Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Job Counsels Wisdom is More Valuable than Money

Today I read Job 28 where Job talks about the value of wisdom.  It reminded me of several scriptures and quotes.  The first scripture that came to mind is from the Doctrine and Covenants, section 130 where God tells Joseph Smith that knowledge is the only thing that we take with us into the next life and that any person who gains more knowledge in this life will be farther ahead in the life to come.  I'm also reminded of the Lord's counsel to seek out the best books and learning.  Clearly accumulating the right kind of knowledge is important to our Heavenly Father.  And if it is important to Him, it should be important to us.  We would be wise indeed if we spent our time learning the important things of the world instead of wasting our time.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Job Affirms that Wickedness is not Happiness

Today I read Job 27 where Job talks about the awful state of the wicked.  Such chapters always remind me of Alma when he tells his son Corianton, that wickedness never was happiness.  It can be confusing for those that are young because the world does a great job of making us think that things like alcohol, or sexual sin are things that bring great enjoyment.  Those that are older know the truth that alcohol cannot hide you from your problems and that sex is meant to be shared between a husband and a wife only.  Satan will always try and cloud this issue however if we listen to God and follow his commandments we will always know peace and true happiness that only the righteous can enjoy.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

God is Ever Mindful of Us

Today I read Job 25 and 26 where Job's friend states that man is lower than a worm and then Job talks about all the virtues of God.  As I was reading these chapters I could not help but think of how in the Dark Ages people thought they had to suffer like Jesus did in order to be righteous.  They don't understand that to God, we are his children.  If a parent takes on a burden so that his/her children don't have to, that same parent does not expect that same child to suffer anyway.  In fact it may cause that parent extreme sadness because his/her efforts to spare the child were in vain because the child suffered anyway.  God loves us, we are His most precious creation and He wants us to be happy.  Lehi taught us that in the book of 2 Nephi chapter 2 verse 25.  We are created in God's own image and as such we are special to Him.  He loves us and is ever mindful of us as Jesus taught when He was here on the Earth.  All we have to do is follow His commandments and do as He asks of us.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Wicked Are Unpunished for a Season

Today I read Job 24.  I often wonder when I read these chapters, especially Job, if the people of the day actually talked like that.  They have already made their point and now are just belaboring it.  This chapter talks all about how the wicked go unpunished for a little while before they are brought low, something that has already been said more than once and already.  Job's friends remind me of people who really enjoy hearing themselves talk and so go on and on when they have already made their point.  In that spirit, to keep myself out of that category, I will end here, since we too have already made that point more than once.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Job Knows His Life is Acceptable to God

Today I read Job 23 where Job talks about God and how he has followed all of God's commandments and that he has kept God's ways.  What a wonderful sense of peace that must be for him!  To know that you are clean before God and He is pleased with your life.  It is a joy that we all can know each and every day.  When God sends us the Holy Ghost to be our constant companion, then we know that our life is acceptable to Him.  We can also know our life is worthy in His sight by living the commandments to their fullest, and not just the ones we want to follow.  Several people in this day and age have fallen into Satan's trap that all is well in Zion and that God will save us in the end regardless of how we live our lives and what we do, as Nephi of old foresaw.  Satan is carefully leading this world down to hell by convincing us that anything we choose to do is not a sin.  We must not buy into so false logic as Jesus Himself taught us when He was here on the earth that there are certain thing we must do to return to Heaven, such as being baptized.  We must live our lives in a certain way if we expect to return to live with God one day.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

God Delights in Righteousness

Today I read Job 22 where his friends continue to insist he is unrighteous.  However, one of them shows the total ignorance of the nature of God right from the start in his questions to Job.  He asks Job if God finds any pleasure in the fact that Job is righteous.  The answer is absolutely He does.  The fact that this man would even ask such a question calls into question his understanding of God and that plan of salvation.  We learn in the Book of Mormon that God delights in the chastity of women.  He does delight in His children's righteousness.  He likes it when we are like He is, just like our parents looked on in joy as we were growing up and we made wise choices.  Heavenly Father absolutely enjoys us being righteous.  If you need proof, just think about how you feel when you do what is right.  You feel happy and content.  Now compare that to the guilty feeling you get when you do something wrong.  It seems so obvious to me that the idea of even asking such a silly question is, well silly.  As with anything relating to God, all you have to do is try it out and you will find the truth.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

There is No Hiding From the Judgements of God

Today I read Job 21 which continues along the thought process of the wicked having success in this life.  Job acknowledges that the wicked will sometimes prosper in this life but just like we talked about yesterday, he says that God is just and the wicked will have their final punishment.  This life is unfair a lot of times and it may seem like what you sow is not always what you reap, however in the eternal scheme of things, what we sow is in fact what we reap.  If our works are works of righteousness and we do what is right, what is asked of us by our Heavenly Father, then we will have eternal rewards.  However, if we do that which we shouldn't and do things that make our Heavenly Father not be able to tolerate our presence, then when we finally meet Him on the other side again, we will be ashamed and like Alma the Younger, we will wish we could cease to exist and that the very rocks of the earth would hide our presence from Him.  But we all must stand before Him and be judged for what we did in this life, none can escape His righteous judgements.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Wicked Have Joy for a Moment

Today I read Job 20 where Zophar talks about the life of the wicked.  He talks about how the wicked may have joy or triumph as he calls it for a moment.  And while this may not seem like the case for those who do not do that which is right in this life, if we remember that this life is but a fleeting moment in our lives, as we too are without beginning and without end, we will live forever and never die after this life is over.  So if we are wicked, our triumph will seem short indeed compared to the eternal glory of the righteous.  We will rue the day we did not follow the commandments when we realize what reward could have been ours and we sold it for a fleeting moment of wickedness.  Joy for a moment indeed.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Job Knows His Redeemer

Today I read Job 19 where Job shares his testimony with his friends.  He states that all his friends, servants and even his wife have forsaken him, however he knows that his Redeemer has NOT forsaken him and knows that even though he dies, he will be resurrected in the end and will stand before God accountable for what he has done.  This scripture should be very familiar to all seminary students as it is a scripture mastery.  It also shows that even before Christ came, those who understood the scriptures knew about the resurrection.  It was only in the time of Jesus that people seemed to forget what he was there to do.  From the beginning, starting with Adam, those who searched the scriptures understood the true mission of Jesus and how we all fit into it.  Job knew that Jesus was coming to Redeem us from our sins and to overcome death.  His testimony in this chapter shows us that.  It's amazing to me that people seemed to believe better before Christ came and performed the Atonement than they do now, when we have hundreds of witnesses showing us that it is true.  Some people just won't believe until they see it with their own eyes.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Job's Friends Still Don't Believe Him

Today I read Job 18 where Job's friends tell him all about the horrible plight of the wicked, which is nothing new to anyone who has read the Book of Mormon.  It must have been really hard for Job to even after his declaration of righteousness to have his friends still doubt him.  I could not imagine having such thankless friends.  Like we talked about the other day, it is best to surround oneself with friends that make it easier to live the Gospel, not that drag you down.  Poor Job.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Frailty of Life

Today I read Job 17 where Job talks about the frailty of mortality.  Recently I had a friend celebrate their son's first birthday, or it would have been his first birthday but he died at birth.  As my wife and I were talking about it, we realized that we knew several people who recently had lost children at birth or shortly there after due to birth defects.  It make me really marvel at the harshness of life and how things can be hard.  Our bodies are so fragile that any number of things can happen to them.  All it takes is one muscle to be out of alignment and it throws our entire equilibrium out of whack.  And so many things can extinguish this life.  But we don't have to worry about that, because we have our Redeemer who has paid the price for our lives and has given us all the gift of another life after this one.  We owe Him so much!  Until tomorrow.

Friday, April 19, 2013

True Friends Make it Easier to Live the Gospel

Today I read Job 16 where Job finally talks to his friends and tells them that they are not being true friends and if he were in their position he could judge them as well, but he would rather give them comfort and not judge them, as true friends should do.  Job understands that true friends are meant to uplift one another, not drag them down.  We are supposed to help one another and as true friends we are to help each other and make it easier to live the Gospel, not harder.  That is the measuring stick by which we should judge all potential friends.  That is how I knew I had found my wife, when I met her it was so easy to be righteous and live the Gospel.  That was how I knew she was a woman I could marry.  That should be how we judge others, not on what kind of trials they have and whether they are righteous or not.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Job's Friends Continue to Insist He is Wicked

Today I read Job 15 and I have to wonder if these men really talked like this?  I mean it's almost like reading a poem and I'm not sure if I was hearing it live and in person if I could take it seriously.  That aside, one of Job's friends, Eliphaz this time, again proceeds to tell Job how his punishments are just and he is not greater than God and spends a lot of time talking about mankind in general and how he is wicked.  He also goes as far as to call Job crafty and imply that he is bold face lying.  Again I just have to wonder what kind of friends are these that Job surrounds himself with.  It is interesting how they think they are so learned and that God only does certain things to the wicked.  But it is all things we have already explored since we started reading Job so here I will end for today.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

If a Man Dies, Will He Live Again?

Today I read Job 14 where Job asks the question that most people ask themselves at some point in their lives, "if a man die, shall he live again?".  Mankind has almost always feared death and what it brings.  I don't imagine Adam and Eve feared death because they understood the Atonement and had a perfect understanding of God and Jesus Christ because they had talked to them in person.  But at some point, perhaps even with their children, man has wondered what happens after we die.  Even if you have faith in Jesus Christ and the Atonement, it can be hard for some people to believe perfectly that we will be raised up again after we die.  But we have faith and we know that God cannot lie and He has decreed it, so it MUST be true.  That is a very comforting thought and one that keeps me going when I lose friends and family members and makes me very happy when I think about the fact that even in death my wife and I will be together.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Job Asks God to Let Him Know His Sins

Today I read Job 13 where Job finally tells off his friends.  He tells them to be quiet and they will be counted wise.  This is because his friends, as we already know, have been accusing him of being wicked when Job knows he is righteous.  However, he pleads with God to tell him his iniquities.  Job knows that while he may not have committed any sins that he knows about, he may still have done something wrong for which he is being punished.  And he wants to make sure that if that is the case, he can be told what it is so that he can make himself right with the Lord.  And who among us would not do the same thing?  If we thought maybe we had sinned but didn't know in what regard, wouldn't we ask God to make known unto us our transgression so that we could make it right?  I sure would.  We really can learn a lot from Job, not just patience, but how to handle obnoxious friends and ensure your standing before the Lord!  Until tomorrow.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Wicked Seem to Prosper in this Life

Today I read Job 12 where Job raises a question that plagues many people.  He states that the wicked will prosper in this life.  This is true and it causes a lot of people to question God and His methods, or even question if He exists at all.  The simple matter is though that God will judge us based on our deeds in this life, be they good or evil.  What He may or may not do, is punish us in this life.  I have noticed in my reading of the Old Testament that God seemed to take a much more personal hand in things in the days before the Savior was born.  Now it is much harder to see God's hand in things but it is still there if you look.  Some struggle with the idea that those who are wicked seem to prosper in this life while the righteous don't or suffer.  This is sometimes true but we can always have comfort in the fact that in the end, there will be justice.  God will give righteous judgments and will reward the righteous and punish the wicked, it just won't always be in this life.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Zophar Accuses Job of Being a Sinner

Today I read Job 11 where one of Job's friends, Zophar, tries to convince Job that he is in the wrong.  He goes as far as to say he wishes that God would speak right then and there and prove Job a sinner.  Job really does have a lot of patience because if that had been me, and my friend said that to me after I had just lost everything I owned including my children, I'm not sure I would have been very polite about removing such a "friend" from my presence.  But Job is known for his patience and for good reason, he does not get upset with his friends and keeps his cool no matter what happens to him.  Perhaps it is the knowledge that he has done nothing wrong that bolsters him up.  Whatever it is, the rest of us could learn a lot from him.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Job Continues to Bemoan His Fate

Today I read Job 10 where Job is still upset as his lot in life, which is understandable as we have said before.  When we are in the middle of a trial it is very hard to keep proper perspective and understand that we will grow from it.  That is because trials are meant to be hard.  If they were easy to overcome, we would not grow and would not turn to God to get through them.  In that sense, Job is not doing a very good job of enduring this trial.  He is still saying it would have been better if he had not been born.  Now I have never had a trial like Job's so it is easy to look from the outside in and say that Job should be handling this better, but we each of us do not know how we will handle things unless we are given that trial ourselves.  Our trials are meant for each of us and not for anyone else.  What is a trial for us, might be very easy for someone else, that is why they are our trials.  Good thing for Job, after a little while he will perk up and handle his trial alright.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Job Admits God is Just

Today I read Job 9 where Job admits that God is indeed just.  This is one of those chapters in Job that I am a little unclear on.  I personally think that Job is arguing this point to show that God is just and does not pick on people, He does not punish the righteous.  On the surface that seems to indicate that Job did something to bring down God's wrath on himself.  That is part of what confuses me about Job's statement.  He seems to be arguing that God is punishing him for a purpose.  Now we have already talked about how God give us trials and doesn't just punish people for the heck of it.  And Job's case is a strange case.  It is almost like Abraham's trial.  Job was required to give everything he had and still remain faithful.  Fortunately Job did in fact stay faithful and gave us a good example for all of us to follow.  If we could all become like Job, this world would be a better place.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Trials vs. Punishments

Today I read Job 8 where Job's friend Bildad starts asking questions to Job.  One of the questions that he asks Job that made me think was "Doth God pervert Judgment".  The reason Bildad is asking this question though is to make his point that God doesn't punish the righteous, or in other words, Job has done something to deserve this.  However, we all know that trials are not a punishment.  It seems Bildad needs to learn this however, because he does not understand this point.  He thinks that all of Job's calamities are because he has offended God and done something wrong.  Judgment is God's domain, not ours and so it is not our place to judge whether or not the reason a person has trials is due to their own actions.  We don't know the reasons, unless it is something really obvious, like contracting AIDS after living a promiscuous lifestyle.  But even then, final judgement is God's and God's alone, not our responsibility.  Our job is to mourn with those that mourn.  If Job's friends really understood the Gospel, they would be sad with him, not blame him for what is happening to him.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Job Wonders What is Man

Today I read Job 7 which reminds me a lot of Moses 1.  Job asks in this chapter "what is man".  Moses asked what was man that though art mindful of him after seeing the glory of all creation.  Sometimes when seeing all of creation even just on this planet, it is easy to wonder why God takes notice of us.  However, it is not that difficult to understand why.  Think on your own children, there are dozens of distractions in this life and lots of things we can be proud of that we made from scratch, but our children carry a unique place in our heart that never goes away.  No matter how special things in this life are, they are no comparison to our children, and God feels the exact same way about us.  We are His greatest creation.  By His own mouth, we are His glory.  It is no wonder that He is mindful of us and wants us to be happy.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Job Longs for Death

Today I read Job 6 where Job states he wishes God would just let him die, or cut him off as he puts it.  I can understand his grief.  I have not lost any children, but I have lost friends and loved ones to the cold merciless grave.  Even having a knowledge of the Atonement, that we will one day live again and be together, is little comfort in the moment of grief when we bemoan our fate and our loss.  The knowledge of the resurrection gives peace and lasting comfort, but the pain of loss here and now is immediate and never quite fades away.  Humans are very good at feeling sorry for themselves.  It is a trap very easy to fall into, but we do in fact need to look forward to that ultimate victory over death, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and make sure we keep things in perspective.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Man is Born into Trouble

Today I read Job 5 where Job's friends state that man is born into trouble.  And truly we are.  Each of us are born into an imperfect world.  Of course we all knew that is what awaited us when we chose God's plan to send us here.  We knew we would be tried and tested and we rejoiced in the opportunity because we would be able to have a physical body.  We had progressed as far as we could in our previous life as spirit children only.  We were more than willing to suffer the consequences of living in an imperfect world for the opportunity to progress further.  The fact that we are here on this earth, shows that we accepted God's plan for us.  So we really have no one to blame but ourselves for our life of imperfectness.  Of course that is very hard to keep in mind when we are in the middle of a trial.  But as I always say, it is all for our own good.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Job's Friends Ask Him Questions

Today I read Job 4 where his friends start to ask him questions.  It must have been very frustrating for Job to not even have his best friends believe him when he says that he has done nothing wrong to deserve God's punishments.  I am getting a little ahead of myself as in this chapter all his friends ask him is the question will a mortal man be more righteous than God?  I personally don't understand why his friends would ask him such a question.  I don't think that Job was elevating himself above the level of God.  I think rather that Job was lamenting his loses and who wouldn't in his circumstances.  I mean he lost all of his children.  I would have a hard time remaining good and faithful if I lost all of my children also.  And then to top it off his friends come to "cheer him up".  Poor Job has insult piled on top of injury.  But Job keeps his testimony, as we all should during times of crisis.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Job Feels Sorry for Himself

Today I read Job 3 where the natural man rears his head for a little while.  I can sympathize with Job so easily, it is so easy in the midst of trials to bemoan our fate and to say things like what Job is saying in this chapter.  I could not even imagine such a trial as Job was put through, he lost all of his children, all his earthly possessions which he most likely spent years acquiring.  And now his wife is telling him to curse God and die.  I could easily see someone in this position wonder why God did not just kill him in infancy or in the womb. It would be so easy to fall into despair and bemoan your fate.  I can't really blame Job for not having perspective all the time, it would not be easy to lose all of that and still keep calm and say the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  I know I could not do it.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Job Loses His Health and Teaches His Wife about Trials

Today I read Job 2 where the Lord brags to Satan how Job is still true and faithful to God even after losing all of his family and worldly possessions.  Satan replies that if Job loses his health he will curse God.  So God allows Satan to take his health but not to kill him.  I have often wondered about Job's friends and his wife.  They are a good example of the old saying "with friends like these, who needs enemies".  His wife in this chapter tells Job that he should just curse God and die.  She clearly did not understand the true nature of God.  Job takes the time to educate her that God doesn't just give us good things, He allows us to be tried and to be tested. 

Job understands that just because he has done nothing wrong, does not exempt him from trials.  Quite honestly, when we are righteous, that is when we can expect more trials than normal.  Trials come in 2 flavors, those that are caused by our own actions, such as if we use drugs, then we will have poor health.  The other kind of trial is when we are doing what is right and we need to grow.  That is when God will step in and give us a trial to help make us even more righteous, to help us grow closer to God.  Job understands this, although as we will see in the coming chapters his friends clearly don't.  But just because you have a trial does NOT mean you have done something wrong.  Keep that in mind for a happier life.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Job Loses His Family

Today I read Job 1.  I have always been intrigued by the book of Job.  No one can really agree if it is real or a story meant to prove a point.  In this chapter God gives Satan permission to take away the blessings that Job has enjoyed.  The reason Satan is given permission is because Satan believes that Job is only loyal to God because of his blessings.  Satan maintained that if Job lost everything he would curse and blame God.  I think a lot of people would in fact of done just as Satan predicted would happen.  Job however, did not curse or blame God.  He merely got upset and said that the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  I have to be honest I'm not sure that would be my response if I lost all of my children and all of my fortune in the same afternoon.  I'm not sure I would curse God either, but I don't think I would be so calm as to say something like "Oh well them's the breaks I guess".  But Job is certainly a good example of a faithful servant and understands that just because someone is good and obeys the commandments it does not stop them from having trials.  Trials help us grow, even the really, really challenging ones.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mordecai is Made Second in Command of Persia

Today I read Esther 10 where Mordecai is put as second in command of Persia.  He reminds me a lot of Joseph who was sold into Egypt.  After interpreting the dreams of the Pharaoh, Joseph was put in charge of all of Egypt except the Pharaoh himself.  Just like his ancestor, Mordecai was put in charge of all of Persia except for the king.  We are not told how much good Mordecai was able to do as Persia's second in command.  But I will wager that he did much good in the name of God for his fellow Jews.  By small and simple things the Lord brings about his purposes.  It is a wonderful thing to be an instrument in the hands of God, it is something I wish more people could experience.  Knowing that what you are doing is the Lord's work is a great feeling!  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Jews Slay Haman's Sons

Today I read Esther 9 where the Jews rise up against their enemies and have a day of celebration.  Part of the problem I have with this chapter is that the Jews kill Haman's sons, for the simple reason that they are his sons.  There may be more to it, but we are not told.  I really don't like how in the Old Testament people seemed to have this gangster mentality that if you did something wrong, not only will you be killed, but your whole family will die also.  Perhaps that is where gangsters got the idea from?  I don't know but to me it is barbaric that because their father tried to kill the Jews, and was slain for it, Haman's sons are killed.  Perhaps they were in on the plot and were co-conspirators, I really don't know, but the way the chapter is written, it makes it sound like they found his sons, and just killed them for the simple crime of being his sons.  I have a real problem with that and with the idea that God would punish the son for the sins of the father.  So either the Jews were in the wrong, or there is more to it.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Esther Saves the Jews

Today I read Esther 8 where the king makes a new decree safeguarding the Jews.  If this king never does another noteworthy thing in his life, he has secured for himself blessings in heaven.  I can certainly understand his feelings however, if I were in a position of power and learned that someone was trying to kill my wife and/or her family, I'm not sure I would take it nearly as calmly as this king appears to be doing.  Of course I am a passionate man and sometimes let my feelings run away with me.  This king does a great job of keeping his head, finding out what is needed and then doing it.  As all great leaders should do.  And because he saved the Lord's people, I am positive that he will be blessed for it.  Until tomorrow.