Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Stewardship Matters

Today I read Ezekiel 34 where the Lord talks about those that did not take care of the people in their stewardship.  I often wonder what the Lord will say to me when I stand before Him.  I often wonder if I do enough.  I try to magnify my calling and do what I am asked to do.  I try and be a good home teacher, a good husband, a good father, but I wonder if I am doing enough.  I know I don't make it to the temple often enough.  It is hard to juggle everything that I know to be important. 

The one thing I know I am doing well though is keeping work in perspective so that I can spend enough time at home with my family.  I never wanted to be one of those men who worked all the time and never saw their families.  I knew from a very young age that the reason for working was to provide for my family.  But money is only one aspect of a families needs.  Money will not take care of their spiritual or emotional needs. 

More than anything children crave family time and attention.  When I am awake my daughter rarely leaves me alone and when I am at work, she calls me every night to say hi and that she loves me.  I know that more than toys, new movies, books or whatever else I could buy her, she wants to spend time with me.  Similarly, my wife would prefer I help her around the house to show my love as opposed to buying her new things. 

If you feel you are working too much and don't get to see your family as often as you would like, then you are right, you are working too much.  I understand that we have to earn a living and it has to be enjoyable to us, but do our children really need a smartphone a piece, a new tablet and a TV in every room?  Or do they need a pleasant home, nutritious meals and good quality time with their parents and siblings?  Read any article that talks about what people on their deathbed regret and everyone of them will say they wish they had spent more time their loved ones.  I have personally never read one that said they wished they had earned more money.  When this life is over, will you have memories of the office that you smile over, or the time you spent chasing your 3 year old through the house playing tag?  I know what I want to be thinking of when it's my time.  Each of us needs to make a similar choice and I would advise us all not to delay that choice.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Lord Will Always Reward the Righteous

Today I read Ezekiel 33 where the Lord talks to Ezekiel and the people of Israel.  It's kind of nice because the Lord is telling the people of Israel why they can't have their homeland back right now.  The answer is obvious, they defiled it.  The Lord gave them certain commandments to follow and obey and they either could not, or would not do it.  The Lord will not always suffer the wicked to prevail, even if it seems like it.  He will always step in and right the ship so to speak.  It may not seem like it sometimes in our world but I promise that the Lord is very concerned with Justice and doing what is right and making sure that the righteous are given their due.  It may not be in this life, but the Lord will always reward those who do what is right, always!  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Feeling the Spirit of God

Today I read Ezekiel 32 where Ezekiel speaks about the destruction of the Egyptians.  Like we have discussed before, a prophet of the Lord feels the love of the Lord for everyone alike.  God loves everyone, even when people are doing what is wrong.  Just as a parent loves his or her child no matter what, God loves all of His children.  He does not approve of what they do sometimes when they make incorrect choices, but He still loves them.  But He will not always tolerate them to continue to make wrong choices.  When people are ripe in iniquity He will wipe them off the earth out of respect for the Earth.  The Lord is the ultimate source of Good and all Good stems from Him.  When we do what is right, we feel His Spirit.  That is the real joy of living the Gospel, becoming closer to Him who made us.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Lord Will Overthrow Egypt

Today I read Ezekiel 31 where the Lord talks about the Pharaoh of Egypt and his fall.  As I have said and thought before, the Israelites must really have disliked the Egyptians for the Lord to spend so much time on the fall of Egypt to His prophet.  I suppose that would be like in our day the Lord telling us of the fall of Afghanistan or Iran and Iraq.  Personally though if I were a prophet receiving the revelation of God, I would not want so long and so much effort spent on the downfall of people.  No matter how many atrocities they have committed, they are still people and knowing that the Lord will make them face justice is enough for me.  I don't need to dwell on it or know the gory details.  Perhaps I am different and am not the norm, but I tend to forgive and not dwell on such things.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 27, 2013

God Prophesies He Will Destroy Egypt

Today I read Ezekiel 30 where the Lord tells Ezekiel that He will use Babylon to destroy Egypt.  I suppose this might be welcome news if the Israelites did not like the Egyptians, but as I recall they were kind of ambivalent towards them.  I'm honestly not sure why the Lord made a point of telling the prophets that He was going to do this, unless it was just to prove that He was God, which is always important.  In order to have faith in God, we have to know that He is God and that we can trust Him.  We have to know that He will follow through on what He says He will do.  We have to have a correct understanding of His character.  Perhaps that is what this prophecy is all about.  I'll just have to ask God one day to find out for sure.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

No Lesson Learned

Today I read Ezekiel 29 and it may be because I am so tired, but I did not really get anything out of it.  It is one of those chapters that prophesies what is going to happen and so is profitable for learning and for showing the might of Heavenly Father, but beyond that, I got nothing out of this chapter.  Perhaps I would have done better if I were not so tired but it has been a great day and I am pleased with it.  Perhaps I will read this chapter again in the morning to see if the Spirit has anything to teach me from this chapter.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

We Will Want to Please the Lord

Today I read Ezekiel 28 where the Lord promises to bring the Israelites back together some day and protect them.  It is always wonderful when the Lord promises something.  When the Lord promises it, you know for a fact that it will come to pass.  The Lord is trustworthy and will always bless us when we follow His word.  When we do what He says, we have His promise to bless us.  President Ezra Taft Benson said that nothing will surprise us more when we pass through the veil than how familiar Heavenly Father's face is to us.  There's a reason we feel inclined to seek Him out and do as He asks of us.  We love Him and want to please Him.  Just like our earthly children love us and want to please us.  I am excited to see Him again and remember Him.  I look forward to the day.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ezekiel Laments the Loss of Tyrus

Today I read Ezekiel 27 where he laments the loss of Tyrus.  He names off all the good that is in the city and among the people.  It is heartwarming to see Ezekiel focusing on the positive of the city that the Lord is going to destroy.  It shows that Ezekiel has the love of Christ in Him and that he loves all mankind, even those that are in the wrong.  It goes hand in hand with loving the sinner but hating the sin.  When I was a missionary it was so easy to feel the love of Christ for everyone I was serving.  It would just pour out of me and help me love all of those around me.  It really is no surprise that Ezekiel is the same way since he is a prophet.  When you are full of the Spirit it is easy to feel love.  What a world we would have if we were all full of love and the Spirit always!  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Lord Takes Care of His People

Today I read Ezekiel 26 where the Lord tells Ezekiel that He will destroy Tyrus because they against Jerusalem.  This reminds me a lot of when the Lord would protect His people and destroy a city that was not taking care of their righteous people.  Like the city of Ammonihah in the Book of Mormon.  They killed the righteous women and children that lived in their city and as a result the Lord destroyed their city in just one day.  The Lord will always take care of his people and will not leave them to suffer without recourse forever.  He loves all His children, but He absolutely will not suffer the wicked to persecute and slay the righteous men and women.  When we obey His commandments we have His promise that He will give us blessings.  It will not always be in the way we imagine, but He will always come through for us.  We can count on Him.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

God Destroys the Israelites' Enemies

Today I read Ezekiel 25 where the Lord states that He will destroy the civilizations that were cruel to the Israelites.  Knowing the nature of God helps in this matter because it would be really hard to understand why the Lord would destroy and entire civilization just because they were not kind to the Israelites.  But understanding that the people mentioned are corrupt and full of iniquity are the real reason they were destroyed.  God does not kill people just for being unkind.  He does remove them if they are ripened in iniquity and ripe for destruction.  The fact that they refused to help His chosen people was just the icing on the cake.  But if you need proof of this, just look at Rahab who was spared.  Even though Rahab was a harlot, she was spared for showing kindness to the Israelites.  Our God is a God of mercy.  He loves those that follow His commandments, and those that repent.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ezekiel's Wife Dies as a Sign

Today I read Ezekiel 24 and the Lord had Ezekiel prophesy about the downfall of Jerusalem.  For a sign the Lord caused Ezekiel's wife to die however, He did not make Ezekiel feel sorrow or cause him to cry as a sign.  As signs go, this one would be fairly effective I feel.  It would be hard not to just lose my mind if I lost my wife, and so if I were not to cry because of it, something would be wrong for sure.  However, I think it is a very tender mercy on the Lord's part that Ezekiel would not feel sorrow at her passing.  I'm not sure how the Lord accomplishes any of the miracles that He does, but this one in particular is miraculous for sure.  I hope if my wife goes before me that the Lord will be similarly merciful to me.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Lord Tries Another Way to Explain the Israelite's Sins

Today I read Ezekiel 23 where the Lord makes a comparison of Samaria and Jerusalem.  He likens them to two sisters and then talks about how they turned themselves into whores and did not stay true to their love, the Lord.  There are times I wonder why the Lord makes so many comparisons about the sins His people are committing and if He is not just beating a dead horse.  But then there are other times where I remember being in school and having the teacher explain something to the class and it makes perfect sense to me, but then to others it is as if the teacher were speaking a foreign language.  But then the teacher explains it another way and suddenly it clicks for some more people.  The Lord is not trying to shove the fact that the people did not do that which was right down the throats of His people, He is trying to help everyone of them understand so that they can amend their ways and repent.  At least that is what it appears to be to me.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

We Sin the Same Way

Today I read Ezekiel 22 where the Lord lists out all the major sins that the Israelites have committed over the centuries.  And you know what?  It's not anything we don't have today.  For all our sophistication and technology and learning, we are still committing the exact same sins they were thousands of years ago.  Nothing has changed.  This tells me that if we don't want the same fate as the Israelites had, we need to repent and do better.  Because the Lord will only give so many chances to repent and become better than we are.  If we squander them, there generally aren't second chances.  We have to make the most of our time here and repent when we make mistakes, daily.  Otherwise, how can we expect our fate to be any different sine God does not change?  Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Heavenly Father Tries to Warn Us Over and Over Again

Today I read Ezekiel 21 where the Lord lets the Israelites know that they will be destroyed for their iniquities.  On the one hand, it seems like the Lord is just beating them over the head with this information, but then again, I think of my own daughter, just 3 years old, and how often I have to tell her things that seem obvious to me.  We are finite beings and have finite understanding.  When we try and grasp some things, it is beyond our reach.  Much like understanding why a stove is hot is beyond most toddlers comprehension.  Some of them get it, but not many.  Most have to experience it first hand.  And the rest of us are that exact same way when it comes to matters of the Spirit.  We try to understand and we sometime succeed.  But more often than not, we fall short and have to be told time and time again.  It is only through repetition that we will learn.  Fortunately, unlike some earthly parents, our Heavenly Father never gives up on us.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Lord's Wrath

Today I read Ezekiel 20 and it honestly reminds me a lot of a parent reminiscing about a child who tried their patience over and over again.  We all know that adult that when we hear about their childhood we are amazed they are still alive and their parents did not kill them in their sleep.  This chapter reminds me a lot of that.  The Lord is listing out all the things that the Israelites did wrong and exactly why He did not pour out His wrath upon them.  The Lord had plenty of opportunity to wipe out the Israelites, they did not have a good track record for keeping His commandments and doing what was right.  But He spared them time and time again for the righteous sake, because it was not everyone who was doing that which was wrong.  I can only think of 2 instances where everyone was participating in the sins, the Flood and Sodom and Gomorrah.  With the Flood all the righteous were taken up to live with Enoch and we all know about Sodom.  We also know that God does not do anything unless it is justified.  I am sure when we know every little detail about those two incidents, we will wonder how God was so merciful for so long.  Let's not have that said of us.  Repent and be better.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Being a Prophet is Like Being a Parent

Today I read Ezekiel 19 where Ezekiel laments for Israel.  It must be hard to be a prophet.  I think of it as being like a parent.  You want the best for your child but can't force them to be good and so you sit back and have to let them make mistakes.  It is hard to let them run off and do their own thing, but it is the only way they will learn.  God is the same way.  He knows we will make mistakes, but if he does not allow us to make the mistake, then we won't grow.  I have to allow my daughter to learn from her own experiences and she will not grow if I always tell her no, that's not a good idea.  She needs to learn and understand it on her own.  Just like the rest of us, if Heavenly Father doesn't give us the space to grow, we won't become better than we are today.  I understand it is really hard for Him to watch us make such silly mistakes, but it is the only way we will learn and grow.  It's a challenging thing for sure.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 13, 2013

We Will Not Be Punished for the Sins of Our Fathers

Today I read Ezekiel 18 where the Lord tells the Israelites that they will be punished for their own sins, and not for the sins of their parents.  That is a comfort to know, especially if you have parents that are not doing what they are supposed to do.  It reminds me a lot of the second article of faith, that man will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam's transgressions.  We each of us have to make our own choices in life and we will have to stand by those choices one day.  A good rule of thumb is, if you don't want to have to stand before God one day to explain why you did something, don't do it!  Because each one of us will have to stand in front of Jesus Christ one day and explain our lives and the way we lived.  That can either be a relaxed and enjoyable interview, or a very uncomfortable and heart-wrenching interview.  The choice is ours and no one else's.  Do what makes you truly happy.  People who are sinning know that they are doing what is wrong, they can feel it, they have just turned down their conscience so that they cannot hear it anymore.  But it's there and they will have to own up to what they have done like the rest of us.  Just remember that God is always watching you and that helps curtail just about everything that we could do wrong out of your system.  Try it.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Don't Stick Around for Oathbreakers

Today I read Ezekiel 17 where the Lord explains to the Israelites why the Pharaoh of Egypt did not save them from the king of Babylon.  I have always wondered why people would trust a traitor, or someone who does not keep their promises.  What makes them think that the person in question won't do it to them one day also?  It's the exact same thing with becoming involved with a person who is married and then continuing when you find out they are married.  Why do you think that even if that person leaves their spouse they are not going to cheat on you?  What makes you so special?  The answer of course is nothing.  But for some reason so many people don't look at it that way.  People are fickle, I get that much.  But why would we knowingly put ourselves in the path of such people and stay there even after their true nature is exposed?  That is what we really need to ask ourselves.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Sin of Sodom

Today I read Ezekiel 16 where the Lord tells Ezekiel about the many sins of Israel.  You know it's bad when the Lord compares Israel to Sodom!  I have looked everywhere for the scripture that appears in this verse though.  The Lord tells Ezekiel to tell the Israelites that the sin of Sodom was haughtiness and failing to take care of the poor and needy.  People always tend to think of the sexual perversions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and that certainly was a problem, but the main issue was always the lack of compassion for their fellow man.  To be told that you are worse than Sodom is quite an issue in my opinion, however, I would wager strong money that we are worse than Sodom today in our culture.  We need to become better about becoming one, like the saints of Zion were.  They were of one heart and one mind with no poor among them the scriptures say.  If we hope to live with God again, we need to get that way too.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Spirit of the Lord will Not Always Strive with Man

Today I read Ezekiel 15 where the Lord compares Israel to a vine that does not produce anything.  He draws the analogy of what good is a tree that has vines and that is all.  He says it is no better than any other tree and He is right.  Once the Israelites stop fulfilling their covenants there is really nothing that makes it special.  The Lord Himself said that if we will obey His commandments, we will have blessings but if not, then we have no promise.  It is up to Him whether He will bless us or not.  Just because you are the chosen people, does not mean you are any more precious than other people.  You need to live the commandments and do as the Lord asks to continue to be the promised people.  The Spirit of the Lord will not always strive with man God says, we have to earn it and keep it with us through our actions.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Israelites Would Not Believe the Ancient Prophets

Today I read Ezekiel 14 and I find it sad and a little amusing that the Lord tells Ezekiel to tell the Israelites that even if they were preached to by Noah, Daniel or Job they would not repent.  This reminds me a lot of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.  The rich man asks Abraham if he can go back and warn his brothers about the awful fate that awaits them if they don't change.  Abraham replies back that they have all the prophets writings.  If they won't believe the prophets and change for them, then a visit from the rich man, even from the grave, would not change them.  Likewise the Lord tells Ezekiel that even a visit from revered prophets of old would not be enough to change their behaviors.  That is really a sad commentary on the state of the Israelites, but would that be any different from today?  If Jesus Himself appeared in Time Square, New York performing miracles, how many people would actually acknowledge Him as the Savior?  How many would declare it to be phony and a trick?  Almost everyone I suspect.  Although the prophecies of the Second Coming do state that everyone will know Him and will recognize Him for who He is, so maybe I am doing the people a disservice.  Somehow I doubt it though.  We have become a very cynical people, slow to believe anything, even when witnessed with out own eyes.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

False Prophets Shall Know that God is God

Today I read Ezekiel 13 where the Lord speaks directly to those false prophets who purposefully lead the Israelites astray.  He condemns them and tells them that He will take His people away from them and they will know that He is the Lord God.  It almost makes me think that the false prophets don't even believe in God and are doing what they do as a spite to the people that believe in Him.  It reminds me of the cliche about those old southern preachers that preach miracles that are charlatans and don't even really believe in Christ.  Such will not be treated lightly and are absolutely taking the Lord's name in vain.  I would not want to be in their shoes for any reason when they come face to face with God.  Just like with Sherem in Jacob 7 from the Book of Mormon.  He knew his fate was awful and feared to come face to face with God with good reason.  No, I would not trade places with him for anything.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ezekiel Continues to Prophesy About the Fall of Jerusalem

Today I read Ezekiel 12 where the Lord has Ezekiel prophesy the scattering of Israel.  He also has Ezekiel do things that will signify the scattering of the Israelites, and then the gathering them in at the last day.  It is more of what we have read before.  It never fails to amaze me how the Lord will give so many chances to His people and while He lets them know that it will certainly happen, He tells Ezekiel to warn the Israelites nonetheless.  He really does love us and gives us every chance.  And we know from the Book of Mormon that He will save the righteous and give them an opportunity to escape.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ezekiel Sees the Future in Vision

Today I read Ezekiel 11 where Ezekiel is shown a vision of the destruction of Israel and the gathering again in the latter days.  What must it be like to be shown a vision of the future?  I imagine it must be really weird to be honest.  I mean to be living in the middle ages and be shown visions of cars and airplanes?  That would be really mind blowing I think.  But I will wager that the prophets of old when they were shown such visions were not so focused on our technology as they were what kind of people we are.  And we know from Moroni's account that he was not impressed at all.  Probably the other prophets were not either.  We are not a people that puts God first in our lives, or even second, third, fourth or fifth.  God is almost an afterthought to most people.  And yet the very first commandment is no other gods before Him.  We are not doing a good job of following that commandment.  Now, I am not saying that other demands for our time are not as important as Heavenly Father, but what I am saying is that we allow other demands to become MORE important that God.  This is not pleasing to Him at all.  We all have some repenting to do.  No time like the present!  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ezekiel See Exaulted Animals in a Vision

Today I read Ezekiel 10 where Ezekiel has a vision that reminds me a lot of John the Beloved's vision as recorded in Revelations.  John sees animals with four faces and four wings, much like the animals that John saw that the Lord later revealed to Joseph Smith were animals that were exalted for fulfilling the measure of their creation.  It is interesting to me, because apparently other worlds have different animals than we do, which I think is really neat.  I like our animals here, but it is kind of awesome to think that other worlds have other animals that seem really weird to us but then again, our animals would seem really strange to us if the inhabitants of the other worlds could see them.  It does kind of make you wonder however why Heavenly Father shows His prophets these visions, it does not seem to have been terribly essential to Ezekiel's salvation that I can tell.  Perhaps Heavenly Father just wanted to show Ezekiel something he would appreciate.  Like an artist displaying his artwork.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Heavenly Father Knows Who You Are

Today I read Ezekiel 9 where the righteous are marked and passed over when death comes.  It honestly reminded me quite a bit of the 10th plague of Egypt where the Israelites painted their door frames in blood for the passover and the destroying angel did not slay their children.  This type of chapter is a comfort to me, that I am known to my Heavenly Father and He knows of my desire to be righteous.  I knew that He knows me by name already, but it's always nice to be reminded!  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ezekiel is Shown the Wickedness of Israel

Today I read Ezekiel 8 where the Ezekiel is shown in vision the wickedness of the people of Judah.  It is interesting that Ezekiel would need to be shown.  Surely like Mormon he recognized the people being wicked and sinning on his own?  Perhaps this was just to help him learn even more conviction for the calling he had been given.  I do not envy those prophets that lived during this time, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Lehi.  Their lot was a tough one.  But they played well their part!  All I can hope to do is emulate them.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Jerusalem Will Be Destroyed Because of Idol Worship

Today I read Ezekiel 7 where the Lord tells Ezekiel about the destruction of Jerusalem and its inhabitants.  Part of the reason they were going to be destroyed is their fixation on idolatry.  I can understand that putting other gods before God is easy to do, we do it all the time here in modern times too, but what always baffles me is making idols.  Why would you care so much about worshiping a golden calf?  Or any other statue?  It sounds so lame and dumb to me personally.  Maybe because I was reared in the church so I know better.  Maybe it sounds really wonderful to other people, but I really can't imagine why.  It sounds so foreign to me.  Oh well, I don't have to worry about that in myself, I just have to make sure I am not putting other gods before Him.  And that I am focused on what I should be doing!  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

God's Word WIll Be Fulfilled

Today I read Ezekiel 5 and 6 both about Israel being punished for their sins.  I liked a phrase that the Lord used in chapter 6, "and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them."  People sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that when the Lord has said something will happen, perhaps it won't.  Now, I am not speaking of when the prophets say that we need to repent or this will happen.  In those settings, if we repent we will absolutely avoid the calamity that the Lord caused to be prophesied.  However, people sometimes mistake the goodness of God as a carte blanche to sin and avoid His warnings.  Make no mistake about it, God does not want to punish us, anymore than we want to punish our children.  But He is God, which means He has to keep His word, or the universe would cease to exist.  So if we don't shape up when He gives us the opportunity to do so, then we will absolutely pay the price He warned us about.  God's word cannot pass away, and unless He retracts His word, which I can only think of two times that He has done that, we had better believe that what He is warning us about is going to happen.  Until tomorrow. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Lord Prepares Ezekiel to Preach

Today I read Ezekiel 4 where the Lord told Ezekiel to make a type and shadow of the siege of Jerusalem and how the Israelites would live when they are scattered.  Parts of it are very interesting indeed.  It is interesting that the Lord is instructing Ezekiel to do this, to give him first hand knowledge so that when he preaches to the people he will be convincing.  At least I imagine that is the reason behind it.  I cannot imagine it being for anything else really.  It really does amaze me how the Lord will go to such great lengths to warn His people and try and help them repent and do what's right.  He really does love us just like our earthly parents love us and want to help us.  I imagine if we could feel even 10% of the love He has for us, we would be amazed at what we would find.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ezekiel Learns the Word of God

Today I read Ezekiel 3 where the Lord tells Ezekiel to eat a scroll with the word of God on it.  It honestly reminded me of the Lord's admonition to seek not to declare His word, but seek first to obtain it.  If we want to spread the word of God on His behalf, we first have to learn the word of God.  We do that by studying and through prayer and fasting as the scriptures state.  In the days before Jesus' mortal ministry, it was the same way.  Ezekiel is taught the word of God in a vision, but the fact remains that he was taught it before he could preach the word of God.  Once he had learned the word, he was able to preach and was made responsible for the welfare of the people.  Their blood was on his hands as the Lord said.  We have the same admonition to preach the Gospel or we will be held accountable to those we might have helped.  If we have the same responsibility, then we likewise need to learn the word before we can declare it.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ezekiel is Called to be a Prophet

Today I read Ezekiel 2 where Ezekiel receives his call to be a prophet unto the Israelites.  This chapter reminds me a lot of Isaiah's call to be a prophet.  He speaks with the Lord and receives his call to preach unto the Israelites.  The Lord tells Ezekiel that the people will most likely not heed his words, however they will know that a prophet has been among them.  I wonder if that means they will feel the Spirit of the Lord or if like the Nephites and Nephi, they will not be able to disbelieve his words because of the faith and righteousness of the prophet?  Just because the people know the man is a prophet does not mean they will repent and do what is right.  When the Millennium arrives everyone will know the Savior has arrived and where He is residing, but that does not mean they will want to be with Him.  They may choose another path.  Similarly with Ezekiel, they knew a prophet was among them, but I am sure many of them still chose to do their own thing.  Just like we do when we disobey the Lord.  We know we are choosing the wrong.  It is our choice to make.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ezekiel Sees Animals Worshiping God

Today I read Ezekiel 1 where Ezekiel sees in vision 4 animals and the throne of God.  I don't know about you, but I have often wondered how Heavenly Father thought of all the animals that are on the earth.  And from what John the Revelator saw, there are other animals that we don't even have on this planet.  Is Heavenly Father just copying animals that He had on His world when He was mortal?  I'm not sure.  But I sometimes wonder, there are some very strange animals out there and I can't help but wonder where they all came from and who dreamed them up.  The animals that Ezekiel describes in this chapter are very strange indeed, not like anything we have on this planet at all.  It is interesting to me that in just about every vision of Heavenly Father that I can think of, the people see animals praising God in addition to people.  I find that very telling and oddly comforting.  For some reason I take comfort in knowing that even the animals praise and love their creator.  Should we do any less as "higher" beings?  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jeremiah's Journal

Today I read Lamentations 4 and 5.  It was interesting as most of the time Jeremiah was talking about how it is better to die by the sword that it was to die by famine.  I personally agree, I would prefer a quick, probably painful, death as opposed to one where I starve to death over weeks.  However it is strange that a prophet of the Lord would write about this in what appears to be his own journal and not necessarily a revelation from the Lord.  That's another interesting part, I wonder if Jeremiah ever in his wildest dreams thought that this would one day be considered scripture that billions of people read daily.  I know if I was a prophet I would not really want my journals, not even this one I am writing now, to be taken as scripture one day.  That would just be strange to me.  I think it will be interesting to speak to Jeremiah one day and get his perspective on things, of course, I can't wait to talk to a lot of prophets.  I think that will be a lot of fun!  Until one day.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Lord Does Things for Our Good

Today I read Lamentations 3 and I really like how Jeremiah comments on how the Lord is not picking on people or civilizations.  He does not gain pleasure from it.  Too often mankind makes the mistake of thinking that the Lord is some giant kid with a magnifying glass on us little ants.  Such a statement is a huge disservice to our Master and Creator.  Those who know the Lord's true character know that He never does anything that is not for our benefit, or for the protection of His followers or to keep His word.  He has destroyed entire civilizations but that has always been in fulfillment of His promises that He has made to others.  However, on the individual level, I cannot think of anytime when He has done something that was not a natural result of our choices or would help us grow.  That is just who He is.  He wants to help us be better.  We just need to let Him.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Virtuous Woman is to be Prized

Today I read Lamentations 2 where Jeremiah laments the loss of the daughters of Zion.  It is a shame that in days past we prized women for their virtue and for their goodness.  It is a real shame that we do not look for such qualities in women anymore.  Now we just look for physical beauty and for other qualities that should not be prized at all.  It is a real shame that as a society we have done such a great job of degrading women that women have abandoned their virtue for debasement more worldly pursuits.  It would seem that Latter-day Saint women and a few other notable exceptions, are the only ones that prize virtue in women and appreciate the sanctity of virtue.  We must set the example and show the world that virtue is still the quality we should find in women.  If we don't, who will?  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Jeremiah Loves the People He Serves

Today I read Lamentations 1.  From this chapter it is easy to see that Jeremiah loved the people of Jerusalem and that their sin caused him pain.  This reminds me of Nephi when he admitted to crying for his people.  It is hard to serve people and not feel love for them, especially if you are serving on behalf of the Savior.  The love of God seems to overflow and fill our own meager cups.  And because of such profound love, it makes it hard to see the people we are serving make such poor choices.  Just like being a parent.  It is hard to watch your child make wrong choices and even harder to discipline them but you know as an adult that if you don't the behavior will only get worse and so you show your love by correcting the poor choices, even if the child doesn't understand right away.  I can only imagine how hard it must be for Heavenly Father.  I'm sure I'll know some day.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Jerusalem is Destroyed

Today I read Jeremiah 51 and 52 where the Lord tells Jeremiah He has used Babylon as His tool to punish the nations of the earth but despite that He will overthrow Babylon one day.  Chapter 52 tells again the story of Jerusalem being destroyed.  It says that Jerusalem was destroyed in the 11 year of the reign of Zedekiah and Lehi left during the first year so Jerusalem was destroyed 10 - 11 years after Lehi left Jerusalem.  About the time they arrived at the promised land.  I cannot even imagine what it must have been like to be in a city that is conquered by an opposing army.  And to be besieged for months before that would be just awful.  And only about one thousand people being spared to be captive out of all the inhabitants of Jerusalem!  Such slaughter wounds my heart, even if they were unrighteous.  I am glad I did not live in that time.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Lord Tells Jeremiah of More Cities He Will Destroy

Today I read Jeremiah 49 - 50 which tells Jeremiah about cities and lands that will be destroyed.  I have to wonder why the Lord is telling Jeremiah all this and why it is included in the scriptures.  Especially when at least some of it is verbatim what the Lord said about other civilizations that He has destroyed.  It is good to know from a history perspective, but I really miss the doctrine of the Book of Mormon and how happy and peaceful I feel when I read it.  Fortunately I am over half way done with the Old Testament and will be reading the Book of Mormon next.  There is just a different feeling when you read the Book of Mormon.  There's nothing quite like it.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Destruction of Moab is Told

Today I read Jeremiah 48 where the Lord goes into great detail on how He will destroy Moab.  As I was reading this I could not help but wonder what in the world Moab's people has done to cause the Lord to desire their destruction so completely.  We know that the Lord does not delight in destruction and so when He takes it upon Himself to destroy a people, it is always for a reason.  I often wonder why the Lord doesn't destroy more people.  I cannot even begin to imagine how He puts up with people abusing His precious sons and daughters who are new to this mortality.  As I am today, I could never have His power.  I actively hate those who abuse their children, especially physically.  I have no room in my heart for them.  I don't care what their past was like, I don't care what their reasons are, there is NO excuse for hurting an infant or toddler.  I have a long way to go if I want to be exalted and every time I read about such things or see it on the news I ask Heavenly Father how He can stand such atrocities.  I know He will tell me one day and help me understand because honestly, that is my one fear about exaltation is I don't see how I can allow such things to happen and how I can comfort those who need it and not just cry for the horrors all the time.  I need His help to learn how because I do want to be like He is one day, and He will help me.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Lord Tells Jeremiah He Will Destroy the Philistines

Today I read Jeremiah 47 where Jeremiah foretells the destruction of the Philistines.  At first glance, some people might feel that Jeremiah would be happy to know that the people that have plagued his own people for centuries were going to be destroyed.  But such people would not understand the nature of God and that when the Spirit of the Lord works on you, you change.  Poor Jeremiah was privy to some very awful things and I am sure they caused him much anguish of heart to know.  When you are in tune with the Lord even an enemy's death is painful and causes the heart to hurt for them.  The Lord does not delight in bloodshed.  He does not delight in wickedness and so when a people reach a fullness of iniquity, they are wiped off the face of the earth so that they do not infect others, much like a malignant tumor would be removed from the body so as not to spread to other areas.  I bet Jeremiah was honored to be the Lord's mouthpiece, but I bet that he took no pleasure in the stating that a culture would be destroyed.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jeremiah Foretells Egypts Destruction

Today I read Jeremiah 46 which is mostly Jeremiah foretelling the destruction of Egypt.  I am a little surprised this chapter is in here.  I don't understand why Jeremiah received this prophecy and why he needed to know that Egypt was going to be destroyed.  Today it would be a little different.  President Monson is the prophet for the entire world now, not just for Israel like Jeremiah was.  I can understand if President Monson was told that a country was going to be destroyed unless they repented, but otherwise, it's strange that Jeremiah would be told about this.  Perhaps it has to do with the fact that some of the Israelites were wanting to flee to Egypt and the Lord was trying to warn His people.  I'm not really sure but like the others, it is in here for a reason I know.  It is important to have and like the other passages I am unsure about I will make it a matter of pondering.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Jeremiah Tells Baruch the Lord's WIll

Today I read Jeremiah 45 where Jeremiah tells Baruch that the Lord will give him his life.  I can certainly understand wanting to know the will of the Lord concerning you.  There have been many times I have sought out a blessing to better know the will of the Lord concerning me.  And I have never really been disappointed, the Lord always tells you what you need to know.  It may not be what you want to hear, but it is what you need to know.  The Lord loves us and will always help us out when we ask Him for it as long as it does not interfere with our own growth.  If you ever want to know your standing before the Lord, just ask, He will tell you.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Israelites Tell Jeremiah, and the Lord, That They WIll Be Disobedient

Today I read Jeremiah 44 and I was floored by the fact that the people of Israel were willfully being disobedient.  Jeremiah told them not to burn incense and told them the word of the Lord, and they flat out said they did not care and were going to do it anyway.  Now, to be fair, people who knowingly break the commandments are doing the same thing, they just are not saying it out loud to the prophet of the Lord.  Now, there are those that have a weakness that make it very hard to overcome and so they sin a lot more than they might want to.  As long as they are working on correcting the behavior and working with Heavenly Father to get better, I think the Lord looks favorably on them.  But those who willfully disobey Him are another matter.  We need to be getting better little by little each and every day, our heart must be in the right place.  Because where our heart is, that is where our effort will be.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The People Disbelieve Jeremiah

Today I read Jeremiah 43 and I am just dumbfounded.  Here are people that despite the fact that all of Jeremiah's other prophecies have come true, call him a liar about the fact that the Lord has told him that the people should not go down to Egypt but should stay in Judah.  At times I will be called a liar in my job and every time I have the same response, what purpose would it serve me to lie?  I think the exact same thing about Jeremiah in this instance.  What does it matter to him if the people go down to Egypt or not?  It never fails to amaze me how people will believe what they want to believe no matter what.  No amount of evidence to the contrary will convince them.  In this case though it is really sad because these few people disbelieving Jeremiah will cost the lives of others who are under their command.  Those are the real losers in this situation.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Feel God's Love for Us

Today I read Jeremiah 42 where several of the Israelites go to Jeremiah to find out the will of the Lord.  The Lord tells them that if they stay in Babylon they will be fine, but if they go to Egypt like they plan they will die by the sword or by famine.  The main feeling I got from this chapter is that the Lord loves His people.  Life is really tough at times and it can be very hard to try and handle everything that gets thrown at us, but the Lord has given us prophets and counsel to try and help us overcome all that we have to handle in this day and age.  If you can't feel the love our Heavenly Father has for us through all He has done for us, try pondering it a little more.  Because I can feel the love He has for me as I write this.  I feel His love for my wife and daughter when I care for them.  For His children when I give service, when I do home teaching and all the other ways I can give service to those who need it.  It is a wonderful feeling.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Random Chapter

Today I read Jeremiah 41 which I am honestly not sure why it is even in the scriptures.  It deals with Ishmael, who I think was made governor over the land by the king of Babylon, killing some men for some reason that I am unclear on.  I really am not sure why this chapter is in the scriptures.  It has nothing to do with the house of Israel that I can tell and Jeremiah is not even mentioned in the chapter.  Perhaps I should make it a matter of prayer and pondering.  Joseph Smith did not change anything in it, did not add anything or take it out, so it must be in there for a reason.  At this time I do not know what that reason is, so I will need to think on this and ponder it.  If I find out, I will certainly let you all know.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Jeremiah is Allowed to Rest for a Season

Today I read Jeremiah 40 which talks a lot about people serving one another and people that I am honestly not even sure who they are.  But one thing I did like about this chapter was Jeremiah going to dwell with people he knew and was comfortable with.  Poor Jeremiah had a really rough time serving the Lord and doing as Heavenly Father wanted him to do so I am really glad that he was rewarded, to a point.  No one does the will of the Lord to be rewarded, however it is always nice when the Lord does reward His servants in this life.  It is very heartwarming to see Jeremiah being treated well after so many trials.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jeremiah is Set Free by the Babylonians

Today I read Jeremiah 39 where Babylon sacks Jerusalem, kills King Zedekiah's sons and takes him prisoner.  I imagine far from being happy that he was vindicated at last, Jeremiah was very sad to see his beloved city laid to waste.  He must have been heartbroken that the people would not listen to him.  I know I would have been.  Just like the Savior lamented about the people of Israel in His day, so too did Jeremiah shed any tears over those he would have saved if they had but listened and heeded his words.  I am quite sure of it.  The prophets of God are not concerned with saying I told you so, but rather of sparing their fellow brethren and sisters unnecessary pain and suffering.  I imagine that Jeremiah is no different.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Jeremiah Fulfills His Assignment

Today I read Jeremiah 38 where Jeremiah is cast into a dungeon and sinks in the mire, basically a sewer is the way I read it.  Jeremiah is absolutely not afraid of man, he endures more than many other prophets combined and everything except death at the hands of his fellow Israelites.  He is truly concerned with doing the Lord's work and nothing else.  We can all learn a lot from him.  Just like our Savior, he was faithful in everything he was entrusted with and did his part, no matter the personal consequences.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Jeremiah Fears God, not Man

Today I read Jeremiah 37 and I like how Jeremiah approaches being cast into prison.  After being in prison for some time, he is brought before Zedekiah, the king and he asks what has he done to him to deserve his treatment.  He also asks what his soothsayers and witchdoctors and all the other people are saying to him, if they are saying that Babylon will not come in and destroy them.  One thing I always admire about the prophets in the scriptures, they most certainly do not fear anyone other than God.  They will say whatever God has asked them to say, and they don't run from it or fear it at all.  Jonah of course is the notable exception, however, even he repents and does as the Lord asks of him.  There are several lessons we can learn from the prophets, however perhaps the best one is to fear God, not man.  Do as God asks and don't worry about what others might think.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Truth Doesn't Change Because You Don't Like It

Today I read Jeremiah 36 where the king reads the prophecies of Jeremiah and burns them and then tries to have Jeremiah and his scribe arrested.  Just for telling the truth!  This is a situation I have to deal with all the time at work in customer service.  I have to remind people, as gently as possible, that the truth doesn't change just because you don't like it.  For some reason, people seem to think they can change what they don't like by getting upset and yelling, cursing or using threats.  It is sad to see grown people be so in able to deal with their emotions, but it seems to be happening more and more.  As our tolerance of inappropriate behaviors increases, we see more and more lack of even trying to control their own emotions from people.  We were put here to try and become better men and women and to learn to dominate our bodies that God has given us, not be dominated by them.  But we are quickly sliding into the realm of anything goes and if you have a problem with it, well you are a bigot.  Such thinking is not pleasing to God at all.  We need to be respectful of other people and their thoughts, beliefs, etc, but that does not mean we have to accept their wrong or inappropriate behavior.  The key is finding the right balance, and we do not have it in today's society.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Lord Blesses Those that Keep Their Promises

Today I read Jeremiah 35 where the Lord speaks to a group of people known as the Rechabites.  It is interesting that this group of people obey the command of their ancestor to drink no liquor and to not build any houses, generations after he is dead and gone.  Why are people so willing to obey the commands of earthly people, but not God our Father?  Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the earthly people are here in the flesh in front of us, but God is not.  But that does not explain why a group of people would continue to obey a command from an ancestor generations later.  It is very interesting for sure and I would be curious if it is repeated with other cultures.  I am really glad that this culture is doing this and remaining true no matter what, and apparently so if Heavenly Father as He commends them in the chapter.  Heavenly Father wants a covenant keeping people, so if the people keep the promises they make, even to each other, He is pleased.  He wishes we would all be so faithful.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Israelites Fail to Uphold Their Covenants

Today I read Jeremiah 34 where the Lord commands the Israelites to let all their servants go, just as He told them to do in the law of Moses.  Every seventh year all debts are supposed to be paid and all servants were to be set free.  Indentured servants I should clarify.  Apparently the Israelites were not doing this but they did when the Lord commanded them to, but then they went back afterwards and made them all servants again.  Of course the Lord was not pleased by this at all.  It is just sad how fickle people are and how they give a semblance of obeying, but in reality, they have it in their hearts to go back on their word as soon as they can.  Such duplicity is not pleasing to the Lord at all.  If He wants us to be honest in our dealings with our fellow man, how much more does He want us to be honest with Him?  It would behoove us all to treat every dealing with the Lord with the utmost integrity.  We will never go wrong if we do.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Power Corrupts

Today I read Jeremiah 33 which contains a clear reference to Jesus in my opinion.  Jeremiah prophesies that a branch of David will grow up and will execute judgment and righteousness.  Now, this could actually be talking about the Millennium because that is when the Savior will rule and reign over all of the world personally.  These passages, and others like them, are probably why the Israelites did not recognize the Savior when He came the first time.  They were looking for the conqueror, the Second Coming, not the Redeemer.  It just always blows my mind that they couldn't recognize Him after all the miracles He performed.  Like we said just yesterday, they were too concerned with staying in power to want to believe.  Power corrupts the old saying goes.  Heavenly Father said it slightly differently in Doctrine and Covenants 121, He said that most men when they get a little authority as they suppose immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.  For some reason the natural man is not fit for power at all.  Such a man, or woman, is not fit for all that the Father hath.  Such ultimate authority would be abused to no end.  Heavenly Father knows this and so gives such people the opportunity to grow and learn to control such desires here on the earth.  It is to our benefit if we take advantage of those opportunities.  It may be the only ones we get.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jeremiah is Imprisoned

Today I read Jeremiah 32 where king Zedekiah put Jeremiah in prison because he prophesied that Zedekiah would be taken captive by the Babylonians.  If I knew nothing else about Zedekiah that would tell me that he was a weak king who abused his power and had no business being king.  From history we do know other things about him, but everything else I know about him just reinforces my opinion of him.  Weak people fear what others think about them.  They worry about it, they get upset when they find out that others don't think they are amazing and awesome.  They do things only because they think it help improve their standing.  It is quite sad honestly.  And unfortunately, you almost always find such people in politics.  They are so afraid of losing their power that they don't focus on doing what is right, but rather on doing what they need to in order to stay in power.  I really wish we would go back to the way the Founding Fathers envisioned it, where people are elected to serve their fellow men for a period of time, then after their service is over, they return to their normal lives.  Career politicians was probably the single worst idea for our country that has ever been had.  It has led to all kinds of evil.  Fortunately, it will not last forever.  When the Savior comes again, He will reign upon the earth in true righteousness.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jeremiah Continues His Preaching to Israel

Today I read Jeremiah 31 and it might have to do with the fact that I am physically sick today, but seriously the thought that kept going through my mind this morning as I read was, how many different ways can you say the exact same thing?  This chapter is more of the same as the last 30 chapters have been.  Israel is being punished, but they will be redeemed.  It is worth knowing and hearing for sure, but not over and over again.  It is good for historical records I am sure and I am confident that the people at the time rejoiced in hearing it.  For me and my spiritual growth though, I hope Jeremiah moves on soon to another topic.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Lord Promises Israel Will Be Restored to Its Glory

Today I read Jeremiah 30 where the Lord tells the Israelites that they will be restored to their former glory one day.  As I have stated in the past, I have a hard time understanding the importance of this in most cases.  I pretty much just live my life the best way I can without worrying about whether I am part of a larger community or not.  Now, I would have a problem if I had been taken captive like the Israelites were, but as for if America were scattered to the four winds, I don't think I would lament the fact that all the American's are now spread all over the world.  But it was a different world with a different culture, maybe that was very important and even vital to those people.  I just don't know.  I'm sure I'll understand it one day.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Lord Counsels the Israelites in Captivity

Today I read Jeremiah 29 where the Lord counsels the people in captivity that they will be there for seventy years.  He advises them to marry and have families.  To have their children marry and have families and to go on with their lives.  He tells them that He did not want them to have this captivity, that it is a result of their unrighteousness and their leaders wrong choices.  I can liken it to being an earthly parent and telling your child not to touch the stove and stopping them every time they try, but that one time you are not looking they touch it anyway.  You warn them and try to help them understand how dangerous it is, how much it will hurt, but they don't listen.  Sometimes, no matter how much you warn and beg them to listen, they have to make the mistakes on their own and discover how wrong of a choice it is.  But even when they choose poorly, we still love them and care for them and want their happiness.  Is our Father in Heaven any different?  Of course not.  He always wants what is best for us.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jeremiah Confounds a False Prophet

Today I read Jeremiah 28 where a false prophet gives the people false hope.  Jeremiah is given the word of the Lord to the people and he tells the false prophet Hananiah that he has prophesied wrong things.  I have often wondered when reading chapters like this one and Alma 30 with Korihor, why such people would preach words that are directly in contradiction of the true and living prophet.  Korihor states that he was deceived by the devil and he knew it, but because he liked the words that the devil told him to say, he preached it anyway.  I imagine Hananiah was the same way.  He liked the words that he was told to say, so he either did not consider if they came from God, or said them anyway if he did know.  The moral of the story to me is to follow the prophet no matter what.  Even in our own dispensation we have seen people directly try and contradict the prophet Joseph Smith.  But the Lord has said that no one but His chosen prophet will have revelation for the church and the world as a whole.  That is the best rule of thumb.  If it is not coming from your priesthood leader, it is not revelation for you.  Follow this pattern and things should be ok.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jeremiah Prophesies the Captivity of the Israelites

Today I read Jeremiah 27 where the Lord uses Jeremiah to tell the Israelites that they will be carried away captive to Babylon for a time.  I can't help but wonder what people thought of Jeremiah and his preaching.  Or any of the prophets really.  It makes me think of the few times I have seem people standing on a street corner yelling things out and people just walk on by not even paying any attention to the people.  Is that how the people treated Jeremiah?  Did they even pause out of their day to stop and listen to what he was saying?  Did they write him off as a mad man, a doomsayer?  Did they feel a prick in their heart as they heard his words trying in vain to testify of the truth of his words?  I don't know but I know that in our day, people do stop and listen to a prophet's voice, but it is not to take heed, but rather to find fault.  And I suspect that is how it has always been in days of old.  The majority who do stop to listen want to find something that they can then pounce on and say it is not true and "catch" the prophet in a lie.  They do not understand that a true prophet has the Lord on his side and will not be so caught.  If only they would listen with real intent.  If only we all would listen and take heed.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jeremiah Arrested for Preaching

Today I read Jeremiah 26 where Jeremiah is put on trial for preaching ill against the city.  The entire time I was reading this, I could not help but think about how grateful I am to live in America where we have freedom of speech.  I could not even imagine getting in trouble with the leaders of the country just for saying something they don't like.  Such an idea is crazy to me.  I am very, very happy that the Lord helped shape America and influenced the founding fathers of this nation to ensure the freedoms necessary for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be restored.  I could not even imagine living anywhere else, I am thankful for all the wonderful freedoms I enjoy living here.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Lord WIll Punish the Wicked that He Uses to Punish Other Wicked

Today I read Jeremiah 25 where the Lord tells Jeremiah how He will use the unrighteous nations of the earth to punish the Israelites.  He then goes on to tell how He will then punish those unrighteous nations.  I think it is easy to forget that even though He is using them to punish the wicked of the House of Israel, those other nations are still wicked and will be punished.  It is really easy to forget that I think and fall into the trap of thinking that they get a free pass because the Lord is using them for His own purpose.  But the Lord doesn't let any wicked go unpunished forever, everyone will receive the reward based on what they did and how they performed.  We cannot escape the judgement of God forever, it will catch up with us.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Good Figs

Today I read Jeremiah 24 where the Lord promises to be merciful to those Israelites who are carried away out of Jerusalem.  He likens them to a basket of figs, good and bad ones, that He can either eat or not eat.  I thought this was a very applicable analogy since God cannot be in the presence of anything unclean at all.  I know it is very sad for Heavenly Father when His children make choices that forbid Him from being with them.  I know I would be heartbroken if my daughter cast me out of her life by her choice.  And like Heavenly Father, I would still love her and care about her.  I think God gets a really bad rap from a lot of people because they don't understand that He is bound by laws just like we are.  They think that because He is omnipotent, that He is above everything, but He is bound by rules just like we are.  And there are certain things that are wrong and even He cannot be in the presence of them.  The sooner we learn that, the easier it will be to understand Him.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, October 25, 2013

God is a God at Hand

Today I read Jeremiah 23 and I really liked verse 23 which says, "Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?".  So many critics of there being a God state that God has abandoned us to our own devices and why would he leave us all alone like this?  God, by His own mouth, has not abandoned us, but rather has stayed close by and closely monitored our doings.  Like the good Father that He is, He watches us, but allows us to fall at times.  He stays involved in our lives and helps us to reach our potential.  People who think God created all of us and then moved on, do not understand the nature of God.  They do not understand all that God has done for them in their lives.  One day they will.  They will stand before God and see that He never abandoned them, but was right there with them all the time.  President Benson said that nothing will surprise us more than how familiar Heavenly Father's face is to us when we see Him again.  I look forward to that day!  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Train Your Children to be Kind

Today I read Jeremiah 22 and I liked the beginning verses how it says to do no harm or violence to the stranger, the fatherless nor the widow.  This seems to me like it should be a no brainer, but unfortunately we have all too many people in this world that take advantage of those who are weaker than themselves.  I have never understood why that is or why they feel the need to harm anyone at all.  I really wish we were in the business of teaching our children to be polite and kind to everyone they meet instead of teaching them to take advantage of other people.  And we may not even be actively using those words, however our actions speak way louder than our words and if we are not honest and upright in all our dealings, well our children will see it right away.  Make sure we are not being hypocritical and doing what we way we will.  That is the way to really teach our children the right way to live.  Train them right because they are a reflection on  you.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Leaders Blame the Prophet

Today I read Jeremiah 21 where he foretells the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon.  I can't help but wonder how widespread Jeremiah's prophecies were at the time.  Did Lehi know about them?  I know they had many of the prophecies of Jeremiah on the Brass plates according to Nephi, but did they know about them before they had the plates is what I am curious about.  I suspect that they did not.  I think that the leaders of Jerusalem at the time would have tried their best to suppress Jeremiah's prophecies.  Leaders always seem to want to suppress naysayers of all kinds instead of taking a look at themselves to determine just why people are not falling in behind them.  We have that exact same issue today in our own country.  And while our prophet is not prophesying the destruction of our society due to its leaders, there are plenty of people who find faults with our leaders.  And like Zedekiah of old, instead of looking at himself and what he has done, he blames those who speak against him.  But I don't want to spend more time talking about our modern day leaders and only brought it up to show patterns that repeat themselves.  When the prophet speaks, we need to listen, no matter what he is saying, and that is all there is to it.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Jeremiah Imprisoned for Preaching

Today I read Jeremiah 20 where Pashur has Jeremiah imprisoned.  He is put in the stocks, just for obeying the Lord.  It reminds me of Abinadi and King Noah in the Book of Mormon.  I have often wondered at these rulers who persecute the prophets and feel threatened by them even though the prophets don't do anything other than preach.  They have not damaged anyone's property, they have not killed anyone, stolen anything, incited riots, etc.  They are just preaching the Lord's word.  And yet, the truth pricks the heart of the wicked and causes them to question their life.  Nephi states that the guilty taketh the truth to be hard.  And he is right.  We have all kinds of examples in the Book of Mormon where when a false prophet preaches that the people can do anything they want, to eat drink and be merry, that they are hailed as a great teacher and prophet and are given lavish gifts.  But the minute a true prophet says that their lifestyle is not in accordance with God's commandments, well then he is a heretic and a liar and must be cast out.  What must such people think when they are judged and realize those men they labeled as crazy lunatics were right?  I know I don't want to be in that boat.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Jeremiah Tells the People of Jerusalem's Destruction

Today I read Jeremiah 19 where Jeremiah tells of the impending destruction of Jerusalem.  He tells them that the city will be utterly destroyed and that the people will become cannibals because of the siege.  I wonder if there were any righteous left in the city at this point to hear Jeremiah's prophecy?  I kind of hope there weren't because that would be heartbreaking to hear.  That not only your city be destroyed completely, but the people will start eating each other.  It reminds me of Abraham being told that the Lord will destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, where he bargained with the Lord to spare them if He found 10 righteous people.  Abraham couldn't bear the thought of all those people being destroyed.  I wonder if Jeremiah did the same or if he understood his people were beyond saving?  Perhaps I will find out in later chapters, but one thing is for certain, Jeremiah did not shirk his duty to prophesy to the people.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Heavenly Father, the Great Artist

Today I read Jeremiah 18 and I was a little tickled by the imagery Jeremiah used.  He likens Israel to potters clay and Heavenly Father trying to mold and shape it as He sees fit.  It is probably very irreverent to say so, but I thought it kind of funny to picture Heavenly Father sitting at a potters wheel trying to turn Israel into His vision.  Getting angry at it for not cooperating, etc.  The analogy does fit rather nicely though.  Heavenly Father is most definitely trying to mold us and wants us to be in His image.  He will use His tools much like a potter might use a knife to shave off excess clay from a pot, Heavenly Father will use trials and tests to shave off hard edges from His people.  So while it tickled my funny bone, it is a very apt analogy indeed.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy in the Lord's Way

Today I read Jeremiah 17 and the verse I was most impressed with was concerning the Sabbath and keeping it holy.  I have often wondered just why some people seem incapable of taking a day off during the week.  What truly cannot wait until Monday that has to be done on Sunday?  I can think of very few things.  But as a society, we have convinced ourselves that we need to work on Sundays, to shop on Sundays, to play on Sundays and in short do whatever we would do on a normal day.  Heavenly Father has taught by His own example that it is important to take breaks and rest during the week.  Even He rested on the seventh day the scriptures state.  It honestly saddens me that we cannot overcome our own selfish desire to gratify our earthly desires on even one day of the week.  It seems like all I can do though is be a good example of how to behave and show the world one person at a time that there is a better way.  And that is what I do.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Israel Will Be Scattered and Then Redeemed

Today I read Jeremiah 16 where the Lord tells Jeremiah He will scatter Israel and that He will sent hunters and fishers out to gather them in at a later time.  Viewing all this from my time and point of reference, this all makes perfect sense.  But I wonder what Jeremiah must have thought hearing all of this?  Was he shown all of this like Isaiah, or Nephi or Moroni was?  I don't really know, but I hope that Jeremiah took comfort in the fact that his people would eventually be redeemed the way Nephi did.  I hope so, because it is a hard thing to be told your people will not survive and that they will be scattered.  Nephi can attest to that.  But to be told they will be redeemed one day, would give hope and renew faith in the Lord's mercies.  I'm sure Jeremiah took comfort in that fact.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Lord Will Destroy Jerusalem Because of Its Wickedness

Today I read Jeremiah 15 and it makes me wonder, what did the people in that time think when they were told they would all be killed or taken captive and that Jerusalem would be destroyed?  I imagine they did not take it seriously.  I imagine that, like the Nephites, they revered the false prophets that told them to eat, drink and be merry, and called the true prophets who told them the things they didn't want to hear, false prophets.  I can't even imagine what it would be like to have someone tell me that my home would be destroyed because of my wickedness and that I would be killed at the same time.  However, since I do my best to follow the commandments and do as Heavenly Father asks of me, if the prophet ever did tell me that, I would at least know all of that would not be as a result of my own sins and failure to do as the Lord has asked of me.  Hopefully I will not be told such things, but one never knows.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Jeremiah Prays to End a Drought

Today I read Jeremiah 14 where Jeremiah prays to the Lord to end a famine with rain and the Lord states He will not because of the iniquity of the people.  It's interesting to compare this episode with Nephi from the Book of Mormon.  After Nephi was given the sealing power, he asked God to send a famine to stop the war that had broken out and when he asked God to end the famine, God did it.  However, when Nephi prayed to have the famine ended the people had all repented and come to Nephi and asked him to pray to God on their behalf.  So I guess the difference is that the Israelites did not come to Jeremiah, they had not repented and so God would not honor His prophet's request to end the drought.  Similar to Mormon praying for his people, but without faith because he knew of their sins.  It is always appropriate to pray for others, but our prayers can only do so much, at some point it is left in the hands of the other person to do something on their own.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Israel Doesn't Stick with the Lord

Today I read Jeremiah 9 - 13 which all have to do with the Israelites turning away from God.  A few things stood out to me in these chapters.  The first was Jeremiah asking the Lord why the wicked prosper.  It is a question many people have asked themselves before.  We have already covered this in previous postings so we won't go into it again, however it is a real concern for some people.  They don't understand why God would allow the wicked to prosper.  We know however it is not God's doing at all and that is all I'll say.

I also liked the story of Jeremiah taking his girdle and hiding it under a rock for a few days at God's direction.  When he returns a few days later, Jeremiah finds that his girdle has completely rotted through.  Most people I am sure would focus on the part that the girdle was rotten through, however I look at the fact that it was only a few days.  Pointing once again to the fact that Israel, in just a short time, they have turned away from God.  It doesn't take a long time for the heart of man to turn away after worldly pursuits.  It's really sad, but a fact of life.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Jeremiah Continues His Lamentation

Today I read Jeremiah 8 and I am a little ashamed to say that as I was reading my main thought was how many times can  you say the same thing?  I feel like I have been reading the same chapter over and over again as Jeremiah is just finding new and creative ways to say the same thing.  Israel is not staying true to her covenants and is going after strange gods.  It reminds me of the lamentation of Nephi, but Nephi only went on for a part of a chapter.  Jeremiah is talking for several chapters about the faithlessness of the Israelites.  Perhaps the difference was Jeremiah was writing on scrolls whereas Nephi was etching his words into metal plates.  I'm not sure.  However I think that tomorrow I will read chapters 9 - 15 since according to the chapter headings, they are about the same thing.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Human Sacrifice is an Abomination

Today I read Jeremiah 7 where the Lord reprimands Israel.  Among the reasons for His displeasure are human sacrifices.  Few things are as abhorrent to me as the thought of human sacrifices.  I cannot even imagine how Satan managed to convince people that this is a good thing or something that God would want.  Sure, I understand it is twisting the true principle of the law of sacrifice, however, it is a huge jump from sacrificing a lamb to a little child.  This is one of those instances where I don't understand how God can allow such evil and atrocities to continue.  If I am going to become like God is, I have a long way to go in order to have the patience that He does.  I can't stand such abhorrent behavior.  I know that Heavenly Father always takes care of it in His own time, but sometimes I wonder why He doesn't just destroy them the way He did Sodom and Gomorrah?  I'm sure I'll find out one day.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Our Intent Matters

Today I read Jeremiah 6 and I was kind of surprised that, from what I read, the Lord seems to be more upset that the Israelites were not upset at their wandering from His embrace than He was at the sin itself.  We are told that intent is just as important as action.  If we were to try and pay our tithing with a grudging heart, we might as well not pay it at all we are told.  Heavenly Father not only wants us to be righteous and to do what is right, He wants us to want to be righteous and do what is right.  It can be hard sometimes.  Sin is enjoyable and appeals to the natural man.  It can be a challenge to forsake it.  But it is what we are asked to do.  And it is very worth it.  Shouldn't we trust the opinion of the wisest being in the universe?  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Chastity of Women

Today I read Jeremiah 5 which is full of imagery of how the Israelites have abandoned the Lord.  My favorite was from verse 8 where he says that Israel is like fed horses, everyone neighing after his neighbor.  It's very descriptive and I have to say it reminds me a lot of the culture we associate with construction workers, calling after every woman who walks by.  This past weekend Elder D. Todd Christopherson talked about how our world is debasing women with how they are portrayed in our culture and society.  A virtuous woman is more precious than diamonds the scriptures tell us and truly it is accurate.  I love how my wife is not the normal woman we see on television and in other forms of media.  She is concerned with being modest and being virtuous and I love her for it.  Our Father in Heaven delights in the chastity of women.  I have been trying my best to delight in it as well.  I am getting there a little at a time.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Jeremiah Censures Israel

Today I read Jeremiah 4 which is much the same as the first 3 chapters were.  Jeremiah is calling Israel to repentance.  It really is sad how fickle mankind is and how in just a few short years we can completely forget the blessings that Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us.  Laman and Lemuel don't appear so ridiculous once we view it using the lens of modern day people.  Although Laman and Lemuel are a special case as they actually saw angels and conversed with the Lord directly.  But we Americans are no different than ancient Israel.  When we had a crisis, we all turned to God, but within 2 years, almost everyone had forgotten our new found faith in our Maker.  We have to stand up as good examples to those around us as one who will stand as a witness for God at all times.  We have talked about this many times before and there is no need to delve deeper into it.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Bible Compared to the Book of Mormon

Today I read Jeremiah 3 where Jeremiah laments the wayward nature of the Israelites.  As I was reading today, I could not help but think about those people who prefer to read the Bible instead of the Book of Mormon and as I had that thought, I considered my own preference for the Book of Mormon over the Bible.  When I thought about it more, I reflected on the feelings I have when I read each book.  I will openly admit that I feel the Spirit of the Lord much more often, and strongly, when I read the Book of Mormon.  It seems to speak to my soul more than the Bible does.  I think this is the case for a couple of reasons.

First, the Bible is more concerned about the history of the Israelites than it is the doctrine of Christ.  The Book of Mormon is just the opposite.  It's main focus is the doctrine and the sermons of the great American prophets.  The New Testament is better than the Old Testament in this regard.  The Old Testament is almost entirely a history lesson on the generations of the Israelites.

Second, the Old Testament seems to all say the exact same thing, over and over again.  I really feel that if you were to remove half of the Old Testament, you would still have the exact same reading experience.  Case in point, the book of Deuteronomy is a summary of the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers.  It's the cliff notes.  Jeremiah has spent the first two chapters calling Israel to repentance, and according to the chapter heading for chapter 3, that is what I am going to read about tomorrow too.  So it's extremely repetitive.

Finally, the Book of Mormon is easier to understand.  As God Himself has explained, the plain and precious truths of the Gospel have been removed from the Bible.  The Book of Mormon still contains all the truths and teachings it did when it was penned.  I prefer to read about the doctrine of Christ as opposed to being constantly reminded of the folly of the Israelites, and mankind as a whole, as I am in the Old Testament.

Now, of course the Old Testament has many plain and precious truths to offer and it is worth reading.  I am merely stating that given the choice between the two, I feel I would choose the Book of Mormon most often for my personal study.  Perhaps others feel differently and since it is a choice, neither is better than the other.  I think as long as we are studying the words of the Lord, we are doing the right thing.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Unconditional Love Does Not Mean Unconditional Acceptance

Today I read Jeremiah 2 where the Lord laments the wayward children of Israel.  As I read this chapter I was thinking of all the heartbroken parents of children who stray from the Gospel of Christ.  What heartache such straying causes.  What lamentations much those parents pour out to Heavenly Father in the quiet hours of the night.  Heavenly Father is no different.  He mourns for those who turn away from His loving embrace.  But love them He does, no matter what.  That is what unconditional love is, you love no matter what mistakes are made, no matter what path is chosen.  It does NOT mean that all actions are accepted and approved of, but it does mean that no matter what is chosen, love will be offered and given.  Heavenly Father will never turn away from us and never deny us His love.  So too we should never withhold our love from those that choose another path than us.  The love of a parent/child demands no less.  Until tomorrow.