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.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Lord Knew Jeremiah Before His Birth

Today I read Jeremiah chapter 1, which is a famous scripture that everyone uses to point towards a pre-mortal existence.  In verse 5 the Lord tells Jeremiah that He knew Jeremiah before he was formed in his mother's womb.  I have always loved this scripture as it is the most clear cut verse, and is in the Bible, that shows we lived before this life.  And if we lived before this life, we will continue to live after this life.  Because why would there be a life before this one, but not afterwards?  It wouldn't make sense.  At least not to me.  I have to admit, that I have never read this far into the Bible before.  I have read the book of Ezekiel before and Jonah and Malachi, but never the other books after Isaiah so this is new territory for me.  I am excited to see what the Lord will teach me from the words of His ancient prophets, and of course I will share it with all of you as well.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Will We Eat Meat in the Millennium?

Today I read Isaiah 66 which has to do with the Millennium.  I have been taught in the past that when Christ comes again we will all be vegetarians, but until today have never found any scriptural evidence of this.  I still don't know if it is true that we will never eat meat, but based on what I read today, I do believe that we will not eat meat with the same frequency that we are now.  In verse 3 it says that "he that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man;"  That's pretty open and shut to me.  We have also always been taught that the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and will not hurt nor destroy in all His holy mountain.  I don't think we will be eating a lot of meat, if at all, during this period of time.  However, as with most everything else that has to do with the millennium, it is useless to speculate as we may be entirely incorrect.  The best thing to do is prepare ourselves so that if Christ's second coming happens in our lifetime, we are ready for it!  Until tomorrow.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Lord Will Redeem Israel

Today I read Isaiah 65 where the Lord tells Israel that they will not be cut off entirely, but that a remnant will be saved.  This must have given the Israelites good hope and comfort.  I know that if our Prophet, President Monson, cam out tomorrow on General Conference and told us that the Latter-day Saints would be wiped out, but a remnant would be spared to be redeemed, I would find comfort in that knowledge.  Hopefully the House of Israel did too in regards to their scattering and being taken captive by the Babylonians.  What the Lord states will happen, will happen.  We can always count on that.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Israel Longs for the Second Coming

Today I read Isaiah 64 which appears to me to be a plea for happier times.  Israel is asking for the Second Coming of Christ and anxiously looking forward to it.  I too look forward to Jesus returning and ushering in an era of peace and happiness.  The world disgusts me at times and all the horrors that occur here make me wonder how God can suffer us to remain here and continue on as we are.  There are so many atrocities committed each and every day, so many children abused and not cared for.  It's a wonder God can stay His mighty hand at all.  But there will come a reckoning one day and the natural, vengeful man in me longs for such a day.  The spiritual man in me longs for the world to repent and forsake its evil ways, but I know that won't happen for most of the world.  It's a sad but true fact.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Why God Allows Us to Stray

Today I read Isaiah 63 and I was struck by a phrase that Joseph Smith corrected.  Isaiah asks the question to God why He allowed His people to stray.  This goes back to the question of why do bad things happen to good people.  Or free will.  Heavenly Father allows us all to make our own choices.  In fact we are all here to decide what it is we want for eternity.  Are we willing to sacrifice momentary pleasures for an eternity of happiness?  Heavenly Father will never step in and force us to do what is right.  Even if He does intervene in our life somehow, we still have the option to ignore that it happened and go on as we did before.  Such a person would be quite foolish in my opinion, but we do have that option.  We are never required to do the right thing or to believe in Heavenly Father.  We will always have our own choice.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Lord Promises the Redemption of Israel

Today I read Isaiah 62 where the Lord tells the House of Israel that in the last days they shall be redeemed.  I've already spoken on the question of do modern day Jews even want this to happen?  However, there are those core members of the House of Judah that live in Israel still that, from what I understand, hold to the old ways and want this to happen.  So to them this is probably a breath of fresh air.  I know that if President Monson came out this Saturday during General Conference and told us that it was time to build the temple in Zion, Independence, Missouri, I would be one of the ones who wept for joy!  So I'm sure there are those that even today read this chapter with happiness and a sense of longing for it to happen sooner rather than later.  I am glad the Lord gave them that sense of hope and light at the end of the tunnel.  Until tomorrow.