Sunday, December 31, 2017

Revelation 3:19-20 -- On Opening the Door to God

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Revelation 3:19-20


Another good reminder that God doesn't chasten us out of anger or hatred, but because he truly wants to help us to be better.  He isn't like our earthly associates that sometimes want or expect more than they should, or want us to be someone that is beyond our capacity, or someone who it is actually impossible to be.  God takes our abilities into account, and just expects improvement and change.  He wants us to come unto him and to stop walking away and following things that will only harm us. 

If we let God into our lives by living in a way that allows us to hear his voice and have a relationship with him, then he will help us to become more than we are, and more than we thought we could be.  He's never going to force us, but walking away from that relationship has its own inherent consequences, like any relationship I suppose.  If we sever that connection, it isn't there when we want to fall back on it later.

Today, let's work on letting God into our lives, and on opening ourselves up to that relationship and that possibility, of not just self-improvement, but world-improvement.  Let's answer the door and have dinner with out Savior.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

D&C 101:5 -- On Chastening

"For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified."
Doctrine and Covenants 101:5


This is a hard one, because I don't think that anyone enjoys chastening.  I suppose though, that having faith that God knows what he is doing includes the good times and the bad times, and the times when we are doing right and the times when we are doing wrong.  If we don't listen to and allow God to correct us, then there is no way for him to help us improve.  Plus, it has to work both individually and collectively since we are part of each other and in many ways we stand or fall together.  We can't get farther by throwing others under the bus.

Today, let's work on enduring chastening, and instead of being angry that we have to change, let's try to be grateful that God is showing us ways to become better people, and a better society.  Let's listen and work on it rather than blowing it off or figuring someone else needs the lesson more than we do. :)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Galatians 3:28 -- On Being One in Christ

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Galatians 3:28


I like the idea here of being one in Christ.  He suffered for all of us, and gave us all a gift, and when we insist on believing that one group is better than another (usually our own group), we are disrespecting that gift, not to mention engaging in some pride.  Today, let's work on seeing other people as part of our own group... part of us, all partakers of God's gift, and his hope of salvation.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

D&C 23:1 -- On Sin Prevention

"Behold, I speak unto you, Oliver, a few words. Behold, thou art blessed, and art under no condemnation. But beware of pride, lest thou shouldst enter into temptation."
D&C 23:1


I like that God warns us about things even when we aren't doing anything wrong.  The idea of preventing sin rather than just treating it after it happens is something that can help us avoid a lot of pain and heartache.  ... If we listen of course.  Today, perhaps we should try to get ahead of the game and beware of pride (and other sins).  Let's try to be in tune with God and avoid those sin pitfalls before they happen. :)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Mormon 7:3 -- On Repentance

"Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved."
Mormon 7:3


We hear about repentance a lot, but I think we also push it to the background and normally we don't really want to think about it.  It's effort, and hard for us to face the need to change.  Repentance is the way to salvation though, so it's good to hear the reminder that we need to make that effort.

Part of the problem is in the way that we think about it.  Repentance is scary because it is hard to change, and we think that we are losing part of ourselves.  Today, let's acknowledge the connection between repentance and salvation... and let's remember that it isn't about losing ourselves, but about finding, and saving, ourselves, through God's gift of repentance and the ability to change and improve.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Proverbs 3:19-23 -- On Wisdom and Safety

"The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:
So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.
Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble."
Proverbs 3:19-23


This is a good reminder that wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and discretion are all good things to learn.  I like the idea of boosting life, grace, safety, and protection, although I'm not sure if my neck necessarily needs to be involved. :)  I also love the idea that everything that God does, he does by knowledge, because that idea makes so many things seem possible... if we could just learn enough, we could get there someday. :)

Today, let's get some wisdom and safety, and knowledge and life, etc., with God's help, improve our lives and avoid some stumbling. :)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Psalms 35:9 --- On Rejoicing in Salvation

"And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation."
Psalms 35:9


Joy and rejoicing in the salvation of the Lord seems like a really good focus.  We have so many reasons to be happy, and specifically to be happy about God.  Today, let's take time to be joyful and to consider our salvation... making sure that we are on track and taking advantage of God's amazing gifts to us, and qualifying for his blessings.  There are so many messages in the scriptures about joy... perhaps we should tap into a little of that. :)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

2 Nephi 25:26 -- On Rejoicng in Christ

"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."
2 Nephi 25:26


I love the idea here of rejoicing in Christ.  And it seems like that is what Christmas is really for--to rejoice in Christ, and to share that joy with others, including children. :)  Sometimes we get distracted from that central message, and it's okay to have joy in other things like gifts and family, etc. ... No Christmas guilt trips, I promise.  But even more so, I think it is important to realize that all of our joy comes in some way from God, and sharing that knowledge with others can bring joy into their lives as well. :)  Merry Christmas. :)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Philippians 4:7-8 -- On Thinking Good Thoughts

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Philippians 4:7-8


Reading this today, I am wondering if part of the peace of God comes when we follow the instructions in the following verse.  Finding and seeing the good in the world is sometimes challenging, especially when we are used to focusing on the negative, but I also think that it lifts a lot of stress and mental exhaustion off of our shoulders, which helps to bring us peace.

Today, let's look to God and do things his way, so that we can participate in his peace.  And as part of that, let's try to focus on the good things around us and making things better.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Job 23:10 -- On Becoming Golden

"But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
Job 23:10


This is another powerful idea, and reminder... the idea that God makes us golden.  It isn't something that we can do by ourselves, because alone, we fall into trouble and temptation... but with God, we have the opportunity to get back up and try again, and *keep* trying until we make it.  It's kind of like going to the Olympics with unlimited time and unlimited tries.  We can keep practicing until we get good enough to win that gold medal... and the only way to lose is to stop, or settle for less.  I know, the analogy is flawed, especially because life isn't a competition, but I think it illustrates the fact that we still have to work at it to win, but it is God that gives us that extra time and those extra chances.

I love the fact that God knows our way so well that he can help us to succeed and to excel.  Perhaps a positive spin on the Midas touch. :)  Today, let's keep trying, with God's help, until we come forth as gold.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Psalms 18:35 -- On Gentleness and Greatness

"Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great."
Psalms 18:35


I love the idea of God's gentleness making us great... and thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense.  When we're chastised or criticized, often we react by becoming more reluctant to try new things, or start thinking that we're bad at stuff.  But gentleness, especially in correction, helps us to keep trying, and to learn and grow without feeling completely horrible or incompetent (even when we are), which gives us that chance to learn not to be. :)

Today let's be thankful for God's protection, and especially for his gentleness with us.  Let's try to take advantage of it and grow into our greatness. :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Psalms 6:9 -- On Supplications and Answers

"The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer."
Psalms 6:9


This is a good reminder that we can have confidence that God hears our prayers.  It is tempting to stop praying sometimes as we experience doubts or fears about the reality of God, or about our own worthiness, thinking that God might not listen to us.  He always hears us.  I think that he also answers every prayer, though I knew that sometimes it doesn't see so.  Sometimes the answer is no, and sometimes the answer is that we need to study it out in our own minds.  Sometimes the answer is yes, but not now.

Let's try not to get into a genie mentality where we think that God just passes out wishes to us all, giving whether or not it is wise or destructive.  He is our parent, and his answers are designed to help us learn as well as grow and serve and love.  Let's realize that God will answer in many ways, and let's keep in contact with him, having confidence that, whatever we are, God will hear us.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Joshua 23:10-11 -- On Love and Participation

"One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.
Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God."
Joshua 23:10-11


On the surface this sounds almost like a threat, but of course it's actually a good reminder and warning to take heed, not because God will abandon us, but because we will abandon him.  It's like a radio station in a way.  God is *always* broadcasting, trying to contact us, and help us.  But we have to be willing to receive, and too often we fuzz him out, falling out of tune with the spirit and losing the signal entirely.  God is still there, and he still loves us, but we can't hear him or always feel that because we stop listening, and when we stop showing our love to him by tuning him out, we also can't take advantage of his blessings in our lives.

Sometimes we think that the fact that blessings are conditional makes God a bad guy, or that it means that he doesn't love us.  But blessings are set up as conditional for a reason... so they can help us be motivated to be better.  Just like a driver's license, or a license to practice medicine or law.  Those are blessings that require effort... not just to get them in the first place, but also to maintain them.  If we stop doing things the right way, then our licenses can be revoked.  They aren't revoked because someone hates us; they are revoked because we broke the rules, and we are endangering others or not meeting the minimum standard required in order to help them.  Blessings are similar.  They are based on laws, and obedience to the law grants blessings (D&C 130:20-21).  This verse is just explaining that the reverse is also true: disobedience revokes blessings.

God loves us and is willing to fight our battles.  He wants to have a relationship with us, and he wants us to have all the good blessings in our lives and for us to be happy.  He knew though, when he set up the world that we needed some structure and some rules so that we would work at getting better and not just blow everything off... or up.  So he set it up in a way where we had to keep doing the things that would eventually make us happy so that we could get blessings, and if we stayed on that track, it would lead to salvation.  And if we don't, we get some pretty immediate feedback that we are wandering off track, since we can't seem to tune into God anymore, and things that seemed easy seem hard all of a sudden. 

Today, let's remember our role in God's plan.  Let's not imagine that God will save us without our participation. :)

Monday, December 18, 2017

Proverbs 15:22 -- On Counsel

"Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established."
Proverbs 15:22


This is a good reminder that we shouldn't trust only in our own wisdom, but that we need help, sometimes from other people, but more especially from God.  It's hard, of course, because we want so badly to be independent and brilliant and perfect, but good to realize we aren't, especially *before* we do something crazy. :)

Today, let's counsel with the Lord in whatever we do, and make sure that we are making the best choices rather than just winging it.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Matthew 12:35-37 -- On Hearts and Words and Condemnation

"A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
Matthew 12:35-37


This is interesting as contrasted with the Lord talking to the woman taken in adultery and saying to her "neither do I condemn thee."  He paid for our sins, and he is our judge, and yet he refrained from condemnation.  Indeed, as it says in John 3:17, "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."  God's work is a work of salvation and mercy, and although judgement will still come, any suffering at that day will not be because God does not love us, or because he lacked anything in working to help us and provide us with opportunities to repent and change.  It will only be because we didn't take him up on his offer of mercy and salvation and tutoring to know how to change our hearts.

Today, let's remember that our own hearts and words are our eventual condemnation, unless we learn to purify them.  And let's work for justification rather than condemnation by taking advantage of Christ's gift to us of that space between sin and condemnation--the space that gives us hope and a chance to change. :)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Psalms 109:26 -- On Asking for Help

"Help me, O Lord my God: O save me according to thy mercy:"
Psalms 109:26


 It is hard to ask for help sometimes.  We want to prove we can do it ourselves, or we don't want to admit our weaknesses or lack of knowledge.  Sometimes we think that asking for help equals failure.  And yet, being willing to admit that we need help actually proves to be our greatest strength sometimes... we still need to be willing to do whatever we can ourselves, but only God can step in and make that enough.

Today, let's not be afraid to ask for help from the only person who always has the power to deliver us.  We might not always get exactly the relief that we wanted, but we will always get help from God, if we are willing to believe and accept his presence in our lives.  Let's turn to the Lord in our need.

Friday, December 15, 2017

1 Samuel 30:8 -- On Inquiring of the Lord

"And David inquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all."
1 Samuel 30:8


Depending the context of our lives, God and war/destruction can seem quite foreign to each other, since God asks us to love our enemies and to turn the other cheek, right?  But as it says in D&C 6:36 "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."  War and battle are not exceptions, nor is anything else.  If we're trying to do the right thing and protect rather than conquer or enslave, we can still have the spirit and seek God's aid.  Here, David went to the Lord and asked if he should go after the people who burned the city and kidnapped his wives, and God told him to go.

I think that is the point here.  We can't assume that God's will is the same as our own, and that we know what the best outcome is.  David didn't know if he should pursue the army or whether he would ever see his wives again, but he was willing to ask God, and be open to his answer (rather than just pursuing without asking).  As we follow this example of David in our lives, we won't always get what we want, but we will be giving God a greater opportunity to guide us as we are open to his advice, and as we follow the advice we are given, our lives will be better than we could make them alone.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Psalms 78:5-7 -- On Law, Children, and Hope

"For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:
That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:
That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:"
Psalms 78:5-7


We were talking the other day about how the law pointed to Christ, and in that context I thought these verses were  interesting.  These verses have the idea that the law is there to bring hope to the next generation, and I think the ideas go together really well, because in many ways we are the children that need the hope and memory and obedience that we can learn from the law.  And of course, in other ways, the children that come after us need our examples and our lessons to help them know the law, and know *why* the law is there.

Today, let's set our hope in God, and not forget his works, and keep his commandments.  And as we do, and as we learn why all of that is not only the best thing to do, but also what we *want* to do, and how the gospel is really an expression of love between God and all of us, let's share those things that we learn with others who don't know and who need that infusion of hope in their lives. :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2 Chronicles 6:29-30 -- On Improving our Ways

"Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house:
Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)"
2 Chronicles 6:29-30


This is part of the prayer Solomon said when he was dedicating the temple.  I like the part where he asks God to "render unto every man according unto all his ways."  I don't think that is often the way we pray, because we usually want our blessings no matter whether we're blessing others.  However, maybe it is something to think about.  We do know our own illnesses and sorrows, and God know them as well... along with the sickness and sorrow of everyone else.  He is uniquely qualified, even more than we are, to know how to bless and help us, and how the needs of all humanity intersect. 

Learning to understand others as God does isn't something that we can probably accomplish in this life, at least in exactly the same way... but we can at least take steps in that direction, and help others and amend our ways.  As we do, God can bless us for our obedience, and as we learn with his help to change our hearts and become more like him, the more our hearts will be in tune with his, and we'll begin to want what God wants, rather than yuckier things. :)

Today, let's thank God for his love and forgiveness, and let's improve our ways.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

D&C 84:43-44 -- On the Words of Eternal Life

"And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life.
For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God."
Doctrine and Covenants 84:43-44


This is a good reminder and guideline. :)  Sometimes we want to listen to certain commandments but not others.  These verses remind us that God's words are the words of eternal life, and if we want to keep the spirit with us, and live in ways that are consistent with our connection with God, then we need to live by every word. :)

Today, let's beware concerning ourselves, and learn to love and embrace the words of God.  Because how cool is that, anyway, right?  The words of eternal life?  That's a life quest right there, and God is offering them to us free of charge. :)  Let's recognize how valuable the words of God truly are.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hebrews 7:19 -- On Law and Hope and Christ

"For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God."
Hebrews 7:19


This is from a chapter talking about Christ and the priesthood, and this part is saying something interesting... that God's law, specifically referring to the Law of Moses, made nothing perfect.  And that's a pretty strong thing to say, because isn't that the whole point?  God's law is supposed to bring us to him.  And yet, it is the hope provided by Christ that actually allows perfection.

Alma 34:14 puts it much better than I can: "this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God."  God's law leads us to Christ, and *Christ* saves us, by giving us the chance to keep working and learning even after we made mistakes, so that we can overcome those mistakes and still become (eventually) perfect.  He is the hope that allows us to reach for perfection. :)

This doesn't mean that we don't have to listen to God's law, of course, especially the law that Christ gave us after he fulfilled the law of Moses, but still, the law is there to point us to Christ.  That is its function... to bring us closer to God, to help us build that relationship and latch onto that hope.  Today, let's work on drawing nigh to God, and as we obey the law, let's look forward to the purpose and focus of that obedience--to bring us to Christ, and the hope that only he can offer us.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Proverbs 3:6 -- On Acknowledging God

"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:6


The verse before this asks us to trust the Lord, so the pronouns here are clearly referring to the Lord.  I like this verse because it goes a little bit beyond the trust asked for in the previous verse.  Trust, and also incorporate into your life. :)  *Really* trust, like someone that you would give the keys to your apartment to, or let read your journal. :)

It's not God craving recognition, but we that need to learn to see God in everything that we do. Today, let's acknowledge God's hand in every part of our lives, and in return be richly blessed by his guidance in every area we think to look for him. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

D&C 110:10-11 -- On Humilty and Unity

"Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.
I know thy heart, and have heard thy prayers concerning thy brethren. Be not partial towards them in love above many others, but let thy love be for them as for thyself; and let thy love abound unto all men, and unto all who love my name."
Doctrine and Covenants 110:10-11


Christ tells us in the New Testament that he sends us forth as sheep among wolves (Matthew 10:16), and also that we should be wise, yet harmless.  He doesn't want us to be the wolves or the serpents in the world... to kill or to deceive or manipulate.  Instead, he asks us to be humble.  In the view of the world this might seem like crazy talk, because being like wolves and serpents is how you get ahead.  Instead though. God asks us to be the sheep, and acts as our shepherd.

If we listen to his voice, God will lead us, and answer our prayers.  He gathers us as a group, helping us to learn from and help each other, rather than competing with and taking from each other.  It's a hard thing to grasp sometimes in our society because it is a completely different world view, except perhaps among our closest friends or family.

Humility is not weakness, and unity is not naive.  We don't have to step on each other to get ahead in the world.  We don't have to hate each other because we are different from each other, or factionalize and despise people that are different than we are, or even those with different values and priorities.  It's what God is saying about not being partial to our brethren... we have to learn how to be sheep and not wolves.  To be wise, but still harmless.  We have to learn what humility is *about.*  It isn't just not bragging. :)  It's seriously thinking that other people are cool.  ... And not just some of them.  It's knowing that we have things to learn from each other, and not deciding that one person is good and another is bad because of gender or race or religion or political or national affiliation... or anything else.  It's realizing that we're a flock, and allowing the Lord to lead us and answer our prayers.  It's learning to work together to make a better world.  Today, let's join together in working toward that.

Luke 6:21 -- On Hunger, Weeping, and Weakness

"Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh."
Luke 6:21


This is an interesting verse, especially as it contrasts with a later verse, Luke 6:25, which says "Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep."  To me, this seems like the warning that we shouldn't claim that all is well in Zion (2 Nephi 28:21)... because all is not well, and we need to recognize our shortcomings, and continue to improve. 

If we see the lack in our lives, then we can work at it, and look forward to the day when every emptiness will be filled.  But if we assume that we are complete, that we've reached the ideal or the pinnacle of our self-development, then we have reason to mourn, because we will eventually realize that unfortunately we aren't in fact all that, and realize (perhaps too late) that we are incomplete.

Today, let's recognize our imperfection, as individuals, as families, as groups, and as society as a whole... and let's not mourn because of our weaknesses.  Let's rejoice that God has shown us our weaknesses so that we can work on them and overcome them, because that is much, much better than thinking that we have none. :)

Let's look to God, and allow him to help us learn to be filled and whole, and to be strong and happy... not because we are ignoring our problems, but because we have learned to solve them.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Psalms 41:4 -- On Sin and Healing

"I said, Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee."
Psalms 41:4


This scripture is interesting I think because it shows us some different ways of looking at sin all in the same verse.  One way to look at it is an offense against God, and another is a wound to our own souls.  These things seem almost opposite, but in reality, they are both happening when we sin.  We are sinning against God's law, but in doing so, we hurt ourselves, not him.  His law is there specifically to protect and guide and teach *us* how to become better and happier and to grow into our potential, and so when we sin against God, we're really just destroying ourselves.

Thus, we really need what this verse has to offer.  Today, let's plead with the Lord to show us mercy, and to heal our souls because we have sinned against him.  Let's work at undoing the damage we have caused and on getting back on God's path--on being a force for good and mending and healing rather than evil and breaking and harming.  God's way *is* our way as well, and exactly what the deepest part of us has always wanted.  We just have to let God open our eyes so that we can see it.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Psalms 5:3 -- On Looking Up

"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up."
Psalms 5:3


I like the idea of here of looking up.  Looking up is looking toward God, but it is also being aware, and seeing the bright side... not ignoring the darkness, but not being swallowed by it either.  Darkness exists, but God's light overpowers it, and allows us to see the joy in the world around us even through the dark times.  Optimism isn't a naive viewpoint when it is centered in God--it is faith in action, put to the test and applied to our lives, no matter our struggles.  Knowing God *is* joy, and love, and hope.

Let's look up to God, and raise our voices to him in the morning and at all times, seeing (and being) the good in the world around us, and nurturing it wherever we find it.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Luke 19:34 -- On Deferring to the Lord

"And they said, The Lord hath need of him."
Luke 19:34


This is from a story about Christ's disciples losing  a colt.  The owners asked why they were doing that, and this was the answer.  The owners apparently, once they knew that, said nothing additional, deferring to the Lord's need.

To me, this seems really cool... both to have the spirit close so that we can know what God wants, and also to understand that even when things get taken away from us, that it is all part of God's will, and it will work out in the end.

Today, let's trust and know that the Lord is in charge.  He has need of the things that we lose, and he is the reason behind all of our blessings.  Let's defer to his need, and trust that the things that happen are for a reason, and that God will make everything right in the end.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Psalms 37:4 -- On Delighting in the Lord

"Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
Psalms 37:4


I like this scripture... it is a cool message on the surface, telling us that as we learn to delight in the Lord, we will be blessed.  And on a deeper level I think that it is kind of a reward spiral, because if we "delight" in the Lord, that has to mean that God *is* one of the desires of our hearts, right?  So... as we learn more and more to *want* God in our lives, the more he will be there, in our lives, and it is kind of a self-rewarding action. :)  I know for sure that there are more rewards promised than just that, but even all by itself, it seems glorious.  That relationship with God is the most precious, and joyful, thing that we can develop in our lives.  Today, let's focus on it and get some delight into our lives. :)

Moses 6:34 -- On Learning to Walk with God

"Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me."
Moses 6:34


I like this message from God, asking Enoch to walk with him.  These are some amazing things that Enoch is promised because God's spirit is upon him, and to me the important thing here is that we also have this potential.  Enoch didn't walk with God because God singled him out and blessed him more than anyone else.  He chose to follow God first, and gained his spirit as a constant companion... and then all of the blessings followed. 

It's true in the world that we have to work with different circumstances and obstacles in our lives, and sometimes it seems that a lot of people have shortcuts to different kinds of success (although of course we can't know without knowing about individual circumstance).  With God though, there are no shortcuts.  The prophets, and even Jesus Christ himself, had to follow the straight and narrow path, and learn precept upon precept, learning the basics before being able to learn anything more complex.  And the first step is always asking God... talking to him, getting to know him, and including him in our decisions and our priorities.  As we learn to do this, we begin our walk with God, and we have his spirit... which is the same way we need to go for miracles and salvation. :)  Today, let's start (or continue) down the path, learning a little bit more, so that someday we can be like Enoch, and be part of building a community like the one that he led.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Psalms 86:11-12 -- On United Hearts

"Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore."
Psalms 86:11-12


I like how the first verse pleads for God to help "unite my heart."  It certainly feels like our hearts are fractured sometimes, doesn't it?  Not necessarily  in a romantic sense, as when our teenage crush asks someone else out, but because our hearts are all over the place, wanting so many different things, only part of which is God.  When our hearts are united, looking to God in every thought, we're better, less fractured people, and all of those other things that we desire are either enhanced because God is included in that love, or dismissed, because they are not compatible with his love, in which case it is better not to have them in our lives.

Today, let's work on having united hearts, with God's help, so that when we come before the Lord to praise him we can do it with all of our hearts, and hold nothing back.

Friday, December 1, 2017

1 Timothy 2:8 -- On Prayer Everywhere

"I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting."
1 Timothy 2:8


Being asked to pray always is a common request in the scriptures, and it kind of goes along with praying everywhere.  Closets are mentioned in the scriptures specifically a few times as symbolic of private prayer versus public prayer, but I don't think that it actually has to be a closet. :)  I used to have some great conversations with God in my car.  I couldn't close my eyes for those, of course, but communication with God comes in many forms (including raising up holy hands), and since we need to pray always, and everywhere, it's okay to adapt sometimes.  (Though taking time when we can for more formal prayers where we kneel and bow our heads and pray in the manner that he asks shows additional respect to our Father.)

I like the "without wrath and doubting" part here as well.  It's not good to pray angry, just like it isn't good to have a discussion with anyone when we are angry.  In order to let the spirit in, we have to let the negativity out.  As for doubt, that's going to happen, but lots of times in the scriptures God asks us to doubt not, and overcoming our doubts is just as important as believing.  We need to be perfect in both things.  Of course, just like belief, we don't have to do it all at once.  It is a process, as we learn to have more faith and less doubt each day.  Doubting doesn't equal failure.  The very process of prayer is an exercise in belief though, and as we do the best we can when we pray to suspend our disbelief (and our anger), the easier it will be to hear God and feel the spirit over our own emotional static.  God asks us to overcome these things for ourselves, so we can hear him, not because he is afraid of our wrath. :)

Today, let's do our best to pray everywhere and always in whatever places we are, without anger and doubt.  As we are mindful of God in our everyday lives, we will be able to feel his mindfulness of us, and that will help us have his spirit with us everywhere we go as well.

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