Sunday, April 30, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Joshua 2:9, 11-12

Today's Favorite Verse: Joshua 2:9, 11-12
"And she said unto the men, I know the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
And as soon as we had heard these things our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that you will also shew kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token:"

Joshua sends our two men to secretly spy out the land of Jericho. They enter the city and stay at the house of a harlot named Rahab. Even though she would have been considered a sinner and unbeliever I can see what a good heart she has. I can see how the hand of God prepared Israel's enemies by making their hearts fail them. Yet, Rahab takes a different course she fears their God, which means she believes in their God. She has faith that their God can do all things. I pondered on how the ways of the Lord prepares not only his people, but also our enemies, for whatever purpose they must serve. I love how Rahab saves these men by letting them down the wall with a cord, and they promise to protect her and her family for what she has done for them. I had to jump ahead and read all about Rahab, and where she is also mentioned in the scriptures. I just love her.

"By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace" (Hebrew 11:31)

Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and has sent them out another way? (James 2:25)

I pondered on what a perfect example she is of demonstrating your faith by your actions. Even though she may have not yet realized she believed in God, her actions showed that she did. Is that not the way I have to be, show my faith by my works. As I do as the spirit guides me my faith increases. I have no doubt the spirit impressed on Rahab the need to protect and save these men. For doing so she and her family were blessed.

Day 764

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Joshua 1:9

Today's Favorite Verse: Joshua 1:9
"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."

This verse made me think of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's April 2017 LDS Conference address "Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear". What a joy to sit and listen to this talk again. So many glorious scriptures references inside it. So many pieces fit. The pure love of Christ, faith, hope and charity casts out fear. I live in a time where peace has been taken from this earth and yet I have peace, and a joy that passes all understanding. Everyday as I sit and read my scriptures, the words of Christ come alive, and I am made alive in Christ. This brings peace to my soul. The fear that doubt, sin, and the adversary brings is dispersed, for it cannot reside where the light of Christ reigns. My strength is in Christ, how can I even say I have courage for it all comes from him.

While pondering the thought came to me if I have the spirit to always be with me, then Christ will be with me too. That is how "the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest." I had never thought of it that way before.

Day 763

Friday, April 28, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 34:5, 8, 10

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 34:5, 8, 10
"So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.
And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.
And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,"

I wasn't there when Moses died, but I shed tears today reading of his death. I have now concluded the book of Deuteronomy and finished the Torah (The Law). The first five books of the Old Testament ascribed to Moses - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, comprising  "The Law of Moses". How I love Moses for all his words have taught me.

I pondered on how the mosaic law, would not be fulfilled until the death and resurrection of my Savior, Jesus Christ. How different the stories to come would be, if the children of Israel obeyed the laws that were given them. They would have been prepared to receive their King. A prophet greater than Moses, the very Lord, whom Moses spoke face to face. One day I shall stand before my Savior and speak with Him face to face. I want my story to be different, keeping the commandments will help me know my King.

Day 762

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 33:13, 16

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 33:13, 16
"And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren."

Moses blessed the children of Israel. He pronounces blessings on each of the twelve tribes. I pondered on the blessing Joseph received. These verses are only part. What stands out to me "blessed of the Lord be his land", and "him that was separated from his brethren". The fulfillment of this took place when Lehi left Jerusalem with his family, and was joined by Ishmael and his family. Together the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh of Joseph's line, came to their promised land. The land in which I live. Where I find the "precious things of the lasting hills". Moses blessing was the same blessing Jacob gave Joseph too.

"Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:"  (Genesis 49:22

How grateful I am for the Book of Mormon and how I can read of the "stick of Joseph". Today as I read the bible the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph are one in my hand.

"Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand."  (Ezekiel 37:16, 19)

I have come to find as I am reading the Bible that I need to also read from the Book of Mormon daily. I do not know how to describe it, but it's like a light or energy that allows inspiration to come through to lighten the eyes of my understanding.

Day 761

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 32:37-38, 43

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 32:37-38, 43
"And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,
Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.
Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people."

I pondered on the ability of a false god to "rise up and help you, and be your protection". That is totally impossible. Satan only leads one deeper into hell. There is no protection or help that will come from him, or any arm of flesh.

Yet when I worship the Lord my God his arm will always be there to help lift me up. He will shield me from the fiery darts of the adversary. He is merciful, loving and kind. To worship the true God I am blessed beyond measure.

Day 760

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 31:6, 8

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 31:6, 8
"Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed."

Rejoice! It is all I could think of as I read these two verses. What courage it gives me to know the Lord is before me, in all that I do in his name. In His name is my strength. I felt impressed to just sit and listen to hymns sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The first that I had to find was "Rejoice, the Lord is King!". What a feast! I truly rejoiced in my Lord this day. Jesus Christ, is my Savior, Lord and King. He does not fail me. May I never fail him.

As I continued to feast on all these hymns I found a true treasure. "If the Way Be Full of Trial, Weary Not".  I thought how fitting this would be for someone in the midst of trial or grief, to know Jesus will never forsake them. His arm is ever around them. Then it occurred to me I was listening to this on the 18th anniversary of my mother's death. How different I feel today then the day she slipped into the eternities. What a tender mercy of the Lord that he allowed her to be with me in the temple this morning. I had a taste of the joyous greeting to come. The words of this song brought tears of joy in remembering this day. It filled my soul with such a sweet spirit of peace, and strength. I wept in gratitude, for the Lord knows how to strengthen me, even when I'm not weary or afraid.

"If the Way Be Full of Trial, Weary Not"

If the way be full of trial, weary not;
If it’s one of sore denial, weary not;
If it now be one of weeping,
There will come a joyous greeting,
When the harvest we are reaping, weary not.
Do not weary by the way,
Whatever be thy lot;
There awaits a brighter day,
To all, to all who weary not.

If the way be one of sorrow, weary not;
Happiness will be the morrow, weary not.
Here we suffer tribulation;
Here we must endure temptation;
But there’ll come a great salvation. Weary not.
Oh, Do not weary by the way,
Whatever be thy lot;
There awaits a brighter day,
To all, to all who weary not.

If misfortunes overtake us, weary not;
Jesus never will forsake us, weary not.
He will leave us never, never;
From his love there’s naught can sever;
Glory to the Lamb forever, weary not.
Do not weary by the way,
Whatever be thy lot;
There awaits a brighter day,
To all, to all who weary not.

Day 759

Monday, April 24, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 30:2

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 30:2
"And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;"

The word "return" made me stop and ponder. I cannot return to the Lord unless I do it with all my heart and soul. I also cannot give the Lord my heart and soul unless I have returned to him. What am I returning from?

"And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines." (1 Samuel 7:3)

I am forsaking anything that took me away from the Lord. Any strange gods, false teachings, and anything that breaks the commandments. To come to the Lord I must give him my whole heart and soul, and serve only him. It can't be a half way effort, to truly come to him.

Day 758

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 29:14-15

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 29:14-15
"Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;
But with him that standeth here with us this day before the Lord our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day:"

I sat and pondered on how this verse applies to me. I wasn't there that day, but the covenants that were made, I would one day make too. This is why I must liken the scriptures to myself. All the words of God apply to me.

Day 757

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 28:63

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 28:63
"And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiple you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it."

This chapter starts with all these lovely blessings that God's holy people will be blessed with for keeping his commandments. Then it follows with the cursing if they stray from his commandments. It was rather to terrifying to contemplate. This made me think of the scriptures referring to a two-edged sword.

"Behold, I am God; give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore, give heed unto my word. (Doctrine & Covenants 12:2)

He can divide asunder my enemies but just as quickly swing that sword back at me if I forsake him. I think I know which side of that sword I want to be on. I want to be worthy of His promised blessings, and having him fight my battles for me.

Day 756

Friday, April 21, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 27:18

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 27:18
"Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen."

The other day as I was reading Deuteronomy 24 I pondered on how I would not be punished for another person's sins. Today I thought about how I am cursed if I do cause others to sin. When a person is at their spiritual weakest they may not see when another presents them with false doctrine, causing them to stumble. The person that cause them to stumble will have that on their head. It would also be required of the person who stumbled to account for their sins. So there are two things here with the scriptures. Don't cause others to be misled, and stay spiritually strong so others cannot lead me astray.

Day 755

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 26:16

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 26:16
"This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul."

I love this. This made me ponder on how I'm not just to keep the commandments, but do it will all my heart and my soul. I have seen over the years how keeping the commandments have changed for me. I looked upon them as restrictions and bondage. Now they bring peace to my heart, reverence and love for God. I have gratitude for how they bless my life, and the protection they bring. There has been a change of heart and attitude in keeping the commandments. It's almost like keeping them seemed dead inside without my heart in them. What an interesting observation I wasn't even aware of until now.

Day 754

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 25:5-6

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 25:5-6
"If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.
And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel."

This made me think of the story in the New Testament when the Sadducees question Jesus on who of seven brothers would have the first dead brothers wife in the resurrection, if all in turn married her and none of them raised up seed for him. Christ answered that they erred because they knew not the scriptures or the power of God. When they rise from the dead they neither marry or are given in marriage but are angels which are in heaven. The real question for the Sadducees is they didn't believe in a resurrection, angels or spirits. They did not believe in immortality and it's so telling that this is the very question they ask Christ, seeing that they didn't believe in it in the first place. This made me ponder on how those that don't believe in God can question my faith or beliefs, wanting answers on strange things, yet the true question they have is totally something else.

When my daughter was apostatizing from the church she told me she had binders full of questions. I knew all she had done was gone out to the internet and found every anti-mormon question out there that could be found. They were not even her questions. They were traps like the Sadducees tried to do to Christ. I said bring me those binders and let me look at them. I will try to answer them for you. I really didn't want to see them, but I knew that the questions weren't really the issue. But, from reading them I would know what very basic question of the gospel was really the root of the issue. Its like studying a tower of sticks and knowing that pulling just one it would make the whole tower collapse. Sadly for her she never brought me the binders full of questions. I think she knew deep down inside she didn't want to get the answers because the questions wasn't the church it was her. For myself I am glad I didn't have to read Satan's inspired writings that would have only sought to darken my mind. Though I do wish I knew what basic principle of the gospel really was the root of her issue. I think that is why I feel so driven to go very, very basic in the gospel for this is the foundation that needs to be strengthened and made firm and sure, that no tower of sticks can come tumbling down.

Day 753

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 24:16

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 24:16
"The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin."

This made me think of the 2nd Article of Faith.
"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."

I thought about how everyone is accountable for their own sins at judgment day. That is such a relief, I would not want to be accountable for another person's sins. I have enough of my own to account for. I am grateful that the Savior's atonement overcame original sin so I could be born into this world and not be punished for Adam's transgression. I was born innocent and can act for myself, and be cursed or redeemed depending on my choices and adhering to God's commandments. I alone am responsible for my actions.  I pondered on how a loving and just God would set things up this way.

Day 752

Monday, April 17, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 23:24-25

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 23:24-25
"When thou comest into thy neighbour's vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.
When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn."

Ah! I found it! In the New Testament in Matthew, Mark and Luke I read the same story that has always puzzled me.

"At the time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples where an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat." (Matthew 12:1)

The Pharisees saw this and said they were doing what wasn't lawful on the sabbath day. The implication being they weren't suppose to be picking corn on the sabbath. I always wondered why wasn't this considered stealing corn, regardless of it being the sabbath day?  Now I find the law. It was ok to go into a field or vineyard and eat your fill when you were hungry. Stealing would be picking it and storing it up for yourself. I knew Jesus and the apostle wouldn't steal, knowing the law helps me understand the custom and scriptures better.

Day 751

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 22:22

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 22:22
"If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel."

As I was reading this chapter I could see how there appears to be laws for every situation. Laws that we don't completely follow today. More so it's the punishments that we don't follow. So many of them the result is death. It's so unforgiving. This made me ponder on Christ atonement and what an absolute blessing and gift it is to me. I can repent and be forgiven. That my sins don't bring upon an immediate sentence of death. I am just so grateful for what my Savior has done for me.

Day 750

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 21:18, 20-21

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 21:18, 20-21
"If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice, he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear."

This chapter had some serious punishment. I think this one topped it all for me. To see parents turn their child over to be stoned to death for being rebellious. I thought how could they do that? I also reflected that it is a good thing we don't practice this today, because there is so little respect for parents or people in authority in our society, there wouldn't be many children left. Then I realized this had something to do with the fifth command to honor our father and mother. This commandment has not been done a way with. There is implication today for me in this. Then the story of the prodigal son came to my mind. I sat and read it and then watched "The Prodigal Son" video in the "The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos" by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The part of the son coming to himself and returning home touched my heart.

"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." (Luke 15:20)

I understood now why that father had compassion and ran to his son, while he was a great ways off. If he hadn't done that the elders of the city could have stoned him to death. For he was a glutton and a drunkard with his riotous living, and had not honored his mother and father. Under the mosaic law he was worthy of death.

So I reflected on this act of stoning, and turning the child over to the elders of the church. I felt impressed to look at the elders of the church as representing Christ. I have experienced turning a rebellious child over to the Lord, and this fits.  Though my child may have spiritual died, I needed to turn them over to the Lord for his keeping. I have left them in his hands to do as he see's fit. He knows what they must past through in order to "come to themselves".  For I know they will have no desire to see me until they have been made clean. Then I can run to them and throw our arms around them and kiss them, and rejoice. Until that day the Lord has sustained and carried me, and replaced my sorrow with peace in this matter.

Day 749

Today I Lost One Ring

On a very busy day I suddenly noticed my engagement ring was gone. It had become too big since losing weight. It would just twirl on my finger and was very easy to come off, yet I kept wearing it. It was a treasured family heirloom that belonged to my grandmother and mother and was passed onto me when I became engaged. I loved it for how it connected me to these special women. Our family prayed if it be the Lord's will that it would be found. I retraced my steps but couldn't find it. I thought it was either gone for good, or would someday appear while cleaning. I was sad but not upset. Out of all of my possessions that was what meant the most to me. If that had to be taken from me, then it was what had to be.
I felt impressed to try on my wedding band that I had not been able to wear since my first child was born. (He will be 34 next month.) I just never spent the money to have it resized. I was amazed to see it now fit. I was happy with the simplicity of wearing just a single wedding band. A special thank you to my husband William Zamora for going the extra mile and looking in the bottom of our outside trash can for my engagement ring. He was the means that God answered our humble prayers, and returned the ring to me. I have put it up for safe keeping where my wedding band used to be. I will get the engagement ring resized after I finish losing more weight. Right now the wedding band, my husband bought me years ago, is being enjoyed as it should be. Today I lost one ring, and now two have been returned to me. I am so blessed.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 20:3

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 20:3
"And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;"

I pondered on how it's not just a battle, as in a war, this is speaking of. During family scripture reading we happened to be talking about hard things each of us were facing or dealing with. How they required courage to do the Lord's will, and as the spirit was directing. The hardest thing is the desire to not offend another, especially now that people are so quick to be offended. We had talked about how the desire to help others in the long run needs to be our focus. With love for their best interest we can do hard things, and place the outcome in the Lord's hands. When we know we have done our best and as the Lord directs, it does bring the courage needed to face the tasks.

Day 748

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 19:15

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 19:15
"One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established."

I have always been fascinated by the law of witnesses. Tonight I thought on a different aspect of it. I have come to realize that when the spirit speaks to me, revealing mysteries I never understood before, with ideas that were not my own. It isn't long before I will stumble upon other witnesses to those same thoughts and impressions. I have come to see that I never have an original thought when the spirit teaches me something. I will always find confirmation on what I was taught. Its just that the thought was new to me. The spirit speaks the words of Christ and these are eternal principles, it only stands to reason what I've learned others have learned before me.

Day 747

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 18:10, 14, 21-22

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 18:10, 14, 21-22
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."

The phrase "observer of times" really struck me. What was that exactly? I searched the scriptures and these two verses are the only reference to that phrase. My gut told me it was astrology or stargazing, articles on confirmed that was so. This was something that stood out to me in yesterday's chapter when it talked about worshipping the sun, moon or heavens. I have to say one of the worst experiences I ever had was attending a LDS themed but not LDS Church sanctioned conference. I attended a standing room only class by a man that taught about the times and seasons, and signs of the last days. The class description didn't tell me he would be connecting them into astrology. It was the first time I ever heard an LDS member talk about the signs of the Zodiac, and try to make it fit into the gospel.

I was never so agitated in my life, my whole body was trembling. I knew I was hearing a man teaching priestcrafts. I wanted out, but I was stuck in the middle of a very crowded long row, and I couldn't get out. It was just the worst feeling having to witness what I witnessed in that room. I saw the very elect being deceived, and I didn't want to be one of them. Afterwards there were huge lines of people waiting to buy his book. The scene made me physically ill.  In relating this story to others I have chosen to never mention the presenter's name. That is because I had never heard anything about him until that class. All I knew was my impressions and what if I was wrong about this man.

I happened to relate this experience to a dear friend of mine and she said "Renee, who was this person?"  Just hearing her ask me that left me with the impression I needed to answer her.  I said you have probably never heard of him but this is his name. She said "Renee, he's in my ward!"  Yes, there is something very wrong with this man. We have to watch him, and never let him alone with the youth for fear he will start to teach these things. He also has firesides in his home which we have to stop him from advertising. It was an amazing experience to me that the one person I confide in could give confirmation on a man I knew nothing about. I only had to hear him speak. Yet, I witnessed hundreds in that room devouring every word he spoke. The spirit was watching out for me that day.

I often think of those obsessed with the signs of the last days and how they soon follow into strange paths. That is because they miss the mark and the point of what the signs lead to, and the spiritual preparation that needs to come. Even Laman and Lemuel are a prime example. In hearing their father Lehi's vision of the tree of life what they chose to focus on was the signs of the last days. They missed the mark of what the whole point of the vision was, and the warning it had for them. The preparation I need is to be like Nephi, and taught by the spirit. Nothing will leave me unaware if I have the spirit as my constant guide.

It's been several years now since I had this experience. I found it very interesting when I pondered the last two verses of this chapter. How would I know the words that the Lord had not spoken?  Simply if what they say doesn't come to pass. I sat and thought about all the signs, blood moons and alignments of stars I had heard mentioned, and the time frames they were to happen. Implying some great events would take place. You know what, nothing happened. I am always hearing of new theories on this subject. I will no longer listen to any of them. It simply is not the way the Lord works.

Yes, Jewish holidays have actually been important days for LDS events, but no one going into those events thought of something special happening that day. They were not looking to the calendar or stars to tell them these things. They were just going about the Father's business. Just like the apostles didn't understand how all that the Savior did during his life fulfilled prophecy until after his death and resurrection. The important thing is always to look towards Christ and not the signs. Treasure up the scriptures and the hour or moment they are fulfilled I will know by the spirit it has happened. The living prophet will guide me, and not lead me astray.

Day 746

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 17:3, 5

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 17:3, 5
"And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die."

I thought about how we don't stone people any more for going after "other gods". The Savior taught a higher law, and fulfilled the law of Moses. Yet, this was still a type and shadow of something for my day. The pains people suffer for worshiping false gods is a spiritual death. So interesting that worshiping the heavenly bodies and constellations are a part of this warning. To much star gazing for signs cannot be a good thing, for we could miss the mark. The emphasis needed is to look towards Christ with the spirit as my guide, otherwise I could become lost.

I pondered on what it means to serve other gods. I think it would not only be a practice you would be guilty of, but you would bring others to these false gods too. Leading others astray can have eternal ramifications.

The other thing that can happen to a person that teaches false doctrine that leads others astray, is excommunication from the church. Then all the blessings you have received will be removed. Your baptism and temple ordinances become void. This chapter did talk about having an inquiry and witnesses before passing judgment of death. Maybe excommunication is really what this is pointing to in my day. Not only have they spiritually died. The saving ordinances are gone now too.

Day 745

Monday, April 10, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 16:17

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 16:17
"Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee."

I think I give as I should, but there is so much more I would love to give. Though I know it's foolish to give and go into debt.

This made me think of Mosiah 4:24-25
"And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.
And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received."

Yet, I pondered on the poor widow that cast in two mites and the Lord said it was more, than all they that cast in the treasury. "She of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living." What is the balance for my life? I think I must be guided by the spirit. It will tell me wither I gave a good gift. And if I wish to give more than I am able I would do as found in Mosiah, in my heart wish I could give more. It can never be bad to wish I had given more. The Lord will know my heart.

Day 744

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 15:11

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 15:11
"For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land."

This is a subject that has touched my heart of late. I searched the scriptures for all the references of the poor and read them. I paused at the story in Luke 16 of a certain rich man.

"And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full or sores,
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores."

It goes on to tell that the beggar dies and is carried by angels into the bosom of Abraham. The rich man dies and goes to hell. I thought about how this rich man did more than some people around me would do. He let the beggar sit outside his gate. In my local news, no one wants a homeless shelter anywhere near their neighborhoods, much less sitting outside their house. I pondered on where would such behavior leave us?

The poor will always be among us. There has to be a reason for that. I think there are lessons for both of us to learn. One thing I could see in my searching is there is no excuse for not helping them. As I sat and reflected on what I could do, I realized today is Fast Sunday, being more generous with my fast offering is a start.

Day 743

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 14:22

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 14:22
"Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year."

I noticed this mention of tithing did not promise more, just that the field would continue to produce year after year. That really is an incredible promise.  As I sat and pondered on paying tithing, I see how much I have been blessed. Every year I have been able to take care of what needs to be taken care of. I have produced sufficient for my needs and for my family.

I have often reflected on if I would want wealth or sufficient for my needs as promised. I have found the later has been the greater promise. I used to get upset that as soon as a little money would come my way something would break, or need to be replaced, and take it all from me. I could never get ahead.  It's taken time to realize the Lord blessed me to have the money for my needs in the first place. He has taken care of me. What lessons I have learned because of this. The wealth he gives untold is through the spirit. This is by far the greatest of blessings that money cannot buy. These are the windows of heaven that are open until my cup overflows. I have been blessed.

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10)

Day 742

Friday, April 7, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 13:1-3

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 13:1-3
"If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou has not known, and let us serve them;
Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of the prophet, or the dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."

I know there is a prophet of God upon the earth. He holds the priesthood keys and receives revelation. He speaks the will of my Father in Heaven and serves only him. What struck me in this verse is how "other gods" have prophets and dreamers too. That they can give signs and wonders that do come to pass. That these "other gods" will have you serve them too. Who are these "other gods'? I believe they are just Satan deceiving people in various forms. I know there are two powers on the earth. The priesthood power of God the Father, and that Satan has a priesthood power too. The one you tap into will become your master.

God the Father allows the power of Satan to be upon this earth in order for me to be tested. The God I love with all my heart and soul is the one that I follow. It's pretty important I get this right.

I read the bible dictionary on Satan or the Devil. It lead me to Revelations 13. I looked upon it with new eyes. Satan has an impressive amount of power, among them are the power to heal, perform miracles and to create. His miracles are meant to deceive, and blasphemy God, and destroy the saints. From his words he will appear like a lamb, meaning Christ, and deceive the very elect. Everything he does will teach me to no longer love the Lord my God with all my heart.

If Satan is the great deceiver who would he teach me to love? It would have to be myself. If he can get me to have pride and faith in myself, then I will no longer humble myself before God. I would no longer put God the Father first, and seek to do his will. Satan would teach to do my own will, and he would give me the power to attract it to me. If my first love is myself, and the power I gain from self, then soon I will no longer feel I need to humble myself and turn to my Savior Jesus Christ. For if the power was inside me to save or create, why would I need a Savior. I think the first thing he would have to take is my faith in Christ, and replace it with faith in me. I think this is the great litmus test. Who have I put my faith in? For there will be heart me also.

Day 741

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 12:30

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 12:30
"Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee, and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise."

One of the first things Israel is told to do when they enter the promised land is to destroy all the Canaanite gods, their alters, pillars, and groves. To take down their graven images and the names of them out of the place. They are told were to find them, in the high mountains, upon the hills and under every green tree.

I pondered on how they are told how to identify these false gods, and then told not to inquire after them. The warning appears to be you will see them, but don't understand them. It made me think of how I can see or identify things that are going after false gods, the occult, and priestcrafts and my first impression is to step away. Don't touch, get out of that gathering, close that webpage. I have seen the elect go chasing after them and being burned from their experiences. I think there is so much wisdom in identifying false gods, but not studying how evil worships itself, and its power to create. This is a wisdom of the world I do not need to know. To understand how they served their gods opens me to the influence of Satan to instruct. I do not need him whispering in my mind. This is a counsel for the ages.

Day 740

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 11:8

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 11:8
"Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and posses the land, whither ye go to possess it;"

I pondered on how keeping the commandments doesn't always mean I will receive material wealth. In fact I can see what a blessing it has been to me not to have wealth. I would not have learned so many great lessons if I had had them. The ability to think outside of the box, due to the lack of wealth, has been a great gift.

I pondered on what it meant to posses the land. It made me think of projects I have undertaken. How I have been blessed, because the spirit inspired me on how to manage them. The blessing of keeping the commandments is to have the spirit to always be with me. Through that spirit I been taught wisdom to do things that I was once incapable of doing. Not once but many, many times.  I have seen these things become my strengths. So possessing the land means to me any endeavor I undertake with the spirit as my guide. With the spirit I am made strong to do what needs to be accomplished.

Day 739

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 10:9, 20

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 10:9, 20
"Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy God promised him.
Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name."

I was rather feeling a little sorry for myself. I was seeing and hearing others joyfully sharing about their travels and events they have attended. This is my sorrow, a desire to go and see things but never have the time or money to do so. I was feeling rather down, and tried very hard to cheer myself. I want to have joy for the blessings others have, and not sorrow on hearing their fortunes. They are good people and deserve all the blessings they receive. I would not want it, if it took it away from them.

Then I read this about the Levites. They received no inheritance while the other children of Israel did. Did some of them sit there like me and look at what others had and feel some sorrow?  I'm sure they did. The Lord was their inheritance, but he was also an inheritance available to the other children of Israel. Did some just get more than others? Then I pondered on my relationship with the Lord, how special that was to me. If that was to be dimmed so I could have "more" would I even want it? My answer would be no. I think I'm actually getting what I was promised before I even came here to earth. It was what mattered to me then, and what I wanted most while here. For me to have the shinny things, that bring me sorrow to look upon now, would probably bring me sorry later. Everyone has their temptations and they are not all the same. I have to trust that a wise and loving God knows what is best for me. I know in the end all things will be compensated for.

As I sat and pondered on my blessings I realized I have taken a trip that very few people ever have. It is a trip that money cannot buy. I visited the spirit world during my near-death experience. I have seen things that people that have traveled the globe would given everything to see.  What I saw and learned, and where I now stand is worth everything. What I sorrowed over would only cheapen it. I have been truly blessed beyond measure. How could I have forgotten what the Lord has done for me. What a gift that in my sorrow and pondering I now can put these two things together. I will turn to the trip I did take, that only comes by special invitation. I would not change a thing. I am so grateful to have pondered on these things today. I have found peace.

Day 738

Monday, April 3, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 9:4

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 9:4
"Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land: but for wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee."

I pondered what they were doing wrong. To think I deserve anything because of my righteousness, would take incredible pride and an absolute lack of humility. Sorta like when you think your humble, and that shows your immediately not any more. I pictured in my mind a totally holier than thou attitude. I can be as righteous as I want and that doesn't force anyone to lose their place. Losing your place, land or possession was totally the doing of the wickedness of the people there. The attitude that was needed was God is in charge and I am just an instrument in his hands.

One of the most important reasons they were to possess this land was because God had promised it to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I think what God is telling them is have a humble heart and turn to me. In all things acknowledge my hand in preserving your life, and having you prosper. God will have a tried and tested people, he can just as well take you out of where he just put you. This made me think about Job.

This also made me think of Elder Renlund's talk "Our Good Shepherd" in LDS General Conference on Saturday. He related the story of the Pharisee and the publican. This scripture stuck out to me.

"I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." (Luke 18:14)

There is much to be careful about when a person thinks they are more righteous than another. All kinds of alarms should go off that I'm in dangerous territory.

Day 736

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 8:2

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 8:2
"And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord they God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no."

I pondered on how this verse gives the answer to the question "Why do bad things happen to good people?"  God needs a proven people, and this is how he proves what is in their hearts. I have known hard days, but if it was not for them I would have never come to know the Lord. Enduring to the end is the best part of this earth existence. It is how I come to know my Savior. I would not change a thing.

Day 736

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 7:6-7

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 7:6-7
"For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people."

This made me think of Ether 12:27
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I will give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for it they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

I pondered on how God loves the underdog, and to fight our battles when we turn to him. That to me makes me feel very, very special, and extremely humbled.  

Day 735