Friday, April 30, 2004

4 Nephi 1:24-26


"And now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world.
And from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more common among them.
And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ."
4 Nephi 1:24-26


These people had been living in peace for quite a while... and not only peace, but they were all just to one another, and they had all of their belongings in common.  No one was out to cheat anyone else.  It was an amazing, Zion-like community.  And what destroyed it?  Little things like this.   Some people wanted to wear nicer clothes than everyone else... wanted jewelry, things that made them "better," and didn't want everyone else to have the same.  Just like the Sneetches of Dr. Seuss fame. :)  Today, let's remember that we're all brothers and sisters.  Let's not use clothing to divide us, or jewelry to set us apart, but instead focus on the things that make us part of each other... part of the same community.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Doctrine and Covenants 38:26-27


"For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?
Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine."
Doctrine and Covenants 38:26-27


God makes an excellent point here (when does he not?) about us as a human family... some of us live in luxury, and some of us in extreme poverty.  Some people have to struggle just to have enough to eat, or to have a place to sleep out of the snow, while others of us are out buying thousand-dollar pajamas. Somehow we've distanced ourselves from each other enough that we don't care about other people, and we are just as likely to dislike a stranger as we are to like him or her.  Today, let's work on being one, however we can.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Mosiah 22:16


"And after they had pursued them two days, they could no longer follow their tracks; therefore they were lost in the wilderness."
Mosiah 22:16


This is a scripture about the Lamanites trying to catch up with some people who escaped from their slavery.  When I read it today though, I thought about how we leave the "straight and narrow" path sometimes to pursue some addiction that seems attractive to us, and we end up lost.  Not being able to find what we pursue (by their very nature, the addictions we leave the path for can never live up to what we dream of them), and not being able to find our way back with addiction filling our minds.  I imagine that it was somewhat the same with these Lamanites.  They had become used to living off of another group that they had enslaved, and they couldn't let go.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Mosiah 14:2


"For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him."
Mosiah 14:2


This scripture always strikes me, every time I read it.  Imagining Jesus as ugly of body helps me remember where true worth is.  Society seems to think that beautiful people are of more worth than the unbeautiful, speaking physically of course.  True worth is way way beyond that... no matter what physical form Christ walked the earth in, he is beautiful beyond words.   The same is true of the people around us.  Physical beauty has nothing to do with the worth of an individual.  Perhaps today we can attempt to transcend people's physical imperfections and admire who they truly are.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Philippians 2:2-4


"Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
Philippians 2:2-4


It seems that God would like it if we would like each other more. :)
There are some cool things here... let *nothing* be done basically with the wrong motivation.   We need to work on doing what we do for the right reasons.   I think it is cool that we should esteem others better than ourselves. ... and I don't think that it is saying that we need to harbor self-esteem problems either... but that we should like who we are, but make sure that we like other people more.  Imagine what the world would be like if we actually loved everyone as much as we love the closest people to us.   These few, we love more than ourselves, and are free and open with, both materially and spiritually.  If we treated other people like that, the world would be an infinitely better place. :)
Things... yesterday someone rear-ended my car as I was on my way to teach a class. I was mad.  I pulled off so that we could exchange information, and the other person just drove off.  Then I was so angry I was shaking... but think of how different that situation would be if we truly loved each other. And I'm not saying from the other person's side, but from mine.  If it was my brother or my best friend, I wouldn't have been angry at all.  We would have talked, looked at the car, and gone on with our lives. ... today, let's try to love others more.  Let's imagine what things would be like if we loved other people more, and then do what we can to make our environments more like that. :)

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Job 31:38-40


"If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain;
If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life:
Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended."
Job 31:38-40


I like the idea that the land could cry against him, had he done something wrong.   We like to think that we are the bosses of everything... animals, plants, earth, sea, whatever... but the scriptures are full of cases where God can talk to and interact with these things, and we definitely can't.  Christ says, "peace, be still" to the water and the storm, and they are.   The angel stands in the road, and Balaam doesn't see it, but his ass does, and God opens her mouth so she can ask why he is striking her.   Christ destroys a fig tree because it has no fruit... implying that it was doing it on purpose. :)  I think that the resurrection will be so interesting, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that we'll be able to talk to animals and really learn about plants and the earth... and the universe... from God, who really knows. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Helaman 16:20-22


"But behold, we know that this is a wicked tradition, which has been handed down unto us by our fathers, to cause us that we should believe in some great and marvelous thing which should come to pass, but not among us, but in a land which is far distant, a land which we know not; therefore they can keep us in ignorance, for we cannot witness with our own eyes that they are true.
And they will, by the cunning and the mysterious arts of the evil one, work some great mystery which we cannot understand, which will keep us down to be servants to their words, and also servants unto them, for we depend upon them to teach us the word; and thus will they keep us in ignorance if we will yield ourselves unto them, all the days of our lives.
And many more things did the people imagine up in their hearts, which were foolish and vain; and they were much disturbed, for Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people against that which was good and against that which should come."
Helaman 16:20-22


The first two verses here are the people who don't believe in Christ, or the signs and wonders that herald him... and I really don't understand why they are so paranoid.  Do we start thinking that everyone is out to get us if we distance ourselves from the spirit?   Do we think that God is out to get us?  Perhaps we don't trust ourselves enough to be able to detect spiritual evidence?  Or maybe we just can't see the simplest truths when we have self-complicated our lives. :)   God isn't out to get us.  He's there to help us improve and come back to him.  His goal is our happiness... but because we're human, and greedy, and manipulative, and fallible... we expect God to be that way too sometimes.   We project ourselves onto him, and figure he's just up there playing a game, and doesn't know what he is doing... or that the people who believe in him are trying to manipulate us as well, instead of being sincere in trying to be good.   Today, let's remember that God is perfect, and try to learn from him.  Let's be positive rather than paranoid. :)

Monday, April 5, 2004

Mosiah 15:26

"But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have wilfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection."
Mosiah 15:26


This is a good reminder to repent before we die in our sins... but it is more than that as well. :) When we know the truth, we have a responsibility to live it. This isn't to make our lives harder... I think that life is easier when you know the purpose of your existence. It's because we've tasted what God has in store... the infinite goodness of being able to return to him. We've caught glimpses, and been filled with that hope. If we turn our backs on something that we know, and refuse to repent, then we know exactly what choice we're making, and God isn't going to ameliorate the consequences for us. When we know the truth, we have to accept personal responsibility for the actions we take in relation to it... We know that we're here on Earth to improve. To get a body, to learn happiness, to learn to return to God. Let's work on improving rather than rebelling against our primary ally.

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