Monday, August 26, 2013

Daily Scripture Reading

One of my permanent life-goals is to read the scriptures daily. Bishop Davies, of the president bishopric of the Church, included daily scripture reading as part of a sure foundation for our lives. I find it to be so in my life.

In taking some time to read the scriptures every day, we bring the Holy Ghost into our lives. The Lord wants us to understand the scriptures and wants to teach each of us from them; to accomplish this He sends the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Teacher of all Truth. I feel that I'm more able to receive His teachings and guidance every day when I study daily.

Another blessing is that we can always have the word of God on and in our minds. If the scriptures are in our memories - even if we aren't perfect at recalling them - they can be brought to our remembrance. The Lord will help us internalize His teachings, helping us along the path of discipleship.

I know that the God wants us to know Him. Not have ideas about Him or for Him to be a marvelous mystery to us, but for us to know Him as our Father. Reading the scriptures doesn't accomplish this by itself; we also need to pray and follow the teachings we receive from the scriptures, but reading the scriptures daily will put us on the path to know our Father.

And this is alife beternal, that they might cknow thee the only true dGod, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast esent.

John 17:3

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Ninety And Nine And The One

I have always been intrigued by the Parable of the Lost Sheep. From Luke 15:4-7:
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine ain the wilderness, and go after that which is blost, until he find it?
 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
 I say unto you, that likewise ajoy shall be in heaven over one bsinner that crepenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
I'm very interested in this idea of leaving ninety and nine in the wilderness and going after the one. On its face, it doesn't sound correct to me. Perhaps this is partially because I'm not a sheep herder, but it seems to me that all of the ninety and nine need the shepherd, and how can you sacrifice 99 to go after 1? The math doesn't add up for me.

However, sheep aren't helpless, and neither are the people that the sheep represent in the parable. A flock of sheep will protect the sheep in the flock, but a sheep that is alone is almost completely helpless. One of the lessons the Lord is teaching here is that we have a responsibility to take care of each other, or else the ninety and nine would be just as helpless as the one in the wilderness.

I think another lesson from this parable is that the Lord loves each of us and is aware of our different situations. He knows when we are among the ninety and nine and when we are the one lost in the wilderness, and He attends to us appropriately. This tells me that when I don't feel the Lord's support its not because He has abandoned me - its because He knows that its not what I need at this time, and I should have faith that He'll know when I do need it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


One thing that always amuses me are the advertisements I see to get you in shape in a heartbeat. It seems there are dozens of ways for people to get you in shape post haste. For men, the pitchmen for the products have bodies that it takes years of weight-lifting and conditioning to accomplish. I always think: "doesn't everyone know the right way to stay in shape is just to eat healthy and exercize all of the time?"

Those who know me know I couldn't be a pitchman for one of those products, but my point is simply that most things have to be done constantly in order to be done right. Becoming constant in our worship and service of others is a must for developing greater faith and being closer to God.

Think of being a parent. If I ignore my children most of the time, but sometimes am available to talk to them, play with them, or otherwise give them attention, will they trust me? Now, imagine if I dedicate time to them every day and make an effort to connect with them every day? Which father is more likely to be trusted with life's greater pains and doubts? Which father will be able to help his children more?

One of the great challenges of getting to know our Father in Heaven is that He most likely won't come to our house and speak to us face to face. He doesn't do that because He wants us to have faith, so He connects with us in different ways, and He is even willing to help us recognize these ways, but it takes some learning on our part.

In other words, He is the Father that reaches out to us every day, but we have to learn to recognize and understand how. Daily, sincere prayer helps us recognize these things more. Daily, focused scripture study does the same. Regularly serving others, even in small ways will also bring us to Him.

Just as you cannot learn to speak a foreign language by occasional efforts, you cannot develop the relationship you want with God erratically. You might learn a few phrases or even be able to order food on a menu that way, but I know that life will be richer and peace will be deeper for those that are constant before the Lord.