Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Don't Envy Evil Men

Today I read Proverbs 24 and I was struck by the very first verse, "Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them".  At first this sounds self evident, why would anyone be envious of evil men, but then as you think about it, it is obvious that people are envious of them.  I don't think that anyone grows up thinking they want to do bad things, kill people, etc, but somewhere along the way, far too many people decide to walk the path of unrighteousness.  Why?  It's because of envy.

Envy is when we desire something to the point it consumes us.  When we see those people that are getting ahead in life we are jealous of them.  We want to be like they are and make the kind of money that they are making.  At first doing the things they are doing seems abhorrent to us, but then little by little, the more we dwell on it, our defenses come down.  Satan works on us the second he finds the tiniest imperfection in our spiritual armor.  Money is tempting because you can quite literally buy anything with it if you know the right people.  But we are selling our birthright for a mess of pottage when we do that. The veil was put on us so that we could choose for ourselves what we really desire.  If we could remember our Heavenly Father and the life He has promised us, each of us would choose the righteous path hands down.  But we are to choose if that is what we want without remembering what awaits us and because of that, far too many people sell the greatest gift God can give us, for a comfortable lifestyle in this life.  Don't sell yourself short and give up an eternity of happiness and increase for a microsecond of cheap physical pleasure.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Punishment vs. Discipline

Today I read Proverbs 23 where we learn that if we discipline our children, we will save their souls.  Now, to most people, to discipline children means to spank them, or in some cases beat them which is NOT pleasing to the Lord.  The problem with spanking in my opinion is that most people do it in anger.  I saw a show once where a dog trainer was speaking to a husband and a wife about their dog and trying to help them understand the difference between punishing and disciplining their dog.  He stated that if you are angry, most likely you are punishing and not disciplining.  Discipline takes a calm demeanor and a level head.  It is very hard to do when one is upset. 

Spanking can quickly turn into punishment and beyond when one is angry.  I personally don't do it to my child because it is what we agreed upon long before we got pregnant and I have to say that I'm not sure spanking would be as effective for my daughter as a discipline tool.  I think she would learn to fear me instead of love me as her father.  Each child is different and so the discipline must be approached in different ways.  What works on one child will not work on another.  I have a niece that putting her in a room alone for 5 minutes worked wonders for her and drove her crazy.  I have another niece though that if you did that to her she would just quietly lie down on the bed until the time was up and not care at all.  My daughter absolutely hates getting a time out and sitting on our lap with her legs and arms pinned down.  Each child is different and needs to be approached as a unique situation.  But it is very possible to discipline your children effectively without using spanking.  The key is to make sure when you are disciplining your child are you doing it because you want to correct the behavior, or because you are angry with the child?  Punishment is not discipline.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go

Today I read Proverbs 22 which contained the phrase, "train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it".  I have found this to be both true, and not true.  It is certainly true that in order to have good, productive members of society when they are adults we have to train our children in proper manners and etiquette.  But there are millions of examples of faithful Latter-day Saints who have reared their children in the Gospel and taught them the right way to live their lives who, for one reason or another, when they are adults, do not keep their testimony.

It is a fine line raising a child.  I know as a parent of a two year old little girl, all I want to do is protect her from every bad thing out there and never let any harm come to her.  But I also know that she will not remain my little girl forever and that if I want her to be a good mother of her own one day, I have to let her experience all mortality has to offer.  So in order to combat the world and it's influence, I teach her the way I want her to live her life, the way God has taught us our lives should be lived.  I will teach her the commandments and try my best to help her understand it is the safest, best way to live one's life in this mortal experience.

However, any parent knows that the best teacher is example.  I saw a picture just yesterday where the caption said "Children will follow your example, not your advice".  How true that is!  We can talk until we are blue in the face and tell our children all the things they need to be doing for a happy life, but if we are not doing it as their parents, they will not do it either.  They will do as we do.  If we are not living the Word of Wisdom, our children will most likely not live it either.  To be effective teachers, we have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.  That is the way to give our children the best chance at successfully navigating this life of snares and spiritual pitfalls.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

An Angry and Contentious Woman

Today I read Proverbs 21 and it never fails to amaze me how a woman in a mans life can uplift and raise to new heights, or can tear down and destroy.  Solomon states in this chapter that it is better to dwell in the wilderness than in a house with an angry and contentious woman.  It is sad that so many women throughout history have decided to be this way and give women a bad name.  Because there are many pure and virtuous women that are only trying to do what is right and help those around them.  The challenge is, they don't all act the way they should.  Now, neither do men, in fact I daresay that men act the way they should even less than women do, however there seems to be something about women that when they get angry they stay angry longer and don't ever seem to forget about it, even if they calm down.  The old saying goes that a man will forget but never forgive while a woman will forgive but never forgive.  I have found this to be true in life and both are wrong.  The Savior has commanded us to forgive AND forget.  We are to treat each other as we want to be treated and that involves moving past the wrongs that we have had committed against us.  That is the only way we can move forward and progress.  Otherwise we are damned.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Beware of Alcohol

Today I read Proverbs 20 and the very first verse caught my eye.  It says that wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging.  Even back during the time of Solomon they understood that liquor was not good for people.  And yet after chocolate, it is probably what most American's are addicted to.  Too many Americans spend so much money on liquor use it instead of actually dealing with their issues they use alcohol to not think about their issues.  And what is infinitely worse, alcohol makes people lose control of their emotions and become abusive, doing things they would never dream of doing when they were sober.  I have always been disgusted by alcohol and wish its existence had never been discovered.  Besides a few random curious thoughts on what it is like, I have never even considered drinking alcohol.  I hate the fact that when my wife and I go out to eat at a restaurant it is automatically assumed we will be drinking alcohol.  I long for the days when the Savior will come again and no one will drink alcohol.  Those will be great days.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, July 26, 2013

An Idle Soul Shall Suffer Hunger

Today I read Proverbs 19 and I like the phrase "an idle soul shall suffer hunger".  It really bothers me the way Satan has convinced most of the world that charity and being a good Christian means we have to suffer all the evils of the world in silence because otherwise we are bigots.  Satan has convinced the world that to tolerate the evils of the world means we need to accept them and not judge them.  This is false.  There are things that are wrong no matter what.  God is the author of all things right and good and He alone has the right to tell us what is tolerance and what is bowing down to sin.  The reason I like the phrase above, is because again, Satan has convinced society that in order to be good men and women and to be good Christians, we should not only not encourage people to work, but also to take care of those who don't want to work.  This is again, false.  While we should certainly help those who cannot work, we should not support laziness and those who choose not to work. 

There is a a big difference between not being able to work and not wanting to work.  Our society is plagued by those that do not want to work.  We have thousands, if not millions of people who spend much more time getting out of work than they spend working and contributing to society.  This is not pleasing to God.  We should spend our days providing for ourselves and helping those who are unable to help themselves.  Those who could have provided for themselves will stand before God one day and have to explain their slothfulness and their lack of work.  Like all other sins, it will not be a pleasant conversation.  Especially as men, men are to provide for their wives and children's needs.  We are to make sure they are cared for and do not want for the necessities of life.  It is important to take care of our fmailies and to contribute to society.  This is part of what it means to be a good member of society.  If we cease to be idle, then we shall not hunger as the scriptures state.  We need to work and care for ourselves.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Fool's Mouth is His Destruction

Today I read Proverbs 18 and I liked the phrase that a fools mouth is his destruction.  It never ceases to amaze me that the people who seem to talk the most in general, are the people that have the least amount of knowledge on things.  We are always boasting in our own strength, in our wisdom, how much we have done,etc.  I know what it is, it's pride.  We are more concerned with how we are thought of by others, than by how we are perceived by God.  We want to be thought of as smart by those around us, so we try and add to conversations that we know nothing about.  We would rather fake knowledge, than gain knowledge through study and hard work.  Why are we so prideful that we crave the approval of those around us, even if we don't even know the person very well?  And often when we try and add to a conversation we don't have a working knowledge about, we only look more foolish.  I don't know who first said it, but the old adage is very applicable here, "It's better to be though of as a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt".  If we want to be thought of as wise, then the best thing to do is to gain knowledge.  If we want to contribute to other people's conversations and be able to speak with authority, then we need to learn about what they are speaking and gain more intelligence.  That is the way to avoid being a fool, which none of us want to be.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Friend Loveth At All Times

Today I read Proverbs 17 and found a phrase that I was familiar with, but did not know off the top of my head that it was in this chapter.  "A friend loveth at all times and a brother is born for adversity".  It is strange to think that human nature has not changed in 3000 years.  When Solomon wrote this, there were people who would take advantage of you, who would only be your friend when things are going well, or when they could use you to get what they wanted/needed.  People who would not stand by you in the hard times and when they are needed the most.  For some reason it just seems that back then when I would imagine times were harder that people would stand by each other more, but apparently not if Solomon had to write this down for all time and people to see. 

I was always taught to be the kind of friend you want to be.  The only challenge with that, is everyone wants good friends and so living like that can attract people who are not good to have around you.  A good friend is one who makes it easier to live the Gospel.  One who helps you no matter what is going on around you.  Who enjoys your presence even when you are at your worst.  Who is not afraid to call you out when you are out of line.  Those are the kind of friends we all hope to find in this life and have by our side.  Keep searching until you find them, they are out there.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pride Goes Before the Fall

Today I read Proverbs 16 where we are told that pride and haughtiness goes before the fall.  The Book of Mormon is full of examples of pride and how dangerous it can be.  We are told by Paul that the root of all evil is the love of money, but I think pride is a very close second.  Pride is the reason we do so many dumb things in this life.  Pride is the reason for contests, for fights, for wars, for harsh words and so much more.  Pride is not satisfied with having something, it is only satisfied with having more of something than others have. 

Humility however builds up those around them.  The humble man and woman takes genuine pride and happiness in others good fortune and accomplishments.  When we are humble we are teachable and want to help others.  That is why humility is the answer to the natural man.  To become like a child and to submit to the will of the Father is humility and when we do that, wonderful things happen in our lives.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Choose to Be Happy

Today I read Proverbs 15 where we are told many different things but I was particularly struck about the verses that had to do with happiness.  I think many people make the mistake that happiness is contingent upon what happens to us, but they are wrong.  True happiness is actually based on what we decide and how we choose to act to situations.  There are numerous examples of men that were in Prisoner of War camps in World War II that never stopped smiling and helping those around them.  When we decide that we are going to be happy no matter what, we will be happy.

I used to use a phrase all the time when I was ending conversations with friends.  I used to say "have a good day, and if it's not a good day, make it one".  I was trying to convey to my friends that they had the power to decide what kind of day they were going to have.  I will say that, at least in my own life, my attitude pretty much stays the same all the time.  I'm happy almost all of the time and have a pleasant disposition without making a conscious choice about it.  I think this is both a spiritual gift, and also a result of my choosing to be happy when I was younger.  It's so consistent that if people I am around all the time, such as in college when I was younger or work now, see me not smiling, they ask me what's wrong and what's got me down.  I have a reputation for being happy.  We can each of us determine our own attitude and outlook on life, all we have to do is decide how we will be, no matter what happens to us.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Wise Woman Builds Up Her House

Today I read Proverbs 14 and I was really struck by the very first line, "every wise woman buildeth her house; but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands".  My wife once had me watch a movie, a chick flick where the mother in the movie was explaining to the daughter that while the man may be the head of the household, the wife is the neck and can turn the man to look in the direction she wants.  Women do SO much for families in the proper dynamic.  They keep the household going, make sure the children are properly cared for, do almost all of the cleaning, and take care of their husbands.  We know from revelation, and even modern day social science, that a proper family and for the sake of well rounded children, a proper family needs both a father and a mother.  And a righteous mother makes all the difference in the world.

A righteous woman builds up and improves on what is there.  Her only goal is to help her family be better and to make sure each member of her family succeeds.  She is willing to forgo almost any comfort if it means the well being of her children or husband.  Her desire is to create an eternal family that will be sealed together for time and all eternity and will work towards that goal with a tenacity that would impress and put most men to shame.  We should all follow the example of a righteous woman and build up our house rather than pluck it down with our own hands.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Spare the Rod and Evil Pursues Sinners

Today I read Proverbs 13 and a couple of phrases stood out to me.  The first one was from verse 24, "he that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes".  We have talked in depth in the past of how to not discipline ones child is actually not love and if we truly loved our children, we would discipline them and help them grow up to be a productive member of society.  Now that I am a parent, I understand how hard it can be to be consistent with discipline and how you have to have a very strong will in order to discipline your child when they are crying and upset, but if you want them to be good men and women when they grow up, it is what is needed.  I also like that all cultures and times understood this concept and it seems only in our day and time have we gotten away from disciplining our children.  Now to be clear, you can discipline your children without spanking or other physical punishments.  We do not spank our daughter and she is very mindful most of the time.

The second phrase that caught my attention was "Evil pursueth sinners".  Contrary to what I hear most people saying out loud, God does not sit around thinking up punishments for us or giving us trials at all times.  Most of our trials actually come from our own poor decisions.  If we choose to do drugs, we will have poor health, most likely fall into a life of theft and crime, and will most likely incur the ire and wrath of other sinners who might eventually kill us.  If we choose to engage in adultery, we will break our families and possibly have diseases rack our bodies that otherwise we might be able to avoid.  But if we live a good and righteous life, we will be able to avoid most of these pitfalls and we can be confident that any trials that come our way are only that, trials meant to help us grow.  We reap what we sow, if we spend our days doing good deeds and trying to do what is right, then we will have good returned to us, if not in this life then for sure in the life to come.  And if we want to avoid the worst pitfalls in this life, we need to keep the commandments, our guideline for a happy life.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Virtuous Woman is a Crown to Her Husband

Today I read Proverbs 12 where Solomon says that a virtuous woman is a crown to her husband.  I think this is because a virtuous woman will typically only marry a virtuous man and so the pinnacle of that man's virtuousness is his wife.  I know without my wife I would not be half the man I am today.  When I met her, I was actively trying to improve my life and be better than I was, but for years prior to that, I was just coasting along and not trying to improve myself.  If there is one thing I would say our church could do better at, it is helping our single members. 

All my life I knew what I working for and knew how to go after it.  When I was younger I prepared to get the priesthood.  When I got the priesthood, I prepared to get the Melchizedek Priesthood.  Once that was achieved, I prepared to go to the temple and serve a mission.  Once my mission for the church was finished, I went to college and prepared to meet my wife and live my life.  However, I finished college still unmarried and was left with a hole in my life's plan.  I had nothing else to work towards beyond getting married and becoming a father.  However, the only thing I was told to do in regards to getting married was to go on dates.  No one told me to keep working on myself and not lose the ground I had gained.

Now that I am older and a married man, I have looked around and seen similar situations with other single members of the church.  We have church activities for them and try to put them in the right place to meet the right type of spouse, but how well do we help them continue to grow in the Gospel and prepare themselves to be the right kind of wife or husband that a good faithful Latter-day Saint will want to be with.  Having lived that life for 7 years I know it can be a challenge but when we work on becoming the kind of spouse we want to be and attract, the Lord will bless our efforts.  And also speaking from experience a virtuous wife is indeed a crown for her husband and she will guide him and help him be the best he can be.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Be Honest in Our Dealings With Our Fellow Man

Today I read Proverbs 11 which is about being honest with your fellow men.  This is something that mankind, at least Americans, have a challenge with.  We have a challenge with giving a full days labor to our employer.  We are constantly thinking of ways we can get ahead and don't shy away from using any tactic to do so.  Our entertainment industry is full of those who have risen to the top by deceitful means.  The list goes on and on.  When we stand before God, He won't care how much we earned each year.  He won't care about how famous we were in the world or any other worldly accolade.  What He will care about, is if we achieved all that we have in an honest fashion.  He case if we were good and upstanding citizens of our world, nation and community.  He cares if we helped those that are around us.  He will want to know that we left the world a better place than we found it.  And if that is what He cares about, isn't it what we should care about too?  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fools Do Mischief

Today I read Proverbs 10 which is more of the last few chapters.  Solomon counseling us to be wise and seek after wisdom and live a righteous life.  One phrase did stand out to me though, it actually made me laugh.  The phrase was, "it is as sport to a fool to do mischief".  It made me laugh because I instantly thought of some friends I had as a teenager that would get into all kinds of trouble and just like Solomon said it was almost like it was a sport to them trying to find new ways to get into trouble.  I never saw the point myself since 9 times out of 10 you would get caught.  Like sneaking out of the house, you gotta come back!  It never failed to amuse me how many of my friends thought they were smarter than their parents and got proved wrong time and time again.  And of course, even if you somehow fool your parents, Heavenly Father sees everything and can't be fooled.  The bottom line is, do what is right and save everyone the heartache.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fear of God is the Beginning of Wisdom

Today I read Proverbs 9 which again focuses on gaining wisdom.  One phrase in particular stood out to me.  Solomon said that fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.  I personally think the reason that is true is because the wise fear, or respect and worship, God.  Fools mock God and reject His wisdom.  I often wonder to myself how people who live a life focused only on their own selfish desires will respond or feel when they are faced with the truth and they have to stand face to face with God to justify their lives.  We all will have to stand in front of our Savior to be judged on how we lived our lives and it will be mighty uncomfortable for us if we have not spent our time doing as He asked us to do.  Each of us gets to decide how to spend our days and our time in this life but we will each be asked an accounting of how we spent our time and if we helped those around us or if we were selfish.  Hopefully each of us will make the right choice!  Until tomorrow.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lay Up Eternal Treasures

Today I read Proverbs 8 where Solomon tells us to lay up in store eternal blessings.  He calls it durable riches and gold.  He also advices everyone to focus on accumulating wisdom.  All too often we strive for things without substance, things that will not last, such as worldly riches.  It is tempting to do things that will make us more comfortable in this life, but in doing so, we trade happiness for eternity for peace of mind and security for a moment.  It can be hard to keep an eternal perspective all of the time especially when things are hard and we are suffering in this life.  But it is always important to remember what we are giving up compared to what we are gaining.  Economists call this opportunity cost.  The true cost of the item is what you pay for it plus what you gave up for it.  Therefore even if you got it for free, you still paid for it.  We should each one of us strive for eternal blessings and the things that really matter, that is the path to true happiness.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Shun an Adulterous Woman/Man

Today I read Proverbs 7 which is a warning to all against adulterous women.  No, obviously, men can be adulterous too, or in other words, a married man can also commit adultery, not just married women.  I think Solomon purposefully names adulterous women in this chapter because women have the power when it comes to sex and relationships.  What man is going to say no to his wife when she desires sexual intercourse?  Not many.  Yet how often does the husband desire to be intimate but the wife says no?  If media is to be believed, all the time.  Men are driven by their passions and unless he is purposefully working at becoming better at controlling them, he will have a hard time ruling them instead of his passions ruling him! 

I have found the most innocent of things, images, sounds can be a temptation.  The only way to truly handle them and ensure safety is to be as Joseph of Egypt and flee as fast as possible.  I have also found that if you are having to rationalize anything, you are in trouble.  If you are afraid to tell your wife about it, don't do it!  The same goes for wives, if you can't tell your husband about it, it's probably not a good idea.  If you can't have your female/male friend around your wife/husband, don't have said friend!  It's that simple.  We are to cleave to our spouse and NO other.  They are to be our best friend and to be our first confidant.  If we put their happiness above our own, we will be better protected and have an easier time of resisting temptation.  Flee temptation and cleave to your spouse, what more needs to be said?  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Avoiding Laziness and Adultery

Today I read Proverbs 6 which contains warnings against certain sins, most especially laziness and adultery.  Solomon tells us to take a cue from the ant, who without supervision works the entire summer laying up in store the food she will need for the winter.  Not many people are that way however.  Most of us if we are not continually watched, will not stay focused and on task.  It is not in our nature.  Solomon also tells us to not sleep longer than is needed.  It is interesting that almost every vice we have today was had anciently also.  I don't know about anyone else, but I know that when I think of ancient times I don't think of them as doing the same sins the same way as we do today, but minus the technology, I guess mankind hasn't really changed in the last 6000 years. 

The last part of the chapter is a warning against adultery.  Solomon states that most people will not blame a thief that steals out of necessity to get food.  However, there is no excuse for adultery, not one.  It is interesting because most of the other commandments I can think of reasons why they might need to be broken, such as killing in self defense.  Nephi steals the Brass Plates when the Lord told him to.  We might need to dishonor our parents if they forbid baptism into the Church.  But I can't think of a reason why adultery would ever need to be broken.  Adultery is selfish and cruel.  It is hurtful and destroys families and lives.  It should be shunned more strongly than the plague.  It would be a wonderful world if all of us were faithful to our spouses and this horrible sin were only a memory.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Rejoice with the Wife of thy Youth

Today I read Proverbs 4 - 5 and again the main theme is to learn wisdom and accumulate knowledge.  However, chapter 5 gives good advice on dealing with women and our wives.  Solomon counsels us to stay away from strange women, this is his way of saying control our lust.  Solomon states that her ways lead us down to hell and we should not even darken her doorstep with our presence.  It's too bad he didn't heed his own advice! 

I was also interested to notice that Solomon states to let your wife's breasts satisfy you at all times.  In the Song of Solomon, which I will not be reading as part of my scripture study and blog, he again makes reference to the woman's breasts.  It is interesting because there are a lot of people in today's day and age who claim men are only attracted to women's breasts because of our culture and how taboo they are.  However, this chapter and the Song of Solomon gives credence to the idea that sexual desire for women's breasts has been around in other cultures too and perhaps is more instinctual than some women want to admit.  Anyway, it was just an interesting not as this is not a psychology blog and certainly not a sex blog.  Solomon's main point is to always stay true to your wife and don't go looking for trouble in the arms of another women.  In my opinion good advice indeed.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Write the Commandments on Your Heart

Today I read Proverbs 3 and there was a lot of things that Solomon talked about in this chapter.  In the beginning of the chapter, and the part that stood out to me the most, was Solomon's counsel to let our heart keep the commandments.  He then lists all the reasons that living the commandments is a good idea.  He mentions that commandments will lead to a long life and to peace.  If we live the commandments we will avoid almost all of the pitfalls that wait to ensnare us in this life.  We have already talked about this many times in the past, however it is necessary for the prophets of old to remind the people because the people are quick to forget.  They see how other people are living their lives and it looks like more fun to them than what they have so they decide to break the commandments. 

Regardless of what people say, the only reason people leave the church is because of sin.  Even people who have friends that tell them all kinds of horrible things about the church return to their ways of sin that they did before they met with the missionaries.  Sin is the reason for unhappy lives, it either causes us to be unhappy or we will perform actions that will make others unhappy.  If we want to be as happy as possible, the commandments are the way to live.  There is really nothing else to say beyond that.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Learn Knowledge and Wisdom

Today I read Proberbs 2 and the main theme that I saw was to obtain knowledge and wisdom.  Since wisdom is the proper application of knowledge, knowledge alone will not really benefit us that much, we would be like the absent minded professor.  The Lord has counseled us in the past to obtain knowledge as this is the only thing that we will carry with us into the next life.  Oftentimes when I am watching a movie and I see a character die, especially a character that has devoted his/her life to perfecting their art, usually warfare, it always saddens and amazes me to see, because it becomes a wasted skill, they spent all those hours perfecting and honing their craft and now they will not be able to use it anymore.  There will be no killing of other people in the eternities.

A far better use of our time and lives is to gain knowledge that will be useful to us in the eternities.  If we hope one day to become as God is, who is omniscient, then we will need to accumulate all knowledge as well.  As the Lord Himself told us in Doctrine and Covenants section 130, the more knowledge we accumulate in this life, the further along we will be in the life to come.  We need to spend our time wisely in this life, it is so limited and there are so many distractions that can pull us off the right path and keep us from doing what is right.  We need to stay focused and do what is right and learn all we can, especially about the Gospel.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fools Despise Wisdom and Instruction

Today I read Proverbs 1.  I have always liked the book of Proverbs, it always seems to contain snippets of good advice.  In the first chapter I read advice warning me away from organized crime, from disregarding the counsel of the wise and an admonition to listen to our parents.  But what stood out the most to me was the phrase "fools despise wisdom and instruction".  I have seen, so many times in my life, where someone should have listened and just be quite to what the other person has to say.  There would be so much less heartache if we stop and take the time to listen.  How many times do you see someone trying to put together some piece of furniture or do an activity that came with instructions and they just ignore the instructions?  It might turn out alright, but why would someone blatantly ignore the wisdom/instructions of those who designed the item in question?  Pride is the answer, pride is the answer to most of the ridiculous things that happen in our world.

King Benjamin teaches us in the Book of Mormon that the natural man is proud and needs to humble himself to become closer to Heavenly Father.  Very few people actually like someone that has too much pride.  Generally speaking we will overlook it for a time, but there eventually comes a point where we snap and can't handle it anymore.  In my job of customer service I meet people who have an inflated opinion of themselves almost daily.  It can be a challenge when I have to tell them that their...unrealistic demands will not be met and what I can do instead.  They behave very childish, which is different than childlike as we are encouraged to be by King Benjamin.  Such people, as King Solomon says in this Proverb, despise instruction and set aside wisdom to follow their own limited, and often times, flawed knowledge.  It is sad really and I would pity such people more if they weren't so incredibly frustrating and annoying.  But that is my challenge to overcome for sure.  Each of us acts the fool as King Solomon described from time to time, the key is to not become that way all of the time.  Little by little we will progress and become better men and women.  And that should be our goal.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Praise Our Heavenly Father

Today I read Psalms 146 - 150 and the general theme of all the chapters was to praise God and all the various ways we can praise Him.  For sure it is a good idea and proper to praise our Heavenly Father, to thank Him for all He has done for us.  Just as we would thank our Father here on earth.  I think it is easy to say that we praise Heavenly Father and say the words, but I don't think it's nearly as easy to truly praise Him.  When we pray it can be easy to let our minds wander, or to speak hollow words and vain repetitions.  When we pray, we need to make sure that we are focused on what we are saying and speak with real intent.  That is the way to praise our Heavenly Father.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Call Upon Him in Truth

Today I read Psalms 141 - 145 and I was struck by the phrase that God is near all those that call upon Him in truth.  I take this to mean that when we take the time to truly pray and speak to our Father in Heaven we will become more like Him.  It is not Heavenly Father that comes closer to us, but rather us that draws closer to Heavenly Father.  He cannot be in the presence of wickedness with the least degree of allowance so anytime we draw closer to Heavenly Father, it is merely that we have become more righteous and so have grown a little closer to Him.  It is interesting that of all the activities we can do to increase our righteousness, prayer is the one that is mentioned most frequently in the scriptures as drawing us closer to Him.  Just like with anyone here on earth we have to communicate to have a relationship with someone.  Our Father in Heaven is no different.  We have to talk to Him and submit our will to His.  In that way will we become closer to Him.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

God Will Never Us Forsake

Today I read Psalms 131 - 140 and I liked the peace several of these chapters speak to the weary soul.  In chapter 140 David states to the Lord that he knows God will espouse the cause of the afflicted.  Heavenly Father never leaves us forsaken and always takes care of us from now until forever.  That is a comforting thought because there is a LOT of suffering in this life.  It breaks my heart to see how much people suffer and to know that Heavenly Father comforts them in their afflictions is a happy thought.  It is sad that suffering is the only way some of us have to progress, but to know that there is in fact one person who knows exactly how they feel and exactly what to say is a good thought.  Just like a child will turn to their earthly parents for comfort when times are scary, tough or sad, we can always turn to the forever open arms of our Father in Heaven.  Until tomorrow. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

God Forgives and Forgets

Today I read Psalms 128 - 130 and I like how the Psalmist stated that there is forgiveness with the Lord.  Through the Atonement we can become white as snow.  It's amazing really, somehow the Lord remembers our sins no more after we have repented and He has forgiven us.  I don't know how He does it, if He really does forget it, or if He just doesn't hold us accountable anymore.  Most likely it is the latter.  Heavenly Father has perfect control over Himself and so can truly do as He promises He will.  Humans are fallible and despite our best efforts, we can allow our feelings to get in the way of our relationships with each other.  There is always that nagging doubt that the person has done wrong by us and will possibly do it again.  Heavenly Father does not have that.  He states that once we have sincerely repented He will remember our sins no more, or in other words, give us His full confidence and allow us the chance to do what we need to in order to live our lives going forward.  Why wouldn't we take advantage of this wonderful gift?  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Children, a Sacred Heritage of the Lord

Today I read Psalms 127 where the Psalmist states that children are an heritage of the Lord.  As we've said before I have heard that the Lord cares how people enter this world and how they leave it.  Those are His realms and we are trespassing in them when we don't use our powers of procreation seriously.  I really wish that along with the birthing of children being painful, I wish the act of creating children was something that was unpleasant and would force everyone to really consider if this is what they really want.  It is heartbreaking to me that so many children are created and not desired so they are mistreated, neglected and abused.  I have my own daughter now and having her has only cemented my feelings of horror, anger and disgust for those who do not take care of their little ones appropriately.  I would do almost anything for my daughter as would her mother.  We made a conscious choice to have a child and welcome a Spirit of our Heavenly Father into our home and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I wish everyone else who had children felt the same way and treated them as more precious than gold. 

We will each of us stand accountable to how we treated Heavenly Father's children, because they were His long before they were ours.  If you think meeting an angry father in this life is bad, I have a feeling it doesn't even compare to what awaits us when we stand in front of Heavenly Father and try to rationalize how we abused and mistreated His child.  Treat them as the sacred responsibility they are, raise them right.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Freedom From Spiritual Bondage

Today I read Psalms 120 - 126 and I liked the phrase found in chapter 126 where the Israelites tell the heathen what great things the Lord has done for them.  In the Book of Mormon both Alma the Elder and Alma the Younger remind the Nephites to remember what great things the Lord has done for their fathers, especially when it comes to helping them get out of captivity of a physical sort.  In the days of the Old Testament and even New Testament, and at times in our day and age too, the Lord would help His people get out of captivity, or bondage.  In our day and age we don't get put into physical bondage hopefully, we mostly get into spiritual bondage, or the effects of sin.

When we sin there is a natural consequence every time of losing the Spirit, or in other words, being cast out of the presence of the Father.  This is impossible to overcome on our own.  We have to take advantage of the Atonement and its cleansing effects.  Through Jesus' selfless sacrifice He has prepared the way for us to be brought out of spiritual bondage and given us the opportunity to return to live with Heavenly Father some day.  If we don't take advantage of it, then Christ's suffering was all for nothing.  We need to do our part and make sure that Jesus performed the Atonement for a good purpose.  We have to repent and change our ways.  Then we will truly be free.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Following God Leads to Happiness

Today I read Psalms 119, the longest chapter in all the standard works!  One phrase stood out to me, the Psalmist states that through the commandments, God has made him wiser than his enemies.  My first thought when I saw this was the Word of Wisdom.  I thought about how if we are living the Word of Wisdom, we are not putting harmful substances into our bodies and our minds are clear and open.  If we follow the Law of Chastity we will not run into sexually transmitted diseases most likely and so out bodies will be clean.  All of the commandments are meant to help us have a happy life here on the earth.  They are meant to help us avoid the challenges of this life.  God knows everything, He is THE smartest being out there.  Why would we listen to humans who contradict Him?  We are imperfect beings with an imperfect understanding.  I for one will listen to God and follow His commandments.  It can only lead to happiness.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Have Perfect Trust in God

Today I read Psalms 114 - 118 and was reminded to put my trust in the Lord, not my confidence in man.  With the Lord, all things are possible and He will never go back on His word.  Man is fickle and even with the best of intention, he may postpone or even forget what was promised.  He may go back on his word.  Man's intentions may be pure and even benign but man can still fail.  With God however, He will never forget and will always do what He says He will.  It's like my daughter.  She is two years old and at this point if I tell her I will do something, she trusts me.  I have never broken a promise to her so if I tell her I'll be right back, etc, she believes me and will let me do what I need to do.  That is the faith we can have in our Heavenly Father.  He is perfect and if He says something will happen, unless it is contingent upon the person's faith, then it will happen.  We can have perfect trust in Heavenly Father and do as He asks of us.  It will always turn out right.  Until tomorrow.