Monday, June 22, 2009

Zechariah 8:16-17 -- On Timely Guidance

"These are the thing that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:
And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord."
Zechariah 8:16-17

I like it when God tells me what to do. :) I know that I should already know, and that I need to be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and not bury my talents... but still, sometimes it is nice when you are a little overwhelmed and God gives you a nice scripture like this. Here is what to do: tell the truth, be honest and promote peace with others, don't get paranoid or mean, and don't support things you don't believe in. :) A good list for a day when we need some external guidance.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Moroni 7:46-47

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--
But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him."
Moroni 7:46-47

This is a fascinating insight from Mormon (Moroni is writing down some things that his dad said in this chapter). The part of this scripture that strikes me today is when it says "all things must fail." I find that really relevant. It seems like so much of this earth life is about learning to let go of things, and it is interesting to have God come out and say... that's the way it is. All things must fail. It kind of makes it better when you remember that. :) The thing that doesn't fail though, and that we can have faith and confidence in, is the pure love of Christ. I think sometimes about Christ’s suffering. We talk a lot about seeing things from someone's else perspective, or walking a mile in their shoes... Christ knows us so intimately, from suffering our pains, that there is no-one else who *could* love us like that... and of course it endures forever... that isn't something that he will forget. The challenge that I see is learning it for ourselves. :) How do we become possessed of Christ's love? Do you think that means just feeling his love for us, and having that actively in our lives... or having that same kind of love for other people? ... or both? :) I mean, obviously we can't go through what Christ did... first because I don't think that any of us has that high of a pain threshold, and secondly, because none of us are pure, so that we could make that kind of sacrifice for others. In the verse after this it tells us to pray with all the energy of heart, so that we can be filled with this love. Which is always a good image… filled, taking away the emptiness.
Anyway, as it says here, if we have not charity we are nothing... so today, let’s make sure we get a dose. :) ... and when we feel that love of Christ within us, let’s bless someone else with it as well... after all, what is more important than learning to love each other? Only learning to love God.... the two most important things in life. Let's spend some time on them today. :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mosiah 2:17

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."
Mosiah 2:17

Whenever we do anything for anyone else, we are serving God. His will is always that we help each other and lift each other up. And it is interesting that knowing this helps us to learn wisdom. I mean, it is probably pretty wise to do the 2 for 1 deal... help someone, help God... pretty good deal. But I think that it goes deeper than that. I mean, this is King Benjamin we are talking about... one of my heroes. :) And King Benjamin was all about humility. He is trying to teach us wisdom here, and he significantly uses the word "only" ... hmm. So, what is he saying? I think he's saying that service is good... but that no matter what miraculous service we render to another person... we still are in God's debt. We have to answer to God, who we can never look in the eye unless he lifts us up to sit on the counter. :) We're kids, and sometimes we try to make deals with ourselves... if we are extra-nice to this person, that makes up for this other thing... but it all goes back to God. We eventually have to deal directly with him... you know, talking to him, learning from him. It's actually not as scary as it sometimes feels... and he does appreciate the service. :) Let's talk to God today... and ask him what he wants us to do. :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Micah 6:7-8

"Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
Micah 6:7-8

We tend to get dramatic at times... we think that in order to get God's attention we need to fast for a month, or pay 50% tithing, or go to church for 9 hours... :) This scripture was back in the days of animal sacrifice, and so thousands of rams and ten thousands of rivers of oil is about the same as going to the temple every hour it is open for a year or something. :) ... and it even asks, should I give my firstborn for my transgression... I think the body/soul thing here is interesting too... how do physical sacrifices relate to spiritual needs? ... but anyway, I think that it is interesting that the question is answered with some basic things... God doesn't need our drama. We can't make up for not living well every day by living *super*-well for a week. It doesn't work that way. God has showed us what is good. And he asks us to do some basic things. They might not always be easy, but if we practice them every day, we'll get good at them. Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. It seems to me that it is all about consistency. Reading a few verses in our scriptures every day is better than reading the entire canon in a weekend, and then not reading again for a month. Spirituality doesn't average out... we need God in our lives every day, and he wants us to walk with him every day. When we get off track, instead of overcompensating and swerving out of control some other way... we would do well to just get back on the path, and keep moving towards the goal.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Micah 7:18-19 -- On God's Perfection

"Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy.
He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."
Micah 7:18-19

Wow. Sincerely, this is an amazing scripture... I love the imagery here... casting our sins into the sea. And the first part: "who is a God like unto thee?" That is such a good question. :) Who is like God? No-one. That is what we are here for, so that we can become like him... so that we can come a little closer to that perfection, that perfect state of being. I think that we forget sometimes the wonder and glory and perfection of God... we attribute our earthly foibles to him... we sometimes assume that he can't make up his mind, or he has a problem knowing what is right, the same way we do. The thing is, he knows absolutely what is right. He knows so much more than we do, that we can't even really compare even the way that we think... with him.

It boggles my mind to read about how some people think that we are God's experiment, or God's playthings, or anything remotely similar... God is perfect. Do we *get* that? Perfection doesn't need experimentation. :) There is ALWAYS a reason, and a perfect one at that, for the things that God does. Just because we, in our imperfection, don't see it... or don't take the time to find it, doesn't mean that it isn't there. :) Today, let's recognize God for the *God* that he is, and allow him to subdue our iniquities, and cast our sins into the ocean. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Doctrine and Covenants 90:24

"Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another."
Doctrine and Covenants 90:24

Cool cool cool cool cool. :) "All things shall work together for your good" ... amazing. and sometimes you know, you are in some spiritual *zone,* and you can feel it happening. Everything starts working out. Bad things still happen but somehow you are able to handle them without falling apart... it's astounding. It's like even your furniture likes you. :)
Seriously, when we search for the truth, talk to God, and have an attitude of belief instead of doubt when it comes to God... and when we remember our commitments, things just go better. It might seem silly, but seriously, one of the biggest things that I fall back on when I am having a bad day is the fact that every time I have made the experiment, I have had had a better day when I read my scriptures in the morning than when I haven't... happier. And I figure, if I am happier... that is what I should do. There are plenty of other things to believe in... but if your furniture likes you, and you are happy... you're probably going to be okay. :) God loves us, and instead of the whole world being against you, wouldn't it be nice if the whole world was behind you? :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Doctrine and Covenants 19:23 -- On the Offer of Peace

"Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me."
Doctrine and Covenants 19:23

God is amazingly cool. Not that it is always easy to do what he says... which is basically to get over ourselves... :) but, the peace he talks about in this verse is always there, held out and offered to us. He promises us that if we can just do some basic things... learn about him, listen to him, walk with him... we'll have peace. And, isn't that something that we all could use?

Often we wait until we lose that inner core of peace to turn to God. Then we get desperate, we need it back, and so we start pleading with him. Not that he doesn’t listen, but wouldn’t it be so much easier for us if we held on to him all the time? :) Today, let's work on keeping God around, and talk to him about this scripture. He is offering us peace. Let’s take him up on the offer. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Doctrine and Covenants 38:14-15

"But now I tell it unto you, and ye are blessed, not because of your iniquity, neither your hearts of unbelief; for verily some of you are guilty before me, but I will be merciful unto your weakness.
Therefore, be ye strong from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours."
Doctrine and Covenants 38:14-15

I think this is another scripture kind of like Christ and the woman taken in adultery. He is talking to people who do have iniquity, unbelief, and guilt... like all of us. ...but he says that he will have mercy unto our weakness... meaning perhaps that he understands what things are easy and hard for us, and he will take that into account. Not that we don't have to do the test anyway, but that he'll work with us more and tutor us on the parts that we have trouble with. And then he says... be ye strong from henceforth... because he is being merciful to us, and lending us his strength, but asking us to do all that we can on our side, knowing that he is working for us on the other... and fear not, which is a phrase that it is always nice to hear. It is easy to get overwhelmed and afraid. Fortunately we have God there to fight the monsters we can't fight alone, and we WILL be able to make it across the drawbridge to the Castle and the Kingdom where we belong.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Doctrine and Covenants 110:13

"After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:"
Doctrine and Covenants 110:13

I know this seems incomplete... it has other verses that go with it, and the whole section is actually fascinating. I love the talk of the leading the ten tribes "from the land of the North" ... always intriguing. But anyway, I just pulled out this one verse because I wanted to focus today on the cool "taken to heaven without tasting death" part... and the coming back. :) I love the idea of being translated, and kind of just walking/ascending into heaven when you are ready, rather than having to die. Although I don't think it will happen to me personally, it seems like a really cool way to go. And seeing Elijah. Wow. :) And in the two verses previous to this, Moses and Elias as well. Talk about a huge scriptural history lesson, right there in the room. And having someone come back from the other side to help us out... there are so many shows and stories about "ghosts" and other otherworldly apparitions, and it is cool to understand how it works, or at least partially, and know that God clarifies things for us, and makes so many things plain and simple. Just to be in that room in the temple, and to see Elijah, even before knowing what he was going to say... that's incredible. Something you live your whole life for... to meet someone who was translated, who can tell you what another era was like because he was *there* ... who can tell you what the other side of death is like because he has been there and back. That's incredible. ... and then, to remember that we have God around, always, with the same information, and more. Let's try to take advantage of that opportunity a little bit more today. Let's talk to God, and see what he would like to talk about today. :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

1 Corinthians 5:6-8

"Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
1 Corinthians 5:6-8

I think this is funny, but also instructive. ;) "that ye may be a new lump" ... not sure that is all that inspiring, out of context. But in context, it looks good to be pure and new and uncorrupted by the leaven of unrighteousness or sin... "malice" is mentioned specifically. And those things do corrupt us. If we have bad feelings about someone and want to get revenge or justification, that can be harmful to our souls and our continued growth. If we get rid of those harmful feelings, and of the dishonesty and cruelty of our past selves... those things that are tainting who we need to be, then we can become new lumps. :) Sincere and truthful and better than our old selves. Today, let's work on purging ourselves of that leaven, and becoming purer than we have been in word and deed.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nehemiah 4:6

"So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work."
Nehemiah 4:6

This is cool. You go through the first three chapters of Nehemiah, and you see how this one man made a difference and was inspired by God to do something important. And that it wasn't just him, but so many other people joined in with him, working toward the same goal. It reminds me of how in the more recent history of the church, the people kept building temples, even though people would burn them down or chase them out of their homes and away from those sacred places. I think this is indicative of a Zion people... people who are determined to do God's work, and build up what he has given them, no matter how many times they are thwarted in their attempts... they keep doing the right things, and building back up. Not just in these physical manifestations of God's will either... but in ourselves. When we are beaten down physically or spiritually, God asks us to stand back up, and keep going: keep trying to build ourselves into the perfect people that we can be, if we don't give up. Today, let's try to emulate this scripture... let's have a mind to work, and keep building up, no matter how many times we have been knocked down. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Luke 1:37

"For with God nothing shall be impossible."
Luke 1:37

This is a good thing to remember. We are children of God, and basically that means that we have the potential to do anything that God does... to be like him. So, essentially, that with US nothing shall be impossible either. Instead of giving up on ourselves and believing that we can't make it... we are able to get past those moments of darkness and go on, and do the impossible. God is on our side. We are his children, and with his help, if we stick with our lessons and learn how, we can become like he is. Nothing good is out of our reach.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

2 Nephi 2:2

"Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain."
2 Nephi 2:2

A lot is going on in this chapter, talking about how free choice is essential, how no one meets the requirements of the law, and we need Christ to fulfill those requirements for us… lots of great stuff. What caught my eye this morning was this verse. How God is great… which I think is something good to ponder by itself. The amazingness of God. :) How power doesn’t corrupt him, how he can offer us freedom, and satisfy the law, and lead us to more than we could ever be alone. How he created all of it, for us, and watches over the billions of us, personally and individually. Those are incredible things… seemingly impossible, if this mortality were all there was. The other thing in the verse that stands out to me is how he will consecrate our afflictions for our gain. … That the things that we go through and suffer *matter* and are there for a reason, and will help us become more than we are. That is probably part of the greatness of God… that no suffering is left unseen and pointless… but that it will all be consecrated to help us succeed. God is impossibly cool. :) Something to think on today.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ephesians 6:13 -- On Withstanding the Evil Day

"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
Ephesians 6:13

This is interesting in part because it tells us the “evil day” is coming. I think we’ve probably seen a few already, but we know there are more to come. And maybe one big one. Either way, those are the kinds of days that knock us over if they can. Because we are on this earth to be tested and to actually learn something, the Lord can't just take away the evil day, and he can’t just give us all the answers. He can, however, teach us a different way of seeing... help us to put everything in its proper eternal context... and he can give us some protection from the storms and darknesses that we will certainly have to weather. The armour of God isn’t so much physical protection as it is spiritual… so that, even if our bodies get knocked over by the evil day, our souls will be able to stand and weather the storm. God doesn’t ask us to do things like pray and read our scriptures and attend our church meetings for him. He doesn’t need our subjection or our obedience. We do. These are the things that will strengthen and protect *us* from the storms of life. He can't take away our challenges, just as any parent can't spare her child the pain of growing up. But he can smooth the path, and offer advice, and lead the way... which he has done. Now, it is up to us whether to learn things the easy way or the hard way. :) ... Listening to God and doing as he asks can spare us a lot of pain and anguish. When the evil day comes, we want to be ready to face it… with God’s help. Today, let’s work on strengthening ourselves spiritually, and facing and resolving any communication problems we’re having with God.

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