Posts Tagged 'Selfishness'

1 Kings Chapter 21

Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab, and queen of the northern kingdom of Israel. She was a follower of Baal and had led many away from the Lord. She hated the prophets, and had sought to kill Elijah after her priests had been destroyed. She was a wicked ruler and had brought a lot of trouble to the land and people of Israel. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
2 And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.
3 And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.
4 And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.

There was a vineyard near the palace of Ahab in Jezreel. It was owned by a man named Naboth. Ahab wanted to have the vineyard for a garden, so he asked that Naboth give it to him and offered to give him a better vineyard, or to pay him for the land. Naboth declined because this had been the inheritance of land given to his family. Ahab returned home upset, laid down and would not eat anything.

In biblical times, an inheritance meant a great deal. The Lord had inspired the division of land, and each family had been given a portion. Despite all the personal apostasy and wickedness that had taken over among the people, they still held fast to the idea of a promised land of inheritance. It is unknown to us, what kind of a man Naboth had been, but it seems like he was trying to be a good man. A man who recognized that the land he had was a gift from God, which he should not give up for any man, even the king of Israel.

5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?
6 And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.
7 And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.
9 And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people:
10 And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die.
11 And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them.
12 They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people.
13 And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died.
14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead.

Jezebel asked Ahab what was wrong because she noticed he was sad and not eating. Ahab told her what had happen. Jezebel asked him if he was not the king of Israel. She told him to get up, eat and be happy, because she would give him the vineyard he wanted. Jezebel sent letters to the elders and nobels of Jezreel, as if they were from Ahab. She wrote that the men were to fast and put Naboth in front of the people, with false witnesses to say that Naboth had blasphemed God and the king. She wrote that they were to stone him to death. The men followed the orders and stoned Naboth. Then they sent word to Jezebel, that Naboth was dead.

15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.
16 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

Jezebel told Ahab that Naboth was dead and that Ahab could claim the vineyard in Jezreel. So, Ahab went down to the vineyard and took it for his own.

17 And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
18 Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it.
19 And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.
20 And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord.
21 Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,
22 And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.
23 And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.
24 Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.

Elijah received revelation from the Lord, and was commanded to go to Ahab in the vineyard of Naboth, and prophesy to him. The Lord commanded him to ask if he had killed and taken possession of the land, and then he was to prophesy to Ahab that he would die where Naboth had been killed. When Elijah had done this, Ahab asked how he had found him there, and Elijah told him he found him because he had sold his soul to do evil. Elijah prophesied that Ahab and his posterity would be destroyed and cut off from Israel. He would be destroyed just as those who had done evil before him. He prophesied that Jezebel would die by the wall of Jezreel, and that all who died from their house, would be eaten by wild animals.

25 But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.
26 And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.
27 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
28 And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
29 Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.

Ahab had been more wicked then any other king in Israel because his wife had led him away, but when he heard the prophecy against his family, he mourned and fasted. The Lord told Elijah that Ahab humbled himself, and because of this he would not destroy him, but that his posterity would be destroyed in the days of his son.

Ahab was a selfish man, who had a fit over not getting his way. He refused to eat when he was denied what he wanted. His enabling and wicked wife, was willing to do all that she could to give him what he wanted, even if it meant killing someone. This was done for ownership of a piece of land, which was most likely not truly needed by the king. I find it interesting to read of Ahab’s reaction after the prophecy from Elijah. Even though he had become a grossly wicked man, he sincerely humbled himself, when he realized what he would be done to himself and his family. Because of his humility, he was not going to be destroyed, but there were still consequences because a man was killed for him. It says nothing specifically of the prophesy against Jezebel here, but she had not humbled herself. She had planned the death of a man, and even though she did not carry it out herself, she had killed him. Her wickedness would bring her eventual destruction and the prophesy of her death would be fulfilled.

A lesson from this chapter, is that God knows if we are truly humbled. He is merciful, and will extend that mercy to those who are humble. None of us is perfect. We may not live as wickedly as Ahab did, but we do make choices that separate us from God. We need the mercy of the Lord. All men need to be humble and repent of those things that they know they have done against God, if they do not want to realize the promise of their own personal destruction. I am so grateful for God’s love and mercy. I am grateful that He knows me perfectly and will help me to become a better person.

Notes on Patience – Taking Time to Choose

Patience is something that is tested in my life every day, as I am sure it is for most of us. I thought that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to begin a study that was a bit more in depth so that I could know how to gain a self-mastery that I do not have right now. I hope that my readers will enjoy following this series of posts on patience and that it may help someone else out there, as much as it has helped me. To see more posts, check out Notes on Patience

30 The decisions of these quorums, or either of them, are to be made in all righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long suffering, and in faith, and virtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity; (D&C 107:30, emphasis added)

  • All things in life, effect my spiritual well-being. Every decision, no matter how small it may seem, will effect me. Even the choice of what to eat or what to wear, will effect my mood, emotions and other choices in the day. All decisions I make should be done in righteousness and patiently. I do not need to be in such a rush to make decisions. It really is okay to stop and think about the benefits to my body and spirit which will result. This causes me to reflect on a class I had recently where we were talking about how we sometimes get into the habit of always saying no to our children even when there is not a good reason for it. This can cause them to no longer come to us to ask permission, but rather sneak around or shut themselves off from us. Being patient in my decisions with those I deal with day in and day out, should create stronger relationships and most likely get rid of some of my more selfish choices.
  • Conference Questions – Purpose for Serving

    Recently, I watched the 182nd Semi Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I watch conference, I am always filled with the spirit and a desire to be a better person and draw closer to the Savior. I love to take notes. When I first started being a note taker for learning in church settings, I would write everything I possibly could down. Including what the speakers said, as well as the little lessons the spirit would teach me during the talks. Once that became a habit, I learned that I should really be focused on writing down the things that I am personally taught by the spirit. So, with that as my focus for note taking, I found myself writing down questions that I should be able to answer. The thought then came to me that these are questions that I could attempt to study on this blog. To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

    On Sunday morning of conference weekend, Sister Linda K. Burton, the new General Relief Society President, gave a great talk entitled, “First Observe, Then Serve”. It focused on seeing the needs of those around us and serving in Christ-like ways to fill those needs. It reminded me a lot of one of the cartoons that I have watched many times with my kids. In the movie Robots, there is a phrase that is used throughout and is a main point for the film. It is, “See a need, fill a need.” Ever since I first saw that movie, that thought has often come to mind as I have tried to serve others. Anyway, the thought is along the same line as the message of Sister Burton’s talk. In her talk she said the following:

    Sometimes we are tempted to serve in a way that we want to serve and not necessarily in the way that is needed at the moment. When Elder Robert D. Hales taught the principle of provident living, he shared the example of buying a gift for his wife. She asked, “Are you buying this for me or for you?” If we adapt that question to ourselves as we serve and ask, “Am I doing this for the Savior, or am I doing this for me?” our service will more likely resemble the ministry of the Savior. The Savior asked, and so should we, “What will ye that I shall do unto you?”

    My next question in this series is do I serve for the Savior or myself? I hadn’t really put a lot of thought into this question before hearing this. Then I was talking to a friend afterwards and she said that she had been feeling selfish in her service, because she wanted to serve to make herself feel better. I had never thought one way or the other about it, but I know now that it is a great question to ask ourselves. True Christ-like service is not done to help us with our own issues. It is true that we can be greatly blessed because of our service and the blessings may be that our own problems seem easier to bear, but we cannot choose to do service with that as the goal. Rather the goal of service, should be to help another without expecting anything in return.

    I love the scripture found in Mosiah 2:17, which reads, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” When we choose to do service for God, our entire perspective changes. We will begin to ask ourselves if this thing we are doing is something that God would do if He were standing there in that moment. We will open our hearts to greater direction from the spirit as well. When we do this, we will learn to have charity, or the pure love of Christ, for those we choose to serve. That is because we cannot serve as God would serve, without becoming more like God.

    As I pondered this question, I was reminded of Matthew 6:24 when it says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Usually when I think of this scripture, I am focused on serving the Lord or Satan. However, I think it applies here as well. If we are serving to get something out of it for ourselves, we are serving ourselves. We are the master then. This verse teaches us that we cannot be serving God as well as another master, even if it is us. If our focus is doing good so that we can get something out of it, we leave no room for service to or for God. It’s in moments like these that I feel the Savior would say to us what he taught his disciples many times during his ministry. It would sound something like, “You wanted this to be the outcome, well then, you have your reward.” If only we would recognize the greatness of the blessings that the Lord will give us for serving for Him instead of for us. If we truly knew what could come as a result of serving for the right reason, I am sure there would not be this desire to do things for ourselves.

    I know that sometimes we get caught up in life and as we repent we desire to do the things that God has asked of us. It can be difficult to jump right in with the perfect perspective on service to others. At times like these, we need to leave ourselves out of it, and make our service a matter of acting in faith to God. In Mosiah 7:33 we read, “But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.” We need to be diligent and do our best, then the Lord will provide for our needs.

    Our service to God, is how we show Him that we love him. In Doctrine and Covenants 42:29 we read, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me. . .”. This thought is found all throughout the scriptures. In John 21:17 we read, “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” I know that I will be serving for the right reasons if I am doing it out of love for the Lord. In Deuteronomy 10 we read the following:

    12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
    13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? (emphasis added)

    We worship God, when we love and serve Him. I know that as we strive to serve and love God, the desire to serve others will come naturally to us. I am far from great at this, but I know that even service to those in our own homes is of great importance and should not be overlooked. This is where most of my service happens on a daily basis. I know now that I should really think about the reasons I choose to serve those in my home. If I am doing it to make myself feel better, then it is not being done for the right reasons. If we can be more mindful of the real needs of those around us, we will do better to serve them the way the Lord would have us serve. I hope that more of us can find a way to take the natural selfishness out of our daily acts of service, so that we can truly make this world a better place.

    Genesis Chapter 44

    This is a continuation of the story of Joseph, who had been sold into slavery by his brothers many years before. He has had all his brothers in his house to dine with him, but he is still in disguise. His father, Jacob (Israel), has remained in Canaan and is concerned that he may loose Joseph’s brother Benjamin whom he loves. The story of Joseph and his family continues as follows:

    1 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man’s money in his sack’s mouth.
    2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack’s mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
    3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.
    4 And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good?
    5 Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.

    Joseph provided food for the brothers, but he did not take their money. In fact, he had his servant put their money back in the sacks, just as he had done the first time. Then, he also had his servant place his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack as well. He sent them off on their way in the morning. Then before they got to far, Joseph sent his steward after them to stop them and accuse them of being thieves for stealing his cup.

    6 And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words.
    7 And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing:
    8 Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord’s house silver or gold?
    9 With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen.
    10 And he said, Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless.
    11 Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack.
    12 And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.
    13 Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city.

    They were stopped and accused, to which the brothers responded that they search their sacks and find the one who took the cup. Then he can be put to death and they would be the bondsmen of the Lord, Joseph. The steward said they would check the sack and take that man for a servant, while the others would be set free without blame. They all opened their sacks and found that the cup was in Benjamin’s sack, which was extremely disturbing for the brothers. They all returned to the city where Joseph was.

    14 And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph’s house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.
    15 And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?
    16 And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.
    17 And he said, God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.

    Again the brothers fell down before Joseph in his house. Joseph asked them what caused them to do such a thing as steal from them. Judah spoke for the brothers and said basically that their was no way to excuse what had been done. He offered that they all remain as servants to him. Joseph said he could not do that, but that he would keep the thief and the rest would return to their father.

    18 Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh.
    19 My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother?
    20 And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him.
    21 And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.
    22 And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.
    23 And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more.
    24 And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord.
    25 And our father said, Go again, and buy us a little food.
    26 And we said, We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man’s face, except our youngest brother be with us.
    27 And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two sons:
    28 And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since:
    29 And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
    30 Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad’s life;
    31 It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave.
    32 For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever.
    33 Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren.
    34 For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.

    Judah asked to speak alone with Joseph. He explained that they had brought Benjamin down, knowing it would grieve their father to death, if he should loose him as he did his older brother and mother. Judah said that surely his father would die if they returned without Benjamin. He offered to take Benjamin’s place as his servant, so that Benjamin could be returned to his father.

    This goes to show that we all can change. Judah, who had been the one to suggest the brothers kill Joseph and then encouraged his sale to slavery, was now offering himself up as a slave to save his brother. He had gone from a selfish young man, to one willing to give his life for the life of his brother and father. I am sure that this thing was extremely touching to Joseph and that he could sense the change in his brother’s ways.

    It is so interesting to me how selfish we can be in our youth. It is not until you get a little older, that you begin to realize how much teenagers and young adults tend to focus on themselves and what life has to offer them. For most of us, we grow out of this and mature into people willing to make great sacrifices for the benefit of others, usually those in our families. I think this is one of those lessons of life, that we all need to learn and it can be a lifelong lesson as well. The root of so much evil is selfishness and pride, which the brothers of Joseph were all full of before. This is part of why the atonement is so important for each of us. I am so grateful for repentance and forgiveness in my own life, which is helping me to be less selfish and less prideful each day.

    Are We People of Charity?

    As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

    We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity . . .

    The next question in this series is are we people of charity? I’ve thought a lot about charity lately since studying for and writing my talk on the love of Christ a few weeks ago. I wonder often if I am doing enough to really be considered a woman of charity. Charity is the love of Christ. In Moroni 7:47 we read, “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” It is something that every disciple and follower of Christ should desire to have in them.

    The Bible Dictionary says that Charity is “The highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection”. I know that there are certain people who I have this love towards, for example my family. I want to give them all that I can and serve them to bring them happiness. It is usually the easiest, and occasionally the hardest thing, to have charity for those in our own household. I think that part of the reason why God has designed the family as the center of the gospel is that we can best learn how to have charity in the home. A person of charity is someone who has a continual desire to love, help, motivate, uplift, encourage and teach their family.

    To have charity is to desire for others to be the best they can be. In 1 Corinthians 8:1 we read, “Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” If we have charity, we want to edify others. I had an eye-opening experience once when I served as a leader for the women at church. I was struggling with the idea of loving those I serve, because I didn’t feel like I had achieved the kind of love I should have had after over three years of serving them. A young man spoke in sacrament meeting about how he realized he had come to love those he served while on his mission. He said he knew he loved them when he realized how much he cared for them. As I sat in a lesson with the women later that same day, I realized that I had a deep desire for every one of those women to be edified in their lives. I wanted them to be the best they could be, or rather I had a glimpse of who God saw they could be. That was a moment of charity for me, a moment that I realized a portion of what the love of Christ was.

    We read about charity in 1 Corinthians 13 as well, where it says the following:

    4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
    5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
    6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
    7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
    8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

    To be a person of charity, we need to have a long-suffering love for others. It means to be patient in our relationships with others. To love through affliction, trials, and other hardships is to have charity. It is to be the kind of person who will stick around for someone even when times get difficult. It means that when moments arise where offense could be taken, we have a Christlike attitude of forgiveness and understanding and we continue to love them. Sometimes others will want to shut us out, but rather than cut ties and move on, the charitable person remains available in the hopes that someday they will want to return. For me, being long-suffering towards others is a small things compared to how often our Father in Heaven is long-suffering towards us. How many times do we go without saying our prayers or worshipping God and yet we still have moments where we recognize his love and open arms towards us when we choose to accept him.

    A charitable person is kind to everyone, no matter who they are, where they come from, or how they behave towards us. To be kind we must be willing to follow the golden rule. In Matthew 7:12 we read, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” I don’t think that anyone truly wants to be treated unkindly by anyone and if we live as a person of charity, we will not treat anyone in a way that we would not want to be treated.

    We should be more than willing to celebrate the successes of others, because a person of charity does not envy others. In Proverbs 14:30 we read, “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” I am pretty sure that love and envy cannot coexist. In contrast, a charitable person is grateful for the things that they have and grateful that others have been blessed as well.

    Pride is not a characteristic of someone who is charitable. We cannot “vaunteth” or brag and boast about ourselves and hope to have the mind to think of others. I went to a lesson one time where the teacher used a visual to teach us this. She walked around to others with a mirror in front of herself, trying to uplift others when all she could see was herself. Then she did it again, but with a window pane, to represent looking outside of ourselves to serve others. A person of charity, will forget about themselves to help others. A person of charity is more concerned with building others up, not with putting themselves above others. In Matthew 23:12 we read, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” A person of charity is humble and grateful to God for everything.

    A person of charity is modest in their behavior. If we claim to take upon ourselves the name of Christ when we are baptized and make covenants with the Lord, then we need to behave as Christ would. We show our love of the Savior, by honoring his name in our thoughts, words and actions. John 5:23 reads, “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” We honor God, when we honor the Savior with our charitable behavior.

    We cannot be a people of charity if we are selfish. If we choose to keep to ourselves, all the wonderful things that we have been blessed with, we cannot be called charitable. In Matthew 16:26, Jesus taught, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” A person of charity shares the good news of the gospel through their testimony of things they know to be true. A person of charity shares the talents they have been given, by using them to uplift and help others. A person of charity willingly gives what they can spare to help those in need.

    Patience is a virtue of a charitable person. To be “not easily provoked”, is to be a person who thinks before responding in any unkind way. A charitable person recognizes that as different people, with different beliefs and circumstances, we may have differences of opinions. A person of charity can see that everyone has agency and that the things others may do or say will not be able to destroy anything that really matters in the bigger picture. A person of charity is able to control their own thoughts and actions, and can choose to forgive the offenses of others. In James 1 we read the following:

    19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
    20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

    We cannot do the work of the Lord or be an instrument in His hands, if we are easily provoked or quick to anger. We cannot show the love of Christ to others when we are not in control of our judgement and anger.

    A person of charity is focused on that which is good. To think evil, is to invite Satan into our hearts and minds. In Matthew 6:24 we read, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” A charitable person does the work of the Lord and brings his light and love to others. If we cannot serve both the Lord and his enemy, we cannot think evil and serve the Lord. A person of charity will do their best not to be in situations where evil thoughts would enter their mind. They would strive to read good books, listen to good music, and involve themselves in other good activities. When we are continually looking for the good in the world or in people, we will be able to find it and evil thoughts will not fill our minds.

    The attributes of a person of charity could go on. There are so many things that we should be striving towards, if we hope to posses the pure love of Christ. I am so glad that we have this life to work on this every day. I am even more grateful for the atonement, because I am very aware of my own faults and my human nature, which gives me the need to repent often for my mistakes. I know that being a charitable person is what will bring us closer to Christ, and that it is not something that we become overnight. I hope that throughout my life, I will continue to strive to be the woman of charity, that God would have me be.

    Genesis Chapter 4

    At this point in the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve have fallen from the state of paradise in the Garden of Eden. They were cast out and into the world, where they were to experience death and the hardships and toils of life. The story of Adam and Eve continues:

    1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.
    2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
    3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
    4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
    5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
    6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
    7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
    8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

    Cain and Able were among many sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. We learn from the book of Moses, that Able was a righteous son who followed the word of the Lord, but Cain was a follower of Satan. (see Moses 5) Able followed the commandment of the Lord to make an offering of the firstling of the flock. Cain made the choice to mock the commandment of the Lord, by offering fruit of the ground. Since the offering was meant to be in similitude of the sacrifice of the Son of God, an offering of anything less then a perfect firstling of the flock was a complete mockery of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Cain had done this because of the influence of Satan in his life.

    The Lord is ready, willing, and bound to give us blessings if we follow his commandments. It really is that simple. Cain could not see that he would find favor in the sight of the Lord, if he followed the commandments. Instead he was filled with anger towards his brother, because Able had the flocks which caused him to gain favor from the Lord. The Lord taught Cain that if he did not follow the commandments, he would be sinning and falling under the control of Satan. In his wrath, Cain lured Able and killed him.

    9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
    10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
    11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
    12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
    13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
    14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
    15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

    The Lord, who knows everything we do and feel, knew what Cain had done. He was given the opportunity to confess for himself, but he did not. Instead, he asked if he was his brother’s keeper. This feeling of not be responsible for having a care for those around us, especially our family, is complete selfishness. We do not need to be overbearing and controlling in the lives of others, but we are their keepers in the sense that we need to have enough charity to care for how they are doing and what their lives are like. Cain did not have charity towards others, but only cared for his own welfare.

    We have a right to blessings from the Lord, when we follow His commandments. Likewise, we have a right to cursings from the Lord, when we do not follow His commandments. This is because He is the Lord and ruler of us all. We are in debt to Him for our very lives and existence. Our lives are more precious than any earthly gift, because they are a gift from the Lord. He is the creator and we are expected to follow His ways when we are made known of them. Cain had been taught by his parents, Adam and Eve. He used the gift of agency, which we all have been given, and chose to do that which was awful in the sight of God. Because of this thing, he was cursed. His curse would mean that he would not be able to continually work with the earth to produce his foods and such, but rather, he would be forced to be a vagabond and live without the many blessings he was enjoying. Cain complained to the Lord that the punishment was too much for him. In Moses, we read further that he also explained his falling into temptation of Satan because of wanting the flocks of his brother (see Moses 5 – linked above). This was his way of excusing his actions. This will never work to keep us from the punishments of the Lord.

    The footnote of verse 13 says the words “My punishment is greater than I can bear” means “My iniquity is too great to be forgiven.” This tells me that Cain knew full well that what he had done was terrible and was aware of the unforgiving nature of committing the murder of another person. He knew that because he was being forced to suffer that others would fear and hate him. To keep others from suffering the fate of Cain because of their fear or hatred, Cain was marked to set him apart. This mark was a mark of their skin color. We learn this in Moses 7:22 which reads, “And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.” This marking kept Cain and his seed separated from the covenant and righteous people of the Lord.

    16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
    17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
    18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
    19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
    20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
    21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
    22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
    23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
    24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

    Cain was separated physically and spiritually from the Lord, because of his sin. When we live lives of sin and iniquity, we are also separated from the Lord. Life will go on, but the blessings available for us, will be kept from us until we repent and turn to the Lord. Cain’s lineage continued. A footnote for verse 17 tells us that this Enoch is different from the righteous leader of Zion. It’s good to recognize that these were not the same people because there is a clear difference in righteousness between them. The descendants of Cain continued in sin and transgression, including Lamech who also killed a man and feared for his life.

    25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
    26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.

    On the other hand, Adams righteous lineage continued when he had another son named Seth and a grandson named Enos, who were both good men who relied on the Lord in their lives. I am very grateful for the knowledge that there is opposition in all things, as well as the gift of agency. I am glad that I can choose how to live, and glad to know that there are consequences, both good and bad, to my choices. There were people who lived lives of righteousness and those who did not, just as these two types exist today. I am so grateful to have so many influences for good in my life, and to have the gospel and a knowledge and love for the Savior.

    Teachings for the Latter Days

    Our Sunday School lesson for this week is on the books of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. Paul writes more letters to the saints of his day in these books. I find it interesting that Paul writes that the law is written for the unrighteous. I think that he’s probably referring to the many details of the law of Moses. Those who are righteous, know in their hearts and minds what is right and what is wrong. They know that they should not steal from someone else and they don’t need a law written to tell them that. The laws are written for those who do not naturally live a righteous life. They are written for those who have not come to an understanding of what it means to live righteously. The laws of Christ are more of a choice of lifestyle and not so much the small rules of rituals in our lives. This first letter to Timothy, is meant for us today. He talks of the latter days in chapter 4. This time on the earth, is one where even the best of men will be led away from the faith. It is a time when things that have been established and sanctified by God, such as marriage between a man and woman, are being forbidden and altered to fit the ways of the world. We avoid the traps of Satan in these things, by being strong in the faith. We must make the study and application of the word of God, a priority in our lives and the lives of our families. Paul teaches of being an example of the believers, which I have written about before (see What Type of Example Should We Be?). An example of the believers is one who speaks, teaches, testifies, serves, and lives as Christ would, because they believe in Christ.

    Paul teaches that the love of money is the root of all evil. This is not to say that money is bad, or that having a lot of money is evil. This means that if there comes a time when money is placed in value above other righteous things, then it is the source of leading us away from God and all that is good. The footnote for the word money, references the world selfishness. I think that this means that anything that would cause us to become selfish and greedy applies here. We can be poor, but have extreme selfishness, greed, and such for things of the world. Anything that draws our attention away from the things of God, breeds selfishness and leads to temptations and evil things. I think that we avoid this obsession with worldly things, by keeping our eyes on the bigger picture. Remembering what things we take with us, such as our knowledge and relationships, will help us to realize that all the things of the world are fleeting. Worldly wealth gets us no where very fast in the eternities. It may be hard to see the big picture if we do not have faith, a strong testimony, and a hope in the things to come. We need to be praying, reading the scriptures, going to church, and I think especially serving in the temple, so that we are continually reminded of the purpose we play in the plan of salvation.

    We live in a time, when more and more people are thirsting after knowledge. More often than not, this thirst is in hopes of gaining more in this life. It becomes a reliance on the knowledge and wisdom of men. Those who think that they know all things are the same men who are employed to teach others. The learners are inclined to take all that they are taught as truth, without seeking out for sincere truth and pure knowledge and wisdom. In 2 Timothy 3:7, Paul is discussing the conditions of the last days and he says the people (lovers of themselves) will be, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” We need to be wary of falling into this trap. If we make it a practice in our lives to live worthy of the inspirations of the spirit, we will receive a witness of truth in all of our learning. I know that this applies to both things of a spiritual nature, but also to things of a secular nature as well. The spirit is the bearer of all truth in all things. It is a natural thing for us to thirst after knowledge, but we need to continually have thankful hearts to God, and to live righteously so that we will not be caught up in the deceptions of the world. We cannot afford to assume that we know better than God, because it is simply not the case and we will fail if we adapt that belief and the behaviors that come with it. I have been so blessed to have a witness of true knowledge in my life. I am so grateful for the ability to recognize the whisperings of the spirit and the ability that the spirit has to teach me all things.

    Taking a Look at Anger

    I’ve heard quite a bit lately about anger management, and how anger is a very common thing. I am not a perfect person, and I do get angry at times, so I felt this was as good a time as any to study this topic.

    What is Anger?

    Anger is defined as a strong emotion that is directed at a grievance of some type. It may be a result of a frustration or feeling powerless in a situation caused by either internal or external forces. If bad enough, anger can get to a point where you can feel like this emotion controls you and is completely unpredictable. Anger is an emotion which existed in the pre-existence and was displayed by Satan himself. In Abraham 3:27-28 we read, ” And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first (v. 27). And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate . . . (v. 28)”. Anger led Satan to being cast out of God’s presence and losing the opportunity to gain a body.

    Is Anger a Good Emotion?

    Being frustrated or perhaps unsatisfied with a situation is okay and even sometimes it is necessary for change and progress to occur. If, however, this frustration or dissatisfaction leads to anger, it is not good. Anger is not a Christ-like attribute. In Psalms 145:8 we read, “The Lord is . . . slow to anger, and of great mercy.” It does not say the Lord is without anger, because there are things that justify righteous anger, especially from the Lord. The Savior taught that “whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matt. 5:22). He also taught the Nephites that anger from contention is not okay. In 3 Nephi 11 we read, “For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another (v. 29). Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away (v. 30).” Anything that is of the devil, is not good for men. Anger will bring destruction to the soul.

    A Display of Temper

    On the lds.org Guide to the Scriptures it describes anger as “the display of temper”. When I think of this phrase, I think of temper tantrums. When our Father in Heaven looks at His children who are angry, I imagine we look like three-year-olds having tantrums over not getting our way. When my daughter has a tantrum, I am quick to send her to time out to calm down. I cannot communicate with her when a tantrum has started. Once she is calm she is able to listen and deal with the situation better. Likewise, when our temper tantrum has started, the spirit cannot talk to us. When we are calm, we too are able to listen and handle things better.

    What do the Scriptures Teach About Avoiding Anger?

    Because I believe that the answers to all of our problems, specifically those that are of a sinful nature, can be answered by the scriptures, I look to them to be taught. David taught, “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath . . .” (Psalms 37:8). We must stop turning to anger as a response to situations. Forsaking it as we would forsake a sin, means to avoid it at all costs or to turn away from it forever. How do we do this when it is such a strong and controlling emotion?

    Ecclesiastes 7:9 reads, “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” Haste in our responses can be a cause for anger. Anger is explained here as a foolish person’s response, not a response of one who is wise. We need to teach or train ourselves to think wisely before we react. I think this may be easier said then done at times, but if we know there is a situation that may cause us to become angry, we can prepare ourselves by deciding before-hand how we might deal with it. For example, if I know that my child’s messy room angers me, then I need to stop before I might see it and think of how I can deal with it without being angry. For some, this means closing the door before seeing the mess. For others, all it may take is the act of stopping and deciding what might be said and how to say it. Thinking and making a decision on how we can avoid anger in that situation, can help us to avoid the wrong reaction.

    Avoiding the situations that anger us, seems to be an obvious answer to me, but at times this may not be possible. One thing we can do when we must put ourselves in a situation where we may become angry, is to commit to speak softly. In Proverbs 15:1 we read, “A soft answer turneth away wrath . . .”. I think you can look at this verse two ways. First, how we speak to others can keep them from becoming angry with us. Second, when we commit to using “soft answers” in response to others, we can keep the fire of anger from being kindled within ourselves. We can use the level and tone of our speech to control ourselves.

    Because anger comes often as a response to a perceived offense against us, we need to do our best not to be easily offended. This takes patience and understanding. We learn from 1 Corinthians 13, that charity is long-suffering and “not easily provoked” (v. 14-15). So the key to not being offended or provoked easily, is to have charity. Verse 4 of the same chapter explains that charity is kindness. To avoid anger, we need to become someone who is kinder. To be kind is to be considerate and to think more often of the feelings of others. Thinking of others and their situations, can help us to see that most people do not mean to intentionally hurt us.

    We also learn from verse 4, that charity is not puffed up. Charity does not exist where there is pride and selfishness. I think that a great contributor to anger, is selfishness. We become angry when all we can see is what we want, how we are hurt, what we don’t have, and so on. So not only do we need to think of the feelings of others, but we need to do it more often then we think of ourselves. I think again of my child’s temper tantrums and how they are almost certainly because of selfishness. When we look instead, at how others feel, we begin to feel more compassion for them and put aside our own feelings. Becoming less selfish is an important part of avoiding anger.

    When I think of charity, I most often think of service. We can avoid anger simply by serving others. Service forces us to stop thinking about how bad our own situations are. Service teaches us to be more kind and gentle to others. Most of all service teaches us to love others. It is so hard to become angry when you feel love. Charity, or in my own mind service, is the pure love of Christ. We know from the scriptures that Christ’s mission was one of service. If we approach the things of life, with a focus on how we can serve those we are in contact with, we can avoid anger.

    I know that I do not want to be an angry person. I know that anger is selfish, unkind, and foolish. I know that if I follow the example of Christ, I will become full of charity, compassion, wisdom, kindness, and love. With these attributes I can be more soft-spoken, and keep control of my emotions. I know that I can follow His example by serving others as much as possible. I know that by doing this, I can enjoy blessings of peace and happiness in my life.

    D&C Section 56

    Historical Background

    Ezra Thayre was one of the men involved with the issue of land in Thompson, Ohio (See post for Section 54). Therefore, he was not prepared to start the mission he had been called to serve along with Thomas B. Marsh (See post for Section 52). Elder Marsh went to the prophet and this revelation was given through Joseph Smith, in answer to the problem.

    “Take Up His Cross and Follow Me”

    “HEARKEN, O ye people who profess my name, saith the Lord your God; for behold, mine anger is kindled against the rebellious, and they shall know mine arm and mine indignation, in the day of visitation and of wrath upon the nations (v. 1). And he that will not take up his cross and follow me, and keep my commandments, the same shall not be saved (v. 2).”

    The Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 16: 26 reads, “And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments.” Any person who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ must deny the things of the world, or the wrath of the Lord will be against them. We must not be hypocrites and claim to be members of Christ’s church while we continue to be involved with the things of the world.

    Under What Circumstances Does the Lord Revoke That Which He Has Commanded?

    “Behold, I, the Lord, command; and he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded and the commandment is broken (v. 3). Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord (v. 4).” The Lord Revokes that which he has commanded “as it seemeth [Him] good”. The rebellious are the only ones who will not receive the blessings for breaking His commandments.

    A Change of Assignments

    “Wherefore, I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servants Thomas B. Marsh and Ezra Thayre, and give a new commandment unto my servant Thomas, that he shall take up his journey speedily to the land of Missouri, and my servant Selah J. Griffin shall also go with him (v. 5). For behold, I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servants Selah J. Griffin and Newel Knight, in consequence of the stiffneckedness of my people which are in Thompson, and their rebellions (v. 6). Wherefore, let my servant Newel Knight remain with them; and as many as will go may go, that are contrite before me, and be led by him to the land which I have appointed (v. 7).”

    Previously Ezra Thayre had been called to be Thomas B. Marsh’s missionary companion and Newel Knight had been called to be Selah J. Griffin’s missionary companion. Now with Ezra Thayre being involved with the breaking of his covenants to provide land, and Newel Knight needing to lead the saints from New York on to Missouri, there needed to be a change in assignments. Elder Marsh was now assigned to have Elder Griffin as his companion, and Newel Knight was to stay with the New York saints and those others who were righteous in Thompson, Ohio, and lead them to Missouri.

    How Does One Overcome Selfishness?

    “And again, verily I say unto you, that my servant Ezra Thayre must repent of his pride, and of his selfishness, and obey the former commandment which I have given him concerning the place upon which he lives (v. 8 ). And if he will do this, as there shall be no divisions made upon the land, he shall be appointed still to go to the land of Missouri (v. 9); Otherwise he shall receive the money which he has paid, and shall leave the place, and shall be cut off out of my church, saith the Lord God of hosts (v. 10); And though the heaven and the earth pass away, these words shall not pass away, but shall be fulfilled (v. 11).”

    The manual I am studying quotes, “A selfish person clings to his own comfort, advantage, or position at the expense of others. . . In practice the way to [repent of their pride and selfishness] is to serve in the Church and make generous financial contributions to sustain its programs” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 701.) I know that service is the best way to do away with selfishness, because it forces us to think of others before ourselves.

    A Proper Attitude toward the Temporal Blessings of Life

    “And if my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., must needs pay the money, behold, I, the Lord, will pay it unto him again in the land of Missouri, that those of whom he shall receive may be rewarded again according to that which they do (v. 12); For according to that which they do they shall receive, even in lands for their inheritance (v. 13). Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my people—you have many things to do and to repent of; for behold, your sins have come up unto me, and are not pardoned, because you seek to counsel in your own ways (v. 14). And your hearts are not satisfied. And ye obey not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness (v. 15). Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved! (v. 16)”

    Those who are rich with temporal blessings should have the attitude of giving to the poor all that they can. Those who care more about their riches then taking care of others, will mourn for the loss of their souls at the time of judgment. We should have gratitude to the Lord for all of our temporal blessings. To show our gratitude, we need to use our blessings to bless the lives of others.

    What Should Be the Attitude of the Poor?

    “Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands (v. 17)! But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs (v. 18 ). For behold, the Lord shall come, and his recompense shall be with him, and he shall reward every man, and the poor shall rejoice (v.19); And their generations shall inherit the earth from generation to generation, forever and ever. And now I make an end of speaking unto you. Even so. Amen (v. 20).”

    Those who are poor, should not have an attitude of wanting what others have in a way that would have they consider taking it for themselves. Being greedy when you have riches and when you do not, are both wrong. The poor who will receive blessings are those who recognize their own faults and repent just as anyone else. Those who do not have, but who try their best to do what they can, will be blessed with deliverance and a great inheritance from the Lord. It is not according to the plan of God that the poor should be allowed to take from the rich, when they have not rightfully worked for themselves.

    I strongly believe that people who have earned riches should be allowed to give as they choose and be blessed for how they give. I do not believe that they should be forced in any way to give to the poor, and this includes being forced by the laws of the land. Likewise, I do not believe that people who choose not to work and are labeled poor for one reason or another, should be able to take from another who has worked for what he has. It is not right to reward laziness and idleness. I believe that their is enough people that are good that those who are rich would give greatly on their own. I think that when we take from those who work hard, to give to those who do not, we create greed in both the rich and the poor. Agency is a gift from God and we should all be allowed to use that gift, even when it comes to our temporal blessings.

    D&C Section 45 (Part 2)

    This is a continuation of the previous post (Part 1).

    Historical Background

    This revelation was given through the Prophet, Joseph Smith, to the Church. He said, “To the joy of the Saints who had to struggles against every thing that prejudice and wickedness could invent, I received the following:” [Section 45].

    When did Jesus Speak These Things unto His Disciples As He “Stood before Them in Flesh”?

    “Wherefore, hearken and I will reason with you, and I will speak unto you and prophesy, as unto men in days of old (v. 15). And I will show it plainly as I showed it unto my disciples as I stood before them in the flesh, and spake unto them, saying: (v. 16) . . .”. The Lord begins to retell some of the teachings he gave to His disciples while he was on the earth (see v. 16-59). In Matthew 24 and 25, we can read the what the Lord taught his disciples, but parts of this original lesson are incorrect or incomplete in the version of the Bible we have today. The Prophet, Joseph Smith, received corrections from the Lord that were included in the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew.

    Why Were the Early Apostles Anxious to Know the Signs of the Second Coming?

    “. . . As ye have asked of me concerning the signs of my coming, in the day when I shall come in my glory in the clouds of heaven, to fulfil the promises that I have made unto your fathers (v. 16), For as ye have looked upon the long absence of your spirits from your bodies to be a bondage, I will show unto you how the day of redemption shall come, and also the restoration of the scattered Israel (v. 17).”

    The Apostles had learned that when they died, their bodies and spirits would separate and they would be in bondage from then until the resurrection and restoration of all things began. This knowledge made them anxious to know what they could look for as far as signs of the second coming of the Lord. I believe that the apostles are waiting anxiously for the day when these things will happen, as probably most of the spirits who have gone on are waiting. It will be a glorious day, when the resurrection can unite those souls with their bodies and release all men from the bondage of physical death.

    Jews to Be Scattered among All Nations

    “And now ye behold this temple which is in Jerusalem, which ye call the house of God, and your enemies say that this house shall never fall (v. 18 ). But, verily I say unto you, that desolation shall come upon this generation as a thief in the night, and this people shall be destroyed and scattered among all nations (v. 19). And this temple which ye now see shall be thrown down that there shall not be left one stone upon another (v. 20). And it shall come to pass, that this generation of Jews shall not pass away until every desolation which I have told you concerning them shall come to pass (v. 21).”

    The manual I am using to study tells of the destruction of Jerusalem, as told by the Savior. 33 Years after the Savior’s death, 66 A.D. to 70 A.D., a horrible war broke out between the Jews and I believe the Romans. It resulted in the destruction of all of Jerusalem, including the burning of the temple and the death of over a million and a half of the jews. Those who were left were mostly sold into slavery and scattered all over the earth.

    Is the World Going to Come to an End at Christ’s Second Coming?

    “Ye say that ye know that the end of the world cometh; ye say also that ye know that the heavens and the earth shall pass away (v. 22); And in this ye say truly, for so it is; but these things which I have told you shall not pass away until all shall be fulfilled (v. 23).” When the world “ends”, all the wicked will be destroyed and so it will be the end of all worldliness. Once there is no longer anything wicked, the world can be renewed.

    What Are the “Times of the Gentiles” and When Are They Fulfilled?

    “And this I have told you concerning Jerusalem; and when that day shall come, shall a remnant be scattered among all nations (v. 24); But they shall be gathered again; but they shall remain until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (v. 25). And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth (v. 26). And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound (v. 27). And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel (v. 28 ); But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men (v. 29). And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (v. 30).”

    When Christ was giving this lesson, the gospel was with the Jews. Then after his death, the gospel remained with them until the destruction of Jerusalem. Then the gospel was given to the gentiles and taken from the jews. When Joseph Smith received this revelation, he was witnessing a fulfillment of some of these things. He had been an instrument in bringing the gospel light to those in darkness. Just as the Lord said, it was given to the gentiles first and the time of the Gentiles will be fulfilled.

    Before the time of the Gentiles will be fulfilled there will be signs that are given in these verses. First, the Jews that were scattered, will be gathered again. According to the manual I am using, a greater number of the Jews have returned than it is believed were there when Moses led the children of Israel or when the Kingdom of Solomon existed in ancient times. Elder George Q. Morris formerly of the Twelve Apostles, said that we can now say they have returned. Second, it will be a time of commotion and sin will be everywhere. It is obvious that we live in this time. Third, many will not accept the gospel, which has been the case throughout the restoration. There are many who are unwilling to put aside the ways of man and change their hearts to follow the gospel.

    Men’s Hearts Shall Fail Them

    Men have given many of the hearts over to depression and sadness. The hope of something better is forgotten, because Satan has his hold on the hearts of people. The gospel brings the hope and joy that keep our hearts working properly.

    What Will Cause the Love of Men to Wax Cold?

    The love of men will wax cold because of iniquity. When we sin, we put ourselves above others. When we become so selfish that we will not help others and we turn our hearts away from those in need, our love waxes cold. The gospel teaches us to serve others and avoid sin at all costs. The love of men is waxing cold today and the ideas of the world say that we need to think about ourselves and do things to make ourselves feel better. The truth is, however, that we can only feel the best about ourselves, when we forget ourselves and think and serve those around us.

    Why Is the Fulfilling of the Times of the Gentiles So Significant?

    “And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land (v. 31).”


    About My Scripture Study Buddy

    I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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