Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Luke 24:16

"And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men."
Luke 24:16

Was reading this and thinking... wow, that's tough. To always avoid offending everyone, including God. A great goal, but kind of overwhelming. And then I thought about it more and looked at it a little differently, and the word "exercise" jumped out at me. Just like physical exercise, which tones up our body, there are spiritual exercises that we can do to tone up our souls. :) And this is one of them. Keeping our consciences clean isn't something that is possible for most of us if we think of it as though it has to stay pristine all the time. Just like your body collects dirt, and we have to wash it... our spiritual selves collect spiritual dirt if we aren't exercising them constantly. Skip reading your scriptures one day and you get a few little spiritual dust mites. :) ... don't say a deep sincere prayer when you wake up... a few more. At some point we need to get to those things and clear the air between us and God... make sure that things are okay, and that exercises our souls, and shakes off the dust. :) Sometimes it takes more... baptism or taking the sacrament washes us clean. Occasionally if it's really bad, it's time to talk to the bishop about how to get the blackness out. (They're really good with the spiritual stain remover.) ... so now I look at this verse and it isn't about always avoiding offending people. That is a good goal, but I know that when I slip and offend someone, part of my spiritual exercise is to clean off that mistake, to apologize, or do what I need to do to make it right. Then it is like daily calisthenics or going to the gym. If I keep working at it, then it isn't overwhelming. Every day, I work at polishing off the spots and getting back some of the cool glowy shininess that I imagine when I think of looking at a soul. :) Today, let's remember that spiritual accomplishments can be done through daily exercise and don't have to be done all at once... and let's work on cleaning off those back spots and getting back our glowy shininess. :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Luke 19:26 -- On Giving and Taking

"For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him."
Luke 19:26

This verse is near the end of the parable of the pounds (the whole parable can be found in Luke 19). Out of context it seems very hard to understand. Why would God give more to people that already have, and take away from people who don't? If we think about it spiritually rather than physically though, it makes a lot more sense. God already blesses people with the spirit with more light and more knowledge, and people who reject the spirit... they get less and less until they know nothing at all of the Spirit. In that context, it makes sense. People who welcome God into their lives are going to accept the blessings he offers, and be able to build on them to get more. People who reject God and what he offers aren't going to be able to even keep the spiritual blessings that they once might have enjoyed. Our spirituality is growing or shrinking... it can't just sit.

I think that the principle probably applies to a lot of things... talents or pounds, spiritual and physical. We have to do something with what God gives us. Our testimonies, our scriptures, our callings, our families, our friends, our muscles, our jobs... and so much more. They aren't given to us to just sit there. God gives us things so that we can learn. And if we don't jump in and learn something, then maybe that opportunity or blessing will go away. But if we do jump in and learn that lesson, then we'll get a follow-up lesson, and will learn more and more. The important part is that we impact it... we make the choices whether to accept more or less by what we do with what we currently have. Can we handle it? Are we making good choices? If so, maybe God will see if we can learn to handle more. If not, we might need a little less... a more remedial lesson, until we grasp the concept.

Today, let's not take what we have for granted. Let's use it to help people, and increase our abilities, our knowledge, and our strength, so that we can do more.

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