Friday, June 30, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 14:24, 37

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 14:24, 37
"And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food.
And Saul asked counsel of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into the hand of Israel? But he answered him not that day."

As I read this chapter I see one disaster after another. Yes, Israel defeated the Philistines that day, but it had nothing to do with Saul. There was a reason that God did not answer him.

For Saul had cursed anyone that eat that day. It was a forced fast, not to turn their hearts to the Lord and strengthen them, but to avenge Saul's enemies. The motive was wrong. Outwardly it may have appeared to be a means the Lord uses to bless his people, but that is not where their hearts were. Then when the men find honey upon the ground they wouldn't eat it, because they feared Saul's oath. Once again they were fasting not because they feared the Lord, it was because of the fear of what Saul would do to them.

Saul's son Jonathan was not aware of the oath; for he had been off on the Lord's errand. So, he ate the honey and was enlightened, or refreshed from being tired. He is told by others of his father's oath and he says his father has troubled the land. Because of the hunger the men are under when they see the spoils of the Philistines, they slaughter the animals and eat it with the blood. Which is against the law of Moses. So in a way Saul caused the men to sin in this.

Saul doesn't see his roll in all this, he thinks it is others that have sinned. So when he seeks counsel of God in going down against the Philistines he is not answered. Saul then tries to find out who sinned to cause the Lord not to answer him. He then finds out his son Jonathan had eaten the honey and says he must die. It is only because of the voice of the people that Jonathan is rescued. For they recognized that Jonathan had been lead by the Lord in defeating the Philistines that day.

So what I pondered on was how when my motives are wrong, and I try to pass off what I am doing as a thing of God, when it isn't, no good will come of it. Not only do I sin, but I will cause others to sin. Sin will build upon itself, because this path only takes me further from God. The other thing I saw was the placing of blame. The first person I must look at as the cause of something happening is myself. I must see my roll in things. What disaster could have taken place for Saul and Jonathan if the people had not stopped it. It would have never gotten to that point if Saul had looked to himself as the root of the problem in the first place.

Day 825

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 13:9, 13

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 13:9, 13
"And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou has not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel forever."

Saul is up against the Philistines and Israel is so terrified they hide themselves in caves, thickets, rocks, pits and high places. Saul waits the appointed seven days by Samuel for him to come and offer burnt offerings. When Samuel doesn't come Saul gathers the people and offers up the sacrifices himself. This is something Saul had no priesthood authority to do. It may look like he was trying to do a good thing, but when you do not have authority from God to act in such a manner it is an offense. Even worse to gather the people and have them join in this sin too. When you violate priesthood principles it will bring anguish and sorrow into your life. It really is a foolish thing to think you can act in God's name when you have no authority from God to do so. Just because you want a blessing you cannot just name it and say you have it, when you have no authority to do so.  

Day 824

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 12:14-15

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 12:14-15
"If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God:
But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers."

Samuel is telling Israel that even though they rejected the Lord their God that is their King, the Lord still set a king over them. He lays out the condition that their relationship with a king would work. If they still fear, serve, obey the Lord and keep his commandments. If they in turn rebel against God the Lord's hand would be against them. I pondered on how this is the relationship God has always had with his people. No matter who our leader or ruler is we are still to obey God's laws. I could not help but ponder on what has become of all the nations of the world. We all have rebelled against God. Is there any wonder of the daily terror I see before us? History repeats itself, because man always think they know more than God. We worship ourselves and not Him.

Day 823

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 11:6

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 11:6
"And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly."

Saul comes to the rescue of the men of Jabesh when the Ammonites had came up against them. I pondered on how Saul could do nothing without the Spirit of God coming upon him. The wisdom and inspiration to first know how to have all the children of Israel come together to fight, and then how to win the battle only came from the Lord.

Day 822

Monday, June 26, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 10:1, 6-7

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 10:1, 6-7
"Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?
And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.
And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee."

I pondered on how Saul was anointed to his calling by a prophet. I could liken this to being set apart in my callings at church. The Lord is giving Saul, like he gives me, every opportunity to succeed in his calling. The spirit would guide him to do what was right for those that he had stewardship over. Samuel even says to the children of Israel "ye have this day rejected your God."  This is why they are receiving a king. Yet, God is giving their king every opportunity to bless His people. How merciful is that. How merciful it is to make weak things strong, becoming greater than themselves, a new man. The gifts are given to fulfill callings, it is up us to use the gift given for good.

Day 821

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 9:2, 17

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 9:2, 17
"And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.
And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake of thee of! this same shall reign over my people."

Israel had rejected the Lord and wanted no more judges but a king. I pondered on how even though they had rejected Him, the Lord still looked for the best among all the children of Israel to be their king. He was giving them someone that had all the potential to bless the people. I pondered on how many times the Lord gave me good gifts, even when I didn't deserve them. He gave me opportunities that I never took advantage of. Continually he wants to bless me. Its only me that has turned away from them.

Day 820

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 8:7, 21-22

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 8:7, 21-22
"And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord.
And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city."

Samuel is getting old and his sons that were made judges did not walk in his ways. Now the people ask that Samuel give them a king to judge them, like other nations. I pondered on how the wickedness of once God's people can turn others into forbidden paths. The poor example of Samuel's sons made the people justify themselves in becoming like other nations, and rejecting their God. Samuel was told by the Lord to give them what they wanted for they had rejected him. What the people wanted would be a cursing and not a blessing to them. I sat and pondered on how I wouldn't want to see such a thing in my day. Sometimes God can give us what we ask for, when it is absolutely what we deserve. What we deserve may not be a good thing. I truly want to deserve good gifts and not bad ones.  

Day 819

Friday, June 23, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 7:12

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 7:12
"Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."

This chapter is the source for my most favorite hymn. I just had to sit and listen to it again. It just fills every part of my soul. These words are me.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I'm fixed upon it, mount of thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I've come
And I hope by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home
Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above

Jesus sought me when a stranger, wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood
Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above

O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above

Day 818

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 6:19-20

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 6:19-20
"And he smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.
And the men of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? and to whom shall he go up from us?"

So it wasn't simply because the Philistines mocked God by putting the ark of the covenant in their god Dagon's temple. It was that they looked at what they were not suppose to look at. Namely looking into the ark. You simply cannot play with or treat lightly sacred things. This made me think of what happened to my daughter. As she was preparing to go to the temple before her mission, she called me into her bedroom. There on her computer screen was a website that showed all of the temple endowment. She had been reading and studying it there and wanted to ask me questions. Of course, this was an anti-mormon website, that totally twisted what was very sacred. What I witnessed grieved me to no end. This is not how you are introduced to the things of God. Why did she even think this was the right thing to do? You can never unsee it from the light you were first introduced to it by. It would be forever tainted. I told her this was sacred and not to be discussed in this manner and for her to leave it alone. She never did, trying to find answers to questions of light by looking into the darkness will make you lose your way. Eventually you love Satan more than God. Watching what happened to her broke my heart. But, it has been a powerful lesson to me on how to handle sacred things.

If I'm searching the internet for a faith promoting story I've heard, and find its on an anti-mormon website I won't read it there, even if it's the only place to be found. I have found sitting in darkness there, trying to see the light, only hurts my soul. When I am obedient to staying away from anti-mormon sites the Lord has greatly compensated me for it. I see the story of the Philistines taking the ark and putting in their god Dagon's temple exactly what I see apostates doing on their anti-mormon websites. Then they take it many steps forward to darken the minds of others in various ways. All this brings is destruction to their souls.

Day 817

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 5:2, 11

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 5:2, 11
"When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagaon, and set it by Dagon.
So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there."

I had to sit and ponder a bit on this chapter. At first it sounded like there was power in the ark that caused destruction. I know a thing doesn't have power but God does. The ark of covenant's power came from the Lord's presence residing there. I thought about temples dedicated to the Lord and then desecrated like the Kirtland and Nauvoo Temples were. If they fall out of the hands of God's people then the Lord won't reside there. They are not sacred places anymore. So what was happening with the ark when it fell into the wrong hands?

Then I began to see what the Philistines did, they mocked God. They took the ark of God and put it in the house of their god Dagon. The first morning the image of Dagan, part man and fish, was found laying on its face. They put it back again. Then the next morning it was on its face again with its hands and head cut off, and only a stump of Dagan left. Then the Philistines decided to move the ark of the God of Israel and disaster is met wherever it goes.

It appears God's spirit had not left the ark, like I would expect with a desecrated temple. The Lord was showing the Philistines his power because they mocked him. This power was to their destruction. It was only by them not mocking or treating lightly what was holy that they could be removed from God's wrath.

Day 816

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 4:3, 17-18

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 4:3, 17-18
"And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.
And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.
And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: of he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years."

Eli and his two sons died, immediately following Phinehas' wife died in childbirth. The house of Eli is purged as the Lord had revealed to Samuel. I pondered on how a people could know they were smitten by their enemies because of their disobedience to the Lord, then turn around and think the ark would save them. They worshiped the ark more than the Lord. No wonder it was removed from them. I pondered on how you can take sacred things and worship them as idols, when you lose the true meaning of what they represent.

It made me ponder on how people still search for the ark of the covenant today. I hope they never find it. For I fear people today would worship the ark and not the Lord if they ever did find it. It would come to their utter ruin. People don't need an ark, because Christ came and fulfilled the law. He is the one to save us. My hope and trust needs to be in Him.    

Day 815

Monday, June 19, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 3:9-10

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 3:9-10
"Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth."

As I was reading this familiar story I happened to recall the times I have heard my name called out. And yet, there was no one there. I know I am not alone in having such a thing happen. Our family has at times remarked on such behavior. I have experienced being woken up from a sound sleep, both in the middle of the night and during my afternoon naps, hearing my name called out. Sometimes it has been accompanied by a rapid patting of my foot. Like someone telling me it's time to get up!

I can never fall back to sleep when it happens. Having been left with the impression that someone wants me to get back to work right now. From that I have assumed, but never inquired, that the person calling my name needed their temple work done. I simply get up and get to work on my family history no matter the hour. It was only now I realize I never assumed it was the Lord calling my name. The next time I experience such a thing I will assume it is His voice and say "Speak, Lord for thy servant heareth." Then I will work as he directs me. For I have been very much like Samuel in looking for Eli when my name has been called. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but what if there was more?

Day 814

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 2:3

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 2:3
"Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed."

I pondered on how just speaking words is an action. What comes out of my mouth is judged as if I actually did the deed. I had never thought of it in that light. I think this might also apply to the thoughts of my mind. Words I speak only to myself. I have been sorely tempted to have pride in one area. Every time I am tempted in my mind to think I did some great thing I feel the spirit telling don't even go there. For I know it is not me but the Lord that accomplishes these things. I have felt a change within me by not allowing these prideful thoughts entertain my mind. For I know by sad experience, what I entertain in my mind will soon come out of my mouth. Thoughts, words and action will all follow each other.

Day 813

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 1:17-18

Today's Favorite Verse: 1 Samuel 1:17-18
"Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad."

This is the story of Hannah and her son Samuel. When Eli the priest told her to go in peace the Lord would grant her petition, the sign of her faith was in her actions. She went her way, eat and was sad no more. I pondered on how all this happened before Hannah even conceived Samuel. The only evidence she had that it would take place is the spirit telling her it was so. I have known that feeling. The spirit has told me something and I have had the joy of it even before it happens. That is walking in faith and trusting in the Lord.

Day 812

Friday, June 16, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Ruth 4:14-15

Today's Favorite Verse: Ruth 4:14-15
"And the woman said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.
And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him."

After the relative that had first rights of marry Ruth refuses Boaz then marries her. He raises up seed to her dead husband and his family. So Naomi now has a grandson. As Ruth says these words to Naomi she is prophesying. These are more than words meant for Naomi. For from this line will come the Savior, the restorer of life, the nourisher, and redeemer. Never was a child more cherished. Never would the earth know a line that showed greater love for humankind.

Day 811

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Ruth 3:18

Today's Favorite Verse: Ruth 3:18
"Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day."

I really love how Naomi now tries to take care of Ruth, advising her in how to have Boaz marry her. After all was done now she had to sit still and wait. I thought about how that is so like what I have needed to do. I do all the Lord tells me and then I have to leave the rest in his hands. Not really knowing how it will work out, but that the way it works out will be the Lord's way.

Day 810

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Ruth 2:11-12

Today's Favorite Verse: Ruth 2:11-12
"And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust."

The story of Ruth, and how Boaz sees her is so touching. I have no idea of her beauty, but I can see that what Boaz recognized in her is a beautiful soul. He sees her good works, and faith. What he does to support Ruth and Naomi by having his reapers leave extra for her tells of his good heart too. No wonder the line of David and then Jesus Christ come from them.

Day 809

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Ruth 1:16-17

Today's Favorite Verse: Ruth 1:16-17
"And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me."

These are such beautiful words. I always thought it showed how much Ruth loved her mother-in-law Naomi. She could not dear to part with her, and see her left all alone. This time while reading these words I felt something different. They were spoken because Ruth loved the Lord with all her heart. She had been converted to Naomi's faith and her God. She would forsake all her family just to be with God's people. She loved Naomi too for she was part of her conversion. Where Naomi would go would only be where God's people were. How many countless converts have followed these same words and example as Ruth once having been converted.

Day 808

Monday, June 12, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 21:2-3

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 21:2-3
"And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore;
And said, O Lord God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel?"

I could feel their sorrow. I pondered on my own when a family member has willfully rebelled and turned their back upon the Lord. Have I not also gone to the house of the Lord and grieved for them. Have I not also left my sorrow there, turning it over to the Lord to carry it for me. This whole shifting of the wheat and tares is painful. Especially when you see them doing it to themselves. As Israel lost one tribe that day, I pondered on how it is becoming one of each house for us today. How we long to have no empty places at the table of the Lord.

Day 807

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 20:26-28

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 20:26-28
"Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the Lord, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.
And the children of Israel inquired of the Lord, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,
And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the Lord said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand."

The husband of the women that was slain by the men in Gibeah of Benjamin told the chiefs of children of Israel what had happened. They were all united together that the men in Gibeah that had done this evil should be delivered up. When they went to the tribe of Benjamin to have this happen they refused to give the men up. What happened next is several sore battles and Benjamin was winning. After the battles the children of Israel gather and ask the Lord if they should still go up against their brothers in battle. The Lord tells them yes, and they went to battle and lost again. With more weeping and fasting they approach the Lord again and ask if they should go up to battle again. This time not only are they told yes, but that the Lord would deliver them into their hands. This time they have a plan on how to overtake them and it works.

So why didn't they succeed the first time the Lord told them to still go up to battle? I think it was to humble Israel and have them learn to rely completely on the Lord. I have experienced failures when I knew the Lord wanted me to do something. Only to find the lesson was in the failure and not the supposed thing I thought to be the outcome. Then with new understanding that thing could be done the Lord's way, if it was even still required at all.

Day 806

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 19:30

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 19:30
"And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds."

The sins mentioned of Sodom and Gomorrah paled in comparison to this chapter. I sat and thought about the progression of sin and how this most debased of sins leads to even greater sins. Until man has lost completely all sense of natural affection and human decency. Is this where we are headed? If I just look at the news headlines, this is where we already are. It made me sick to my stomach. I am so grateful I am also reading the Book of Mormon every day, because yesterday's and today's verses in the Old Testament have not brought any light into my life, nor filled my soul. It has just witnessed to the depravity of man. I get enough of this in the evening news. I know these are hard things to bare. I know God lets man wallow in his own vomit for a time, then his vengeance comes upon them. These chapters are a voice of warning.

Day 805

Friday, June 9, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 18:18,30-31

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 18:18,30-31
"And these went into Micah's house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, What do ye?
And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of captivity of the land.
And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh."

I read this chapter over and over again trying to figure out what was going on. I could feel no light in it. In reading the scriptures that didn't make sense. Then I realized what I was reading, it was the story of how the children of Dan turned to idolatry. How horribly sad, they had the house of God in Shiloh, yet they went after idols instead. At first I thought they took them and would melt down the idols for their silver. Instead it was to set them up and worship them themselves. I don't even know which was worse in the first place. Ever person in this story had some major issues going on. No wonder I could find no light with the examples they presented.

Day 804

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 17:6

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 17:6
"In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

I sat thinking that I wouldn't want to live in such a period. Then I realized in a way I already do. Society as a whole no longer worships the ultimate King. When man rejects the boundaries of God or become laws unto themselves, there is chaos. Peace has left the earth. It's interesting that this chapter speaks of money and silver, and the making and worshiping of idols. Micah even purchases a priest. So he's basically trying to buy the favors of all the gods out there. Israel is in an utter state of apostasy and priestcraft is had among its people. I pondered on the great apostasy after Christ's apostles left the earth. How Christ's Church has been restored and is upon the earth once more. Yet, the world as a whole is still in a state of apostasy, if they have not heard or accepted it. Both conditions can be present at the same time.

Day 803

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 16:28

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 16:28
"And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my eyes."

I do believe Samson was conditionally given the gift of great physical strength. I feel really bad that he instead chose to use this gift to his own devices. If he had served the Lord instead of himself the outcome would have been so different. The downfall of Samson was his uncontrollable lust for undesirable women. Women that betrayed him for a price. His story demonstrates the penalty of breaking the law of chastity, and where it leads you.

I know this verse has Samson calling on the Lord to give him strength one last time. I don't think the Lord did it to avenge the loss of Samson's eyes though. In away I feel Samson took his own life, the ultimate defiance of God's will for his life. With his suicide he also took out 3,000 Philistines. I think defeating the Philistines was God's purpose for his life. The problem is Samson did things his way and not the Lord's way. If Samson had worked with the Lord maybe he could have lead a great army against the Philistines, and killed those same 3,000. I am sure the Lord would have given him strength to have been victorious over them. He could have been a marvelous example of the power of the Lord. I wondered if he could have been another Ammon (Alma 17). Samson's story is a great example of predestination, yet still having our agency to choose.

Day 802

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 15:7, 11

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 15:7, 11
"And Samson said unto them, Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.
Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them."

I'm really trying to find some good in Samson. Sadly, I just feel like its a story of what goes horribly wrong when a nation does evil in the sight of God, and he begins the process of cleaning house. Samson had a purpose and probably some good moments, because he was a judge of Israel for twenty years. Though in honesty I would not want him as my judge. The people probably chose him because of his great physical strength. His presence offering them a sense of protection. It's possible they were even drawn to his prideful words and reckless ways. What is probably more likely is I'm missing parts of the story.  All I can sit here and do is relate what I am reading to the scenes that have been going on around me. This just doesn't look good.

Day 801

Monday, June 5, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 14:4, 19

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 14:4, 19
But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house."

The story of Samson is very interesting. As a child I thought of him with his great physical strength as a powerful bible story. Reading his story this time I find it all rather sad. The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and were handed over to the Philistines for forty years. Now it was time for the Lord to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines, and he did so with Samson.  He gave Samson great potential including physical strength if he was obedient to one thing, not cutting his hair.

Throughout this chapter I see how Samson made choices because it pleased him, not because they were right or the spirit told him. The only time the spirit came upon him was to make him physically strong. He appears to be lead by his temptations. I am sure the Lord knew all about what Samson would do in these different situations. That is exactly why he would be a means to punish the Philistines. It made me wonder what a leader Samson could have been if he had put all his strength into serving the Lord, and doing good. Samson never lost his agency to choose. I just think he chose poorly. Yet, I can likely this to leaders that we have in our time. The Lord has them in place for a purpose. Just because someone has been put there as our leader doesn't mean it is necessarily to do good. They may be a means to punish the people that have forgotten the Lord.

Day 800

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 13:17-18

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 13:17-18
"And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?
And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?"

I was sitting in the celestial room of the temple when I read this. I was in a place where this verse took on new meaning. I had much to reflect on but probably not anything I wish to share. I just love seeing things taught in the temple written plainly in the scriptures, that the world has lost all meaning of. Only eyes that see, and ears that hear will understand what is in plain sight. It is only through reading the scripture and attending the temple that my eyes are slowly opening up. I find that rather humbling and amazing all at the same time.  

Day 799

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 12:1

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 12:1
"And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire."

As I read this chapter, which in the end 42,000 Ephraimites are killed, and wondered why?  It all started in this first verse. The men of Ephraim were offended that they were not invited to join in battle against the children of Ammon. Which actually they were asked but they didn't answer the call when it came. Which may explain some guilt going on too. For the perceived offense they think they have a right to threaten to burn the Gildeadites homes. How do you even get to the point to think that is ok?

I sat and pondered on how serious a thing it is to take offense, because of the actions of another. Once you are offended you can take things totally out of control. So I pondered on when I have been offended and what caused it. It was sadly really easy for me to do, because it happened the other day. I realized the times I have been offended is when I am full of pride. When I am in a more humble state I don't become offended by others actions. So even before I get to the state of being offended I have to loose my humility, and go into the realm of pride. When I am offended there far more serious things going on in the background. I have a constant battle with my pride. It is extremely important for me to setup checkpoints to monitor myself and catch it at the loosing humility stage where the slippery slop downward all begins.

Day 798

Friday, June 2, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 11:30-31, 34-35

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 11:30-31, 34-35
"And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,
Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.
And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son or daughter.
And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back."

So I sat a little horrified that Jephthah vow meant that he now offered his daughter up as a burnt offering. His daughter because she knew this was her father's vow to the Lord agreed that it needed to be done. I didn't get it, the Lord doesn't require human sacrifices. What about what happened with Abraham and Isaac?  At least there an angel of the Lord stopped Abraham, and a ram appeared to be sacrificed in Isaac's place.

So what is the difference between these two stories? With the test of Abraham the Lord asked him to sacrifice Isaac. Then after being tested in his obedience the Lord required it no more. With Jephthah he made the vow on his own in the exchange for his safe return. I think the problem was Jephthah challenged the Lord, where Abraham didn't. It makes me wonder if the spirit even inspired Jephthah to make that vow? He may have just done it on his own, not thinking of its possible implications. That makes me really think about how serious it is to make deals with the Lord. I know when I was younger I used to do that. I haven't done that in many years. I certainly don't think its a good idea now. That's not how God works. I do things simply because I love him, and have faith that he will bless me if I am seeking to do his will.

Day 797

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 10:13-14

Today's Favorite Verse: Judges 10:13-14
"Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.
Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulations."

The children again did evil in the sight of the Lord, by going after other gods. They served Him no longer. Finally he tells them I will deliver you no more. I sat horrified at the thought of being told that. Then I realized I won't be told such a thing if I remain faithful to the Lord. He cannot deliver a people that do not love him.

I reflected on how people can turn to other gods, that will not save them, and then call on the Lord when the price of their sins are at the door. False gods cannot save, they bring false pleasures that consume and destroy. What a contrast of what the Lord can do for me.

Israel appears to humble themselves, repent "and they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord; and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." (Judges 10:16)

The reference for grieved in HEB is "at the end of patience, exasperated". It does not sound like God accepted what they did. I think they had an outward appearance of turning to him but their hearts were still far from him. Sitting on the fence ready to turn to the right or the left, to whatever god will save them. I remember sitting on such a fence, there is no comfort or peace in such a position. The only thing there is, is continual dread of what the future will bring. Only with a face and heart turned to God, forsaking all others, is there internal peace.

Day 796