Friday, May 30, 2014

Why Do We Help?

Today I read Jacob 1 and I felt a kinship with Jacob when he declared that he desired to be able to bring all men everywhere into the fellowship of God and to convince them to no longer rebel against God.  I too long for a world where everyone treats each other as the Savior would and with respect.  Sadly we live in a very selfish world and so we are not prone to treat one another well.  However, the goodness of humanity does shine through from time to time.  In times of accident or tragedy we all rush to help and do what we can to assist.  Where does this sense of altruism come from?  It is the kinship we feel deep down inside that draws us together to help?  Is it the love of Christ that we innately feel for one another that causes us to hurt when we see others hurting?  I'm not sure, but something speaks to us on a basic level when others are in need and compels us to help out.  And that is a good thing.  If we would all listen to it instead of squashing it, we could have the millennium now, here on the earth for all to enjoy.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Worry a Little, Rely on the Lord for the Rest

Today I read 2 Nephi 33 and it makes me wonder, what must it be like to be a prophet?  Nephi says that he waters his pillow over his people at night.  I know that I have spent many nights wondering what I can do to help my daughter and wife be healthier.  Is that what Nephi means?  Has he spent nights thinking on how he can help his people as a whole?  It must be.  I am sure President Monson is the same way.  I am sure he thinks continually on what he can do to help the members of the church be more faithful, to fulfill their covenants, to make sacred covenants and to magnify their callings.  The Savior taught that whosoever shall lose his/her life for His sake shall find it.  In other words if you spend your time in His service, it is a good life and not wasted.  Nephi spent his life in the service of his people.  I think he would tell you that he had a happy life.  I know that when I set aside what I want to do in order to help my wife and my daughter, I am happier than if I just blew them off and did what I wanted to do.  Just because you are worried about the people you have stewardship for, does not mean you are putting your entire life on hold.  It means you do the best you can, and listen to the Spirit guide you.  When you do that, the Lord will help you and you will not fret more than is needed.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Improving in Prayer

Today I read 2 Nephi 32 and it struck me as a little odd.  In the first verse Nephi chastises his people for pondering the things that he has taught them, and then later on in verse 4 he says if you can't understand his words it is because you do not ask or knock, or in other words, you have not pondered them.  I do understand that Nephi is saying that we need to listen to the words of the prophets and do as they say, but the way he says it is a little odd. 

I have always loved verses 8 and 9 that state we need to pray always.  Prayer has been on my mind a lot lately.  My prayers are not what they should be and I don't like that.  I have been pondering for some time what I can do to make my prayers better.  I think back to how I was as a missionary and how I prayed then and I am slowly striving for that again.  I don't think you need to live like a missionary to pray like one, but it does help for sure.  But when it comes to prayer the first step is to make a conscious choice to improve.  This I am doing today.  I will improve.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Trust that the Lord Knows Best

Today I read 2 Nephi 31 where Nephi tells us why the Savior was baptized.  I have always liked how after Nephi tells us, he then asks us that if the Savior Himself was baptized, why do we think that we don't need to be.  It is very classic.  It reminds me of D&C 122 where the Lord asks Joseph if he is better than the Savior, that the Savior has suffered all things and that we need to be humble and suffer all that the Lord has seen fit to afflict us with.  After all only He knows what is best for us.  It can be very hard to humble ourselves and accept what He has chosen for us sometimes, especially when it is hard to physically bear.  Trials are not meant to be easy, but some are definitely more challenging than others.  I am very glad my trials have all been easy by comparison to others that I have seen.  Does that mean I don't need to grow as much as others?  I don't really know.  I can tell you that what trials I have had in my life have stretched me and caused me to become a better man, the kind of man that I have always wanted to be.  It is partially because of this that I will continue to trust in Him.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

God Only Cares if We are Doing What is Right

Today I read 2 Nephi 30 and the main message I took away is that God is no respecter of persons.  He doesn't care if you are a Jew or a Gentile, if you are following His commandments, you will be saved as the last day.  If you are not following them, it doesn't matter if you were one of the covenant people, you will not be saved by the fact that you are a member of the Church, or of the house of Israel.  God is not concerned with our pedigree but rather with what we have done with our time on the earth.

I am also found it funny to picture nice snakes.  It talks about none of the animals will destroy and it specifically mentions the asp and the cockatrice in this chapter.  An asp is extremely deadly and poisoness.  When I think of snakes I think of short tempered animals who strike first and ask questions later to think of them as nice and not wanting to hurt anyone is a real stretch of the imagination for me.  I certainly believe it will happen because God said it would, but it is still strange to think about.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Why Do We Limit God?

Today I read 2 Nephi 29.  As I was reading I could not help but wonder where the idea that there can be only 1 book of scripture came from in the first place.  Where did the idea that the Bible is the be all end all come from?  The answer of course is obvious that Satan convinced the people that this was the case based on misinterpreting scripture.  But I wonder if the people that state there can only be 1 Bible realize that they are limiting God and placing man made restraints on Him when they say such things?  I bet they do not think about it in such ways.  I bet they think they are following what He wants them to think and do and are being led carefully down to hell as they follow what they believe to be truth.  The fine line to walk however is not judging them for doing what they think is right, but rather to love them and offer the truth and not be upset if they choose to turn away from it.  That is really the hard part.  But it is what we are asked to do and it is what we will do.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Don't Be Fooled

Today I read 2 Nephi 28 and it is sad just how accurate it is.  Nephi warns that there will be people who are lulled away by a false sense of security and that are slowly led down to hell by the devil.  We see if happening all around us, and not just outside of the church, there are plenty of members who cry, "All is well" and give themselves a false sense of security.  It is really disheartening to see just how many people are comfortable in this world of sin and debauchery.  They think this is the way it should be, and the laws of God are old fashioned and outdated they say.  I wold much rather have the outdated and non-hip ways compared to what I see going on all around me, especially in the big cities.  Give me the laws of God any day.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Searching for the Truth

Today I read 2 Nephi 27 which is a quote of Isaiah 29.  I especially liked the analogy of those that dream they eat and wake up hungry.  To me I took this to be those that search for the truth and think they have found it.  They rejoice in what they have found, but then they feel unfulfilled because they know there is more out there.  They understand that they have not found the Gospel in its completeness.  Those are the people that I pray for that will find the missionaries.  Those are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness.  When they find the truth it is sweet to them and they are so grateful for it.  I am so glad when I see people find the truth that they have searched so long and hard for.  It warms my soul!  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What He Does is For Our Benefit

Today I read 2 Nephi 26 and I liked how Nephi said that the Lord does not do anything, unless it is for the benefit of man.  Sometimes as a human we can get caught up in the day to day troubles that we face and it can seem like Heavenly Father is picking on us.  I know I have felt this way sometimes.  It can feel like He is purposefully withholding righteous desires, such as marriage, just for the spite of it.  However, much like we sometimes withhold things from our earthly children if we know it is not in their best interests to have it.  Even if they really want it, we know better.  I have to believe Heavenly Father is the same way.  He knows what is best for us and what will help us grow and become better than we are.  Sometimes we think we know what we want, and sometimes He gives it to us.  But then we find out that it is not what we want.  It is better to just trust in Him and listen to what He desires for us.  This is the best way I think.  Trust in Him and we will never go wrong.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Joy in the Sciptures

Today I read 2 Nephi 25 where Nephi tells us why he has quoted so much of Isaiah to his people.  It is interesting that Nephi acknowledges that Isaiah is hard to understand for his people.  He then goes on to say that he has spoken plainly so that it cannot be misunderstood.  I myself prefer plainness.  I like to know exactly what I am reading and what it means.  Now I fully acknowledge that all scriptures have multiple meanings and that when we are in a certain frame of mind we will interpret the scriptures a certain way.  And when we have grown and matured, a scripture that we have read dozens of times suddenly takes on a new meaning for us.  That is one of the reasons that the scriptures are so wonderful.  No matter what is going on in your life, you can read them and gain something from them.  Heavenly Father sure knows what He is doing!  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Satan Willfully Rejected Heavenly Father

Today I read 2 Nephi 24 and I was struck by the verses regarding Lucifer, or Satan.  It sometimes slips my mind that Heavenly Father still loves Satan and feels sorrow for the choices he has made.  He is one of God's children and is not hated by Heavenly Father.  But rather is mourned much as we mourn a child, parent, sibling or friend who strays away from the truth.  However, we still have hope that our loved ones will return and repent of their wrong doings.  Heavenly Father has no such comfort.  He knows that not only will Satan not repent, he CANNOT repent.  He willfully and knowingly rejected Heavenly Father.  Unlike those here on the earth that turn away from Him, Satan knew what he was doing when he turned against God.  While I mourn that such a person as Satan, a man who would knowingly go against God, exists, I do not feel compassion for him.  He made his choice, and I will make mine.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Value Life

Today I read 2 Nephi 23 and I was struck by verse 12 where the Lord tells Isaiah that He will make man more precious than fine gold.  I find that interesting because a person is already precious in the sight of God, but once I thought about it for a few minutes, I realized that mankind is not precious in the sight of man.  There are some that definitely value life, but if you watch the news and looks at the horrible parts of the world, you come to find that we don’t value life like we should.  The criminals of the world view life as very cheap. 

It is interesting that just today I was wondering why is that the organized crime has always dressed in suits and taken great pains to look as neat and clean as possible?  It reminds me of the Savior talking to the Pharisees and comparing them to tombs, that are white on the outside but house a dead body inside.  Satan dresses his servants very well so that they look nice but are foul on the inside.  There is also the idea that Satan imitates and corrupts the ways of the Lord.  The Lord wants us to dress our best, He wants us to treat people with respect and to dress like we want to be treated.  The Lord wants us to be like He is.  He wants us to do what is right.  He wants us to value life.  We do a pretty good job, but not nearly as good as we should.  This is what He wants us to change.  We need to value life like He does.  When we do that, we will become more like He is.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Why Do We Make the Choices We Make?

Today I read 2 Nephi 22 where it says in the Millennium all men will praise the Lord.  I sometimes wonder why everyone would not choose to become a member of the church in the Millennium when they see that Jesus is obviously with the LDS church.  However today I think it comes down to not everyone wants the Gospel.  Even when given evidence of something true, some people just do not want to change their ways or do not want what the Gospel will bring.  I know I sometimes wonder how if I am exalted how I will handle all the evil in the world and not do something about it.  It hurts my heart so much when I see and hear about the evil in the world, I don’t know how God, the source of all righteousness does it.  How does He let those things happen, even when He knows it is for the best ?  I know some might say that it is similar to letting a doctor give your child a shot, or letting them suffer the consequences of their bad choices.  But how can you compare letting someone give your child a shot to letting your son or daughter get kidnapped and forced into a  life of slavery?  I just don’t know how He does it.  But despite all this and my misgivings, I still desire to be exalted one day.  It does not deter me and I do not understand why the people at that time will still reject the Gospel and the truth.  But to each their own.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Unanswered Questions About the Millennium

Today I read 2 Nephi 21 which is the well known chapter about the conditions of the millennium where all the meat eating animals will no longer eat meat.  This chapter has often caused me to contemplate whether mankind will eat meat during the millennium too.  I think I have talked about this before, but I still have not come up with an answer really.  Perhaps we will only eat the animals the die of natural causes?  But if mankind will live to the age of a tree, will the animals live that long also?  So many unanswered questions, but truthfully we don't need answers to these questions as the Savior Himself will be here when this time comes and will be able to give us instructions.  I do like the idea that all of the dangerous animals will no longer be dangerous.  I look forward to that day and to being able to mix and mingle with the animals without fear.  It will be fun I think.  I wonder if we will be able to communicate with them too?  So much to ponder.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Being the Chosen People Does Not Excuse Sin

Today I read 2 Nephi 20 and I was interested in the fact that the Lord felt it necessary to point out that He will punish wicked deeds even among His own people.  He points out that He has destroyed the idol worshipers of other kingdoms, and He will do so among His own people.  Just because a people are the chosen people does not excuse sin.  Honestly, the Lord holds those who are His chosen people more accountable since they know better.  Once a person has been given light and knowledge, they are held accountable to it.  There is no going back without suffering the consequences of your actions.  That is why everyone is given a choice to back out when making sacred covenants.  We have to make the choice knowingly and willfully.  He will hold us accountable when we err.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

His Hand is Stretched Out Still

Today I read 2 Nephi 19 where Isaiah is speaking Messianically.  My favorite part about this chapter is as Isaiah goes through and lists all the ways God's people reject Him and turn away from Him.  However, Isaiah says that despite all of this, God's hand is not turned away from His people but is stretched out still, meaning that He still wants us to return to Him and do what is right.  There is only one sin that I know of that there is no coming back from.  Other than that one sin, we can always return to Him and choose the right.  How wonderful and awesome is that?  I know that I am forever grateful that no matter what I do, I can repent and come to live with Him again someday.  As long as I stay away from the unpardonable sin I can change my ways and return to live with Him again.  That is a wonderful feeling.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Don't Be Part of Society

Today I read 2 Nephi 18 and I was impressed with the statement that God made to His servants to not be part of the society.  This statement is always good to hear, but for the righteous individual it is a bit redundant.  I know if Isaiah is anything like me, he felt very uncomfortable among the people of the world.  The things they find pleasure in, the things they talk about, and the activities they pursue are not the things I want to be doing.  Whenever I find myself indulging in the things of the world, I feel the Spirit start to leave and feel uncomfortable.  I cannot imagine a prophet of God is able to tolerate the "world" any better than me.  That is why I think telling Isaiah to not be part of society is a little redundant.  But when we are younger and don't have the Gift of the Holy Ghost with us at all times, it is good to be reminded of that command.  It helps make wise choices.  That is why I will teach my daughter this truth as well until she receives the Gift of the Holy Ghost to help her along the way too.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Do We Need to Tempt the Lord?

Today I read 2 Nephi 17.  How is it that some people just seem to get it and understand?  In this chapter Ahaz is given a chance to ask anything of the Lord.  He states that He will not ask or tempt the Lord.  How many of us if given the chance to ask anything of the Lord would so answer?  How many of us would be humble enough to tell the Lord we don't need anything?  How many of us would turn down a sign or a wonder to prove the Lord our God?  We live in an age when we will only believe what we see.  We will only believe in our senses.  And because we have to experience all things in a spiritual manner, so many of us don't believe it, we deny what we feel because we cannot quantify it. 

But then there are a few of us that trust ourselves.  We trust what it is we are feeling.  We allow the Holy Ghost to have a place in our hearts and to change us.  This is what allows us to overcome the natural man and to become more like our Heavenly Father.  This is the purpose of our existence here on the earth.  To make the wise choice.  To become better men and women than when we arrived.  Do I need a boon or a sign to know He is real?  No.  Do I need a sign to know He loves me?  I've had hundreds in my life.  I don't need any more than what I have been given.  It is enough for me.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Isaiah Volunteers to Be God's Mouthpiece

Today I read 2 Nephi 16 where Isaiah receives his call as a prophet.  As I was reading this chapter, I got to thinking, if Priesthood callings and ordinations are not sought after, how do we justify that with Isaiah volunteering to be the Lord's mouthpiece?  I understand that the Savior volunteered because Heavenly Father asked for a volunteer, perhaps this is the same idea.  Isaiah didn't exactly seek after this position, this calling, but rather responded to Heavenly Father when He requested someone.  So even though Isaiah did volunteer, it was only after Heavenly Father sought for someone to do His bidding.  In a sense, it would be like Heavenly Father coming to us and asking us if we are willing to do something for Him.  After He asks us, we can accept and it is not seeking after the calling, but rather accepting the calling God intends for us to have.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

God's Lament

Today I read 2 Nephi 15 and I really feel bad for Heavenly Father.  I imagine the lamentation of what Heavenly Father has in this chapter is similar to what a child with a wayward parent feels.  The Lord asks what more He could have done for His vineyard.  I imagine a parent who has tried their hardest to raise their child in the right way feels much the same way Heavenly Father does in this chapter.  They ask themselves what more they could have done for their child.  I hope I never have to experience that personally and hope that I can help my children stay true to their testimony.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, May 5, 2014

I Have Been Redeemed

Today I read 2 Nephi 14 and I have often wondered what is meant by the first verse.  It says that seven women will grab hold of one man and ask to be called by his name to take away their reproach.  What does it matter if a woman is called by a man's name?  Perhaps I am too affected by today's standards where a woman is perfectly capable of doing everything she needs to on her own.  I don't know honestly.  But it always seemed really strange to me.  Perhaps it is to protect her from other men?  I don't know.  The part that I do like is about God redeeming His people.  Because I need to be redeemed.  I do not do horrible sins, but like everyone on this earth, I make mistakes and I am not perfect, at all.  So I am very glad to know that God has Redeemed me.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

How Can I Help?

Today I read 2 Nephi 13 and it made me wonder why did Nephi choose to read this chapter to his people?  Was it to show them that the people at Jerusalem were not as righteous as they thought?  To let them know that they left for a very real reason?  It also says that Jerusalem was destroyed due to the sin of Sodom, or not caring for the poor among them.  It is the same sin we have today.  As I was reading this chapter I got to thinking that there are so many ways we could help people, especially with food.  Last year or the year before that my wife and I watched a special on the Food Network where 4 top chefs prepared 2 separate meals for 100 people using only left over vegetables that could not be sold to market and food that is thrown away by restaurants.  They were able to do it and have plenty left over.  As I was reading today, I got to thinking, why aren’t we donating all this left over food or “unsellable” food to food kitchens and homeless shelters?  There is SO much more we could do as a society.  I think I am going to look into how I can get more involved and help.  I think that would make Heavenly Father happy.  To take care of those who cannot help themselves.  Until tomorrow.