanting this or that addiction more than we want God, or we twist something in our life around and worship it to the exclusion of all else.  Sometimes letting those things go hurts more than plucking your eye out or cutting off your arm or your leg... and the analogy is real.  It is like losing a part of yourself.  But heaven is better than hell fire, every time.  And if we value that "eye" more than eternity, then we will still lose it in the end... because when we have built our lives around one obsession and it is gone, what will be left to us?  Our addictions will not be fed in the hereafter.  The pain of plucking out your eye and learning to see differently is great... learning to change your heart and mind is difficult.  But these things are worth it, and passing our earthly tests is more than possible, with God's help.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

2 Peter 3:10

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
2 Peter 3:10


 Weird.  We realize sometimes that life is fleeting, at least earth life... but this talks about the whole earth and the "heavens" passing away or being burned up.  That is incredible.  Sometimes I wonder just what it is that God sees.  We think the Universe is immense... but what if the Universe was just placed there as part of the veil, and something different is behind it? :) Just babbling, obviously... but there are so many possibilities.  The earth will be burned up, but then the Earth is also supposed to receive its paradisaical glory (paradisaical means "like paradise" basically).  So, it's going to get burned up... and then come back?  Other scriptures say that it will be cleansed by fire, which seems different, but it could be the same thing.  What does "burned up" mean anyway?   consumed, or just scorched? :) What are the heavens, how much stuff are we talking about there? :)  Equally interesting is the whole "thief in the night" part.  We know that the second coming is going to be dramatic in some ways... especially in Jerusalem.  So, how does that fit with the thief in the night?  Will it be clear to some and not to others, depending on who is paying attention to the signs, or will it be thief and then dramatic, or something else that I haven't thought of? :) Interesting, interesting stuff... although I should probably get back to preparing myself for it instead of babbling about it. :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

John 14:14

"If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."
John 14:14


I've admittedly been overemotional in the past, so take it for what it's worth, but this scripture brought me to the edge of tears this morning.  Such a simple testament of God's love for us.  I just finished reading a really good book, and I am thinking a little about literature... this sentence is something that typically only would be said by a knight to the lady he is trying to win... or something similar at least. :)  It exhibits, just in the phrasing, great love and great trust.  Christ directed these words to his disciples, who he trusted enough to not ask for overly frivolous things... but he directs it to us as well, and that is amazing to me.  That's a huge offer.  And one that we should think about.  It's like being granted wishes by a genie. :)  The thing we have to master is to think first, and ask for the right things, the good things... and not for things that will only bring us unhappiness and pain.  God loves us, and he is willing to grant us anything... anything at all.  Let's not abuse that trust, or take advantage of that adoration... but ask for things that will please God, and help the people around us.

Monday, April 15, 2002

1 Corinthians 10:21

"Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."
1 Corinthians 10:21


I think that too often we, or at least I, try to drink from both cups... eat from both tables.  We find ourselves reluctant to make a choice that leaves us only on the Lord's side, where we can't reach that other cup.  In the end, it isn't possible to stay in the middle... we have to choose one side or the other.  Eternal life or eternal destruction... happiness or misery. 
The difference between the choices is clear as you look at them from far away, but sometimes I think when you are right there, it is harder.  Brussel sprouts on the Lord's table and a twinkie on the table of devils.  ... and even though we, mentally, know that there is something besides a creme filling is waiting for us if we choose the twinkie, the image of it... the promise of it... seems so much better than brussel sprouts. :)
I think the lie is in the focus... zeroing in on one thing, and making biased comparisons.  The truth is that there are thousands of things on both tables, and the only real difference is beyond the image or any of the senses.  The food on the Lord's table fills you up, and the food on the table of devils empties you out... makes you more and more hungry, and never satisfies.  You can bite into that twinkie, and it tastes good and sweet, but then, it isn't enough.  You are hungrier than before, and you want more and more, trying to fill the void.  On the other hand, when you try the brussel sprouts (expecting the worst)... it might not taste good at first, especially after twinkies, but down deep, it fills you.  And in time you find that they actually are quite yummy.  You find yourself trying and enjoying things that you never thought you could ever like... and it satisfies.  You don't have to keep looking for whatever it is that will heal you or fill you or complete you, because it is already there.  The desperation is gone, and you can find peace.  I think that, like a lot of lessons, sometimes we have to learn this one more than once.  It is easy to forget... but in the end, we have to choose.  To receive the blessings of the Lord's table, we have to leave the table of devils far behind.  We can't learn satisfaction through emptiness.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

Deuteronomy 15:7-8

"If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of they gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, not shut thine hand from thy poor brother:
But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth."
Deuteronomy 15:7-8


This is cool.  Not only should we not shut our hands, but we should open our hands wide. :)  Interestingly, although in this case it says lend, this chapter also talks about the fact that the law was that you were supposed to forgive all debts every seven years... and right after this scripture it says that you shouldn't refuse to lend just because the seventh year is drawing nigh.  So, basically, we need to give with open hearts and hands, not expecting to be paid back... although, always, the Lord blesses us more abundantly than we give.  I think that sometimes we forget that the Lord gave us everything that we have, and we start thinking that we achieved it through some merit of our own... and therefore we decline to give to others, thinking that they should be out there working as hard as we are... :)  It is easy to think that way, but the whole thing is a big trap.  People who have worked hard their whole lives can be poor, and people who haven't worked a speck can be rich.  No matter our circumstances, we are all reliant upon God for everything that we have, and for every breath than we take.  There is no reason to worry that someone else might get more than we have... God will bless us beyond our ability to accept anyway.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

Mosiah 2:22

"And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you."
Mosiah 2:22


King Benjamin is so great. :)  in this chapter he explains that we can never really pay God back for what he has done for us.  We could praise him and serve him with everything that we are and it wouldn't match what we have been given.  And, despite that debt, God only requires that we keep his commandments.  Sometimes those seem overwhelming to us, but try to see it from King Benjamin's perspective.  We already have been given an abundance of blessings from God, the gift of life for one... and relationships and love, and the measure of peace that we enjoy... and God asks obedience.  But if we *are* obedient, he blesses us yet more... more than the obedience is worth.  And so, yet again, we owe him everything.  And then, every single one of God's commandments is designed for us, to help us to be happy and to grow into the people that we were meant to be... so when he asks us to do something for him, he is really asking us to do it for ourselves... because he does, truly, love us. :)  I think, really, that this is the key to humility.  Knowing that, of ourselves, we merit nothing... and everything that we enjoy in life is there because God put it there for us.  We need him.  We need his mercy and his love and his patience if we are going to have a chance to become more than we are.  I know that I need him in my life, not just weekly or daily... but hourly.  Minute by minute.  He helps me to remain calm when I am tempted to be angry; he helps me to act even when I am afraid to do so; he helps me to maintain relationships that I would have lost a long time ago if it were up to just me.  Today, let's try to do something for God...  let's be obedient, and work on becoming the best people we can be.

Friday, April 12, 2002

Malachi 3:16

"Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name."
Malachi 3:16


In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord commands us to speak often to each other, and I was wondering why, and the cross reference was this scripture. :)  I guess it is so that we make it into the Book of Remembrance. :)  Also, there are a lot of other reasons... in the Book of Mormon it says that the people met together oft to fast and to pray and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls... I think that these things all go together.  We need each other to help us to remember God, and to think about the things that matter.  It is so easy to get sidetracked into worrying about money or position, or personal security... and to forget that if we put the Lord first, everything else will fall into place.  Part of going to church is about this... not the most important part, but one important part, is to speak often to each other... to remind each other why we are there, and strengthen each other in our faith.  :)

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Matthew 14:36

"And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole."
Matthew 14:36


This is mind-boggling.  We believe it mostly because we are reading it... it is like a story, where miraculous things can happen... but we rarely think that they can happen in our lives.  I wonder if the full impact of this has hit us... these things did happen, they do and can happen in our lives.  I find it interesting as well that the people who were healed here had to do a little bit of work.  They had to first, recognize that they had a need for Christ in their lives.  Then, they had to do something about it... they had to follow after him, and get close enough to touch him.  And then, they had to have faith to be healed.  I think that a lot of times we have the first requirement.  We recognize that we need Christ.  Not all the time, but at least when things are bad. :)  So, we have something to work with there.  Occasionally, we even get part of the second step in there... we follow him by going to church, praying, or reading our scriptures. :)  Again, something to work with.  Where we usually break down the most is the last part.  How can we have faith to be healed, when we don't even think it is possible, and sometimes don't want to be? :)  A tough one. :)  But the answer is relatively simple within our discussion.  To be able to get to the point of having the faith to be healed, we have to be get a little deeper in our first two requirements.  As we more fully recognize the incredible need we have for Christ in our lives, and as we do more and more about it... learn more about ourselves and our needs and limitations and well as our power and strength, and how all of those relate to God... Learn more about God and how he loves us, and how he assists us in our daily lives... learn to rely on him in good times and bad... as we get more perfect in the first two things, the more our confidence and faith will grow that our weaknesses CAN be made strengths, that our unmet needs can be fulfilled through Christ, and that we can be healed.  Something to think on today. :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Matthew 13:58

"And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
Matthew 13:58


Just how much of our lives are based on faith, I wonder.  Scriptures like this make me think that a lot more is based on faith than we think.  And not just things we think of as big miracles... but daily ones.  Finding your keys after a prayer, for one.  I have gotten to the point (perhaps because I lose my keys a lot) where I have absolute confidence that if I ask God to help me find something, he will. :)  And sometimes I am stubborn and don't ask... and those times it takes a lot longer to find things.  A tiny thing, but imagine if we could have that kind of confidence in huge things.  Could we, like the brother of Jared, have absolute confidence that God would perform whatever task we asked of him, whether it was making stones into sources of light or moving mountains?  We as a society already believe that intangible things make a difference in our lives... stress-related illnesses for example.  Is it such a leap to believe that faith makes a difference in every aspect of our lives?  That we have a lot of power to bring to pass what we believe in our lives, good or bad?  Today, let us build our faith... and remember that we have power to change the world around us.

Sunday, April 7, 2002

1 Thessalonians 5:21

"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
1 Thessalonians 5:21


I like this.  Prove all things... God wants us to examine his works and his gospel, and find out for ourselves that it works.  He wants us to put it to the test, and discover that we are happier and better people when we live righteously.  He doesn't want us to follow blindly.  He wants us to follow with eyes wide open, seeing the truth and the light clearly.  It is Satan who wants to blind us... to have us follow something that we can't see clearly, to chase after something we can never have.  This is simple and true... test everything, and keep the things that are good.  A good message from God for us today.

Saturday, April 6, 2002

Matthew 13:49

"So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just."
Matthew 13:49


We walk around in our own personal limbo sometimes... trying to be in-between.  Not fully committing to obedience, but attempting to not completely leave it behind either.  Perhaps we are afraid of losing control to either God or Satan... but we don't get anywhere that way.  And, eventually, as we learn in this scripture... there is going to be a reckoning, and we're going to end up on one side or the other.  Severance sounds like something that I would like to avoid. :)  The thing is, in order to be among the just we have to actually commit.  We have to make a decision, and not hold on to all our souvenirs of Hell.  When we fully commit to Heaven, we have to leave some things behind.

Friday, April 5, 2002

Acts 8:8

"And there was great joy in that city."
Acts 8:8


This is cool.  In this chapter the Apostles come through doing great miracles and basically being amazing, and this is the result. :)  Just great joy, no lightning from heaven or mass conversions, at least at this point. :)  But sincerely, sometimes just having great joy in your life can be the best miracle of all. :)

Thursday, April 4, 2002

Matthew 5:6 -- On Learning to like Righteousness

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."
Matthew 5:6


Interesting.  The way I see this today, it seems like we are all on our way to have dinner at Red Lobster. :)  And the people who are hungry for the type of food they serve there are blessed, because that is what they are going to have an abundance of.  People who wanted some other kind of food, though, are probably going to be sad.  Kind of a weird analogy, I know, but in eternal terms it makes me think that our job is really to teach ourselves to like righteousness. :)  If we get addicted to unrighteousness while we're here, then we're going to be pretty sad when we go to heaven and have the opportunity to feast on goodness, truth, and light... when that isn't what we want.  If we shun evil and make sure it doesn't leave its little barbs in us, then in the end, we'll be filled.  No more holes, no more hunger... complete fulfillment and satisfaction.  Personally, I don't really enjoy Chinese food, and I can just imagine getting together with all of my friends, laughing and joking around, and loving life, and we all crowd into a restaurant and all there is on the menu is Chinese food.  I'm sure I would survive... eat a fortune cookie or something and enjoy the company... :)  But, in the end, I would go away hungry.  I can't imagine getting to heaven and not liking it there, but I know... if I don't learn to love the things that God loves, I am going to be wishing for things that I can never have, instead of enjoying the abundance of things that I do have.  Not a pretty vision.

Wednesday, April 3, 2002

2 Nephi 26:31

"But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish."
2 Nephi 26:31


This is interesting.  My dad and I were talking about Corporate America the other day, and this reminds me of that.  My dad is a good company man, and even if there was a job that would benefit him personally, if it held no benefit for the company, he would argue against it.  I think that he, instead of laboring for money, is laboring for the good of the company... whether or not the company has his best interests in mind.  Luckily, when we work for Zion, God *always* has our best interests in mind.  So, when we are about our lives, doing what we can to build Zion... and this includes our daily work as well as our leisure activities... we should have Zion's benefit in mind, rather than how much money we're going to take home today. :)  I have seen some people distinguish between a job and a career... that a job is what you do to support your social life, and a career you really care about. :)  But even if we are all stuck with "jobs" in our current situations... Zion is always a career.  Building that perfect society... no matter where we are or how menial our daily work seems, we can do something to build Zion... and it will matter.  Work for God is never menial.

Monday, April 1, 2002

Ezekiel 18:31-32

"Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."
Ezekiel 18:31-32


I like this chapter.  It is a good read, if you have a chance to take it in today. :)  Earlier in the chapter God asks, somewhat rhetorically, whether he has pleasure in the death of the wicked instead of the wicked returning to him... but here, even though the answer was clear, he answers it for us anyway, making it ever so much more clear, even when we are doubtful. :)  He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but in life... he wants us to live, and not to be destroyed.  He also makes it clear that it is our choice.  Life or death... and the images of newness and rebirth.  Sometimes we despair of change, thinking that we don't have it in us.  But God tells us to make ourselves new hearts and new spirits... that we have the power to do so, and to choose life, no matter what has gone before.  We can cast away our transgressions and start again.  God wants us to choose life... and he makes it possible.  The trick, I suppose, is seeing clearly that our choice is between life and death... anything that leads us away from God is leading us to death, as plainly as the sun shines.  Today, let's make ourselves some new hearts and spirits and cast our transgressions far away.

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