Friday, March 31, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 6:5, 7

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 6:5, 7
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

I pondered on how close God would be to your heart if he is the first thing you think about to share with others. Any situation makes a connection to how this relates to God. How God has blessed us in this or that. What would God have us do? Relating experiences and stories to my children shows my love of God, and that he is forever in my thought. We are really mindful of him when we openly express our feelings about him. He is really, real to us. When I die I want my children to have no doubt about how I felt about my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. When they sit in their house or walk along the way I want them to remember being there with me, and the conversations we had about God. I think that is the best gift I could ever leave them. A gift that money could never buy.

Day 734

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 5:9

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 5:9
"Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,"

I pondered on how the sins of the fathers can effect the third and fourth generation. It first made me appreciate being "born of goodly parents", and being taught to love the gospel. How many generations have my good parents blessed. Then even with the good teachings I had, a child can chose for themselves to hate God and turn away. It made me think of this verse.

"If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted. And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door, and Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire. And thou shalt rule over him;"  (Moses 5:23)

Once a parent turns against God the following generations are not taught to walk in the light of Christ, instead they are taught to hate him. They follow darkened paths, which continue on in their children. Yes, the sins of the fathers can be passed onto the following generations. How grateful I am that the cycle can also be broken. The greater condemnation will be upon the heads of the parents that took those generations astray. The final judgment on the matter will be the Lord's.

Day 733

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 4:9, 29

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 4:9, 29
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;
But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul."

I love both these verses and couldn't pick just one. I know that if anyone seeks the Lord, he will find him. This is something the honest in heart are not denied. Then just as easy if I forget the Lord, it can all slip away. I must put the words of Christ forever before my eyes. I must remain diligent. This is something I never want to loose. My testimony of Christ is my most treasured possession. One way it remains with me is sharing it with others. I love family scripture readings, and being able to discuss the words of Christ together. I learn so much, I hope I have passed along much to my family.

Day 732

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 3:26

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 3:26
"But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter."

It was that last part of the verse "the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter." that struck me. I just finished having family scripture reading and in it my son related an experience he just had, where he was basically told this same thing. He was in an OCD frame of mind that was cycling through thoughts that were depressing and he didn't want them. So he prayed about it, explaining everything to Heavenly Father. Then he got an answer to not let it trouble him any more. Which he then began to over think that answer. Did it mean there were even greater things to worry about.? So he began to pray about that. Then the answer came, like this scripture, to let what he had been told to suffice and simply to let it go. Then several minutes after this he realized the matter was actually gone from him. He just needed to not keep focusing on it and let the Lord carry it for him. At the time the thought came to me what an amazing cure that not even medicine or counseling can fix. The great healer is obeying God's word and leaving the matter into his hands. We need to let it suffice what he has told us, and let him carry the rest.

Day 731

Monday, March 27, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 2:4-5

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 2:4-5
"And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore:
Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession."

I pondered on what good advice this is. Even if people are afraid of me for whatever reason, I am not to meddle with them. It is best to leave people alone. In the long run that will be a protection to me. The same goes for any group of people. A better man will not show dominance or power over weaker people, or those they have no direction from the Lord to interfere with. We do not know what the Lord may have promised them. The business we need to be about is God's will for us.

Day 730

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Celebrating My Most Treasured Possession: The Book of Mormon

Taking time today to celebrate the 187th anniversary of the Book of Mormon. March 26, 1830 the first edition of the Book of Mormon was published in English. Since then the Book of Mormon has been translated into 110 languages, and more than 170 million copies have been printed. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are complementary books of scripture, both testifying of the mission and Messiahship of Jesus Christ and God’s plan for mankind.

To celebrate this event I am watching a video that came out 30 years ago. In 1987 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released "How Rare a Possession: The Book of Mormon" I loved it then, I love it now. The Book of Mormon is one of my most treasured possessions. After the video I will read the parting words of Nephi in 2 Nephi 31-33. He speaks on the doctrine of Christ. I love these words. The spirit tells me they are true.

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 1:30

Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 1:30
"The Lord your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;"

I pondered on how Israel saw miraculous things. They saw the plagues that came upon Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea. They saw a pillar of fire by night, and a cloud to lead them during the day. They saw manna come from heaven to feed them, and the rock that gushed forth water. None of these amazing things have I seen. Yet, I believe it happened to them. So when this verse says God goeth before you, and will fight for you, I can take that promise, just like Israel did. If he could do all these amazing things for them, he can do amazing things for me. I sat in gratitude for all the amazing things that he has done for me. It doesn't matter how big a miracle is, a miracle is still a miracle. I have been so blessed.

Day 729

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 36:5

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 36:5
"And Moses command the children of Israel according to the word of the Lord, saying, The tribe of the sons of Joseph hath said well."

The land is being divided into inheritances and the brothers of Zelophehad, that had died without sons, is to have an inheritance given to his daughters. Now the chief families of this tribe come to Moses in concern that the daughters will marry outside of the tribe and the inheritance will be lost. Moses then inquires of the Lord on the matter. I love how the Lord tells them "The tribe of the sons of Joseph hath said well."  I pondered on how needful it is, in supporting our leaders, to bring to mind things that concern us. It is often when we express our concerns that matters are taken to the Lord and council can be given. After the Lord has spoken then it is my place to be obedient.

"Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day." (Alma 37:37)

Day 728

Friday, March 24, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 35:2, 6

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 35:2, 6
"Command the children of Israel, that they give unto the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and ye shall give also unto the Levites suburbs for the cities round about them.
And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer, that he may flee thither: and to them ye shall add forty and two cities."

I read the word suburbs and had no idea that was a word found in the bible. I looked and found it used in Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. In fact it's used 69 times in the Old Testament. I just never took note until now. Funny how something old can look new again. It made me think of how God has a divine plan for his cities and how they are laid out. It's exactly what happened with Joseph Smith receiving revelation on how Nauvoo was to be laid out. Then Brigham Young used that same gride system in Salt Lake which was carried forward throughout the West. It really is a marvelous system.

Then when I read about the cities for refuge, a place the manslayer could flee to, it made me think about the discussions on sanctuary cities today. Sounds like even God had that setup for Israel. I had not pondered much on the matter of sanctuary cities, but now that my eyes have taken note of this parallel in the bible, I will. I can tell it's one of those things that needs to marinate in my brain, and understanding will come on it later on.

Day 727

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 34:2

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 34:2
"Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:)"

While I was reading this the thought came to me why is God taking away some other people's land? There are people already living in Canaan. As I pondered this I thought of the fact that the earth is God's own. He can put his people wherever he sees fit. But, I thought there had to be more to this land. Then I read how God promised this land originally to Abraham. This was not a new thought that the children of Israel would come to posses it. It was actually their land before they left for Egypt during the famine in the time of Joseph. Now they were going back to the land God had given them. I had forgotten all about that.

Canaan gets its name from a son of Ham. I got very sidetracked following this lead and pondering a lot on Genesis 9 and Noah and Ham. Gaining many thoughts and knowledge for another day.

Day 726

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 33:2

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 33:2
"And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the Lord: and these are their journeys according to their goings out."

So Moses is told to keep a record of their journeying. Just like Nephi was commanded to do the same. Then there is a long list of all the places they stopped in the past 40 years. I counted roughly 47 places that they camped. I find it interesting that not only does God have us keep a record of spiritual experiences but also a personal history. I wonder where all of Moses' records are? This all made me ponder on my journals and records that I keep. I wonder if people will know where to find them all when I die?  I have to do a better job at transcribing them and getting them all in one place. My goal is when I die to have my life contained on a hard drive. Then copies can be made and shared with members of my family. I just never know who will pickup my genealogy after me. Multiple copies means there is a chance, that the person that will carry on my life's work will find them. I need to scan my journals so they are all on that hard drive.  

Day 725

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 32:22, 23

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 32:22, 23
"And the land be subdued before the Lord: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the Lord, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the Lord.
But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out."

I had to ponder on the phrase "your sin will find you out".  What does that mean? I thought how God see everything and nothing can remain hide.

"For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known." (Luke 12:2 )

"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." (Proverb 15:3)

But, I don't think that is what this is taking about. I think "your sin will find you out" means you will have a consciousness of your guilt. It will rack your soul and fill you with remorse. The children of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh, wanted their inheritance in the land of Jazer, across from Jordan, as a place for cattle. They promised Moses if he would give them this land that they would arm themselves for war before the Lord, until their enemies were driven out. I think if they failed to support the other tribes in this, leaving them to destruction, their souls would be racked with guilt and remorse over the matter. I think that is what this means. I went on a scripture chase of all the verses in the topical guide on "Guilt, Guilty"

"Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt an remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set a defiance the commandments of God?" (Alma 5:18)

Day 724

Monday, March 20, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 31:1-2, 49

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 31:1-2, 49
"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people.
And they said unto Moses, Thy servants have taken the sum of the men of war which are under our charge, and there lacketh not one man of us."

I pondered on how vengeance is left to the Lord to decide. I can be wronged but my part is to cry unto the Lord for deliverance.

"And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?" (Luke 18:7)

When the Lord avenges his people he will give them strength to succeed under his direction. Of the 12,000 men that went to fight the Midianites not one of them was lost. That would stand as a testament. The men did wrong later regarding the spoils they returned with, so it was forever a learning process for the children of Israel.

Day 723

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 30:2

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 30:2
"If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth."

This made me ponder on how honor has left our society. Where once your word meant everything. I marvel at how Nephi could take Zoram at his oath to stay with them, and not run and tell others where they were. It seems all throughout history I read about people's honor being their bond. Now I simply cannot tell if what someone tells me is the truth or that they will hold to it. How sad that is. This is part of the world I do not want to be come part of. I pondered on how breaking your vow, or word, is the same as not being honest. I need to be honest in all my dealings. God's laws have not changed, it is only man. Though the world can become like that, I do not and should not do the same as them.  For there is a layer of protection over the honest and the man of integrity.

"Integrity is the light that shines from a disciplined conscience. It is the strength of duty within us." (James E. Faust, Integrity, The Mother of Many Virtues, Apr 1982 CT)

Day 722

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 29:39-40

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 29:39-40
"These things ye shall do unto the Lord in your set feasts, beside your vows, and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your meat offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.
And Moses told the children of Israel according to all the Lord commanded Moses."

As I read this long list of offerings, with exact descriptions of how many of this, and how many of that, my brain went numb. To the point I almost felt like I was in a trance. How many days are you doing all this? Really eight days!  No where does it really tell me why your doing this? Did anyone ever ask the question "Why?" Then I saw the why in the very last verse. The children of Israel didn't want to speak personally to the Lord. They had wanted Moses to interact with God on their behalf. Maybe this was continually repeated so they would eventually come to God themselves and ask "Why?" Not a murmuring or challenge why, but a sincere why, because I want to understand.

It made me think of Nephi and his brothers. After their father Lehi's vision of the tree of life only Nephi inquired of the Lord as to its meaning. Then he comes back from this amazing experience, with the vision opened up to him, and he sees his brothers. They are disputing with each other the meaning of their father's vision. (1 Nephi 15)

This is what Nephi acknowledges.

"For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought."

So Nephi simply asks them.

"And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?
And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us."

Then Nephi teaches them.

"Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said? - If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you."

So what this makes me think is that the Lord gives us hard things to understand sometimes, simply so I will turn to him and ask. The harder my heart the less likely I am to ask. Asking is exactly what I need in order to understand the mysteries of God. I don't think I've ever read about God saying don't knock or don't ask me, leave me alone. I think its only people that do that. I wonder what I've missed, because I didn't ask?

Day 721

Friday, March 17, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 28:10

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 28:10
"This is the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering."

This made me think of the sacrament. Last week I had a thought came to me "What if there are sins I have committed that I had forgotten about and never repented of? In the act of committing them I might not have cared one way or the other. Now I do care, and I need to repent, but I didn't know what of?" That thought troubled me. I just knew there was a lifetime of sins I had forgotten about. How could I think of them all individually to repent of them? For I knew no unclean thing can enter the kingdom of God and I must repent. Then the thought came to me, how I had a simply solution. During the sacrament I could ask to be forgiven and have my sins removed from me, and washed clean from them. Just like when I was baptized. I could start over with a clean slate and be more conscience of what I do from that day forward.

During the sacrament, I sincerely prayed about my desire to be made clean of all my sins. I took the bread and it felt the same as other weeks. Not saying that is bad at all, for there is peace. But, when I took the water, the final step in completing the sacrament, I felt it. I felt it wash over me. It really was like I had just been baptized. Like a fire inside that was just refreshingly cooled off. I now had a clean slate ahead of me. Renewing my covenants is just like being baptized again. It is true!  What joy there is to know I can do this every week. For I know how hopelessly flawed I am, and I cannot make it with just one shot at it. There is hope. I marvel at how this gift has been there all along. I just had to simply ask.

Day 720

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 27:16, 18

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 27:16, 18
"Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,
And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him.;"

Moses is allowed to see the promise land, but not to enter into it. This is because of what happened in the desert of Zin when he disobeyed God, and smote the rock instead of speaking to it to bring forth water. What I pondered on is how God will never allow a prophet to lead us astray. He will take a prophet first if they disobey him, and replace him with another. He will not leave his people without a prophet. Death comes to all and even a righteous prophet will someday die. I thought about the laying on of hands and how each of the apostles are called as a prophet, seers and revelator. The priesthood, and a prophet of God will remain upon the earth until Christ returns.

Day 719

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 26:63-65

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 26:63-65
"These are they that were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.
But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai.
For the Lord had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun."

The chapter header says it best "Moses and Eleazar count the Israelites on the plains of Moab near Jericho - The males twenty years and older, excluding Levites, total 601,730 - Only Caleb and Joshua remain from those numbered at Sinai."

What I pondered on was that this wasn't just a count 1, 2, 3, how many in your family. It was their names. So they confirmed in the end only Caleb and Joshua, that gave a good report of the promised land, would remain to see the children of Israel enter into it. Now that this first generation is gone they are ready for what comes next.

It made me think of an interesting discussion I had the other day visiting teaching. It was on the early saints of this dispensation. How much Joseph Smith wished to share with the saints but they were not ready. Some still held onto their earlier Christian background of fire and brimstone. Now I see the softening of hearts that are preparing us to meet God. I just can't wait for LDS General Conference and hear more on how to come to Christ.

Day 718

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 25:8

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 25:8
"And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the women through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel."

I have been intrigued by the word plague. I find the discussion of it consumes this part of the Old Testament. I have been pondering on their plagues and how they fit my day. I felt that pornography was a plague of my day. Now I actually read the connection of whoredom's or sexual immorality as a plague of their day. That truly is a sin of my day. It is something so prevalent and common place there is no shame. You think of a plague bringing physical death, but it can also mean a spiritual death. I think I would much rather die of a physical plague than to die spiritually. For death has no sting when you slip through the eternities into eternal life. To die spiritually, being pass feeling to the point I no longer desire to even repent, would bring damnation to my soul. That would absolutely break my heart.  

Day 717

Monday, March 13, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 24:2, 7

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 24:2, 7
"And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him.
He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted."

Balaam does not curse Israel as Balak had wanted. Instead he speaks the words given him by the spirit. He prophesied of the coming Messiah. In this verse of the water out of the bucket and seed in many waters, I thought about how the 12 tribes are scattered over the face of the earth. How mingled our DNA is with each other. Truly the seed of Israel is in many waters. One such group was Lehi and his family coming to the Americas.

Day 716

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 23:19

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 23:19
"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"

I just love all the words of faith the come from this verse. God does not lie. I can trust his word absolutely. What he says or promises will come to pass. I pondered on how sometimes it takes time for His word to be fulfilled, but time is a reckoning of man. God is eternal in his reckoning. Last week I took a long Sunday afternoon nap and had a dream. It had been a long time since I had had a dream. I awoke and the spirit told me what it meant, but that it would be a coming event in the future. I had no idea how long that meant, I would just be watchful. Today, I saw it happen. I marveled because I didn't think future meant literally next week, it sounded so far away to me. I realized that God doesn't lie, but the timing is his own.

Day 715

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 22:20-22

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 22:20-22
"And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.
And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.
And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him."

Balak, king of the Moabites sees what Israel does to the Amorites and he desires Balaam to curse them. He sends the elders of Moab and Midian with a message to Balaam. Balaam refused to go with them, instead he has them stay the night so he can inquire of the Lord. He is told not to curse the people, for they are blessed. He then tells this to the elders. They return to Balak with this message and his response is to send more princes and honors to Balaam to have him come to him and curse this people. When Balaam receives this reply he has the princes wait so he can inquire again of the Lord. This time he is told in verse 22 he can go, but only if they call for him, and he is to say and do what the Lord tells him.

I was stuck for the longest time on these verses. God tells Balaam he could go, but then he's angry when he does go. God even sends an angel to kill Balaam if he proceeds any further. Balaam ass first sees the angel with a sword in his hand blocking the way and would not pass. Later Balaam eyes are opened to see the angel also. What was Balaam doing wrong?  I reread what the angel said that blocked his way.

"And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times?  behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:" (Numbers 22:32)

The footnote for perverse is Stiffnecked.

I think of being stiffnecked as being prideful. Were the honors Balak offered Balaam putting his heart in the wrong place? Did Balaam think he could go, but in his heart he was open to the influence of being seduced by Balak?  It all made me think of Joseph Smith when he tried to take the Golden Plates after being told by the angel Moroni where they were and to go find them. He uncovers them and while reaching in to take them out Moroni forbids him. This is part of what Moroni had earlier warned him about obtaining the plates..

"...Satan would try to tempt me,... to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich. This he forbade me, saying that I must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building his kingdom; otherwise I could not get them."
(Doctrine & Covenants 1:46)

So after much pondering I think the problem for Balaam is where his heart was. The Lord wanted to make absolutely sure he would follow his directions to the letter. If not he would be destroyed. The experience of the angel with the sword blocking his way, reinforced the urgency of doing only God's will and not his own.

Day 714

Friday, March 10, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 21:8-9

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 21:8-9
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."

The children of Israel are journeying and they become "much discouraged because of the way". Then they speak against God and Moses, saying there is no bread or water, and their souls loath the light bread, which is probably still manna.

The Lord is displeased and sent fiery [poisonous] serpents that bite the people, and many died. This is where the Lord instructs Moses to make a fiery brass serpent and lift it up on a pole. Anyone that was bitten by the serpents could look to the serpent of brass and live.

In the Book of Mormon I read more of this story.
"And he did straiten them in the wilderness with his rod; for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished." (1 Nephi 17:41)

So I pondered on what is story this telling me.  When I am much discouraged over any task that is over me, the very best thing to do is look to the serpent, that represents Christ and live. I reflected on the marvelous mystery of God I have learned. That if I simply ask Christ to carry my burdens, he will. I remembered the day I was so worn down with troubles that I simply took a walk around my block. The thought came to me "cast your burdens upon the Lord, and he will carry them."

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

I had never cast my burdens on the Lord. I didn't know how one did that. I decided I could ask him to take all the pain, sorrow, and grief that was weighing me down. If that was lifted then I could do the hard things required of me. I wasn't asking him to remove what was hard, just to make me strong enough to do what was required. If the emotional parts were gone then I could face what was ahead of me. So with that I said a prayer in my heart as I walked. I remember being at the corner of the street when I asked. I then turned to walked in the other direction. I did not even get pass the house on that corner when all the emotional burdens on me were lifted. It worked! I will never forget the joy that filled my heart to know that concept was true. Christ will carry my burdens if I simply ask. It was so simple, yet I can understand how something so simple takes incredible faith to do.

My Savior and I have entered into a partnership since then. I have found that when I have Him take the emotional parts that make things hard to bare, it allows me to have the spirit with me. I am then open up to ideas and impressions on how to solve my problems.

"Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established." (Proverbs 16:3)

As I see the plague of depression hitting so many around me, I often wonder if it's God's tool to have his people turn to him and live.

Day 713

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 20:8, 11-12

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 20:8, 11-12
"Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts to drink.
And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

This appears to be the second time Moses smote a rock with a rod and water gushed forth. The first time in Exodus 17 the Lord told him to smite the rock. This second time he was told to speak to the rock. Moses disobeyed the Lord and instead of speaking to the rock he smote it with his rod. For this Moses and Aaron could not enter into the promised land. Not only that, but Aaron is stripped of his garments and priesthood and they are given to his son Eleazar. Then Aaron dies.

I sat and pondered on how even though Moses and Aaron disobeyed, a miracle still happened. Water still gushed from the rock. They did exactly what the Lord had told them in an earlier situation to do. But, they were disobedient in doing what the Lord commanded them now to do. As I was searching the scriptures I saw a lot of references to Moses hitting the rock and water coming forth. Why was this instant so different and caused Aaron to die?

Then my eyes were opened, and this is what I came to understand. The Lord wished to bless his people with water to preserve their lives. He wanted them to receive living waters. Even if the vehicle through which the blessings comes is disobedient or unworthy, those that are on the receiving end are not denied their blessing. If someone performs an ordinance unworthily, having sinned, but still held the keys, it does not mean the ordinance is void. If the priest that blesses the sacrament in church is unworthy to do so, I will not be denied the blessing of having taken it. I will receive the living waters. The person that answers for it, is the one who was disobedient, and performed the ordinance unworthily. Amen to the priesthood of that man. In pondering all this I see how merciful the Lord truly is.

Day 712

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 19:9

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 19:9
"And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin."

Footnote: Water of separation: IE water for removal of impurity.

I knew that for some reason a red heifer was important to the Jews trying to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem today. I had assumed that a pure red heifer was a symbol of Christ. What I didn't know was the ritual it was to be used in. It was for purification after touching the dead. The pure red heifer was killed and totally burned to ashes. Then a small amount of ash was place in water for the ritual to become clean afterwards.

A person that touched the dead needed to purify himself with the water of separation on the third day and then on the seventh day he is clean. So the purification with a red heifer was removing the impurities from them. That must be talking about the Savior's atonement and taking upon himself our sins. Where in the garden of Gethsemane he bleed drops of blood from every pour. Then three days after his death he was resurrected. He overcame death, the very thing the people were trying to become clean from.

The desire to perform this ordinance once again must be to purify themselves before the Savior's coming. Which really is his second coming. The way I today become clean is through faith in Christ, repenting of my sins, and the ordinance of baptism. Every seven days on the Sabbath, I take the sacrament to renew my baptismal covenants and become clean once again. The fear of death is no more, for Christ has overcome that separation. He is the living water that makes me clean.

Day 711

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 18:1

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 18:1
"And the Lord said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father's house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood."

The word "iniquity" used with the words sanctuary and priesthood left me puzzled, so I had to pondered on it. There was one footnote in that verse associated with the word bear.

"IE bear any guilt incurred in failure to bear the full responsibility thereof."

This made me thing of Doctrine & Covenants 82:3 "For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation."

I sat and pondered on the great weight of responsibility for those called in leadership responsibility within the church. I though of King Benjamin's words in the Book of Mormon.

"Therefore, as I said unto you that I had served you, walking with a clear conscience before God, even so I at this time have caused that ye should assemble yourselves together, that I might be found blameless, that your blood should not come upon me, when I shall stand to be judged of God of the things whereof he hath commanded me concerning you." (Mosiah 2:27)

I felt much soberness thinking of those that serve and the great responsibility on their shoulders. The stewardship they will have to answer for. It is a wonder than anyone would be willing to serve, when they are accountable for what they didn't do. They really do deserve my heartfelt respect and gratitude. The best way I can show that is to listen to them.

Day 710

Monday, March 6, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 17:2, 5, 8

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 17:2, 5, 8
"Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man's name upon his rod.
And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.
And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds."

I pondered on the fact once again the Lord is having to hush their murmurings. He does yet another miracle to show who he has chosen. How many times does he have to show them this? Why do the children of Israel not understand the Lord has called Moses and Aaron already? Why would they want to replace them? I thought of a lot of reasons, but ultimately I don't know why. It just all  makes me rather sad. It seems you can have all the miracles in the world in front of you, but miss the greatest miracle of all. The Lord is always there, and will never leave you alone. They just didn't have the faith to trust him. How different their lives would have been if they would have only believed.

Day 709

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 16:9-10

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 16:9-10
"Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?
And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?

Three men, Korah, Dathan and Abriam rise up and with them bring 250 princes, "famous in the congregation and renown". They rebel against Moses and Aaron, announce themselves holy and seek the priesthood. Moses turns to the Lord. He then tells these men "Even tomorrow the Lord will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him."

These men are instructed to take a censer and put fire and incense in them and come before the Lord. As they stood before the tabernacle the glory of the Lord appeared to the congregation.

The Lord warns Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from this congregation for he will consume them in a moment. Moses is concerned that all the congregation will be consumed, so the Lord instructs him to warn the congregation to depart from "the tents of these wicked men, touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins".

The Moses warns them that what happens is not of his own mind. The Lord has sent him these works and will give them a sign. If these men die a common death then the Lord did not send him. If instead the earth opens her mouth and swallow these men up into the pit. Then they would know they provoked the Lord.

Then after saying this the earth opened up under these men, with their wives and children, and their houses and swallowed them alive into a pit and then the earth closed upon them.

First the congregation runs for their lives afraid they will get swallowed up. Then they come back and murmur against Moses and Aaron for killing these men. With that the Lord answers with a plague and 14,700 of them die.

I didn't recall this story before. I sat and pondered on how it fits my day. It made me think of the women that rebel and are fighting against the prophet, wanting to be given the priesthood. I will take this as a warning and stand very far from them. I know starting to side or have sympathy for their cause would cause apostasy in me. Would that God would swallow me alive into a pit if I were to begin to apostatize. It would be merciful indeed.

Day 708

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 15:32-33, 35-36

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 15:32-33, 35-36
"And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses."

This reminded me of Leviticus 24 where the son that blasphemed was also stoned to death. Why would someone be stoned for breaking the sabbath day?  I went back and found the punishment for this crime was given even in Exodus. I pondered on how blasphemy was the charge they used against Christ to kill him. I remembered that breaking the sabbath day was a crime the scribes and Pharisees wanted to charge Jesus with also.

"And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him." (Luke 6:7)

I hadn't realized until now why they were so intent on wanting to charge Jesus with breaking the sabbath day. I am grateful I didn't live during those times. I cannot even imagine being told to stone someone for picking up sticks on the sabbath. I'm sure having done that it would left an lasting impression in your mind never to follow in the path of the sinner. I would hope I can learn that lesson just as well having read about this. I keep thinking about how many people today you would find in the stores on the sabbath day. How many people would need to be stoned to death if we still lived the law of Moses. That just makes me ill. If God is the same yesterday, today and forever he must be displeased with our society today. I wondered if in some way stones are still being cast on those that break the sabbath day. Unseen stones that wounds the soul and lets it die. Pondering on this is making me see the seriousness of breaking the sabbath. I need to think about what sticks I might be picking up that maybe sending the wrong message to God. I love the Lord I do not wish to offend, but only show my love and honor to him. What message am I sending to Him?

Day 707

Friday, March 3, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 14:22-23, 40

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 14:22-23, 40
"Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:
And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the Lord hath promised: for we have sinned."

I knew the children of Israel whined and complained and didn't do as the Lord asked, but I hadn't realized it had been ten times.  Now the Lord has had enough. From each of the twelve tribes a man had been sent to search the land of Canaan. Upon return only two gave a good report, Caleb of the house of Judah, and Joshua of the house of Ephraim. They saw how good the land was and said not to fear possessing it, because the Lord was with us.

For this the people sought to stone them. They wanted to believe the bad reports, that never considered the Lord on their side. Then the people murmured against Moses and Aaron and planned to name a captain to led them back to Egypt.

The glory of the Lord appears in the tabernacle before all the children of Israel. He tells them how displeased he is and basically this generation will not inherit the land. After they die off their children will inherit the land. Caleb and Jacob alone will be able to enter into the land. The other men that brought an evil report died by plague.

What really, really got me was after all the children of Israel had witnessed, miracles, the glory of God, the almighty power of parting the red sea, it wasn't enough for them to believe he could do anything. They still doubted and could not trust him. Even after being told they will never inherit the land, what do they do? The next morning they decide to go to the place the Lord promised them. Now that he took it away from them, now they wanted him to let them have it. They are sorely tempting the Lord. They truly are child like in their behavior. I cannot blame the Lord for making them wander 40 years in the wilderness and never letting them enter into his rest.

So, I sat and pondered on how that relates to me, and my day. I found that it does. How I want to learn lessons from what happened to the children of Israel, and not be like the ones that displeased the Lord. I want to be a Caleb or a Jacob and only believe that with God all things are possible. I know the more I believe the stronger is my belief. Recently, I have been impressed to pray and thank my Heavenly Father for the gift of faith he has given me. I am grateful for the veil of forgetfulness over my eyes. That I could live here on this earth by faith. I see it as a beautiful thing, the gift of faith to believe in Christ and my Heavenly Father's plan. Every time I say this prayer of thanks, expressing my gratitude for faith, my faith has been increased. I see now that the time to have faith and make it grow is when I express my gratitude before Him. Then he can make weak things strong, and someday when all I have is my faith to rely on, it will stand whatever weight might be placed upon it.

Day 706

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 13:30-31

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 13:30-31
"And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and posses it; for we are well able to overcome it.
But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we."

The Lord commands Moses to send men from each of the tribes to search the land of Canaan and bring back a report of the conditions there.

Caleb from the tribe of Judah has the faith that they could go up and posses the land. When he says "we are well able" I know he must be thinking with the Lord's help. With God all things are possible. Had not the children of Israel seen miracles all around them?

The other men could only compare their physical strength alone, and didn't take the Lord's strength into consideration. How quick the people were to forget the Lord. No wonder he made them wander for 40 years in the wilderness. It made me think of all the years I suffered and wandered because I didn't have enough faith in the Lord. I also pondered on where I need to improve.

Day 705

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 12:6, 8-9

Today's Favorite Verse: Numbers 12:6, 8-9
"And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them; and he departed."

Moses' siblings Aaron and Miriam speak against Moses for marrying an Ethiopian women. Then they boldly state not only did the Lord speak to Moses but he also has spoken through them. The Lord hears this and commands Moses, Aaron and Miriam to come to the tabernacle and there he speaks to them. He teaches Aaron and Miriam that the prophet is the one whom he speaks through. That they are not to speak against His chosen prophet. He is displeased and departs from them. Then it is discovered that Miriam was left with leprosy. Moses asks the Lord to heal her, but he is told she must be shut out of the camp for seven days before she can be received again.

I pondered on the seriousness of speaking against the Lord's prophet. I would not want the Lord's anger against me. I would not want His spirit to be departed from me. I know this didn't just happen in Moses time, but it happens today. I may not see leprosy, but I have seen beauty leave a person when they have turned their back on the Lord. Something is taken from the countenance of the person. A something that was capable of making the homeliest of people's pleasant to look upon, for goodness radiated from them. There is a physical difference when the spirit of the Lord has departed from a person. 

Day 704