Saturday, January 31, 2004

Alma 50:37

"And it came to pass that in the same year that the people of Nephi had peace restored unto them, that Nephihah, the second chief judge, died, having filled the judgment-seat with perfect uprightness before God."
Alma 50:37


That is amazing--"perfect uprightness before God."  How do you get to that point? Some days it feels easy to think of God and do the right things... other times it is a struggle.  Does it just take practice, or is it a mindset thing?  Maybe both... but where it starts is today, right now.  Making the right choices, and dealing with what is in front of us.  Let's not get overwhelmed that other people seem perfect... and apparently Nephihah WAS perfect, at least in the judgement-seat part of his life.  He had to do it one moment at a time, just like the rest of us. :)  And, since he made it... we can too. :)


Friday, January 30, 2004

Enos 1:8

"And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole."
Enos 1:8


This is a cool idea about faith making us whole... and it makes sense. Sins harm us, take something from us. We are less than we were... less than we can be. And faith and everything that has to do with God is what makes us complete. You know, I think that we all feel emptiness at one time or another in our lives, and we try to fill that void in numerous ways, most of which make the void bigger. God is the one who can make us whole. I like that.




Thursday, January 29, 2004

Alma 49:17

"And now behold it came to pass, that when the Lamanites had found that Lehi commanded the city they were again disappointed, for they feared Lehi exceedingly; nevertheless their chief captains had sworn with an oath to attack the city; therefore, they brought up their armies."
Alma 49:17


Here is another example of how important oaths were to people... this might even be more extreme.  The Lamanites came up to one city, and it was so well-fortified that they bailed.  Then the chief captains swore to attack the next city, and even though it was MORE well-fortified than the last city, they kept attacking until all of the people who had sworn were dead... that is keeping a promise.  wow.  In first John it tells us, "in the beginning was the word." ... I wonder if we have to learn to take our words seriously to become more like God. :)



Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Moses 4:4

"And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice."
Moses 4:4


This is interesting... the part at the end seems to say that Satan can only do these things to us if we let him. :)  We can't be deceived or blinded, or led captive if we refuse to listen.  So, what are some of the things that we can do in order to not listen?  Occupy our minds with good things?  I think that is one of the best things for me.  If I read my scriptures, then those verses stay with me during the day.  Another thing that we can do is avoid pollutants of the mind.  See, God doesn't tell us to avoid R-rated movies, bad music, or disreputable literature because he is on a power trip... he does it to help us protect ourselves.  We avoid bad language for the same reason.  Any of that stuff can creep into your mind, and then you start listening to Satan in that aspect of your life.  We're safer if we do our best to keep it out.  Now, this is not to say that we have to lead "sheltered" lives or deny the reality of any bad things out there... it is only to say that we really do have control over what goes into our own minds.  We need to protect ourselves from Satan... so, let's try to do that today. :)  Let's not listen the next time his siren call comes temptingly across the water... he's trying to destroy the ship, no matter what he promises.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

1 John 3:17-18

"But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."
1 John 3:17-18


For me it was a great day, full of idealism and thought-provoking possibilities... and I think we all catch that sometimes, that glimpse or taste of how things could really be if we all worked together to make things better.  This scripture brings it home to me though.  Usually, I do get a taste, and then I promptly forget.  I forget the idealism, the possibilities.  ... we probably all get scared after setting goals or reaching for dreams.  We find out that it is hard.  It requires some consistent effort, or maybe we just lose the vision of the whole thing.  Satan has a way of showing us just enough reality to make us lose heart, and not enough to show is that there is true hope.  This scripture shows us that hope, and what will make the difference.  The trick is to *make* that hope real.  We do this not just through talking about it (although that helps)... but by doing it.  Putting the plans into action.  Instead of talking about how we should all help each other, let's get in there and do a little of it.  Instead of talking about changing the world for the better, let's do what we can to make it happen.  We can make a difference, by doing whatever is in our power to help other people and improve things. :)

Monday, January 26, 2004

Alma 48:7

"Now it came to pass that while Amalickiah had thus been obtaining power by fraud and deceit, Moroni, on the other hand, had been preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God."
Alma 48:7


How we spend our time is a big thing in determining who we become, who we follow, and where we will end up after this life. :)  The interesting thing here is that, not only does Moroni win in heaven, but he won the war on earth as well.  Amalickiah didn't even get to win in the short term. :)  In one of my classes today, we were talking about some poetry that brought up the question of why we are here on earth, and many of my students said that life is just a waiting period until you die.  Pretty sad perspective.  Moroni, on the other hand, thinks that time is meant for us, to prepare ourselves to be faithful to God.  Let's get on it. :)

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Alma 46:39

"And it came to pass that there were many who died, firmly believing that their souls were redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ; thus they went out of the world rejoicing."
Alma 46:39


I think that this sounds like the best way to die.  No regrets, just rejoicing that you get to go back into the presence of God. :)  Whenever we pass on, let's make sure that it isn't a sad thing, or a reason to despair. :)





Saturday, January 24, 2004

Alma 44:15

"Now there were many, when they heard these words and saw the scalp which was upon the sword, that were struck with fear; and many came forth and threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni, and entered into a covenant of peace. And as many as entered into a covenant they suffered to depart into the wilderness."
Alma 44:15


This is interesting.  Moroni asked them to promise to not fight them anymore, and when they covenanted, he believed them, and he let them go.  Stuff like that would seem stupid in today's wars.  I mean, we break promises lightly, all the time, in today's world.  Courts are filled with people telling opposite stories and trying to figure out who is telling the truth... oath or not.
I don't think that it was a religious thing either... I mean, the Lamanites didn't believe, so how could it be a more important promise due to religious reasons?  The same thing happens with Nephi and Laban's servant.  Nephi grabs him, prevents him from running away, and when he promises to stay with them, he stops worrying about it.  If a kidnapper makes someone promise not to escape, is that a binding deal?
Hmm... and it isn't like we don't have examples of promises not kept in the scriptures either... so why the trust?  Is it the power of faith mixed in there somewhere... if we believe other people and show our trust for them, does that encourage them to keep their covenants?  Or was it a cultural thing where promises meant more to people?  Just thinking out loud... but keeping our promises is something we can all think about and work on today. :)

Friday, January 23, 2004

Alma 43:23

"But it came to pass, as soon as they had departed into the wilderness Moroni sent spies into the wilderness to watch their camp; and Moroni, also, knowing of the prophecies of Alma, sent certain men unto him, desiring him that he should inquire of the Lord whither the armies of the Nephites should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites."
Alma 43:23


I like Moroni's spunk. :)  Sometimes we're going throughout life and trying to figure things out using only our brains... and (even if you are super-brilliant Mensa material) that just isn't good enough.  Moroni did use his brain... and spies, and other techniques, but it is interesting and cool that he valued going to the Lord.  ...and hopefully we won't have to find out which way an army went in the near future, but I am betting that this applies to other things that we have to deal with every day as well.  God knows it all, and he is there to help us, as we learn to listen to him, and rely on his judgement before our own.... and actually, to make them the same thing. :)  Wouldn't it be cool if we learned to be as good at decisions as God is?

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Alma 42:4

"And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God."
Alma 42:4


This is a *fantastic* chapter if any of you are up for it this morning.  Absolutely great stuff... anyway, this is interesting to me.  If we didn't have life (and death) on Earth, then we wouldn't really have any hope.  This is our chance at mercy, our chance to show who we are, and who we want to be.  It's kind of like what sets us apart as humans.  Animals are usually in stimulus-response mode, with nothing in between.  The stimulus happens, and there is an immediate response.  As humans, we have an in-between time.  We can stop and think about HOW we want to react to the stimulus.  It's kind of the same with this Earth life we have.  If it weren't for this life, and the atonement, we wouldn't have any time between mistakes and judgement.  That would be pretty scary... so, God (in his infinite coolness) gave us time to repent, time to think about what we want and change our ways.  Whoo-hoo, right?  That means hope, and light, and a chance to become anything we want to be.  No matter where we are starting from. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Alma 41:3-4

"And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.
And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame—mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption—raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other—"
Alma 41:3-4


I think that it is interesting how the whole restoration thing works.  Basically, we get back what we put into life.  If we put in good, then we get back good.  If we put in bad, then we get back bad.  It makes me think about what I am putting in, and how the balance in tipped in my life.  I know that there are some things that I have thought, felt, and done in life that I certainly wouldn't want restored to me.  Maybe contemplating the whole restoration thing will help us to be more aware of what we are contributing to the context.  If we promote happiness and peace, then we'll get those things restored to us... and that sounds like an excellent reward to me. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Alma 39:8

"But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God; and except ye repent they will stand as a testimony against you at the last day."
Alma 39:8


I guess that this can be negative, and is even in a negative context in the scripture... but I think that this is one of the greatest aids to communication that we have between God and ourselves.  God has never been, and never will be, a stranger to us.  He's family... someone who knows all about us, and still loves us.  We know that we are out of touch with God when we *want* to hide anything from him.  I think it is the same with people... there is always something that isn't quite perfect in the relationship if you have to hide things from each other.  Not that I am perfect, or even that it is common... but the perfection of the relationship is one thing that sets God's friendship and love apart from all others.  No matter how bad it gets, he still knows it, and there is no horror of surprise or despair when we talk to him... just the facts, and a focus on the future.  I like that.  ... of course, the rest of the scripture is true as well.  If we don't clear our consciences, it won't be fun at *all* to live with someone who knows all the bad stuff we're thinking.  But hey... that's just another incentive to clean up our acts, right? :)

Monday, January 19, 2004

Alma 38:9

"And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness."
Alma 38:9


Sometimes I think that I try to find shortcuts in the gospel.  Or, maybe it is that I try to pick and choose which commandments I'm going to work on this decade... things like that. :)  I fall into the same trap that I encountered a lot on my mission... thinking that we can go through life doing things our way, and that God loves us enough that he'll understand and accept us that way.  The scary part about that is that it is *almost* true.  I think that those are the worst kind of lies.  God does love us and accept us for who we are.  However, accepting us and giving us blessings that we are unable to understand or appreciate are two different things.  No matter how much my professors love me, they aren't going to give me a PhD for sitting on my butt and watching Twilight Zone episodes all day.  To earn a PhD, I actually have to do the work, and learn the material.  That is the only way through.  And God is telling us the same thing here.  Christ is the ONLY way through.  We can't play Scrabble instead of going to church or read sci-fi novels instead of the scriptures, and expect to earn the Celestial Kingdom.  We might gain exceptional vocabulary skills (especially with Q and Z words), and vicariously experience a plethora of possible and alternate futures, because those are some of the rewards of those activities.  But to get to the Celestial Kingdom, we have to listen to Christ, who is the way.  Today, let's stop trying to find shortcuts, and do what we know we should. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Obadiah 1:21

"And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s."
Obadiah 1:21


This was interesting to read today... I like this verse (and the footnotes) because it seems like God is making it clear that we are part of the plan.  Saviors as a plural is interesting by itself, and the footnote refers us to a scripture that tells us that we are to be the saviors of men.  That is cool.  Not that salvation is non-participatory at any time, of course, but I think that it is cool to think of being part of the "last days" stuff.  Sometimes it seems scary, but it always seems amazing... miraculous, and huge.  I mean... everything that is hidden and secret will be revealed, and all of that type of stuff.  Very cool.  ...anyway, the footnote on judge seems like we're supposed to participate in that part too.  I'm not exactly sure how, but it seems like we've got a lot to do, in concert with God.  I like that.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Moroni 4:3

"O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen."
Moroni 4:3


Sometimes we hear these words and don't really think about them, since we hear them so often in sacrament meeting... but they are good to ponder.  How can we take Christ's name upon ourselves?  How can we always remember him in our lives?  Are we striving to keep the commandments?  Can we really have the Spirit ALL the time? ... cool things.  Perhaps tomorrow in sacrament meeting these will be some good things to ponder. :)

Friday, January 16, 2004

Alma 37:8

"And now, it has hitherto been wisdom in God that these things should be preserved; for behold, they have enlarged the memory of this people, yea, and convinced many of the error of their ways, and brought them to the knowledge of their God unto the salvation of their souls."
Alma 37:8


I like this concept that the scriptures enlarge our memories. :)  Kind of like journals or home movies I suppose... they help us to remember our lives further than we normally do.  The scriptures also open us up to memories beyond the limit of our earth lives, and help us to remember things that happened to our family in times past.  Memories can be scary too, but in this case, the memories offer hope, knowledge, and help in changing ourselves to be more like we want to be.  It's like getting an extra hard drive for our brain.  I love it. :)  When things get cloudy in our brains, we can always hook into the scriptures, and access some on-demand hope. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Alma 36:30

"But behold, my son, this is not all; for ye ought to know as I do know, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. Now this is according to his word."
Alma 36:30


I like this scripture... it seems that it is telling us that how things go in our lives is DIRECTLY relational to how well we are keeping the commandments.  ... I think this is true, for the most part. I'm not saying that people die or earthquakes happen because I did something bad, but I do know that my life goes much, much, much better when I am listening to the Lord and doing the things that are pleasing to him.  It could be a lot of things... my attitude, my patience, my self-esteem, etc.  Whatever it is, though... it works.  So, today, remember this scripture and test it out for yourself.  Be obedient, and your day will go better.  Promise. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Alma 35:8-9

"Now the people of the Zoramites were angry with the people of Ammon who were in Jershon, and the chief ruler of the Zoramites, being a very wicked man, sent over unto the people of Ammon desiring them that they should cast out of their land all those who came over from them into their land.
And he breathed out many threatenings against them. And now the people of Ammon did not fear their words; therefore they did not cast them out, but they did receive all the poor of the Zoramites that came over unto them; and they did nourish them, and did clothe them, and did give unto them lands for their inheritance; and they did administer unto them according to their wants."
Alma 35:8-9


This is cool.  Not many countries or groups will embrace refugees like this.  Some may accept them, but not give them land and take care of them like this.  So, this makes me think about what each of us individually can do to take care of each other.  It seems like it takes a bigger commitment than just an "oh dear" or a dollar. :)  ... and I'm not saying that I really have the answer, but perhaps we could be on the lookout for ways to offer some tangible help to our fellow beings today. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Doctrine and Covenants 58:42-43

"Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them."
Doctrine and Covenants 58:42-43


This seems so cool.  I think that I have mentioned it before, but if God doesn't remember something, and he knows *everything* ... then it doesn't exist, right?  So, he's basically saying that if we repent then we can zap those sins right out of existence. :)  I think that is amazing.  ... the other verse is a little harder to embrace perhaps.  Confessing and forsaking is hard.  I think though, that it is the same idea.  God is saying that he can zap the sins out of existence, but that we have to do the same.  And before we can let them go, and get rid of them completely, we have to own them... admit that they were part of us.  Once we do that, and stop hiding that part of ourselves from us and others, then we can start the work of changing and cleansing ourselves... in essence, zapping the sins out of existence, because they aren't part of who we are anymore. :)
My only other comment is to remember what Boyd K Packer said in the last conference... we aren't condemned for tendencies or temptations, only for transgressions.  I think sometimes we feel so much guilt over sins that we try to wipe our entire lives out and start from scratch... trying to erase all history of the past, but especially attempting to obliterate ourselves.  That isn't the point of repentance.  God doesn't ask us to confess in order to punish us, or ask us to forsake something because he wants us to rip our hearts out and stomp on them.  He only wants to help us change, and be happier.  Don't destroy yourself and alienate everyone in your attempt to repent... sometimes that kind of purge feels good at the time, but it will just make us miss the sin more, because we remember when we liked ourselves and had friends. :)  Confess and forsake: not decimate and destroy.  Let's go out and start zapping... but let's zap the sins and not ourselves, okay? :)

Monday, January 12, 2004

James 5:8

"Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."
James 5:8


This is interesting... what does "stablish your hearts" mean?  I've been thinking about it this morning, and I'm not positive, but maybe it means that we need to establish some sort of foundation for ourselves and our emotions, so that we aren't swept off into the abyss every time we feel something strongly.  We need to ground ourselves in the gospel and in God, not only intellectually, but emotionally.  Even when we are firm in our minds, a lot of times our emotions aren't firm.  We believe it, but we don't _feel_ it.  ... the question, then, is HOW we stablish our hearts.  Probably one of the clues to this is right here.  We need to be patient.  Emotion is frequently of an immediate nature.  We get dramatic, and need or want something NOW, and the emotion doesn't distinguish whether it's a good idea or not.  If we can wait it out, then the drama lessens, the emotion retracts its claws, and we can access our reason again and figure out a healthy and good way to satisfy our legitimate emotional needs.  Take care of your hearts today. :)  Establish them in some gospel-related bedrock.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Alma 26:22

"Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance."
Alma 26:22


I like the prayer part in here today.  Not that the rest of isn't good... of course.  But I think that prayer is SO important.  Sometimes we can be doing the rest, at least going through the motions.  We go to church, we pay our tithing, we are nice to people in general... but there is still something missing, and we wonder what it is, and why we feel empty.  There are probably many reasons, but a lot of times it is prayer.  We either haven't been talking to God, or we have just being going through the motions and not making contact. :)  Talking to God is a sure way to the spirit.  We get on your knees and we pray until it comes.  And because it is a sure way to the spirit, it is a sure way to hope, and to all of those things that make breathing in and out every day so worth it. :)
Now, I'm not saying that we can fake it.  We can't.  One of the reasons that prayer is so valuable is that we have to be honest with ourselves when doing it.  As Mark Twain so succinctly said, "you can't pray a lie."  We have to talk to God and pour it all out.  The desires of our hearts, the questionable motivations, the good stuff and the bad stuff too.  We come before God and tell him where we are, and ask him directions to get back to him from here. :)  I know I have made a few panicked phone calls on road trips... and I think I feel even more relief getting "un-lost" spiritually than I do getting "un-lost" physically.  That's what prayer is about.  It's a time to check in, and really... the more we check in, the less lost we will be on a daily basis.  Today, let's stay found, okay?

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Alma 24:18

"And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands."
Alma 24:18


Usually when I read this scripture I am caught up in the story of the former Lamanites who refused to resist when they were attacked, and all that happens afterward.  This time, though, I am noticing the other parts of the scripture... how they would give rather than take, and work rather than sit around. :)  They weren't just single-issue saints. :)  I like that.  And those are some things that I need to think about in my life... being aware of idleness and what else I could be doing that is more productive, and being more conscious of other people and my give/take ratio. :)  Murder is right out as well, but it was good to notice the other parts of the scripture as well, and maybe we can apply it to our lives today, and be a little happier. :)

Friday, January 9, 2004

Psalms 107:10-14

"Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;
Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:
Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.
Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder."
Psalms 107:10-14


God is pretty amazing.  We rebel against him and ignore his counsel, and he still heals us and loves us.  He frees us from the darkness, and sets us free from the bonds that we have created for ourselves.  Why does he do this for us, and treat us so well, when we treat him horribly?  It approaches incomprehensibility.  ... but somehow, no matter how badly we treat him, he always loves us when we return, and welcomes us into his arms.  That is a good reason to be joyful today. :)

Thursday, January 8, 2004

Alma 19:23

"Now we see that Ammon could not be slain, for the Lord had said unto Mosiah, his father: I will spare him, and it shall be unto him according to thy faith—therefore, Mosiah trusted him unto the Lord."
Alma 19:23


In this story, Ammon is teaching the Lamanites, and because of his success, he is overcome with joy, so much that he faints to the ground from it.  That is extreme joy. :)  Anyway, so as he is lying there on the ground, a man who hates him tries to kill him.  The man raises his sword, and *bam* ... he falls dead.  God told Mosiah that his son would be okay, and he was.  Mosiah's trust was well-placed.  What struck me about this scripture today is Mosiah's trust and faith in the Lord, and that the Lord keeps his promises.  ... I think that we all know that, somewhere inside, but it helps to talk about it.  When God tells us that we can repent and be clean, he means it.  He's not going to bring it up years later or hold a secret grudge.  When he gives us another chance to do better in life, he isn't standing there doubting us, even though we sometimes doubt ourselves.  Everything he offers us is sincere--real--true.  When he says in the scriptures that he won't tempt us further than we can bear... he means it.  If there is no chance of resisting a temptation, or recovering from a spiritual blow... he won't allow it to happen.  I see real hope in that.  Whatever we face today in the unknown immediate future... we have the strength to handle it.  This, even in the middle of the worst emotional blows, and even in the middle of the worst physical suffering.  Whatever it is that we're afraid of, God will help us face.  To me, that is a reason to hope... and hope gets me through the day. :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Alma 17:2

"Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God."
Alma 17:2


This is a great reunion for Alma, and it makes me think of what our reunions will be like.  Surely before this life we had friends... and we also have friends in this life that we have known and then lost touch with.  How will it be when we meet everyone again?  We get a taste occasionally: sometimes we meet people for the first time and it *feels* like a reunion.  Pre-mortal friends?  I don't pretend to know, but it seems like a good possibility.
The part I like the most about the scripture is, "what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord." If you remember this story, Alma and the Sons of Mosiah were little creeps.  They had their own little gang, and their goal was destroying the church.  Then they saw an angel, and that was the turning point.  Remarkably, they were as motivated to work for the church as they had been to work against it, and as the scripture says, they "waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth."  I think that is amazing.  To realize that they had been wrong, to be publicly chastised, and to turn around so completely and faithfully, and remain true.
Perhaps we don't have an angel appearing to us as motivation, but we can take these former bad guys as an example.  We can wax strong in the knowledge of the truth.  We can read and study and learn to be better than we are... and then the already incredible reunions that we anticipate will be even more joyful.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Alma 15:5

"And it came to pass that they went immediately, obeying the message which he had sent unto them; and they went in unto the house unto Zeezrom; and they found him upon his bed, sick, being very low with a burning fever; and his mind also was exceedingly sore because of his iniquities; and when he saw them he stretched forth his hand, and besought them that they would heal him."
Alma 15:5


We feel this way sometimes.  We can get sick, or even sort of mentally ill because of remorse or conflict within ourselves.  For Zeezrom it was pretty bad.  Partly because of what he started, Alma and Amulek suffered, and a lot of people that believed in the church were burned to death.  That would be a lot to go through, mentally.  No wonder his mind was sore. :)  Sincerely, I think that we can relate sometimes.  Our minds get sore when we can't see a way out of our current sins, or when we think that there is no way that we can change for the better.  We feel alienated from God, and so the hope that he offers us sort of leaches out and we are left with emptiness.  It's not a good, healthy thing. :)  However, if Zeezrom could find his faith through his suffering (which he did) and repent (which he did), then so can we.  God is amazing to us, for showing us that even the heroes in the scriptures had weaknesses... and they found a way through them.  Zeezrom changed, and began to fight for the church rather than against it.  So can we.  And it will heal our minds as well as our other sin-induced illnesses. :)

Monday, January 5, 2004

Alma 13:10

"Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish;"
Alma 13:10


This was interesting to me this morning.  I have a friend who prays to God, often, to let him die.  In talking to him, I think that I can understand and even relate on some level.  Occasionally things seem so overwhelming that we despair of ever crawling back to a place where we feel happy and able to cope with things.  It's a human urge to try to escape those "trapped" feelings.  However, the scripture above tells us of a better alternative.  Yes, we could choose to die... but we could also choose to repent and work righteousness.  That is also a way out of desperate circumstances, and altogether a better choice. :)  Let's choose today to live.

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