Wednesday, January 27, 2010

3 Nephi 13:33-34

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof."
3 Nephi 13:33-34

I like this scripture because I think it helps to control my stress. :) there are *so* many things to deal with and take care of in this life... so many things to learn. it is so hard to juggle them all, it seems overwhelming (at least to me) at times... if you are nice 90% of the time, you still have to work on the 10 percent that hurts other people. and that's just one thing... there are thousands. Here, though... God says... listen. Don’t stress about the 30 b'zillion things that you have to do... if you put ME first... and try always to build my kingdom, then the rest of it will work... like Ezra Taft Benson's quote "Put the Lord first, and everything will fall into its proper place, or fall out of your life." And, it works. If we concentrate on God, and doing what He wants in our lives, and the lives of the people around us... he takes care of so many things for us. Reminds us of things we need to do, finds us a job, or a friend, or a solution for a current problem... or all of the above. :) And the scripture goes on... more anti-stress. Don't worry about what is going to happen tomorrow. Be present in your life today... Luke 17:32, no looking back at the past... and here, no looking at the future. Just do what you need to today. If you take it day by day, each day will prove a match for the evil you encounter... God has *promised* us the power to deal with anything he throws at us.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Romans 11:21-23

"For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again."
Romans 11:21-23

I like the idea of everyone being part of the same thing... the image of the trees being grafted into each other and God caring for us and helping us grow. And in these verses it is paired with a warning... to not be complacent when it comes to our own salvation and spirituality. Sometimes I think it is easy to fall into thinking that God understands us, and so he will save us no matter what... and that isn't true. We have to learn, and change, and become more than what we are. We can't sit around and stay the same... we have to overcome our faults and keep getting better. God helps us with that, and he definitely loves us... but we have to remember "the goodness and severity of God" ... parenting isn't just loving and supporting. It is also correcting, and helping children learn lessons that they have to learn in order to be capable adults. And God has to teach us some of those lessons. It frequently isn't fun, and is often painful, to learn our lessons and enlarge our spiritual muscles and discover more of who we are. But as hard as it is to fall off a bike and hurt ourselves, or embarrassed as we are when we fail our first driving test... no matter what the pain is, just stopping and not learning doesn't work, and our perfect parent, God, would never let us ruin our lives by giving up. He'll present us with new opportunities to learn, and he'll be severe if he needs to be to get us off our butts and out there learning some new ways to travel. Let's continue to accept God's instruction, and get more goodness than severity. ... and remember that we are part of each other as well. God teaches us all, and accepts us ALL back into the tree where he can take care of us, if we want to come back and are repentant.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

John 14:12-14

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."
John 14:12-14

This is an intriguing set of verses. And an amazing promise. :) They were directed to the apostles, but I think they apply to us as well. If we believe, and work to that point, we can do things like Christ did, and he will respond to our requests as though they were his own. The key here is the belief and the faith that it takes to get there. God answers our prayers anyway, but we don't always ask for good things. Sometimes the answer is no... sometimes it is wait. Sometimes it is granted instantly. Sometimes we get what we wanted, and we have to learn the lesson the hard way that it isn't really what we should have. Let's work today on asking for good things, and listening to God when he recommends something else.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Isaiah 30:15 -- On Returning and Quietness

“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.”
Isaiah 30:15

I think this is interesting... it is hard for us to accept quiet, calm answers sometimes, especially from God. We want drama, and something with capital-I Impact... lightning bolt, column of fire, or God with a loudspeaker. And often that is how we try to solve our own problems, strange as it may seem... we get loud or dramatic or start shooting lighting bolts out of our eyes... figuratively of course. :)

The truth is hard to take sometimes when we're in drama-mode, but it is summed up in this verse. Returning and facing our fears instead of running away... resting and recharging instead of staying up all night trying to get it done... quietly listening and humbly responding instead of telling people off... confidence in God rather than trying to solve the impossible ourselves. Today, let's try to accept God's advice, and chill. To respond quietly and try to remain reasonable even when other people are histrionic. And to listen when God does the same thing for us. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Moses 7:64

"And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest."
Moses 7:64

I love the concept of Zion... of striving for that perfect society, and this talks about it coming forth "out of all the creations which I have made" which seems really cool, and a culmination of so many good things that we work for on the earth. Sometimes it seems impossible with all the bad things happening that we could build and maintain a perfect society... but then again, so many good things happen too. The world pulls together during disasters... building and helping where lives have been broken. The amount of assistance and money given to charities is overwhelming, and I think that it shows that people really do care. Perhaps we just need a focus sometimes... what can we work on, and how can we help. Today I was thinking a basic outlook shift. Let's remember that we are the children of God and that we have the seed of divinity within us. And further, whenever we look at someone else today, let's remember that the person we're looking at is also a child of God, and also has that seed of divinity... that unlimited potential to grow into something better than we imagine. It is so easy to get burned out on people, and stop looking at the potential or the possibilities and instead start judging and dismissing. Today let's try to pull out of that, and try to see that Zion potential in God's creations... including the other people around us. As we try to be Zion people, let's work at seeing other people as potential inhabitants as well. :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hebrews 12:2

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2

I like that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith... author meaning that he wrote it, he began it, and finisher meaning that he finishes it as well... doesn't quit in the middle, and also polishes it up so that it is perfect and shiny. :) Trusting in him can't go wrong, because he remains with us all the way through. I also love the "for the joy" part. Amazing... that Christ chose to suffer because he looked past that temporary pain and agony and embarrassment to be associated with sinners and lawbreakers part... to be put to death in front of an audience of people, some of whom thought that his death disproved his divinity... he chose all of that because he saw past it to the joy beyond and the possibilities in the future. That's an amazing example to us as well. We all have things that we go through in life that aren't easy for us, and that are wrong on so many levels. But Christ encourages us to trust and have faith in him, and his example... to see past the difficulty and pain and embarrassment of this moment and remember that the joy comes after. There is so much hope and so much goodness waiting for us... today, let's lift up our eyes and see it... and "for the joy" endure whatever we have to endure today... looking forward to the happy ending that might not come soon, but which will always come, because Christ is not only the author, but the finisher of that faith we have in him. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jonah 2:1-2

"Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly,
And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice."
Jonah 2:1-2

Jonah is cool. I can relate to him. :) The Lord asks him to go tell the people in Nineveh that they are going to be destroyed if they don't shape up, and he doesn't want to... so he goes for a boat ride instead. Then God makes a whale swallow him. I don't know if the whale was very happy about it either, actually... but it definitely gave Jonah some time to think. What is amazing to me is that, even though God punished him, and a lot of people would be too angry to pray... Jonah is humble enough to realize where his deliverance comes from. He realized that he made a mistake, and that he needed to do what God asked. It wasn't the way he really wanted his life to go, and it was a hard thing for him to do, but he is determined to follow the Lord, even after their little disagreement. :) And, he prays to the Lord... still in the belly of the whale... and the Lord hears him, and delivers him safe back to his life. I think this type of thing happens to all of us. God asks us to preach to Nineveh, and we're reluctant. Nineveh is wicked, what good is preaching to her going to do... la la la. For whatever reason, when God asks us to do something we studiously ignore it because we had other ideas. So, then, we get swallowed by a whale... which, as we all know, can be pretty overwhelming. But, in the end, it puts things back in perspective. After you've been inside a whale, the rest of life seems pretty good. :) And the coolest thing is, Nineveh repented. Jonah thought it was pointless and it wasn't... he saved hundreds of lives. God's ways are incomprehensible to us sometimes, but things always, always work out better when we listen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ephesians 4:26-27

"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Neither give place to the devil."
Ephesians 4:26-27

Interesting, and the Joseph Smith translation (JST) is interesting as well. The first part of the scripture is changed to "Can ye be angry, and not sin?" I think that is a remarkable question, and the whole scripture seems to be saying that, even without the JST. It seems to me to be saying that being angry is kind of like inviting the devil into your life. I find that to be true, at least in my own life. I know that when I am powerfully angry with someone, it is hard for me to pray or to feel the spirit at all. Back in the old days when I was a psychology major, I remember one of my professors telling us that anger is a secondary emotion. There is always some other emotion that happens first, and we use anger to mask it. Perhaps we are hurt or desolate... or even surprised or embarrassed, but instead of allowing ourselves to express the real emotion we revert to anger, because it is less vulnerable. ... It is probably more authentic (and safer spiritually) to make the effort to find out what the underlying emotion is and sort through our feelings rather than letting anger control us. It's sometimes hard to find the primary emotion, but it helps us to “neither give place to the devil” and keep ours souls safe. Although it is painful at times, vulnerability is a lot better way to learn than aggression. Today, let’s try to avoid anger. Not an easy task, but definitely worth the effort. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Romans 8:28

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28

I think that occasionally it feels like life is ganging up on us and everything is going wrong, and we can't figure out how to escape. :) But the truth of it is here. Instead of life ganging up on us, all things work together for our good. I think that is an amazing thought. ALL things... not just some, and everything is trying to help us. It doesn't mean that life will always be fun, although I think it can be most of the time... but it does mean that even the bad things are designed to make us better, stronger, faster... okay, not bionic, but better than that, even. More like God. D&C 98:3 takes it even a little further and tells us that all things we've been afflicted with work together for us. ... Which I think helps to keep things in perspective when life seems really bad. Those things are all designed to help us grow and learn and become better than we are. Maybe we don't always want to learn the lessons, and perhaps sometimes we'd rather just not learn some things... but all around us, all the time, are opportunities to learn and to grow and to change. To become better than we are--calmer, happier, stronger, more patient, more loving... and on, and on. Today, let's try to jump in and learn some of those lessons. Not always fun, true... but with ALL things working for us... seriously... How can we lose unless we don't try?

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