Friday, December 16, 2011

Doctrine and Covenants 138:56

"Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men."
Doctrine and Covenants 138:56

This section talks about Christ's visit to the spirit world in between his death and resurrection, and how he brought the gospel to the dead. It's a fascinating section, if you want to read more. What struck me today as I was reading it is the references to our premortal existence. I always wonder what it was like, and also, how different things will be when we can remember that time. I love this verse talking about how we received lessons in the world of spirits. Maybe we weren't all in the advanced class with Abraham, Adam and Eve, Isaiah, etc... but I doubt any of us sat out of class entirely. :) The idea of lessons before we were born fits in with the idea of this life as a learning experience... on this Earth we're working on learning and growing and becoming smarter, wiser, and more beautiful of soul, just like we were then. :) Today, let's get out there and learn. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Doctrine and Covenants 137:9

"For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts."
Doctrine and Covenants 137:9

This verse comes after it talks about people who die without a knowledge of the gospel... that if they would have accepted it, then they will get the same reward as someone who did have the chance to accept it. I think that is really cool, and a great equalizer, so that people who never got a chance to consider the gospel don't get penalized for something they had never even heard of. And that is what God is about... we're all here to learn and grow and become the kinds of people we can be. God isn't up there laughing when people fail at life... he's sorrowing. He wants us to succeed... and he gives us all every chance that he can. I also think that it is cool that God judges us by our actions and the desires of our hearts, together. Actions could be judged differently, based on intent, and intent could be judged differently, based on action. That makes the judgement whole, taking into account soul and body. It also means that we can't just get by wanting something bad, but just avoiding it. Going through the motions might be a good way to start learning obedience, but it can't be enough in the end. And wanting the good, but still behaving badly, again... might be salvageable, and is better than bad heart and bad actions together... but again, it won't be enough in the end. Wherever we start, we have to get to inner unity, where our hearts and our actions are in alignment. Where we are desiring *and* doing good. Today, let's work on getting ourselves on the same page. :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Helaman 3:29

"Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked--"
Helaman 3:29

I really like this one. Reading it today it seems all about empowerment. God gives us the ability and the opportunity to learn and take hold of his word, and use it to improve the world and our individual lives. The more we drink it in and understand it, the less we can be deceived by the distractions of the evil and shallow, and the more we are rooted in God and his gospel of good. :)
Today, let's take this promise to heart. Let's read our scriptures... not as a chore, but pleasurably. Learning the stories, thinking about the words and how they relate to our lives. Let's find the words that will help us through our current problems... that will show us how to be happy in the midst of stress, or triumphant over some personal darkness. It's all there, and the more we pile God's word into our minds, the more God's guidance will pop out at the most opportune moments. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ephesians 6:5-8

"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.
Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free."
Ephesians 6:5-8

Even though probably very few of us have the job title of "Servant," this probably applies to us all in different ways. Whatever we do in this world, we're serving the people around us in some capacity, and even if we don't have a direct superior over us, we all have masters in some sense, whether it is at work, at school, at church, or on a larger level in our society, under our national and local governments.
This struck me I think because it draws a parallel to "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40), but in a way that I don't usually think about that scripture... in the workplace, or in talking about the Government. It seems harder to think about serving Christ through serving my CEO, or through serving Congress, or the President, than it does when I think about serving the homeless guy on the corner. Maybe it is just a personal mental challenge... or maybe it is because I don't know much about the homeless guy on the corner, and he's demanding a little less of me. :)
Either way, I really like this, and thought it would be a good challenge for us today. Let's do good service for God, no matter who is telling us to do it... and let's be positive, and do our best work, helping the people around us as much as we possibly can. No matter what inequities, hardships, or complaints there are in the background, let's not slack off or give up, but let's always be the best possible people we can be, wherever we are, whatever we are doing... loving and serving with cheerful hearts.

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