Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Lord Prepares Ezekiel to Preach

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

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ezekiel Learns the Word of God

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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ezekiel is Called to be a Prophet

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ezekiel Sees Animals Worshiping God

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jeremiah's Journal

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Lord Does Things for Our Good

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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Virtuous Woman is to be Prized

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

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Jeremiah Loves the People He Serves

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

Friday, November 22, 2013

Jerusalem is Destroyed

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Lord Tells Jeremiah of More Cities He Will Destroy

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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Destruction of Moab is Told

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Lord Tells Jeremiah He Will Destroy the Philistines

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jeremiah Foretells Egypts Destruction

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Jeremiah Tells Baruch the Lord's WIll

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

Saturday, November 16, 2013

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

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

Friday, November 15, 2013

The People Disbelieve Jeremiah

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Feel God's Love for Us

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

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Random Chapter

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Jeremiah is Allowed to Rest for a Season

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

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jeremiah is Set Free by the Babylonians

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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Jeremiah Fulfills His Assignment

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

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Jeremiah Fears God, not Man

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

Friday, November 8, 2013

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

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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Lord Blesses Those that Keep Their Promises

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

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Israelites Fail to Uphold Their Covenants

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Power Corrupts

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

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jeremiah is Imprisoned

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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jeremiah Continues His Preaching to Israel

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

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Lord Promises Israel Will Be Restored to Its Glory

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

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Lord Counsels the Israelites in Captivity

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