Sunday, June 30, 2002

Alma 63:8

"And it came to pass that they were never heard of more.  And we suppose that they were drowned in the depths of the sea.  And it came to pass that one other ship also did sail forth; and whither she did go we know not."
Alma 63:8


Wouldn't it be interesting to find out where these ships ended up?  I wonder if we will ever get their records, or find out somehow what happened to them.  I think that would be fascinating.  I wonder if they were led someplace by God, or if they were somehow lost... it strikes me as odd though that anything would be included in the scriptures for no reason. :)  I'm thinking they will turn up someplace.  The Lord leads us all to new lands, as we are ready to let go of the things that we have to leave behind.  The new lands are always better than the old, although the journey isn't easy.

Saturday, June 29, 2002

Helaman 1:6

"And it came to pass that Pacumeni, when he saw that he could not obtain the judgement-seat, he did unite with the voice of the people."
Helaman 1:6


This is kind of interesting... this verse is in the middle of a story about three brothers who all wanted to be the person to take the judgement seat after their father (who had held the judgement seat) died.  So, they had a vote and, as is the case with things like this, only one of them came out with the vote. :)  This verse talks about Pacumeni, one of the other brothers, who went along with the voice of the people.  Unfortunately, the other losing brother encouraged the people who were behind him to rebel against the government, and caused a lot of problems for the community.  I wonder how often in my life I am like the brother that started a rebellion.  When things don't go the way that I want them to, can I accept it, or do I have to find some way to win, no matter the cost?  I think that it has a lot to do with our trust in God.  Do we trust him that things are going HIS way, even when they aren't what we had in mind, or do we fight to get our way, even when God's way is a different direction?

Friday, June 28, 2002

Genesis 2:19

"And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof."
Genesis 2:19


This is interesting.  Adam knew some sort of language, although it isn't mentioned whether it is something that God taught to him or something that he was created with.  However, he was asked to name all of the beasts and birds... so, were there no words for those things in the language that God gave to him?  Was it just the skeleton of a language, and Adam invented vocabulary words as he went along? :)  Very interesting.  I wonder too how the languages were separated at the tower of Babel.  Did the languages gradually differentiate because God separated the people, or did the people immediately have a different language in their heads? :)  Wouldn't it be cool to go to sleep one night and wake up the next morning able to read and write and beautifully converse in another language? :)  Not that you would want to forget the old one, of course... but you know. :)  I wonder what the names of the animals would have been if someone else was in charge of naming them... or if the structure of the language gave clues about names initially... like "fur" or "horn" being part of names of those types of creatures... anyway, enough speculation for today.  What a great gift language is. :)

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Deuteronomy 34:10

"And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face."
Deuteronomy 34:10


I wonder why there was no one to fill Moses' shoes. :)  Is it because the Lord chose to reveal himself to a lesser extent to the next guy, or because he didn't find anyone who was willing to fill them to that extent? :) I think that would be a huge responsibility.  Talking to the Lord face to face would be fascinating, informative, and scary... but to have to go and DO something about it... that's where the panic sets in for me. :)  And to have responsibility for all those people... wow.  I think about President Hinckley and how he manages to handle all of that responsibility and still be absolutely cheerful... and about Nephi and his father facing the abandonment of their home and entire past... Even Jonah, who grumbled (as I would probably do as well) about what the Lord asked him to do, but eventually went and did it.  They are all amazing.  What a huge job, and what amazing people they are.  I hope I can find some of that same courage in order to actually *do* something about the things that the Lord and I talk about. :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Mark 16:17-18

"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
Mark 16:17-18


This is interesting.  For a film class once I watched a documentary about a group that handles poisonous snakes as part of their worship services.  Very interesting film... but really, I think that the point here is not to go out and do these things to prove that you believe, but that these are things that you are blessed with as you live your life righteously.  And these things go on all the time.  Sometimes I think that we get so addicted to emotion that we need drama in every aspect of our lives.  Controlled emotion doesn't seem "real" enough, and everyday miracles get overlooked.  Sometimes we miss the important things just because they seem commonplace to us.  We want all of our miracles to be on the front page rather than on page 42E.  In my life passing the oral exam for my French class and not getting a severe allergic reaction when I drank some (caution: may not be suitable for some readers) moldy lemon juice count as miracles. :)  And the priesthood allows miracles every day as well that we don't hear about.  The biggest miracle of all sometimes is to just still be alive, to have the chance to change and grow and become better than we are.  Good things to remember today.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Isaiah 42:18

"Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see."
Isaiah 42:18


This is interesting... the verse makes it sound like we choose our blindness and deafness... and in a lot of ways I think that is true.  Though the physical ailments may not be chosen, I think spiritually we more often choose our limitations than otherwise.  We might not like a certain aspect of the gospel, so we choose to ignore it or let our thoughts wander whenever that topic comes up.  Most of us seem to practice selective listening during our conversations with God.  God encompasses ALL truth, and when we block parts of the truth out of our lives, we are blocking parts of God out... and parts of ourselves, since light and truth are at least partly what we are made of. :)   One of my zone leaders during my mission was talking to a man about the gospel, and used a verse from the Bible to illustrate his point.  The man looked it up, and then calmly tore the page out of his Bible and threw it into the fireplace.  No proof of that point in *his* scriptures. ;)  I'm not trying to slam that man, just the story seems to illustrate what I am trying to say.  We can't edit God.  He is there, he is real, and he has ALL the truth, ALL the time. :)  The only thing that we can edit is ourselves... so that we are able to accept and embrace more and more truth, until the perfect day when we can handle it all. :)  And part of editing ourselves is listening to things that are hard to hear, and seeing things that are hard to see... paying attention to the truth, whether we are fond of it or not.  (And you know, growing fond of it as we can...) :)  Let's avoid spiritual blindness and deafness as we can and learn to accept and apply  the truth to our lives whenever we find it.  Perhaps someday we'll even search it out. :)

Monday, June 24, 2002

1 Chronicles 2:7

"And the sons of Carmi; Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed."
1 Chronicles 2:7


Wouldn't it be sad to be listed in your genealogy this way?  To have the one distinctive thing that you did be bad?  Kind of like Ivan the terrible.  He's in my family's genealogy, and if you don't know anything else about him, you know that he is terrible.  Not a great way to be remembered.  Other verses talk about someone being a great hunter or a guy who had a lot of cities, but this one just talks about him being really bad.  I know this seems like a leap, but try to follow my bizarre mind... it relates back, for me, to the whole non-existence of time thing.  When there isn't time, all we have is the present... and that is a product of everything that we have done, kind of like these lists in Chronicles.  In the end,  our past actions, good or bad, aren't going to matter.  What *will* matter is the product of those actions... ourselves, and who we have become.  Like the parable of the talents, God gave some to each of us, and at the last day he is going to look and see who we have become, what we have done with what he gave us as raw material.  Doesn't matter if you were given only one talent in a rough part of the world or ten with wealth and privilege, what have we done with what we had?  Who we are right now is what matters.  That's why it says that he who is happy now shall be happy still... because waiting to be happy or planning to repent in the future don't have any value.  It is all about the present, which is free of past blemishes or impediments.  We choose who we are right now, and that choice writes our verse... whether we get "transgressed in the thing accursed" or "invented sliced bread." :)  Let's go for a good verse today. :)

Sunday, June 23, 2002

Mark 10:4-5

"And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. "
Mark 10:4-5


I think that what God is saying here (though as always, I could be wrong) is that people aren't disposable.  We shouldn't just banish people from our lives because we want something new or more exciting.  We also shouldn't just dismiss people because they are different than we are.  They are still people, and they are our brothers and sisters.  I'm not preaching at you, I think I have done this way too often in my own life.  Gotten rid of people or friends in my life because it was easier than overcoming a difference or learning a new concept. :)  Life isn't easy, and there are a lot of things to consider in interpersonal relationships, but today maybe we should think a little bit about permanence... building relationships that last, treating the people around us with love and respect... apologizing when we need to, accepting some humility rather than cutting off all contact. :)  I wonder if we are going to be ready for the real, serious commitment of eternity. :)

Saturday, June 22, 2002

Doctrine and Covenants 45:46

"Wherefore, if ye have slept in peace blessed are you; for as you now behold me and know that I am, even so shall ye come unto me and your souls shall live, and your redemption shall be perfected; and the saints shall come forth from the four quarters of the earth."
Doctrine and Covenants 45:46


How do we sleep in peace?  It seems to be about conscience, but I'm not absolutely sure.  If it is, though, then we should probably start gauging our inner peace a little better. :)  Maybe we don't get that kind of peace until we find out truly what we believe, and start living by it.  When we don't have that peace, then something is out of balance... maybe we have a conflict between action and belief somewhere, or maybe we really haven't figured out who we are yet, and therefore what we believe.  I think, though I don't think I am really there so I can't guarantee anything, that when you are truly in balance and have that kind of peace that you don't have to compromise one piece of your heart for another.  You don't have to give up one super-important thing for another.  You know what the priorities are, and you are at peace with that... you know that God isn't robbing your life of something, and that there is no reason to resent him or regret your choices that confirm his priority.  Maybe that is what the whole Abraham/Issac thing was about... showing that peace.  Abraham knew that God came first, and that if God asked him for something... even if it was the number two thing after him, that it would work out, and that it was the best thing.  He had this kind of peace. 

Friday, June 21, 2002

Mark 10:9

"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
Mark 10:9


We try to break a lot of things that God makes I think.  He blesses us with spectacular relationships in our lives, not just "significant others" but family and friends too... and we seem to break some of the best relationships somehow... either through anger, neglect, or a myriad of other reasons.  Other times we might break potential bonds just because we have built up personal biases against whatever it is.  Country music, bowling, brown cars, or people who hate LEGOs.  I think that we dismiss people from our lives too easily.  We forget that sociality is eternal... and that we are ALL brothers and sisters, not just the people in our immediate family. :)  There are other things that God puts together and we tear apart as well... I'm sure we only have to look at our own lives to see.  I think of it kind of as a huge jigsaw puzzle. :)  There we are, trying to fit other pieces to our own, but in the process we are pulling them out of the main puzzle, where God already has them fit in. :)  And even if we are fit in with part of the puzzle, we try to fit other pieces onto our own so desperately that we pound and pound them, trying to get them to reshape to fit with the rest of the puzzle.  So, you know... if God has put a portion of the puzzle together in the right way, let's not go and tear it up and see if we can do it better.  No matter how hard we try, we aren't going to be able to make a different picture magically appear.  God knows what the finished product is going to look like and we don't... so we need to trust him when he tells us that this piece goes here, and not there.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Nahum 1:7

"The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him."
Nahum 1:7


This is kind of cool... the Lord is something to hold onto in the day of trouble.  The immovable permanence that we... well, at least I... seek.  I think there is something compelling about permanence.  Something that doesn't change no matter what hits it, something that is unbreakable, that can't be taken away... a connection that cannot be severed.  That is the kind of solidity that God offers us... both in himself, and his relationship with us, but also in the opportunity that he gives us to be sealed to one another... so that we are all bound together as families... but families that all interconnect somewhere, so as a community as well.  Nothing can take that away... and sometimes when things seem very impermanent and ethereal, it is good to know that there is solidity and permanence somewhere. :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

2 John 1:6

"And this is love, that we walk after his commandments.  This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it."
2 John 1:6


I think that it is hard to understand the love=obedience concept.  I don't think that it is true with most earth relationships.  We are too likely to go on power trips and order people around, give unwise commands... or to obey foolish and harmful whims out of our desire to show some kind of love, and to get love in return.  Love and obedience with God is different though.  God isn't fallible, which I think is a difficult concept for us to understand and grasp in itself.  We don't know anyone who isn't fallible, and so it is hard to picture anyone as perfect.  God is perfect, and he also is motivated out of love for us.  So, if we trust that perfect love and perfect motivation, then the best thing for us to do to show that trust is to be obedient... because we know that our obedience will help us to be the best people we can be, to get closer to our own perfection.  We show our love and faith for God by acknowledging the fact that he knows more than we do, even about our own lives, and that he can point us in the right direction 100% of the time.  The word "obedience" kind of grates on my nerves still... but I think that is just because I have some personal issues with authority I need to work out. :)  God is trustworthy, and obedience with him really just means that we acknowledge who he is... perfect.  There is no one else to follow, and we don't know the way. :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Psalms 25:4

"Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths."
Psalms 25:4


I get frustrated sometimes with myself because of how slowly I seem to learn things... about everything.  Life, relationships, myself, God... you name it.  And perhaps I am stalling myself.  I think my prayers contradict one another at times... I ask God to teach me something, but then I pray for him to relieve me of some burden, or take some challenge away.  Sometimes instead of running away from a lesson, I need to face it head on... so instead of contradicting myself, I should pray to learn, so that the lessons don't go on for years, with me never comprehending.  :)  God doesn't give us anything that we can't handle... something to remember today.

Monday, June 17, 2002

Ether 9:34

"And it came to pass that the people did follow the course of the beasts, and did devour the carcasses of them which fell by the way, until they devoured them all.  Now when the people saw that they must perish they began to repent of their iniquities and cry unto the Lord."
Ether 9:34


Isn't it sad how stubborn we are sometimes?  We have to try doing things our way until we see with absolute and utter clarity that it won't work our way, and we are at the very bottom of the hole that we have dug for ourselves... and then, at that point, we look to the Lord.  Can't we learn sooner?  Why do we wait until we have eaten *every* beast, or spent ALL of our money, or lost every iota of our self-respect?  Why do we wait until things have absolutely fallen apart in pieces before we look to the Lord?  Here is our challenge then: to try looking to the Lord today.  Let's not wait until things unravel more than they have, and let's not lie to ourselves and say that we can handle it all ourselves.  We can't.  Let's realize that now, and turn to the Lord today... and see if our lives don't improve anyway... even though they aren't at their lowest point. :)  I'm going to try it, and I invite you to join me. :)

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Psalms 78:38-41

"But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.
For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away and cometh not again.
How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!
Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel."
Psalms 78:38-41


These verses are talking about the Children of Israel.  God led them through the wilderness and fed them with manna, and they still sought things that weren't pleasing to him.  The thing that I found interesting about these is at the very end.  That they turned back and tempted God, and limited him as well.  Limited God?  I wonder if this means limited him in their perceptions, or whether it means, literally, that he was limited in what he could give and offer them since they weren't being righteous.  They asked him for flesh to eat since they were getting tired of manna... but they didn't just ask... they were like, well... God did this cool thing and that cool thing, why can't he at least give us some meat?  Were they doubting the Lord's ability to do something?  Sometimes I wonder if we fall into the same traps.  God has blessed us abundantly, but still we doubt and complain, and say, "why can't he at least do _____?"  Whatever it is.  I think that the Israelites might have gotten a lot better response by asking humbly and politely rather than demanding, or asking for yet another proof that God was there.  Even with people, asking is better than demanding and whining. Probably a good approach with God as well. :)

Saturday, June 15, 2002

John 18:11

"Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"
John 18:11


This is interesting.  It seems to show how absolutely self-determining Christ was.  He knew what was coming, that they would crucify him, and his friends were fighting for him.  If he walked away from the chain of events that had been set in place, he could have.  And actually, they had tried to take him before, but he walked away from each encounter unscathed.  Now it was time for him to submit to ridicule and execution instead, and he did, knowing what would happen at every step of the way.  That is amazing to me.  I think back on my life and if I had known some of the things that would happen to me, I would have had a very hard time walking into them, even knowing how those experiences have shaped and enhanced my life... but Christ, who knew everything that would happen beforehand, walked into it anyway, because it was the cup his Father gave him.  I think that this verse is kind of inspiring... after all, each of us has a cup before us that was given to us by the Father.  Shall we not drink it?  There is no point in fighting, or complaining, or running and hiding... it's our cup.  And it is the right one for us... so we might as well just get out there and drink it. :)

Friday, June 14, 2002

Alma 28:13

"And thus we see how great the inequality of man is because of sin and transgression, and the power of the devil, which comes by the cunning plans which he hath devised to ensnare the hearts of men."
Alma 28:13


Interesting... you see all of the stark inequality in the world and it doesn't really occur to you that it is all because of unrighteousness... not, I think, unrighteousness necessarily on the part of the disadvantaged, but unrighteousness on the part of the privileged, not providing for our brothers... Probably unrighteousness in a myriad of ways.  But what strikes me is that the answer to the inequality is righteousness.  I never looked at the solution that way before.  Government and social programs... individual intervention yes.  Righteousness, no.  I'm not even sure why I didn't think about it, but one of the reasons could be that it puts the responsibility back on me.  As I am righteous, I am contributing to the lessening of inequality... and I am also building up Zion, which I like to do as well. :)  So, anyway, I'd better get cracking. :)

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Mosiah 2:32

"But, O my people, beware lest there shall arise contentions among you, and ye list to obey the evil spirit, which was spoken of by my father Mosiah."
Mosiah 2:32


If there were Book of Mormon action figures, I would definitely buy the King Benjamin one.  He is so cool. :)  This verse struck me today because it seems to directly link contention, or argument, with obeying the evil spirit.  I think that is interesting.  You don't usually think of an argument being something that throws you over into Satan's camp... but I guess if I think about it there is a lot that makes sense... some of that self-knowledge and self-control that we are supposed to learn goes out the window when we lose our tempers... and even if the argument isn't about something critically important, sometimes we hold our opinion so tightly that we can't allow ourselves to listen to the other side.  I know that I have insisted adamantly and repeatedly that I was right before, and when I found out that I was wrong I had no way out because I had insisted so strenuously... what do you say after that?  "oops?" :)  Utter crawl-on-the-floor apologies are the only thing that have a chance of working at that point... and all because I couldn't even consider the other person's point of view.  Scary... and I think I can see where contention and the evil spirit go hand in hand.  It's one thing to believe in your own way and promote your own beliefs... it is quite another to slam what someone else says and value yourself and your opinion more than someone else's well-being and mental and emotional state.  Hopefully, next time we are tempted to start or continue an argument, we'll consider the other person first, and why it is so important to us to promote our views over theirs.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Doctrine and Covenants 19:26

"And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God."
Doctrine and Covenants 19:26


Interesting.  I don't think that I have every really thought about coveting my own property... although I think that I do sometimes.  A couple of months before I moved to Colorado a guy that I know was over at my apartment and saw one of my CDs that he liked, and he asked if he could have it.  What jumped immediately into my mind was NOT the scripture about giving to those that ask thee, but "NO!" ... I loved that CD and I didn't want to give it up.  And although I still love that CD, and want to own it, I wonder if, in a way, I was coveting my own property. :)  Maybe I shouldn't get quite so attached. :)  In the end, we should be willing to give up anything that we have for the gospel... and if anything, including my CD, has the power to hold us back from that total commitment, then we have a problem.  The CD is a small example, but I think that I have bigger things in my life that I am not willing to let go of as well... and as long as my gut reaction remains "NO!" when God asks me to give things up, then I am not going to get where I need to go.  I need to start thinking and trying to figure out why I should do it rather than rejecting the request out of hand... actually considering both sides is a good thing to do when making a decision. :)  Anyway, I thought this idea of coveting your own stuff was interesting.  Hopefully we can let go of those all-important CDs in our lives and let other people enjoy the music. :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Obadiah 1:3-4

"The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?
Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set they nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord."
Obadiah 1:3-4


Hopefully none of us think that we're better than God... but still, this struck me today.  I think that sometimes I think that I am a lot better than I am... that I can handle things myself, that nothing can touch me.  And, you know, whenever I get in those delirious states, something always crushes my walls and brings be back to reality.  It's kind of painful, yes... but good as well.  I can't think that I am better than anyone and be in tune with truth and light.  And I can't go around thinking that I can handle things without the Lord... as is evidenced time and time again in my life, whenever I try to handle things myself, without help from Him... things go wrong, and people get harmed.  Though the verses seem a little harsh, living in a dreamworld where we are the kings of all things isn't going to get us where we need to go. :)  It's good and merciful for God to pop our little bubbles once in a while and give us a chance to see a glimpse of reality. God wants us to know that we are valuable... but to avoid thinking that we are "more" valuable than anyone else... and to remember that we need help in our lives.  Going it alone always seems to be doomed to failure.  You'd think that I would learn... and who knows, maybe I will.  There is always hope. :)

Monday, June 10, 2002

2 Nephi 29:7

"Know ye not that there are more nations than one?  Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?"
2 Nephi 29:7


A good question.  The Lord is questioning here the people who refuse to accept that there is more than one book of scripture, reminding us that he talks to everyone, not just people that live in the same place we do, or share the same traditions. :)  It's kind of like the whole question of the "chosen people." :)  God didn't choose one nation over another, even back in the Old Testament, because he liked one better than another.  He chose them because they listened to him, and accepted his advice and guidance as well as doing their best to follow it.  Anyone, anywhere can be one of the "chosen" by doing the same.  God is no respecter of persons.  He helps us all, and gives us all a chance to be chosen.  And, getting back to the main idea... he talks to us all as well.  It shouldn't surprise us that God talked to people besides those in the Bible, because he isn't just the God of one nation.  He is the God of the whole world, and has things to say to all of us.  We'll probably get more records of his dealings with other nations before long... and the more knowledge of God and his ways, the better. :)

Sunday, June 9, 2002

1 John 1:8-9

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:8-9


Sometimes it is baffling to me how far we will go into self-deception.  Even when we know, intellectually and spiritually, that this action or that action is harmful to us, we keep doing it, and even tell ourselves that God is fine with it, or that somehow it is actually good for us.  It's like smoking... we see all the cancer warnings, hear about or read the research... see the victims of lung cancer... but we continue to tell ourselves that that won't happen to us, or even worse... what is a few years of life anyway? :)  "At least I'm not doing that OTHER sin." or "Is ending up in the terrestrial or telestial kingdom really that bad?"  Scary things.  We're harming ourselves and limiting ourselves, and we give up hope that we can ever be more than we are.  Instead of trying to convince ourselves that we're fine, we can just admit that we are on the wrong side of the line, and then start the process of getting back.  Dispelling the self-deception is the hardest part... we like our cigarettes, and we tell ourselves how hard it is to quit, that it isn't worth it.  But isn't it?  Isn't it worth living and being with our families, and having life and possibilities before us... not to mention what we will learn about ourselves in the process?  It is worth it, and more so when we consider eternity.  Whatever the sin, whatever the walls we have built, casting off the self-deception is better than living in the darkness... and working toward the best we can become is worth it.  There are some hurdles that we never think that we can overcome... but once we do, there isn't anything as scary or as difficult, and we are basically supermen and superwomen, knowing that we can do anything at all after facing that. :)  God will forgive us and cleanse us, if we can just accept the truth of where we are, and desire to be in a better place.

Saturday, June 8, 2002

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14


This is interesting... it is the end of Ecclesiastes and the author seems to be saying... well, I could go on, but really, this sums it up. :)  And it does rather well. :)  Fear God and keep his commandments because then you don't have anything to fear when judgement comes and when all secrets are revealed... you have nothing to hide and nothing to worry about. :)  I don't really think that it means fear is some horror-film sort of a way either. :)  Just some healthy fear, like we fear our parents if they find out we told them a lie or did something wrong.  (Nice, non-abusive parents of course.)  It seems like we have more reason to be afraid of ourselves than God.  When God brings everything out into the open, it is just about truth and light... When we have all the truth and when all the lights are on, nothing can be hidden... so it is the things that we want to hide and our desire to be hidden that should scare us... no matter how many walls we build, it will all come out eventually.  I like the part at the end where it says whether it is good or evil... here's hoping that there are some nice hidden things in store for us. :)

Friday, June 7, 2002

Lamentations 3:40

"Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord."
Lamentations 3:40


I like scriptures like this because they are basically telling us... go ahead, find out for yourself what is best.  Try your ways... search for the best thing out there.  And then, when you figure out that God is the best thing there is, then come back.  We can listen now, or learn the hard way... and some of us have to learn the hard way, we can't accept it otherwise I suppose. :)  But I like the fact that God *wants* us to find out on our own.  He doesn't want us to blindly follow... he wants to teach us to see.  As long as we remain open to the answers, we will eventually realize that the best way to go is God's way.  Hopefully we won't have to learn everything the hard way. :)

Thursday, June 6, 2002

James 4:11

"Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge."
James 4:11


This is a good thing to remember.  God's law asks us not to judge our fellow men... and when we do, we are not only disrespecting the person or people targeted, we are also disrespecting God and his law.
This morning I got two emails labeled "More trash being promoted by the Perverts in our society" and the other, "More trash from the Socialist-Perverts."  The person who sent them sent them to me because he knows that I am a member of the church, and he thinks that because of that, I will agree with these sentiments.  ... And, regardless of the content of the emails, there seems to me to be some basic problems here.   First, speaking evil of people, as the verses above tell us is a problem, and second... the fact that people consider members of the church to be discriminatory against certain groups. 
It's not okay to hate people.  No matter who they are, no matter what they are doing in their lives.  It isn't okay.  Especially us, who have the scriptures and God's word from his prophets.  If we hate people because they believe and act differently than we do, we are neglecting God's commandments to love each other.  He didn't say to just love the people that agree with us.  We are also losing out on a lot of things that we can learn from other people when we hate and avoid them just because they are different than we are.
Today, let's remember that when we disrespect other people, we are disrespecting God and his laws.  And truthfully, we aren't accomplishing anything other than poisoning our souls with hatred, and marring the reputation of the church, which should stand for love, acceptance, inclusion, and helping anyone.  We can't afford to hate people, or judge them.  We need all the love and acceptance that we can get, both from our fellow human beings, and from God.

Wednesday, June 5, 2002

Mark 11:24

"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."
Mark 11:24


The power of belief is remarkable.  If we just had a little more confidence in ourselves, and trust in God... we could do miracles, every day.  Not that we don't do miracles already, sometimes... perhaps the trick is to just get more consistent at it. :)  Today I was at a training session, and I realized that some of the things that I have been praying for for a long time are happening right now in my life.  I think it took a long time for me to believe that they could happen, and time for me to make the commitments I needed to in my life to allow them to happen... but they are there, happening in my life.  I think that is remarkable.  Unfortunately I think that some of my prayers are kind of shallow.  I say things that I care about, but I don't know if I really believe that they can or will happen, so they lose that depth of meaning.  I am reminded of the Brother of Jared, who asked the Lord for a light source in the barges that they were going to travel in.  And the Lord said (in essence), "Good idea, Jared... how do you think we should go about getting you your light source?  It can't be fire... what else can you think of?"  I think the Lord does that for us sometimes as well.  We pray for something without knowing how or even thinking that it is possible sometimes.... and God says, well... this way won't work, and this other way that you've been toying with won't work... why don't you think about it and get back to me with a solution.   And if and when we do... then it happens.  Because we took the time to work it out, and make it our own.  We've thought about it enough so that it is real and possible in our minds, and we can believe in it. :)  I can only imagine what would happen if we stopped daydreaming about world peace or a Zion community and really started working it out and believing in it. :)  Amazing things can happen when we start believing in ourselves and in what we can make of the future. :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2002

2 Peter 3:8

"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
2 Peter 3:8


This is interesting.  I have heard people try to calculate with this scripture.  Let's see... if one day to us is exactly a thousand years to God, then I've lived... hmm... less than an hour. :)  Things like that.  To me though... doesn't it say it both ways?  That a thousand years is as a day, and a day is as a thousand years?  I don't really think that it is a statement of exactly how long it took to create the earth, or indicative of the rotational speed of the planet that God lives on... :)  I just think it is another way to say that time doesn't exist for God.  He sees eternity... past, present, and future, always.  It is difficult for us to understand that, because time is a huge aspect of our lives... but I, for one, will laugh when everyone finds out that their Franklin planners are worthless on the other side.  Or maybe I won't... I might (we all hope) be more sensitive to other people's feelings by then. :)  The concept of the non-existence of time is fascinating in itself... Hard to imagine what it would be like.  Cool to think about though.  The vastness of non-time kind of makes you think about your priorities as well... are we running around busily doing something that matters?  Or are we just running around to stay busy? :)  Anyway, enough babbling for today... have a good day, however long it is. :)

Monday, June 3, 2002

John 14:9

"Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet thou hast not known me, Philip?  he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?"
John 14:9


Every once in a while you see a good relationship that works so well that the two people seem like they have the same mind. :)  You never have to second guess or wonder what the other one would say... you just know, when one of them says something, that they are both committed.  They are in tune like that.  You never find one trying to usurp the other, and you never hear them talking bad about one another.  I think those kinds of relationships are remarkable.  The closest I think that I have come is with a couple of my mission companions... I knew that if someone asked a question, we would come out with the same answers, and even the same explanation. :)  It didn't matter which one of us was speaking.  Even on a mission, when the topic is narrow, that is rare.  I'd like to have a relationship like that someday that lasts longer than a few months. :)  I'm sure that the relationship that Heavenly Father and Jesus have is probably better than what I have seen in the best relationships, but that is as close as I can come to imagining it.  I think that is what Christ was explaining in some ways here.  He was saying to Peter that He and God are so similar that it doesn't matter which one you talk to... you'll get the same answer.  You'll get the same answers to prayers no matter where you are praying from, and the scriptures will still be true. :)  Another thing that this verse seems to be saying is that often, when we know someone really well, we also get to know what they love and care about.  One of my best friends loves National Parks, and although I didn't have a particular affinity for them in particular before I knew her, because of that relationship I know a lot more about them and have grown to love them myself.  Not a perfect example, but there are a lot of things that we learn about and learn to love because other people care about them and bring them to our attention.  In this case, the thing that Jesus loved more than anything else was his Father.  He lived for him, he died for him, and everything that he said or did was at his direction.  If Philip had been around Christ very long, then he would have known the Father... just by being there and hearing about him, and seeing the love that Jesus had for him.  I hope that the people around us can know God that well, by seeing the love that we have for him.  Wouldn't that be amazing? :)

Sunday, June 2, 2002

3 Nephi 18:18

"Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat."
3 Nephi 18:18


I'm not sure what the "sift you as wheat" part exactly means... unless it is about division and separation or something.  He certainly does like to alienate us from each other.  The watch and pray always part though, I am a little more clear on.  We watch for a while, and pray for a while... and then things are fine, and we are less stressed or we get bored, or we aren't seeing anything new, or whatever, and so we stop... no watching, no praying, and suddenly, crunch.  we're ground into flour by one of Satan's hidden millstones (hard to hide, those... maybe we just didn't think it would really roll over us). :)  painful.  I wonder why it is so easy to become complacent.  Let's be watchful and prayerful today, and watch out for imminent sifting.

Saturday, June 1, 2002

Zephaniah 2:3

"Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgement; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger."
Zephaniah 2:3


There are three definitions for meek in my huge unabridged dictionary.  Two of them are current meanings, both basically meaning milksop.  The other meaning though, is marked "obs," meaning obsolete, and it says "gentle, kind."  Unfortunately, I think that too many of us would agree that kind and gentle people *are* milksops... that kindness and gentleness is a weakness, that it means you have no backbone, that meekness is, indeed, what the modern definitions say... docile, spiritless, tame... it's as though we have taken everything valuable and good that the word used to mean and turned it into something bad.  I think that is a really scary thing.  Whether it is home or work or church, or anywhere else, we can't afford to keep seeing kindness and gentleness as a weakness.  We seem to think that part of growing up and accepting reality is learning to be hard, and building walls to prevent vulnerability.  We spend a lot of our time trying to protect ourselves from other people and perhaps from our own emotions.  It's easier to ignore someone or react with anger than it is to see things from their perspective and patiently explain your side.  It's easier to rage about small things when the larger ones aren't easy to figure out.  It's easier to reject the truth than it is to edit yourself in order to accept it.  I know, I am babbling again perhaps... but perhaps we should seek meekness today, and think about why God would ask that.  It is a strength, not a weakness, to be able to be kind and gentle.  Especially when you are confused, or frustrated, or frightened.  To be human in the midst of a war. :)  It's a remarkable thing... something to strive for.

Total Pageviews