Friday, February 27, 2015

Parenting More Like God

Look for how the Lord shows His love.
 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you—
Doctrine & Covenants 95:1

What would you say to the youth who says, “If my parents loved me, they wouldn’t get on my case so much”? Are they right or wrong? Can parenting be all hugs, high-fives, and positive reinforcements?  Well it appears that the perfect parent, our Heavenly Father, believes that if you really love your children, you will have to “chasten” and get after them sometimes. Children need to have boundaries. Jeffry R. Holland taught that, “Second only to your love, they need your limits.” Notice that the word “love” is used three times in the verse; the last time almost as a reminder, just in case they forgot.

Today’s Takeaway: As a parent, don’t feel bad if you sometimes have to correct and chasten your children. But as the Lord shows, start and end that correction with love. Almost no one takes correction easily, but it helps if we can show our children “a way for their deliverance” when they are corrected. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

How Politically Active Does God Want Me To Be?

Look for the role we should play in politics.  
  Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.
  Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.
Doctrine & Covenants 98:9-10

So it's not enough if I show up to vote every few years? Can’t I just vote according to the R or D by their name? Apparently, that is not how the Lord feels about it. Do you study the issues and candidates “diligently”? Often I have not known the particular individuals or ballot measures and I have had to ask those who have studied things more thoroughly.  

How are we to “uphold” good men and women in politics? One way is to let others know when there is a candidate whom you feel deserves support. Likewise, we can join their political campaigns using signs, calling, and even going door to door. The same is true with ballot measures. Upholding can mean supporting financially. Likewise, throughout the year, we can let our representatives know how we feel and encourage them the right way, and discourage them from bad choices.

Today’s Takeaway: What is one small step forward for you being more politically active.? Make that step happen. Don’t take the freedoms we enjoy for granted. Edmund Burke stated, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Light and Truth (Part Two)

Look for the secret for us to receive a fullness of light and truth.
 27 And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.
 28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.
 39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.
Doctrine & Covenants 93:27-28, 39.

So if Jesus had the Veil of Forgetfulness, just like you and I, how in the world did He progress and gain a fullness of knowledge so quickly?  By at least age twelve, He already knew He was the Son of God (see Luke 2: 49).  The secret is in those verses in Section 93. Whenever Jesus was given light and truth (by his earthly parents and others), He lived perfectly up to what He was given.  And what does God do for those living up to the light they have been given?  He gives them more light.  So without sin getting in the way, Jesus grew in light and truth in a perfect and dramatic manner.  On the other hand, you and I sometimes live up to the light we have been given, but then sin so light and truth are taken away (see verse 39). So the charting of our growth is far less impressive. So the principles are:
Sin makes us spiritually slow.
Obedience makes us spiritually smart.

Today’s Takeaway: So what do we need to do to grow in spiritual intelligence? Just stop sinning.  Easy to say, but hard to do.  But as we become more obedient to God, we will find the Lord enlightening our understanding, as we study His word, and seek His face.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Light and Truth (Part One)

Look for if Jesus had the “Veil or Forgetfulness” like you and I do.
  And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;
  And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
Doctrine & Covenants 93:12-13

Did Jesus have the Veil just like you and I?  When I have asked my class to ponder about this, and consider the implications, many have said that He must not have had the Veil, “Otherwise, how could He have possibly lived perfectly through His mission?” But as the verses say, He did not have the fullness at first, but increased in knowledge until He had a fullness (see also Luke 2:52).

Why is it important that we know this?  The Lord later explains, “I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fullness” (D&C 93:19). Have you ever noticed that if there was someone that was very impressive to you, the more you got to know them, the less impressive they became?  Like the saying goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt.”  The big exception to this assertion is God.  The more we get to know the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the more impressive they become in our eyes; and this is only one small example.  Jesus had no special advantages in order to do what He did. This way the Savior could be a valid example for us to follow.  It is amazing to realize that Jesus worked out our salvation in the same world and circumstances that you and I fail in every day.  In Part Two, we will see better how Jesus was able to progress so fast, and how we can better progress.

Today’s Takeaway: The Lord is astounding, incredible and every other like synonym. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are worthy of all the praise we can give.  Express your amazement in what Jesus did as you pray to your Heavenly Father.  As we are coming to know the Son, better, we are likewise coming to know the Father better. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

A House "In Order"

Look for where this bishop needed to focus his efforts.
   My servant Newel K. Whitney also, a bishop of my church, hath need to be chastened, and set in order his family, and see that they are more diligent and concerned at home, and pray always, or they shall be removed out of their place.
Doctrine & Covenants 93:50

In Section 93:40-50 the Lord tells four very prominent church leaders to first “set in order” their families. What does that mean to “set in order” our families?  Have them stand in line from shortest to tallest when we blow a whistle? Actually, it is to set out the order of things in a family.  It is to establish priorities. Are family prayers, blessing the food, FHE, scripture reading established priorities in your home? Could they become that way?  Is time with your family a priority over time with hobbies, TV, or even church callings?  I know there has to be a balance with everything, but is family, and their welfare, first?

Today’s Takeaway: Decide how to make family first. Make a goal, then work at it. Think of ways to establish family as a priority.  Be ready to say no to things that don’t matter as much.

Friday, February 20, 2015

What to Do (With or As) The New Person

Look for how to treat new members, and how to be a new member.
  Verily, thus saith the Lord, I give unto the united order, organized agreeable to the commandment previously given, a revelation and commandment concerning my servant Frederick G. Williams, that ye shall receive him into the order. What I say unto one I say unto all.
   And again, I say unto you my servant Frederick G. Williams, you shall be a lively member in this order; and inasmuch as you are faithful in keeping all former commandments you shall be blessed forever. Amen.
Doctrine & Covenants 92:1-2

Did you see the advice of what to do with new members, or people new to our congregations? The Lord tells the group to “receive him”. Are you good at receiving those who are new? When you see a new face at Church, do you automatically go up and introduce yourself and try to get to know them?  Do you invite them to upcoming things and include them?  Or do you think, “Ah, they’re probably just visiting. Someone else will say hi.  I’m too busy.”  Even if they are just visiting for that Sunday, isn’t it nice when people introduce themselves and welcome you? Be that person for others.

Did you see the advice to the new member, or person new to the ward in verse two? The Lord tells us to “be a lively member”.  Sometimes as the new person, we expect everyone to introduce themselves to us.  The Lord in saying to not wait.  There is a saying, “Sitting in a pew doesn't make you a member any more than sleeping in a garage makes you a car.” Go out and introduce yourself, get involved, and get invited. 

Today’s Takeaway: Decide now that the next time you see someone new at Church, you are going to be the one to introduce yourself and welcome them. Take it upon yourself to “receive” them and make sure every new face is warmly welcomed.  On the other hand, if you are ever the new person, be that “lively member” that is easy to get to know.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Cure

Look for our responsibility.
73 Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.

 81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.
Doctrine & Covenants 88:73 & 81

Imagine that you stumbled upon the cure to all cancer.  What would you do with such an incredible discovery? Would you share the secret to only a few friends and family members?  How wide would you want the secret to be made known?  Naturally you would want to share the secret with as many as possible to avoid the death, disease and misery that cancer inflicts.  

Well that is what the Gospel is.  We have the secret to avoid so much of the misery and pain of this fallen world.  We have the secret to remove the burden of sin through Jesus Christ and to live free through Him and His teachings. So who are we going to share our secret with?

Today’s Takeaway: If you have been warned, then you really need to warn your neighbor.  Perhaps you can let someone know about, or invite someone to Church or a ward activity. Ask the Lord and He will let you know who you can reach out to and how. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Hand of God

Look for a way to see God.
45 The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.
 46 Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand?
 47 Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.
Doctrine & Covenants 88:45-47

18 Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
Doctrine & Covenants 59:18

God has given us a wonderful way to see and feel Him better: nature. Even in this fallen, Telestial world we live in, we can see God’s hand in the beauty of this world, and in our view of the heavens.  It is sometimes easy to pass over and take for granted the beauty God has placed all around us in this world. Perhaps all the creations of man have gotten in the way of seeing what God has made.  Find ways to see and feel nature. All these things are to remind and draw us back to God.

Today’s Takeaway: Take a few moments to find and appreciate the beauty of the natural world God has given us. Take note of the sky, clouds, stars, mountains, trees, and animals.  In prayer, praise the Lord for His beauty and majesty found in the handy work of nature. Every time you want to feel closer to God, you can look for His handprint in nature.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Building People

Look for what God is all about.
 And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
Doctrine & Covenants 50:23

So God has nothing to do with anything that does not edify. But what does edify mean?  The word come from Latin and it means “to build”.  It is where the Spanish words “edificio” (a building) and edificar (to build) come from.  Or the English word for a building, “edifice”, comes from.  

So God is all about building.  Most of all He is about building people. Any feeling that is tearing you down or discouraging you is not from God. The Lord just doesn't work that way. He is a builder.

It should be the same with us.  We live in a world where people love to tear others down as a joke or an insult. It takes no great skill to be able to tear down things or people.  But have you ever known a builder?  Someone who built you up and made you want to strive for the best when you were around them? They complimented, encouraged, and cheered you on? Those are the kind of people we love, and should strive to be like.

Today’s Recharge: Think of ways that you can be a better builder of those around you: spouse, children, associates. Make some specific plans for today on how you can build up someone close to you. Likewise, is there a pattern of tearing others down in your life? Make plans to replace the demolition work with the work of building. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Secret of Twue Wuv

In honor of Valentines Day
Look for the secret to meeting and marrying the right person.
 For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.
Doctrine & Covenants 88:40

Did you catch it? Strive to become what you want. I've been told that in Young Women classes, it was common for the teacher to have the young women write down traits they wanted in a future spouse.  Well this turns the idea around where we need to strive to develop the very traits we want. Sometimes we spend too much time trying to find the right person, and not enough time trying to be the right person.  Want someone attractive, kind, wealthy, and a good cook?  Well then you would need to ask if you are trying to be attractive, kind, practicing habits of building wealth, and learning to cook. 

If you are already married, then are you still trying to be the right person?  Are you still striving to be everything you would want your spouse to be? Instead of trying to get a good deal, are you trying to stay a good deal? It is not about trying to change the other person, but about us being a great person either way.

Today’s Takeaway: Whether single or married, strive to be the good deal you would want.  List traits you would desire and then turn them back to yourself and work on those areas. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Are You Going to Make it?

Look for how you can know if you will have Eternal Life.
 This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;
Doctrine & Covenants 88:4

How can you ever know if you are going to make it or not?  Can we be sure that, if we were to die today, we would have Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father? Or do we just have to guess and wish for the best?  Section 88:4 is the answer. As we are living our lives in a way that is pleasing to God, we will have the Holy Spirit with us.  That is the Holy Spirit of promise which is putting His seal of approval, validating all of the ordinances we have participated in.  The Holy Spirit is confirming to us in those moments that if we continue to follow that path, we will have Eternal Life.  Are we perfect?  Far from it.  But the Holy Spirit will confirm the right path and teach us the changes the Lord wants us to make.  When the Spirit is far from us perhaps that is also the Lord nudging us, saying we need to change course or we are not going to make it.

Today’s Takeaway: Do you have the Spirit with you, telling that you are on the right course?  If you do, take comfort in that you are going to make it.  If you don’t have that Spirit in your life, what changes would the Lord have you make to get back on course? 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Can't Pour From an Empty Pitcher

Look for what helps us speak with Power.
Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.
Doctrine & Covenants 11:21

As a friend, student, employee, parent… it can be so difficult to say what the Lord would have you say in any given situation.  Wouldn't it be great to always know what to say?  The secret is in that verse.  We first need to obtain and have a reservoir of the nourishment that comes from God’s word in our lives.  Here Hyrum Smith wanted to go out and share the Gospel with others, but he had not yet paid the price to be able to share God’s word.  There is a saying, “You can’t pour from an empty pitcher.”  We have to first be filled (ReCharged) with spiritual nourishment before we can expect to pour out to nourish others.

Today’s Takeaway: Are you sometimes unable to help nourish others because you are spiritually empty? Take a little time each day to recharge.  The scriptures are the best source and this blog hopes to help with that. Great sources are also the Ensign, , and many more.  Go and be refreshed each day so you can help strengthen others. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"Private" Sins

Look for something that could be very embarrassing and heartbreaking.
3 And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.
Doctrine & Covenants 1:3

I love it when a lesson can be boiled down to 5 words or less. In my margin I've written: Private Sins Won’t Remain Private!  Do you have any private sins you are hiding?  They will not remain that way. Would you be embarrassed to have a family member see what you look at, watch or say online? Is your relationships with colleagues and friends that might be appropriate? Do you live with integrity even when others aren't looking? Sin always gets out.  Whether in this life or when the Lord returns, it will get out.  They best we can do is D&C 58:42-43 where we confess and forsake so that the Lord remembers them no more.

Today’s Recharge: Is there any sins you are trying to hide from others? Repent so God remembers it no more. Confess and do everything you can to forsake it now. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Trying to "Always Remember Him"

36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
Doctrine & Covenants 6:36

Over the years, I've had my share of getting dental work done. But I am always impressed with the dental assistants. As the dentist is doing the various things, I am amazed how the assistant will anticipate the desires of the dentist. They will often see the need and fulfill it without ever having to be asked. They will often already be handing the dentist the next tool with the slightest indication. Their whole focus is anticipating and servicing the needs of the dentist.

That is how we should be with the Savior. Every week when taking the Sacrament, we recommit ourselves to “always remember him”. We are commanded to look unto the Lord in every thought.  Perhaps this means to have Him in our thoughts and what He would have us do like the dental assistant would for the dentist.  We always remember Him so we can do His will all around us with the people around us. 

Today’s Takeaway: This week as you try to “always remember him”, consider what the Lord wants you to do for him around you.  Whose lives does He want you to touch with His hands and your hands?  

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Power of a Mentor

Look for the duty of a person who is spiritually strong.
106 And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also.
Doctrine & Covenants 84:106

You can think of this verse as about being a mentor, or having a mentor in life. A mentor is someone you admire and would like to be more like. When someone becomes your mentor, they become a guide, tutor, supporter, and counselor for you.  Like the verse says, they are someone who edifies (builds up) in meekness. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility to take with us those who are weak and help build them up in a nurturing relationship.

Today’s Takeaway: Do you have any mentors in life, whether formally, or informally? If not, seek one. Make a list of those you know who you deeply admire in different areas. Seek to learn from them. Are you a mentor to anyone?  Is there anyone that you are striving to help along in their journey through life? It is easy to feel unworthy or incapable of being a mentor to someone, but you are probably more able than you think.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

"I've got a better idea... than God"

Try to recall the Old Testament story referred to in this verse.
 8 While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning.
Doctrine & Covenants 85:8

Poor Uzzah. Here is the sad story about how thinking we know better than God, can lead to death. In 2 Samual 6:1-8, the Ark of the Covenant was being moved to a new location. Although Numbers 7:6-9 clearly says to carry, and not use a wagon, to transport the Ark, someone thought that it would be much more efficient and logical to use a cart. Then when the oxen were on some unsteady ground, the cart began to rock and Uzzah put his hand on the Ark to steady it.  Numbers 1:51 also clearly states that only certain Levites could ever touch the Ark, or death would come.  But Uzzah didn’t want the Ark to fall out of the cart; surely this would be a good time to make an exception to the commandment. But God smote Uzzah dead on the spot. 

So what is the lesson for us? Have you ever felt like you had a good logical reason, which made it OK to disobey God. “But this is different.” “Yeah, but this is for the greater good.” Willful disobedience to God might not bring immediate death, but over time it often brings spiritual death.

Today’s Takeaway: Consider if there is a standard or commandment God has given where you have decided it is OK to make yourself an exception.  Is there an area you are compromising “for the greater good”?  Trust God enough to know He will support us and take care of things if we will be faithful.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Lift Where You Stand

Look for where the Lord wants us to help others.
 5 Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.
Doctrine & Covenants 81:5

 The Lord has given each of us offices, callings or responsibilities where we are to stand and make a difference.  As a member of a family, spouse, or parent, you have wonderful things to do to bless their lives. Are you a Home or Visiting Teacher? Do you have other Church callings? In those areas you have people that you can bless.  Don’t wait or think, “Well if I had his calling, then I would do more.”

In the October 2008 Priesthood session, President Uchtdorf shared the story of priesthood brethren being asked to move a very heavy piano. After trying many ideas, finally one brother suggested, “Brethren, stand close together and lift where you stand.” President Uchtdorf went on to say, “It seemed too simple. Nevertheless, each lifted where he stood, and the piano rose from the ground and moved into the cultural hall as if on its own power. That was the answer to the challenge. They merely needed to stand close together and lift where they stood.”

Today’s Takeaway: Right now there are so many that need the help we can give them. Consider how God wants you to help members of your family. How does He want you to bless the lives of those you Home or Visit teach?  Who are you to bless through your current church calling? Are you at least praying for those people?  Stand close to those you are to work with, and start blessing lives where you stand.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Time, Talents, and Treasure

Look for what the “Lord’s storehouse” is.
18 And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church—
Doctrine & Covenants 82:18

There is a difference between a “Bishop’s Storehouse” and the “Lord’s Storehouse”. The Bishop’s Storehouse  is usually a physical building where goods and commodities are distributed to those in need, under the Bishop’s direction.  On the other hand, the Lord’s storehouse “receives, holds in trust, and dispenses consecrated offerings of the Saints. The storehouse may be as simple or sophisticated as circumstances require. It may be a list of available services, money in an account, food in a pantry, or commodities in a building. A storehouse is established when faithful members consecrate to the bishop their time, talents, skills, compassion, materials, and financial means in caring for the poor and in building up the kingdom of God on the earth” (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2: Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders [1998], 256).

There are three things we are to offer the Lord: our Time, Talents, and Treasure.

Today’s Takeaway: Have you consecrated to the Lord your time, talents and treasure?  When asked, or when you see a need, do you give the valuable commodity of your time? Have you been developing and generous with the talents God has blessed you with? Do you give back your treasure to the Lord as asked? Ask the Lord how he would have you change, if needed, and He will let you know. 

Monday, February 2, 2015


Look for a message of comfort to the overwhelmed.
 17 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;
 18 And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.
Doctrine & Covenants 78:18

Do you ever have those moments when the World and responsibilities and obligations and demands, and everything else become too much?  Have you sometimes felt that all you have been asked to do is too much and you start to panic?

Remember, we are God’s “little” children.  It is not all up to us to make the World right.  That is what Christ did in Gethsemane and on the Cross.  So reach out and take the Lord’s hand.  We are His children and everything in God’s kingdom is ours to have. Read those verses again. Isn't that what the Lord is telling us?

Today’s Takeaway: If you are feeling overwhelmed, perhaps you have been running faster than you are able (Mosiah 4:27). Slow down, and as long as you keep trying, He will help and lead us along.  The Lord will be with us.